Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Art Institute of Chicago with kids...

My sister and i had the lofty idea that we could take all four kids to the Art Institute of Chicago, dinner in Chi-town, and slumber party all rolled into a little over 24 hours.  We took the train into Union Station and preceded to walk all the way to our Hampton Inn and Suites.  The big kids did great- little kids were little kids.  My daughter a few weeks before that weekend had walked around Chicago with no problem.  This morning walk was a little different.  She had no desire to walk like the big kids.  We had only brought one stroller (for the youngest), and so We turned the single stroller into a double stroller.  It looked like a double decker bus.  We made it to the hotel- which was great!  The suite was roomie and the kitchen was really a kitchen.  It was the Hampton Inn on Illinois street.  Hot cocoa, coffee and tea ready for you at any time.  Breakfast was plentiful.  The pool was a little cool, even for my son's liking, but we did enjoy all the amenities of the hotel.  After arriving, getting some hot cocoa we made our way to the Art Institute of Chicago.  I've never been to the museum with the kids and I was looking forward to it. 

The museum was fabulous.  We saw a lot of pieces from different periods of art.  I love the Impressionist wing- it is likely my favorite, but seeing American Gothic and Night Hawks was a treat.  My son really enjoyed the museum as did my niece.  I could travel anywhere with my son.  He really takes all of it in.  He even gave us some art history ("the farmer in American Gothic isn't really a farmer he's the painter's dentist and that is his sister not the dentist's wife") and hearing him get excited and name artists (Renoir, Degas, Monet, Manet, etc) when he saw pieces hanging made my heart shine.

We then hit the cold pool and warm hot tub.  Followed by a yummy very kid/adult friendly meal- Rock Bottom Brewery.  It was a great meal and yummy drinks for all. Following the dinner instead of getting dessert at the restaurant Aunt Natty splurged and let the kids pick out candy from the corner 7/11.  I think the kids thought this was one of the highlights of their trip- getting to go back to hotel and eating candy in bed and watching NFL playoff game on TV.  Maybe that was why bedtime didn't go the best for the little ones.   The trip had its moments both good and bad, but coming back home and hearing the kids tell hubby all about what they did made me think the "good" outweighed the "bad".  I can't wait to go back to the Art Institute with the kids and maybe even a solo trip sometime. 

 The Lions in front of Art Institute are a favorite of mine.

 At the top of the stairs awaiting going in the Impressionist Hall

We love our Monet

"Mom it is the one you have"- well not exactly I have a print :).

These Thorne Rooms are amazing- the detail is unbelievable.

These windows have always reminded me of "Hidden Pictures" from my Highlights Magazine I received in the mail as a kid.

cousins are special, family is special!

When we got home I asked the kids what their favorite part of the museum was- daughter thought the pictures of the naked people were hilarious, son thought the "bridge Monet" painting was tied with the "dollhouse rooms" (that is what I called the Thorne rooms- no disrespect to Mrs. Thorne), and my favorite would probably be walking in and seeing all of the people standing in front of Sunday in The Park.

I get these crazy ideas that my kiddos will appreciate every little crazy idea their mom comes up with.  As I do many times in life I have high expectations for this type of outing/experience and when all my "expectations" don't happen I get sad/disappointed/poutty- I know now who is acting 3!  I take from the weekend some great memories and these learning moments:
1. Don't make four kids under 6 years of age walk from Union Station to Hotel couple of blocks on other side of Chicago River.
2. Don't expect 3 1/2 year old to enjoy what a 6 year old enjoys
3. I have to let the "mom I want to sleep with you" or "at least sleep next to you lying on the couches cushions" happen when trying to have a slumber party in a hotel-
4. Just have fun and not have expectations!

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