Friday, August 28, 2009

The Long Weekend

We all look forward to long weekends -- Memorial Day, Labor Day, Fourth of July, or for the lucky government employees: MLK Day, Washington's Birthday and Columbus Day (puh-lease), but sometimes a weekend is as long as the activities you pack into it. Last weekend was one such weekend. (Here it is Friday again already (time flies), so I don't want to lose sight of what was a great stay-at-home-ish weekend we had -- especially in comparison to July where we were out of town for every. single. weekend.)

Eric was home a little earlier than usual on Friday, so we had intended to go for a walk around Andersonville, one of our favorite Chicago neighborhoods, but then it started raining. Lamely, our intended adventure turned into an outing to Target -- but hey, at least we got out of the house. Besides, options are pretty limited when the boy goes to bed at 7:30 and dinner was out because Eric had spoiled his by eating with deep dish pizza for lunch (3 PIECES!) with Ethan after their field trip to the MCA (must be nice). So Target was fun and we bought Oliver an awesome set of plastic food (a space-minded substitute to the play kitchen that I know he would totally love), as well as one of those annoying echo microphones. Anyway, he loved the food set, especially putting the french fries and hot dogs into his mouth sideways. Can you say "choking hazard"? Those pieces have since been removed from the set. So anyway, after playing with china-made plastic for a half hour or so, he went to bed happy and Eric and I watched Secrets and Lies on DVD. Great flick.

Saturday morning, we got up bright and early with the Monk, did a quick round of triage around the house, then headed out to the Green City Market, where we dropped a LOAD of cash on locally grown produce and fresh flowers and hand-crafted cheese and organic pastries (whatever that means). We so love a market and Oliver did too, as he helped himself to samples of berries along the way. It's hard for the vendors to detect a 33" thief, I think. They had a bluegrass band there that he was really digging, too. Good times.

In fact, the times were so good that when we got back to the car, he
completely sacked out. Rather than heading home for the precarious transfer of nap locale, we decided to ride it out and headed up north to Abt, where we needed to shop for a new TV since ours is a POS. We arrived at Abt to find Oliver still snoozing, so we continued to drive and drive and drive. Finally, we got hungry for lunch and Eric ran into Pita Inn to get takeout for us, when, of course Oliver woke up at last. So we chowed on some fresh, delicious middle eastern food before hitting the electronics superstore.

Abt is like a Disneyland of electronics and other attractions, including a HUGE aquarium complete with two green moray eels (wow), a big fountain, a bubble maker, an interactive butterfly exhibit, and home-baked cookies among other things. Oliver went NUTS. He was like a maniac, arms outspread running from one thing to the next with total disregard to all of the shoppers (and there were sooo many, very busy). He ran not just to the fountains and ball mazes, but also to microwaves and vacuum cleaners. He was in heaven. (Seriously, you have to check this place out -- here's a virtual tour.) Shopping for us, on the other hand, was a bit of a challenge. It was like asking the kid at Disneyland, right in the middle of it all, to stop and read the details on a commemorative plaque. No chance.

After we dragged Oliver out of the Abt kicking and screaming, by Eric's suggestion we decided to decompress in some nature and went for a quick stroll through the Linne Woods forest preserve. To our relief, Oliver found this adventure to be as exhilarating as Abt. We kept him in the Bob for the first 7/8ths of the trip as we traversed a bunch of mud puddles from Friday's rain and then let the wildthing roam for the last 1/8th or so, which in terms of time took about 12 times as long as it would have if he had stayed in the stroller. There were sticks to be picked up and poked with. There were bridges to cross -- and recross, and recross. It was a fun adventure, though.

So now Eric and I were starting to fade since we didn't get the 2.5-hour nap that Oliver did, so we set our sights on the couch, but first in preparation for that, we hit our local library to rent a movie and let Oliver roam the stacks. We had such success with Secrets and Lies, we thought it would be a good idea to enjoy another award winner. We rented Children of a Lesser God, but then didn't end up watching it. By the time we got things organized around the house and got The Monk to bed, we were too pooped even for a movie.

And then there was Sunday -- but I'm fearing that this post is getting out of control and I think I've made my point about a weekend being as long as you make it -- so in bullets, Sunday had:
  • Painting at studio for Eric.
  • Foster Beach for Oliver & Mommy
  • Brunch with Joy, while Oliver napped.
  • Back out to Montrose Beach.
  • BBQ at Leslye and Brian's.
In essence, another FULL DAY -- trying to make the most of these fading days of summer:

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