WINTERFEST 2016

Need a little help getting into the holiday spirit? The weather here in Chicago is not cooperating, so thankfully there’s the St. Viator WINTERFEST this weekend.  Check out this flier for a complete list of all the happenings. I know Wife and I are in the market for a real wreath, and we’ll see if Sweetie and Cricket want to decorate some cookies. I bet we all get after some hot chocolate (regardless of the weather).

wf2016

If you haven’t filled your weekend with plans consider coming up to the northside and enjoying some holiday spirit. ‘Tis the season!

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.

20160919_101927

Happy New Year!?!

In my previous post I said I did not know how many installments I would write for the D-3 “Christmas Survival Guide”. Yeah, it came out to that one post – definitely an opportunity for improvement in 2016. Honestly, if I knew that was my last post for 2015 I would have wished you, my dear readership, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. But that’s why I’m writing this post!

Would you believe that the delay was part of my plan? That I didn’t want to share holiday internet space with everyone else, but instead wanted to wait until mid-January to share pictures of the girls? That way, there’s no competition and you can focus solely on them. No, I’m not buying it either, and I’m writing it. Anyway, here they are:

IMG_1243

To tell the truth, we had a strangely busy holiday season. Most of Wife’s family were travelling and out of town, and everyone local on my side got together on the same day. But our foursome stayed busy throughout. And what a great problem to have! We spent a bunch of time together as a family. Movie nights, lots of playtime, some Christmas adventures. It was great.

And now we’re in the new year. I don’t know about you guys, but mine is starting off at full-pace – I can’t believe we are already 3 weeks in. I was just able to read over the year-end numbers from WordPress to see how this blog did last year. I was a bit disappointed to see that I posted 5 fewer entries than in 2014 – that’s on me. I was very excited to see that the site hits had gone way up though. And that is because of all of you, my dear readership!

So let me put a great big “THANK YOU” to all of you out there who take the time to read, comment, like, follow, re-post and all of that other stuff that shows support for the detour. That’s big thanks to my family and friends for their continued support; to the new followers who came on board; to the people using the comments section, particularly BDB; to my girls for the continuous, sometimes overwhelming, font of material; and to Wife, my top supporter, most constructive challenger, thorough editor, available sounding board and the best partner ever. All of you help to get me in front of the computer to write these entries and share these stories and I appreciate your support of this blog and this family.

And so we’re off and running. I think it is customary to feel nostalgic during this time of year. I get that feeling around November and it usually lasts until February. So I am going to use it to re-visit some notes and stories from earlier in the year. You know, make up for stuff I didn’t do in 2015 (even though I don’t believe you really can). With Sweetie’s PreK-3 rolling into it’s second half, and Cricket’s everyday adventures continuing to ramp-up, there is a lot of new stuff to write about also. So again, thanks for taking the detour with us, and please continue to enjoy the trip.

IMG_1232

 

Bringin’ the Winter

Even though the Chicago weather does not want to commit to winter, the holiday spirit is in effect. Sweetie’s school, St. Viator, is hosting their WinterFest this weekend. I’m sitting here listening to the rain thinking about the advertised skating rink, and I’m not sure how that’s going to work. So I will be stopping by to see that at least! Check it out:

FlyerSVWF

This is a fundraising event, so all proceeds benefit the school and the parish. Food, drinks, crafts, skating…you can do all that stuff listed on the left side of the flyer. Wife is coordinating a cookie decorating station, and the supplies for that look good (they are stacked in our pantry and crammed in the fridge). There is no admission fee, so at least stop by and check it out. Who knows, maybe Wednesday’s flurries will survive the late-week temps and it will look a bit more wintry!

Career option: Bobsled Team (?!?)

In the Sochi Olympics there seemed to be an influx of female athletes new to winter games, particularly to the sliding events. In particular, the track and field athletes were finding a good fit with the bobsled. Maybe our girls could become a part of the female bobsled legacy…

PUSH!

GO!!!

In order to make a living they would have to be good enough to win. But I think they are cute enough to land some sponsorship deals. I mean, c’mon, I like Wheaties. And a sister team? What a great story-I can see the photo montage now.

On the upside, we would always know where they are, even if that is some country across the globe. Unfortunately, there is that whole belief about Olympians being promiscuous. Ah hell. Oh yeah, and then there’s the possibility of a high-speed crash. Huh.

What?!? Gold?!?

What?!? Gold?!?

Thankfully we still have some time before they decide what they want to be when they grow up.

Snow…finally!

For anyone stuck inside because of the low temperature and wind chill it is probably a little strange to see us celebrating the snow here on the detour. Yeah, well, in the moment we were excited for it.

Strange weather in Chicago this year. Heck, even California got snow before we did. We have had Sweetie prepared since October with Sorel boots, a winter coat and snow pant outfit, ski-quality mittens (okay, I went overboard at REI with that one). So we’ve been ready and waiting.

Geared up!

Geared up!

And it finally came! Yeah, with all of the associated cold and mess. But it wouldn’t be winter in Chicago without snow. Sweetie plodded around the yard while I cleaned up the sidewalks. Then I rewarded her by dragging her around the block in her sled. Not everyone in the neighborhood is as diligent about their sidewalks as we are, so it was cool runnings.

Good times

Good times

And now we’re trapped inside with 2 degree temperature and a windchill of -20. Sheesh. Thankfully, the snow stayed out of our way for the holidays and all of the shuttling around town. And hopefully it will warm up enough to drop a little bit more. The shoveling exercise does this Dad good. Stay warm out there folks!

So worth it!

So worth it!

Winter Chicagoland

Last week we found ourselves once again home bound by frigid temperatures and winter weather. I am sure many of you dealt with the same conditions. This post came from my last-minute decision to buck the current attitude in Chicago. I caught myself trying to jump on the anti-winter bandwagon with the majority of the city (and country?) and lament the things that we have not been able to do because of the persistent cold. But I stopped in time and decided instead to celebrate a couple of the things that we have done during this snowy and cold winter.

Truth be told, I enjoy the winter. I was born in December, so of course I am biased. I have long been a fan of sledding and used to snowboard as well. And I am one of those people who do not mind shoveling snow, particularly on a quiet evening. I learned years ago in a Denver blizzard that good gear, i.e. boots, coat and gloves, makes a world of difference. So I am prepared for cold, snowy weather and enjoy it.

Now dealing with a toddler during the winter has been another story. But this year has been a great introduction to all things winter. Sweetie thinks snow is very funny stuff. She does not quiet get what it is, but smashes it around anyway. She too has all of her gear so she can go out to play. (Well, if she could move in the gear she could play – we have had Christmas Story flashbacks all winter!) We found some toddler sleds, so one day Sweetie and Wife and I met up with Big Daddy B, Momma Z and Linda for some sledding.

20140201_104931

As you can see, the dads were definitely the power-sources for the sledding. The new snow was so thick that downhill wasn’t so great, but the sleds went along the flats just fine. So we all enjoyed an afternoon at the park. Of course this was different from summer time at the park, but it was still a fun time spent with friends.

We have taken Sweetie and Linda to some indoor play areas as well. Momma Z and I figured that as long as we can get them in and out of the car safely, then it’s a go! This is the Little Beans Cafe in Chicago.

IMG_1088

It’s an open layout, loft-style play space with five “playhouses” and all sorts of pushing/riding toys. The girls ran around for hours. If you have a place like this near you, check it out. It is a must when playing outside is not an option.

IMG_1101

Another great thing about staying inside for days on end is the cooking (and/or baking )! We have said “Bah!” to plain chicken breast dinners and rice side dishes. I have been tearing through Wife’s cookbook collection trying all sorts of seasonal dishes. Hey, it helps break up the monotony! And don’t forget the sweets!

20140227_105813

Yes, those are Star Wars cookies. There is a funny story about those cookies that you can expect to read later. In all honesty, Momma Z bakes circles around us and has taken full advantage to her time inside. Thankfully, she likes to share and is quick to offer freshly baked cookies and cakes with her play date invitations!

All in all, it has seemed like a Chicago winter to me. I keep telling people, “This is how I remember Chicago winters.” I heard a great report on NPR where they interviewed a woman living and working in California. Her response to all of the winter animosity was simple, she said, “If people aren’t happy living in the cold and snow, tell ‘em to move here.” I agree with her philosophy. Chicago has always had strong winters with cold and snow and wind. I say prepare for it, dress for it and enjoy it. And if you don’t like it…move to California.

1 degree out, can you believe it?

1 degree out, can you believe it?

Winter is coming

With the Thanksgiving holiday past us, Sweetie and I are looking forward to the Chicago winter and the Christmas season. Sweetie loves winter so far, mainly because it has not yet been too cold. We have had a couple of previews, however, so she gotten an idea of what is coming. But “The Hawk” has not yet swooped in.

So we are starting our search for indoor winter fun. Obviously we can keep travelling to swim class, story time and music class, but we need some activities. There are some outdoor activities as well, but once that temperature drops and wind chill kicks in we are staying indoors. But I don’t want to be homebound. As always, we’ll be sure to share our adventures with the rest of you. If you happen upon some indoor Chicago fun, please feel free to share.

Oh yeah, this is fun...

Oh yeah, this is fun…

As an aside, this winter gear changes so much. I was laughing with a Grandfather today as he dealt with the car seat. He was saying that his (otherwise slim) grandson is now a challenge to get into the seat with the bulk of the coat. I know we are getting our gear routine dialed in, but it sure is messing with our timetable. Last winter we used an insulated jumper and a blanket; now we have all these parts. Ah well, hats and gloves and scarves and such are all a part of it. Another nuance on the detour, no? Well, come on Chicago winter, Hawk and all. We’re ready for you.