May 22, 2019-Great Lakes Day 4

(click here for today's pictures)

I woke up at 8 and jumped in the shower. I guess that I was really the first one moving this morning. That doesn’t happen to often. Robby had to shave and shower, so I took everyone but Reagan to breakfast. She waited on him. They arrived just a few minutes before they were shutting breakfast down. It was a normal hotel breakfast, and we ate most everything they had-waffles, yogurt, bagels, sausage and eggs.

From there, we loaded up and changed seats. Usually on our trips, we keep the same seats the entire time. This time, we are changing each day. This is just the 4th day of the trip but so far things have worked out fine. Now, Anderson usually sits in the second row so he is able to help me pass things back to everyone. Today, Keaton is in Anderson’s normal spot so passing things around was a bit more difficult.

We had to fight the weekday Chicago traffic to get into town. We try to his our big cities on weekends, but it just wouldn’t work out for that to happen. The weather was much different today than yesterday. It was sunny and warm-absolutely wonderful.

I am always surprised that we always end up able to see everything that we want to see when we stop in big cities for just a few hours. By 3, we had done Chicago. We lucked into a pretty perfect parking place near Millennium Park. We walked to the Cloud Gate (the Bean) and took pictures there. Robby then decided that maybe we didn’t need our jacket so he walked back to the car while we walked on.

We walked to Crown Fountain where there is a slight wading pool with fountains that have pictures of people’s faces. The faces will occasionally spit out water. Now, I let the kids walk through the water carefully with their shoes on, but I was pretty adamant about them not taking off their shoes and socks.

Now, I knew good and well that when their Daddy got back he would let them, and of course he did. He has the “wear the red dress” mentality better than me. The kids loved playing in the fountain. Now, Anderson had already done a bit of getting wet before they took of their shoes so he and Reagan didn’t wade any.

Whitman and Graham loved it. Now, Campbell and Keaton did too even though Keaton fell twice and ended up with a wet rear end. From there we headed to Garrett’s popcorn shop for some popcorn. We then walked towards the Chicago River to eat our popcorn. We sat by river and stared at the Chicago Tribune building and Marina City (those two round buildings).

It was super pleasant outside in the shade, and we could have stayed longer watching the river and everyone going up and down the sidewalks. Then Robby headed to go and get the car while the rest of us continued down Michigan Avenue.

Reagan could live in a big city-nothing seems to phase her and she is the one trying to cross the street before the light changes. I was thankful that she was in the lead of our bunch while Robby was gone. On long walks like today, I pretty much have to drag Whitman-not only is he pretty distracted but he has to take 2 or 3 steps for everyone that the rest of us take.

We walked through Dylan’s Candy Bar along with the Nike store. It was 4 levels of Nike goods-Graham was in heaven. We continued walking down the Magnificent Mile until we made it to the American Girl doll store. I have American Girl gift cards that I need to use-they are extremely old. However, I cleaned out my gift cards so I didn’t have to bring them all on the trip. Keaton loved the store and could have stayed in there much longer-but Anderson saw the Lego store.

We walked around the Lego store until Robby met up with us. I did buy Keaton and Campbell a little lego set. They were on clearance so it was a deal that I couldn’t pass up. Robby had initially planned on just picking us up, but he was able to find really great parking so he parked again and came to meet us.

Before we headed to get our pizza, we did stop by a cookie dough store. I guess they are the thing now, I have been wanting to go to one for a long time. Before Robby met up with us, I was going to buy a scoop for us all to share. Since he was back when we walked by again, he ordered a scoop or nine for us to share. See I told you,, he is much better at wearing the red dress than I am! (For those that don’t know, that phrase “wear the red dress” is in an old song mean to seize the moment or you only live once.)

He also ordered a pizza or four from Giordanos. You can’t go to Chicago without having pizza. We picked up our pizzas and put them on the hood of the van and passed it out. As the kids picked their pizza, they would climb in the car. One passerby said, “an elegant Chicago meal.” It was sure a pretty perfect Chicago meal. We sat in the car and ate and then navigated out of the city.
It wasn’t a long drive to Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin where we stopped at the Jelly Belly Bean factory. The last time we were in Chicago we stopped here. The kids loved the free samples of any flavor you would like. Then we went on the tour through the warehouse area. I think that the factory is actually down the street, but the tour was still neat with video screens showing us about the family that owns the Jelly Belly Company and about the process of making the jelly beans.

After the tour, we were all handed a package of jelly beans. Then Robby let the kids pick out something from the clearance table-it was even buy 1 and get 1 free. The car is currently filled up with jelly beans. I don’t eat jelly beans at all so the grand game of Bean Boozoled that they have planned for tonight will not involve me. (Bean Boozoled is a game where you have to pick a certain color of jelly bean to eat-it could end up being a good flavor like orange or lime or it could be booger or grass. Not what I would call a good time.)
We decided to go the long way to Madison which was through Milwaukee. Whitman, Keaton and I jumped out of out of the car to take a picture of “Bronzie” which Whitman called it. The statue of Fonzie was actaully Bronze so maybe he got it all confused.

Milwaukee has a new light rail system that runs through their town. We jumped on it and rode to their Historic Third Ward and used the bathroom at their Public Market. It was a neat stop and we could have spent some money on food there, but didn’t.

It did seem like every time we jumped in and out of the car someone was grabbing a slice of our leftover pizza. Robby drove us out of the town, and then I drove the car for a bit while he did some work. He knew that it was going to be a late night plus we need to do our laundry tonight.

Once we were in the hotel, everyone put on new pjs before putting their clothes and old pjs in the laundry bag. Robby ran to the washer as the rest of us started on showers. It didn’t take long for laundry to be in the dryer and supper to be served. Tonight’s meal was bbq which was incredibly yummy-except I wasn’t hungry at all. Our food tour of Chicago filled me up.

After we finished supper, Anderson, Graham, Campbell, Keaton, Whitman and Robby played Bean Boozled. Well, Robby just had one which was sour milk or rotten egg, I forgot, and then decided that he didn’t want to play. The others stuck with it a bit longer but we were never sure if all of the jelly beans that we had were bad or if there were any good ones in the package.

When the game finished, I passed out leftover popcorn from this afternoon. That helped clear all of the bad tastes out of the jelly bean player’s mouths. The laundry took a little bit to dry and is actually still in the dryer. It should be finished soon and as soon as I can fold it, then it will be bedtime for the crew.

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