Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you all out there! Snow shoveling, winter break, tree decorating, gift buying and wrapping; it’s all been leading up to today.

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Our family has much to be grateful for this season; good health, financial stability, employment, family, and yes, you, our readership. I was just telling Brother Mechanic that it is good to be a member of our family right now. So we send out well-wishes to you and yours for a safe and happy holiday, whatever holiday you celebrate. We hope you enjoy the loving support of family and the warm embrace of time spent together. Merry Christmas.

Celebrating 108 Years at Crosby’s Kitchen

Before I write on, let me explain that this post is purposely devoid of political opinions and commentary. I am still processing the election results, “getting my head right” as we used to say in the body shop. I don’t want to be one more voice on the internet ranting, so I will compose myself and compose my post for later this week. In the meantime, some pics of the Cricket…

Due to a busy end of the week and weekend, I didn’t get a chance to share Thursday’s lunch. The Cricket and I were out running errands after swim class and found ourselves travelling along Clark Street on Chicago’s northside. Of course, this is the same Clark Street that runs next to Wrigley Field, and we ran into all kinds of fans as we searched for lunch. We took Southport where it split off of Clark and settled on Crosby’s Kitchen at the corner of Southport and Cornelia.

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Crosby’s Kitchen came up in my Google search for kid-friendly restaurants in Lakeview, a happening part of town. They serve American Fare in a comfortable environment. Once I read the menu I realized they were known for their rotisserie chicken. Oh, this was a big hint too:

Mmm, chicken

Mmm, chicken

The kid’s menu is just smaller portions of their adult fare, so the kiddos can get some of the delicious chicken as well. Cricket opted for the grilled cheese and I also shared bites of my chicken dip sandwich. Think french dip, but with a hunk of chicken. The Cricket loved the two types of cheese on her sandwich, and the toasted bread was soft. The french bread for my sandwich was also nice and soft, with just enough crunch in the crust. The chicken was moist and flavorful, so I almost didn’t use the au jus on the side. Overall, it was a good spot to find(and they’re not even paying me to say that!).

Usually I don’t like televisions around when I eat because I become a TV zombie. Given that it was the day after the Cubs won the World Series, it was nice to have some screens on over the bar. The server brought over some crayons for Cricket first thing, so she had something to do. She and I were able to enjoy our lunch surrounded by adults with and without children, so I did not feel like we were ruining anyone’s lunch at any time. And we left with full, happy bellies. So I’ll throw this place in the “toolbox”, cause we’ll visit here again. I know some of you out there can compose poems about restaurants and food, but I can’t. I will say that I did leave humming Finger Lickin’ Good by the Beastie Boys. You can check out Crosby’s Kitchen at 3455 N Southport here in Chicago.

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Today’s To-Do List

Here is part of today’s To-Do list, in paragraph form for added effect:

Edge and mow backyard and sweep up; throw out project garbage; empty house recycling; change all bed linens; change towels; do laundry (times 5); start organizing clothes for pending trip; walk rental dog (times 3); make and serve all of days’ meals; go to Post Office to mail package; pick up Sweetie at school; bath two daughters;

Stop.

Because you get the point.

Some days you have to add “blow bubbles” to the list. Yes, today was one of those days. And yes, it was the most productive twenty minutes of my day.

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Birthday Cosplay

We had a surprisingly busy spring this year. Wife and I have been distracted by a home renovation project that will soon become the focus of our lives, and probably the focus of some posts, too. Add to that the other life stuff that happens every day and here we are already in June. Because we were so busy, we decided to keep Sweetie’s birthday party low-key this year. Tough to do in general, but she has been attending parties for classmates and friends and that just adds to the pressure. Needless to say there was not much to post about from this year’s party. It was nice and all, but nothing like last year. So I decided to take you all back..

Sweetie chose a Curious George theme for her 3rd birthday. That was great because there is plenty of stuff at the local party store for Curious George – he’s a popular little monkey. Sweetie’s godfather, Micompadre, upped the party ante though when he asked/suggested/challenged me to dress up to fit the theme.

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Micompadre let me know that he owned a monkey suit and would happily join me in the fun, as you can see. With his support, and a giant costume store just down the street, it was on. Curious George and the Man in the Yellow Hat were in attendance.

George!!!

George!!!

Now despite the obviously high quality of our costumes, not all of the kids loved it. In fact, many of them had a look that was either incredulity or horror. We kept moving and didn’t stay in front of any child too long in order to avoid breakdowns. And thanks to the quality costumes and unseasonably warm day, our time in costume was quick.

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Just a man and his monkey friend

I have to give all credit to Micompadre. Without his push I would not have added this to our party planning. There are wonderful and fun places to go when family supports you. So something else to add to the list of things I didn’t see myself doing: cosplay for a birthday cause. But the parents out there are not surprised; they’ve done it too. To the would-be dads: expect to wear many different hats as a father, some that you never thought you would even consider. I think this is especially true for a stay-at-home dad. But when you see your little girl’s face light up, and the mood of the party shifts to “fun-silly”, it’s worth it.

May the 4th…

Yes, we are a little late in the day, but we still wanted to say, “May the 4th be with you”!

Together we can rule the galaxy...

Together we can rule the galaxy…

The cricket was all about it, but Sweetie not so much. Okay, so the Cricket is down for pretty much any opportunity to get in front of a camera. Sweetie was into it until it was time to get dressed for school. Oh well, maybe next year. We can forgive it – I mean, she killed it on Halloween as Princess Leia!

Reppin' our house

Reppin’ the dark side

Hope you had a great day! (Sorry, I don’t have any space puns here)

Welcome to the Machine

Today Cricket got a civics lesson. Like a 100-level, freshman year civics lesson. She went with me to early voting to cast my vote for the primaries (cue the excited crowd track). Voting is possibly the most basic way to participate in the political arena in our country. Tomorrow is the final day for early voting in Illinois for the Primary Elections, and I am not feeling like I want to deal with the lines on the 15th.

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Young politico

When I was in my 20’s I was much more politically outspoken than I am today. I think the back-to-back Bush (the second) administrations sucked the excitement out of my political activity. But I do exercise my right to vote. I think too many men and women have fought hard for our right to vote and all Americans should participate in this part of the political process. Does anyone else remember the MTV campaign “Rock the Vote”? Voting was cool – that’s what I’m talkin’ about.

Back in my 20’s I was left-of-center, and I voted with the Democratic Party because I didn’t have the conviction that the Green Party was a viable third party. These days I think I am more moderate, and really just want to enjoy some quality American life while not imposing ourselves on too many other nations. I want alternative energy to continue to become more accessible, but I also want cheap gas at the pump. I want a safe internet, but I don’t want the government to know my surfing habits. Obviously, I am all over the place.

So this is not meant to be propaganda. It’s more of a call-to-arms, particularly to my fellow Illinois residents. You have until tomorrow to vote early. Today there were no lines, and the machines were easy to use. It is quick. And if you decide to wait until the 15th, that’s fine too. But get out and vote.

Unfortunately, I don’t think my party is “best”, or that my candidate is “right”. I feel like I voted for the devil I know – that’s supposed to be better, right? I’m trying to rally my own political energy and believe in the system again. I have two little girls who need to learn how to maneuver in American Politics. So please join the process, help me find that motivation.

And get out and vote.

Honestly, I don’t even care which candidate people support. The turnout for the 2012 presidential election was 57% of the eligible population. Worse yet at 36.4 % for the 2014 midterm elections. Paltry. I’m growing tired of relying on our elected officials, especially with this elections offerings. So I am trying to take a more proactive approach and figure out what I can do to improve the situation. More acting and less complaining!

The first thing I came up with: get out and vote. Now go!

I think they give out stickers on the 15th

I think they give out stickers on the 15th

Take your kids to McDonald’s, or else…

This is what I get for not taking my girls out to McDonald’s for lunch:

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Yeah, book-case emptied, stuffed animals flung, toys and their respective parts strewn about. All because I didn’t take my girls to McDonald’s.

Well, that might not be entirely correct…

This whirlwind struck while I was making lunch. That would be a home-cooked soup and handmade egg salad sandwich lunch. So technically, this is what I get for making my girls lunch. If we had gone to McDonald’s, someone else would’ve worked on the food. I would’ve monitored their behavior and the storm would’ve never touched down here.

Now this isn’t some rant post about the destructive nature of a toddler (times 2). This is more of a notice to new Dads and potential Dads-to-be. The point of this post is to send home this message: sometimes you need to be away, you need to leave your kids “on their own”.

That’s right, sometimes you need to go downstairs to change over the laundry. Sometimes you need to hole up in a room to clean. Sometimes you need to go to the bathroom…without an audience. Sometimes you need to prepare a meal. So figure out how to do it wisely. Make sure rooms are as safe as they can be (like using outlet covers). Make sure you know the sounds of “normal” kid activity, and stay aware of silence (the telltale sign that something is going on). Try organizing an activity before stepping away. Try making a game where you can pop in and out of the room so you can keep tabs, but still accomplish a task in another area. And for goodness sake, try to keep your absence to an absolute minimum.

The seasoned parents out there will recognize that this room mess was not that bad. In fact, three minutes later, with the help of a few choice big-boy curse words and we had this:

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So again, to the new Dad or soon-to-be Dad, some parting wisdom: keep the messes in perspective, they come with the territory. So much of parenting is a juggling act, just keep trying and learn from the day’s adventures. And sometimes take the kids out for lunch.