We just returned from a long and wonderful (and horrible at moments) vacation, and I was able to read two books in a row. And they weren't even written by Dr. Seuss. Can you believe that? Still difficult for me to believe, BUT anytime I read I am inspired to write. Even if I do happen to read books by Chelsea Handler and Tina Fey, but that's beside the point. I mean, if they were able to find time to write, then why can't I???
But I have these nagging feelings that I absolutely must get finished with my "summer of slacking on the blog posts" prior to writing about what is going on in my world and mind right now. Finding the time has never been easy, BUT I might have a solution: make Mimi take a nap. It sounds crazy, I know, but she has actually been napping since she got the "cold from hell" a few weeks ago. Remember I wrote that it wasn't a big deal -- just a runny nose and cough regular cold -- but it turned into so, so much more. It took Mimi about a week to get over it, BUT Mack and I caught it and someone should have just shot us. We were the worst. Fussy, whiny, miserable -- and Mack was almost as bad as I was. We thought we would get better once we got to the beach, but we were oh so wrong. Anyway, I'll stop complaining because the beach is not even a part of this post -- I want to save it for later.
So this is my feeble attempt to catch myself up on one of the best summers I've ever had. Birthdays and fun visitors and beautiful weather and flip flops. That's about all it takes to make this girl happy. So here I go . . .
Mimi had her first ballet recital EVER! The theme was Disney princesses (of course, it was), and she danced to some song that went, "Every girl can be a princess, if she truly believes . . . " It was enough to make me barf, but Mimi took it so seriously. She completely goofed off during classes but got it together for rehearsal and the recital. At the end, she bowed and actually blew kisses to the crowd while saying, "Thank you, thank you . . ."
And I must brag on her awesome dance studio Baby Take a Bow for being so organized. Most recitals last at least 22 hours and relatives are forced to sit through a bajillion solos and stupid duets with best friends (one always chubby and one always skinny. Always) in pink lycra and curly ponytails. But this was so short and perfect. Can't wait for her to start again in the spring.
Mimi graduated from Kiddie Kollege at the Lakeview YMCA. Let me start by saying that I am NOT a fan of any type of school that insists on starting words with "K's" that should begin with "C's," BUT we really had an amazing experience at this place. The teachers were kind and patient, Mimi learned a few letters and made plenty of glitter and popsicle stick crafts, and I made some WONDERFUL mommy friends. Oh, and Mimi made some cute friends, too. Even Mack got a few buddies out of the deal.
The adorable lady in the middle is Miss Kelley. We love her. When we said good-bye to her on the last day of school, she said, "Wow, and I remember Mimi during her first week. She's really come a long way." Yes, she has. Wow. . . yes, she certainly has.
I need to add that during the graduation ceremony the classes were singing some of their favorite songs. Mimi was bored when they got to the ABC song, so she just sat down and I cut off the camera. Eh, we had enough video of her during "Down by the Bay." Then she did something that is so Mimi. She made her way through her classmates to the teacher holding the microphone . . . and she took it from her, went back to her spot, and continued with the song like it was her solo. Never batted an eye. And neither did her classmates because I'm sure they totally expected it.
We spent a lot of time on our roof this summer with popsicles, baby pools, and grilling. It's pretty bright and can get hot as Hades, but it's the only outdoor area that's really mine. And the kids love it.
This summer was a little warmer than usual but didn't keep the Darbys from going on ridiculous walks to tire out the monkeys. Obviously I didn't need to try too hard with this guy.
At a favorite park with "Dah!" Mack rarely calls Clint Dada or Daddy, so "Dah!" (he always screams it) it is.
We had several sweet friends visit over the summer -- but for some reason none of the other photos would upload -- so Arrah gets the visitor of the summer award! Way to go! She was perfectly happy to tag along on park excursions and let me drag her all over the neighborhood. She even let us drag her out to a crazy dance club way past my bedtime (how awful). And then we went to my sweet neighbor's bday bash and salsa dancing . . . with fire coming out of my head.
. . . and even Lacy had fire coming out of her head. We sure know how to set the dance floor on fire!
I finally got over my fear of taking the kids on public transportation, so we had lots of long excursions that kept my calf muscles in shape. Just shove snacks in their faces and they're good to go.
The zoo was one of our favorite spots (I actually went this morning with our new awesome neighbors). This is the infamous Mr. Singer and Whats-her-face with pink hair entertaining the kiddos at the zoo farm*.
*Note: this was taken the morning that the insane and overprotective grandmother attacked Mimi which you can read about here. I'm still holding on to the belief that I did the right thing and her grandson needs to grow a pair.
A cool thing that happens in Lincoln Park near the zoo is the fancy schmancy Green City Farmer's Market. And this awesome old guy was there. He kept singing the same thing over and over and over again, but it made everyone so very happy.
Momma's got a beat, baby's got a beat, everybody's got a beat. Shake it , shake it, shake it . . . If you don't use it, you're gonna lose it . . .
I kept planning to make this really great list of free things for kiddos in Chicago in case any of you wanted to visit and just not tell me (you know who you are). The summer is full of freebies in this city. But I think I am going to keep this list to myself so you'll HAVE to tell me when you'll be here. Or you could just Google it. Whatever.
Not the best photo, but Clint bought cotton candy for Mimi for the first time. And this is why it will be difficult for her to find the right guy. Her daddy has set the bar way too high.
Our monkeys learned to play together this summer. Sweet stuff.
I ran my first
marathon 5K near the lake. It. Was. AMAZING!!
And it's all because this girl told me to and I said, "Ok." We ran like snails the first two miles, and then some fabulous song like "Applebottom Jeans" came on my iPod . . . and then I smoked everyone. Sorta.
I'm a sucker for neighborhood ice cream and pastry shops, so when Black Dog opened within steps of my home, I had to be their biggest fan. But I think Mimi is winning.
Mack even loves it, too. I have to shovel mine in my mouth as fast as lightening or he yells at me to give it to him. Which I do. Spoiled little monkey.
And more walking down the sidewalk . . . I think she was channeling one of those old men who sits on a small town square playing checkers.
If this guy wasn't so cute, I would have given him to the gypsies a few weeks ago. Such a stinker. But, he is indeed cute enough to keep. Mack is, too.:)
And we saw David Gray at House of Blues . . . sail away with me, honey . . .
We did the Midwestern summer thing and went to a friend's lake cottage in Michigan. Absolutely loved it. I didn't realize that Clint and I hadn't really experienced the whole going to Pickwick Lake together much in college until he told me halfway through the trip that he was shocked by how much I loved riding on a tube. I'm hoping maybe he'll buy one for me for my birthday . . .
Mimi with her friend, Natalka (but she calls her Matalka). They met in Kiddie Kollege with a K and are now taking karate together . . . also with a K. I'm not even kidding. I can't wait for the stories and pictures I'll have from that.
And this guy was fussy and awful when we arrived because of a cold, but, like I said, cute enough to keep around.
Little guy throwing a tantrum on the tube. Whatever. Put on your big boy Underoos and have fun, Mack.
See, Mommy and Mimi loved it.
Big girl. Did I mention she just turned four? And she acts like she's four. She likes to help bake (like I do that all the time) and clean (also, like I do that all the time) and says really, really funny stuff she's learned from Despicable Me. Gosh, she's a really cool little kid. She's sassy for sure, but at least it's entertaining.