Saturday, July 25, 2009

Venetian Night at Navy Pier

We went to Navy Pier for the afternoon and evening today. I promised the kids we'd ride the ferris wheel and that we'd get cotton candy. They were psyched. We had a great time and the kids held out all night...from the ferris wheel to the carousel to the fireworks and the late-night bus ride home.
This ferris wheel is 10-stories high! Yikes!
I was very nervous about my little Sam-Sam up so high in a ferris wheel!
This carousel was really beautiful. The kids rode it alone and did great. When it was time to get off the ride, they held hands to come and find us. Holding hands! Precious...and rare...for them.
Putt-Putt. Sammy kept swinging his club too hard and Claire had to run to go potty halfway through.
Seeing a bride. I always get to see a bride!
A "white party" which took off on a cruise before the fireworks.
Dinner at Billygoats tavern. Cheezeborgers.
Views off the pier.
Sammy chilling with the band in the beer garden.
Funny mirrors.
Cotton candy.
The fireworks.
Watching the fireworks, but it was still mainly about the cotton candy at this point.
Clydesdales.
Goodbye Navy Pier! I love you Chicago, but don't expect me to have that same love for you in February.
Late-night bus ride down Grand Street.
Cotton-candy face. Great day.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Boarding

The guys that live above us are college-age and one of them has been teaching Sammy how to skateboard a little. He loves it so much, so I finally got him a skateboard today. First, of course, I made him do a bunch of jobs to "earn" the money. He cleaned the windows (sprayed 10 gallons of cleaner on the glass and left big puddles on the windsills), cleaned his room (threw stuff under his bed) and vacuumed the baseboards, (he actually did pretty well with this). So, anyway, I bought him the skateboard and the knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards that go with this sport. He was pretty precious.

Summer in the city

We went to marriage counseling last week. We worked some stuff out. It was good. But I also realized that I'm suffering right now from a universal mom problem: summer! Hey, I love summer and I wish it was about catching fireflies and swimming in the neighborhood pool and roasting marshmallows in a firepit, but we don't have that stuff as easily in the city. And even for those moms who HAVE that stuff, summer still means entertaing these kiddos constantly.

Actually, as usual, Claire is easy. She plays with her few girlfriends for hours on end setting up doll houses, doing crafts, and all that good stuff. Sammy, on the other hand wants to race his bike around the neighborhood yelling for the neighbors to come out and play with him. Right now, he's actually following the mail lady around to each house helping her deliver the mail. So, although Claire and I could just hang for the summer, we are, instead, keeping very busy. A few highlights...
The paper lap-top that Claire made, complete with mouse and cord.
The fireman helmet that we found at the salvation army for Sam. He wore it for about a week without taking it off. We got to visit a firehouse when we went to visit Cecilia's baby sister at the hospital! My kids had to play in the park next to the hospital since they were too young to come onto the maternity floor, but next to the park was a firehouse! Fireman Sam was very excited.
A trip to the beach with Cecilia and Annabel. If it would get hotter here, we'd be doing this most days of the week, I think. The kids really love it.
CRAZY crayons! You just take the paper off all your old crayons and melt them in a tiny muffin tin. They come out as big chunks of multi-colored crayons. Lots of fun.
Playing with the little boys in the neighborhood. They are all between the ages of 9 and 12, but Sammy thinks they are his best buds. Pictured above, eatting ice cream are: Claire, Little Brian, Chub, Sammy,  Jamel, and Deandre.
Don't ask why, but oddly, Sammy has gotten into making bead necklaces. Shhh...don't tell him that it's a calm activity and that you love that he does one calm activity! If you tell him, he'll probably quit doing it.
One morning we paid a visit to Home Depot, Sammy's favorite store. He brought his tools and wore his home depot apron. We wandered around trying to figure out what to build, when suddenly I had the idea of making play stands. They have a few design flaws, but we are still making killer tents with them, and Matt read  stories to the kids in the tent a few nights before bed, (those are his hairy legs sticking out of the tent...not mine).
Yesterday, we said goodbye to the Big Guy as he left for one of his business trips. We hate to see him go, but everyone ran outside in their jammies to wave goodbye as the taxi took him to the airport. Everyone except me, that is, since I didn't want to show the taxi man my underwear. We miss you Big Guy!
Two things that are keeping me sane right now: sushi on the random night when I can't bear to cook anything OR eat the chicken nuggets that I made the kids. And this great coffee with an even greater name that I found at Whole Foods. I'm sucking it down right now...oh yeah.