Friday, May 1, 2009

summer 2008 Part 3

Summer 2008 Part 3

LaGrange Fountain – It’s just a small fountain downtown, but seems to be a place where many parents take their children. The kids are at such a cute age right now. The joy they get out of just walking around the edge of the fountain and throwing money inside is contagious. There is a tiny hill by the fountain they loved running down, too. We visited this spot several times during the summer.

Vacation Bible School – This was the first year for the twins. I helped out in the tot group so was able to be with them for the whole week. We’d start the morning gathered together with all the age groups singing and watching an on-going weekly skit. Then we’d go to a room where the kids would color. Next was craft time. This always seems to aggravate me as I believe in the importance of free creative expression rather than doing a step by number craft where the adults do most of the work for the kids so it will look “just right.” Then we’d go to the gym where they kids would run around, play with balls or little scooters, then we’d head to the room off the kitchen for a snack and practice our song. Next up to the second floor for a story and then back to the auditorium to meet with all the groups for more songs before heading home. Alexa and Jared were sooooo quiet. Many people asked me if they were talking yet. This made me laugh because Alexa especially is so talkative at home. She did love the high school and college age girls carrying her around, and Jared had a little girl who always wanted to be next to him, holding his hands. At the end of the week, they had a program for the parents where the kids performed songs they learned over the week. I had to hold Jared who cried for most of the time and another girl held Alexa. Not a great first stage performance!

Pet Pride Parade – The first weekend after Memorial Day they always hold a Pet Pride Parade in LaGrange. It was the first time we attended, and it was much, much more impressive then the Oak Park 4th of July parade. There were many music and dance groups as well as dozens of different animals including even some camels.

Naperville Riverwalk – This was a beautiful time where the highlight of the day was the paddleboat ride on the pond. We were able to paddle very close to many ducks.

Trailside Museum – I remember coming here as a young child, so it was fun to take our kids here this summer. There is a small area outside where there are a few animals in cages: a hawk, fox, skunk, vulture and a few more animals. Inside there are smaller animals like frogs, small birds, spiders and fish. We also walked around the small pond area so the kids could throw rocks in the water.

El Train Ride to Downtown Chicago – This was an incredibly exciting experience for the kids. We rode the train downtown, got off and walked a few blocks down to Millennium Park. There is an area where water runs down a big wall and makes a huge puddle. We had put on the kid’s bathing suits and though they would like to have run through the puddles, but they seemed very nervous. They both have a tendency to get nervous in new situations, Alexa more so than Jared, and like to check things out for a while on the sidelines before jumping in. They never really wanted to jump in this day, though, and I think it was because it was so crowded. Afterwards, we went to a restaurant to eat. Even though were able to get a booth, it was still very hard to get them to sit still for long. They were also very loud. It’s really hard to judge if they disturb other people since Steve and I are very relaxed in our parenting style.

Water Parks – We went to two this year. One was with my sister, brother –in-law and nephew while Steve was away on a business trip. They warmed up to getting in the shallow part of the pool after a while, but they didn’t want to go under the sprinklers. Actually they liked digging in the sand the most. They are really not too fond of pool water as we spoil them with hot baths, and they don’t get many opportunities to swim. I feel a little bad about that and would like them to have swim lessons at some point but only if they really want to. The other water park is a new one opened just this summer near our Cermak Woods. It was free the whole summer since it just opened. There is a section of the park with a pool of warmer water, and the kids had a pretty good time in there, although they were are first reluctant to go in the water.

Some other highlights of the summer:
Planting a garden – carrots and tomatoes
Building playdough snowmen
Helping Steve wash the car
Squirting each other with the hose
Climbing up a large ladder into the tree branches
Drawing with sidewalk chalk
Roasting marshmallows over the fire pit
Playing with trucks
Playing in the pool – painting and washing their brushes in the water to turn the water different colors
Shooting baskets
Splashing in the puddles in the rain
Riding tricycles
Walks around the block
Sandbox and water table play
Asking me to write words

2008 Summer Pat 2

2008 Summer Part 2

Old Graue Mill – We were there three times this summer. The first time Steve and I came by ourselves and we just hung out by the river watching the ducks, and the kids did their favorite activity, throwing rocks and sticks into the water. Then we came again Father’s Day with Steve’s parents. His sister and brother in law, fresh from seven years in China and here to stay, were with us too. This time we walked the trails. The last time we were here was at the end of the summer when we met up with my mother’s brother, his wife, my cousin, her husband and their child. We had a little picnic. The kids loved running around the picnic area, and we took them down by the river to throw more rocks, their favorite thing to do.

Route 66 Car Show – This has been the second year Steve has played with the church band at the show. This year the kids were able to more fully appreciate Daddy’s concert. We didn’t go around to look at most of the cars like last year, but Alexa had her face painted, they played with balloons, had a hot dog and funnel cake, and loved being with Grandma, Grammy and Great Grandma.

Parks – I counted ten different parks we frequented this summer. They cared much more about parks this summer than last year. Favorite equipment is definitely slides and swings, although near the end of the summer, they were getting quite good at climbing up ladders, walking around swinging bridges and climbing up other equipment. They especially liked one park with a sand pit and a digger.

Cermak Woods – the wooded area is very near our house. We like to think of it as ours since we hardly see anyone there, and I don’t think we ever saw any children. This is so sad to me that parents would not utilize this source of nature more with their children since we live in a suburb without many natural areas. We love to go off the path and explore among the trees. We were really blessed to run across a family of deer that let us walk up to them within about twenty feet. We have the most wonderful video of the kids running through a flock of geese. There had to be at least a hundred of them in the field.

Church Picnic – This was the third church picnic the kids have been too. I was very disappointed they didn’t have the pony rides this year. Last year they were 15 months old and had their first pony ride. They still had a great time, though. We came after the food was over, and mostly watched the softball game, and Alexa loved going to the playground with some of the college girls.

Brookfield Zoo – We went four times this year. A definite highlight was the children’s zoo. It is small enough for them to run ahead of us a little bit, but large enough to have a variety of things to see and do. They liked petting the goats and chickens, looking at the chicks coming out of their eggs and watching some of the caged birds like the hawks, falcons and vultures.

Our Village Day – At the park they had several events going on. The kids LOVED going on a pony ride since they missed out on the one at the picnic. There was also this great petting area where the kids were surrounded by goats, llamas, chickens, sheep, rabbits and ducks.

4th of July – We went with family in the morning to a parade in Oak Park. Very disappointing. I thought it would have been much larger since Oak Park is a larger town. Still, since the twins were just 26 months old, they still enjoyed seeing some of the music, what little there was, and a group of tap dancers. Everyone came over to our home for a barbeque and later that evening we sat on the sidewalk in front of the house to watch the firework display coming from the park. I was really spectacular. We’ve driven to many different towns to watch fireworks, but can honestly say only the fireworks downtown come close to comparing to our own village’s show.