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Showing posts from March, 2014

Sensory Friendly Movies

It's been nearly 3 weeks since I've written about a parenting topic...so today's subject is timely.

Each month, AMC Theatres presents Sensory Friendly Films in a number of communities around the nation. It's in partnership with The Autism Society and is specifically aimed at providing families with a more friendly movie environment for little ones who may struggle in a traditionally dark, loud auditorium. Our particular visit this past Saturday was to see Muppets Most Wanted at the Yorktown 17 in the Chicago area. But you can check the listing on the website to find the upcoming monthly shows in your area.

First...a word about the film itself. If you haven't had a chance to see the new Muppet movie, you really should. I almost enjoyed it more than the previous (though entertaining) one. This one feels more like classic muppets--odd, upbeat, it moves quickly, lots of adult humor while never getting too offensive. A funny, wholesome, "romp." Which is rare t…

Road bike shopping

Sorry I dropped off the face of the earth there. It's rare that I go almost 2 weeks without a new post. But it's Spring Break anyway. My family came for a visit and half of you are probably in Aruba anyway (hi Bob!).

I've also been dedicating a big chunk of my time to choosing a new bike. Which is like trying to bake cookies while shaving and reciting poetry. By and large, my entry level price point makes many decisions easy. Even so, there are many brands and styles to choose from and I'm trying to get the most for my money...maybe even lucky enough to have some left over to buy a race registration and a wetsuit from my budget?

I pretty much decided early on that I'm not going to buy a triathlon bike. They're more expensive and I do just enough group riding that it would be frowned on by the bicycle gods. Much easier to do a fun recreational ride on a road bike and slap some aerobars on as-needed. Or, honestly, maybe even not at all. It's not unheard of to…

All about sheep

I'm sure all my readers are dying to hear about the 5 hours I spent on Saturday at the University of Illinois Extension office learning about sheep and goats. Right? Right? Ok, I'll try to keep it interesting and know that not all of you have burning questions about shepherding.

I ended up not stopping to see the farm on the way home after all. The workshop ran a little long even and I had promised the kids I'd get home before bedtime. Plus, I had a 3.5 hour drive from Chicago where I got to stare at the absolutely flat, treeless, silo-covered landscape. And I realized a few things. Sheep are adaptable to almost any environment. What am I doing thinking we should try to setup new pastures in bean and corn fields? That's prime ag real estate that would be a little unwise when we could go find some hills, trees, and rolling farmland elsewhere. If I'm going to settle down somewhere for a few decades of hard work tending animals...the view out my barn door better be a …

Highly inappropriate for children

I was at an art exhibit last night that dealt quite a bit with an author who wrote children's stories no publisher would print. Because they were too dark. In the end, this particular author's work is beloved by children for exactly that reason. The exhibit made the point that adults are often uncomfortable about giving the kids what they want.

I don't yet have that problem with my kids because they run screaming from the room when there's rain and some clouds on an episode of Shaun The Sheep. So the macabre and grotesque isn't really their thing yet.

But I am having trouble with the string of "why" questions that has begun to pop up. Why is it raining? Why is the moon out now? Why did we need a new modem? How do space satellites work?

I've always been a big believer in being age appropriate. You always answer the question, but in a way they can wrap their mind around. After viewing the exhibit last night, I did stop and do a little thinking on the wa…

Everything happens at once

Greetings from a very confused Chicago. Yesterday was 55 and sunny...first bike ride of the season going to pick my son up from school. The sidewalks are flooded from melting snow even if the streets are dry. Little hills of snow here and there, but you can actually see patches of grass. Of course, tonight there will be rain and sleet turning to blizzard conditions and thundersnow. 10 inches possible over the region. 
Some things never change with my daughter falling asleep in the bike trailer. It was a welcome relief to have her asleep because it seems like if she's awake that we're not enjoying her very much lately. The other night we were still trying to get her to bed around midnight and she cried so much that she ended up throwing up all over herself and the living room rug. But I was glad I didn't do the laundry right away because later in the day she ran into a wall and split her lip open getting blood all over her blankie. Proud moment for me as a parent having bot…

Don't tell mom the babysitter's dead?

For those not of a certain generation, today's blog title refers to the 1991 American comedy where a mom takes an extended vacation, the elderly babysitter dies, and the eldest sibling has to get a job to prevent the mother from coming home early. A classic for those of us who view Bill and Ted with the same love.

We're having this kind of anxiety over tonight's "practice run" of a babysitter coming to our home for the first time. Grandparents don't count. But, even then, we can count on one hand the number of times we've gotten a date night away from the little ones. And the only time Cole's really been looked after by a stranger was when my old coworker did emergency duty while Leda was being born.

Tonight is just a "practice" because the plan is to leave early enough that we're back from dinner before bedtime. We're just going to a bar down the street. But the plan is to have a longer evening away for the Mama's birthday in a …

Road bike shopping

The nice thing about having your own blog is being Editor In Chief. I started typing out a post about how my kids are currently in love with John Henry (pretending to drive "railroad spikes" with a kitchen spatula), Paul Bunyan, Johnny Appleseed, and Casey Jones.

Then I got about two paragraphs in and went *&^% it, I don't feel like writing about that. So there. I'm going to write about searching for a new road bike instead.

The Mama has been nice enough to indulge my obsessive, research-based nature by not surprising me with a bike. Heck, I don't think she even wants any part in taking me to pick one out like last time...if she's smart? Instead, she's given me my birthday-Christmas-Father's Day for the year all in one swoop and said, "happy hunting." She knows me too well!

For those who don't remember, "my" bike is a hybrid that I use to pull the kids in the bike trailer. The Mama has a very nice carbon fiber road bike tha…