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Lincoln Park Zoo Pinata Enrichment

Pinata Enrichment.

Giving food stuffed pinatas to animals at the zoo.

Holy crap. That is awesome. Must go.

Start with lions and their zebra pinata. Expect zebra pinata massacre.

Sniff, rub up against, ignore.

Wait 45 minutes in hope of massacre. Nope. Overhear staff member say, “Well that was anti-climactic.”

Move on to gorillas.

Gorillas know what to do. Eat boxes and pinatas of food!

Meet up with Christa and see that the lions still haven’t mauled their pinata.

Ooops wrong one!

Watch staff prepare pinata for wild dogs by stuffing it full of meat and SPRAYING IT WITH BLOOD. I got a little giddy with anticipation.

Overhear staff members say that the lion’s zebra pinata was empty because they were afraid the male would get too aggressive. aahhhh. That explained it.

Then the wild dogs were released!

That was exciting. People cheered.

Christa suggested I make one for Lilo. Need to learn paper mache so I can make a pinata squirrel for Lilo and stuff it full of meat, meat and more meat.

Full set of photos here.


Canyon Gets a Taste of the Geek Life

There comes a time in every baby’s life where he must attend his first comic book convention. Ok, maybe not every baby’s life, but definetely Canyon’s! Saturday was that day.

We headed down to the C2E2, the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo at McCormick Place. There wasn’t time for an elaborate Canyon costume so we settled on Threadless T’s since we knew they would be there.

Basically we walked around for a few hours and people watched. We didn’t buy anything, didn’t pay to get autographs, just walked around! And of course took pictures.

Now some babies would be terrified of meeting Chewbacca but Canyon LOVED him!

And he was all “take that Darth Vader! You can keep your Dark Side!”

Canyon caught the eye of the writer Peter David.

This was all a pretty good warm up for Wizard World/Chicago Comic Con in August. Canyon will have a costume. We are tossing around a few ideas. Suggestions and help are welcome! Right now we are leaning toward turning his stroller into a Tardis and dressing him like an incarnation of the Doctor. Do they make baby sized trench coats?

Full set of photos on Flickr.


Friday I’m In Love…With Lake Michigan

On Friday John was the late shift at work so we had time for some fun before work. Of course we each had different kinds of fun in mind. So we parked at McCormick Place and he went to the comic book convention while Lilo, Canyon and I went for a walk by the lake!

After a long walk in full sun Lilo was happy to relax in the grass while Canyon played in the playground.

This playground is a far drive from our house but the view is totally worth it.

The walk back was hot and I was fighting the wind the whole way. Lucky it was pretty enough to keep me distracted!


Our Thursday, An Act in 3 Parts-Part 3: Lincoln Park Zoo

On to the zoo we went.

Canyon enjoyed a bottle while I took pictures of the sun bear.

And then he fell asleep.

I took advantage of nap time by walking us over to Cosi. I love this place for its comfortable seating, nice view and great food. I settled in to my usual spot and basically entertained myself by listening in to the little rich boys in the corner. We were in a wealthy neighborhood with extrememly expensive private schools. These boys were maybe 13 or 14 but obviously future Nate Archibald’s and Chuck Bass’s. (Gossip Girl reference). Expensive haircuts, name brand clothes and about $15 worth of an after school snack each. My first bite of conversation-
“How do you handle those fundraising calls?”
“My Dad just says “I already spend $20,000 on his education why do I need to give more?”

They continued on bragging about which private school was better, how bilingual they were, their trips abroad, etc. Then Chuck started quizzing Nate on how many girls he had dated. Poor little Nate starts listing girls at private schools in the area and then mentions some girl in LA. “LA? So you dated her when you were there?” “Oh yeah, and then we tried to make it work long distance.” “Long Distance? Let me tell you, I have tried the long distance thing. It never works. It ends in disaster.”

Oh the world wisdom of spoiled children.

When they left, an employee of the restaurant came over and found a small plastic kangaroo. She asked if i saw who left it and I said I doubted it was the boys. We started talking and she said that place always gets children who come in with their fancy purses, IPhones and credit cards. We laughed. She gave us the kangaroo.

Back to the zoo and Canyon slept through it all. I was just enjoying the sunshine and freedom. I repeatedly offered to take group photos for people. I smiled a lot.

The zoo was closing so it was time to go home.


Our Thursday, An Act in 3 Parts-Part 2: Conservatory

From the museum we walked over to our next free attraction, the Lincoln Park Conservatory.

From here we continued on to the zoo…


Our Thursday, An Act in 3 Parts-Part 1: Nature Museum

God I love free days. Thursday was free day at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. We used our Lincoln Park Zoo membership to get free parking and then walked over to the Nature Museum. We arrived around 1:15pm and it was the perfect time-the school groups were leaving and the place was almost empty. Just how I like it!

We went through the butterfly haven. The mirror is to make sure you don’t have any butterfly hitchhikers on you when you leave.

Butterfly foreplay…

Hot butterfly love…

It was so hot in the exhibit that we had to take a break and explore more of the museum before going back to see more butterflies.

It was time to move on…

I of course have lots of photos from the day available here...


A Raven, A Parrot and a Dead Duck. Another Day In Chicago

After a little bit of playtime with Canyon’s friend Max, we left John at the theatre and headed for the lake.
It’s like summer here in Chicago but since it’s only April, not so crowded. On monday I missed a photo op that made me a little crazy, but as I pulled up to our usual space it was happening all over again. Raven drinking from the water fountain!

Canyon was totally asleep and didn’t even wake up as I transferred him from the car seat to the stroller. So I decided to listen to my IPod while I walked. This is a rare thing for me. Most of the time I don’t wear headphones because I like to be aware of my surroundings and alert to approaching humans. But I am obsessed with “Florence and the Machine” and feel a compulsive need to listen to her at all times so in the ear buds went. I have a hard time with ear buds, they are always falling out of my ears or being yanked out by my forgetting that I am basically attached to the stroller…it’s annoying. But I finally got my ear bud wearing, stroller pushing, ball throwing groove on and made some distance down the lake path.

By the time I got to the golf course my morning latte was kicking in big time and I had to maneuver my way into the non-stroller, non-dog friendly bathroom. I wasn’t going to leave either one outside so I forced the stroller up the stairs and dragged Lilo along. Since there was no handicap stall I went to the last one, tied Lilo to the stroller and parked it in front of the open stall door. Might have helped if I had locked the stroller wheels because as I am sitting there Lilo decided to walk away, taking Canyon with her! So that’s how Canyon woke up, with me screaming, “Lilo stop!” in an echoey bathroom.

We make our way back down the path and I see a man approaching with a parrot! I follow him for a bit before finally getting up the nerve to ask to take their picture. I always feel weird asking that, and I think the guy felt weird saying yes, but then we were both like, “Dude, I/You am/are walking down the lakefront with a parrot. Of course someone is going to take my/your picture.”

We walked for over an hour before settling in to play in the grass. This is Canyon’s serious focus on play face…

He loves the grass, sticks and rocks. I love that he doesn’t put anything in his mouth.

Oh and the last of our unusual bird encounters, duck with it’s throat ripped out! I am wondering if it was snagged by a fisherman or if a seagull ate it after it was dead.

On Tuesday’s walk we saw a dead, headless, white pigeon floating down the river. What’s with me and creepy dead birds this week?


Chicago River Walk

We returned to one of our favorite walking spots along the Chicago RIver and took the time to walk further and explore the area more. First discovery-a great playground!

Finally I have found a playground that is not crowded and has a safe place for Lilo while Canyon plays on the swings and slide!

It’s a great little playlot and below it is a big open field for Lilo to run in before we walk along the Chicago River.

We saw ducks and deer. We saw a HUGE snapping turtle. HUGE. He’s like a dinosaur.

It’s that dreamy part of spring where the whole forest is a deep carpet of green and yellow.

At the end of the trail is a set of railroad tracks. For years I have been afraid of a train racing by and hitting Lilo and would yell for her hysterically every time she strayed even near them. I kept thinking I heard the train and was disappointed that I missed the photo op of it crossing the river. Then we got to the end and this time I wanted to face my fear of the tracks and headed up. And realized that there haven’t been tracks there in like 30 years! It’s just a gravel path! How crazy is that? Now we can easily move down to the other side and walk even further along the river!

While I was making this major discovery John realized Canyon had lost a shoe. Now it was the super sparkly shoe that I love so I hiked back on my own. This was a beautiful moment alone on the flowery trail. Then I found his shoe nestled beneath a tree. It was so pretty it was kind of a shame to move it!