Turning 40 - Part 2

6:00 AM

I already told you about my blissful visit from my best friend, Emily, but that lovely experience was just the beginning! As the 40th IS a big birthday, you do feel as though you need to mark it in some way. 

After very little consideration, Kyle and I signed up to do the Chicago Triathlon! The race distances included super sprint and sprint, but the primary race was the International Distance, which is what we signed up for. This was our second International Triathlon.  Basically a mile swim in Lake Michigan, 26 mile bike ride up and down Lakeshore Drive and through some underbelly streets downtown, and a 6.2 mile run along the shore of Lake Michigan. What's not to love??

However, you can't commit to an event like that without some serious support, which is where my precious parents came in. They offered to come to Chicago to help me ring in my 40th and watch the kids for us the day of the triathlon. It was an all around fabulous idea!


What my kids didn't know was that when my parents came, they were going to bring Sawyer and Gage with them - two of the cousins who have been particularly sad to lose my boys to Chicago. It was a lovely surprise for my kids, although they barely reacted when the boys clambered out of the car. Kids never react the way you expect them to. But they definitely definitely loved seeing the boys.


My birthday fell on a Thursday, and Kyle worked that day, so I hung out with the parents and the kids. Sawyer and Gage had never been to the beach before, so we introduced them to ours! It was freezing and the waves were again, quite rough, but the kids didn't seem to mind.


I watched those waves, knowing I was going to be swimming out there in a few days and was a tad nervous. Hoping it would be calm early in the morning...

 
While the bigger kids got wet, Wilder dug around in the sand and found delicious rocks.

Then dropped them.

My kids introduced Sawyer and Gage to the art of Becoming a Unicorn, as they say.

It involves Maple Seeds, splitting the seeds open and letting them stick to the bridge of your nose. I love it! 

The Unicorns found some chairs in front of a neighbor's house and rested their "weary" legs before walking the remaining few feet to our house.  Then, Kyle took me out to dinner that night! 

 
A real date. Just the two of us. No kids. No high chairs. We hadn't been on a date since February. It's not as bad as it sounds - we get time together to talk and be grown-ups together more than you'd think and we work out together -so stop scolding me.

 

He picked a restaurant that he thought I might like, a farm to table place called Homestead on the Roof, and it was possibly the best meal I've ever eaten. So amazing. It was also in a different neighborhood than I'd ever been in, so it was fun to see a new part of the city!           

I ordered a sweet pea risotto that was possibly straight from heaven. 

Kyle had grilled eggplant with a whole lot of other things that I can't remember, but that were amazing.

Happy Birthday, Me!

They gave me a sparkler on my dessert! Much better than candles!

We each got something different to split. 
Kyle got a Key Lime Trifle thingy which I can't remember details about either. This is why ideally you post about these things immediately!

 Mine was some fabulous chocolate concoction that speaks for itself, really.

As the sun set, it got quite chilly! They turned on these heaters which made the whole place glow!
It was a lovely evening, and I could not have picked a better restaurant or a better date. My husband is amazing. 

The next day, Kyle stayed home and we took all the kids to Lincoln Park Zoo!
Here, the kids observe a camel family!

It's a great zoo. I'm not a zoo person, but this zoo is my exception.
Aside from being FREE, it is really fabulous. 

Wilder agreed.

The most magnificent tiger paced mere feet away from us, giving each of us observers a healthy sense of our mortality.

Wilder gasped as a manatee swam past him!

And we all had the most amazing experience watching families of gorillas tromp about. They were engaged in a masculine display of "I'm bigger, so MOVE" and it was downright scary. The biggest of the males stood up and basically roared at a younger male who quickly scampered off and then Big Daddy swung around and sat down on his haunches right in front of me and Wilder. He let out a bellow and then turned his head and locked eyes with me. I kid you not. It was crazy. He just stared at me for a full minute, eye to eye. Then finally he looked away and went back to bossing everyone else around. I shared a moment with a gorilla. Another birthday moment I'll never forget.

Later that evening, everyone sang Happy Birthday to me and I opened my birthday presents. It was a great time!

Extra special because I am so thankful for my Kyle, my precious children, mom and dad, and  Sawyer and Gage. Next post: Triathlon Day!

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