Come Winter, Come Winterfest!

Hello Friends,

Did you miss us? I’ve missed you all. We have been super busy since October. I have so much to post about, and so little time. Why so busy, you ask? Well, it’s time for the St. Viator Winterfest once again!

Starting at 5:00 PM this Friday, November 30th, Winterfest goes through the weekend until 4:00 PM on Sunday. With a skate rink, Mistletoe Market, Tree and Wreath sale, hot cocoa, and more, the fest happens in and around the St. Viator Recreation Center. There is holiday fun all over, and plenty of opportunities for fun winter photos!

Click here to check out the flier: 2018 Flyer Basic with sponsors FRONT PAGE

I know some of you already have weekend plans (Happy Birthday B!), but for the rest of you, come on by and check out Winterfest! Need more details? Here’s the Facebook event page with the details: www.facebook.com/events/341301753285197/.

I will be at Winterfest on Friday and Sunday for sure. The girls will be in and around as the weather permits. If you happen to see me, say hello – I’ll buy you a cup of hot cocoa!

Hope to see you there!

 

Well, Happy 2018

Hello Friends,

No need to rush new year wishes, eh? Figure I have all year to wish you all well. After a date mistake in our checkbook last week I took a good look at the calendar. And yes, its been a month since I shared with you all.

What’s happened over the past month? Well, life, as I’m sure all of you are dealing with as well. Obviously, the girls are back in school – this is a good situation for all of us. The Christmas song lyrics about “hardly waiting for school to start again” resonated with me this year. We have started the new year with a renewed focus on learning activities after school, though. I’m trying to get Cricket to practice writing (ok, tracing) her name and the alphabet at home. And Sweetie is reading everything she gets in her hands – now to sit her in front of the piano more often.

And teeth – they keep falling out of Sweetie’s mouth! We saw Dr. Johnnie in December and he says she’s on track and right were she needs to be with these wiggly teeth. Loose and missing teeth just make for a funny time. Not in time for fun Christmas cliches, but oh well!

The past few weeks brought ninja adventures,

bowling,

Lego fun,

and some snow,

The past two weeks have especially flown by. School holidays, colds, and a return to extra-curricular activities made the time feel short, compressed. But, as I wrote earlier, that’s life and all of you out there have dealt your own serving.

I’ve been thinking about you all as there is no shortage of content waiting for me to type. Over the next months I am looking to share more product and service reviews with you all, add a new category to the blog (which has beem haunting me since last 2016) and of course, detail our adventures, and maybe even some mis-adventures.

Wife, the girls and I wish you all the best. Maybe our New Year’s wishes can recharge the ones you got on January 1. Take care out there, I’ll write again sooner.

Twelve Day Experiment-Day 6

Hello Friends,

Are you all having as much fun with this as I am? At times this challenge has felt like yet one more thing that I need to do each day. Overall, though, it’s helping me stay present during this fast moving holiday season. Our Advent calendar has filled up fast.

Our family decorates post-Thanksgiving, flexible anytime after turkey. We are trying hard to keep the girls focused on each holiday in order. This is getting harder each year.

I don’t think we go overboard with our decorations, just enough. And after being out of the house for last Christmas, our decorations feel right on.

Big JC, the reason for the season

One thing that is steadily increasing is our Star Wars themed decorations. I’m not just pointing these out because of the new movie. We’ve been amassing ornaments and such for about 12 years now.

This years’ exciting addition is the Death Star tree topper. For those of you who don’t know, it plays the beginning seconds of the theme song as well as the beginning of the Galactic Empire theme. And before any conjecture starts, let me be clear that this tree star came home with Wife after she conspired with a co-worker – not my doing.

Again, it’s so nice being back in our home for the holidays. And the decorations go well with all of the woodwork and renovation in the house. Yet one more thing in our lives that stokes my gtatitude.

Twelve Day Experiment-Day 5

Hello Friends,

Sweetie shared a lovely little thought with me this evening: “I love spending time with friends and family”. Such a simple, wonderful thought came on the heels of a dinner with two other families, both neighborhood and school friends.

This is one friend with the girls on the skating rink (again with the WinterFest pics). When they were at the house, she and the other friend hid from my camera. Such are kindergartners.

They have siblings, and Cricket played happily without trying to keep up with the older kids all afternoon. Everyone played together well, so it was great.

The girls got to hang and play, Wife and I got to enjoy adult conversations. This is the peer support that parents relish. Good food and time spent with friends made for an excellent afternoon – one of those Christmas gifts that doesn’t come wrapped in a box with fancy paper and a bow.

Twelve Day Experiment-Day 4

Hello Friends,

Another late night, “buzzer-beater” post. Apparently “my true love” wasn’t dealing with weekends when he/she was giving gifts. So, yeah, I’m having a harder time with this challenge than I thought.

Today we are going to go in a different direction while still sharing our holiday time activities.

Princesses? In December? Yes! Sweetie attended a princess-themed Birthday Party today, celebrating a school friend’s 6th Birthday. Dresses were provided and princess makeovers happened complete with lipgloss, blush and nail polish. What?!? On my little girl?!? Heh, only until Sunday night-thank you dress code!

So the venue was all princess-fabulous and the girls loved it. Anna and Elsa joined the party and led the games and songs and singing and sing-a-longs. The Birthday girl was beaming and Sweetie had a blast…or maybe a “ball” (again with the missed opportunity to be witty).

So why show Birthday Party pics today? Well, as all the Dads out there can tell you, this will happen to you when you own daughters. The specifics might vary (we have a unicorn spa party next week) but you will find yourself in this situation. I may not go full wig and dress like the banking commercial, but overall I am alright with a princess party for my girls. Additionally, we here at the detour know that Christmas is all about Jesus’ Birthday, but we recognize that other people have Birthdays too. Those of you who know us (namely me) know where I’m going with this. So be sure to celebrate your December Birthdays accordingly.

So I hope you had as sparkly and fabulous of a day as we did. Malls? Crowds? Not for me, not today.

Twelve Day Experiment-Day 3

Hello Friends,

It’s getting late in the day, and you may have worried that I was going to fail my challenge on just the third day. No worries though, here we are. We just ran a bit late with swim lessons and meeting Wife for dinner and watching “Elf on the Shelf” videos and bath time and such. Two photos today; here’s our opening shot:

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You know, looking at this picture this big makes me think that’s a whole lotta Cricket and a whole lotta Santa. More like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa!”. I guess this post really should have been yesterday’s post. Second Day of Christmas, two turtle doves, two pictures of Santa – the correlation would have been witty, no? Oh well.

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Clearly two different Santas from two different venues. Cricket couldn’t tell the difference, or really didn’t care. When she first glimpsed Santa this year she would not go near him. After a day, though, she was all about him. While I think she liked seeing Santa, she used the visits to reiterate to him exactly what she would like to see under the tree. It’s been great seeing her get into the holiday spirit and embrace the different symbols. And thankfully she asked Santa for some troll toys, not a pony or a yacht or a Red Rider b-b gun.

I hope your week is ending well. Our girls spent some time at Santa’s Workshop today at school and were showing signs of fatigue come bed time. The next week and a half might be a bit trying, but hey, ’tis the season!

Twelve Day Experiment-Day 2

Hello Friends,

I’m not sure if yesterday’s post, explaining this challenge, went up okay or not . I may have posted it right before this entry. Anyway, here’s our Day 2 submission.

Yep, another picture from WinterFest. After spending a considerable amount of the weeknd there, you bet I’m going to use every last picture from the event.

Our holiday prep and seasons’ festivities continue. I hope yours is going well.

Twelve Day Experiment-Day 1

Hello Friends,

I’m going to give myself a “Twelve Days of Christmas” challenge, attempting to post at least a picture of the girls every day until Christmas. This serves many purposes: First, it forces me to pay attention to the blog during this busy season. Second, it ends the year with a bunch of posts and content. Third, it gives you all a big dose of what you want – pictures of the girls! So here we go:

This is Cricket attempting to skate at the St. Viator WinterFest. And learning once again how hard it can be to run with the big girls (Sweetie and a friend are skating just out of the shot).

We all hope your holiday season is going well so far. I’ll share more of our holiday adventures tomorrow, but now it’s time to wrap some gifts!

Enjoying a Long Weekend

What better way to prepare for a fresh weekend than to share our adventures from last week’s 4-day weekend! Thanks to the end of the trimester and staff retreat, we had four days to adventure last weekend. (Obviously, this week has been busy as we try to get back on track and get our inner clocks re-aligned.) So what is the best thing to do when faced with a long weekend and two children under 5? Get busy!

And it begins!

Wife was busy on Friday, so the girls and I headed to Lincoln Park to check out the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Wife and I had attended a fundraising event here many years ago so it was great to get back over for some exploring. And as you can tell by the bundled children, it was a perfect day for indoor adventures!

The girls were off and running as soon as we got inside, so we had to find something cool to check out quick. They loved the interactive exhibits, the first being an exhibit all about water management explaining the different structures for moving and utilizing water. I think the girls understood it as, “Water! And boats! Fish too!” Needless to say, they weren’t really into the history-oriented exhibits.

Is it lunch time yet?

Without a doubt, the girls’ favorite spot was the play area in the basement. It is set up as a marshy environment, complete with a tree-like play fort, a cave and a beaver lodge.

Beaver? Cat? Go with what you know.

And did I mention the costume/serape things they had for the kids? One in frog design and the other in a beaver design, these were great for being dragged around the room, sat upon for faster sliding and general sharing of all germs that kids can carry. The girls loved ’em.

Beaver? Ewok? Eh, cute either way.

I liked this area for two main reasons. 1.) It has a fence and therefore keeps the children contained, and 2.) It has its own private bathroom. Which we all put to good use. So the adventures stretched from the morning to the early afternoon and the girls were plenty worn out afterwards. Another major attraction at the museum is the butterfly pavilion, but I was so busy keeping the girls calm that I didn’t try to snap any photos. Who knew butterflies were creepy?!?

Wife was free on Saturday, so we headed to Old Town to visit the Chicago History Museum. Wife couldn’t believe it was my first visit. There she is with Sweetie in the bottom right corner of the photo. Again, too cold to play outside.

So the girls’ interest was the same as at the nature museum: if it was interactive, it was awesome. And while neither one of them would be a hot dog, the condiments got plenty of love.

And the trains. They loved checking out the trains. There is an early locomotive as well as an early passenger train (precursor to our beloved CTA trains). The girls visited these a few times. Places to go, ya’ see.

All aboard!

We hit an educational movie and tried to read some of the information in the exhibits, but the girls kept moving. Sweetie picked up a couple of tidbits about the Great Chicago Fire, but I think it was an attempt to understand an event so big. One last perk about the history museum, it has the North & Clark Cafe’ attached to the south end. So lunch without leaving the warmth was a great way to end our visit.

The remainder of our weekend was spent on everyday stuff; cleaning, straightening up, visiting family, checking on the house, and even watching a Redbox movie, just Wife and I. We were all a bit worn out after our back-to-back adventures, but it was so worth it. Chicago is full of museums and other great treasures for entertaining/educating your little ones, yet one more reason to love our city. Here’s to this weekend’s adventures!

First Day of Winter Break!

Today was of first official day of Winter Break 2016! At 30º and sunny it was a great day in Chicago. After sleeping in a bit, some breakfast and some cartoons, it was time to venture out.

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The girls and I started out with a “quick” trip to Jewel (named such for how much we were purchasing, NOT how long the walk took). After stretching the walk from five minutes to fifteen we headed back to the apartment for some snow fun.

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Besides being a warm, clean, safe and affordable place to stay during our remodeling project, our temporary-home two-flat sits on a deeper lot than we have at home. This gives the girls a larger backyard to run around in – great for days like today when they need to air out a bit. And the yard is surrounded by a locked fence, so no worries about the girls getting into the alley or the street.

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Between older cousins and older siblings, both girls have gear for the snow. And we are not afraid to spend on warm clothes, so the boots and mittens are overkill (REI, Sorel, North Face, Columbia, etc). Besides being safe from the cold, it is more fun playing in the snow when you’re warm.

img_1873The weather forecast calls for more snow over the Christmas weekend, and frankly, we are okay with that. We laid the foundation for a snow fort, and the girls are all about “helping” with the shoveling (anyone who has tried to shovel with a child understands).

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After an hour in the snow it was time to head inside to eat and nap. The girls played well together, which is always a relief. Yesterday was an early dismissal from school, which meant a long afternoon. It was not a good preview of two weeks spent together. But today’s master plan worked, and two worn out girls with full tummies laid down for long winters’ naps, allowing me to knock out some insulating projects and some laundry. BTW, can you dig the “chalet” look of the kitchen? Yeah, remodeling that is on the post-move-out-to-do list.

For some of you winter break started today. Others, like CPS, will wrap tomorrow. Regardless of your holiday schedule, I hope you have plans both grand and small and you can enjoy your time together. Our winter break adventures are just starting!