Following a Yellow Brick Road

Hello Friends,

This is another family adventure from our weekend. With such a beautiful late summer day on Saturday, we had to get out. Wife Googled parks in the city and found “Oz Park ” in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Who knew?

The main draw was statues of the main Oz characters. Obviuosly, here the girls are sitting on Dorothy’s pedestal. Arranged around two sides of the park, these statues help set a playful tone.

Nick Chopper, a.k.a the Tin Woodman guards the northeast entrance of the park.

Just inside that entrance stands the scarecrow. He is near the “quiet area”, his gentle nature an appropriate reflection of this calm patch. Filled with flowers and decorative plants, it stands apart from the playground and greenspace of the park.

The Cowardly Lion stands at the southeast corner of the park. He has the bonus of being app-enabled and can call you and talk with you. More importantly, he defends the pickle ball court. And yes, the people who play there too.

The playground at Oz Park is amazing. Shade is abundant and kids climb all over multiple ornate wooden structures. There’s tennis courts, pickleball courts, baseball diamonds, basketball courts, open space, the playground- really something for everyone.

We broke for lunch and headed down the street to Chicago Halal. Not much more than counter tops, this place has some kind of magic to their food prep. The gyro meat was cut small and had a delicious searing on the edges.

The girls ate well on their cheeseburgers too. So overall, our family dug Chicago Halal. I know that’s a weak review, but maybe some of you foodies out there can drop them a visit and do a proper one.

So here’s a weird thing about the afternoon: the lack bathrooms. Despite the beauty and playground amenities, Oz Park does not have any bathroom facilities. Chicago Halal also lacks bathrooms facilities. We tried to pitstop at a Starbucks near the park, but no, no toilet. What?!? Bit of a downer on a our day, but we salvaged it. You know who had a bathroom? Same people who have old-school soft serve. Oh yeah, Dairy Queen.

If you haven’t been to Oz Park yet, just follow Webster east, about to Halsted. Visit with the friends from L. Frank Baum’s Oz series, or maybe get in on some wooden paddle and wiffle ball action. Lincoln Park holds plenty of restaurants, both new and fresh as well as tried and true. So food is easy to find around Oz Park. Just be sure you plan your adventure ahead, so you don’t make your own yellow brick road.

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Affy Tapples for All!

Hello Friends,

I don’t use this blog to push many products or sell stuff, but this post is an exception. With that clear, I won’t be offended if you back out right now.

The girls sell a lot of stuff as fundraising for St. Viator School and I think you all might be interested in some of these things. For example, around February we will sell Girl Scout Cookies. I had so many, “Why didn’t you tell me” comments last year that I am going to advertise hard this year. Today’s post is about another such tasty item.

Yes friends, it’s Taffy Apple sales time. I feel like you can’t make it through childhood in the Chicagoland area without eating Taffy Apples at some point.

This time the sales benefit the St. Viator Elementary School Halloween Party. This annual event is a fun, costumed, music and food celebration. It’s another chance for the kids to dress up witb plenty of space to run and dance around. I’ll be posting more information about the party and the St. Viator Haunted House as we roll into October.

So that’s the pitch, at least from my end. I think Affy Tapples sell themselves – you either love ’em or not. If you’re interested then contact me directly. Don’t have my number? Drop me an email message at dadsdiaperdetour@gmail.com and we’ll work out an order.

Alright then, friends, think it over and let me know before September 26th. And remember, make it a great day! We’ll see you out there.

Good Time for a Rainbow

Hello Friends,

Summer is winding down, but we are still squeezing in some adventures. This trip to the Southside was Wife’s idea. And it was perfect for…

ice cream from The Original Rainbow Cone! It’s been at least three years since I posted about this Chicago gem. But the multi-scoop ice cream treat is still uniquely delicious.

I say “uniquely” delicious because I would never expect these flavors to taste so good together. Strawberry and pistachio are not my go-to flavors in general, but they fit right into this party.

After a quick discernment I went with a small. Yeah, that’s a small. Isn’t it funny how the ice cream is more of a wedge than a scoop? Pure logistics.

They do have a kid’s size, which was a perfect option for the girls. I still had to help them finish though, good thing for that small!

The Original Rainbown Cone is open until October, so go get one! There’s still time – we may just have to make another trip!

Picture Day! (2018)

Hello Friends,

Today is in fact picture day at St. Viator School. I think this mat be my most favorite day of the year. I love seeing the kids, particularly my own, all dressed up.

Wife picked up outfits for the girls and they were beyond excited. They also loved having Wife fuss over them and style their hair (we’ll see how that held up to a day of school). I got to walk them to school though, so everything is all right.

I hope the day is going well for you all out there. Remember to share those school pics as they come in!

Happy, Hot, Monday!

Hello Friends,

Full disclosure – only half of this title is true. It is hot and humid here, typical Chicago late August weather. I remember sitting in classes at university just sweltering in the historical, not-modernized (read: not air conditioned), classrooms. And speaking of classes…

Yeah, neither girl wanted to get up for school today. It took a solid twenty minutes of rousing to just get them dressed. Things moved along, slowly but surely, until we got to the door. There Cricket flatly announced, “I’m not going to school.”

She did go, but she refused to get in the photo. And Sweetie? Despite the smile, she is not happy. The school recommended gym uniforms for all students due to the heat index. She wanted to wear her usual – polyester jumper over her uniform shirt (with undershirt). This warm weather option was the compromise. And when we rolled up to the sea of navy blue gym uniforms? “I wish we could go home and change into my gym uniform.” Ah heck.

Despite the heat and the sluggish start the girls are good. Wife is out of town unt late Wednesday, and they are not pleased about that. But we all promised to be good to each other the next couple of days, so things should be just fine. And so we roll into school week 2! I hope you are staying cool out there friends. As I tell the girls – make it a good day!

First Day of School – Day 2!

Hello Friends,

So true to form, Cricket’s “First Day” post fell to the wayside. Better late than never though, right? No worries, I’ll make up for it with an abundance of photos. That’s easy since her Welcome Tea was on the first day of school on Monday while her official first day, a full day, was Tuesday. Here is how the child who was up and playing by 5:30 AM all summer greeted Monday:

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Zzzzzz…

Yep, their bodies know something is up. But she got moving soon enough.

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Once she was up she was all smiles, so I was feeling good about the full-day school situation. We’ve been talking up the lunches and the nap time for a couple of weeks, so the transition should be smooth. Here’s the official front yard shot:

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Wife was off on Monday, so she could share the morning with the girls. In Cricket’s case, she shared the whole day.

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Welcome Tea is an event for the early childhood students. Pre K-3, Pre K-4 and Kindergarten students come in for a classroom tour where the kids meet the teacher and check out the room. It all starts with a gathering in the school hall with socializing, snacks, and announcements from the principal.

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Monday went well. With only an hour at the school we weren’t expecting too much drama. Besides a moment when Cricket had to show her teacher her necklace, despite the teacher explaining their weekly schedule, things went smoothly. Cricket was ready to return for Tuesday’s full day of class.

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Again, all smiles on Tuesday. And the day went well overall. There is some adjusting, which is natural. And Cricket has some things she needs to get used to as well. Needless to say, she fell out immediately after we made it home. Ah well, best to rest up for the next day!

Back to School (Day 1)

Hello Friends,

Today is the first day of school for St. Viator students, first through eighth grade. Sweetie is now a first grader, so here we go!

Cricket stops in for a welcome tea today, then her full days start tomorrow. She’ll have to wear real clothes tomorrow, no throw blankets as outfits!

I know we are heading back earlier than CPS. Are your little ones heading back yet? Whenever it happens, I hope your back-to-school is happy and tear free…for your kids too!