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A stellar, splashy birthday party

Friday evening I said goodbye to my friend Scott--who is now going to be studying a river in CA--by grabbing some food and beer in Logan Square. He should be well on his way now with the moving van packed. But didn't stay out too late because we had a birthday party at the planetarium to attend on Saturday morning.

We were fairly hesitant about how it would go. To start, it would require someone driving because of Cole's hatred of riding trains lately. (Yes, to those of you not from the big city, parking is $22 in Chicago, people pay it, and that's average. Some is more, some is less.) So, even though Leda was technically invited, we couldn't decide whether it would be just dad/son or the girls would stick around and pay admission. But, it turned out, extra adults were welcome so keeping the family together ended up a no-brainer. 

The party started at 10am and then the group had seating at the 10:30am show in one of the theaters. This was a wraparound Big Bird and Elmo film about the stars and going to the moon. I really feared how Cole would handle it but I'd decided to use it as a test run for seeing Planes now that it is showing at the movies. Little guy had a few moments of panic, but no major meltdown...and he needs to work on sitting in his seat if we're going to see a longer movie. But he lasted the whole 20 minutes and even said he liked it after we got home. Leda laid her head on my chest and watched nearly without blinking she was so in love with it. That figures. 

Cole sort of got preschooler antsy once we were back in the party his mom had to take him to play upstairs for a bit. We were supposed to be doing a craft. So I stayed with Leda at the tables to see what she'd make of it. I had to make her kite for her pretty much, but she definitely wanted to do what the other kids were doing. And she had fun and got excited with the running around the room part of testing the design. At that moment, Cole came back and instantly felt left out. He wanted a kite, too. He wanted to run with the kids. I quickly made him one and he has been playing with it for 3 straight days now. 

After cupcakes, everybody went up to the exhibits to look around and we spent almost the entire time driving robotic vehicles, planet rovers, launching rockets, and building things with gears. We expected the kids to give out after a couple hours like they usually do, but ended up being thankful we didn't have to move the car at 1pm because they were still going strong. 

It was an absolutely picture perfect day. 

The tall ships were at Navy Pier, sailboats on the lake, people out biking...we promised Cole we'd take a walk so before we left for the day we ended up down at the beach. It ended up being a major detour. 

We took the stroller down the handicapped accessible ramp and let the kids get out to put their feet in the sand. It was small little 1-2 foot swells coming in so they could go right up to the water's edge and get a little wet. We grabbed a cheese quesadilla from the beach shack and ate it on the break wall. Watching the gulls and Cole chasing the geese. He hasn't asked again yet, but all he could talk about while we were there was wanting to go home and get his swimsuit to go in the water more. I told Kelly maybe I'll grab my wetsuit one day and can do some distance swimming while the kids wade at Ohio Street Beach. 

By the time we were ready to come home, the museum campus was so crowded it took us as long to get back into the Loop as it did to get the rest of the way home. The kids only got a short nap in the car so everybody was ready for bed at about 6pm. Plus our usual bike ride yesterday morning at the gardens...making this a very busy week. Which probably explains why both kids are so crabby this morning. 

* * *

I've been checking out the website for Cole's school since we hadn't received any news about the start of classes yet. We did get an invite in the mail over the weekend for a popsicle party at the school's playground to take a tour and do a little meet and greet before the first day. 

I was actually a little surprised and happy to see that Cole's teacher is fairly web-savvy and maintains photos on a blog of the kids doing activities during the various theme weeks. Plus, there is a weekly newsletter where we get updates from the gym teacher (scarves for "fox tails" is apparently a fun game all last year's kids loved), the speech therapist, plus lots of parent-teacher conferences, pancake breakfasts, etc.. Plenty of room to get involved in looks like, which makes me happy. We're supposed to be looking for her letter and "homework" in the mail after she sent it on Wed so I imagine that will arrive today or tomorrow. 

Once we figure out the bus logistics, I'll feel a little more at ease. We showed Cole the popsicle postcard and he seemed genuinely excited about the idea. Then again, he's 3. He gets excited about a bowl of plums. It's the parents you have to worry about for stress!