Fun with the Chicago Bean

To quickly recap: Tuesday night I didn’t have the best Chicago experience because I couldn’t get my card to work in the elevated train card reading machine. This was after the game in which there were a LOT of people waiting behind me to get through to the train. The people behind me weren’t excited by my train card machine ineptness and I became the picture of freaked-outness. When we got on the train Craig looked at me and said, “Are you going to be able to do this this week?” Honestly, I wondered, too.

Yesterday I surprised us both. The girls and I walked a little over a mile down to Millennium Park and stayed there for the bulk of the day. We saw everything Millennium Park has to offer, courtesy of this treasure map they give out that encourages you to go all over the park looking for clues to fill in the blanks and then turn in for a very coveted collection of plastic kazoos, tambourines, harmonicas, and other items designed to drive the good folks on Chicago subways completely insane.

We saw and did it all, including participating in craft making (Native Mexican Animal Masks) in the Family Fun Festival tent, followed by much hoola-hooping and jump roping. We saw all the artistic structures, played in the Crown Fountain (very, very cool), explored the Chicago Cultural Center, danced to the folk concert for kids, and of course took way too many pictures of ourselves in the bean (or, Cloud Gate, if you want us to be proper). Here’s a sampling:

The Girls in the Bean

The Girls in the Bean

Me in the Bean

Me in the Bean

Chicago in the Bean

Chicago in the Bean

We took a train most of the way home, and I’m happy to report that I managed that experience like a seasoned tourist, with no freaking out (though I probably did sound a little tight about making sure the girls stayed far enough away from the blue area on the floor that, if you cross, you fall into the subway flooring, so yes, I’m not completely relaxed about that one yet).

Later that night I took the girls to the 96th floor of the John Hancock building, where instead of paying to go to the very top, we got to go to the near-top and have very fancy desserts. (Thanks to Jennifer for this most excellent suggestion!) We dressed up for the occasion. All in all, we paid about as much for the dessert as we would have for the top floor, but the desserts convinced us we’d made the better decision. The girls enjoyed seeing the city from the top, but I think they enjoyed the dessert-eating more (they get that honestly). Craig got back in time to come over and meet us there, which was a huge highlight for all of us.

I’ve discovered that our super swanky hotel (paid for by the school – we are here for a purpose, after all), along with its living room, bedroom, two bathrooms, two television sets, and kitchen (we’re LOVING it!), isn’t used to having a stay-at-home-blogging-mama-type needing its wireless internet service in the evening. because from 4:00 through the end of the evening last night, I had no access. So I’m making up for it this morning.

I need to go now, because we still have much of the city to take pictures of explore today. We’ve got a ton of pictures up on our flickr site. Most of them have the privacy setting on them. If you want to be one of our flickr friends (and I know you), let me know and I’ll let you in the account. We do reserve this for actual friends. I think you will know if you qualify.

Off we go!