Wednesday, July 7, 2010

4th of July with Flat Stanley....Cup

Unless you are a teacher, parent, or grandparent, you may not be familiar with Flat Stanley. Flat Stanley is a children's book from the 1960s by author Jeff Brown. The premise is as follows:

"Stanley Lambchop and his younger brother Arthur are given a big bulletin board by their Dad for putting pictures and posters on. He hangs it on the wall over Stanley's bed, but during the night the board falls from the wall, flattening Stanley in his sleep. He survives and makes the best of his altered state, and soon he is entering locked rooms by sliding under the door, and playing with his younger brother by being used as a kite. Stanley even helps catch some art museum thieves by posing as a painting on the wall. But one special advantage is that Flat Stanley can now visit his friends by being mailed in an envelope. Eventually Arthur, who tires of all the attention Stanley has been getting, reverts Stanley to his proper shape through an air pump used for footballs." (source: Wikipedia)

The book has had a recent revival since the 1990s as schoolteachers use is as a way for kids to letter-write and interact with pen-pals and family members. This first started in 1995 by a British 3rd grade teacher. He had his students bring a paper cut-out of Flat Stanley with them and then write in a journal about where they went and what they did with Flat Stanley. Students also are asked to give a Flat Stanley to their family on their travels and take pictures (example, Flat Stanley in a Nigerian market on the right).

My parents got involved in the Flat Stanley craze at the request of my niece, Gwyn. They dutifully carried Flat Stanley around with them for a weekend, to the store, to dinner, to the golf course..

Flat Stanley has become so popular that when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup, the Chicago Tribune created a Flat Stanley...Cup. (For those who aren't sports inclined, the Stanley Cup is the trophy for the championship hockey team.) The Blackhawks spent many days carrying the real Stanley Cup all over town after they won, similar in some ways to kids and adults carrying around Flat Stanley. When Adam told me about this I found it sufficiently funny that I thought we should bring Flat Stanley...Cup on our Fourth of July adventures.

Here's Adam with Flat Stanley..Cup. I think he's wondering what he's gotten himself into;)

To start our 3-day weekend off properly, Adam and I walked to a Streeterville restaurant called Pane Caldo for dinner. Here I am sitting outside Northwestern Hospital with Flat Stanley...Cup on our walk to the restaurant.

Pane Caldo was delicious! A great pick that we found on UrbanSpoon (an iphone app). High end Northern Italian. (I'll post a restaurant review eventually.) Here I am outside the restaurant with Flat Stanley...Cup.

Adam and I had a whirlwind 4th of July. So many people to see! The day started with me going for a 17 mile run (see post here) while Adam made his signature Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting for the 4th of July gatherings later in the day. (Let me tell you, eating the left over frosting out of the bowl when I got back from my run made the whole 3 hours worth it!)

Then, we went to Adam's folks house and grilled out bison burgers. We visited with his mom, his sister, her boyfriend and their two kids Maya and Evan. To the right, Adam and Maya are playing with "pop-its", those little firecrackers you throw on the ground and they POP. Maya loved them. Flat Stanley...Cup joined in the fun.

Maya and Adam.

Evan and Adam.

Evan and Adam. I think this is a great picture.

Next, we headed over the annual Boyle 4th of July party. I am very grateful for Chris and Don Boyle who throw this party every year. I think the 4th of July could become a boring holiday for us adults (I mean, you really only need to see a certain number of fireworks in your life!) but Adam and I look forward to the Boyle party for weeks, making the 4th of July one of our favorite holidays. Thanks Chris and Don!

And thanks to Jay who always does the grilling! This year he did it with Flat Stanley...Cup.

We had a busy Monday as well. First we went to see "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" at a movie theater in Lincoln Park. I really enjoyed it (I loved the book!) and Adam liked it okay. He was a trooper for coming along. Review of the book and movie will require an additional post.

We finished the night off with a great evening at Pritzker Pavilion with friends. It was New Music Mondays and the bands were The Disappears who opened for The Thermals. The Disappears were okay, but The Thermals were awesome! Best of all was spending quality time with my co-residents outside of the hospital. In attendance were Adam and I, Laura and her boyfriend Steve, Sara, Laura's friend Julie, and Flat Stanley...Cup. Good food (Pastoral Harvest salad, yum!), good wine (Brys Estates Pinot Blanc from Michigan) and a great dessert spread (blueberries, root beer floats and chocolate covered brownie bites)- who can argue with that? Hopefully we can all go to another concert together soon.

Me and the girls.

All in all it was a fantastic weekend with Adam, friends and family. Can't beat 3 day holiday weekends!

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