My Brother the Tour Guide

After Christmas mom had to go back to work. We were left to fend for our selves with nothing to entertain us. So Justin stepped up to the plate. Actually he loves to plan outings. He is the one that plans any vacation, and he finds the coolest things to do. He found the jeeps to rent in Colorado. We had a blast four-wheeling through the mountains. It was just like the song.

But that is beside the point except that once again he went above and beyond the call of duty to find fun things to do. On Thursday we headed into the city, or at least close enough to it for us. We went to Brookfield Zoo. It was cold out and hot in the buildings, hardly any people were out and it was free, it was awesome. The Goblin Child was excited to see some of the animals we had been talking about, the bears that hold their paws up and say grrrr! Zebras and giraffes, mostly a big white bird, she saw it and said bawk! As I tried to explain that chickens say bawk, birds say chirp or tweet, we haven’t decided for sure yet, the big white bird said “Bawk!” We sat and looked and “Bawk”ed at it for a long time. Justin and Stephani had came very well prepared bringing strollers and blankets for all.

As it grew dark the lights came on. It was dazzling in the evening chill. The beautiful old brick buildings and tree lined walks all decked out for Christmas. The crowds grew and carolers came out to entertain. We made one last stop at the children’s zoo, an indoor interactive play ground for the children. They ran about for a bit and we got to see and pet a chicken, very exciting I guess, apparently she never gets to do that at home. Then with us adults being utterly exhausted we made a quick stroll through more lights and headed home to meet mom for supper at, my favorite, Portillo’s . I used to eat there almost every day before I moved away.

The next day mom got up and went to work even earlier than usual, I think she left by four, so she could get done in time to join us for lunch and the afternoons entertainment. We picked her up, leaving her car behind in a parking lot, we already had to take two vehicles to fit all the car seats, three seemed a bit extreme.  Heading north we made Hu Hots in time for lunch. It was my brothers special birthday lunch, Happy Birthday Justin!

After stuffing our faces until it was uncertain whether we would ever be able to move again, we went to the museums. I don’t even know the name of them which is very sad. They sat right on Lake Michigan, two years ago when we tried to go see them they were closed and we spent lots of very cold but fun time walking on the beach. This year they were open and with the children we decided to forgo the water. The first had a big model train set up just inside the door and half our group never made it past there. The rest of us enjoyed looking at fossils and art and I can’t even remember what else, but it was fun.

The second museum looked very un-child friendly when we walked in. It was a civil war museum and you had to pay to do part of it, we of course opted for the free parts. On the ground floor was a very haunting memorial to all the American wars. A dark room with stars twinkling overhead and soldiers from all eras around a campfire. Upstairs was the typical museum and a great library with legos for the kids to play with even costumes to try on. I’m afraid that Stephani and I enjoyed that far more than the children. The end of the building was all glass to admire the view of the water from. We watched from there for the trolly to come so we could catch it for a ride.

When it came around the corner we raced to meet it in time and enjoyed a ride around the town on a real old fashioned trolly. It was bright yellow  and fun, if The Goblin Child hadn’t been so completely exhausted it would have been tempting to go a couple of rounds. After that we headed home, all of us being wore out. Mom, dad, Goblin Child and I went to get moms car and the others took a more scenic and hopefully less traffic rout through Wisconsin and down through Richmond Il. They did get home first if not by much and ordered us all pizza from Lou Malnati’s. It was delicious. If I keep mentioning food it’s only because that’s the whole point of most vacations, perfectly normal right? Thinking about it now is making me very hungry.

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