We wrote a bucket list upon moving to Michigan, and downtown Chicago was on it. Our time here is ticking away, and we knew Chris's dissertation was about to heat up, so in March we took the plunge and headed to the "big city". We went during Grandma's spring break, and she joined us. It turned out to be the best decision ever, because taking three very small children to one very large city when you are not city people requires a one-on-one ratio. And we like hanging out with Grandma whenever we get the chance.
We headed to Chicago and visited great-grandma, Baga. We stayed at a hotel and swam the night away. The next morning we hopped on a train to downtown.
Our main objective was Shedd Aquarium. We enjoyed the endless fish, whales, giant crabs, turtles, and sharks. We didn't enjoy the insane amount of people. Quinn is obsessed with labeling things "baby", "mommy", and "daddy" (small, medium, and large) so she kept squealing "dada wish!" "bebe wish!". It was outrageously adorable. Carly still talks about the huge spider crab. John, the social kid, mostly tried to join total stranger's families. At one point a family was sitting all together and he went over and put his hand on the dad's shoulder and took a seat. I dare say the high point for the kids was when Grandma bought them over-priced souvenirs. Carly got a blue baby seal, Quinn a pink sparkly sea turtle (naturally) we named Tutu, and after looking extensively at all the stuffed animals, John settled on . . . a pair of binoculars. And you want to know just how brilliant my firstborn is? We were thinking up a name for her new seal. "How about Cecelia?" she suggested. I was kind of surprised. "Um, sure, that is a fancy name for a fancy seal." "No," she said. "Its Cecelia like "Ce-SEAL-ia." That, my friends, is one clever 4-year-old.
After the aquarium we walked up Lake Michigan to Millennium Park. John and Quinn completely zonked as we walked through the city. John missed the Bean all together the first day, but when he saw it the next morning he declared "Space!" He's pretty spot on with that description; it could easily be from outer space. That evening while everyone else went to bed, Chris and I went out on the town, wandering for hours doing nothing in particular but enjoying each other and the sights.
We aren't exactly city slickers. I'm sure we looked like quite the production to the city-dwellers surrounding us, but while we had so much fun, by the trip's end I was longing for openness and quiet. Kudos to people who love cities. I'll remain a not-so-frequent visitor.
[We found the lions! I have always wanted to see them in real life.]
While we visited Baga during our March trip, Chris's mom got an email from his uncle (who lives and works in Chicago) saying he bought Cubs tickets at an auction. As a Sox fan, he'd never step foot in Wrigley, so he offered us the tickets. We had been in discussions of our own to go to Wrigley before we moved, but there was only one weekend that would work: Easter weekend. Not to mention how expensive tickets are for games at Wrigley. So we decided to forget it. It just so happened that the tickets Chris's uncle were offering were for the day before Easter. It was fate. We couldn't say no.
This time it was a 24 hour run to the "big city". Chris parents were wonderful and offered to watch the twins at Baga's house, and we took our big girl to experience Wrigley Field and daddy's beloved Chicago Cubs.
As it turns out, we need to take the girl to Vegas, because she is pretty lucky. She got a batting practice baseball thrown to her. Then, while she and I were walking the halls to ward off restlessness, an official looking woman stopped us and chatted with us, then gave Carly an official commemorative ball. It is Wrigley Field's 100th anniversary, and the ball was printed with the 100th anniversary logo and the day's game information. She said, "Mr Ricketts hands out only 10 balls each game." Not too shabby. She also enjoyed an over-priced hotdog in true ballpark fashion, got a teddy she appropriately named "Baseball", and cheered the Cubs to three home runs and a victory (possibly the luckiest part of all).
Chris's cousin, Cody, took the fourth ticket and met us at the game (despite being a Sox fan herself). It was fun to hang out with her. Unfortunately, a 4-year-old at a long (cold) baseball game has mixed results, and Carly's attention was somewhat limited. But I'd say all-in-all we had a great day at Wrigley Field.
So we made it to downtown and the aquarium and we made it to Wrigley. It was nice to squeeze in some fun with daddy, since our summer looks rather void of daddy fun. Chicago really is a beautiful place and I'm glad we got to enjoy the big city.