Blog Archives for tag Boyles

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.

Leave it to a kid to make me laugh.

So Caitlin had taken the kids for the afternoon so they would be out of our hair and able to play with their friends. After the truck left she dropped them off and we said our goodbyes and we were hugging and crying. After she left Owen asked why I was crying and I said it was sad to have to leave friends. And Katie pipes right up “Like Miss Julie who she drinks with all the time.” 😂 Leave it to a kid to make me laugh.

Celebrating Katie’s birthday with the neighborhood gang.

  

  

Movie night with friends

Friends of ours have a standing Friday Family Movie Night that Katie always wants to go go…so instead of crashing their Friday night, we had our own on Sunday night. We went over to play, watch a movie, eat pizza, and make popcorn… Which I think they only lasted through about 45 minutes of the movie before they lost interest and started playing.

Another afternoon at the pool…

Getting sunscreen on…

When Owen gets the camera…

When mom gets the camera back…

And yes, I actually got in the pool. It was HUMID. And then the sun came out and I got HOT.

Our good friends…

Their toys had gotten sucked in but they were both to scared of the bugs in there to reach in. :)

Sitting out during the break (the last 10 minutes of every hour) plotting their next move in the water gun war with the opposing team.

A new hand-me-down suit from our neighbor Maddie.

Cuddling with Daddy

Surprise birthday!

It was my friend Caitlin’s birthday and she didn’t think I knew, so we surprised her with cake and ice cream…and took them out to dinner. They just happened to have face painting that night, so three of the four kids did that (Owen stayed at the table watching Nationals baseball with Tom). The face painting lady and I even convinced Caitlin to get her face done as she didn’t think she’d ever had her face painted.

Katie picked the Ice Princess.

  
    
   

  

  

  

Dual Birthday Pool Party

After watching the forecasts and worrying about the weather all week (the forecast varied from thunderstorms to 60% chance of rain to light rain all day)…we decided to go ahead with the party and it ended up absolutely perfect!! It was overcast at the start and gradually got sunnier and warmer throughout the party—enough so that I had Tom grab my suit when he went back to get the cake!

We had 60 guests (kids and adults!!) and the pool was probably the busiest it will be all season (aside from the days they have cookouts with free food or night swims with free ice cream). But it all went smoothly, everyone had a blast, and there was plenty of pizza and cake for multiple helpings (once I started cutting the serves 48 cake and realized my small pieces were still not small enough to get me close to 60 pieces, I started halving those…and then ended up having half the cake left so kids got seconds and thirds).

The gaggle of dads. They didn’t move from this spot the whole time. 😂

;

The kids were fairly patient about opening gifts once we got home…and they LOVED everything. They got Bop It (thank heavens I found the volume control!) and Owen picked up on it right away, Katie dug right into the glitter glue and construction paper, Owen picked out his favorite baseball cards from a new pack, Katie put together her Disney Lego, we’ve been shot multiple times by Owen’s new nerf gun, and both kids were OVER THE MOON about all the gift cards and getting to go shopping once we move! They both said it was a great birthday!

Swinging for two

    

She finally went across after two months!

We have been trying to coach her over the top for two months now… She will get to the top and just stay there, then claim she’s too scared. Today she finally did it!! And then did it again and again like it was nothing!

She figured this out on her own. 

Our friends bring this little car to the playground and mostly it goes unused. But today Katie realized they could do this. :)

Lego build and dinner out night!

         

Post-dinner dancing.

Bubbles with Liam

It was a gorgeous day so we spent some time outside with our friends at their house.

 

After this we shall need wine.

My friend Caitlin convinced me to go outside my box and travel 30 minutes to take the kids to an indoor play area. The kids had fun; I got to catch up on my reading. :)

   
 

  

My friends made me happy cry!

I was hosting an online Facebook party for this cool new lipstick and had included people from all times of my life…and the consultant was posting fun games for them to earn raffle entries. This one she did was so sweet and the responses made me happy cry. :) I’m posting it so I can look back on it when I’m having a bad day. 

  

Babysitting at the neighbors

My friend had to take an exam so I came and sat at the house with Katie while her son napped. Well, Caitlin spoils Katie and had out markers and crayons and pages to color and a bucket of water beads…and she was elated. I have to admit the water beads are super cool. :)

Katie was SO excited when Liam woke up from his nap. Hell, Liam was so excited, too, when he saw Katie! I so wish I would have been recording when he came to the stairs—she got this super excited look on her face and said LIAM!!! and he got this super excited look on his face and said (in his so cute 3yo voice) KAYDEE!!! Oh man, it melted my heart. And then she had to help take him to the potty. :)

They play well enough together that I didn’t have to oversee much and I stayed in the living room on the couch while they were in the kitchen with the bucket of water beads. And then I heard chairs moving and water splashing…and got up to discover this:

They knew they couldn’t reach it and Katie told me since there was only one stool they got the chairs! Smart kid, right? So I moved it to the floor on a towel and everyone was happy!

Later, Katie got on one of her favorite toys. (I am GOING to get two of these if the floors in our next house are good!)

Our first snow day!

And really, it was more of an ice day as we only got 1-2″ of slushy snow (and it was called last night with just the threat of snow and ice).  But, Tom had a 3-hour delay which he turned into a telecommute day so everyone was home!

Friends invited us over to play in their yard and go sledding on the hill behind their house.

On our way!

This is what sledding looks like when you can still see grass. :)

Cool icicles off the top of the fence!

Owen loses Liam on a bump!

The kids were having a blast, even though the snow wasn’t great.

I wish I’d been recording when Owen slammed into the signpost so he could see just how close he was and why we tell them to be careful. We’d warned them all to try and steer clear of the trees and sign and to ditch the sled (roll off) if they came close…but of course that didn’t happen. I held my breath as I realized Owen was going to hit the post and there was nothing I could do to stop it… In the span of about three seconds, he hit the sign and slid forward, his knees stopping short of the sign by inches—and then he toppled over himself with his head and shoulders missing the post by inches. He immediately gave a thumbs up and then I could breathe again. As I’m sure you can imagine, the sled was quite damaged…

Our reenactment of the sled carnage (though he was actually 180° from what is pictured).

Time for a group picture!

 

Afterwards we came inside to warm up and play. Even though Owenlooks somewhat annoyed in this pic, he was having fun and is such a good sport.

 

Entranced…

  

Owen is getting slightly more adventurous. 

That’s his friend Jackson on the roof. Before this year there was no way Owen would have climbed up there.  

 

The cuteness. It burns.

We spent the morning with friends at one of the Burke Lake Park playgrounds. Liam will be three and Katie will be five…yet they get along like gangbusters.