Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Windy City

 This is my new favorite picture of our family (even with Luke's finger in his nose! Neil wishes that he hadn't been buttoning his shirt after Isaac unbuttoned it, but oh well...we can't have everything).

We spent part of the weekend in Chicago. I love that city. Blustery and cold and crowded, but I always love it. It’s packed full of unexpected beauty (one of my favorite things about Chicago is that every building budget must include a specific percentage that goes to a public art fund—and there are beautiful murals and sculptures and installations all over the city) and beautiful parks and it all curves along the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan. Truly my favorite city.

We’ve been feeling pretty burnt-out lately so we decided to take Friday as well—we pulled the girls out of school and Neil took the day off of work. We stopped at the candy factory on our way—always a HUGE hit and really entertaining—and then we met my parents at the temple. They had very kindly offered to watch our children so that we could do a session together. It was so, so, so nice to be able to be with Neil in the temple—I honestly can’t remember the last time we were able to do that. Really wonderful and I was so grateful to my parents for watching our kids!

Afterwards we checked into our hotel and then grabbed some Chinese for dinner. While we waited for the food we played our family “name that literary quote” game. We usually stick to children’s books but my parents brought it to a whole new level with lots of poetry and classic literature. I had forgotten how much poetry both of my parents (and especially my mom) have memorized, and it was fun to revisit that part of my childhood. I’m going to start incorporating more poetry into our evenings around the fireplace.

After dinner Neil took the older kids swimming while I chatted with my parents in our hotel room (Luke fell asleep cuddled up to my mom, which was really cute). It was so nice to have that time with my parents. I have really missed them lately and I feel so blessed to have parents who I adore and with whom I love to spend my time. I am just so grateful for them in my life.

We spent Saturday at the Field Museum. My parents had planned to go with us, but wisely chose to drive home before the crazy storms hit (the weather this year is nothing to mess around with!).

I was a little worried about how our museum trip would go, since Neil and I were up the majority of the night with the boys (somehow they perfectly time it so they all come down with simultaneous colds whenever we’re staying in a hotel!).  It was a really long night but I was glad we had stayed in Chicago because we had a wonderful time with the kids at the museum.

I really truly love taking them places like this—it’s so fun to see their excitement and to watch them putting all of the pieces together from things we’ve read about and then actually seeing them (and I must confess that it also makes me feel like I’m doing good things as a mom! 

And it is always so neat to realize how much they are learning and growing and filing away in their memories. I smiled every time I overheard one of them explaining something to another one—everything from Abigail explaining to Isaac how to tell the difference between a mammoth and a mastodon tooth to Juliet telling Luke that mummies have their brains pulled out through their noses. Good times, right? 

One of my favorite things about Chicago is the Art Institute, which happens to house some of my very favorite paintings, among them Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. I love playing with the pointillism and standing super super close and then backing up (once I visited the Art Institute in high school when I had just smashed in my ankle, so I was in a wheelchair, and the docent let me go behind the rope so that I was literally face-to-face with the painting. Yeah, I'm cool like that).

So check this out: LEGO pointillism!

Pretty cool, right? The kids were totally fascinated and I started mentally calculating how much it would cost to replicate this.

Last but not least, I was flipping through our photos and found this one that Abigail took of me when I was pretending to harvest corn and complaining about how hard it was and how I was hot and weren't we done yet? (Sometimes my kids think I'm really funny when I do things like that...and then sometimes they say things like Isaac said today when I was dancing and he looked at me and said, "Mommy, stop dancing like that. It is so weird.)

Anyway, I was being super critical of my dorky face in this photo, and then I realized it is the first photo since one that I took in 8th grade on a field trip to Philadelphia where I actually liked the way my lower body looked. Over the last decade, I've grown to love my body and all the things it can do, but I am still often shocked when I look in a mirror and realize that my self-conception doesn't actually mirror my reflection. So I am posting this photo because I am happy with the half that I usually dislike the most.


Mary Beth said...

I've still never been to the Field Museum. We really, really need to fix this.

Ruth said...

You look so great!! Are those boots and leggings...or just some great skinnies? Good for you.

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