Saturday, April 6, 2013

Chicago: the Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, and Art Institute

A word to the wise: get your Shedd Aquarium tickets in advance online, and don't go on a weekend during spring break.  That place was a madhouse, and the hour-long wait in line to buy tickets wasn't fun.

Beluga whale
Jelly fish.  The sawfish and puff fish were our favorites, but they wouldn't pose for a picture.
photo op before walking to the Field Museum
At the Field Museum with Sue, the world's most complete T-Rex skeleton.
This was our happiest time in the Field Museum.  I'd gotten the kids all excited to see the mummies after Sue, only to discover that the faux-tomb atmosphere terrified Claire and the exposed parts of some of the mummies (toes, foreheads) disgusted Anne.  Claire made a recovery in the stuffed animal ("taxidermy" stuffed, not "toy" stuffed) exhibit, but Anne never stopped begging to go to the hotel until we got to the hotel.

The next day started off so well with an unexpected free breakfast at the hotel, and a walk through Millennium Park (see previous post.) 

The kids at the giant silver bean that is supposed to be a cloud.

 Then things went downhill a little at the art institute.  Have you ever seen a Jackson Pollock painting?  Have you ever touched one?  We hadn't been there five minutes when, to the horror of Jake, myself, and the two security guards, Anne PUT HER HAND on this one:

Greyed Rainbow

I wouldn't pay $10 for it, but I guess it's kind of priceless.  Luckily no harm was done, and we went on our way.

The kids' favorite part of the Art Institute (where Damon stopped complaining about how bored he was for five minutes) was the Thorne Miniature room, where they had 68 dollhouse-size recreations of European and American living spaces:

It might have been my favorite part, too.

Jake and I took turns going through the special Picasso exhibit, since the kids had had enough by this point.  (Warning: if you haven't figured it out all ready, you're about to discover how unsophisticated I am.)

Can someone tell me why, if you were capable of doing this:

you would start doing things like this:

and people would think you were greater than ever?  That monstrosity is supposed to be a woman from the shoulders up.  It looks like the work of a demented child.  I know--I'm so banal and such a boor.  The Jackson Pollocks and Pablo Picassos of the world and how much people love them will always mystify me. 

Then we took a subway to the top of the Magnificent Mile

The Water Tower, practically the only building to survive the Great Fire of 1871.

and walked back to the parking garage where our van was, and we headed back home.  Overall, Jake and I loved Chicago and would love to go back.

 The kids want to stay in a hotel again.  And feed pigeons.

Friday, April 5, 2013


It's unanimous: the kids' favorite part of any trip is the hotel.  Even when there's no pool, Damon has to sleep on the floor, and the girls have to share a cot, which was our hotel experience in Chicago last week.

Feeding the pigeons in Millennium Park was a close second.

I don't know if you can make out Anne's look of concern, but she was watching a pathetic pigeon that looked like an oil spill survivor.  "At least it's still alive," said Damon.  "At least it isn't a zombie," said Claire-- " least I hope it isn't." 

Because zombie pigeons are a major problem in big cities.

More on Chicago tomorrow.  I cleaned a bathroom, took the kids to the park, and planted peas today.  I feel like a hero and I'm beat.

Monday, April 1, 2013

a good brother

The Holy Ghost goes to bed at midnight, nothing good happens after 10 o'clock, and all my patience and kindness disappear at 8 pm.

We had our Easter egg hunt this morning because we spent Friday and Saturday in Chicago.  We dyed Easter eggs last night at 8:30, and by the time we did scriptures and prayers at 9:00, I was coming unhinged.  "Can we have a story?" asked Anne.

"No! I read you one earlier.  Now get to bed, so I can get some stuff done.  If I don't get to bed, the Easter bunny doesn't get to bed, and if we don't get to bed, he doesn't get up in the morning to hide your eggs."

"Why can't the Easter bunny go to bed if you don't?" Anne wondered.

Before I could tell her exactly why in an exhausted rage, Damon jumped in, "Because Mom has to tell the Easter Bunny where he can hide the eggs and which baskets are ours."  I was touched that he wanted to spare Anne the ugly truth I shared with him when he was 4 and asked if the Easter Bunny was real.

But not so touched that I didn't start ranting about cancelling the egg hunt if they didn't get in bed RIGHT NOW when Anne whined one more time for a bedtime story.

And then the girls got in bed and Damon read them a story.