Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Weekend in Chicago

We normally get to Chicago every year for Christmas, but this year we just couldn't swing it. The kids had been begging to head to the Art Institute of Chicago for some time now, so we told them when the weather warms up a bit then we would go. I had planned on us heading up for just the day while the kids were on spring break anyway, and then a Medieval Times trip landed in our lap as well. So we decided to make a weekend out of it! I booked us a room at the La Quinta Inn Schaumburg through I got a great deal, and an added bonus was that it was close to many of our stops. The rooms were very clean, modern, and updated; the staff were friendly and helpful; and the continental breakfast was full of yummy things likes waffles from a maker, cereal, muffins, bagels, coffee, juice, yogurt, and fruit. (An added bonus for the future, they have a Lego Land package that includes transport there and back).

Years ago on a trip to Chicago with a friend, we stumbled upon a great little place to eat called Al's #1 Beef. I have since brought Adam and the kids to eat here. The kids insisted that we just had to stop on our way out, so we made it our first stop. They were so excited to get their own Italian beef sandwiches this time since acquiring the taste over Christmas break.

After full bellies all around, we got back in the car and on the road to Schaumburg. I knew there was a giant mall with stores that we don't have anywhere near us, plus my children already love to walk the mall (teen years look out!). It was a fantastic place to kill some time before check in at the hotel and our dinner. The kid's favorite stop was the Lego store where we built our own mix and match Lego mini figs. I made one that looked as close to me as I could get. We ended up spending hours walking around, and capped it off with an ice cream cone.

 We checked into our hotel, and then had an amazing time at Medieval Times. The next morning, the kids were up super early! Normally they don't rise until 7:30-8:00, but we were on a different time zone so they were up at 6:15am!!! Thank goodness I had thought ahead and brought the iPad with, loaded up Netflix on the hotel's free wifi, and let them watch cartoons while we got a little more sleep. At about 8, we got ready for the day and headed down for a yummy breakfast. The kids didn't finish their bagels, and I didn't finish my yogurt, so we filled their cups with apple juice, grabbed to go cups of juice for ourselves and any leftover food and got ready to leave. We headed into the city with our sights on the Art Institute. While driving through the city we came across the Harold Washington Library. I have always loved the look of this library and when I was attending art school there would often walk down just to look at the outside of the building. As we went past, I tried to get a few shots of the wonderful decorations up at the top of the building.

We were able to find a meter and parking on the street just a block east of the building. It was a wonderful day so we left jackets in the car, and walked to the entrance. The kids wanted their picture with the iconic lions out front.

 This piece by Georges-Pierre Seurat is one of my all time favorites, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. I had to get a picture of the kids in front of it because I plan on teaching this piece to L's grade during Art Smart this month. I thought the kids at school might like to see just how giant this painting really is.

This is a close up of the painting. I also took this one with teaching in mind.

 I am also a huge fan of Van Gogh's paintings, and even more so after watching an episode of Doctor Who with his character in it.

These are beautiful stain glass windows by Marc Chagall, another artist I have listed to teach 2nd grade Art Smart. I have loved these as well for a long time. I have sat and gazed at these many times.

There was a special exhibit going on while we were there. It was an artist named Nilima Sheikh, and they had created very colorful tapestries to tell sad stories with. The show was titled, "Each Night Put Kashmir in Your Dreams". It was a very moving show, and just outside the doors they had a art activity set up for people of all ages to create their own story through images. This one is D's. Her story goes, "There were a heard of horses that ran so fast through the forest that leaves fell on me. Then it was overcast and started to rain. I was sad, so I found shelter in a cave and then I was happy again."

We took the kids to look at the wonderful paperweights, and the miniature rooms. Those were D's favorite! This was my favorite room, but this one was Adam's. I might be in trouble if we ever get our farm!!!

The last room we visited (because the time on our meter was running out and the kid's were running out of steam) was the hall of armor. This one was by far L's favorite room and exhibit!

We headed back to the car where we sat and ate lunch of leftover breakfast foods, leftover chicken from the dinner we had at Medieval Times, and any of the snack foods and fruit the kid's had leftover in their bags from the trip. We finished the trip with a stop at White Castle for sliders on the way home for dinner! Overall it was a fantastic trip, and we really can't wait to go back again!!!!


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