Tuesday, November 29, 2011

First Trip into Downtown Chicago

The day before Thanksgiving, Erik and I took the kids into downtown (Evan had school that day, would you believe). Knowing it was going to be busy, and that the kids wouldn't last too long, we only planned on doing three things.

First, we wanted to see the bean. Appropriately named:

It distorts everything, and it's obvious that the biggest tourist appeal to it is seeing what kinds of crazy pictures you can get with it. Waimea quickly took over the camera and took these three shots:
Spencer, however, wasn't that enthralled with it. He only saw before him a marvelous opportunity for teasing the pigeons that were in abundance. I'm surprised we weren't cited for animal cruelty or something.
Next stop: Yelp.com's highest ranking chicago-style pizza in the loop area of downtown Chicago--the Avanti Cafe. It's this little Italian deli, and I would never have thought to stop in without the online recommendation. But I give it high ratings: it wasn't busy, it was clean, it didn't seem to be over-hyped, very reasonably priced, and the food was great! I can't vouch for its authenticity, but it tasted better and more unique than just about any other pizza I've had. Wish I had taken a picture...

Third and final stop: Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower and tallest building in the world until Dubai took over).
I knew I wouldn't be going up to their observatory (on the 103rd floor!) with the kids, but Erik wanted to. So the kids and I wandered the gift shop (location of Waimea's angry birds Chicago Bull incident) while he took these picture for me:
The kids' favorite part of the day: Riding the train and stopping in the Disney store. Go figure.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Visit from Grandma and Grandpa

The week before Thanksgiving, Evan's parents came for a visit. Looking back, I realize that I didn't take anywhere near enough pictures of their visit. But we had a great time with them.

Spencer has a great relationship with them from when we lived an hour away from them in Texas. So it's easy for him to latch right on. He came home from school every day and immediately enlisted them in his play.

Waimea is still getting to know them, but she latched on quick, especially with grandma. If grandma ate an apple, Waimea had to eat an apple:
Grandma did so many crafts with her, to the point where the wall shown in the picture above was entirely covered in pictures.

We took a quick trip to see the lake:
They took us to the Museum of Science and Industry (they used to live in southern Illinois, so are quite familiar with Chicago. This museum was one of Evan's and his siblings favorites when they were young). It's a HUGE museum with many hands-on displays and exhibits. The kids had a blast.
They weren't able to stay for Thanksgiving, so we had a pre-Thanksgiving preview dinner, with most of the fixings. Instead of a turkey, though, we bought a rotisserie chicken from Sam's Club. And instead of pie, we had pumpkin cake.

Thanks for the visit, grandma and grandpa! The kids are counting down the days until they get to see you in Utah (only 15!)

Doctoring the Doctor

My brother, Erik, is in his last year of medical school at University of Hawaii. During this last year, the school gives the students a three month break for interviews for their intern year and residency. Erik decided to spend 3 1/2 weeks of this break with us.

He has been here long enough now that I don't know what we'll do without him. It's to the point where, when Waimea draws family pictures, Erik is included. I haven't had to play with my kids for weeks. It's always "Eh-eh, come play with me," or "Eh-eh, do this," or "Eh-eh, sit by me." One more day, and then he's gone.

Sadly, there will be no more of Waimea playing doctor to the doctor:
No more uncle jumping in the leaves and playing with them:
And no more having to delete about 30 variations of this (all taken by Waimea):
You will be missed, Eh-eh. It's a good thing we'll see you in Utah, three weeks from now.
Last week we took a trip into downtown Chicago. While looking through a gift shop, Waimea saw this logo on a backback:

and very excitedly said, "Look! Angry birds!"