Monthly Archives: November 2015

35 in Chicago

A few weekends ago (October 17-18), we headed down to Chicago to visit my brother and sister-in-law and celebrate my mom’s and my birthday (hers is the 7th, mine is the 18th). We arrived around 11:30 on Saturday and hung out at their condo for a little while while I fed Kai his lunch and put him down for a nap. While he was sleeping, my brother Mike made the rest of us lunch and we made a plan for the rest of the day.

Kai slept for about an hour and a half, and then it was time to go. My brother suggested we check out Maggie Daley park, so we drove downtown and parked in a garage. We had debated taking the L, but thought it might be a pain with the big stroller, and it worked out just fine to drive the couple of miles.

I had never heard of this park before, as it just opened in 2014. It was probably the coolest park I have ever been to. It is 20 acres, and right at the Lake Michigan shoreline within Grant Park and near The Bean.

Here we were walking on the ice skating track and to the left you can see the four huge rock climbing walls. The park had tons of different areas to go into, and a sign on the outside of each one said what age groups that area was geared towards. A favorite was the garden of mirrors.

Of course we had to go on the swings.

We checked out the nautical themed area next.

We didn’t go into any of the areas that were geared towards older kids, but the slides and play equipment in those areas looked really cool. I highly recommend this park as a family activity if you ever happen to find yourself in Chicago. We will definitely be back. Once we were done at the park we walked over to The Bean for a photo op, because how could we not?

Nerd alert:

We walked around the area a little bit more, but once the sun started to dip behind the buildings it got cold in a hurry, so we headed back to the condo. Mike got started on his famous home made pizza crust, and I made Kai a grilled cheese for dinner, which he did not eat. He wore his skeleton jammies because I knew Omoleye would love them (she is an orthopedic resident). When she saw him, she immediately went and changed to match.

Kai went to bed around 7:30 I believe, and somehow I have no photographic evidence that the rest of the night happened at all. We ate pizza, drank wine, sampled several chocolate porters, ate pie, and played games. It was a wonderful night. Guess I was too busy enjoying it to take any pictures.

Kai, Steve and I all slept in the same room, and I remember not sleeping well because I could hear Kai moving around, his sound machine was going, etc. So I was the first one up on Sunday, my birthday. I sat on the couch with my iPad for a while until my mom came up and made coffee in the French press. Yes.

Our plans included going out to brunch. Unfortunately Omoleye was on call and had to go in to do surgery on a broken elbow, so she wasn’t able to join us. We walked to the restaurant, and though Mike warned us that we needed to be there at 9am when they opened, we didn’t arrive until 9:20 and there was a 30 min wait. We walked down the street to a park (Chicago has the nicest parks, I swear!) to pass the time.

Kai was obsessed with this bridge and probably went across like twenty times. Mike and I showed off our jumping skills because we are cool like that.

And Kai did some more swinging with Daddy and Uncle Mike.

Brunch was delicious (again no photos, darn it). I had a bloody mary and portobello mushroom and egg tacos. We walked back to the condo and hung out for a little while longer before packing up our things and saying goodbye. We timed it to leave at Kai’s nap time so he could sleep in the car. He fell asleep for about 40 mins (his usual max in the car). Since he was awake, I decided I wanted to stop at the outlet mall on the way home to spend some of my birthday money. Sadly, I found nothing to buy. Also on the way home, we stopped at Kopp’s for some frozen custard when I discovered they had turtle sundae as the flavor of the day. Coincidence that they had this amazing flavor on my birthday? I think not.

After we got home and unloaded our stuff, we all walked to the park near our house so Kai could burn off some energy after sitting in the car for so long. More swinging!

Then he got brave and wandered pretty far away from us.

Once Kai was fed dinner, bathed, and in bed, Steve picked up some Chinese carryout for us to enjoy for dinner. I had a sushi roll and a veggie stir fry while watching a movie, the perfect end to a great birthday weekend.

1 Comment

Filed under Family, Travel

Halloween 2015

I have a lot of recaps that I need to write up for the sake of my own memory, and they might come a little out of order. We have just been so busy this fall I haven’t had time to gather my thoughts.

First up: Halloween! A couple of weeks ago Kai and I visited a pumpkin patch with Steve’s sister Jamie and her daughter Aiva. The place was really neat, with lots of activities for the kids. Kai started things off with a rousing game of pumpkin checkers.

We also spent some time jumping around on a giant bouncy pillow.

Pretty soon it was time for a hayride out to the pumpkin patch to pick out our pumpkins. I only succeeded in getting a blurry selfie to commemorate.

The kids had fun running around the pumpkin farm and picking out pumpkins.

Note that Aiva is exactly one year older than Kai and they are virtually the same size.

Eventually we selected our pumpkins and boarded the hayride back to the main area, where the kids were super thrilled about having their picture taken.

I tried to have Kai stand in front of the ruler so we could start a tradition and recreate this picture every year, but this is the best I could get. Kid does not stand still. Ever.

A few days later Kai decorated his pumpkin. I bought some washable paints and taped off the eyes, nose and mouth of the pumpkin.

Then Kai went to town painting. He was skeptical of the wet paint on his hands at first, but once I demonstrated what to do he got into it a little more.

After he was finished, I let the pumpkin dry for a few minutes before peeling off the tape. Once it was totally dry I took it outside and sprayed it with a clear coat spray paint to set it. I think the finished product turned out great.

The day before Halloween, Kai wore his costume to Kids Club at the gym and he got to be in a parade around the indoor track. My mom came to watch and we both ended up walking with him and the other kids. It was super cute.

For Halloween itself, we went to a party at my cousin’s house. We surprised everyone by showing up as a family of minions. It was a huge hit.

Unfortunately the weather was pretty crappy, but we did walk to the downtown area to see the parade, and luckily it stopped raining for trick or treat. We weren’t sure how Kai would do trick or treating, but he was an old pro.

He insisted on walking and carried his own pumpkin the whole time, which was basically the cutest thing ever.

We only went to four or five houses because Kai obviously doesn’t need any candy (and neither do we!). Back at the house, we changed Kai into his skeleton jammies and he was able to enjoy the fruits of his labor, a dum-dum.

I can’t wait to do family costumes every Halloween from now until Kai is old enough to be too embarrassed by his parents.

1 Comment

Filed under Family, Holidays, Kai