Monday, August 30, 2010

Week Two in Chicago, and Week One in North Chicago

Being new to the city, we thought the most direct route to the zoo would be the best. The apartment wasn't very far from the road the zoo is on, and it was only a few miles. But, Wrigley Stadium is also on Clark Street, and it took us much longer to get there than anticipated. Thomas snapped this picture while we were stopped in traffic. Getting to the zoo was one thing, finding parking was another! We drove around forever looking for a spot, and then surrendered to the need to pay for parking. The paid parking on the street was still less expensive than the zoo parking would have been. Unfortunately though, our adventures in getting to the zoo had taken longer than expected, and so we only got to go in a few of the buildings before they closed at five. We still had a lot of fun though!

Evan loved all of the apes, monkeys, and chimps. He called them all "Mokey!" And I didn't have the heart to correct him. He was adorable!

The second favorite attraction was the ducks... The zoo has a beautiful section of streams and bridges with ducks, swans, etc.

The owner of the apartment has cleaning ladies come every two weeks, and we got to benefit from their amazing skills! We thought it was cute how they put the boys' beds together. Parker was sleeping on his mattress on the floor, and Evan in his little bed.

We spent a lot of time driving between Chicago and North Chicago while we were looking at houses. Although the distance is only about 40 miles or so, the drive can take anywhere between 40 minutes and two hours. Needless to say, the boys weren't very happy during the times when we were trapped in slow traffic on the interstate, going less than thirty miles an hour, and surrounded by cars as far as we could see.

We had fun during our second week in Chicago, going to playgroup at the local church, and spending a lot of time house hunting. We didn't end up finding a suitable house, but the apartment complex next to Thomas' school significantly lowered their rent, and so we snatched one of the last apartments there.

Our last week in Chicago was orientation for Thomas. He took the truck down and moved a load at a time from the storage unit into our apartment. We met him for bowling one night, and Parker loved it! He enjoyed throwing the ball (pushing it across the floor, really), seeing the pins fall down, and eating pizza. He was so adorable. After he threw the ball he would squat down at the edge of the lane and watch until he saw the ball hit and the pins fall down. It could take awhile too, since he didn't push the ball with that much force, but he was so patient. After each turn, no matter how many pins fell, he would get so excited and give Thomas a high five and a hug, and jump up and down. "I'm really good at bowling," he kept saying over the next few days. It was adorable. Evan was a terror... he just wanted to steal everyone's balls and push them willy nilly. He also kept trying to run down the lane. We all drove back to Wrigleyville together, leaving the truck at our new apartment.

Thomas had unloaded the boys' toys into their room, and we'd shown them the new place. Parker had been apprehensive about moving, but as soon as he saw all those toys that he hadn't seen in weeks, he was ok with it. He didn't want to go back to Wrigleyville... but there was the Wii there! Since Thomas was driving the car to orientation, and the stroller was in North Chicago as well, the boys and I were trapped in that fantastic apartment. But, we had books, and toys, and the Wii. Parker loved "playing" Mario Kart. He would hold the extra steering wheel, and pretend to drive with me. When I wasn't playing with Thomas, I did a lot better, but still couldn't master the courses like Wario's mine where the carts can fall off the side. I spent most of those tracks falling off. If one of those would come up, I would say, "Oh, Parker, I'm not very good at this one!" And Parker would reassure me, "It's ok Mommy. I'm really good at this one!" As long as we finished the race, Parker would cheer "Yay! We won!" Adorable. It was the only time I've ever enjoyed playing video games!

Welcome to North Chicago

Our new apartment is on the second floor, but we're on a corner, and are right across from the laundry. It's been working out really well, and we're really enjoying having Thomas able to come home for lunch. It takes about three minutes for him to walk to school. It means we actually see him! He can home home, and then easily get back to campus for quiet study time.

Our apartment complex has a little playground: a few swings that are so low Parker's feet drag (which is perfect because then he can sit and swing on it without danger of falling so far) and a slide that takes effort to go down. The best thing about this little "playground" is that it's a good place to meet other moms and kids. One of the other mom's told us about a fantastic playground about a mile south on our road, and the boys and I went last week for a picnic.

Parker had slipped and bumped his head and shoulder, and was crying, so Evan came up to him, threw out his arms, and said "hug!" then wrapped his arms around his older brother. It was adorable, so I asked them to do it again. The replay wasn't quite as cute as the original, but still picture worthy :)

The highlight of the playground is this "boat." There are low walls, a ladder going up to the steering wheel and mast, and then a little cabin behind the stairs. There's more slide and tunnel equipment, a seesaw, lots of swings, a little three walled cabin with a table and benches, a toddler dinosaur slide and ladder thing (you can see it in the background) We had a lot of fun, and played for several hours. Then we went to a new grocery store to buy milk, etc.

The grocery store had the strangest set up I'd ever seen! It had everything in it you could have wanted, but was organized by ethnicity, not types of food. The produce section was enormous, and had some vegetables I didn't even know the name of. The rest of the store was divided into aisles by Asian food, Latin Food, Italian food, Turkish food, etc. It was so hard to find anything, since there were different kinds of rice, pasta, and beans in every aisle. The boys were good though. We got some Ovaltine to encourage Parker to drink milk. He loves it... even diluted :)


balloongal said...

I love that you had the boys do a replay to get the picture. I do that with my kids, too. "Oh, that's so cute. Do it one more time so I can take a picture."

Michelle M said...

Where is that park with the boat? Somehow we've never been to that one!