Friday, March 18, 2016

St. Pat's fun in Chicago

 I've put off writing this post for a week thanks to the "oh, but I need to get pictures from so-and-so..." and I need to just write it now! (Especially since I haven't actually texted anyone to get pictures because it makes such a convenient procrastination excuse...)

One of my bucket-list items is to see the Chicago River dyed green for St. Patrick's Day, and so when my friend Melanie texted me asking if we wanted to meet up for the river-dyeing, I was so thrilled! Melanie and I have been friends for years and years since our newlyweds-at-BYU days (and again while our husbands were in grad school at the same university!), but now that they live 8 hours away, a chance to see them is sure exciting!

And we were super excited. Giddy, really. Can you tell? :-) Very different from our last kid-free trip to Chicago together but we just talked nonstop anyway. :-)

 Nathan wasn't quite as impressed...

Juliet and Leah were so happy to be reunited!!

We arrived in Chicago about forty minutes before the river-dyeing started, so we got to see the whole thing! It was pretty exciting--everyone was decked out in vivid green and pretty inebriated already at 8 am--hah! And there were tons of mounted police everywhere, which most of our kids thought was much more interesting than the actual river.

 In this photo, you can see one of the boats for the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers, who are the ones dumping the dye into the water. It's really cool to watch it diffuse. We were up on the Michigan Avenue bridge where it intersects with Wacker, so we had a great view!


After twenty minutes or so we headed towards our friends' hotel and checked out the view from the windows (this was really great because we weren't perpetually trying to keep track of 9 small children in seething crowds!).

And then they checked out and we walked down to Millenium Station and took Metra to the Museum of Science and Industry. Sidenote: I was SO PROUD OF MYSELF because I realized that downtown traffic was going to be an absolute nightmare from the parade & partying and that we would not want to drive to the MOSI (good call since the streets that led to the parking garages where we were both parked ended up being closed most of the morning!). So I figured out the Metra and the stations and all of that good stuff and figured out how to have all the kids ride for free, and I'm happy to report that we navigated the Metra successfully and it was hands-down my kids' favorite part of the trip!

But I didn't get any pictures--mostly because, again, trying to keep 9 small children quiet on the Metra, none of whom wanted to ride downstairs with the daddies & strollers and all of whom wanted to ride upstairs with the mommies. Go figure! But seriously, the kids loved it SO MUCH. Nathan talked about it for days! He was very impressed by the fact that the train went both on top of the ground and under the ground, and we even passed a construction site, so it doesn't get much better than that in Nathan land (we won't talk about the human waste in the 57th St station...).

We hung out at the MOSI for several hours. I didn't take many photos--the lighting there isn't great and the kids were all pretty darn energetic, but here are a few from when they started to run out of steam and actually stayed in one place for long enough to photograph them. :-)

This is my very favorite photo of the entire trip. So classic! He was out of his mind with joy at all the tractors (and notice that he is wearing our friend Noah's coat with nothing under it, since he completely soaked his shirt at the Funzone playplace or whatever that thing is called...the place where the parents collapse exhausted, grateful for a room with only one exit).

We had a great time oohing and aahing over all the exhibits--the chicks, the trains, the avalanche, the U-boat and the planes, the fairy castle and the tractors and all the goodies they pack in there! Then we took the Metra back downtown and stopped by the Bean for a few minutes.

I think this is mid-conversation, but oh well! We seriously were talking nonstop all day. It was so great to be in person instead of just texting or talking on the phone! Can't wait until the next time we get together, and really crossing my fingers that our other dear friends from grad school are with us--I think we need another Thanksgiving-of-wonder-and-glory! These gals have gotten me through so much; I don't know what I would do without their love and influence and wisdom. 

Juliet and Leah were pretty tired by this point...seemed like an appropriate way to enjoy the Bean! (Oh my gosh, I think my kids were SO city-filthy by the end of this day...we used Purell like mad before getting back in the car!)

The pangs of impending separation...

And then we said goodbye to our sweet friends and headed to my sister Mary Beth's apartment, where she had graciously offered to let us descend on her for dinner! She is the best--we were exhausted and dirty and some of us were a wee bit grumpy (cough Nathan cough no nap), but she was the sweetest hostess as always, even with a friend in town visiting her for the weekend!

The kids had a fantastic time with Mary Beth's cat Lynx and rabbit Hazel, and she had the yummiest cheese, artisanal bread, and amazing cured meats waiting for us! Neil and I walked down to a local Thai place a few blocks away and picked up some yummy curries to contribute to the meal, and then Mary Beth dazzled us all with some fabulous pastries from the shop downstairs (you guys, if I lived in her apartment I would weigh about 400 lbs from all of the deliciousness in the surrounding restaurants).

And Mary Beth introduced the kids to their first-ever video games! They were SO enthralled...haha, check out Isaac here!

We enjoyed a couple delightful hours with Mary Beth & her friend, then wended our way homeward, where 6 of us promptly fell asleep and slept all the way home, leaving brave and valiant Neil to get us safely home--tired and dirty but replete with joy!

1 comment:

Melanie said...

Oh the fun! The river! The trains! The half-finished conversations while we shepherded so many children (let's not forget the kind lady on the train that asked if we were running a daycare)! I love that dreamy-eyed picture of the two of us at the Bean- it was such a fun-filled day! Thank you so much for meeting us, and I will text you the pictures right now!

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