Tuesday, July 4, 2006

A typical week

Just how do we spend our time during the week? We have some structure to our week, but largely it is played by ear (or by the weather). This is an account of a typical week (lately). 

Monday sees us trek off to a local book shop Barnes & Noble. The fact that it is local, by no way means that it is a small intimate shop. It is an equivalent to Borders in size and selection - it even has a coffee shop. (Coincidentally, the local Borders is just a block away). We attend a story time with a lovely lady, Denise, reading several books to a rapt audience of pre-schoolers and babies. Luc and Nic love this and Luc loves to fetch books that grab his attention. Mostly about Cars at the moment. Mummy loves this outing and is usually seduced into making a book purchase, after feeding Nic over a cup of coffee. 

The last couple of Tuesdays has seen Luc attend an art class. This is held at the Old Town School of Folk Music. The teacher, Laura, reads a story and the art lesson revolves around a theme from the story using a variety of media to construct a picture. Media can include a mix of crayon, sequins and costume jewels, beads, seeds, pipe cleaners, foam shapes, geometric shapes of paper, and paint applied with a variety of brushes, foam shapes, etc.  This is a lot of fun. Our friends Polly and her son Callan have been attending these sessions for some time. Recently we made a visit to Adams Water Park after class with Polly and Callan. This park provides a great opportunity for a bit of water play. Swimming pools are in very short supply here. 

Wednesdays, in the past, have included a trip down to the Zoo to see Mr Singer. Mr Singer is a very energetic kids performer who plays a selection of original and standard songs accompanied by his guitar. Luc’s enthusiasm for this has waned a little so we haven’t done this recently. If we do make it, we catch up with friend Gabrielle and her two sons (James & William) and Leslie (and son Colin), for a walk around the Zoo, a train ride, and perhaps a ride on the carousel.  

Thursdays is a day to do… whatever. We often visit a park. The favourites being Jonquil, Pirate Ship (Supera), Sunshine, Oz, Zoo (Cummings) Parks. Last Thursday we caught a bus downtown. I took Luc out for sushi at Marshall Fields before heading to the Crown Fountain for some fun splashing around. This was followed by a visit to the The Art Institute of Chicago. I had brought the boys here during the winter months. The institute has an excellent collection of modern art including some very famous Picasso, Dali, Magritte, Miro, Cezanne, Gauguin and Monet works. I am looking forward to seeing American Gothic when it is back on display. Luc likes the collection of suits of armour (just like Shrek wears). 

Friday sees us attend Playgroup with a group of mums and kids of a similar age to Luc and Nicolas. Play Group can take place at someone’s house, but is taking place in a park or the Zoo now that the weather is good. Our friends at playgroup include (mums first): Deb, Emily & Rachel; Ann, Hannah & Joshua; Margaret, Liam & Fiona; Mary & Elly; Rina, Logan & Max. I really look forward to this session as a means of venting… oh, and the kids get to play with others! The mums at Playgroup have made us feel oh-so-welcome and provide a path towards sanity when it sometimes appears so very far away. 

Saturday is a family day. We have been taking the boys to Paul’s gym to swim in the kids pool. This pool is predominantly for kids and has a number of pool toys, basket ball hoops, and even includes a spa bath. Family changing rooms, toiletries (shampoo, deodorant, combs, hairdryers) and all the towels you can possibly use make this a very convenient facility. Depending upon the time, we sometimes have lunch at the rooftop BBQ with freshly grilled fish, chicken, burgers, salad bar… 

Sunday: we like to go out for breakfast when we can. Last Sunday we tried out the Golden Nugget Pancake Restaurant. This is the classic American Diner experience with booth seating, huge menu, cheap fare and open 24 hours. Perfect for a family – particularly when colouring sheets and crayons are delivered upon being seated. We ate well and our appetite was sated for hours!  In the afternoon, we went north to visit Deb & Mark and their family (including grand parents Rich & Charlotte visiting from Virginia) for a Playgroup family get-together. This was a great opportunity to meet the Dads, and for the Dads to meet their children’s playmates. We had a lovely time eating BBQ and being able to speak adult speak without having to constantly watch the children. All the children were SO well behaved – very commendable given a crowd of 9 kids! 

Photo: Chicago skyline at night. Looking south from cocktail lounge in John Hancock Centre.

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