Thursday, July 31, 2014

day 66 of summer

Day #66:  Monday, July 28

Our first full day in Chicago was all about Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum along with a walk to see the lake and some Chicago style pizza!

First on the TRAIN.  This is a train we all now know ;).

The aquarium was lots of fun, but really busy.  Thankfully we got there early enough because when we were leaving the line was all the way down these stairs and across the sidewalk. 

Look at the size of those fish!

Those are some crab legs!

At the dolphin and whale show.


Then off to the Field Museum...a little Night of the Museum action ;).  This place was good, but two very large museums in one day about kills three little kiddos.

The largest T-Rex that has been found.

To appease the kiddos...souvenirs!  That's an elephant pillow, snake, and jaguar.

I love that skyline.

We took a walk along the lake.  Found this wall that was built up...seems a little dangerous to just be open like that...right?  So what happens...

Of course those boys {I'm including that older one too} have to get in the splash.  Don't worry Mama Bear had to end that quickly.

Finally some stuffed pizza from Giordano's.  I don't want to know how many pounds of cheese I consumed in one slice!  But it was good!

day 65 of summer

Day #65:  Sunday, July 27

We are back!  We had a great trip to Chicago!  It was lots of fun and we packed a lot of things into 4 days, but I am thankful to give my feet a rest!  It was sooooooooooooooooo much walking {very similar to when we went to New York, but we didn't have to do it with kids then}.  I am so proud of my kiddos for being such troopers and walking it all {well Ellie did a lot of "up top" on Ryan's shoulders} by themselves without any strollers the whole time!  Chicago is a beautiful city and I felt like it was so much cleaner than New York City.  I also loved seeing Lake Michigan again...I have fallen in love with the Great Lakes, they are beautiful and it makes me want to go back to Michigan again!

Let me start with some tips if you have never been to Chicago:
1.  Museum of Science & Industry is the best and a must see!
2.  If you are in the KC area you MUST get a pass to Union Station {or for you St. Louis area people get a pass to the Science Center...or find any pass to a participating ASTC member place in your area and purchase it!}.  Why??  ASTC members have a travel program that allows you to get into participating places that are more than 90 miles from your local pass for FREE.  So what does this means if you go to Chicago with your local membership than you can get into Museum of Science & Industry, Field Museum, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, AND the Planetarium {we didn't have time to get to that one} all for FREE.  That's right, your whole family absolutely FREE!  If you have visited these places you know that's a HUGE savings!
3.  Public transportation in Chicago really confused us.  I don't know if everyone else is confused by it, but we had lots of issues...and we never had a single problem on New York's subway.  So before you visit let me tell you one thing...Chicago has a subway system "the L" that is ABOVE ground AND a train system both running through it.  If you know that there are TWO different systems maybe you will be a little less confused then we were...we found this out on the last day.  We stayed along Lake Michigan near Hyde Park, but our hotel was 5 miles from the center of most things.  Not really a problem, we didn't want to be in the center of the craziness and we were able to drive to several locations.  However, we don't mind using public transportation too because it is quick & easy {we thought}.  Our second day we located a depot for what we thought was the L a short walk from our hotel.  We had no problems getting on it, well after a 20 minute wait and we thought the L was supposed to come every 7 minutes, but thought it was weird that a train conductor came by punching tickets...not what usually happens on subways.  Anyways, no biggie we got dropped off at the correct location still thinking we were on the subway system.  The next day we try to take the "subway" {that was really the train} from the Museum one stop down from our hotel stop...we thought it would be a quick on and off.  Well after missing the first one because we weren't far enough down on the platform?!, we got on the next one.  Well it didn't make a stop at our hotel....we ended up having to take it all the way into downtown and then wait for one to take us all the way back...about a 2 hour mistake when we could have walked the distance in 30 minutes...ugh!  So on the last day we were along Michigan Avenue and wanted to take the "subway" home...well apparently we were finally on the L this time.  We were like wait this does look like a subway finally....I think we were taking the train all along.  Well the problem with the subway system is that it's line runs a lot further in then where our hotel was located.  So we stopped at the correct street, but it was about 2 miles further in then what we needed to be.  The moral of this long story ;)...Chicago you really confuse people when both your "subway" and train systems are both on elevated above ground platforms that look very similar.  Anyways, we survived and got to see a lot more of Chicago then we had planned :).  And Avery's favorite part of the whole trip was getting to ride a train...a win I guess!

On to the first day of the trip...

We left "bright" and early at 5:15 am.

A picture of the one little hour that Ryan actually drove of the entire trip ;).

This boy pulled out his front tooth during the drive up...yes the tooth fairy did visit him in the hotel!

We made it to Chicago!  Our first stop the Navy Pier.  It was crazy busy.

Beautiful skyline!

We took the Ferris wheel up!

Apparently I get very nervous on Ferris wheels ;)..notice the hand holding on for dear life!

I would agree that it is the windy city!

Ryan wanted to eat at Red Lobster for his birthday dinner.  Crab legs.  {That's a look of a little girl who is delirious from being too tired!}

All the kiddos really care about...swimming. 

To be continued...

Saturday, July 26, 2014

day 63 & 64 of summer

Day #63:  Friday, July 25

Last day of VBS!  It was a great week and I loved doing craft with all the little preschoolers!  

Then we went swimming with some friends!

We ended the night with Friday night pizza & movie {the Lego movie} night.

Day #64:  Saturday, July 26

Happy Birthday to Ryan today!  We love you!

A lazy day at home getting ready for vacation...but these two had some fun playing dress up ;).

Then we ended the night dropping off our baby Bella or Pug or Pugamonga at our friend's house while we are on vacation.  Great friends who offer to dog sit and make a yummy dinner for us!  Picnic dinner :).

And we are off on our family vacation!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

day 61 & 62 of summer

Day #61:  Wednesday, July 23

Another great morning at VBS then we headed to a baseball game that night with our friends.  The kiddos got free tickets to a T-Bones baseball game for reading {we love free stuff}!  We did upgrade our seats a bit for shade and ended up with great first row seats behind third base.  This is why we love to go to the T-Bones because you can actually get close enough {without selling off your house} to watch the game!

A little girl chat :).

Evan just had to have cotton candy, but I think Ellie pretty much finished off the entire bag herself...yes she was a crazy sugar-high kid for the rest of the game ;).

Avery got passed one of the foul balls from the game!  He was very excited!

We only lasted until the 7th ending where we were down 7-2, but it was still a great night!

Day #62:  Thursday, July 24

We were off to VBS this morning and then afterwards we headed to the boys' {this is what it will be called for the next two years...until Ellie gets to kindergarten} school for enrollment.  This is crazy that summer is almost over!

Then it was just a little drive to the "little park".

We wrapped up the afternoon with getting things marked off our summer bucket list!  We are down to only TWO things left!!!!  I love getting list checked off ;).
We made some salt dough creations.

And some God's eyes were created.

Finally to celebrate finishing Little House in the Big Woods we made some maple sugar candy!  Avery said it tasted like honey.  We LOVED reading this book {even Ryan enjoyed listening to parts of it :)} together...we are on to Little House on the Prairie now!