Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Thursday-Museum of Science and Industry-Part 1

These pictures are taking me a long time to get through. I am falling farther and farther behind in my day to day blogging, so I have decided to do the last of our Chicago trip as quick as possible so I can get through it. I might go back later and fix a few things, but for now this will work.

I LOVED this museum. We walked in the minute they opened and stayed until it closed. We didn't see even close to everything they had there. The kids were interested the entire time. It was great.

This was a miniature Chicago with moving trains and a moving subway along with other things.
We saw a live flame demonstration. They talked about different flamable substances and tested a few of them for us.

Michelle climbing the "Wall of a sucessful business," or something like that.
One of the funnest exibits was the Coal Mine. I don't have many pictures, because it was so dark, but we decended into a "coal mine" (which felt incredibly real) and rode a coal train, saw and heard the old mining equipment compared to the new equipment, and learned about the dangers of mining and how they dealt with them then and now. This was very fun.

Cabaret mechanical theater displays. They explained both simple and more complex gear, lever, pulley systems. The kids loved them.
U-505 submarine exhibit. Michelle trying to stabalize the submarine at a specific depth...it was REALLY hard!
Thomas trying to control the submarine. He was really good at it.

This was a fun one. These little wormy things interacted with your shadow. If you made your shadow touch them or hit them they broke apart or moved where you pushed them.
One of the favorite exibits for the boys was the farm. There was so much to see and learn and do. This is Thomas driving the ?cultivator? and watching on a big screen if he is keeping it going straight.

Nicholas gearing up the cow to be milked.
Thomas working on the cow.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Wednesday- Art Institute and Concerts

Wednseday we went to the Chicago Art Institute. It was an adventure. Michelle had bought Thomas a Van Gough Art coloring book the day before. Thomas brought it with him and was super excited to find some that "matched" what was in his book. We walked fairly quickly through different halls to this one. This was both Thomas and Nicholas's favorite piece of artwork we saw.

Thomas and Michelle admiring another Van Gough.

One of many self portraits by Van Gough.

Shortly after this a security guard noticed a water bottle I had in the stroller and asked us to go dump it out. No one mentioned dumping water as we went into the museum, but I guess we should have thought about that. As we were walking away to find a restroom, the security lady saw our sack lunch sticking out of our bag. That was the last straw for her...she promptly escorted us out. I understand the importance of preserving and protecting that amazing art, I just didn't think about it. I guess that shows what a small town girl I am.

We didn't want to throw away our lunch, so we walked down a few blocks to the Cultural Center. Thomas started feeling pretty comfortable walking around downtown Chicago.

We walked right past "The Bean" but didn't stop because it was COLD!!!

We ate and then went to a free lunch concert at the Cultural Center. It was a string quartet. I was really bummed, though, because Estella was being noisy and I had to leave with her. Once I was out, a grumpy lady wouldn't let me go back in with her, because it needed to be "absolutely silent!" I took Estella back to the Memorial Room to wait for the concert to finish. After it was over Michelle told me that same lady who wouldn't let me back in came to her and asked her to take the boys out of the concert. Michelle held her ground and promised that they would be "absolutely silent." They were...more silent than many adults in the room. It was great for the boys to hear such accomplished musicians. They really enjoyed it.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Tuesday (Part 2) - Adler Planetarium

Tuesday afternoon...I think it was about 2:00, we were done with the Aquarium. The Adler Planetarium is literally right next door, so we walked over. The admission was free that day. My mother in law bought us all tickets to see a short movie about the sky starring Big Bird and Elmo. It was great! The kids loved it, and it was so nice to sit down for a while. The screen was a big dome and the chairs reclined, so you could look all the way around you. It was neat.

After the movie we entertained ourselves for a good while in front of these silly mirrors. I don't know what they have to do with the sky or space, but they were very entertaining.

Mommy and Thomas with super long legs.

Nicholas was just the right height for the mirror to do all sorts of hilarious things to his head. It started out stretching the bottom of his head.

Then the top of his head. That was funny enough...

... but when it started doing this to his face, I lost control. I still belly laugh every time I look at these pictures! I am thinking these will be good blackmail during the teenage years :)

I love that in this last picture, he has a look on his face that says, "I'm not sure if this is so funny anymore."

View of Lake Michigan out of the upper floor of the planetarium.

Estella pigging out on goldfish crackers. The cold air had given her a rash on her drool covered chin.

Doing puzzles of pictures of the surfaces of different planets.

Grandma Chelle and Essie watching air spurt out of different places in the sand...I'm not sure what we were supposed to learn from this display...I'm sure there was some scientific principal being taught.

Thomas watching the sand and air display.

"There goes our bus!" It was so cold that the thought of standing out at the bus stop waiting for any time at all was a scary thought. As we were walking out the door of the Planetarium, we saw our bus coming down the road. I turned to Michelle and said, "I'll run with Thomas so he doesn't leave us." Thomas and I made it, and I looked back to see how close Michelle and Nicholas in the stroller were. They were pretty close, but they were stopped and Michelle was holding one of the front wheels of the stroller in her hand. This wasn't too alarming, because I knew that one of the wheels slips off if you lift it off the ground and shake the stroller because the snapping mechanism was broken (this is a stroller I bought before Thomas was born). I left Thomas and ran back to help slip the wheel back on. Well...it just wouldn't slip on...so I lifted the front of the stroller and Michelle lifted the back and we shuffled quickly onto the bus. Once we were settled, I tried and tried to get the wheel back on. After a while I realized that it was the OTHER WHEEL and it was beyond repair. It was quite an exciting journey back to the hotel once we exited the bus. Jackson went out late that night and bought a new stroller.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tuesday (Part One)- Shedd Aquarium

We went to both the aquarium and the planetarium on Tuesday. I have so many pictures from both places I am going to break it up into two posts. My favorite thing about the aquarium was getting to see JaNae (one of my best friends from high school) and her adorable little girl! They met us there in the morning and we were able to visit a little between chasing the kids everywhere. It is so nice when you see someone again after not seeing them for a long time, and find out that you still have so much in common...that you have moved in the same direction in life.

Thomas and Nicholas's favorite part of the aquarium, I think, was the sharks. They were able to touch a real shark's jaw and see the rows and rows of teeth waiting to replace a lost one.

It just gives me the shudders to look at this shark! He is so vicious looking!
These are little baby shark eggs. We could actually see them wiggling around inside.
Enormous ray of some kind.

I love Thomas's expression here. I had just finished reading to him about the little garden worm fish (not the technical name) and how they stretch out of their little underground homes and hold their mouths open trying to catch tiny creatures to eat. I think he is unconsciously mimicking them.
Here is a picture of them...the little garden worm fish. They were one of my favorite.

I don't remember the name of this creature, but they got to get really close to it and ask all sorts of questions about it. They didn't get to touch it, because the vet said it was feeling a bit tempermantal that day. I wasn't going to argue with that.

JaNae's precious little girl Cambrie.

Cambrie and Estella...they are close in age...several months apart.

This guy just makes me laugh. Every time I look at him I feel better about my big nose :)