Sunday, August 31, 2008


We travel once a year to Chicago to visit with Grandma Geri. Now, we have been doing this for the last 3 years with Kenzie (we felt she was a bit young the first year she was home, so we didn't go then). We always marveled at what a great traveler Kenzie was, and how she entertained herself and didn't complain and oh my! Weren't we the luckiest parents!!!

Well, that all changed this year. We weren't even 15 minutes outside of Bloomington and we heard "Are we to Chicago yet?"

It was about every 10-25 minutes she would ask the same things.

"Are we to Chicago yet?"

"When are we going to be in Chicago?"

"Are we there yet?"

"How much longer before we're in Chicago?"

"Are we in Chicago yet?"

And on and on and on. By the time we got north of Lafayette, I started answering "YES! We're in Chicago, Honey!!!"

She would look around and say, "I don't see any tall buildings..."

And I would say, "Well, then... do you think we're in Chicago yet?"

"No. We're not in Chicago yet."

"OK - then you know we aren't in Chicago without having to ask. When you see big buildings, you'll know we are in Chicago."

"Sooooo... when are we going to be in Chicago?" (Want a little cheese with that whine, sweetie? And the trip lasted about 6 1/2 hours. Uuuugggghhhh...... )

When we finally made it to Chicago, we went to our favorite evening restaurant to see Grandma Geri, Uncle Dan and his girlfriend Jane, and Cousin Elaine. Elaine brought her daughter Deborah this year, too. We always meet at the Omega (on Golf Road in Des Plaines), which has great food, even better service and it's so reasonably priced - we don't go anywhere else to eat for supper while up here. We love the Omega. If you're curious and want to try it out, the Omega is at 9100 Golf Road in Des Plaines. It isn't real fancy food - they keep it simple. But I'll say this much - for the money - if you're hungry - this is the place to eat.

I have some pics to share from the evening. If you want to see full size photos, just click on the picture.

The next day, we went (predictably) to the Lincoln Park Zoo. I believe this is the only free zoo in the country... and it is quite a nice little zoo. It isn't fancy, but there's a lot there and they are trying to improve their exhibits whenever they can. I have a few pics from that day...

Here's the main entrance. Click the pic for the full size photo and more detail.

Our daughter, the showoff...

Can you find the rhino in the pic? Click on the pic to see the full size and the rhino.

A couple of pics of the beautiful city scape from the park.

Ever hear of a Patogonian Cavy? This is it...

Now, before you jump to conclusions - this is not what it seems. NO, this isn't two turtles copulating. All the turtles in the exhibit were male. And this happens to be their way of establishing dominance amongst themselves. Looks like humans aren't the only ones who try to compensate for their "shortcomings". Napolean complex, anyone?

This was probably the most exciting thing we saw at the zoo. A baby rabbit that was outside the zoo as we were walking back to the van. It stayed very still and wasn't too afraid of us. We were probably about 4 feet from this little bunny, and I got some nice pics. (Click the pic to see a closeup.)

The next day, again predictably, we went to Navy Pier. Actually, it is a fun time. And the Children's Museum is actually quite good. I heard from my mother-in-law that Mayor Daley wants to move the museum to a park (was it Grant Park? - something like that) and there's a huge number of people who are opposed to this. I'm one of them. There's no parking at the park for families, and the residents around this area of Chicago are against it because of the traffic and other unpleasant activities that would follow the move. Navy Pier is easier to get to and has parking and - well, it just fits. I have some pics of Kenzie doing her best to show what it's like to be working in a pizzeria. She loves that exhibit.

And then, the very best of all... Navy Pier has a HUGE ferris wheel. Kenzie has been begging us to go on a ferris wheel all year. I have no idea why she wants to do this - but it seems to be a big deal to her. So this year, as she begged (and I mean BEGGED) to go on the ferris wheel - guess who was the lucky parent who went with her. Yup. Me.

Now, I am not afraid of heights unless I'm in the act of falling, so going up the ferris wheel wasn't going to bother me height-wise. The only thing I worried about was how fast it would go. But I found that it takes about 7 minutes for it to make one revolution (which is all you get to ride it for anyway - and by the way - that cost $6.00 per person). I had nothing to worry about though. The trip is so slow that if you didn't notice the horizon changing and being able to look out and see for miles around - you would never have known you were on a ride at all. Here are the pics.

No - she's not getting ready to throw up. This was close to the end of the ride and she was just so excited... she was giggling like a girl would. My daughter simply loves life and wants to experience everything she can.... and to her, this was like a dream come true.

I can't wait to let our second daughter experience these things as well! Next year, we'll have a different family portrait to share.


Gina (Caleeo) said...

Great photos - looks like a great trip. I love her glee over the Ferris wheel - how wonderful.

The St. Louis Zoo is also free.

Hope TA is here soon!

Gail said...

My daughter(who is an excellent traveler) ALWAYS asks if we're there yet. I was dreading those words during our travel to China. Well surprise surprise!
She never asked, not once on the way over and only TWICE on our way back home! Ya just never know.

I tip my hat to you going on that ferris wheel! Just looking at the pictures gave me flips in my stomach!! Your a brave mommy.

Love your family pic.
Next year Josie will be with you!
I am so happy everything turned out ok. You sure had an emotional rollercoaster ride this year.
Do you know when you will be traveling?

Diana said...

Looks like a FUN trip!!
When you said Bloomington did you mean Bloomington Indiana?
I am in Columbus Indiana which is why I ask.

CaraH said...

Great pics! I'll bet you can't wait for next year's :)

When do you travel?

Take care,