Oh internet, I am so beat.
On Friday afternoon the girls and I headed up to Grammaland at about 11 am. We had lunch with my mom, then visited with Gramma Susan, then I took them over to Grandma Diana's (Grandma Three-Peat!) where they'd be staying the night. Since we planned to drive his car into Chicago, and since he needed to work, BJ drove up separately a couple hours later. He got stuck in major traffic, and finally got there around supper time. After visiting for a few minutes with his mom, we headed to Chicago!
When we got to the hotel, they didn't have any non-smoking rooms with king sized beds in them. She offered us an upgrade for $30 a night. Then she checked the computer and found that there weren't any non-smoking king sized bed rooms in that category, either, so we got a double upgrade. The room was cavernous. We had to yell to hear each other across the whole thing. There was a (largely empty and somewhat pointless) sitting room, a big bathroom, and a bedroom which was, thankfully, non-smoking and king sized.
After checking in, we changed clothes and walked to the Hancock Tower to have dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. Already my footwear choices were proving foolish, but we went for a walk along the lake after dinner, then headed back to the cavernous hotel room.
Saturday we woke up around our usual time (those pesky internal clocks of ours were unaware that we didn't have to wake up to take care of the kids, who were having a fabulous time with Grandma Diana!). We got dressed and walked across the street from the Wyndham, where we stayed, to the Corner Bakery. We got coffee and breakfast, then we walked to Water Tower Place to get a new pair of shoes for dopey-me - I always take inappropriate footwear when we go out of town, and I always end up crippled and bleeding. Seriously, right now there's more blister than skin on the bottom of my left foot. Anyway, after paying through the nose for some decent shoes, we walked in the other direction. We walked through the American Girl store (SCARY! Do not tell my kids about that place, under penalty of having to take them there yourself!). We checked out the Apple store. Then we headed toward the river.
There was an art fair at one of the universities. We walked through that, and recognized several vendors from our local art fair. We thought about taking an architectural boat tour, but it was pretty cold and we knew we'd be colder on the water. There was also a Gospel Fest that we stopped at for a bit. Instead of the boat tour, we ended up taking a Segway tour, which was so much fun (and a little bit scary, but mostly fun). I've wanted to try a Segway ever since they came out. I had a little trouble keeping up with the group, though. I think because of the blisters that were starting to really hurt on my feet, I kept shifting forward, then it would think I wanted to go faster than I did, and it would slow me down. And the way it slows you down is by making the handlebars come back and hit you in the stomach, which makes the whole thing feel extremely off balance.
Even though a 14 year old kid who was in our group backed into BJ, and it started to rain mid-tour (and it was only about 45 degrees) we managed to get through it unscathed. Well, except for my feet, which are a mess. The US Men's Soccer Team was playing Honduras at Soldier Field, and there were about 25000 people wearing blue and white and carrying the flag of Honduras around the area where we were taking our tour. It was like Chicago was being invaded by Honduras. Very strange. I don't even know who won, but that whole stadium must have been blue and white. We saw thousands of people in blue and white, and only one group in red, white, and blue.
Why don't Americans like soccer?
Anyway, here's a picture I took before the tour:
I'm pretty sure I took that from the bridge that connects the Art Museum with Millenium Park. It annoys BJ that they call it Millenium Park, when it wasn't started or completed in 2000.
After the tour, we were cold and wet and tired, so we got a cup of cocoa at another Corner Bakery and found, through the bakery, a scale model of the entire city with a bunch of interesting facts about the city's development, plans for the Olympics, etc. That was pretty cool. Probably would've stayed longer if I hadn't been limping badly at that point.
I think this might have been at the Architectural Society? Anyway, instead of lingering, we cabbed back to the hotel to rest. BJ saw me safely to the room, then went out to find things to help my blisters. What really helped most, though, was popping them with a safety pin I had in my make up bag. It was probably the least sterile thing in there, but I was willing to risk a foot infection to take the pressure off. Once he got back from Walgreen's (proud sponsors of the aforementioned Gospel Fest) we went to dinner at the TGI Friday's across the street from the hotel (it was nearby and relatively quick, and that's what we wanted), then we took a cab to Second City. We had a blast at the show. We had super seats, and it was hilarious. We laughed and laughed. If you've never heard of it, Second City is the group that most of the people from Saturday Night Live have started out with. The show was called, "America, All Better!" and it was really funny.
We walked a bit through the neighborhood called Old Town, where the show was, after that, but I was pretty sleepy so we headed back to the hotel again. We thought about a movie, but it seemed silly to watch a movie on the tiny hotel TV when we can watch Big Movies at home. Plus, the fees are just stupid for the movies in hotels. $14? Seriously!?!?
This morning we slept in (!!!) got up and dressed, checked out, had breakfast, got our car, and returned to Grammaland to pick the kids up from Mimi (who got them from Grandma Diana after work on Saturday). We visited with them a bit before we headed back home. The kids must have had fun, because they've been really grumpy since we've been home. Diana and Mimi both said that they were really good. I guess they saved all of their grumpiness for us (as usual).
Why do kids do that? Can't they be nice for us, too?
So, that was BJ's big birthday trip to Chicago (his birthday's Tuesday). I'm going to go outside to find him, and the girls, and get the kids (and myself!) to bed.