Saturday, June 5, 2010

Chicago Meanderings

I began this post last Wednesday...and it's time I finished and posted it, don't you think!?

  • First, I suppose I should clarify that my brother is not actually married. I refer to his girlfriend as my SIL because that's pretty much what she is - sans the formal paperwork. They've been living together for about five years, and are as solid of a couple as I know.
  • In fact, if anything ever happens to them, I've threatened to keep her and kick my brother to the curb.
  • The only reason I'm explaining this is because they both read the blog and they both think it's hilarious that I've been calling her my SIL. It's just easier, and that's the type of love we feel for her.
  • Also, my brother and his girlfriend share the name "Erin."
  • Ask my parents why they chose that spelling for a boy. Had a lot to do with it being Irish.
  • Ask my brother how he occasionally has felt about his name....
  • The girls call them "Unkie Erin" and "Erin Girl."
  • My girls think the Erins walk on water! As well they should.
  • So what all did we do?
  • On Friday we went to Navy Pier and Millennium Park. We ended the day with traditional Chicago-style pizza.
  • Navy Pier was way too touristy and crowded for all of us - but we felt as if it was something we needed to do at least once. Now that we've been there, we need never go back.
  • The important part...I actually rode the Ferris Wheel.
  • I am terrified of heights, enclosed spaces, and rides of any this is a big deal for me.
  • Why did I do it? I sucked it up and was a grown up so that the Princess would get on. She was set to go until she actually saw how big the silly thing is - at which point she had a mild freak-out. When I saw her start to flip, I grabbed her hand, didn't give myself time to think, and went right to the ride.
  • Seven and a half minutes of pure terror.
  • But the kids wound up loving it!
  • I can't emphasize what a big deal this was for brother and husband gave me mad props all day and my parents even called to tell me how proud they were.
  • My trainer had been encouraging me to challenge myself to do things that scare me. I'll never enjoy such things, but being able to do them when I have to is a definite step up.
  • Pixie is a danger dog. She thought the whole thing was fantastic from beginning to end.
  • Millennium park was considerably better than Navy Pier.
  • How on earth they manage to hide something as big as the Bean is a miracle to me. Seriously, you can't see it until you are right up on it!
  • I love the Bean.
  • The girls loved the water fountains. It may have been the best part of their day.
  • We did go to a cupcake shop, Sugar Bliss, after Millennium Park. That might have been the most perfect cupcake I've ever had. Oddly enough, I didn't go for chocolate...but for the salted Peanut.
  • Just thinking about it, I'm starting to salivate.
  • I also discovered the joy and pleasure of a cold beer after a long, hot day that evening. Funny to be 36 before I'm figuring that out.
  • Saturday found us at the Lincoln Park Zoo and the adjoining conservatory.
  • Sean's getting right to work building me a conservatory in our back yard.
  • If I had an orchid greenhouse/conservatory, I would be a happy, happy woman.
  • The zoo was a zoo...but they had things that we don't here, and the girls loved it.
  • On the way home we stopped at Whole Foods.
  • Wow.
  • I want one.
  • I've never seen anything like it.
  • It makes complete sense that the Erins go there on date nights....
  • We dined that evening at Leona's, a famous Chicago institution. It was most excellent...and I'm glad I gave up the vegetarian thing for the trip.
  • After a breakfast at a local coffee shop, Filter, Sunday was all about the Shedd Aquarium.
  • A word about Filter - Fabulous!
  • A word about Shedd - thank God we had purchased a small umbrella stroller on Friday. We got to go to the accessible entrance, and our wait was only about 45 minutes, as compared with the probably 2-3 hour wait to get in the front door.
  • Chicago on Memorial Day weekend is perhaps not the greatest idea for a tourist.
  • The Shedd was definitely the girls' favorite. They haven't stopped talking about Nickle, the whales, the dolphins and the stingrays since.
  • Oddly enough, the Wild Reef exhibit turned out to be worse for me than the stupid Ferris Wheel. Why? It triggered my claustrophobia in the worst ways possible. Ugly.
  • We finished the day with Thai delivery. I love Thai food, and I don't get to eat it near often enough.
  • The shopping was done on Sunday before the aquarium....but they you've already seen that!
  • Of course, we drove home on Monday - and it was anything but a pleasant drive. Long story short, we wound up dealing with really bad thunderstorms, and our 6.5 hour drive ended up taking us 8.5 part because of the severity of the storms and in part because we ended up taking a detour to get through and around them. Thank Goodness for McDonald's playplaces, and portable DVD players!

And that's it...the story of our vacation!


A Day That is Dessert said...

Fantastic photo! So funny about the two Erins. Have you read Devil in the White City? I hated it (well written but awful happenings) but it involves Chicago and a ferris wheel (the first ferris wheel).

I probably shouldn't tell you this but....a Whole Foods opened in my neighborhood a few months ago! And I go twice a week! A total field trip.

Sounds like a perfect vacation.

Shelda said...

Really lovely vacation, sounds like! Fun times with fun folks. And good luck with that conservatory1

Shelda said...

Sounds like a really great time! Thanks for sharing it with us.