Frank Sinatra sang songs about many of the cities that he loved…New York – San Francisco – Chicago.
After a fantastic long weekend in Chicago, I’ll have to echo some of his words (written by Sammy Kahn and Jimmy Van Heusen):
Chicago is one town
That won’t let you down
It’s my kind of town.
I arrived on Friday morning and spent the day relaxing with my son and daughter-in-law at their home. Visiting with them is like going to a spa…they LOVE to cook “healthy” and every morning they start the day with a bowl of fresh fruit…mangoes, papayas, bananas, apples, peaches…drizzled with a little honey. For lunch each day, my son made a huge vegetable salad bowl for each of us…cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, mushrooms…all topped with some capers and a splash of aged blueberry balsamic vinegar.
My book event, Starting School Jitters Be Gone, on Saturday at Lollie, a children’s boutique in Evanston, just 20 minutes north of downtown Chicago, was so much fun! This shop is an amazing place…filled with many handmade and locally designed clothes and accessories, as well as other unique items for infants, toddlers and children. The owner is knowledgeable, helpful and a really lovely lady…I know if I lived in the Chicago area, I’d stop in there for any new baby gifts I needed, as well as for birthday and Christmas presents for any little ones on my list.
Of course, Mother Nature had her own plans for 11am, the time the first presentation was to start. The skies over the entire Chicago area darkened, and the heavens poured forth a torrential rainstorm, accompanied by huge claps of thunder and crackling flashes of lightening.
Inside Lollie, however, everything was bright and cheery. A group of young children listened attentively as I read The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. As the story about Chester unfolded, the children heard how the little raccoon, anxious about his first day of kindergarten, learned a secret from his mother that helped him overcome his fear and go to school with eager anticipation.
After the story reached its happy conclusion, I showed the children a sample of the craft project and explained how we would all be making “Kissing Handprints”…deciding who we loved and who loved us and then drawing in the features for each person (or pet or stuffed animal) on each finger.
Parents and children clustered around the craft table and we proceeded to draw an outline of each child’s hands. The hum of happy children, busily engaged in a constructive activity with their parents, is definitely music to my ears. “This finger is going to be my mommy” said one little girl. “And those are my dogs” she added.
The storm had ended by the time the second presentation was over. My son and daughter-in-law, who had brought me and had assisted during the program, helped me pack everything up. I’m looking forward to my next trip to Chicago…Lollie’s owner has invited me to come back to do another program, whenever I’m in town. Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking is available at the shop for those of you who are in the Chicago area.
The next few days were filled with family visits, an afternoon at the beach – unbelievable to have a REAL sandy beach with what looks and smells like the ocean (it’s really Lake Michigan) right across the street from the downtown area of a major city – and an architectural river boat cruise. It was difficult to leave…I’m already looking at my calendar to see when my next jaunt to Chicago will be.
My next post will be a review of a children’s book, A Reel Cool Summer, written by Martha Rodriguez. We connected online and she loved my book and did a great review of it. I brought her book on my trip and was able to share it with my great-niece and great-nephew…they absolutely loved it and were totally engaged in the story…so in my next post, it will be my turn to tell everyone why they need to run out and get a copy of Ms. Rodriguez’ fun-filled book for children ages 6-9.
Photo credit: Thanks to JCrocker for the Chicago skyline pic.