Father’s Day #1

This year for father’s day, Evelyn and Oliver have each planned a special day for just the two of us. Evelyn’s day was up first. She decided to treat me to a day at the theater (no surprise there!) and to a restaurant I have been wanting to go to.

The two of us got all fancied up, then went to see “The Flying Housewife, A True Story“. This was the true story of Jerrie Mock, the first woman to fly solo around the world. I had never even heard of Jerrie Mock, so it was very interesting. The play was written and directed by Jerrie’s granddaughter (Jerry only just passed away a few years ago).

Evelyn was completely enraptured by the play, needing me to put my arm around her during the scary parts, and bouncing in her seat otherwise. Afterwards, she informed me that she would be doing her next biography project on Jerrie Mock, which is high praise indeed.

The lead actress, Suzy Brack, had previously been in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever with Evelyn, and she really did just an amazing job as Jerrie Mock. I would say she stole the show, but she was the lead actress, so it’s not really stealing, right?

Afterwards, we went to Chicago’s first cider bar, The Northman. It should come as no surprise to readers of this blog that I love apples, and after all those years of making applesauce, it turns out I have pretty strong opinions about apples. Who knew? (Don’t get me started on Red Delicious…)

I tried both the house cider, which was excellent, and a German “rough” cider, which was made from Braeburn and Jonagold apples (two varieties I am very familiar with!), and was even better. I think I’m going to say it was the best cider I have ever had.

Evelyn and I even split some maple glazed cider donuts, with brown butter ice cream and pecan crumble. It was that kind of day.

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Overall I think that Evelyn felt very grown up and fancy to be all dressed up and sitting at a grown up restaurant (i.e. bar) with her daddy, and she really had the best time ever. When we got home we couldn’t get her into bed; she was just talking a mile a minute. And really, what could be a better father’s day present than that?

Everyone agrees that Oliver’s day is EVEN BETTER, so now I am very curious as to what he has planned for me…

Father’s Day 2013

For father’s day, Sara and the kids surprised me with a video. I knew they were up to something, mostly because Evie was bouncing in her seat with excitement for a few days before, but I definitely didn’t suspect a video. It was rather unfortunate that we were staying at my grandma’s house with others, because I bawled like a baby through multiple viewings (followed by a couple of aftershock crying jags in the shower, which were at least private).

Obviously this means a lot more to me than to you, gentle reader, but it’s just so wonderful. There are so many little details that are just absolutely perfect (and believe me, I’ve watched it many, many times, so I should know), and I can appreciate the time it took to sort through all the pictures and videos. It absolutely could not be more perfect.

Thank you Sara, there’s nothing better you could have given me!

Five Fridays of Fun – Picture Frame

Get out your experiment shirts and get ready to paint. Each of you can paint one frame then pick out a photo on the computer and we will order it to put inside.

The box included paint and picture frames to be painted.

This was the last Friday of Fun, and perhaps not quite as exciting as some of the previous ones (by which I mean we had been spoiled by this amazing gift!). Still, the kids always have a good time painting, and it sure beat just sitting around the house all morning.

I think the kids enjoyed picking out the pictures as much as they enjoyed painting the frames. I was particularly surprised at how happy Ollie was to see his picture inside his completed frame.

You’ll notice that Evie spent a lot of time carefully painting butterflies and flowers before ultimately just pink-washing the whole thing.

So that’s it, Five Fridays of Fun! Special thanks to my wonderful wife for giving me (actually us) such a wonderful, thoughtful present. I think it was a good present for her too, because she got to see the excitement of us as we opened the box and talked about all the fun we had. It would have been a great present for any occasion, but it seemed especially appropriate for father’s day, since it really brought in the kids as well. Way better than any physical object she could have given me as a present, that’s for sure!

Five Fridays of Fun – Tie-dye Madness

This is the one we all (I mean I) have been waiting for…

tie-dyeing & yarn-dyeing. Dye all the loose stuff, and if you have some extra, do the goodies in the plastic bag. Evie might even be able to “hand-paint” some yarn with a paint brush and varying shaded mixes of two colors. I’m sad I’m missing this one!

P.S. If you have dye left and can think of anything else that could be done, go for it!

The package contained both dye and a new shirt for each of us to make, as well as some yarn.

I think this was the best Friday of Fun. They were all fun, but this one was really thinking outside of the box (no pun intended). I can safely say that this was something we never would have come up with on our own.

It also induced total tie-dye madness. After dying all of the stuff in the box, we ended up getting almost every piece of white clothing in the house. And that was just round 1! The next day, Sara used the rest of the dye on an entire second round of tie-dying. We have an entire mountain of tie-dyed clothes now!

In addition to the clothes, we also dyed some yarn and roving for use in future projects. I think this stuff in particular turned out really beautiful.

The stuff we dyed the next day definitely benefited from the experience we gained the first day. Unfortunately, I only do tie-dye like once a decade, so I’m sure I’ll forget everything I learned. On the other hand, I probably now own enough tie-dye to last me at least 10 years.

 

Five Fridays of Fun – The Beach

Get out the bathing suits
and the sunscreen
Have some fun
and eat ice cream.

Walk to 57th street beach and buy ice cream / gelato at 57th street cafe after

Maybe because this one seemed so straightforward I wasn’t really as prepared as I should have been. So we left the house on our adventure and I forgot our sunglasses, the camera, and the sand toys. Good work me! So I had to resort to taking pictures on my phone.

We had a ton of fun at the beach. We live within walking distance of a beach, and yet we practically never go. The beach is a lot more fun than going to the pool, because you get waves and sand. Ollie loves to play in the sand and never gets tired of it. Also, even though neither of the kids are really the kind of kids who dive and play in the water, we did have a lot of fun fighting and punching the waves. The beach is pretty shallow for a long ways out, so it gives both kids a lot of area they can play in. Both kids got knocked over by waves on occasion, which they didn’t appreciate, but overall we had more laughs than tears.

Afterwards we walked over to the cafe to get some ice cream. We got cups instead of cones, and I chose butter pecan. As we sat outside and ate ice cream, I noticed there was a swirl of bright red cherry syrup running through the middle of mine. “Huh, that’s weird, I didn’t expect cherry syrup,” I thought, and continued eating. Suddenly I noticed that I could feel some kind of flap in my mouth. “Evie, is there something wrong with my mouth?” I asked. “Daddy!” she shrieked, her eyes going wide, “Your mouth is bleeding!” It turns out that my spoon had little pieces of razor-sharp plastic flashing along the edges, and every time I slid it into my mouth it sliced a little strip off my lip.

In other words, it wasn’t cherry syrup.

Long story short, we all had a great time with Friday of Fun #3, and watch out for dangerous plastic spoons.

Five Fridays of Fun – Beautify the Neighborhood

Initially, Evie was distinctly disappointed with our second Friday of Fun.

“It’s clean up time, it’s clean up time.”

Make your neighborhood a more beautiful place. Put on gloves and see if you can fill up the trash bag. Then, come inside and make a stepping stone that we can use to decorate.
Tip from the guy at Michaels: use slightly less water than directed & a hair-dryer can help it set if needed.

Compared to going to the zoo, I guess it was a little disappointing. She was definitely not jazzed about picking up trash. However, once we got going, we still had a lot of fun (even picking up trash!)


One advantage vs. going to the zoo is that we have something tangible to show for this one; a stepping stone. The kids were very excited to “stand on it”, but it had to dry for many days before that was possible.

The other thing tangible that we had was an enormous bag full of trash! We barely made it halfway down the alley before we filled our trash bag. The amount of trash around our house is absolutely astounding! Doesn’t anybody in Chicago put anything in the trash can?

Five Fridays of Fun – The Zoo

This year for Father’s day, rather than get me one gift, Sara got me “Five Fridays of Fun”. Every Friday we would select a random box and open it, and it would give us materials and instructions on what to do for the day.

I had absolutely no idea what sorts of things were in these boxes, or even a ballpark estimate of what to expect. So on the first Friday of Fun we opened the box and saw:

The things in this box are a clue
as to what you might see and do.
Pack your lunch and bring it too
so you can enjoy a day at the…
…………(can you guess?)……….
…………………………………..ZOO!

I can’t remember exactly what was in the box, other than some animal crackers to take with us as a snack.

Evie in particular was very, very excited to open them up each week. Sometimes I was a little nervous, because I didn’t necessarily feel like embarking on some big adventure for the day. However, it always turned out great! It’s hard to explain, but here’s just something about having it all prepared with instructions that’s better than just thinking about it on your own. I would never just say, “Hey kids, lets just up and go to the zoo today.” It has to be a big thing that’s planned out in advance. But when the magic box says we have to go to the zoo, we go to the zoo. And then guess what? We have a great time! We probably should just up and do things like going to the zoo, and this was just the little nudge that we needed.

Also, it was a great gift because instead of just getting one thing, we had about a month and a half worth of enjoyment out of it. There was anticipation leading up to it, the actual doing of it, and then the retelling of everything to Sara later.

So for the rest of the week I will be presenting each of the Five Fridays of Fun, in the order we experienced them.