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Chicago Parent Staff


Bumblebee encounters

Bees don’t like being bothered. Readers share a few encounters with the buzzers at ChicagoParent.com.


"While catching lightning bugs, I was using a margarine tub and trapping the "bug." When one bug wasn’t lighting up, I got upset. When I took the top off it flew out and stung me on my foot. Lesson is bees don’t light up."

Robyn Westfallen


"My favorite bee encounter was a few years ago when I was teaching a summer camp class. I showed the campers how to pet bumblebees. The rest of the summer they had the best bee-friendly attitude I have ever seen."

Emily Kenny

"I avoid bees at all costs, probably like everyone else. So yes I am one of those crazies running around flailing my arms and ducking around."

Stacy Maffit



Someone you should know

A Freeze at home in Chicago


here’s more to Chief Meteorologist Amy Freeze than you’d think just watching her do the nightly weather report on FOX News Chicago at 9:25 and 10:10.

Freeze, 33, is one of just a few women with a certified broadcast meteorology accreditation from the American Meteorological Society, is an avid marathon runner, was the 1999 Body for Life Fitness champion, was the first female sideline reporter for Major League Soccer and has won two Emmys.

But the most important part of her life, she says, is her three kids, Tyler, 10, Jared, 6, and Kate, 3, and husband, Dr. Gary Arbuckle.

What is it about the weather for you? "It’s funny because a lot of people think that I chose the weather and that I changed my name. It’s totally the reverse. I was born with the name Freeze and the weather kind of chose me. … It was a little bit of destiny. The reason I like (weather), it’s different every day and it affects everybody."

You work as a mission mom for the March of Dimes. Is there a reason? "Kate was born 5½ weeks early in southern California and was in neonatal care for 17 days. ... March of Dimes is responsible for helping make sure premature babies get the care they need. That was especially important to us because Kate is adopted (it wasn’t finalized to allow them to be with her immediately.) Since we couldn’t be there, it was really important that somebody else was there to take care of her."

Was it hard for you to go through that? "It was, it was really scary. Not only are you worried about your child, but you’re also just wondering if you are up to the calling, if you can handle the responsibilities that come with not just being a parent, but being a parent of a child that is going to need some extra special care. ... It’s hard enough to become a mother or father, but if there’s anything extenuating about the circumstances, (that) just makes it that much more of a responsibility and sometimes it is overwhelming."

You spend a lot of time working with kids. "I made a goal when I came to Chicago to see 10,000 school children during (the 2007-2008) school year."

"... Being around kids, it rejuvenates you somehow, although some teachers might argue. But I think being around kids ultimately is a great blessing and I’m glad I can go and do it."

How do you juggle it all? "We have a lot of things going on in our lives and everybody asks how do you balance it. I don’t think I’m ever balanced, I think I just keep my priorities. ... For us it’s faith, family and work. If we can keep those priorities things seem to work out, they don’t necessarily seem to balance out. I will say it’s challenging and it’s overwhelming. ... You can do it, even though it sometimes feels like you can’t."



It happened to me

Depp thoughts point to mom’s many blessings

admit it. I waited for Johnny Depp outside The Paramount Theater in Aurora when his new movie "Public Enemies" was being filmed. I convinced my preschooler son to wear his Captain Jack hat and told him he might get to shake the pirate’s hand, thinking my little one’s cuteness might catch Johnny’s attention. No dice. No Depp.

Truth be told, however, I could only spend an hour or so waiting. After that hour, someone told me Johnny wasn’t expected to show up for work until 5 or 6 that night and I’d be busy picking up my daughter from a birthday party and then we’d be on to soccer practice.

Other folks held a vigil all night waiting to press the flesh with Johnny, but I was instead pressing my cheek next to my son’s smooth face as I carried him up to his bath.

As these fans got to shake Johnny’s hand later in the night while it lightly rained, I cuddled my daughter.

I wasn’t really expecting to meet Johnny Depp that day, but I was still disappointed it didn’t work out. When I thought more about the reasons why I wasn’t there when Johnny was, though, it occurred to me something was trying to tell me to better appreciate those already in my life. To meet a famous personality would be an unforgettable experience, but it’s even more satisfying to know I have my husband, my friends, our family and most of all, my little ones.

Like many celebrities, I’ve heard Johnny Depp say his greatest accomplishments are his two children and the love of a great woman. Although my life has taken a much more conservative and less glamorous path, I’m glad I also realize that I’m blessed with a wonderful family, too.

Colleen Sall, Naperville

Kids Eat Chicago

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