Sunday, July 6, 2008

Chicago and the Unexpected "Fun"

A week ago we had a chance to sneak away to The Windy City, aka Chicagoland.  Neal's sister and her boy from Seattle came out for a quick visit and so all of the local family went up to spend some time with them.  We had a chance to go up Thursday and after picking them up we headed for downtown Chicago and Navy Pier for good grub and a show.  Well, neither actually happened as the places that were recommended to us were 50+ people line outside the restaurant and when we got to the ticket office for the Cirque Shanghai Gold Chinese Acrobat Show they told us they were sold out.  Well little did we know that Chitown was booming with activity that weekend as they were hosting both a Taste of Chicago event and a Tattoo Expo.  I like to think it was poor planning on their part because if most people think like me, as well they should ;), I would say they might loose their appetite after viewing too much body art... Sadly, we didn't make it to either event so we will never know.  We were kind of hoping to run into some pretty wild characters but we didn't.  We did go on the ferris wheel (not recommended - $6 for one turn) and some other rides but really the view was worth it out on the pier. 

Neal and Aedan on Navy Pier

Aedan on the ferris wheel with a gorgeous view of Chicago.  Aedan was not scared at all and would frequently stick his head out over the edge to look down (mom didn't like that).

Friday was our day to hit the museums, Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum.  We had a lot of fun at Shedd, watching the sharks, rays, and my favorites, the garden eels.  Neal's sister and I marvelled over this little guys, they reminded us of Slimey on Sesame street.  So cute. 

The Field Museum is just fine but I don't recommend it for families with toddlers because there really isn't anything for them to do other than run around and get lost.  Aedan like looking at the animals but there is something about museums with stuffed animals/birds/etc. that creeps me out.  Maybe it is the thought of dead things all around that gets me.  I don't know.  Frankly, I prefer a zoo.  We only had about 1.5 hours there and that was plenty as the kids were getting a little bored...

Nephew/cousin J, Neal and Aedan get bored at the Field Museum.

Family photo with the Olmec (outside Field Museum).

By the end of the day we had all 4 families together at the hotel and we had dinner at the hotel, swam in the pool, and watched each other duke it out on the Wii (of course we brought ours up).  Saturday was Aedan's birthday so Neal's sister and I went out in the am in search of some cupcakes for Aedan and came away with some rather large ones from Costco.  We found a darling Thomas candle and balloons at Toys R Us and had a mini party in our hotel room.  Just before the party began, Neal's parents surprised us by showing up at the hotel to spend the day with us in Chicago (it was quite a drive for them from St Louis to do in one day so we are VERY grateful they came!)

Aedan's birthday "cuppy capes" with a Thomas candle.

We had our cake and Aedan opened a few presents, of course they were all Thomas stuff, and we cleaned up and headed to Navy Pier again.  This time we had our sights set on the Children's Museum and it was a huge hit!  It was very hands-on for the kids with still plenty to entertain the adults with.  We spent a couple hours there and we didn't see everything there was to see.  We would definitely go back to this one as it was perfect for all ages and fairly inexpensive. 

Some of the highlights were building skyscrapers...

...digging for dinosaurs...

... driving cars...

 and playing with water at the Children's Museum.

We had to drop Neal's sister and our nephew off at the airport in the evening and then we made our trip home.  Shortly after we were out of Chicagoland area, we get a call from Neal's sister M who had left for home earlier than us.  They were driving their family down in their van when the engine started overheating and puffing smoke.  So we caught up to them about 40 minutes later and we slowly travelled from one small town to another doing what we could, adding coolant, letting the engine rest, etc., but nothing seemed to help.  We didn't have enough room in our car to take very many of them home.  We were probably 1.5 hours away from home and it was getting dark and it was a Saturday night - needless to say there were no auto shops open and they were all closed until Monday.  Well we found a decent looking shop and left the van there and waited with the family until a friend of theirs came to the rescue with a big empty van.  Everyone was ok, no harm done, and the kids seemed to be very patient with us (it helps to have a portable dvd player...)

It was a long day for Aedan's birthday but I think we still had fun and it was fun to see so much family out together!


  1. Oh man! I wish we could have been there to join in the fun! Chicago is a fun place, if you find the right spots. I miss living near there. I'm glad you had fun.

    Your new blog layout looks incredible! You have such talent.

  2. Happy b-day Aedan! Looks like a great day (and weekend)!

  3. Happy Birthday Aedan! Your post makes me really miss Chicago. I heard a rumor that you guys were going to be in town this weekend? Is it true? We would love to see you if so!

  4. Wow--you made Chicago seem really fun! I'm glad you had such a good time! Happy b-day, Aedan!


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