Sunday, October 28, 2007

Fun weekends

We have been doing some fun things with the boys over the last few weekends, in addition to a couple of birthday parties and flu shots for the boys (although, Luc wasn’t so keen on this one!) Chicago is very well set-up for activities and destinations for children. 

Recent trips have included the following:  

An annual festival by the lake, children were able to make and decorate their own kites. Children were given a large paper bag was filled with a reel of string. With printed directions, cut lines and markings, some artful scissor-action some sticky taping and string tying, the bag became the kite! Children were then able to decorate their kites, add colorful tails and fly the kites. Despite a rather breeze-free morning, there were some very successful flights. The serious kite-enthusiasts were out in force with some stunning kites.   

Paul’s first visit there, and an opportunity to see some of the expansive and very impressive Impressionist collection. We are waiting in anticipation for the opening of the new Modern Art section- It would seem that Luc has a bit of a thing for modern art and sculpture, and the modern collection has been safely stored away for some months now. 

As members of the Aquarium, we were invited to a special viewing opportunity of the new Beluga Whale baby. This provided us an opportunity to see the baby swimming with its mother before it went on public display. The boys really like the reptile collection with a Komodo Dragon and other lizards including colorful chameleons. 

Nic did not like this so much – except for building a magnetic rocketship and the sensorial video display relating to conditions on the moon (complete with simulated wind and heat). Luc, on the other hand – a geek in the making – loved the Mars rock-sample-seeking robot and the movies about the planets. Paul was determined to take some emphasis off ‘fantasy’ science fiction (Star Wars et al), and to show to Luc what ‘real’ space travel was all about. This visit further fueled Luc’s obsession with space filght and black holes. He has been talking about the Planetarium lots! He still wants to be an astronaut. 

Pumpkin Patch & Luc’s School’s Halloween Fest: 
We are currently amidst Halloween season. We revisited the Pumpkin Patch in Oz Park. Exceptional weather this year ensured that it was very busy – but boys were still able to choose and decorate their own pumpkins, go on a hay-ride and play on some bouncy toys. Luc’s Halloween school fest allowed the boys an opportunity to dress in their Halloween costumes (in daylight hours), play on some more obligatory blow up bouncy playthings, see a ‘spooky’ marionette show and participate in some more pumpkin-seeking-painting. Paul and I took turns to help out children with pumpkin decorating. 

This included a selection of (eleven) international films in a session specially devoted to the 2 to 5 year old age group (in the morning while children are still fresh). We saw some wonderful films, followed by a question and answer session with several of the film makers. The family favorite was Astons stones – a poignant Swedish film about a young dog who finds ‘special’ stones and takes them home- all the more special given Luc’s penchant for stone collecting. I loved the Knuffle Bunny film – an adaptation of one of my favorite children’s books. Written by Mo Willems, it is based on his own family and involves a story about his daughter Trixie’s firm attachment to a stuffed bunny named Knuffle, the impending disaster when Knuffle bunny goes missing and utmost relief when it is found. 

Willems wrote and did animation for Sesame Street for some years and has written some other favorite books including the Pigeon series, Knuffle Bunny Too, Edwina, The Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct and many more. He wrote one of my favorite lines “She went boneless” to describe that moment when children, in a rage, lose all ability to stand up and behave like a dead weight. Love it! 

Picture: At Montrose Harbor Kite Festival

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