Thursday, April 30, 2009

Kriti Festival 2009

My dear friend, MAM, is the founder and director of a DesiLit. As a result of MAM's involvement, I have been helping out with DesiLit since last fall. DesiLit works to build support for South Asian and diaspora writers. 

I am excited about the biennial Kriti Festival, sponsored by DesiLit, being held in Chicago June 11th - 14th!! I'm the assistant director of this year's Kriti Festival (official sounding title, isn't it?!). It is so fun meeting new people in Chicago as we plan the Festival and I am looking forward to meeting the many talented and accomplished Asian and South Asian writers, dancers, and performers who will be featured during the Festival. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sad But Happy

Jason is in the middle, held by his big sis

I am going to break my blog protocol and name names. There are some people in your life who will forever be a part of your life. You carry them in your heart and mind with you regardless of where you are. My friend, Carolyne, is one of those people. It is because of Carolyne that I have my kids.

Carolyne, has 6 children. Her youngest, Jason, was born with about half his brain. The doctors did not expect him to live long enough to go home from the hospital. But he did. Carolyne, her husband, her mom, their family and friends never gave up hope that God would work a miracle in Jason's life and that he would be healed.  

Jason passed away peacefully early Monday morning, about 9 years later than the doctors expected. Quite possibly, his growing body was just too much for his brain to support.  

Less than a year ago, Jason's paternal grandparents were killed by a drunk driver. I am confident that for the very first time, little Jason is running and jumping and laughing in Heaven. All the things he never got to do here. And that he has his grandparents to enjoy watching him.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

American Idol - Live Week 11

5th Judge Resumes
I have not been able to fulfill my 5th Judge role due to our DVR messing up. Finally, I was able to watch it live, thanks to a tweet by my friend, The Fairy Blogmother.

Songs Theme
Jazz music

#1 - Kris Allen
Again, the DVR messed up. I got into the show 17 minutes into the show. I saw the Doesn't matter to me though, Kris needs to go tomorrow to make room for the real competition. 

#2 - Allison Areheta
That girl brought it tonight with 'Someone to Watch Over Me'. Truly, Alison deserves to be in the top 2.  She has the vocals and is an artist. 

#3 - Matt Giraud
Maybe Matt should not win. It could ruin my marriage. And um, he can sang.

#4 - Danny Gokey
Danny is sweet. I would put him 3rd after Adam and Allison.

#5 - Adam Lambert
My mom says he looks like my son and if I want to know how Motor Mouth will look when he gets older, just look at Adam. That's not why I love Adam, though. Words can't adequately describe Adam. That voice! The talent. The showmanship. And he comes across as humble. My God. I can't get enough of him.

And there you have it from American Idol's 5th Judge

My Sabbatical Has Ended

I didn't think I could make it 6 months. I did. Then, I didn't think I wanted to get involved even after my 1 year. I did.

#1. Website
I'm going to work on redesigning a website for a mom's site. This is the third non-profit site I'll be working with. I am the person who meets with the artist and the programmer and says, "I want this and this and this and this here and there and over there." This is perfect to ease back in - I'm sitting on my couch designing, not running around meeting with a bunch of people.

#2. Training
My rogue mom's group is full. We have 12 moms and all of those children!! It's such a great group of ladies, we all want to invite other mom's to join us. But we can't. There's no room for them. So, we might be splitting in the fall. It's an option. Not definite. Just in case, I am taking a small group leader training class at church, so I am officially qualified (by our church) to co-lead a group, should we decide to split. This way, I can throw my name in the hat in the fall.

Monday, April 27, 2009

I'm Sharing Too Much

 The other day, I had to fill out a gazillion forms for Mini Me's school enrollment. They asked:
- At what age did she crawl? Walk? Say her 1st words?
- At what age did she talk in 3-4 sentences? Was she toilet trained?

How am I supposed to know??

Look. This is my 2nd child. I was really busy and didn't have time to update her baby book like I did with Motor Mouth. Besides, I used to update his book when he was sleeping on my chest while I rocked him in his room. She wouldn't let us hold her, much less sleep on our chest or let us rock her to sleep. Ummm...I think that makes it my baby's fault I didn't update her baby book.

Anyway, if it weren't for my old blog site, I would have had nowhere to find all those answers!! I'm glad I blog. And blog our lives. It's history in the making, my friends. History in the making.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Motor Mouth's Twin Sister

I do believe this little girl could have been separated from Motor Mouth at birth.

Click Here and turn up your speakers.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Motor Mouth

My Mom is not happy that I refer to my son as 'Motor Mouth' on this blog. Now, she's not happy I told you she's not happy because a). she thinks it is TMI, and b). she doesn't want to be mentioned on my blog. Insert evil laugh.

Mom sent me an email with a bunch of scripture verses to support her point. Thanks, Mom.
I call my son Motor Mouth because the boy won't. stop. talking. Ever!! All day. Every day. Sometimes, I have to 'turn him off'. Like a radio. This is a little trick I learned from the original Motor Mouth: my cousin Hotster. 

Hotster is my aunt's youngest son. He came out of the 
womb sociable, gorgeous and talkative. Like Motor Mouth. My older siblings would 'turn off' Hotster for 5 or 20 min at a time to a). be mean/silly and b). to get some quiet in the house when he visited (often for a week at a time). 

I'm aware this is a developmental phase, and in 10 years I'll be begging him to say 10 words to us. But I don't call him Motor Mouth to his face. Ever. The nicknames I use on my blog are for the blogosphere only. They are to keep the innocent innocent and the nameless nameless. Except for Mini Me and JuJu, I don't call anyone these names in real life. Otherwise, I'd have to call my mom Bible Thumper, Prayer Warrior, Jesus Freak or Green Eyed Girl instead of Mom. And we wouldn't want that, now would we?

Friday, April 24, 2009

I'm Working On It

This is my current reading material. I have several purses that I rotate. There's a book in each, or on the coffee table.

What is on your current list of Required Reading?

Head on over to The Happy Housewife
to get some great book ideas!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

School Update

Do you remember when I sent out 24 school applications for Motor Mouth and 11 preschool applications for Mini Me?
Seems it is easier to get Mini Me into a preschool than it is Motor Mouth into grade 1 (1st grade for my American friends).  Mini Me got into 5 schools!! I choose a Montessori school that is harder to get into statistically than Harvard. 36 slots for about 2,000 applicants. When I found that out, I said, "God, if you want Mini Me here, you will get her in. Otherwise, she doesn't have a chance in Hell, and I'm just going to forget we even applied." She got in. God answers jacked up prayers.

Motor Mouth, on the other hand, not so easy. Oh, he got accepted to some schools alright. Only they were my 20 - 24th choices!! He is on the wait list for Mini Me's school. So, I'm really praying HARD that the school board approves another class for Motor Mouth's age group. If that happens, he's in, baby!!
I can't believe I am one of THOSE moms who are planning out their kids' educational 'careers' from age 2 because if not, 'their lives are ruined'. But I am. And if I don't, they will be. It's a whole new world in Chicago. If your kid doesn't get into a good preschool, it is harder to get into kindergarten and, as I've experienced, 1st grade is next to impossible.
So, if Motor Mouth doesn't get in to Mini Me's school, I'm going to homeschool with the K12 curriculum again. It's a really great program. It would be nice to have Motor Mouth in a brick and mortar school, but if not, I'm good. I'm really good.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It's Time!!

I received an e-mail from J yesterday. He titled it: "Reminds me of 1 1/2 years ago." I clicked on the link. Talk about reading our mail!! Almost every one of these 10 signs was us. Plus, J had his wife saying: "You are the fluff. You make stuff pretty. You are going to be the first to go! Go before they fire you." Yes, I'm supportive like that. A good woman is hard to find, you know.

Often times people are assessing their jobs, roles, callings… by asking themselves the following question over and over: “Should I stay or should I go, should I stay or should I go…?”  

Here are 10 Signs It May Be Time To Move On:

  1. You get an upset stomach every morning on your way to work.
  2. At-least once a week you think the following thoughts “If so and so does (_blank__) again today I’m going to quit.”
  3. You’ve asked God for signs that it’s time to move on and he has spoken to you through people, places, circumstances, His Word… you’ve heard its time to move on from God in every way besides hearing his audible voice.
  4. You can’t find anyone within a square mile radius of your job that you like, trust or believe in.
  5. Your boss has said to you “It may be time for you to move on!”
  6. You are 100% certain that you could have a bigger impact, be happier, put your family in a better situation… by moving on and the only thing that’s holding you back is fear.
  7. You tell yourself, your spouse and your friends on a regular basis that it’s time to move on and they agree.
  8. When an American Idol Contestant is sent home; you begin envision the greener pastures that are on the other side of them be kicked off.  You then draw parallels to yourself being in the Top 10 and imagine how being kicked out of your workplace will be better for you.
  9. Every time your boss calls you in his office or on the phone; you immediately start wondering what you did wrong or think they’re going to act like Donald Trump and say “You’re Fired!”
  10. You’ve read through the 9 signs above and said to yourself “That’s the confirmation that I needed.”
My Comments on their site:
"It's so hard to leave when you are in the middle of it and you love what you do but not what you go through to do it. They did lay my husband off. We are in a much better place now. I hope this helps someone step out to find their life."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Crazy Thing To Get Alone Time

You know what I do to get alone time? 
I babysit other people's kids.
What? That's backwards. 
Yeah, it is. But it works. 

I am part of a babysitting co-op. It's parents in the city who care for each other's kids. You pay $10-$15 to join. Each hour you babysit someone's kid gains you one baby sitting hour. Most kids are asleep by 7 or 8 pm. Which is nice. You show up, put the kid to bed. And you have about 4 hours of free time to yourself. For me, the best place I sit has no cable. It's DVDs and music only. I can read or crochet and just have me time. And, it means I get hours to have someone babysit our kids for free!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

8 Things Meme

I got tagged by FaithChick.

8 Things I'm Looking Forward to:
1. Mini Me starting school in August
2. Summer so the kids and I can go for long walks again.
3. Summer in Chicago
4. Developing real female relationships
5. Finding a gynecologist
6. Getting to finish reading a full book some day
7. Spending more alone time
8. Finding 1 day where I don't have to do anything

8 Things I'll do Today:
1. Drive J to work
2. Go to bank
3. Go to mom's group
4. Homeschool Motor Mouth
5. Work from home
6. Fix dinner
7. Take Motor Mouth to Karate
8. Weekly online chat conference call (work)

8 Things I Wish I Could Do:
1. Speak Spanish
2. Find time to read
3. Go away for 2-3 days without kids. 
4. Not have foot pain to train for another 1/2 marathon
5. Have more patience with my daughter
6. Buy my dream car
7. Balance family, work, life better
8. Have more me time

8 Shows I Watch on TV
2. Law & Order: SVU
3. Desperate Housewives
4. Brothers & Sisters
5. Ugly Betty
6. Psych
7. The Real Housewives of every place
8. Oprah

8 People I tag
1. Whittaker Woman
2. Tales of the Fairy Blog Mother
3. Lit and Laundry
4. Serenity Now
5. The Mommy Project
6. Mary Anne
7. A2EatWrite
8. You! Tag. You're it!! 

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Moving Up

Have you ever seen the show 'Moving Up' with Doug, from Trading Spaces? It's a show where 2 homeowners go back to see what changes the new owners have made to their former home.

I feel like saying, "People, YOU chose to sell your house and MOVE. What makes you think the new owners are going to keep YOUR kids' growth charts on their walls? Come. On. It was sentimental to 'you'."

So, considering yesterday, I blogged about only missing the walls at our old house, I'm going to show you what WE did to the walls BEFORE we moved. This was in order to get the house sold, because we KNEW people would NOT want 'our' beautiful walls. It's called staging.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Not the House. Just the Walls.

One year ago today, we moved from Tulsa to Chicago. There is not much I miss about our lives in Oklahoma. Yes, we miss our family and friends. That goes without saying. But home is where the heart is and our heart is no longer in Tulsa. All 4 of us have fallen in love with our new city. We even braved a 'windy city' winter and came out saying: "Old Man Winter, that's all you got?" 

Our lives here are so vastly different. I think that is why we don't miss it. There is nothing to compare it to. 

Well, okay. Maybe we miss the walls at our old home. But I never think about our old house. It's like we never even lived there. Take a look and you'll see why we may miss just the walls.

Motor Mouth's Chicago Bedroom
Motor Mouth's Tulsa Bedroom
J airbrushed the walls and ceiling
That's a working fan as the airplane's engine
Mini Me's Chicago Bedroom
(Shhh...she's sleeping IN the bed)
Mini Me's Tulsa Bedroom
J painted the walls in a harlequin pattern
The black is ribbon with jewel stones at the points
He also designed the neon behind the bed
Not the house. Just the walls.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Freaky Friday - No Freaking Wonder!!

These tubes were in Mini Me's 
ears for the last 2 years.

No wonder she couldn't hear certain sounds. 
Wax, wax, baby!!

Maybe now her speech therapy will progress

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My Review of Easy Reach Steamer

I don't know how this happened. 

When I was looking online for a graphic for yesterday's post, I decided to do a review of my new favorite healthy eating cookbook. When I hit the finalize button, I realized I had reviewed a steamer I didn't even SEE on the page! Hahahaha! 

Please enjoy my steamer review...

Shop Taste of Home

Place the stainless steel steamer basket in any pot. It unfolds to fit the pot, and the post extends to 6-1/2" to keep the cool-touch handle within reach. The 1-1/2" legs keep foods above the boiling water and in the steam to lock in vitamins. 9"D basket folds and post unscrews for ...

Guilt Free Cookbook is AWESOME!!

WidneyWoman Chicago 4/14/2009


5 5

Pros: Attractive Design, Durable, Easy To Assemble

Best Uses: Kitchen

Describe Yourself: Midrange Shopper

I Am A: Family Young Kids

Guilt Free Cookbook is so EASY to follow. And there are PICTURES!! Lots of pictures. Very important in a cookbook. I like to know what it is supposed to look before I make it. My family raves about every recipe I make from this book. I love how there is nutrition information for just about everything you might want to know about a recipe. It was the BEST investment I've made in this economy! I will be buying up all the copies I can find and giving as wedding presents and Christmas gifts this year.

......... Oh, um, just ignore that last part if you are someone I know who is getting married this year or getting a Christmas gift from me. That was grandstanding...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What's Cooking Wednesday - Turkey Chicken Noodle Soup

I LOVE my new cookbook: 
Taste of Home's Guilt Free Cooking

Each recipe from my new book has been a BIG hit with my family. The good news is that it is all healthy!!
(Modified to Chicken)

4 cups water
1.5 cups cubed cooked turkey breast
(or chicken)
2 celery ribs with leaves, sliced
1/2 cup chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried marjoram
1/4 tsp pepper
2 bay leaves
1 cup cubed peeled potatoes
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup uncooked yolk-free wide noodles
Dash browning sauce, optional

1. In a large saucepan, combine the water, chicken, celery, onion, garlic, salt, marjoram, pepper, and bay leaves

2. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until celery is tender.

3. Add the potatoes, peas and noodles, cover and simmer 15 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender.

4. Discard bay leaves. Stir in browning sauce (approx. 1 tsp or less), if desired.

I had chicken, so I used chicken
The original recipe is for 2 servings. Above is doubled.
I don't have marjoram in my pantry
I forgot to add the onions!!

Husband kept going on and on about how good it is
I thought it was yummy and filling, yet light
Kids said they loved it
Niece asked for it again
In-laws enjoyed it

(Based on turkey)
Serving Size: 1.5 cups
156 calories, 1g fat, trace saturated fat, 
45 mg cholesterol, 659 mg sodium, 
18g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 19g protein

For more recipes, checkout The FairyBlogmother

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I Can See! I Can See! Thank God Almighty, I can see!!

I have been putting off a visit to the eye doctor for far too long. No excuse when three of my friends are optometrists. Four if I include my cousin who lives in Texas. 

J has been telling me my eyes are getting worse because I'm always complaining I can't see stuff in our bedroom. Personally, I think that may have been a ploy to get him to hang the lights in there. Yes, the ones we've had for 9 months to hang in there (babies have been conceived and born since then).
Well, come to find out, I can't see stuff because my eyes got BETTER!! That means my old prescription was too strong, making things blurry!! Ha! I'm not getting old. Well, I am. But I don't need bifocals!!!! My sister just found out she does. I'm trying not to laugh at her but well, she lives 7 hours away, can't see me laughing, and I can't resist. 

AND...I can wear contacts all the time again. I have a blood vessel growing towards my pupil. My original eye doctor told me if I wore my contacts for more than 8 hrs/day, I could make it worse and it would never move backwards. Well, her scare tactic worked. I've been a good eye glass wearer. I just received the go ahead to wear contacts as much as I want!! 

"I feel pretty. Oh so pretty..."

I'm doing the happy, happy, happy dance.

"I can see clearly now, the blur is gone. 
I can see all obstacles in my way..."

 Please be sure to visit your nearest Pearl Vision. 
They have great optometrists and their staff are great. 
If you live in Chi-Town or the burbs, 
ask for Dr. Mokaya, Dr. Slotemaker, or Dr. Strickler. 

Monday, April 13, 2009

We Are Family

You can tell we are family
We all look alike

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Saturday, April 11, 2009

What Kind of Mother????

So, the other day, I'm on the phone talking to JuJu's Mommy. Mini Me comes in and tells me her vagina is hurting. Normally, when my kids are experiencing minor pain, I "kiss it better". I told her I couldn't kiss it better, but I could give her a Band aid. She liked that idea. So on it went. I didn't think Elmo was appropriate, but a girl Sesame character was.

The story doesn't end there....
The next morning, J was washing Mini Me. 
And that is when I heard: 

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Finished for Friday - I Did It. Sort Of.

Lit and Laundry

What did I Finish for Friday?
I finished Thursday. That's what. 

I had 4 hours of sleep. 
Then embarked on this yesterday
This is what I printed out and carried
Ever have a day like this?


8:15  Leave house

8:30 Client B Errand 1

8:55 Drop J @ Work

9:00  Client B Errand 2

9:30 Drop kids at Play Date

10:00 Client B Meeting

12:30 Pick kids up from Play Date

12:45 McDonald’s Drive Thru

1:00 Pearl Vision to try on glasses

(bring in kids Leapster 2)

2:30 Mini Me Dance

(change both kids in bathroom)

3:00 Motor Mouth Baseball

3:30 Mini Me Pick Up

3:45 Dominick’s to pick up Dinner for Kids

4:30 Motor Mouth Pick Up

5:00 Church - Drop kids off so A can babysit

(bring books for A to read to kids)

5:30 Pearl Vision for Optometrist app't

6:45 Church - Pick up kids from A

7:00 Small Group

(bring DVD & Leapster 2 for kids)

9:45 Meet J to take us home

(J go back to work with car)

11:00 Client A Work

How did I do??

Had to add - get gas to the list

My GPS died. Had to call the Play Date for directions

Stopped for Red Bull before client meeting

After Client meeting, ran client errand 3

Motor Mouth peed his pants. I had spare shorts.

Took Mini Me to J's office so he could see her in dance outfit

Spent too long there. Got stuck in major traffic.

Missed dance. Went to b-ball

B-ball was cancelled. No one told me.

We all got home at 10:45 pm

No work on Client A

Please check out my Finished for Friday hero, 

Lit and Laundry to see what some 

amazing bloggers accomplished this week.

1st Dance Shoes

Ballet Slippers
My baby girl is growing up! 
Mini Me is taking a tap & ballet class. 
I LOVE it! She's getting so big!! 

I purchased Mini Me's first pair of ballet shoes, tap shoes, and dance leotard. I never really gave it much thought, but I'm her mom and I'm buying her first little dance outfits. This is such a precious experience. I hope I remember it for years and years to come.  I hope we save these shoes.  I hope when she is a teenager and decides to hang up her dance shoes, I'll think back to this time and remember getting her fitted for these first shoes.

Of course, I had NO idea where to find any of this stuff. If we were in Tulsa, J would have done all of this. And I would have asked MicheyMe where to get it all. But I was proud of myself. I went up to the teacher after class and asked. I told her I was new to the city and had no clue where to find anything and would she please make suggestions. I expected her to name off some fru-fru dance shop. Nope. She said Payless Shoes, Target, Kmart, Wal-Mart. 

Oooo, maybe I'll put her hair in a ponytail, like a real dancer!!
Tap Shoes

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

American Idol - Live Week 8

Here's my American Idol
5th Judge Opinion:

Songs Theme
Songs from Year of Contestants Birth

#1 - Danny Gokey
Song was weird sounding from the get go. Danny was able to showcase his voice in the song and that is what it is all about. Danny is in my personal Top 3.

#2 - Kris Allen
Yikes!! What was that?!! What's up with that Joker smile of his? Creeps me out.

#3 - Lil Rounds
Lil is exactly why I LOVE Adam Lambert. Lil is a singer. Lil is NOT an artist. She's a stupid singer too if she thought she could come out and do a Tina Turner impersonation and get through to the next round. I would kick her off tonight if Kris didn't suck so bad.

#4 - Anoop Desai
Did a good job. I think Anoop is nice looking but I can't look at him when he sings. I need to hear his voice without the visual. Yes, he needs designer jeans, but there is nothing offensive or off putting about his performances. For me, the R&B voice doesn't go with Anoop's South Asian looks. But I think it means I need to get more immersed in desi music and culture. Anoop Dog can sing!

#5 - Scott MacIntyre
Vote him off already. So he left the comfort of the piano for the awkwardness of the electric guitar. I'm sorry, but that performance was a mess. Pitchy doesn't even begin to describe it. It felt like we were watching someone's socially inept and awkward younger sibling whose feelings we didn't want to hurt so we keep him around.

#6 - Allison Iraheta
Great song choice. This girl can sing. I can't stand her. But she can sing and proves it every week. 

#7 - Matt Giraud
I couldn't stand you at first, but you've grown on me every week. And tonight, you had me at the first line. I'm yours, Matt.

#8 - Adam Lambert
Are you kidding me??!! I HATE Comcast. My DVR did not record Adam's set. My favorite contestant on the show. The one I'd have a kid for (or at least try). And I didn't get to hear him. Well, I'm sure it was a unique and vocally superior performance like none we've seen on the show before.

Check back to see who got kicked off
My Bottom 3: Scott, Kris, Lil

AI Bottom 3: Anoop, Scott, Lil
Scott MacIntyre went home
There IS a God!

Why Not?

My personal philosophy is that we should all give more to our community than we receive. When I was 11, I first heard John F. Kennedy's inauguration speech. I embraced his, "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country." Even though I was Canadian.
You need to know I have been a community and church volunteer since I was 10. When I volunteer, I put my whole heart and soul into it. I have worked at it an average of 10 hrs/week. 
Volunteering has been as important to me as it was to the people I helped. I got my kicks out of helping people. Knowing I made a difference in that one life at that one moment was how I found fulfillment.
In Nov '07, I felt like I was supposed to quit all volunteering. I didn't believe it so I didn't say anything. But I still had this nagging feeling. It wasn't like God was audibly telling me to quit. It was just this impression that I needed to get other people to start doing the things I was doing. 
Finally, in Jan '08, I told my executive director I was going to step down as of April 30th. She asked me who could do the various things I was doing. We began seeking these people out, and getting things lined up. I started telling people because I figured if I didn't, I wouldn't quit. 

My 1-year sabbatical from volunteer work is up at the end of this month. It's hard for me to believe I'm not ready to start volunteering again. It has been great to not have to worry about anyone but my family for a year. To just focus on my kids and my husband. To focus on me and learn my new roles. Learn my new city.
I am so thrilled our leadership team at J's work (our church) understand this and have not pressured me. It means the world to me to be given this time with my family. There have been a couple times when I could have easily slipped into volunteering at our new church, or Motor Mouth's school. I am so all about being on a PTO/PTA. I am so all about volunteering in multiple areas in our church.
To be honest, I did 'slip' 3 times. I ran words for J one service, helped a friend in the church office get some minor shopping done for a conference, and made cornbread muffins for a homeless shelter.  
Ooops! 3 1/2 times. I bought some fixings for a meal for a homeless shelter but didn't end up helping my mom's group put it together...
No one is pressuring me to start volunteering with/for them. And that is good. I wouldn't want to do anything until school is out in June, anyway. But still, July and August are looming and then there is September, with all that extra time if both kids are in a brick and mortar school. 
I don't have any desire to volunteer. I thought I would be chomping at the bit. I'm not. I see other people filling roles. Honestly, after 28 years, it's kinda nice to see the younguns step up and get involved. 
I'll get involved again. But slowly. Slowly. Slowly. Just an hour/month here. A casserole to a new mom there. Slowly. Slowly. 
...Um...That's what I say now...
Come back in 6 months

Monday, April 6, 2009

Chicago on the Cheap

Chicago is an amazing city for its residents.
It's amazing for visitors, but I'm blown away at how much you can see and do as a family for nothing - or really inexpensively.

Museum Passes
The Chicago Public Library has museum passes available to residents of Chicago with a library card. The passes get 4 adults FREE admission to about 9 museums. In addition, each museum has it's own free days for everyone.

Chicago has beaches!! 
You don't think about a big metropolitan city having so many beaches, but they are here!

Lincoln Park Zoo
It's FREE!! A real zoo for free. In the city.

Chicago Park District
I LOVE the Chicago Park District. 
First of all, there are dozens and dozens of great playgrounds for the kids, all over town. Every neighborhood has lots of parks = green grass or playlots for the children. There are so many activities, but these are just a few offered by our local park field houses:
Swimming: Motor Mouth's lessons are FREE. 
He can go 1x/wk or 4x/wk. 
Mini Me's swim class is $20 for 3 months (1x/wk)
Baseball: Motor Mouth's club/team is FREE
and includes the full uniform and equipment!
Dance: Mini Me's tap/ballet dance classes are $6. 
That's total for 3 months!
Fitness: $45 for 3 mths of fitness center!!

Pilsen Art Galleries
First Fridays are free gallery openings on Halsted in the art district. See fresh, contemporary art - for free! 

Fandango $5 Movie Night
Get a 5 Buck card from Fandango and you can see select first run movies at several theaters in Chicago for only $5. Each week, they email a list of the movies and showtimes the cards can be used at. It makes for a great cheap date night or girls night out. 
(It's in other parts of the country too!)

Millennium Park
Spend the day at Millennium Park. The kids can be entertained each weekday at the Chase Promenade where there are interactive kids activities, a performance stage, musical activities for kids of all ages and reading circles. You can also check out the art sculptures and take photos with the 'Bean'.
Let the kids run through Crown Fountain.
Picnic on the lawn of the Pritzker Pavilion. 
You can also take a free tai chi class or catch a musical performance at the Pavilion.
Walk through the gardens before heading
 to Buckingham Fountain. 
Remember this from Married with Children?

Navy Pier
Where can you go for fireworks EVERY week? 
Navy Pier in the summer, feels like walking on a boardwalk in Florida. Lots of people, sidewalk vendors, boats coming in and out (tall ships too!), a Ferris Wheel.

Michigan Ave
Walk Michigan Ave and check out the architecture, sculptures/art along the sidewalk, have a picnic in the church courtyard (hidden jewel), window shop, and let the kids play at the Lego Store. It's all free. And our kids love it. They ask to go to Michigan Ave all the time.

UIC Water Fountain
Located at Halsted and Roosevelt, plan to take the kids to a book reading at Barbara's Bookstore, then head next door to the water fountains where the kids can run and play. You can enjoy a good book, gaze up at the sky in the dome, or get in the water with the kids!

Fellger Playlot
This all inclusive playlot at Belmont and Damen has big and little kids jungle gyms, water park, grassy area, sand lot, choo choo trains.  This great playlot is a major find in the city. Our kids love it. Bring just a few dollars because the ice cream man has found this playground too!

And There's More....
I just haven't listed it all. But Chicago is a world class city you can enjoy on a budget.