JUNE 2016 – School’s out and summer is in the air throughout the western suburbs. Check out all of the fun things these area residents have planned for their families!
1. ONE BEACHY MOM Becky Melsa of Naperville
Most mothers are panicking as the kids are getting out of school for the summer, but not mom of five Becky Melsa. With beach passes in hand, Caroline (16), Liam (13), Daniel (10), Abby (8), and Josh (7), can all find something to do at Naperville Park District’s Centennial Beach. “From my teenagers hanging out on the piers in the deep end, my boys playing football, the big splash they make at the end of the slide or the fun water features, my kids are completely entertained,” Becky says.
Becky grew up in Naperville and spent every day in the summer, from 6th grade to her senior year, at the beach. “I would regret not saying the best childhood memory at the beach was the years of playing pier tag,” she says. She now enjoys watching her own kids have cannonball competitions!
Armed with her Thirty-One utility tote filled with everything from towels, sunscreen, footballs, Frisbees, sand toys, and goggles, Becky is the quintessential beach mom complete with a cooler bag full of water, fruit, goldfish, and smart pop; and of course, plenty of spare change for ice cream!
Other summer fun includes gardening, hiking, fishing, picnics, canoeing; kayaking, whiffle ball, and having a great water balloon fight! -Kristen Kucharski
2. SUMMER BEAUTY Lisa MacKenzie of Glen Ellyn
Lisa MacKenzie loves the heat in summer! “I find the winter weather so cumbersome,” says Lisa. “The outerwear layers are so taxing.” So, after waiting for three years through pregnancy and nursing, she finally traded in her long hair style (and donated it) for a chic new short cut that has her ready for that warm weather to roll in. Thanks to Amy Roman from the Namaste Salon in Wheaton, Lisa has a trendy new style that can be styled into multiple looks, including the hip wavy beach curls.
Lisa, who lives in Glen Ellyn with her husband, Mark, and sons, Balin (2) and Dante (1) in not a stranger to style as she makes her living as a luxury dressmaker specializing in bridal gowns. She keeps her eye on beauty trends and another favorite she loves this season is pastel hues on her nails to accent vibrant sundresses.
Her family’s hobbies and interests all center around nature and the outdoors including her husband’s new business, The Bike Hub, a bicycle shop on main street in Glen Ellyn. They are looking forward to enjoying the summer sunshine and fresh air this year on camping trips, road trips, beach trips and just hanging out at the local playground with friends. –Mindy Kyle
3. CHEERS TO SUMMER! Chris & Lilly Hanson of Naperville
If there is a local event that is serving wine, there’s a good chance you’ll find Chris Hanson and his wife Lilly in attendance, enjoying every bit of it. A 16-year resident of Naperville (or as he and his friends have renamed it, “Napaville”), the Hansons may be some of the biggest wine fans you would meet. “Great wine, great food mixed with family and friends – it’s the stuff the heart needs, the mind craves and it fortifies the soul,” states Chris. “It is what really makes me tick.”
Summer for the Hansons consists of enjoying all the Naperville fests with their clan of friends and neighbors (and of course, designated drivers), while tasting fabulous wines. They have been long-time visitors of the Naperville Wine Fest back when it was at Naper Settlement and now held at City Gate, and just recently enjoyed Pinot Days at the Standard Market.
Though they love a good wine fest, this local couple is just as happy hosting wine parties at their home. Chris is a proud owner of his own cellar and extensive wine collection and recently planned a surprise 50th birthday party for his wife featuring multiple wine tastings and amazing food.
“I look forward to the beautiful weather. It sets the backdrop for the day’s events,” says Chris. “Barbeques, festivals, and just sitting on the back patio with my wife and dog and of course,… a glass of wine!” –Mindy Kyle
4. SUMMER MUSIC ♫ Ethan Bell of Oswego
For Ethan Bell and his band, The Ethan Bell Band, summer is a welcome change to playing in packed bars all winter long. “Doing the festival circuit is my favorite way to enjoy the weather in the summer,” says Ethan. “The sun gets everyone feeling bright and those summer feelings are churning.” This year they look forward to playing many northern Illinois festivals including their debut at Oswego’s Prairie Fest, playing their own blend of country music and sharing the stage with the Marshall Tucker Band.
Ethan, who has lived in the area nearly all his life, now is settled in with his wife, Michalene, and his four children, JJ (11), Abigail (4), Adeline (3) and Jett (1). He considers himself more of a music entrepreneur as he owns a music lesson studio with over fifty students and four teachers and also runs open mics in the Kendall and Kane County area. He loves bringing his music down to the Firehouse Pizza and Pub in downtown Oswego where he plays a Nashville style lunch show every Wednesday and joins the songwriter open mic on Thursday nights.
Besides music, summer means cooking on the grill and relaxing in the backyard with his wife and kids. “Being a dad is the coolest thing I’ll ever do. I love having no agenda and time to spend with them.” –Mindy Kyle
5. WATERPARK WHIMSY Wendie Ferron & Family of Lisle
After attending a Parent and Tot Water Orientation class at the Sea Lion Aquatic Park in Lisle, Wendie knew this is where she would be spending her summer days with her two sons, Scott and Henry. Now having had their season passes for five consecutive years, Wendie has found the waterpark continues to accommodate her growing sons, now 7 and 9.
“When my kids were younger they enjoyed the Zero Depth Pool, Baby/Tot Pool, Fish Slide and Sand Play Area best; and now their current favorites include the Vortex Pool, Splash Playground, The Dragon, Leisure Pool, Flume and Drop Slides,” she says. “The many attractions of the park keep the kids entertained for hours and when we need to reenergize and take a break, we enjoy the delicious nachos and soft pretzels at Sammy's Snack Shack!”
Wendie and her family also enjoy spending carefree summer hours at the Lisle Public Library taking advantage of the summer reading programs and entertainment; hiking and playing at the Morton Arboretum; fun and fireworks at the Lisle Eyes to the Skies Festival; the River Bend Golf Club; and the various summer programs the Lisle Park District has to offer such as Lisle Cruise Nights, Depot Days, Totally Tuesdays, Movies in the Park After Dark, Art in the Park and Family Fun Fest.
6. DINING AL FRESCO Mike Isaac & Adam Stachowiak of Naperville For long-time Naperville residents and parents, Mike Isaac and Adam Stachowiak, dining al fresco is the perfect summer choice when heading out to eat with their two-year old twin boys, Keegan and Kaleb. One of their favorite spots is Knoch Knolls Nature Park in South Naperville where they can explore nature, while enjoying a great picnic. “The boys love the park, but especially love playing in the woods and around the grounds of the facility,” Mike says. “We also are looking forward to taking the boys kayaking as soon as they are able to go!” Hugo’s Frog Bar and Rosebuds in Naperville are also preferred choices when looking for outdoor dining options. “We love the fresh air - and the usually loud atmosphere is always a plus with two-year olds,” Mike says. “We also enjoy taking walks to Dairy Queen. Each week we have family dinner on Sunday with extended family at our house, and take a nice walk for ICE CREAM!” Added summer delights include Keegan’s favorite, the Rice Crispy Treat Bar from Noodles & Company. Hot sunny days would not be complete without after dinner strolls on the Riverwalk, running around Rotary Hill, taking in live music at the Band Shell, playing at Central Park, and of course, Mike and Adam’s traditional 3rd of July party! -Kristen Kucharski
7. FOR THE LOVE OF MUSEUMS Diana Goulding & Family of Elmhurst
Elmhurst mom, Diana Goulding is always quick to recommend anything on Museum Campus in Chicago. She also loves making the trek south to the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) with her kids, Haley (19) and Coleman (12), and she’s been lucky enough to find some smaller gems in the city. These include the International Museum of Surgical Science on Michigan Avenue, the Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA), and the University of Chicago Oriental Institute, near the MSI– but her heart will always belong to the Elmhurst Historical Museum.
Having been a 13 year resident of Elmhurst, she loves the interactive displays within the exhibits for kids and adults alike. “I also love that the museum is in the Glos Mansion, the former home of Henry Glos, the first village president of Elmhurst,” Diana adds. “I really love that the museum has rotating exhibits that cover all topics, but you can always go to the upper floor and soak in the local history.”
In addition, her family is excited to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Elmhurst Museum Days as a part of their summer fun this year. They love taking the trolley between the Elmhurst Historical Museum, Elmhurst Art Museum, and the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art, as well as enjoying the events that take place at the Elmhurst Public Library and Wilder Park Conservatory.
8. THE OUTDOORSY TYPE Kerry & Fiona Flood of St. Charles
Summer brings us the weather that inspires us to get outdoors and enjoy it. That is exactly what Kerry and Fiona Flood are looking forward to doing this year. The mother and daughter duo are both rowers at Row America in St. Charles.
Fiona (16) has been rowing with their team now for just under a year and loves competing in the many area regattas. Kerry, seeing how her daughter loved the sport, got curious and decided to join their Masters program. “I’m rowing for the exercise, to enjoy the Fox River, and to spend time with a great group of people,” says Kerry. “My favorite aspect of rowing in the summer is getting out on the water early in the morning. It is so peaceful.”
The Floods, including Kerry’s husband, Chris and their other children Liam (17), and Shea (14), have lived in St. Charles for the past 14 years. Besides rowing, Kerry and Fiona like to travel in the summer with their family to visit relatives, ride bikes and walk on the Fox Valley nature trails. The Kane County Flea Market and local Farmer’s markets are also annual trips Kerry anticipates attending as the season approaches.
“We love summer,” explains Kerry. “For my family, it’s all about getting outside and enjoying the sunshine!” –Mindy Kyle
9. DAY TRIP CHICAGO Joyce Hahn of Hinsdale
For Joyce Hahn, summer means some fantastic day trips to experience the culture of Chicago. However, since Joyce is eighty-four and a widow for over eleven years, it is a little more difficult to plan such outings. That is exactly why she has been an active participant with the Hinsdale Community House’s active adults program for the last twenty years. “It’s so easy,” says Joyce. “Someone makes your reservations, you don’t have to worry about parking, and you are just along for the ride.”
Over the years, the group has visited the Chicago Botanical Gardens, the Chicago History Museum, been to theatre productions, fountain tours, and architectural boat tours. This summer they are planning on a couple of trips down for the Grant Park Outdoor Music Festivals. “Kate (Vogts) from the Community House tries to mix it up every year,” explains Joyce.
Besides traveling to the city, you might find Joyce at her Fit and Get Fit class, enjoying a birthday lunch with a friend, playing bridge, participating in her PEO Chapter (Philanthropic Educational Organization for Women) or co-leading the women’s circle at her church. She likes to stay active, but when summer arrives, her favorite activity is relaxing on her porch and reading good books in the warm weather. –Mindy Kyle
Photos Placed Above According to Story Order
Photos by Lynn Logan