Chicago Part 3b (Friday afternoon)

3:08 PM

Even though my kids still take naps, it was difficult for me to justify wasting a single afternoon in Chicago. Although I did bring my knitting and could have made lots of progress (actually I did make lots of progress at night). I did have a stroller and I figured August could crash there if needed. And it worked. Brooklyn, on the other hand, just had to push through the tiredness...which is risky. You enter "Meltdown" territory after a certain point.

Friday was our only family day to play, so we chose to risk it. After exhausting the museum's offerings, we splurged on a cab to avoid walking 10 blocks with our tots (totally would have done it on my own, though - I do have that bit of Donna in me) and headed to Millennium Park. What a cool place. The Bean alone (officially titled Cloud Gate, but referred to unanimously as the Bean) was worth the trip.

It defies explanation.

Staring straight at the Bean

Slightly skewed by the Bean

And there it sits, reflecting back everything it's surrounded by.

Me in the Bean.

Underneath the Bean dead center looking straight up. It makes you dizzy to try to figure out what you're seeing.

I love how the skyline reflected across its face.

It was a hit among the tourists. Almost like some alien egg that you expect to hatch any moment.

You know the drill. Grab a random passerby. Pose and smile.

Meltdown approaching...

Meltdown carefully and skillfully averted.

Millennium Park - free concerts every Thursday night!

The Fountain - clearly a hit.

I was the official Shoe Guard.

Splashing around.
These two enormous towers stood on opposite ends and had faces of real Chicagoans. They blinked, smiled, it was crazy. Then water shot out their mouths, poured over the tops, kept people on their toes.

My crew sticking close to Daddy.

Last stop for the day - The Art Institute. A place where Kyle and I could easily have wiled away a whole day. Easily. We went for the Matisse exhibit (awesome) and then found ourselves lured by the Van Goghs, Toulouse LaTrec's, Monets...I was particularly enthralled with the Modern Design (Carrie, you would have loved it!): fantastic mid-century furniture. I always knew it was art.

I would have taken more pictures, but you had to take them flash-less and it was too much trouble given that the kids DID reach melt-down point. Seriously melt down. August fell asleep and then woke up and it was not good. Brooklyn refused to take another step and we carried her through most of the museum. Needless to say, Chicago was not only wonderful, it was full of unplanned workouts.
The truly perfect end to our day was when we found this lovely little store called Pastoral. It was like my Mecca. It specialized in wines, cheeses and artisan breads. I lingered over their selection and walked away with our dinner: some gourmet sandwiches, a bottle of wine, a baguette and some Vermont Creamery cheese. Bliss bliss bliss. Sigh.

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