Sunday, July 25, 2010

the temple trip that wasn't

First of all, I FORGOT MY CAMERA.  I was so, so, so sad about this.  To the point where I actually contemplated buying a new one. 

Last weekend was the last (for twelve weeks!) that we have no long Saturday runs, so we thought it would great timing for a temple trip.  We packed everything up, loaded up the kids, and left late Friday afternoon.

After hours of Chicago traffic--think covering 15 miles in one hour--we were so relieved to arrive at our hotel!  We got everyone settled and then I rushed out in time for the next session.  I drove through a pounding rainstorm and arrived at the temple gates...

...to find them closed.  Oops. 

I didn't even think to check the temple schedule.  I called my mom, who checked online, and sure enough, it was closed for maintenance for two weeks.

So I drove back to the hotel, where Neil and I spent the next four hours trying to get all the kids to lie quietly and go to sleep.  It was kind of a long night (this could perhaps be the understatement of the year--although once everyone was asleep it was fine, except for the Noisiest Bedding in the Entire World.  It was like being encased in cellophane candy wrappers.  If one person moved, everyone else woke up).

The next day we were determined--this was going to be a really fun day to remember (as opposed to the day that Mommy forgot to check the temple schedule). 

So we went swimming in the hotel pool first thing after breakfast.  The kids had a blast.  Isaac was splashing and paddling and laughing.  Abigail "swam" from one end of the pool to the other and back.  Jooj played some very elaborate game on the steps and had to be forcibly dragged out of the pool when we left, crying disconsolately to go back in through her blue-lipped chattering teeth. 

We battled through the traffic again (and Isaac took his first and last nap of the day--an half-hour) to go to lunch here.  Our lunches were good, but my very favorite was the crostini we had as an appetizer--house-made rounds of crusty bread, drizzled with olive oil and herbs, then grilled, topped with a bruschetta made of roasted eggplant, tomatoes, basil, creamy goat cheese, and laced with olive oil and balsamic.  It was SO good.  So, so, so good and I am already planning to remake it in my own kitchen this week.

After lunch, we drove to the Field Museum, paid the exorbitant $19 to park (seriously, I hate paying for parking in Chicago...), and got in line.  We were actually planning to go to Shedd Aquarium, but when we walked over there we saw that the line to get in was all the way down the steps, across the plaza, and winding behind the Field Museum.  So we changed our plans.

I cannot even tell you how much I enjoyed the museum.  At this point, it was 3 pm our time, and Isaac hadn't napped again, and Juliet hadn't napped, and I was really worried that everyone would just melt down and be miserable.  But we had an awesome time in the four hours before the museum closed.

Highlights:  when we were buying our tickets, we noticed that one of the specially ticketed exhibitions was for Lyuba, the baby mammoth discovered in the Siberian ice in 1997 [image].  The girls and I had actually just read up on this the previous week as part of our "Learning Day" for that week, which we did on elephants and mammoths.  So we splurged for the extra tickets and went to check out the exhibit.  I was so glad we did, since the girls were totally enthralled, and kept saying, "Mommy! Mommy!  This is the baby mammoth that we read about!  In our book!  The same one!  Mommy, it is REAL!  We saw it!  We learned about it!"  It was so neat to see them so fascinated, and spouting off all the little facts we'd talked about previously.  Abigail kept identifying whether various elephants in the other exhibits were African or Asian based on their ears (another thing we talked about for our learning day). 

We also checked out a butterfly exhibit showing all kinds of butterflies and moths, plus the butterfly life cycle--which was the topic of our very first learning day.  And we did a bunch of crayon rubbings of fossils, which is what we did for our art day last week.  It was just such a neat trip to top off a lot of the things we've been learning about and talking about all summer--it seemed like every other exhibit was something we'd touched on in our learning time at home.  It was so cool.  :-)

We also wandered through all the stuffed animals (oh my goodness, there were a million of them!), the Africa exhibit, the gemstones, the Egyptian tomb (Abigail thought the whole mummification process was fascinating, and I really enjoyed it, especially since visiting the tomb in the Met is my very first museum memory), the Crown family playlab, where Isaac fell in love with a set of elephant bells and sobbed when we left, a bunch of smaller exhibits, like the shoes from all over the world from different points in history, which were totally fascinating, and the Evolving Planet exhibit, which I think was probably our favorite--so fascinating to see life on the planet through all 6 extinctions, especially the dinosaur gallery, which was really impressive.  All in all, it was seriously a lovely museum visit, and fueled mostly by the gallon-sized bag of green beans from our garden that I'd stuck in the stroller...the kids kept dipping down for another handful, which meant nobody complained about being hungry, but I didn't have to worry about divvying out snacks the whole way.  Green beans and homemade fruit leather are seriously what saved our sanity on this trip!

And then we drove home, and Jooj and Isaac fell asleep almost instantly, and it was a really lovely day after all.  I was really disappointed that we weren't able to go to the temple, especially since it is kind of an ordeal getting to Chicago, but I am so glad that we were able to have such a wonderful time as a family.  (especially since Neil realized that he left his garment bag, containing his suit and dress shoes, at the hotel, so we have to have it shipped home...)

2 comments:

Meghan said...

So glad it turned out well, in spite of the closed temple gates and missing garment bag! I love the Field Museum, and I've decided I need to go again if I can find a daughter who is willing to go with me.
And the crostini sounds great! There was a balsamic vinegar reduction drizzled in stripes across the bread--do you think we can figure that out?

Elise said...

I LOVE THE FIELD MUSEUM AND ALWAYS ASK TO GO WHEN WE ARE IN CHICAGO!!! why do you never take me.....?!?!?! (that was said in a very plaintive little voice in my mind). Ruth and I asked to go when the Harry Potter exhibit was up, but....no. we went to Chinatown instead. Again.

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