Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Christmas Card That Should Have Been

I did send out Christmas cards this year. This is the one that I designed, but then couldn't use because I am a lousy photographer! I overexposed the first picture and it didn't print well enough. I still think it is cute though!

Zoo Lights at Lincoln Park Zoo

On 12/14/07 I took the kids to the Lincoln Park Zoo for the Zoo Lights celebration.

The kids shared hot chocolate while watching the Christmas trees with lights that "danced" to the music.

We visited the Gorilla house and they were all sleeping. In the Lion House, the big cats were prowling around. They had crafts set up there for the kids.
The animal shapes were fun to come across. The lions were our favorite.

We liked watching the Ice Sculpting. This guy was talking to Max a little bit because Max ran up to the fence and shouted a big hello at him.

Santa's House at Daley Center

On Saturday 12/8/07 we decided to head over to the Daley Center to see Santa Claus. It has been a tradition of ours to visit him there, walk through the Christkindlmart and take pictures by the light displays and the City Tree. It has changed a little since we have been here last. The tree decorations and colors are new this year. Santa's House has been remodeled also. (I was a little disappointed that instead of the lights display, there is a display about a penguin visiting different Chicago attractions. Kind of cute, but not what I wanted to see!) The Christkindlmart was as bustling as I remembered it. But our final stop at Santa's Workshop was the best EVER! Santa was very sweet to the kids. After freezing in line for quite a while, Maddie ran in, dove into his lap and just snuggled down deep into his cozy red suit and long white beard. Max jumped onto his lap also and Santa began to ask the kids what they wanted for Christmas. Maddie told him that she wanted a telescope. He looked a little taken aback by the tiny girl wishing for a telescope. His eyes got really wide and his voice very theatrical. He said, "Well this may be possible Madeline. But you must do one thing for me if you get this telescope. You must study very hard and learn all about the stars up in the sky, so that you will know what you are looking at when you use it." Maddie very seriously promised to do this and then he turned to Max. Max told him that he wanted a Playmobil Adventure Animal Tree house. Santa replied, "I can do this, but you must also do one thing for me. You must go to bed on time every night without fussing, so that you can earn this wonderful toy." Max happily agreed and then the kids jumped off Santa's lap...or at least they tried to. Max made it off okay, but not Madeline. I heard a squeal from Madeline and an theatrical "Ouch!" From Santa. I looked over and saw that Madeline's barrette was stuck in his beard! He quickly reassured Madeline, "Did that tug your hair like it tugged my beard?", all while holding on to that beard for dear life. I dislodged the offending barrette and all was well. He gave the kids reindeer Pez dispensers and announced to the elves that he needed a two minute break. He scurried out the backdoor, presumably to make sure he was presentable for the children who were visiting next. All in all, it was the cutest and funniest Santa visit ever. The kids loved meeting Santa. They are at that whimsical age where the shyness or fear of St. Nick is gone and they are ready to believe in the magic of the season. And this Santa really charmed them. After we left Santa's workshop, we hurried home for Hot Chocolate because it was too cold to do anything else! I guess the State street windows will have to wait!

Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier

12/7/07 I took the kids to Navy Pier today for Winter Wonderfest. It was the first day, and we got there just as the doors opened. There were so many things to do, from bounce-arounds, slides, roller coasters and rides, carousel, Ferris wheel, shows and exhibits... (They even had an ice skating rink, but I was not about to brave that alone with two small kids!) We played all day! Here are some of the Christmas Fairies that we met.

The kids had fun meeting with the elves at the Elf Squad E-Wish Center.

They got to email their Christmas lists to Santa. Max told Santa he would be leaving corn dogs out for him.

Dancing on the snowflake lights.

...The biggest rocking horse ever.

I enjoyed the Santas Around The World Exhibit. They had a displays that showed the Santa traditions from different countries. This one was Perre Noel from France.

Yoopuh Man

12/5/07 Max has had this cape for a while, but today he found it and ran through the house yelling, "Here I come to yave the day!" And, "I'm Yoopuh Man!" I think super hero phrases are genetically encoded, because Max has never seen superman or batman cartoons. He was making us laugh!

Gobble Gobble!

11/21/07 Max ran out of school with his hoodie up and a turkey hat that he made on. He was so proud of it that he walked home through the rain with it on.

We went to visit Brent, Rebecca and the twins for Thanksgiving. Here are Todd and the kids on Thanksgiving day.

Maddie had fun with Ellen. We weren't sure what they were dressing up as here, but they sure looked happy!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

More Fun at the Museum Campus

On Monday November 12th, the kids had a day off from school for Veteran's Day. The Museum Campus had free days going on, so we spent the day there. Our first stop was the Field Museum. You can't tell what the kids are looking at down this hole, but it was an Egyptian sarcophogus. More impressive is Max's natural B-Boy moves. He spins and poses like he was born in the 80's. Grandma let Max get a brontesaurus from the Mold-O-Rama Machine. He was thrilled and is still carrying that thing around!

After lunch, we headed over to the Adler Planetarium. The kids put on their astronaut costumes for the occasion. We are getting good use out of those!

The kids made the Adler Times!

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Little Cocoa and Some Conversation

Maddie got to go to The American Girl Place with Mommy and Grandma on Saturday, November 10th. She enjoyed seeing the American Girl Revue, although was a little scared when the villain appeared. Her favorite part was the Afternoon Tea afterwards. They had a seat and service for her Bitty Baby doll. First they serve your choice of drink. Maddie chose Hot Cocoa. Next they brought over cute scones and tea sandwiches. They have a little box on every table that contains conversation starter questions. Maddie thought this was great. She just kept sipping her cocoa and drawing new questions for us all to answer. Some of her answers were really cute!

If you could have 100 lbs of anything, what would you choose? "A 100 pound Lolly. You would have to climb up the handle to lick it!"

What is your favorite place to be alone? "At home because that's a safe place."

What food could you NEVER give up? "Soup."

Who would you choose to star in a movie about your life? "My friend Emma."

What kind of vacation would you choose: the mountains or the beach? "The beach so I could collect shells."

For the last course we were served a selection of sweets. They brought Maddie a special heart shaped peppermint cake with a candle on top. You should have seen her face light up at the sight of that!

Making a wish! <

>Blowing out the candle!

Madeline's Spacey 6th Birthday

On November 7th, my little shining star turned 6! She was so excited that she crawled in bed with us super early to chat about it. "Geuss what? I'm 6 today!"

It was a school day, so we let her open one present before she walked over. She was happy to unwrap the astronaut helmet she has been wanting. It goes well with her other astronaut gear from Halloween!

After school, Maddie had her best school friends over for a Space party. The kids all became Rocket Scientists. Emma, Maddie, Brendan and Lucy are pictured here with the first activity of the day: Pop Rockets that we made from construction paper and film canisters. We set them off out back and the kids LOVED counting down and watching them blast into the air. In the picture, Maddie and Lucy are also holding the rockets Maddie gave out to her Kindergarten class. They were from Oriental Trading Company and had space coloring sheets, stickers, and crayons inside. They were so cute, and a big hit with her class. I used a label maker to put "Happy 6th Birthday Madeline" on the sides. Blast Off!

Next we made Alien Glop! This was Maddie's favorite thing. The glop is solid if you squeeze it or poke it, but oozes out if your hands if you release pressure.

Then we had chocolate Moon Landing cake, complete with a space monkey and mars rover. We thought, why not put all of our favorite space things together on the cake? It's a party!

Maddie wanted to have vanilla star cakes also, because she remembered her friend Brendan saying that he only likes vanilla cake. I love how thoughtful she is!

Floating in Space and Catching Planets. Okay, jumping on the bed.

The gift bags were fun. I made a "How to Become a Rocket Scientist" Pamphlet that listed the experiments we did and explained them. I went a little crazy and explained how the "Newtonian Pop Rockets" are an example of Newton's Third Law and how the "Non-Newtonian Glop" defies Newton's Law of Viscocity. It turned out really cute. Also included were pop rocks candy, milky way bars, moon pies, earth chocolates, glow bracelets packs, and the new Planet Heroes movie.

Before bed, Grandma read the kids "Priscilla and the Pink Planet." Maddie loved her star balloons and new space pajamas. She went to bed a very happy astronaut girl!