Kristi Gilbert: Aloha, Suburban Summer!

We kicked off the summer with a luau party in our backyard and I'm looking forward to long days at the local pools before Ava starts preschool in the fall.

Summer has officially begun! The pools are open, the weather is scorching, and the ice-cold beer tastes that much better! It’s nice to see you again, sun!

Ken and I decided to kick off Summer 2012 by co-hosting a super-fun party for our local friends. Me and three of my girlfriends threw an all-out luau bash in my backyard this weekend, and were surrounded by more than 70 of our closest friends. Talk about a great time!

On Thursday we had a 20 x 30 tent delivered to my backyard, complete with gorgeous colored linens for the tables. As for the lighting, we were inspired by things we found on Pinterest—beautiful, colored hanging lanterns—and we executed them beautifully!

To complete the ambience, we had more than 60 tiki torches surrounding the tent and perimeter of the property. The girls and I decided to take on the food ourselves to save money and we whipped up bacon-wrapped pineapple bites, Hawaiian pulled pork sandwiches, coconut shrimp with mango salsa, and sweet and sour meatballs—all of which were completely devoured by our hip-shaking friends. The guests sipped on our signature cocktail, “Bompy’s Punch,” and paraded the lawn in their fresh-flower leis we had flown in from Hawaii.

Yes, I just said that. Who needs a party planner?!

And no party is complete without the entertainment, right? We had Hawaiian performers from Aloha Chicago perform an authentic luau performance, complete with hula dancers and a fire performer. They also provided us our evening DJ, playing Hawaiian-esque music to set the scene. I felt like I was in Maui all over again!

Not only did our friends have fun, but our neighbors thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Thankfully they had all left before the “Bompy’s Punch” got the better of a few of our guests. I’ll spare you the details—and spare those few guests the embarrassment. (They know who they are.)

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Now that the party is over, though, it’s back to reality. But that’s not such a bad thing. Summer is here and we’ve got our bags packed with sunscreen, dry diapers, and my copy of Fifty Shades of Grey. Let’s roll!

Which reminds me, I’m far behind on my need to enroll Ava in her summer classes. Last year, we went through the and participated in their music and art classes. This year is a bit more difficult to decide; most classes require your child to be at least 3 years old, which won’t happen until late summer. So we’re looking at potentially repeating the same classes we did last year.

I might skip the classes altogether, though. The pool is entertainment enough if you ask me, especially since I spent a chunk of Ava’s college savings to buy our $365 pass! Did I break a window?

We purchased the pass that allows us to go to both the Hinsdale and Clarendon Hills Pools, which is great because I love both pools for different reasons. 

is great for the little ones and it’s small enough to keep an eye on two kids at once. The Lions Park Pool is great on the weekends because I have Ken with me to swim with Ava in the deep water while I sit with Jack in the zero-depth area.

And did you know about ? It’s super cute and the kiddos love it! Thumbs up to the Clarendon Hills Park District for the upgrade!

I also happened to discover Cypress Cove in Bolingbrook while running an errand to IKEA last week. How neat is that place? It looks so fun, and might provide some inspiration for Ava's upcoming birthday parties. Or better yet, a kick-butt idea to take the kids (with my friends and their kids) during the week. 

All I know is summer is upon us and it's time to indulge in all of the best things. Besides, Ava will be attending Grace Preschool in the fall, and since next summer she’ll be old enough for camps, I figure this is my last summer of having her all to myself. I feel the need to make it a great summer: days full of fun at the pool, sticky ice cream, sprinklers, playing at the park, and having dance parties at Uniquely Thursdays in Hinsdale! 

If you happen to recognize us, say hello, and be sure to tell me all about your favorite places to hit up this summer! 

Joe O'Donnell June 11, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Great column, Kristi! The first few days of summer are definitely some of the most exciting of the year. Patch is looking for more summer traditions and rituals in Clarendon Hills and Hinsdale. If readers have any must-do summer plans, post them here!: http://hinsdale.patch.com/articles/summer-2012-what-are-your-plans
Will Sperling June 14, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Sorry, but Cypress Cove is an entity of the Woodridge Park District, in the corporate limits of the Village of Woodridge (not Bolingbrook).


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