July 15, 2011

Downtown... and DONE!

We were still enjoying our Chicago trip, but by Thursday morning it was back to reality and back to work for Auntie Kelli and back to daycare for Tucker. We all said our good-byes Wednesday evening, and Kelly, Randy, and Tucker all snuck out well before the girls and I were awake.

Once we woke up, ate breakfast, and got ready for our day, we started off on a rather grand adventure...

I was actually brave enough to take the girls downtown on the train... by myself... without a stroller!

Quite the lofty accomplishment for me.

I knew the route and directions well. Randy had even printed us out a google map with explicit direction on how to get from their doorstep to Cloud Gate.

Like, literally, step.by.step directions. HA!

I would have loved to take the girls on a new Chicago adventure, but I was confident I could get us to "The Bean" and less confident I could get us anywhere else, so Millennium Park it was. Anyway, they were thrilled, having great memories from our trips downtown in 2009 and 2010.

So, we drive to the Oak Park garage and hopped on the green line towards the bean.

By ourselves.

No matter how much I knew where I was going, I felt the need to double check with Tyler AND Kelli on the way. Seriously, I don't know that anyone can understand the horrible anxiety that I go through about getting lost and not trusting in my {pretty awful} internal GPS. It's really not fun.

The girls loved the train, and asked all kinds of questions about the sights we saw on the way downtown. We met some nice ladies in front of us, and they were just tickled pink by the girls. They sure can turn on the charm when they want to!

So, we hopped off the green line at Madison, and were literally a stone's throw away from our destination {hence the choice of said destination}...

I love the girls at this age- they have such a sense of mission wherever we go! And that quest for independence... well, don't know quite what to say about that.

Low and behold, Cloud gate stood waiting to reflect our cute little faces!

It is SO fun to watch the girls stare in awe at this sculpture. Really, if you are ever visiting Chicago, I consider Millennium Park to be a "must see". Great free entertainment!

LOVE this side of the bean, with the reflection from all the buildings. See the sweet peas under there?

We actually got some decent self-pics this time!

After we had our fill over at Cloud Gate, we headed to the Target Family Fun Festival tent. We first discovered this at Millennium Park last summer, and it's so neat! Every day between June 13th and August 21st, the tent is filled with free family activities from 10:00 AM- 3:00 PM. Craft projects, stations that encourage literacy, nutrition, fine gross motor skills, story times, performers, etc. It's awesome!

The theme during the week of our visit was Global Adventures, and the craft activity was so neat! Each of the girls was given materials to make a travel "passport" that folded out. They were able to write in different places they have visited and then draw some of their favorite things about each place underneath.

The passports turned out beautiful, naturally...

On our way out, we stopped to take a rest, and a few more pictures of the bean from a different perspective. The girls were cracking me up- check out their facial expressions in some of these shots! They are just too cool for school.

We made our way over to Crown Fountain, stopping in front of some really nice, colorful sculptures along the way...

Then, it was fountain time!

It was rather ironic, the weather. All week long it had been hot and humid and sunny. Our zoo trip the day previous was HOT. But, Thursday was relatively overcast and a whole lot cooler. Adding to that is the lake effect temperature drop, so it was very enjoyable to be outside in, but the girls were a little chilly at the fountains!

The girls were pretty impressed by the size of the structures. Don't they look so tiny next the them?

Sassy and Tink ran walked as fast as their little legs would carry them back and forth and back and forth and...

After awhile, they finally became brave enough to let the fountain spray hit them. But, not for long... it was too cold!

I ♥ this city!

After our water fountain adventure, I took the girls over to a little forest-y nook of the park to dry off better, slip back into their dresses, and do the sneaky wet-bathing-suit-to-panties switcharoo. I am talented like that. The girls spent a few minutes entertaining the passersby with song and dance. Nice.

We walked across Michigan Avenue and headed to one of our favorite lunch spots- Noodles & Co!

On our way back to the train, Sassy asked me what a certain colorful storefront was, to which I replied Jamba Juice. Sassy promptly remembered that Adam {soccer Adam} had said Jamba Juice was one of his favorite.places.EVER and she practically begged me to try it. I, for one, do not delight in disappointing small children, nor do I find it wise to pass up Jamba Juice when the opportunity presents itself...

Just sayin'.

Speaking of soccer Adam, soccer Kellie was in Chicago for the holiday break with several other Challenger coaches, and we met up quickly on Michigan Avenue to chat before heading back home. Small world.

After our exciting morning into afternoon in the city, we took the train back to Oak Park, retrieved our car, and headed back to Kelli & Randy's. I figured I'd lay Tink down for a rest, pack the car, and at least do the dishes that has been dwelling int he sink for a few days to help out a bit. We proceeded to get "locked out" of Kelli's due to a faulty key and had to panic for 30 minutes while Tink's knee dripped blood all the way down to her shoe from a trip on the concrete until I finally figured out how to work the stinkin' door. Yeah.

It was awesome.

After getting the car packed and the dishes done, I packed the girls into the car and headed to Rockford to visit Auntie MiMi, Uncle Jay, and the girls. We had dinner {pizza...yum!}, went to bed early, and headed out before 5:00 AM Friday morning for the long trip back to Kansas.

It was a LONG day.

I was SO tired.

But, we made it safe & sound.

Another trip to Chicago on the books.


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