Monday, June 13, 2011

A Hot Time in the Old Town

Paul has been trying to plan a Boundary Waters trip with his dad and brother for a long time. Last year plans fell through, so this year they were going to make it work no matter what! Since there has been an addition to the family this past year, they invited Bro-in-law Glenn to join them on their trek.

Lucky for us, I say. Because of Glenn's absence, we decided to infiltrate Monica's home in Chi-town for the week while the boys were roughing it up north. We had a blast! We overcame 90+ degree weather and a forgotten stroller, plus a seven-hour drive each way with a full Buick. Go us!

I knew we were going to forget something, but a STROLLER? I actually carried Lucian 6 blocks to the beach the first two trips... and then my arms (and my sanity) were saved by Monica's neighbors, who we ran into on a walk with their kids. They lent us two strollers, so even Max got a ride! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

At the beach, Max lost himself in digging for pirate treasure and splashing in the shallows. Then Liam and Monica taught us all about sea glass hunting, and that became our pastime of choice. We visited the beach at least once a day to sift through sand and pebbles for the smooth, colorful pieces of broken bottles. It's pretty cool that the water can take litter and make it into treasure!

On Tuesday, Monica had to work, so we beat the heat at the Evanston Library. Liam put on puppet shows for Max, Lucian, and a handful of other kids who happened by the puppet theater. He was quite the puppeteer, let me tell you! We were treated to stories about aliens, bears, fairies, and - best of all - "How to Be a Friend".

Wednesday was our day to explore downtown, the "El" (or is that the "L"?) and all! We rode the train from Monica's neighborhood into the city and met all kinds of characters. Although, come to think of it, they probably thought the same of us-- we were quite a sight with three women, two strollers, a ten-year-old kid, and all but one of us totally clueless about train protocol.

Downtown, we walked to Millenium Park to visit the Bean and the fountain. Both were a hit with our group! We wandered around the crazy sculpture, looking at funhouse-mirror reflections of ourselves. Then when we got too warm, the kids splashed in the inch-deep water at Millenium Fountain with throngs of students on field trip- it was crowded, but it was so much fun!

Lunch was at the Corner Bakery, crowded but very tasty. AND they came around with free banana chocolate bundt cake for dessert! Any place that offers free dessert samples goes right to the top of my list. After lunch, Lucian fell asleep in his stroller and stayed asleep through our entire visit to the Cultural Center. Halleluiah! And, oh, the cultural center... air conditioned and free, it was the perfect place to wander during the hottest afternoon hours. Liam zoomed Max around in the stroller, popping wheelies and spinning in circles, keeping him thoroughly entertained while the ladies enjoyed the art exhibits and architecture.

We spent Wednesday evening at the beach collecting sea glass, knowing it was our last visit before departure. When it started to get dark, we made our final stroll back to Monica's house and settled in for the night. In the morning, we packed up the car and got our GPS set for home. It was hard to leave, but I couldn't be too sad after such a fun week!

Thanks for having us, Monica. We can't wait to see you again!!

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