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Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Sleety, Windy, Cold Halloween!

How we went from 77 degrees and sunny on Monday to 38 degrees and sleet by today is beyond me but I can tell you that Mother Nature's name has been changed to Mutha F'ing Nature after tonight's trick or treating! But weather-be-damned, I had two 4 year olds who had been looking forward to trick-or-treating for WEEKS. Here are my witch and fairy ready to go! We added some long johns to their outfits and as you can see, they are pretty excited about heading out!
That was this evening but let's back up and start at the beginning. Today they dressed up at school and exchanged treats. YiaYia and Pappou are in town so we decided to have lunch with our little monsters.
 YiaYia came as...a Greek YiaYia!

Kate and Avery were identical fairies.
 Yu lao shi was a cat.
Lunchtime!
Showing Pappou her workbook.
YiaYia was pressed into service reading to a few students.
Driving home required a deviation from our norm as Lake Shore Drive was closed. Seems Lake Michigan had flooded the road with 25+ foot waves! We made it home with no problems, ate some soup and suited up in pursuit of candy! Since we needed to walk several blocks away to get to the good candy neighborhood we loaded them in the stroller to save time walking.
We managed to get to one house before the sleet started.
You can see the sleet on YiaYia's hat.
Sideways sleet....


Fortunately the sleet only lasted for the length of a block and then it was just very windy and cold. But with candy to be had, my witch and fairy remained unfazed.









 The weather provided some spooky scenery.

We finished up around 7:30, loaded back into the stroller, cracked open some candy wrappers and called it a night!
Hope everyone had a much warmer and less wet Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pumpkin Patch Field Trip

Yesterday I helped chaperone the girls' school trip to a local pumpkin patch. We had a great time with one glaring exception....the weather was a dramatic turnaround from Monday's lovely warm tease. The high was around 48 but with the wind and lack of sun it felt much colder. Fortunately, no snow!

When I asked the girls their favorite thing it was this--the first thing we saw as we walked in. A pumpkin eating dinosaur!

Next up was a wagon ride. Here's another mom with her charges.

Yu lao shi (Ms. Yu--the assistant teacher).

Off to the corn maze.

Pick a pumpkin and some gourds to bring home.

Most of their class was here for the final photo. Qiongwei lao shi is the lead teacher, holding a large pumpkin.
Sleepy (but not sleeping, oh definitely not for this one!).
Lucy, on the other hand, has never met a car/bus ride that didn't deserve a nap.
This mom had an easy ride back!
Back at school and all smiles, if a bit dazed.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tree art

As noted in this article in May, many of Chicago's trees have been infested with the Emerald ash borer and have met their demise at the end of a chain saw. In an effort to turn these dying trees into something beautiful, several local sculptors have been dispatched to work their magic in our parks.

Since yesterday's glorious weather (my thermometer registered 77 degrees at lunchtime!) demanded my attention, I packed up my sandwich and headed to the lakefront. As I was looking for a good place to park my blanket, I happened upon a tree in the process of being turned into art so I sat nearby and watched the transformation.



Further up the park were a clump of trees that had already been transformed.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A lovely Fall day

We are enjoying quite a nice Fall here in Chitown. The colors are beautiful and the weather is crisp but very warm in the sun so we spent our Sunday at the Botanic Garden, which was decked out for Halloween.
Our first stop was the model railroad garden which, for as many times as we've been to the gardens, we had never been to this before. We got there just as the replica of Mount St. Helens was erupting.



Thomas the Tank was their favorite, naturally.
Some late season dahlias were giving their best show.



Throwing leaves up in the air brings such joy. It really is the little things.


A rare photo of the four of us.
There were quite a few Chinese people out and about and every time the girls heard the language, they would whip around and want to join in the conversation. After asking them their ages and their favorite foods in Chinese and receiving answers in perfect Mandarin tones, this woman was so enamored with them that she wanted a picture.
I always stop at this exact spot on every visit because this one area, more than most, emphasizes the seasons. In winter it is just a stark line of tree trunks and limbs, in summer it is a total wall of green and now this beautiful yellow for fall.




This guy received a lot of attention!
Another undiscovered area for me was the bonsai garden. They have a huge collection and they rotate them out as each plant is at its peak of beauty. It's Fall in miniature!
This tree below is fascinating as the design is created by training the roots. The description is below the picture of the tree.


This looks like a miniature Redwood forest.

Unfortunately, the girls started to get tired and slap-happy which usually results in somebody crying. This time it was Kate. She tripped over a ledge and fell face first onto the bricks. Once I cleared away the blood and checked her teeth (nothing loose, thank goodness), she wanted to see how bad it was so I took a picture (who needs mirrors anymore now that we can have instant pictures??). My poor baby--she's got a fat lip on top and a busted lip on the bottom.
On the upside, both girls napped on the way home and woke up relatively jovial. After some restorative hot chocolate, they rode their bikes to the playground and stayed for an hour before riding back home. I tried a new recipe on them which turned out to be quite popular: Shrimp, green bean and pineapple stir-fry with soba noodles.

We've got a busy week coming up. Wednesday is a school trip to a local pumpkin patch which I'm chaperoning and Friday, of course, is Halloween. Yiayia and Pappou arrive from DC on Thursday evening and will have lunch with the girls at school on Friday and join us for trick-or-treating that night. Saturday we have gymnastics and a birthday party for a classmate and then we celebrate the return of JULIE (!!!!) who will be staying with the girls while we enjoy some grown-up time out with YiaYia and Pappou. Sunday we'll try to keep it low-key around the neighborhood and then we'll all have supper out at one of our favorite local restaurants before they depart on Monday.

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