StayCation: France

Ah, staycation….First we had a visitor from California, then we hit the highlights of Chicago with Daddy [Chicago Botanic Garden, Museum of Science and Industry]. After that, Charlotte had to go to Kids’ Kastle (our wonderful local home daycare) so I could work on a conference paper. Daycare is a treat for Charlotte because she loves the teachers, she gets to play all day in a small group, and she is usually the oldest one there these days. But, it wasn’t really worth blogging since I wasn’t there.

After daycare, we began the international part of our staycation with visitors from France. When we visited Paris in May, we spent time with my friend Fabrice and his 11-year old daughter. We proposed that she could visit any time. She reminded him. And reminded him. And reminded him. So, we planned a trip. Then her grandmother (who I’ve known for years and who Philippe met about 7 years ago) heard about it and said she wanted in on the trip, too. Charlotte came with me to meet Odile (left) and Eva at the airport.

We took them to some of Chicago’s most special places, like…the Museum of Science and Industry. Yep, Charlotte went there on Monday and on Thursday and she enjoyed (almost) every minute.

Later in the visit, we took them also to the Observatory at the top of the John Hancock Tower. It may not be the tallest building in Chicago, but the view is extraordinary. The four big people listened to the excellent guided tour. Narrated by Chicago’s own David Schwimmer, complete with a plug for the theatre company he founded here (Victory Garden), the tour gives excellent information about the buildings contextualized in a wonderful history of Chicago and how the neighborhoods surrounding the tower have evolved. A big plus: You can almost see the new Children’s Hospital building from the 95th floor. Charlotte loved finally seeing the view that graces the middle of Iggy Peck, Architect (see Thanksgiving week post for a photo).

Then, Charlotte got bored and cranky and nearly made me lose my mind with her impatience. What saved the day? My SLR digital camera! Charlotte took dozens of pictures of, in her words, “the whole world.” She declared that when she grows up she wants to be a photographer. Karley would have been proud!

Some of the pictures were pretty good, too. In fact, she took one of the best pictures of me that I’ve seen in a long time. Maybe I’ll post it one day. Here’s a skyline picture by Charlotte:

Here’s a picture of Charlotte, Philippe and Eva “cleaning the windows” of the John Hancock Tower. Cheesy, I know. But cute!
After the Hancock Tower, at about 12:10 p.m. on a Saturday, we managed to get into The Cheesecake Factory with a 5 minute wait. When does that happen?! Needless to say, our French guests were thrilled by the decor and opulence, and a bit cowed by the portion sizes. Charlotte was thrilled to be with Odile and Eva. We learned the extent and limits of my menu French as I tried to translate and differentiate between sausage, pepperoni, and other pizza toppings! I can’t leave this entry without commending the best waitress, Cheryl. I cannot remember right now why she was so extraordinary, but it was clear that she enjoys her job and we thoroughly enjoyed her.

Just another vacation day in Chicago!

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