Friday, August 5, 2011

Fun in Chicago

For years I dreaded this time of year--the first of August always meant that the start of school was not far away.  Oh, it wasn't that I didn't want to start another school year; it was that I usually had a long list of summer projects that hadn't been accomplished.  I don't have to worry about getting back into the work routine anymore, but I still don't seem to be able to complete all my summer plans.  The last few weeks of unbearable heat have meant little gardening has been done, other than dragging around the hose to try to keep everything alive.  Weeds are growing rampant and deadheading has been ignored.  And now that the temperatures have "cooled" off to a more tolerable mid-80's range, I have too many activities going on, it seems, to make much more than a half-hearted attempt at controlling my messy garden.

Nevertheless, it was time Grandma finally made good on a promise to the older three grandchildren to take them to Chicago for the day.  Their mother was away on business, but their dad--my oldest son--had time to accompany us as we headed north to catch the Metra for an afternoon of kid-friendly activities. 

The younger two had never ridden on a train before, and all three were excited to see Sue, the most complete T-Rex skeleton in existence at our first stop, the Field Museum of Natural History.

Younger Grandson was full of enthusiasm, proclaiming each new stop "the best ever"!

  Here he gives us his best fierce gorilla impersonation.

After a few hours of touring the Museum, we hopped on a water taxi with a great view of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline to head to Navy Pier.

The kids and their Dad rode the ferris wheel while not-so-brave Grandma took a break.

Of course, we would pick one of the hottest days of the summer to make our excursion into the Big City.  The two grandsons found the fountain near Millenium Park a great way to cool off before taking the train home.

They weren't quite as brave as some kids, though.  I think this group found the perfect way to beat the heat:)

We had just enough time before catching the train home to visit a favorite spot of mine. Does this look familiar?

Maybe this will jog your memory, especially those who attended the Chicago Spring Fling two years ago.

My son wasn't familiar with "Cloud Gate, aka "The Bean," but the grandkids quickly got the idea of its photographic possibilities.

Youngest Grandson was  the most creative.

This was the grandkids' day, but Grandma found some other scenes to make her smile as we walked to our different stops. 

Whether it was a field of coneflowers on the way to the Field Museum or a formal planting near Lakeshore Drive, downtown Chicago provides a feast for the eyes for any gardener.

From large planters on the Museum campus . . .

. . . to colorful plantings at Navy Pier . . .

. . . to planters lining a sidewalk cafe, Chicago deserves praise for its landscaping.

Although we didn't have time to stop to enjoy one of my favorite places, the beautiful Lurie Garden,  we did get a glimpse walking by on our way to "The Bean."

We had a great day, obviously.  The weeds and deadheading will be there for another day, but grandchildren are only young once!

Next week I'll be off to help youngest Daughter move back home.  I may be offline for awhile, but I'll catch up with all of you when I return.


  1. Navy Pier is a favorite place of ours, too!
    Looks like you all had a great time, it is good to see those big cement planters have filled out, when we were there, they were still sulking because of the cool weather.
    I heard on the news the the "Marilyn" was more popular the "The Bean". Sheesh! Who would let their little kids near that "Marilyn"!?

  2. What a busy and wonderful day for your grandchildren. Memories made that will last forever.

  3. Wow, Rose, you did a lot in one day! The Bean is ever fascinating, even to adults. And you just reminded me what it was like taking my niece and nephew places when they were kids--that whole "This is the best thing EVER!" every few minutes is so life-affirming! :) I was <insert crude phrase involving bricks here) about riding the ferris wheel at Navy Pier, but I made myself go through with it... and it was entirely THE BEST THING EVER!!!! :)

  4. I agree, Chicago should be praised for the attention it has to outdoor spaces. What a fun visit. My daughter was there two summers ago and really enjoyed the city. Maybe one day I can visit it as well.

  5. Hi Rose,

    You seem to have had a wonderful day with family. We can never get this time back, they soon grow up and start making their way in life.

    Love some of the garden sections....lovely to see green in the city.

    Have a good weekend and good luck with the move next week.

  6. What a wonderful time you had in Chitown. Of course the Grands take precedence over everything...including the garden.

  7. What a fun, educational and interesting outing. I bet the water was a hit that day. Ferris wheels scare me but I can ride all those other scary rides. I think I was tilted too many times on the top of a ferris wheel. LOL!

  8. I love Chicago! We went there about 20 years ago, before we had any kids. I remember being scared and excited because I had never been in such a big city. Yes, I am podunk. Your pictures are great and I hope things go well with your daughter.

  9. I am flooded with Chicago Fling memories and the good time I had visiting with you and Becky. It looks like you've created some new ones with your grands~What a fun time. Rose, I am feeling pressured these days as I see the unfinished projects~The weather has made it unimaginable to think of working out side. Ahh fall will be a plenty of time to get to them! xogail

  10. Sounds like you had a wonderful time and I quite agree with Cheryl. The grandkids will grow up so fast and we can never have this time again! Loved your pics, particularly of the children.
    I'm with you on that huge looking ferris wheel - wouldn't go on that thing for all the tea in China! LOL!

    Thanks for taking us along with you. Chicago looks like a wonderful city to visit.

    Oh, I forgot to say how much I enjoy water taxis. Took them in Ft. lauderdale a couple of times.
    Good luck with daughter's move.

  11. That was a lovely set of family photos. Loved the *gorilla* one! It is brilliant taking grandchildren out for the day. (Somewhat exhausting though!)
    Glad a lovely time was had by all.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  12. What a great day for making memories. Time is running out for me to take my kids downtown for the day. Eek!

  13. What a lovely memory for your Grandchildren too. I've been a bit neglectful of my garden (ok more than a bit lol) this summer Rose. The heat has kept me mostly indoors, but eventually I will have to get back out there to see what I can accomplish. :)

  14. Chicago is a fantastic city. I've never been there but DH has and he loved it. Looks like the grandkids had a grand time!

    I know what you mean about unfinished summer projects and just dragging the house around to keep everything alive. It's all one can do in this summer's heat!

  15. I knew it was the Lurie!!! I love that garden probably more than most I've seen. Hot here too as you know. Enjoy what's left of your summer. Your post brought back sweet memories.~~Dee

  16. Safe journey Rose.

    Have a lovely time with daughter and enjoy those wide open spaces :)

  17. Dear Rose,
    Chicago looks to be an amazing city. We have never been...must go...I bet I too would love Sue and the Bean....we could take the train from Kansas City...sounds fun. I bet you enjoy every minute with your Grandkids....they are the gift!
    Safe travels. Happy moving daughter!
    Enjoy Portland....

  18. It seems as if you had a great time. It has been a while since I have been in Chicago.

  19. Vacations are grand ... especially shared with grandchildren!

  20. What a fun day! I can't think of a better outing with the grandkids--and to have son come too--what a treat. And the landscaping and plantings--well, that is just like indulging in a guilty pleasure to get to see them again.

    Hope you are having a safe trip, and not overdoing with the move.

  21. So glad you got to spend time with the grands before they start school again. It seems to be earlier every year. Chicago is a wonderful place to spend a day with them. I still remember visiting the natural history museum when I was a kid. You can be sure the grands will cherish that day.

    I was surprised at how much Micah enjoyed seeing the Florida History Museum when he visited us a few weeks ago. Everytime I tried to take a pic, though, it turned out blurry, because he was constantly moving!

    Good luck with the moving. I guess you'll be glad to have your daughter close by again.

  22. Looks like it was a great day! I agree that downtown Chicago has great landscaping in the summertime. I didn't make it down there this year, but I've loved it in the past. Thanks for sharing!

  23. Looks like a wonderful day Rose! What a fantastic treat before the routine of the school year begins again for your grandkids.

    Good luck with the move!

  24. Thank you for taking us "along" on your family outing. What FUN we had, too!

  25. That looks a fantastic visit.

    I feel the same this time of year, and it all goes far too quickly.

    Hope you have a great time with daughter.


  26. Train ride, water taxi, museum, water play and surrounding beauty. Looks like the perfect day to me....

  27. Thanks for all the comments, everyone! Just got back from Portland, Oregon and I'm exhausted. But I'm going to try to catch up with everyone the next few days.

  28. Looks like it was a fun day! I love looking at all the different ways cities, towns, and even amusement parks bring the beauty of gardens into their landscapes! You've inspired me to take pictures of the beautiful pots our local woman's club plant around my small town each summer!

  29. I'd have been with you taking photos of the others on the ferris wheel, rose!

    It looks like you had a wonderful time with your grandchildren.


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