On Monday March 17th we took the Amtrak train, Empire Builder to Chicago! We got a late start as the train was running 3 hours late, but thankfully we knew this ahead of time so we weren’t sitting in the little terminal in Red Wing that entire time. This was the first train ride for all of us. The train pulled up, we walked out and on we went. The fact that there wasn’t any security seemed odd to me and the fact that there is no checking your luggage ..a little concerning, but we all got there with all of our bags. The kids passed the time on the train with their electronics (of course), eating snacks, and playing a few card games.
We were in Chicago from Monday to Friday. Tuesday morning we hit the ground running and kept that pace through all of the days. We visited many museums, ate too much awesome food and had a great time. We would leave our hotel in the morning and return after dinner each evening. The boys were awesome and easy to travel with. They all got a little too comfortable with hailing a taxi cab (John called it “hawking a cab”…so that’s what we called it the rest of the trip.). We walked as much as possible, but at the end of our days John was tired and wanted to “Hawk a cab”. :)
The Art Institute of Chicago: Michael was on a mission to find all the art work that was in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day off. We would have been better off leaving Jeffrey, Jon and John at home. Their feet and legs started to hurt 5 minutes into visiting this museum!
The Shedd Museum: We all loved this and had spectacular views of Lake Michigan. Michael wasn’t pleased that I purchased tickets to the dolphin show as I was told it conflicted with his morals (This is new after watching a documentary about whales in captivity on Netflix….). He suffered through it. We enjoyed our first 4D movie experience at the Shedd Museum. It was a short movie called Sea Monsters. Four of us laughed most of the time and one little spectator was scared to death! We were wondering what makes an experience 4d. We quickly learned it is the air and water that hits you from the chair in front of you and the pokes you get in the back from your own chair.
The Field Museum: A favorite for all five of us! So many amazing exhibits. We could have spent the entire day here. Sue the T-Rex is here.
Adler Planetarium: This was another Michael request, but we all enjoyed this one.
The Museum of Science and Industry: We were running out of time so I took John and we did our thing and Jon took the big guys and did there thing. We would have loved to go in the U-505 Submarine, but all the tickets were sold out! Bummer…. That is on our list to do the next time we get to visit Chicago.
The Sky Deck: 103 floors up! One Gegen kept his back to the wall and was ornery during this experience. His children were heckling him and doing their best to get him to come on the platform….but nope….he wasn’t doing it. He tried his best to take a picture of the boys and me….they didn’t turn out. I think he just went “click” without looking and ran to position himself back on the wall.
At one point on our trip John said to me, “What were we doing last spring break mom?”. I told him we were in the hospital for his 4th antibody treatment. Of course he knew this when he asked me. We both agreed that this was a much better way to spend spring break!
We were all a little sad to leave Chicago. There were more things we wanted to do and see, but we packed up and headed to the station. The train was full on the way home, but John and I did manage to find a few chairs in the observation car. We played crazy eights for a long time and then he wanted to to the “Chat Pack” cards that I brought along. They are cards with conversation starters on them. John had watched how I did this with Jeffrey and Michael on the way to Chicago (Much to their horror) and he wanted me to do it with him. So we did and he took each question very seriously. So there we sat. I read the question and he would give his answer. Here are a few that he answered.
In your opinion what is the most beautiful man-made object in the world? Our hotel in Hawaii.
If you could hear a speech from a leading figure in any field, whom would you choose to hear? Martin Luther King
Describe your dream home:( He went on and on until I realized he was describing the home he’s building in his Mindcraft game.)
If you could walk into any painting which painting would you choose to enter: The one with the naked people (This is in reference to one of the many paintings he saw with naked people in it at the Art Institute.)
And then we ended with this last question. What is the greatest lesson in life you have ever learned? Without missing a beat he tapped his finger on his chin and said, “This has to do with the hospital.” (He then paused a moment and continued on)”Don’t be scared. You never have to be scared.” With that response it was game over for this mom. I hugged him the best I could and told him what a special boy he is.
Yes we had a wonderful vacation, but right there, in that moment I was reminded by my beautiful boy that what is truly wonderful..we were all together. All 5 of us…happy…healthy…living for today and not fearing tomorrow (Jon and I have fear…but this past week it barely reared its ugly head. This is progress!). A year ago our lives were so different. 2 years ago…it was all just starting, we just didn’t know it. And today….today is a gift, a blessing.
Enough for tonight! I hope to update later this week with the events of John losing his first tooth in Chicago! He was determined to lose it there and he did with help from his big brother Michael. More on that later.
Love, Hope and Blessings,