On to more important things... Joel turned 4 at the end of July. We had tons of fun celebrating his birthday for a couple of weeks. He is old enough that he fully understands that birthdays mean lots of celebrations and fun. This includes special treats, dinners, presents, a party, and cake. Joel often has a specific plan in mind for the details of all of these celebrations.
The week before his birthday, we tried out a new to us train themed restaurant. This one is a little further away from our house than the one we have been to so many times they recognize us. So, we went to ChooChoo Johnny's (we had a LivingSocial certificate)!
Jim is holding Kirstin on top of the train, even though that lovely white piece of paper on the wall next to the train says only one child at a time.
Kirstin and Jim checking out the model train display (sorry for the bad reflection from the window).
Kirstin drinking MY milkshake!
Watching the train the delivered his Superman Ice cream with a candle in it.
Choo Choo Johnny's is more spacious, quieter, and less overstimulating than All Aboard Diner. The food is better at AAD, not that you really go for the food.
Grandma Kris came down to celebrate with Joel the weekend before his birthday, too. We spent Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Park Zoo. It's a free zoo in downtown Chicago. (Parking was NOT free)! Joel and I have been wanting to check out this zoo, so this was a great time.
I think Flamingos are cool creatures.
Lincoln Park Zoo has a Farm in the Zoo. This was particular interesting to Joel because it is featured in one of his "John Deere for Kids" videos that he has checked out from the library.
We watched a cow milking demonstration. As a breastfeeding mom, I felt like I could relate to those cows and am grateful that my baby is always with me rather than a big machine.
Joel and Jim on the big John Deere tractor!
Our family! Thanks, Grandma Kris for taking the picture.
A one horned gazelle (he lost it in an incident at a previous institution) and a giraffe.
Hello, Giraffe! We see your black tongue. One of Joel's books has a giraffe with a red tongue and I tried to tell Joel that they really have black tongues. So, we waited to observe (and get a picture) of the a real giraffe's black tongue. Every moment is a teaching moment around here. :-)
Hello Polar Bear. Thank you for diving into the water and swimming right up to us. We enjoyed getting to observe you during your afternoon swim.
Up close with the Polar Bear.
On Joel's actual birthday we went to dinner at his favorite restaurant, All Aboard Diner, where we have gone to celebrate his 2nd, 3rd, and now 4th birthdays... as well as the birth of his baby sister and many other random things that needed to be celebrated.
This time Kirstin was allowed to ride the train with Joel. They both loved it!
Joel was thrilled to enjoy his birthday ice cream! What an adorable four-year-old!
Stay tuned for the week of all the preparations for Joel's party and the party.