I love that all of the Chicago museums have free days. I always want to go but with 4 kids, I can't afford to go unless it is free. Monday was a free day at the Field Museum. Jacob has been obsessed with dinosaurs ever since he was very small and has always asked to go to the dinosaur museum. So on Monday we decided to go. This was the first in a line of bad ideas!!
I didn't decide until Monday morning to go, so I was quite unprepared for the adventure. I had no lunch meat in the house and I had to scramble to come up with lunches at the last minute. Peanut butter and jelly for everyone. YUCK!! Oh well, I pack up and off we go. I realize pulling out of the driveway that I have no gas. First stop gas station. While pumping my gas, I look down and realize that I am wearing one shoe and one slipper. I have no idea how that happened! Dang it, I have to go back home and change my one slipper into a more socially acceptable shoe. Off we go again. We hit the expressway and it is smooth sailing all the way to the museum. After 20 minutes of looking for the parking, we are parked and trying to get in the museum. We load up the mammoth stroller and head to the elevators. Of course not with out going back to the car 3 times for things I forgot. Oh well all is well! We take the elevator up and take the long walk to the doors of the museum. We are on the south side of the museum where I am greeted by A GIANT FLIGHT OF STAIRS!!! No ramp in sight! Time to get creative. I take Camden out of the stroller and give him to Jacob, while Tyler and I carry the stroller up the stairs. Not so fun and not a single person offered to help us! That's fine I can handle this. I can take 4 kids to the museum alone and I don't need any one's help. Yea. Once inside we had a fine time. They have this GREAT natural disasters display right now. We have been studying volcanoes lately so this was the highlight of the day. The rest of the museum, ehh, waste of my time. But oh well, I see things a bit different than the museum does so we plowed through the rest rather quickly. When we exited the museum, we were on the North side of the museum. I looked up and saw the building that my mom works in. I said to the kids, "Look, there is grandma's work. It is not that far, lets go visit her." *disclaimer* Large buildings appear closer than they are!
We head off down Columbus Dr. toward Michigan Ave. to visit grandma at the Prudential building. Just after passing Millennium Park, I realize that we are below the street we want to be on. I am greeted again by a GIANT FLIGHT OF STAIRS. This time, instead of killing ourselves to get up them, I decide to travel a bit underground to work my way up. My kids are exhausted, we had already been walking for about 30 minutes, and I keep saying, " hurry up guys." My legs are very long, one of my steps is at least 3 of theirs. Tyler has now gotten multiple cramps all over his body from too much walking when he says to me, "Where is the worst place to get a cramp?" Before I can respond, Jacob says," Chicago!" Cracking up we continue on. As we walk underground, I realize where we are. Sam stepped on a sleeping man and I panic. We are on lower Wacker. Me alone with my kids. CRAP!! My hurry up's get frantic and I am now encouraging my kids to run, not walk. After a lot of questions about why people are sleeping on the ground, we emerge in daylight. AAH!!! Freedom! 2 blocks west and then 3 more south and we arrive at the Prudential building. About an hour of walking for Giordano's pizza. To add insult to injury, my mom ordered thin crust! Who eats thin crust at Giordano's? Apparently my mom. Love you mom, but deep dish is the way to go.
I made the decision to take the train on the way back. Quick, cheap ride from Randolph to 12th street and we are close to the museum. Unfortunately when we arrive at the train station, it is 30 minutes till the next train. We wait. At least we are stationary. Camden is out of his mind tired and screams the whole time. When it is time to board the train, I am greeted again by A GIANT FLIGHT OF STAIRS!!! Again out comes Camden, give him to Jacob, and Tyler and I carry down the stroller. Again NO ONE offers to help. Now I need it. I am tired, frustrated, and quickly loosing my sense of humor. Any way we are on the train. YES!! Five minutes later we are off at 12th St. We are greeted yet again by a GIANT FLIGHT OF STAIRS!! Same scenario, like groundhog day, Cam out, Jacob hold, Tyler and I carry, no one offers to help, blah blah blah. Street level arrives and we head back to the museum. 15 minutes later we are back at the original flight of stairs and off to the parking garage. Another 15 minutes and I have found the car and we are in. I then realize that I had to pay for my parking at the terminal back by the elevators. There is no attendant on duty. Nice. Everyone back out of the car. I cried all the way to the stupid terminal thingy, pay for parking, and head back to the car. I am sure the onlookers wondered why I was crying as I paid for my parking. Or maybe they understood since we were all paying WAY TOO MUCH for a place to put our cars. We are now on the road. A wonderful, uneventful ride home. It was a beautiful thing. I really needed uneventful at that point.
So the moral of this story...Its not that easy to take 4 kids alone, anywhere, it looks close, but its not, stairs suck, chivalry is DEAD, pizza should be deep dish, nothing is quick, remember where you park, read the signs in the parking garage, and next time you start a day with 2 different shoes....STAY HOME!