Are We There Yet?

Are We There Yet?

You can't put it off any longer: back-to-school tips

School has already started for some families in Urbana and elsewhere,  but for those of us who are still in prep mode here are some tips for a smooth start to the school year.

A girl and her shoes

My children differ in many ways, not the least of which is clothing.

My son has always pretty much worn whatever I pull out for him every day, aside from that brief period when he was 3 and insisted on wearing a red shirt and black pants every day to preschool like Murray from the Wiggles (whom he called “Maury”).

A backyard surprise

We got back last Sunday night from a short trip to St. Louis, where we saw some sights, hung with family, went to a wedding and lugged back an old desk for my son's room.

It's all about the fair in Family Picks

It's a big weekend in Central Illinois, with the Illinois State Fair opening in Springfield and several other festivals scheduled locally. Not to mention some kid-friendly theater, Champaign-Urbana Days and (gasp) back-to-school celebrations. Enjoy your freedom while it lasts, kiddos!

Summer adventures: Did you know Illinois had a geyser?

I'm an East St. Louis native, so I fancy myself an expert on all things St. Louis.

I spent the first 18 years of my life, and four summers and several years after college, living in the region, and we still get there 8 to 10 times a year to see family.

Summer adventures: the drive-in

Things I will not do the next time we take the kids to the drive-in:

— Go on the opening night of “Cars II,” along with the entire population of Gibson City.

— Go too late on the opening night of “Cars II” with the entire population of Gibson City and have to park along the side of the lot.

Family Picks: Meet me at the fair (or inside)

OK, I know it’s hotter than blazes outside, but it’s county fair season and that just goes with the territory.  You’ve got your pick of fairs this weekend, from the Champaign County Fair to Mattoon's Bagelfest. Or beat the heat with some “Christmas in July” improv, or take in some fun (indoor) youth theater.  Stay cool!

Childhood transitions: Letting go of the training wheels

Fourth of July has come and gone, which means only one thing: back-to-school sales.

Please no. I am not ready.

But as our 10 weeks of summer (by the school calendar) is officially half over, it’s time to do a midterm assessment.

What have I accomplished?

Family Picks, midsummer-style

The summer fun continues with a "Camp Rock!" musical, outdoor markets, fairs and music. Or get an up-close look at some birds of prey, learn about cartooning or superhero science, or take a look back at life on the frontier in the 1700s. Enjoy!

Grandkids far away? This tech-savvy grandma can help

Mary Bach is not what you’d call an absentee grandma.

Her four grandchildren live in other towns — up to three hours away — a fact of life for modern grandparents.

But when her oldest grandchild was born in St. Louis eight years ago, Bach took a vow not to be a long-distance grandmother.