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Saturday, July 5, 2014

Our first 4th in Chicago

At least with kids. And everything was great...until it wasn't. Isn't that how it always is with children? (Please say yes even if you don't agree)

We decided to forgo the crowds after Julie told us about an "unofficial" fireworks event at Winnemac Park. I googled it and sure enough, it was a thing. We left the house a bit before 8:30pm, found a parking spot and set up our blanket in the middle of three of the 4-5 ballfields. Turns out, each ballfield sends up competing fireworks so we ended up having fireworks "in the round" as it were. After our meltdown over exploding noises on Thursday (more on that in a bit), I came armed with earplugs for us all. We only had to wait for a few minutes before the first rounds of explosions and lights were sent up. The girls were a bit spooked at first but then really enjoyed the light show.

We were fine until about 9:30 when Kate decided she was done. She ended up melting down completely when, after several warnings that we would leave if she didn't stop the tantrum, I folded up our blanket and we headed home. Oh the drama that ensued! We were the family of four leaving the park in the middle of the show, one child craning her neck to see the lights and the other one shrieking at the top of her lungs about the injustice of, well, everything.

She is not my go-with-the-flow child.

(No pics from the evening as I wanted to just enjoy the night without worrying about taking and posting pictures. It was very freeing...I didn't even take my phone with me!)

So, about the earplugs. I took the girls to Wild West Town on Thursday after a recommendation from Alison. We had a blast! We got there close to when they opened and the park was not very busy. They have all kinds of rides/activities that are covered with the price of admission.

"canoeing"
Panning for gold. This was Kate's favorite activity by far. We did it multiple times and she came away with a bag full of "gold".
Riding ponies. This was popular as well and they went three rounds in row.

 
At noon they had a wild west show which included a lot of very physical slapstick comedy (which Lucy and Kate did not get at all--Lucy was in tears at one point thinking they were really hurt when they fell or got hit) and a gun-fight.

Here we are before the show.
Still ok as the show is starting but they are holding hands which they involuntarily do when one or both of them are nervous or worried. I'm not sure they realized they were even holding hands.

 Once the physical comedy started, Lucy moved over to be near me.
Gunshots and a fake dead man sent her over the edge. Kate was not as freaked out but was not enjoying the show either so we ended up leaving.
 We had some lunch and then took solace on a train ride around the park.

 Next up was the hand powered trolley. Kate needed a bit of a push to get started but then she got the hang of it and she must have gone around the track at least 6-7 times.

 At first I didn't think Lucy would be able to do it but the guy running it said he would help her if she got stuck on the course so I let her go.

She did get stuck once but man, she was going faster than Kate at times with only one arm in use.
Lucy on handbike from Lisa on Vimeo.

Kate on handbike from Lisa on Vimeo.


We had dinner plans with an old college friend of Len's so we headed out around 3 but before that we did two more rounds on the carousel

 and one more canoe ride.
Afternoon traffic right before a holiday was a bear so we got back just in time to head right back out for supper. Fortunately, it was a local place we could walk to and the food/company were great!

Kit, Keith and Len.
 Not sure what Lucy was doing here....
 Kate had just taken a big mouthful of spinach...
Happy 4th everyone!

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