Slinkies and school supplies and back-to-school fun, oh my!

Supposedly fall is approaching. I know this for a few reasons including, but not limited to:

  • The beginning of the onslaught of pumpkin spice-flavored ev.er.y.thing.
  • The temperatures in Chicago slowly but surely starting to edge toward “habitable,” if not “downright lovely” (mid-to-high 70s, yes please!)
  • People continuing to tell me it’s the middle of August despite all my sensibilities telling me we’re just starting into June, and people ending up being correct
  • The start of my Facebook feed being overwhelmed with pictures adorable, well-kept, freshly-clothed children standing in front of their homes with backpacks on

That’s right. It’s back-to-school season. And, for what it’s worth (which is admittedly not a lot), I adore these back-to-school pictures. Never stop, Facebook parents. Never stop. These back-to-school pictures are enough to make me channel Meg Ryan’s character in the beginning of “You’ve Got Mail” and start waxing poetic about bouquets of pencils in the fall (autumn? Does she say autumn? Probably.).

Wee Connor is still too young to go to school*, let alone back to school, but it turns out that doesn’t mean I can’t join in on the fun.

image001Enter the Gill Park Back-to-School Bash on Thursday, August 18th. While this is probably an atypical blog post for me in promoting an upcoming event, I wanted to put the word out because I think community events are important and, more importantly, fun. Also, slinkies. There are going to be so many slinkies.

Community events like this are not only fun but remind us why we love living in the city. This event is not “just for” anyone, it’s for everyone who wants to come out, play (with a 4-foot tall slinky because ohmygoshthat’sathingtheydid), and interact with other people from the neighborhood who are prepping the space on their cameras and phones as needed for these back-to-school pictures they’re about to take. The first 100 guests will receive a free backpack and slinky, and there is even face painting, mascots, and snacks as well. You guys, this is going to be fun, even if I don’t have a kiddo going to school this year.

Wee Connor and I will definitely be there, and I hope if you’re at all interested or just want to find out more about Chicago neighborhood events you’ll come join us. If you see us and we don’t know you, please say hi!

So quickly, let me tweet the deets:

The What

Gill Park’s Back to School Bash

The When

Thursday, August 18th
4 – 7pm

The Where

Gill Park
825 W. Sheridan Rd.
Chicago, IL

The Cost

FREE! Now you seriously don’t have an excuse, right?

The Why

Because it’s back to school season and that’s a million times better than anything flavored with pumpkin spice. More importantly, because it’s going to be a ton of fun and community events in Chicago are awesome. They’re why we live in the city!

Hopefully I’ll see you there!

 

 


*You can bet your sweet bippy when that fateful day comes I will be snapping those pictures of my fresh-faced, backpacked child and bemoaning the passage of time with the best of them. Also, I’ll be crying. Not the cute one-tear-down-the-cheek while I reminisce about the little Winston Churchill lookalike I took home with me from the hospital what seems like 10 minutes ago, either. I’m talking real-life, Mom-is-so-uncool-and-not-in-a-cute-way, nose-running ugly crying. Admitting it is the first step, I think.

Advertisements

I got to ride in an adult-sized stroller because sometimes life really is that awesome

When Contours Baby* contacted me and asked if I would perhaps be willing to come downtown to witness and/or experience FCB Chicago’s latest brainchild for parents allowing them to test strollers in a real way, I was intrigued because how do we actually know if a stroller is comfortable or not? (Babies are notoriously tight-lipped when it comes to critiques of stroller ergonomics.) When I found out this would entail me hopping into – and being pushed in – an adult-sized exact replica of their flagship stroller I almost fell out of my chair in excitement.

Oh, who are we kidding? I absolutely, literally, fell out of my chair in excitement.

You see, after 19 months (whaaaat?!) of pushing another living being around in an ergonomically-designed wheeled contraption there was nothing – nothing – I wanted more than to experience this bliss myself. And wouldn’t you know? The name of the stroller model is literally Bliss. I’m talking fate, people. Kismet, if you will.

I know that's exactly what they described, but I will still never be able to handle it.

I know that’s exactly what they described, but I will still never be able to handle it.

The nice folks over at Contours had described the concept as a “full-scale, adult-sized, exact replica of the stroller,” and so I’m not sure why I was so shocked to see exactly that. Maybe I expected the general framework, but not all the details? But no. They spared no detail. The mesh undercarriage, the seat, the cute design on the inside of the sun shade, the mesh holders inside to hold toys (which I could only assume were to hold bottles of wine on the adult-sized one)? They were all there. Exactly to scale. Exactly as they appear on the baby-sized stroller.

The whole purpose of the day was for FCB to be able to film the stroller in action to get real reactions of people who are not used to riding around in adult-sized strollers (so their sample size was presumably pretty much any adult). They decided to film my piece down Michigan Avenue (the Magnificent Mile, for those not as familiar with Chicago, but who might have heard that term).

We planted ourselves right in front of the Water Tower, which is pretty much the epicenter of the most touristy part of the Mag Mile.

I strapped myself in with the 5-point harness because safety first, everyone

IMG_20160502_161818

Please note the lovely step stool…that fit in the undercarriage holder. Amazing.

I addressed my legions of adoring fans…

When you're famous I've learned it's always important to make time for the little people. And maybe also not call them little people. And then also realize you are in no way famous.

When you’re famous I’ve learned it’s always important to make time for the little people. And maybe also not call them little people. And then also realize you are in no way famous.

And then we set off down Michigan Avenue…

IMG_20160502_162306

I almost felt guilty about having someone so tiny push me and this ginormous stroller…

…but then realized this was pretty much the best thing that had ever happened to me. Also, karma. Or something.

Yes, moms of the world, riding in a stroller really is as awesome as we have always wondered.

Yes, moms of the world, riding in a stroller really is as awesome as we have always wondered.

People (tourists and locals alike) could not stop taking pictures. If I’m going to become internet famous, this is absolutely how I’d prefer it to happen.

Eventually I brought Wee Connor up with me into the stroller. I did my best “baby napping in a stroller” impression while he did his best “parent hating the fact that their child is napping in a stroller instead of in their crib” impression.

I'm so glad I could start being the most embarrassing human on the planet so early.

Nailed it.

The verdict? The stroller was super comfortable, the ride, while beyond understandably slow, was steady and smooth, and I pretty much had the most fun I’ve ever had in my entire life on Michigan Avenue. Also, I got to ride in a freaking adult-sized stroller, and that is every mom’s secret dream.

Thanks for the good times, Contours! I had a blast.

IMG_20160502_163213

Just your average Monday in Chicago, folks.

 

*P.S. Contours is having a $150 Spa Finder giveaway on their Facebook page right now through Friday, May 6th!

**FCB Chicago is an ad agency who partnered with Contours to enter into the Cannes Lions. An earlier version of this post stated the entry was solely by Contours.