Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Twenty-Eight Days

No, I have not been in rehab, as the title suggests. Nor is this about my monthly menstrual cycle. It's just that it has been 28 days since I last posted.

You all mostly know what's been going on with me, because the only people who read this blog know me in real-life and/or on Facebook. But to fuel my obsessive need to officially chronicle everything, let me just do a few quick sum-up paragraphs.

At the beginning of July we took a trip to Indiana Beach, which is an old-fashioned boardwalk amusement park built on a small lake in Indiana. Except "old-fashioned" ended up meaning "run-down" in this case. And our hotel room was nasty, with a bright-orange bathtub courtesy of rust from lake water. So we got a partial refund and high-tailed it out of there after less than 24 hours.

Nathan took swimming lessons the week before and after that failed weekend trip. It was a production getting him out the door every day because he didn't really want to go, and so we were late, which made it even harder for him to just jump in the water and transition to the class. Despite the fact that he was fairly competent in the water and enjoyed the class each day once it got going, he had to spend at least the first 5-10 minutes of each class whining that he didn't want to get in. And then he got a whole private teacher just to himself, so that was a perk of being difficult.

Oh, and now he hates going to the pool, and the splash pad. Which is just seriously a !@#@$% for me because both of these activities are such pleasant, low-key ways to fill a summer afternoon. And also, we have such a limited time to enjoy them, but that argument never works on a 3-year-old.

The following week Nathan was signed up for camp, and I decided to withdraw him because of the whole peeing issue with the last camp session. And also it's just so much work to get him out the door every single day, complete with the 57 items the camp checklist instructed us to bring.

So I decided to do my own camp. And I have to say, my camp was fun. On Monday we went to get haircuts at the super funnest haircut place ever, which I consider an activity in and of itself because they have a train table there, and kids get to sit on little cars while they get their haircuts. Anyway, the haircut place is across from the movie theater, where we saw Despicable Me, or at least the first 45 minutes of it, because Nathan was whining that he hated it, and since I kind of did, too, I just let us leave. And then we went to a newly-opened nature center at The Little Red School House.

Tuesday we drove to Michigan. I had heard that Michigan has much nicer beaches than Indiana, so we made the trip. You can reach the Indiana border in about an hour, but we drove a little farther in to go to a beach my friend had recommended. Let me paint the picture for you: after a bunch of packing, hauling, driving, and walking, we arrived at a beautiful beach with soft sand and a gorgeous lake. (I mean, technically it's the same lake as in Indiana, but it just looked so beautiful and blue on this particular day in Michigan.) I had purchased a floating raft to hang out on while I watched Nathan play with the sand at the water's edge. It was about as relaxing as you can get with a 3-year-old. And then, about an hour in, there was an announcement over the loudspeaker that the county health department (of whatever county we were in) was recommending that everybody get out of the water due to a high bacteria level. The water we were just in. Ick. So that trip was a minor FAIL, but at least I learned about a nice place to go in Michigan.

Wednesday was a rest day, and I think we just went to the pool, where Nathan refused to get in. And Thursday we went to Ikea, and for $250 I solved all my organization problems, in the living room at least. Friday we cleaned out the living room and Nathan's room. So I guess my DIY camp was the most boring camp ever, at least on Friday.

So that puts us at the weekend of July 17-18, which we spent cleaning in anticipation of Guestfest 2010. Sunday night I hosted the most embarrassing dinner party ever, wherein I ordered pizza and made my guests chip in for it.

Monday my mother-in-law, father-in-law, oldest nephew (age 12), and father-in-law's cousin (age 60-something) came for a visit. My mother-in-law and father-in-law come all the time, so I didn't feel the pressure to do the whole Chicago tourist bit, but the other two guests never get here. So on Tuesday we all embarked upon the mother of all downtown trips: Buckingham Fountain, Millennium Park, Macy's, The Eye, Navy Pier with boat ride, John Hancock/Sears Tower (the group split up and half went to each building), and Portillo's hot dogs for dinner.

Wednesday we went to a waterpark, which was my nephew's special request. The guests left early Thursday, and then we were off on our next adventure, a trip to Grizzly Jack's waterpark resort in Starved Rock with my mom and stepdad. The place not only had a waterpark, but also an amusement park and arcade ... and a small train that went around and took you to the different locations! Oh, and there was some natural beauty in the form of the state park, but I must admit that due to weather and tantrums, we didn't get to see much of that.

So, we returned home Saturday, and my mom and stepdad followed us. They are staying an additional week while my stepdad competes in a disc golf tournament just over the border in Indiana. (Most of my mom and stepdad's travel involves Frisbee competition.) And we're back in swim lessons this week, where Nathan has moved up to the big pool. And so far my current guests haven't seen much more than our local parks and restaurants, but I have a few big trips planned. Today's trips are more medium-sized: we're going to the bouncy castle place, out to lunch at Joe's Crab Shack (they have a playground!), and to the gummy bear factory in Indiana.

And now we're caught up. Don't you feel better?