Saturday, July 30, 2011

My Kind of Town

A few weeks ago the kids and I drove to Chicago for a family reunion. This was the first time that my 3 brothers and their families had been together in I don't know how long. This is the place where I grew up. Well not actually in Chicago but in a little suburb about 35 miles west called Naperville. My friends and I used to sarcastically call it "Naperthrill" What a little punk I was. It's been named one of the best places in America to raise kids. This place is amazing and has grown so much. I kind of liked it when it was smaller and the down town was just a simple riverwalk with a local cleaners, post office, library, and YMCA. Like most kids I didn't know how good I had it. I'd like to share some of the tidbits that I learned on this trip. Just some memories.

* 36 hours with your kids by yourself in a car is unconditional love personified. I feared this trip for many reasons. But I can truly say that at every stop I took my kids out and gave them big hugs and kisses. They were really good travelers which was surprising to me since they had never been further than Plano (that's 45 minutes away for outside DFW people). They played with the stuff in their activity bags (gratefulness to Aunt Stacey!!) they fought (no brainer), they laughed, joked around in their own "language"I won't soon forget the time they repeated "Wagons and strollers" back and forth to each other for a solid hour!!! My patience WAS tested many times. Especially with the "No...that one" game that Carson played. It went something like this. He would point to something on the floor board of the car and I would reach my arm around to find the object I couldn't see and I would say "This one?" and he would say "No Mommy! that one!!" Another scramble to pick up an object "This one??" and on and on it went until I got wise to his little game.

*Sometimes revenge is sweet. Even 30 years later. We had these neighbors (the Wassons) that lived next door to us. They were older even back then in the 80s and didn't take too kindly to 4 kids living by them. I mean really how was i supposed to know not to drive my big wheel on his freshly tarred driveway. Anywho. The mother of all Wasson episodes came on one 4th of July when I was about 9. My Dad is the most cautious man on this earth but for some reason every summer he and my brothers would love visiting every firworks stand on our way back from our trips in Louisiana. They would load up and by the time we got back to our house in Naperville (where fireworks were illegal by the way) my Dad and brothers would have a cooler packed full of them. Well this particular 4th of July my Dad was lighting them off and came across one that wouldn't light "a dud" he called it as he tossed it behind him....INTO the cooler full of fireworks. Well as you might have a guessed this particular firework was not a dud but a late bloomer. Pretty soon we were having our own spectacular fireworks show inside of our garage. By the time the last bottle rocket had rocketed my Dad crept close to the garage to survey the damage and the Wassons were standing right behind him. Can you say gulp!!!?!! they threatened to call the police and report my Dad for his fireworking ways. Somehow cooler heads prevailed and my Dad didn't get locked up that night but us kids never forgot the scene the Wassons caused. Fast forward 30 years....Kate has to pee. I explained to Mrs. Wasson that we are potty training and may I use her bathroom. Mrs. W had mellowed out big time and was more than happy to tell up just to walk right in. I couldn't believe it when I stepped inside the 70s had never left that house. Green shag carpet, green tile in the bathroom with a green tub. I look down to Kate to help her get ready to go and well... she already a huge puddle on the Wasson's bathroom floor!!! I kind of panicked and was that 6 year old kid again running back to my house as they called us "little imps" Then I snapped out of it and realized I was 36 and accidents happened even if they did happen in the most pristine house in America. I quickly helped Kate finish ran to their kitchen to get paper towels to clean up the puddle and high tailed it out of there!! I remarked to my brother Brig what had happened and he looked at me and said "Honestly Bets, just consider it pay back." :)

* You can cut way ahead in bathroom  lines if you start to talk to the person in front of you and tell them you just started potty training. It really helps to reinforce your story  if your little girl is yelling "Mommy I really have to go potty!!" and jumping up and down. We lucked out because there was a nuns convention in town. I bet we cut in front of 15 nuns. Out of the goodness of their own hearts.

* You might think you have  a favorite pizza place but it can change. Chicago pizza is amazing. It's by definition deep dish and takes at least 45 minutes to cook. I always thought Giordanos was amazing, and then I really liked Gino's East but then my brother took us to Lou Malati's and I was blown away. Best ever. If you ever go to Chicago you have to go there.

*My kids love water. I thought they hated it but they just needed to be in the right situation it turns out. We went to this little spray park and they had a blast. See the slideshow.

* My Mom can still surprise me. My Mom is a lady who isn't big on amusement parks so I was blown away when she decided to ride the biggest ferris wheel ever with my nephew Reece. I was so proud of her. On another note Kate was dying to ride the Merry go Round. So Uncle Burke obliged. As we were riding she exclaimed "Woo hoo!!! I really so like this!!!"

* Childrens Museums rock!! I don't know what the one in Fort Worth is like but the one in Chicago is amazing. The kids could have spent all day there!! They got to build forts, dress up like firemen, play in water, dig for dinosaur bones, and lots more.

* It does my heart so incredibly good to see my kids loved by a Mimi, 3 Uncles, 3 Aunties, and 6 cousins. They had so much fun playing with all of their cousins. Kate held her own with the boys and Carson enjoyed having other rough and tumble boys to play with.

And I because I have held on to this post for about 2 weeks waiting for my brother to send some family pictures I can wait no more. It will just have to be a 2 parter or 3 parter. And here it is...the slideshow....

Some notable things in this slideshow: The house I grew up in,the fire engine plaque my Dad put up by the garage that has never been taken down, my elementary, junior high and high school,  the various places in Naperville that stand out to me, the fire hydrant boundary that I was not allowed to cross, Kate and Carso's first ice cream cone, the kids splashing around in the water park.


Jennifer said...

What a fun trip! I'm so glad you got to go and hang out with family - that's always awesome.

I have a family-five pass to the Children's museum - we should go sometime when you have a day off! It has a lot of the same things you talked about in your blog.

MJT said...

Bets... It seems to me I see the 1970s Brednich 4 in multiples!!! Wonderful memories of those days. Great that you were all able to be in Chicagoland together. Love the pixs. "Miss Mary Joy" loves all the Brednich tribe!

Kristen said...

Sounds fun! Didn't you run, too? How did that go? So glad the kids did well in the car. We are about to head to Nashville...dreading that drive! What was in their activity bags???

God has said, "Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper. I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" Hebrews 13:5-6