Saturday, May 31, 2008

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

We spent the rest of our Memorial Day at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.  The kids were happy to be out and about, enjoying the great weather.  

Here is Max, I mean Baby Puma.

We did all the programs they were offering today at the museum.  I didn't get a picture of the Toad Feeding, but it was funny.  The kids are really into frogs and toads now, so Max was asking all kinds of questions and really excited to see them eat the crickets and meal worms.  That is, until the guy dropped the food jar on the ground.  The crickets were hopping around everywhere!  Max was hopping around too, trying to get away from them!  

Maddie drew a picture of it.  Didn't she capture this guy perfectly?

Critter Connections are fun because they bring out an animal that the kids can see up close and personal.  They can ask any questions that they have about the animal and even touch them.  Here is Maddie with the turtle.  We also attended a session with a snake.

Always our favorite area, the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven had First Flight Butterfly Release.  They bring in a cage full of just-emerged butterflies who are ready to test their wings for the first time.  Then they release them and chat with the kids about the different types of butterflies and their characteristics.  Maddie was totally in her element.  Her hand was shooting up with every question and she was really proud of herself for answering so many correctly.  The best part for her was when the lady showed her a Glass Wing butterfly.  This is her favorite butterfly from her Zoobooks magazine.  

Alfred Caldwell Lily Pools

The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pools are considered one of the most important historical landscapes in Chicago.  Originally built in 1889, it was redesigned in the 1930's by Alfred Caldwell in the Prairie Style, inspired by Frank Lloyd wright.  So why have we never been here before?
Memorial Day 5/26/08  
It is such a beautiful and tranquil place.  A real oasis in the middle of the city.  I have seriously walked past this place a million times and never noticed it.  I finally caught sight of it as Max and I were walking to meet Maddie on her field trip the other day.  I remembered that my friend Alison had mentioned this as a favorite place of hers, and now I know why!  I brought the kids back here today and they had a blast hiking around the paths and playing in the waterfalls.  

You can see a little bit of the Prairie Style architecture here in the background.

The Grove Nature Center in Glenview

Max had a field trip to the The Grove Interpretive Center in Glenview today.  His buddy was Joshua.  

You can see them doing their "I'm a Nut" dance in line.

On a nature walk...


Max showing off the stick tight vine, looking for a muskrat in the pond, peering into a racoon bedroom, and checking out a snake hole.

Here are the kids singing to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat.

Know, Know, Know your Oak.
Watch to see them grow.
Red Oak
White Oak
Pin Oak
Burr Oak
Acorns all below.

Max got to touch a snake and a turtle from the big open turtle pool inside.  

Polliwog tank in the greenhouse.  Max wants one for a pet.

Max and Joshua asleep on the school bus.

the crew at the zoo

Maddie's class had a field trip to the Lincoln Park Zoo.  Max and I met her there and had a lot of fun with her silly friends. 

They spotted a woman who was playing the guitar and singing.  They ran over to her and she gave them all little instruents to play along with her.  

Afterwards, she gave them all sticky bugs.   

               Here they are with sticky bug mustaches! 

Polar Bear, Emma, Maddie, Natalia, Max and Alison.

Max, Emma and Maddie.

Malott Japanese Garden Children's Festival

We enjoyed the lovely Spring weather today at the Chicago Botanic Gardens.  The air was warm and breezy and scented with lilac.  

What a cute family I have!

The crabapple trees were in full bloom throughout the gardens.  I love seeing flowering trees in the spring time.  It reminds me of the Japanese Flowering Cherry trees on Matheson back home in Healdsburg.  

Max had quite a fan club with some Japanese tourists at this point.  

The Malott Japanese Garden Children's Festival was going on.  In Japan, May 5th is Happiness of Children Day.  There were a ton of fun crafts and activities for the kids.  They made Kabuto: origami samurai helmets, Koinobori: carp kites, and kimono paper dolls.  Then they heard the storyteller, Anne Shimojima, tell traditional Japanese tales such as The Man With the Bump, Why Jellyfish Have No Bones, etc.  

Friday, May 30, 2008

Brookfield Zoo and the non-existent Sharks

Today was a beautiful Spring day.  We went to Brookfield Zoo to enjoy the morning.  The first thing we decided to do was the Sharks at Stingray Bay.  It a big open pool where you can touch stingrays and sharks, and feed them too.  

Here is a friendly stingray, but we didn't see any sharks, unless you count all the shark toys in the gift shop on the way out!

Todd and Max.

Strolling through the Children's  Zoo.

Did you know that they offer Polar Bear rides at this zoo?  

Max's Choice

Apparently I have been working way too hard to entertain the kids this year.  

Max had the day off from school, so I told him he could choose anything he wanted to do.  What did he come up with?  McDonald's Play Place.   

He was very excited about the Speed Racer car he found in his Happy Meal.

After all the McDonalds awesomeness, we stopped of at Dorby Magoo & Co., a little toy store on Lincoln Ave.  

We drive past it every time we go to Children's Hospital.  We've never been in though, because it is closed on Tuesdays which is our regular clinic day.  

>>>Here is Max saying, "Yes!" when he realized that we were at the toy store AND it was open.

He got to pick out a fist full of 10 cent glow-in-the-dark animals to take home.  His day was made.  Forget you Chicago culture!  All it takes to please Max is McDonald's and a glow-in-the-dark elephant.

Finally, he wanted to go home and make, "paper guys".  This consisted of taking a huge pile of paper, and then crumpling them all up.  Wasteful?  Maybe.  But it is Max's choice today!
To quote Max, "It's really amazing to make Paper Guys!  Paper guys are paper things made with paper.  There's good guys and bad guys.  So the good guys have to kill the bad guys. And so they both each shoot at the same time and the good guys run away from the fire.  My favorite are the bad guys."  

What a day!

Benny the Bear and the CLASSIEST tea party ever!

Meet Benny the Bear.  Maddie got to bring him home from Kindergarten for the day and then write about their fun in a journal.  
When she brought Benny back to class she said, "Before I start to read the journal, I have to tell you that you are going to laugh because this stuff is funny!"  
She told me that the class did think it was funny, especially the part about the tea party picnic dinner.  What I thought was funnier was what we ate at this glamorous event.  Fluffer-Nutter sandwiches, miniature Chiquita bananas, pretzel sticks, Cheetos and grapes.  
Mmmm!  Classy!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Oh give me a hooooome... where the

Here is the house we are trying to buy.  Still waiting on the final word...

Cute, right?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month

May is now officially National
Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month.

April 29, 2008 

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation praised the U.S. Senate for officially recognizing May as National Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month and encouraging public awareness and understanding of CF.  

Introduced by Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), the legislation calls attention to cystic fibrosis, a fatal, genetic disease, and supports research to find a cure.

"We are thrilled to have the Senate's support for our mission to find a cure for cystic fibrosis.  We are making dramatic progress in the development of new therapies for the disease and in extending life expectancy," said Robert J. Beall, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Foundation.