Blog Archives for category Travel

Braving Chicago, Day 2: Shedd Aquarium

Starting the day with bear hugs.

Going into the pool (aka basement) for breakfast.

Arriving at Soldier Field after parking in the garage (it’s kitty corner from the aquarium).

Waiting patiently while we get our free (!!) tickets! 


Getting ready for a 4-D movie short.

Do you know what these are?

How about now?

Shark eggs!

We got a stranger to take our group pic…

But of course I had to do a selfie!

After a somewhat agonizing drive home through rush hour traffic, we arrived to this:

I’m glad we got to see our friends, but after two full days in Chicago I cannot understand how people there don’t go postal. Between traffic, bikers, and congestion, I had a headache almost the entire time I was in a car plus I got stuck in rush hour coming home today so that made it a sucky ending. I understand there is a crap ton to do there but it’s just not for me. So I was right, I will be visiting even less then I visited DC because at least DC was only 20 minutes away. Caitlin, I love you, but next year you’re coming to the ‘burbs. :) :heart:

I wouldn’t brave Chicago traffic for just anyone.

My good friend Caitlin (that I just had to leave in Virginia) and her kids came to Chicago (they were already in Indianapolis) so we drove down to explore some touristy stuff with them. I hate traffic and congestion so it was a mini nightmare for me… But I did it.

Our first stop was the Museum of Science and Industry…where we spent seven hours (egads, I know). The kids had fun but it was a long day.

At the Toy Maker area, it cost $5 to get your own personalized gravitron—and you could watch as it passed through each station. It was cooler than we thought it would be.

There was a Fault (you can’t see the red light on in the photo) so the human operator had to come in and fix it.

And I was thinking it was just a top but it’s a gyroscope—so much cooler than a top. They had a little station to test it out so we all played with it. Then it was back to the exhibits.

Katie got to create her own fireworks display!

Wind tunnel! Owen wanted no part of it (even though he had to do it at the $2 machine in Virginia at swim lessons).


I should have recorded more of this—the kids had an absolute blast with it:

Ice cream for lunch because why not?!

The kids loved the big tractors SOOO much.

If you stood still, butterflies would land on your shadow.

Then it was finally time to head to the hotel… The drive was a bit precarious with all the traffic and insane bikers…but we all made it in one piece. The hotel was really neat—it was all sports-themed and the rooms were like dorms.

And then after a brief rest, it was off to Navy Pier! The kids really wanted to do the Ferris wheel (like we did at National Harbor).

After we walked around a bit, it was time for dinner—and we wanted to sit down and waste time since we had to wait until the fireworks at 9:30. I figured I deserved this:

The traffic wasn’t actually that bad getting out after the fireworks (thank heavens for small favors) and soon we were back at the hotel, where the kids were all super excited to sleep on the top bunks!!

The kids finally quieted down around 11 and Caitlin and I stayed up chatting until almost 12:30.

She almost made it home…

This was about 20 minutes from home.  

 

It pays to know the owner. 

Shopping before the store opens…the benefits of being related to the owner. We brought home 18 packs of brats!!

   

Len Summer Christmas 2017

Nick and Gracie making Christmas M&Ms (the rest went into Lisa’s monster cookies).

Just a few brats to cook…

All the kids like to fish but they say Aubrey is the one who loves it the most and is the best at it. She apparently gives lessons to other kids at their house!

Katie caught a fish!

Someone took an unplanned jump into the river (learning you can’t walk on lily pads):

Drying off…

I think this picture is a tradition.

And the mandatory annual family Christmas photo! Every year they give us grief about taking it… And this year with the craziness of the move I didn’t post it immediately and they were all asking about it!! So there. :p

And the annual kid comparison—Katie is getting closer to Aubrey but Aubrey is still ahead (which should be the case, as she’s almost 9). And as usual, Owen is definitely taller than Gracie…

But I think he beats Nick this year!!


Last year:

More fishing!

After a campfire and s’mores it was time for bed. The kids decided to all sleep in the living room… Poor Timmy. :)

 

The smell and taste of my childhood.

We made plans to pick up some of our favorite sausage before the Len Summer Christmas started. My family has been getting the amazing smoked and fresh sausage here for 60 years! It’s the smell and taste of my childhood! 💕

 

   

Owen’s treat with Gramma!

Owen was bummed that Katie got a small present from Gramma at the art fair but there weren’t any “boy things” for him to get so Gramma promised to take him out to buy something at the store. I jumped in to suggest an experience instead of a thing and they were both good with that. We ended up getting ice cream at a shop downtown and eating it in the gazebo. And he told Gramma he wanted a day with her for his birthday like Katie had!!

Own patiently waiting at the wine store. 

 

“Get out of my bed, dad!”

It was another late night for the kids (they got a bath at 9:50 to clean their dirty feet) and Tom was tired from working on Gramma’s new computer all evening (where Owen sleeps) so Tom just jokingly collapsed on top of Owen and said he was just going to sleep there. Owen was adamant that Tom leave. :)

  

This is what happens when both kids have dirty feet at bedtime.

Gramma to the rescue… Giving them both a quick bath. There was a lot of laughing and shrieking. :)

 

Sparklers!

            

It’s so nice when he pushes her and we don’t have to. 

We always do fireworks at Gramma’s!

The crazy ladybug!

Katie and Gramma Jean’s Big Birthday Adventure

I told Gramma that for Katie’s birthday, instead of giving her stuff, to take her on an adventure. So she did.

In Gramma’s words:

For Katie’s 5th birthday this year, we went on an adventure! (Yes, in Grayling.) We played at three parks, went wading in the river (along some of the racers practicing), went to the grocery store for picnic lunch supplies [where Katie could pick anything she wanted—she got a Lunchable, strawberry yogurt covered pretzels, strawberries, cashews, and chocolate milk], threw stones in the river for a half hour, went for a 3-mile bike ride (yes, I fell), and had an ice cream cone at Wimpy’s. We were gone 7 hours and mom and dad were starting to worry! What great fun we had! Happy birthday Katie Bug!

 

   
       
                        

Gramma says Katie could have pedaled for hours!

  

Gramma says: I am so glad Katie didn’t fall. We were too close to each other and her back wheel caught my front wheel. 

         
  

Owen’s first time shooting!

Owen was so excited to go shooting! He’s doing pretty well with remembering the three rules (generally speaking he knows them but had trouble repeating them) so we’ll keep working on that. (If he can remember 632 things about Pokémon, he can remember the three rules about gun safety.)

      

His shots were all in the black!

 

Cupcakes!

We brought cupcakes and frosting for Gramma to do with the kids… Grauntie Marge ended up helping as well, and then I got stuck frosting them and Katie did the sprinkles. 

We had them as birthday dessert for Katie after the Wednesday night group dinner when everyone came back to the house to visit. We even sang Happy Birthday to Katie and she loved it!

   
 

S’mores and silly string!

Owen likes the rope swing this year!

    

AuSable River Festival Kids Day

We specifically came up to Grayling Monday night we we could take the kids to the kids fest day since they had so much fun last year! Unfortunately, this year they didn’t have the canoeing with the pro, which is what we had really hoped to do again. :( So this was as close as we got—and Owen refused to stick his head in so I did instead.

Family photo booth!

 

She already found the lobster hat!

And it was time for a quick snack since they only had road trip ice cream for dinner.  

   

Within an hour of arriving…

 

Owen was brave enough to swing this year!