Cheri has a bit of a problem with insomnia. This gets worse when we travel, stay in strange beds, or gets excited about an upcoming LLL conference. Needless to say, she was up WAY earlier then the rest of us. That gave her a chance to find a grocery store only 2 blocks away, hit it, and return so we could awaken to fresh OJ and cold milk on our cereal. HURRAY for mommy.
So, after eating and dressing, something we don't do quick, she headed off to a tour of nursing related art work at the Chicago Institute of Art. That left me and the kids to find our way. Several years ago we started sharing family choices by having something called "X's first day". We spend more time on this when the kids are stressed or excited (which they just happen to be right now), so we're sticking to it. Fiona has odd days and Kieran get even (by the way, she tries to change whether she's odd or even depending on which is most advantageous; dad was the slowest to catch on, but it's now official and published on the internet, so don't let her tell you otherwise). Kieran then got to pick what we did...and he already knew what that was. He wanted to go to the Shedd Aquarium.
Well, that meant a short (~30 minutes with stops and climbing on things) walk and we got to a HUGE line waiting to get into the museum. After some trepidation, I overheard one of the workers asking if anyone was in line and wanting to do the "City Pass". Well, we'd already decided we wanted to get in on that, so after a brief filing of a slip of paper, we where in the museums buying our tickets. This will eventually get us into the Shedd Aquarium, Alder Planetarium, Field Museum, Hancock Observatory, and Museum of (technology and industry?), all while skipping lines and for a cheap price. Definitely worth it for our family.
Once in the Shedd, the kids demonstrated an amazing amount of cooperation, sticking to the Kieran first day principle as well as helping each other find cool things to see. We spent about 4 hours by the time Cheri showed up and pointed out that even though we'd had a great time, we'd missed the best parts. So with her accompanying us, we headed off to the Oceanarium and the Wild reef seeing Beluga whales, dolphins, and lots of sharks and rays. Very cool. We are members of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and this was different enough to make it a great day.
About the only problem we had was Kieran became fixated on buying these cheap plastic scuba/sub set that neither Cheri nor I wanted him to get. We had them save their allowance for the past 4 weeks so they had money, but we just didn't want him to get that item. This resulted in total thermal meltdown in the gift shop, and several escalating blow ups on the walk back. We managed to get him calmed down, but he was dead set on returning then next day to get the set.
Saturday would be Fiona's first day, so he started a campaign of talking her into going to the Planetarium, which placed the Aquarium gift shop on our path. More on that soon :)
Fiona says "The turtles were really neat"
Kieran says "The gold colored fish were my favorite"