Monday, November 30, 2009

I ♥ Faces-Tooshies

In our family, we have what's known as opposite land.   When the kids say something like.... "I can't do it.".. or "My picture's ugly."...   we reply "In opposite land".

This week's contest at I ♥ Faces is in opposite land.   This week, instead of featuring faces, they wanna see Tooshies!   So here's future rock star, Sagie Contagious, at Lollapalooza 2009, with her airborne tush.  And here's her big bro's rockin' tush, too.   At age 8, he already has the rock star hair.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving and The Birthday Party of Death

This Thanksgiving I'm thankful for the usual--friends, family, etc.  

But, I'm also thankful for getting in to see a doctor at the last minute, yesterday, to get eyedrops for my double conjunctivitis (pink eye--in layman's terms) an annual and oh so fun fall tradition in our family for 4 years running.   Woo hoo--November, time for turkey dinner, pink eye and school head lice infestations.   Still, these are minor inconveniences compared to the major health and economic crises facing so many families.

I am also thankful to have kids with a great sense of humor.   They crack me up daily.  I have a sweetheart of a boy who would do anything for his friends and who is not afraid to dress up and be goofy--a trait lost in so many 8 year old boys who are suddenly too cool for childhood.   You've gotta love a boy who'll wear a silly hat.

And, I am thankful for my rough and tumble girl--my tomboy in a tutu.   She takes ballet and tackles (and takes down) 10 year old boys!   Sometimes parents of young girls OD on the cute.   There are too many 6 year old girls obsessed with pretty princesses and pink ponies.   I'm soooo thankful my kid isn't one of them.  

I relish the dark humor when I can find it, and she has a good appreciation for the macabre, too.   She was recently invited to a gymnastic birthday, where the release form was so grim, I had to read it aloud to my husband, and laugh about the "Birthday Party of Death" we were sending our darling daughter off to.

When I realized, much to my chagrine, that Sagezilla had overheard me from the next room, I quickly backpeddled and explained it would be perfectly safe and fine.    They were just covering their butts from sue happy parents.   It's just like Jump Zone and inflatables place waivers.   No big deal.   I worried for a second, that she'd be fearful to go.   Instead, my little punk rocker gave a wicked grin and exclaimed, "Cool!   Maybe I'll break my arm there and get to go to the hospital!"

........Finally, I am thankful neither kid has broken any bones, yet.   And I am eternally grateful that our sue happy society provided us an afternoon of great amusement.   I'll conclude with the "Happy Birthday Party of Death Release Form".    Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving and enjoy the dark humor where you can get it.

Dreams Gymnastics Club, Inc.

Party Participation Informed Consent and Waiver

I, _____________________________________ the undersigned, on behalf of my child,

____________________________, and my child’s father/mother (circle one)

______________________________ consent to my child’s attendance at and participation

in the activities, including, but not limited to, bouncing on the 30 foot long Tumble Trak®,

swinging on the rope and/or bar into the foam pit, jumping into the foam pit, floating under the

parachute and participating in the obstacle course and other activities offered at the Dreams

Gymnastics Birthday Party.

I understand and acknowledge that my child’s participation at the Birthday Party is an inherently dangerous activity and I acknowledge that, Dreams Gymnastics, Inc. has taken every precaution

required to avoid injury to participants in Dreams Gymnastics Club Inc.’s Birthday Party. I

further acknowledge that despite the precautions taken by Dreams Gymnastics Club Inc., my

child’s participation in the Birthday Party, may result in injury to
my child, including but not limited to: minor to severe bumps,
bruises, cuts and scrapes, minor to severe joint sprains to the shoulders, elbows, knees, ankles, feet and hips, minor to severe ligament and tendon sprains and tears, broken bones, minor to severe head injury, minor to severe neck sprains, and/or spinal cord damage which may result in paralysis. I acknowledge that I understand the inherent risks associated with the Birthday Party, including,

but not limited to the above mentioned injuries, and consent to my child’s participation in the Birthday Party.

I understand and acknowledge that Dreams Gymnastics Club Inc. is not responsible for any items

lost, stolen and/or left at Dreams Gymnastics.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I ♥ Faces-- Sun Flairs

What a warm and bright subject for this week's contest at I ♥ Faces.  We had some sweet sun flairs at the ocean, from our Portland vacation, but though stunning, they seemed kind of cliche.   So, I'm posting this one of Dug hiking in the Pacific Northwest.  

We're dedicated city dwellers, but it's good for the lungs and the spirit to go where the trees are taller than buildings, at least a few times a year.   We love the wilderness.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Nano Nano Na Na--Today NaNoWriMo is 2/3 Of The Way To The Finish Line

Word is, participant numbers for the year have been incredible.  Between both adult and youth programs, NaNoWriMo is currently hosting over 200,000 high-velocity novelists!

 So, when you're able to read "Get in the Soup and Other Silly Stories", a sibling collaboration between Sagezilla and Du-Jay.   And when you can read the first three novels in The Mystery Runes Series--Fehu, Uruz and Thurisaz...........thank NaNoWriMo for kicking us in the collective booties every November and giving us a hard and fast deadline.

(Hard being the key word....especially with sick kids early in the month who give you what they had....and piles of laundry and dishes...and a tree that fell down in the recent storms taking up the whole yard...and big pets and little kids who clamor to be fed and paid attention to...and taken to classes)

(And fast being.....egad!   November is OVER in 10 days and 6 of those are NOT school days and one of those is taken by Thanksgiving with relatives.  And I still have to write how many thousand words?!!!  Whimper.)

Back to the Mac Master.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Look For ChiIL Mama This Weekend: Bookamania, Old Town School, Lights Festival, Revolution Tattoo

It's Bookamania time again!   Come join us at one of our favorite free annual events.   We have loved Bookamania for years.   Come down to The Harold Washington Library this Saturday only, from 11-3PM.   

Bookamania 2008--Here's Mo Willems, kooky creative author and illustrator of kids' favorites like "Don't Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus" Next to him is our favorite punk rock librarian.  She's Logan Square's Children's librarian extraordinaire, Lisa.   And her alter ego is punk/metal guitar player from CoCoComa and Headache City, who opened for X at Metro.  By the way--Exene, lead singer for X was a librarian, too.     So go check out your local branch and tell 'em librarians ROCK!

One day a year, Chicago's flagship library is transformed into a magical land, brimming with beloved costumed children's book characters, live entertainment, numerous book related craft projects, and free books.   Children ages 3-10 and their families will have the opportunity to meet famous children’s book authors, illustrators,

enjoy puppetry, theater, dance, magic and music performances.  Activities run throughout the building, including in the Thomas Hughes Children’s Library, Winter Garden, Cindy Pritzker Auditorium and Main Lobby.

This year's highlights include Special performances by Jabberwocky Marionettes, Ken Lonnquist, Chris Fascione,  Mother Goose and her friends, storyteller Karen King, Bill Hooper, Jasmin Cardenas’s bilingual folktales, and the always popular Puppet Bike.  TheatreworksUSA will perform Click, Clack, Moo.

Book Fiesta! co-creators Pat Mora, author, and Rafael Lopez,illustrator, will be there to sign books.  Also present will be Bob Barner, author and illustrator of Dinosaurs Roar, Butterflies Soar! and Jim Aylesworth, author of The Mitten.  Charles R. Smith, Jr., the photographer of the book My People will be on hand to talk about his work as well. 

 Children will have the opportunity to have their picture taken with life-sized, costumed characters George and Martha, Madeline, Norman the Doorman, Wild Thing and Max, Fairy Godmother, the Chicago Public Library Owl, the Storybook King and Queen and the Very Hungry Caterpillar. .


Winter Garden Main Stage:
11 a.m.       Chris Fascione, Master of Ceremonies
11:30 a.m.  Jabberwocky Marionettes
12:30 p.m   Afro-Ethnic Folklorio
1:30 p.m.    Ken Lonnquist - Imagination Unlimited!
2:30 p.m.    Chris Fascione - Juggling Funny Stories

Thomas Hughes Children's Library:
11 a.m.        Mother Goose & her Friends
Noon            Storyteller Karen A. King
1 p.m.          Bill Hooper's Active Music for Children
2 p.m.          Jasmin Cardenas - Bilingual Folktales

All Day - meet your favorite storybook characters, sign the Fairy Tale Guest Book and watch Sean Masterson's Magic Up Close

11:15 am. and 1:30 p.m.   Click, Clack, Moo by TheatreworksUSA

And don't miss the Puppet Bike at the State Street entrance.

As Library Commissioner Mary Dempsey explained, “One of the best things a parent can do for their child is to instill a love of reading.  Simply reading with a child and showing them the joy to be found in books will set them on a successful path to reading and lifelong learning.  Bookamania offers families a day of fun, free activities celebrating the wonderful worlds that exist in children’s books.”

Bookamania is made possible through a grant from the Chicago Public Library Foundation and the Target Corporation. 

Make a whole day of it.   After Bookamania, walk over to The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival.  The parade steps off at 5:30 and fireworks are slated for 6:55.  Check out the full schedule here.

Old Town School of Folk Music Open House
If that's not enough, there's an excellent, free sampler going on from 5-10pm at Old Town School.   Click on the link for a full schedule.

Lucky enough to have a Saturday night sitter, an ex with a custody weekend, or no kids, but you like to read ChiIL Mama anyway..............?

Then head over to Revolution Tattoo on Western and say hey to our long time friends and excellent artists, Cheri and Omar.   They're having an opening at their place that features sushi...........and beer.........and creepy cool art. 
Love, Death and Torture

Paintings by Anne-Katrin Elliott

Opening Reception

Saturday November 21, 2009
Sushi & Beer
Music by DJ Pantera

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I ♥ Faces--Autumn Beauty

Autumn Beauty is the contest theme of the week, over at
I ♥ Faces.   Our silly friend, Rose, chose to BE the fall leaves, for her creative and awesome Halloween costume.   What's more beautiful than three colorful friends, enjoying autumn trick or treat time together?

Friday, November 13, 2009

ChiIL Out and Help Out---Event Round Up

As a parent, I'm more invested than ever, in making the world a better place for my children.  Here's a round up of local events, for the grown ups, that support Chicago groups who are making a difference.

Our Brrlin Wall! - A Showcase of Art by Homeless Youths

On Monday, November 16th, more than 25 homeless youths will offer a free-of-charge show- Our Brrlin Wall!- featuring their visual and performance art.

Monday, 11/16, 7-9 p.m.
656 W. Barry, 2nd Unitarian Church

 The director of the show wants to spread the word, so they have a good crowd for the scheduled appearance of Mayor Daley. 

All youth are active in the HELLO Youth Group, which is co-run by the Youth Futures legal aid clinic at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless and The Night Ministry.  The youth group meets every Tuesday evening at the Broadway Youth Center.

For more information, contact CCH youth attorney Beth Cunningham

If you have the time, come on out and support the plight of our homeless youth (and the drastic funding cuts that they have suffered!)

S.H.E. Productions Presents…
November 21, 2009
5:00pm - Midnight

“Stuffing, A Prelude to the Holidays”

A Fundraising Gala for Lincoln Park Community Center & Judith Garduno

An Evening of Theater, Art, Music, Dancing, Food, Drinks, Fundraising
Raffle, Silent Auction & Great Prizes!!!!!!


A Gallery of Art
Valerie Kahan, Jeremy Bonsol, Elie Hazlet, Christine Sanderson, Mark Sullivan, & Tara Luther

An Original Theatrical Performance "Stuffing"
Kira Silverstein, Jenny Weiner, Eli Mazursky, Drew Anderson & Michael Moran


Cecil Thomas “DJ C-Dub”
And More TBA…..

Elissa Narow “Sweet & Naro, Inc.”
Formally head pastry chef of Blackbird, Avec, Custom House, & Spring

Chimay & Hofbrau & Garnacha
Edgewater Lounge & Whole foods

And More TBA…..

Buy tickets online at
$25 after November 6th and $30 at the door!!!!!

S.H.E. Productions, Inc.
Survive, Heal & Empower

An Organization Connecting Art, Theater, Non-profit & Businesses

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is over, but for the women who live with this disease, creating awareness never ends.
Recovery on Water (ROW!), is a competitive skull-racing group for breast cancer survivors.  Survivors that participate in high-impact sports have a 50% less recurrence of breast cancer, and are much less likely to suffer through the long-term effects of radiation, chemo and other hard-core life-saving treatments.   They have a fundraiser coming up on December 5th, that is good for your body and soul.

"Pilates with a Purpose", a donation class benefiting ROW!

What: A donation beginners pilates class (you can donate $1 or $100 to attend--anything you can give is appreciated!)
When:Sunday, December 5, 11 am
Where: Soulistic Studio and Spa • 805 North Milwaukee Avenue • Suite 200 • Chicago, IL 60642

To RSVP a spot for the class, please call Soulistic at 312.226.SOUL(7685). Let me know if you can't read the attachment or if you have any questions.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Look For ChiIL Mama This Weekend: Holes, MCA Family Days, Wonder Kids at MSI

Holes is highly recommended and playing through December 5th at Merle Reskin Theatre.   DePaul Theatre school does a fabulous job of bringing affordable, high quality children's theatre productions to life. 

Holes,was written and adapted for the stage by one of our favorite authors, Louis Sachar.   He's known for his Wayside School series and a hilarious, highly creative guy with a delightfully twisted sense of humor.

ChiIL Mama also recommends MCA Free Family Days--11-3PM every second Saturday.   This weekend, come check out artist Liam Gillick's work, and create your own art.   Museum admission and all activities are free for families with kids 12 and under.

 If you're raising more of a young scientist than an artist, check out MSI, for
Wonder Kids, a day of interactive science experiments at the Museum of Science and Industry on Saturday, November 14, 2009 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Families with children of all ages will learn about the science of themselves through fun, hands-on activities and make-and-takes related to the theme of our new exhibit, YOU! The Experience. Try painting with your knees or elbows to learn about your body. Identify what you're touching without seeing it. Decipher someone's emotions in a game called "mirror mirror." Understand sound by making your own bat ears, and more.   Activities are included with museum admission price.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Not Too Late To WriMo

Remember, November is National Novel Writer's Month.   So, whether you want to join the challenge to write a 50,000 word novel before November 30th, or just try your hand at something shorter, get out there and write stuff.   The shorter days and dark, cold evenings are perfect for curling up with a laptop and banging out that Great American Novel that you've always dreamed of writing.

If you're not a story weaver, hug a novelist, or at the very least, read a novel and encourage a love of reading and writing in our next generation.  

 Check out the NaNoWriMo web site for fun writing prompts for all ages.   Those under 18 can still get away with setting a realistic word goal, with the Young Writers Program, and can still win NaNoWriMo without conquering the big, scary 50,000 word beast.   Check out their unique kid-friendly web site for fun writing tools like  The Dare Machine, which spews silly writing prompts.  

Both Sagezilla and Du-Jay are collaborating this year on a 3,000 word novel.   Kids as young as Kindergarten can dictate their novel ideas to an adult, or write a class collaboration.   I have extra buttons and Nano stickers for any young writers who finish the challenge and contact me.

So, write on.   Read on.   And if you see someone in a NaNoWriMo tee shirt frantically tapping away at a coffee house near you, give 'em a smile and buy 'em a cup of joe.   They're gonna need it!

Oh The Humanity...................

More than 90 arts and humanities programs explore the many facets of laughter!

It's that wonderful time of year again, and the 20th annual Chicago Humanities Festival is in full swing.  Every fall, Humanities Fest brings a different enriching topic, and this year's theme, Laughter, is sure to be a hit.

The complete schedule is available here, and you can add CHF on Facebook and Twitter for frequent updates.   However, the following ChiIL Mama picks stand out from the rest and deserve a closer look.

Tomorrow night at 7:00pm, Matt Groening and Lynda Barry, will hold court at UIC, for an hour lecture.   This event is not particularly kid friendly, but older students and educators are free.

Matt Groening & Lynda Barry  

Thu, Nov. 5 7:00 - 8:00 PM

Two of the country’s funniest people separately, Groening and Barry together breach the comic sublime.

Then, this Sunday, there are a multitude of fantastic family friendly choices.

Trickster!: Sunday 11/8 at 12 pm, NU School of Law Thorne Auditorium 375
E. Chicago Avenue

Insect Antics: Sunday 11/8 at 1:30 pm at Harold Washington Library
Center, 400 S. State Street

Well-Defined/Michael Salinger: Sunday 11/8 at 2 pm at Francis Parker
School, 2233 N. Clark Street

Tickets to programs range from $5-20, with students and educators admitted free to many events. Tickets can be ordered by calling the CHF box office at 312-494-9509 or via the Chicago Humanities Festival Web site. Ticket buyers may also create and manage an online itinerary on the Web site and share it via email with friends.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I ♥ Faces Balloons

I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out...............
Here's Sagezilla in the penalty box at The United Center, during the Blackhawks Training Camp Festival in September.   She got 2 minutes for snarking. 

When I saw that the I ♥ Faces contest this week is balloons, I couldn't resist.
This is the calm before the storm.   

She was sitting there simmering, after the fight with her big brother, and when she saw me snapping photos, she morphed into a shrieking ball of 44 pounds of pure fury, screaming "Delete it!   Delete it!"

I just couldn't.   When she's giving me far greater grief as a teenager, I want to look back at that little plaid skirt and that little red balloon, and remember the good old days.