Monday, October 31, 2011

There's a Snake in My Boot!

This year for Halloween we have, Woody, Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl, and two army guys~
Our friends the Peseks joined us for trick-or-treating~

From the Mouths of Babes

Mary has two imaginary friends (for the last 6 months or so) - Garbage and Leafy. We've known for a while that Garbage is a trouble maker. But today Mary was in the back seat of the car and said out of the blue, "I don't like Garbage. She's trash."

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Whoa!

Slow down, little girl!  In two days Mary will be 4!  We stopped at Too Toots for lunch and she loved riding the mechanical horse.  Not as exciting as "Dagger", but an adequate substitute~
She is sweeter by the day, and we love her so.  She makes us smile, laugh, and try harder to slow down.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
~William Shakespeare

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Little Mar-maid

For her fourth birthday, Mary had her first "friend" party.  She wanted a mermaid theme~
The girls decorated crowns and played pin the tail on the mermaid.
Mary loved this mermaid, which she helped color.  Kids are so good for one's self esteem - she made me feel like Picasso~
Wands made from rice krispies covered in white chocolate~
Everything was pink~

Opening her gifts with Allison~
The girls played dress up.  Mary and Sophie~
Mary and Hannah~
Mary and Anna~
And with Charlotte~


She is our little princess~
Jaiden came to help~

"The prime purpose of being four is to enjoy being four - of secondary importance is to prepare for being five."  ~Jim Trelease, The Read-Aloud Handbook, 1985

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

La Cenerentola

We met the Peseks at Curie Metro High School for a Lyric Opera performance.  This is part of their "Opera in the Neighborhood" program.  We were the first to arrive, so we had the best seats right in the front row!  The kids (and adults!) loved it.  The Lyric really makes opera accessible and fun.  This version of Cinderella was great.  Afterward we went to Bobak's (on Scott's recommendation) for lunch.  He was right - it was delicious :)  We (mostly me) entertained each other on the drive home singing our own renditions.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Argonne National Laboratories

Today Charlie and I took a field trip to Argonne National Laboratories
Here we saw magnetic levitation using liquid nitrogen~

Next we saw how materials (a balloon) behave under super cold temperatures~
Charlie used “pedal power” on the Energy Bike to generate enough electricity to power a set of light bulbs or a hair dryer. There was quite a difference between the energy required to light incandescent light bulbs compared to fluorescent or LED light bulbs~
Determining the amount of vitamin C in fruit by way of titration~
Argonne was pretty cool.  We had to get "clearance" to come on site - so spy movie!   I am planning another field trip here in a couple of months for Charlie and Sam.  Can't wait!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ronald McDonald

Mary has been seeing Dr. Minutti since shortly after she was born.  We are now down to 4 times a year.  Mary loves seeing this familiar face~

Sunday, October 16, 2011

"You want me to learn something to you?"

So one of our family's favorite movies is "School of Rock".  We've watched it countless times, and now Mary is able to quote entire scenes.  This one is especially awesome~
Mary, you get an A+ and fifty gold stars!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Chicago Brass Band

There was a fundraiser tonight for the Greenhouse featuring the Chicago Brass Band.  It was a toe-tapping good time!  Even though we just saw an awesome concert yesterday, the kids really loved this performance, too~

Monday, October 10, 2011

"Jump to It!"

Wheaton College's Symphonic Band offers a free children's concert.  We always love it.  This year, the following music was featured:
Pastime by Jack Stamp
http://www.jwpepper.com/2434157.item

Aesop's Fables by Scott Watson
The Hare and the Tortoise, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, The Dog and the Bone, The wolf and His Shadow
http://www.jwpepper.com/2702965.item

Young Person's Guide to John Williams by Jay Bocook
Prologue from "Hook", Hedwig's theme, theme from ET, Raiders March
http://www.jwpepper.com/2701367.item#

Kitchen Can Can by Jacques Offenbach
http://www.jwpepper.com/2480701.item

Art in the Park by Robert Sheldon
http://www.jwpepper.com/10050598.item

Chicken Dance by Larry Norred
http://www.4Shared.com/audio/kZVQ1xO4

Halo Suite themes
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjgot4cEGIo

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Writer's Block

Charlie is in a writing class at the Greenhouse.  Mary has been picking up some tips.  "The Lion and the Bird" - she's so earnest ~
video
If you didn't know it, you'd think there were actual paragraphs of English on those papers~

Friday, October 7, 2011

My Gym

Mary and Sam were invited to a  friend's birthday party at a little kids' gym place.  They had a lot of fun!  Sam on the zipline~
And Mary~

Thursday, October 6, 2011

PDO

Mary started a Parent's Day Out program at a local church.  Charlie went to a preschool program here when he was four.  She's very excited~

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

For the gentle wind does move silently, invisibly. ~William Blake

Today we visited a wind farm.  I am fascinated by wind turbines, and since we are studying physics this year, it seemed like a perfect field trip!  The people at Invenergy were so friendly and helpful~

Everyone had to wear a construction hat to protect(?!) us if a blade fell on our heads~ 
Our group from the Greenhouse~
A little bird's nest in one of the propeller blades~
These things are huge.  We saw some being transported earlier last year and at first had no idea what they were~
I must be part Dutch.  I love watching these~
Corn growing beneath the wind turbine, near the nuclear power plant.  Delicious?
The Exelon nuclear generating station~



Looking up, inside the turbine.  An employee proposed to his wife up there~
So much data~




The littlest student~



It was pretty cool getting a close up view of this wind farm~
Since we were already so far west, Jacqueline and I decided to stop by a local apple orchard.  They had some bees for us to check out~

We were the only ones visiting and the owner was very friendly and took us on a tour~
Honeycomb~
Hives (decorated by local girl scouts) ~

We bought some local honey to enjoy at home.  A fun, interesting, and exhausting day!