Saturday, September 29, 2007

Welcome to the Lloyd Family Blog

I am finally sending out the link to our family blog today. I have been working on it little by little, cataloging our summer. I think the kids are going to like having the pictures of what we have been up to in an easily accesible spot. I have tried to put links where possible so we can easily get to the websites and things we like. (If you want to browse through what we have been doing the past few months in order, start at the first post and go up from there.) If you have any suggestions of places we have not visited yet or any of your favorite spots in Chicago, please post them! We have been trying our best to try new things and visit the old favorites. Love to you all!

Lincoln Park Conservatory and the Zoos


Max wanted one more "animal day" before starting school, so he chose what he calls the "little zoo", also known as the Lincoln Park Zoo. We almost walked right past the area where you can view the polar bears swimming, but it caught Max's eye and he ran down to get a closer look. It was so cool. One of my favorite things to watch at the zoo! Max was so excited to see the bear swimming in circle and passing by him so close. It made his day.

We also went to the Lincoln Park Conservatory right next door, so that we could see something new. Max liked it, sort of, but was impatient to get back over to the zoo.

Statue in lily pond by Niki de Saint Phalle.

On Saturday September 15th, we went back to Brookfield Zoo. We tried to find Goldie the baby Wombat, but the exhibit was not open. We did see the two Amur tiger cubs playing though! They were so cute. The new places we went were the Fragile Kingdom and the Children's Zoo. The Children's Zoo had a lot of farm experiences. Max and Maddie got to pet a chick and brush the goats. And I got to help the kids wash their hands a milion times afterwards! Fun for the whole family!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Max Starts Preschool

Max started preschool today, September 14th. He was so excited that he was saying goodbye to us before we even got across the street. He was supremely confident that he was at school and he knew what he was doing. I made him stick with us until we got to the preschool doors and saw his teacher, just in case!

Walking to school with Maddie.

Just before entering the preschool doors.

He was excited to play at the playground before going home. He was feeling a little wild, doing all kinds of tricks. All the dads on the blacktop were impressed. They thought he was a tough guy! He makes me laugh!

When we got home, he was ready for lunch. When I gave him a Tigger spoon for his pudding, he was upset. He told me he was a big boy now and needed a big boy spoon. I can't believe he is already too big for his britches! (Okay, I geuss I can believe it!)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Flying Kites

Flying kites on a Sunday afternoon, 9/9/07.

We have these tiny kites. Max's is an airplane and Maddie's is a butterfly. They are really easy to get going, even with just a light breeze.

The super long tails were fun to see streaming behind the kids as they ran through the field.

Maddie got hers up really quickly.

Max needed a little help, but he had fun with or without the kite running around with daddy.

First Day of Kindergarten

Madeline started Kindergarten today at Blaine Elementary. She is so excited to meet her teacher and make new friends. She is such a smart sweet girl. And so cute in her uniform!

Maddie picked orange juice, chocolate chip pancakes, and a cherry poptart for her first day of school breakfast.

She loves that her school is right down the street. We get to walk to school every day!

Standing in line to walk into the building with her class. I am more nervous than she is!

Brookfield Zoo

On Labor Day, September 3rd, we went to Brookfield Zoo. We had never been here before. I was surprised at how fast and easy it was to get there. The membership cost the same as entry for all of us, so now we are a Brookfield Zoo Family! And after spending 7 hours there and still not seeing everything, I am very excited about that. This zoo is incredible. There is a safari train that takes you around the park, dolphin shows, hiking trails, great play areas, and the animals and habitats look healthy and nice. These are not even half of the attractions, but you get the drift. It is one of the best zoos we have ever been to. I am excited to go back. There were a bunch of baby animals too. We saw baby giraffes, monkeys, okapi, and we can't wait to see the two new tiger cubs and Goldie the Wombat!

Maddie enjoyed making a butterfly in the craft area.

Max had fun
climbing the rock walls.

The dolphin show was fun.

Maddie's favorite animal was this monkey.
Max loved the Tiger.

Garfield Park Conservatory and Niki in the Garden

We went to Garfield Park Conservatory on September 1st. It was such a beautiful day. The art installation "Niki in the Garden" featured huge mosaiced statues by the late French artist Niki de Saint Phalle. They were placed all throughout the grounds, and were very kid friendly. You are able to climb in, out, and around most of them. The kids had fun playing and climbing on the statues. Maddie spied the perfect rolling hill off behind the totem poles. All the kids around her decided to join in after they saw her catapulting down! This was such a fun family day!

Museum of Science and Industry

We went to the Museum of Science and Industry on August 31st. We started off in the The Idea Factory, an area that has many learn-through-play activities and craft stations. The kids were asked to be the guinea pigs for a new craft project on sound. They had fun making shakers from paper plates and dried beans. The Henry Crown Space Center is under construction right now, which disappointed the kids, but we still were able to see the Apollo 8 Command Module, which actually orbited the moon and back, with people in it! It is crazy to look at this tin can that went on such a journey.
Other favorite exhibits:

Monday, September 10, 2007

Full Moon Walk

Maxwell has been very interested in how the moon changes, since reading a library book called "The Moon Seems to Change" by Franklyn M. Branly. We looked it up on the internet, and found that a full moon was coming up in a week! He was so excited when I suggested a Full Moon Walk! (I think he thought we would actually be walking on the moon, but the dissapointment didn't last too long!)

On August 27th, we went on our Full Moon Walk. We drove to a park by the lake so that we would have some room to run around.
The kids had fun rolling down the hills. You can see Maddie's holding her "telescope" that she brought to see the moon better with. Max brought binoculars.

The baseball field was our "moon crater."
This was the end of the night. You can see that the kids are tired, but still unwilling to go to bed. Max kept saying that we were only there for a "short time."
There was a lunar eclipse that night, but in Chicago it was not visible. Grandma in California watched it and told us all about it though.

Ravinia again, and Elizabeth Mitchell

We went back to Ravinia Park to see one of my favorite children's folk singers, Elizabeth Mitchell. She sings with her family, so you can see her daughter, Storey, on stage. Maddie thought Storey had a sweet voice. The kids were dancing in the aisles. Actually, Maxwell was break-dancing. He was all over the place to Oobey Doobey! Maddie likes You Are My Flower and Little Liza Jane.
We didn't hear our favorite Catch the Moon, maybe because it is a collaboration with Lisa Loeb.

Usually we buy lawn seats at Ravinia, so that we can picnic. This time, Todd bought us real seats, because the weather had been unpredictable. I was glad because the concert was held in an enclosed building, so with lawn seats we would not have been able to see the performance at all.

The kids, especially Max, have been giving me some crazy poses lately. They kept saying, "Take this picture, and this one...and this one..."