Monday, December 24, 2012

Holiday Festivities

I picked up my dad on Saturday, as he will be staying with us this week and celebrating Christmas with us.

For as long as he has been a grandfather, I have never known him to buy any presents for his grandkids. He is generous with cash gifts, but he has never gone to a store and picked out something for my nephews or my son. Heck, I don’t remember him buying things for my sister and I either except for an occasional toolbox or something like that. I think my mom and aunt did all of the Christmas shopping.

So I was more than a little surprised when he gave Kai a gift bag with several items inside. Kai’s favorite thing was the box of Hot Wheels cars.

Though my dad was more interested in trying to show Kai how to play the harmonica, which my dad is very talented at playing.

He also got Kai a game that we played that night, and a jigsaw puzzle that we haven’t opened yet. I found out later that my dad’s neighbor had taken him to the store and helped him pick out these items.

The next day, the three of us went to our local botanic garden to take in a special holiday exhibit of miniature trains winding their way through a village of small replicas of Chicago landmarks constructed out of all-natural materials collected in the wild: gourds, pine cones, bark and wooden logs, acorns, eucalyptus pods, grains and grasses, and more.

Kai enjoyed watching the trains, my dad loved the flowers, and I marveled at the buildings.

Here you see one portion with the Hancock Building on the left, Navy Pier in front of it, the old Sears Tower (now Willis Tower) in the center, Union Station in the foreground, and Marina Towers toward the right. A train is passing in front of the Sears Tower.

My wife didn’t come with us, so I took a picture of her favorite building, the Crate & Barrel store. ;)

After we took in this exhibit, we went to the greenhouses.

My dad has always loved plants and flowers – he had one of the nicest gardens in our neighborhood when I was growing up – so it wasn't surprising that he enjoyed our visit. But I was surprised at how much interest Kai showed in seeing all of the plants.

As we went from the Semi-Tropical to the Tropical to the Arid greenhouses, we saw banana trees, orchids, cactus, among many others plants. Kai and Ojiichan both especially liked the many cactuses they had.

After that, we ventured out into the cold and walked over to the Japanese garden.

Kai wanted to see much more of the Botanic Garden; we had only seen a portion of it. But my dad was getting cold and it was time for lunch so we headed home. But, Kai’s interest spurred me to become a member so we can make many return trips there this year.

And at home, Mom’s Christmas Cookie Shop opened with Kai as Chief Decorator.

Hope you are enjoying the holidays, too.

Merry Christmas!


  1. Sounds like a lot of fun. My boys would have loved those trains. I enjoy those displays, too..especially the miniature and the buildings, etc. And who doesn't like Crate and Barrel? :)
    Hope you have a really wonderful week...glad your dad could be there, too!

    1. Betsy, I thought of your boys while we were there. There were several trains running on different tracks, some up high, some down low. They would have loved it.

      Hope you have a Merry Christmas!

  2. Gorgeous pix
    Lovely multigenerational pix
    Looks like ur dad has recovered

    1. Thanks, K. My dad's memory will continue to worsen, but he is still capable of having nice times like these.

  3. Nice miniatures! The best picture, I think, is where Kai is playing the harmonica with his Grandfather watching over him. Something that your father loves...and he is sharing what makes him happy in the hopes of giving Kai that same happiness.

    1. My dad is very talented at playing but not quite so at showing a child how to play. But it was nice to see Kai making the brief attempt. Perhaps he will try again while Ojiichan is still here.


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