We arrived early enough to meet up with a few folks and hang by the pool (the outdoor pool, that is, in March). Unseasonably warm as it was, I’m not sure how the kids all braved the pool. Heck, it wasn’t that warm.
Later in the evening, the conference kicked off. As usual, things got a great start with the Thursday night Meet-and-Greet. Karen Ritter and family, hosts and MCs of this event, really know how to get kids and adults alike engaged in the fun. We played laugh-out-loud cooperative games, got reacquainted with old friends and broke the ice with new ones, went on scavenger hunts, and tried our luck at the raffle.
Friday was our first full day of sessions (and it was full). To start the day, we enjoyed the musical sensation known as AC Rock (an A Capella Rock-n-Roll group; I know, right.) They were cool. Aidan loved it. Of course, we had to hit their exhibit table to pick up one of their CDs.
A bit later in the day, we built Rube Goldberg machines at a session sponsored by The Chicago Tinkering School. Basically, they provided a bunch of “stuff” of all kinds–salvaged from all sorts of places–and the kids (and adults) worked together to make a complex, chain reaction machine to accomplish a simple task. Aidan absolutely loved this experience. He worked with his friends Claire and Kali, and together, they pulled it off–after a couple “gleeful calamities,” that is, but that’s where all the fun (and learning) is.
That same day, Aidan joined up with his fellow Earth Scouts to sell homemade doggie treats at the craft fair and “flea market” to raise money for the ASPCA to help fight puppy mills. (This was an activist mission the kids took on recently.) Tired yet? (I was.)
Aidan as the Moose-inator
Still to come on Friday, we had the annual talent show, where Aidan tried his hand at standup comedy. I think he did just fine, and people laughed, but he was not satisfied with his performance. Throughout the rest of the conference, people came up to him and said, “Hey, you’re the ‘Moose-inator’,” which was his stage name for the show. Everyone was really supportive, but Aidan, as usual, is his own worst critic. (Still, I know he had fun.)
Ok, right about now, I was ready to pass out, but we still had the family dance ahead of us. Exhausted as we were, this really was a highlight. We danced our butts off. We all had so much fun gyrating uncontrollably off-the-beat. Very fun, indeed. Finally, the sweet call of sleep lured us back to our rooms and we crashed.
Saturday, we were up bright and early and hit it again. We learned about cryogenics with Mr. Freeze from Fermi National Laboratory. Aidan knitted without needles and made paper beads. He showed off his woodworking at the Imaginarium fair, tried his hand at felting, and took in another talent show (to support his friends). We went to dinner at our favorite local Thai restaurant and hung out afterward with friends at the arcade and ate some ice cream. Good good (but oh so busy) fun.
Aidan comments on the conference, sort of.
In the midst of all this excitement, I took in a small handful of adult sessions and really enjoyed meeting Nancy Sathre-Vogel (of familyonbikes.org). She and her family recently completed a 17,300 mile, 3 year bike journey from Alaska to Argentina. She’s got some inspirational and amazing stories to tell. It was really cool to hear them, just as it was cool (and did I say exhausting?) to enjoy another inHome Conference. See you next year.