Friday, September 30, 2016

Chicago, day 2

We took the metra train (yes, with an a) and then a short walk to the L-train.
Multilevel sidewalks to go with their multilevel streets and trains!
We visited the money museum at the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank
Despite these photos, the kids did have fun. (Scott must be saying something frightening)
I think they took their cue for this photo from the grumpy high school kids who were here for a 9:30 tour. The students were awesome. They tried to connect the dots with the fed and our economy. But they couldn't get past the fact that $35million is shredded here each day and kept asking why they didn't just give it away instead. And our dear tour guide just kept missing the mark with his answers.
Photo with a million bucks.
Our view from the top floor of the Daley Center.
We walked underground through a mall type area to the old Chicago Public Library.

And Millenium Park
Where ancient meets modern
And the serious city meets accessible playgrounds
We took a bus (completing our use of all the public transport Chicago has to offer)
Up to the historic water tower
And pump house
We drank from historic fountains
And explored worlds of chocolate. 
As we returned down the Magnificent Mile, I stepped inside Tiffany's while the rest of my family waited at the bus stop outside the door - but I could only take it in for a moment, or I might miss the bus!
Turns out, when we got off the bus, we walked the wrong way. And our parking was paid for 24 hours. And we were at 23:50, so we followed a local and hopped this wall to get back on time.
Another real Chicagoan experience!
With our parking up, it was time to head out. We drove the rest of the way around Lake Michigan through Indiana and into Michigan. (Turns out there are no welcome to Indiana signs when you cross the stateline in a residential neighborhood.)

Everyone enjoyed Chicago... And was relieved we didn't get shot. (I know it's sad, but if you ask my kids, this is what they'll tell you.)

Thursday, September 29, 2016


Change of plans... We were going to head for the upper peninsula of Michigan, but at the last minute, after arriving in MN, we decided to round the Great Lakes to the south.
Aunt Lois drove Jo to meet us this morning - and he didn't want to come! But alas, this city boy is heading back to the city.
Having heard all the Chicago drama on the news lately, all the kids kept asking if we'd get shot. But we didn't. Here's the highlights of our trip.
We drove into the big city with the trailer!
Through the maze of multilevel roads
Past the huge waves of a stormy day on Lake Michigan. 
Seriously, we drove through such tight places
Past wrigley field - no game today -
To Navy Pier
Where the children's museum was having a free entry night
and gave us the perfect place to play 
while waiting for our Chicago-Style DeepDish Pizza 
from Giordano's! 
And we didn't get shot. 

We found parking right in the downtown area. Basically, the spot is where tour buses and whatnot would park for an event at the convention center. There was 24hr security, so we felt safe. But there were also 6 train tracks right behind us, so we also felt quite a few trains go by during the night. Thankfully, that doesn't bother any of us, so it worked out great!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A visit home

Seven sizzling-hot days of sensational fun
Water balloon wars with the gildarts - it hit 109° while we were in CA!
Genius idea!

Youth group with the Schultzes
The beach with the Clarks and youngs
Dinner and laughter with the millers and baldwins
Even time with missed neighbor pets like Bentley
Dress up - with makeup by lily
So many people in the kitchen = so much fun! ?many hands make light work?
Letting girls finish off the pie!
Buying pets for other families that we can't have ourselves. ?!?
Dinner and more laughter with the Clarks
And we homeschool - so a bit of studying, too

In just a few short days we were back on a plane to Minneapolis. THANK YOU to all our California friends who made our visit so super fabulous! We miss you again already!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

To California

Just a few weeks ago we were looking at how we were going to get home for Scott to do some onsite work for clients and some of the kids to go to the orthodontist.
I was amazed and pleased to find airfare that made it cheaper to fly than to drive home. I think it's generally cheaper for one person to fly than drive, but rarely cheaper for five people to fly.
We arranged to have some work done on the camper at a dealer about 15 minutes from the airport in Minneapolis. So Scott dropped three children and myself off at the airport at 4am then took the camper to the dealer and caught a shuttle back to the airport. 
We all got through security and waited for our nonstop flight to LAX. 

That plane was packed except the 2 seats on either side of my assigned seat. 
The kids enjoyed the plane even though we didn't have the same luxuries as the international flights when we went to Singapore. United served drinks 3 times and we had stroop waffles for snack. And, thankfully, Sy did not get sick at all.
When we arrived in LA, we hopped on a bus to the rental car place. I had asked my dad to pick us up but he decided (and we agree) that it would be far easier for him and us if he just rented us a car for the week. We are so thankful. 
Since there are only five of us, we got to get a cute little car gets great gas mileage. Once we had the car, we headed out to grab some food. It was 10 AM in LA but already noon in Minneapolis and we got up pretty early, so we were hungry.
Next stop, our Classical Conversations homeschool group. We have missed our friends this year.
It was so great to stop by and have lunch with everyone!
Final stop, our good friends', the Schultz's home. We had a yummy dinner and went to bed - but not nearly early enough for people who woke up at 2 AM Pacific time.