Looking Forward to the Year

Hello Friends,

Happy New Year to you all! I hope the first week of the new year is going well for you. Our week has been good, and Monday marked the end of Winter Break and the girls’ return to school. Overall, the girls are in good spirits, our house is happy.

My ideas for the new year are coming together, bits and pieces linking up to form a blog plan for 2019. I made mention of some of this before, but bear with me while I share a bit:

This school year marked a significant shift in my detour. Being the “at-home” parent is different with both of the girls at school during the day. It’s time for me to start talking about this shift and using this blog to process the changes. Plus, there are future plans to create.

I have been working on various projects throughout the years, like the playhouse. My interest in DIY projects has grown along with my skills. It only takes a few minutes online to see that many others share an interest in projects. I want to show more of these projects and grow this part of the conversation.

I want to continue to share and deepen my commitment to this blog and your readership. December brought some “circle of life” notices to me and our family. Thankfully, birth announcements were part of the news (hence the “circle”). As I found myself thinking over the friends who will be fathers this year, and their coming children, I thought about all the stuff I wanted to share. Advice? Six years ago I would not have dared to say that. Today, more than ever, I feel that I want to share the experiences I’ve collected, the different gear I’ve tried, the various classes and activities. And share the learning curve that I still encounter.

And video content. I’ve mentioned it before, but I want to add video content. The girls provide too much fodder, historically and currently, for me to capture it all in writing alone. If you guys like the pictures of the girls, you will roll with videos of their antics.

I thanked you all at the end of last year, but really, I can’t say it enough times. At least when I write out “Thank you”, you can sit with it on the screen in front of you and let it sink in. I write this blog for my family and my role in it. All of you, my readership, play a part in shaping that role. I am inspired by your stories, motivated by your interest, challenged by your feedback. Thank you for stopping by, and I look forward to seeing you on the detour throughout 2019.

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.

We Interrupt This Program…

Yeah, they do that when you don’t pay your registration fees.

can't quite see

Can’t quite see…

So those of you who stopped by on Wednesday may have gotten a screen with just an error message on it. No worries, nothing happened, I just forgot to pay for the next year’s hosting. That’s all, minor oversight…and we went dark.

Really? You didn't pay the bills?

Really? You didn’t pay the bills?

Anyone else out there distracted? Holiday shopping, decorating (going on our fourth day and we’re still not done), visiting with friends and family? Well, just be sure to take some time out for you. Getting us back up and running took one minute, exactly one minute. So make sure you take at least one minute for yourselves.

Ha! Silly Daddy!

Ha! Silly Daddy!

So you’re probably wondering what these pictures of the Cricket have to do with a lapsed registration fee. Honestly, nothing. I just figured I would pepper an otherwise boring post with her pictures. Just gratuitous cuteness. Enjoy.

I love holiday cookies!

I love holiday cookies!