Keep Going…Just Keep Going

I have noticed in just a short amount of time that my runs are getting easier again. But, I know that there will be things that will make it harder to keep up with my training. Grad school has started up again and that sucks up a lot of time. (But graduation comes in May!!!!!!) And the weather is still, well, winter. And, it’s not out of ordinary to walk in and find several piles of cat barf on the treadmill. (Thanks, Buddy….) But, I am determined to keep this going.

It’s time to start registering for spring/summer races.

What races are your favorites?

My Own Christmas To-Do List

It’s a well-known fact that it is very easy for me to overdue Christmas. There is just so much that can be done during the holidays in and near Chicago! How can you choose? So, well, I don’t choose and instead try to do everything. That might be why December is so exhausting…..well, that and I teach preschool so no matter what December is going to be exhausting. But, if you too are wanting to have a Christmas crammed with activities, here is my list of must-do’s during the holidays. (Close to Thanksgiving, I usually send Ryan a bunch of invites on Google calendar so that he knows what I’m planning.)

Mag Mile Lights Festival -This one is a great way to kick off the holidays, in my opinion. Plus, it combines two of my favorite things: Disney and Christmas decorations!

Christkindlemarket – It’s fun just to walk around but it’s even more fun if you buy some snacks. Since they are right across the street from each other, we usually combine going here with dinner at the Walnut Room.

Walnut Room – One of my all-time favorites. Ryan and I have been doing the Walnut Room since before we had kids. But, it’s even more fun now that we have kids. The girls love seeing the “Christmas fairies” and I love seeing the windows and the giant tree in the middle of the restaurant.

Holiday Magic (or “lights at the zoo.”) – Lots of zoos do their own version of zoo lights. We go to Brookfield because we are members there. But, I have many friends who go to see the lights at Lincoln Park Zoo and they love going there. So, I think that you are probably ok with picking a zoo and enjoying their lights. 🙂

Renegade Craft Fair – I love this because it offers a chance to purchase some interesting gifts for people.

Christmas Around the World at MSI – This has been one of my favorites since before I even lived in the Chicago area. The trees are beautiful and you still have time to check out some of the other exhibits after you see the trees.

Garfield Park Conservatory – This one is a new one to the list. But, it’s not a new one for a list of my favorite things to do during the winter. This really is one of my favorite places to visit in the winter. Walking in here in January, you can forget that it’s 2 degrees outside and just enjoy the tropical temperatures, sights, and smells. This was, however, the first year that we went during the Holiday Flower Show.

Walking (or Driving) Around And Looking at Lights – This one isn’t necessarily a “destination.” However, I do like to walk around downtown Chicago to see the lights. The big tree at Millennium Park always looks nice. But, I also enjoy taking a scenic route home from Target or the mall to check out neighborhood lights. And, a big part of our Christmas Eve tradition involves driving around and looking at lights. That’s what we do following Christmas Eve Mass. 🙂

 

What are your must-do activities at Christmas?

Space! And Summer Checklist #13

Adler Planetarium is one of the girls’ favorite spots in the city. It’s also a museum that is great for little kids because it has a great little kid area. Big girl’s favorite spots in the museum are the kids area and the “fun hallway.” In this hallway, you can run through stars that are projected onto the floor.

One more to check off of the checklist!

🙂

 

Summer checklist thus far:

  • Go to the library.
  • Go to the pool.
  • Make banana pudding.
  • Ride the train at the mall.
  • Go to the playground.
  • Make cookies.
  • Go downtown.
  • Go on a hike.
  • Have a picnic.
  • Go to American Girl Place.
  • Go to the beach.
  • Go to the zoo.
  • Eat at Flat Top Grill.
  • Read books.
  • Eat at Noodles & Company.
  • Get ice cream.
  • Go to the splash pads downtown.
  • Go to the water park.
  • Go to a festival.
  • Go to the movie theater.
  • Play on the McDonalds playground after lunch.
  • Go to family fun festival downtown.
  • Go to the Art Museum and go to the kids area after looking at paintings.
  • Go to the dinosaur museum (Field Museum).
  • Go to the space museum (Adler Planetarium).
  • Have a pajama day. (Although big girl has now requested that we have 100 pajama days.)

Summer time concert time

I love seeing concerts in the summer because there is the opportunity to see bands playing outside. Outdoor concert season! Woo-hoo! There is just something wonderful about listening to music and drinking a beer while sitting outside.

The downside? Everyone brings picnic blankets and chairs and get comfortable. Really comfortable. That means that hundreds of your new best friends all take of their shoes at the same time. Yea.

Ryan and I recently saw Flight of the Conchords when they played downtown. Don’t know who they are? Seriously, look them up because I have tried to explain them and I just can’t do it very well. Get the seasons of their HBO show….watch the episodes…..and then you’ll know why seeing them live is just a lot of fun.

In addition to seeing them live, we got to hang out in Millennium Park which really is one of my favorite things about downtown Chicago. The park opened when I moved to Chicago and I remember thinking “Wow, that is a lot (!!!!!!!) of money. I sure hope people use this thing…..” And yes, it was a lot of money. But yes, people are in the park all year long. Even in January, you will see people taking pictures by the Bean. (Guys…January….go inside! It’s cold!).

So yay for concerts outside. Yay for summer nights. And yay for the Bean looking even more beautiful when reflecting the nighttime skyline.

Summer Checklist – Update #8

One of our favorite things to do during the summer is go to the Family Fun Festival in Millennium Park. I highly (!!!!) recommend going. It’s free! And, there’s so much to do. There’s music, crafts, storytime, dancing, and lots of other fun stuff. And, it’s free! When we go, we try to go on Wednesdays because they do a book giveaway on Wednesdays. Check the schedule to find out who is performing during the daily singing and movement performances in the morning and what book they are giving away if you are there on a Wednesdays. On Mondays, different groups lead movement activities like yoga and dancing. We haven’t gone on a Monday so I can’t say for certain but I’m guessing that they are pretty fun. There are also daily afternoon performances but we are usually eating lunch at that time.

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Since we have to take the Metra to get downtown during the week, when we go downtown, I try to find ways to keep the girls busy all day until Ryan gets off work. Trying to get the girls, and the diaper bag, and a big bag of snacks, and the stroller onto the train is definitely not a one-person job.

When we are downtown, one of the best things to do is spend some time at the Art Institute. Since we are members, we can easily pop in, check out some art, grab a snack and be on our way. The kids area is nice too but has been under construction. There is a temporary room set up in one of the classrooms. It’s nice but it’ll be great to get back into the real room (which last I saw was scheduled to reopen June 30th – so I’m guessing it’s already reopened).

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We’ve been there enough that big girl knows that when we go through the Greek Art hallway, we are on our way to get a snack.

The summer checklist thus far:

  • Go to the library.
  • Go to the pool.
  • Make banana pudding.
  • Ride the train at the mall.
  • Go to the playground.
  • Make cookies.
  • Go downtown.
  • Go on a hike.
  • Have a picnic.
  • Go to American Girl Place.
  • Go to the beach.
  • Go to the zoo.
  • Eat at Flat Top Grill.
  • Read books.
  • Eat at Noodles & Company.
  • Get ice cream.
  • Go to the splash pads downtown.
  • Go to the water park.
  • Go to a festival.
  • Go to the movie theater.
  • Play on the McDonalds playground after lunch.
  • Go to family fun festival downtown.
  • Go to the Art Museum and go to the kids area after looking at paintings.
  • Go to the dinosaur museum (Field Museum).
  • Go to the space museum (Adler Planetarium).
  • Have a pajama day. (Although big girl has now requested that we have 100 pajama days.)