Saturday, June 16, 2012

Mother-Daughter Travels

Brynna and I went on a midwestern swing earlier this week and had a delightful time catching up with dear friends in Chicago and in Wisconsin.

L, S, and little M live right near the lake in Chicago. Brynna was thrilled to be reunited with them, and we were astonished to discover that since our St. John trip, M had become both a walker and a talker! Brynna was also excited to explore the wonderful playground five minutes away:

Brynna also broke in some of M's puzzles:

And we got to go to my favorite breakfast spot, Tweet, where they have many delicious vegetarian and vegan options, as well as kid toys/activities.

The next day we drove to Wisconsin so that I could meet V, the daughter of my best friend from medical school. She is just as sweet as she looks (as is her mommy).

Silly iPhone with no flash, but here's our B happily reunited with B and M:

They've been buds for awhile. Here's a flashback:

There was also a great playground in Appleton, where we spent several happy mother-daughter hangout hours:

L and Miss M:

Brynna as surrogate big sister:

Brynna planting a garden of dandelions on top of the slide:

There was this cool lion in front of our hotel:

I do NOT have a picture of L and I tapping away madly on our laptops in the dark room while our children napped. But we did a lot of that, too, since we both had some work to do.

We had two delicious dinners with our Appleton friends, and before leaving to head back to Chicago, spent the morning at the Building for Kids, a children's museum.

This is a giant model of a heart. B is about to slid down the aorta:

There was a big room full of model train stuff, which enchanted our little engineer:

And an amazing firetruck:

Brynna was very upset that she didn't see the fire boots until after she was done playing. Don't mention it to her...

Here she is piloting the model Gulfstream jet:

And there was also a doll hospital. Brynna is giving a shot:

And checking ears:

Here she is climbing back down from the treehouse. She got all the way up to the tip-top platform, insisting that I follow her. I realized as I was tiptoeing through the netting that perhaps it was not the right day to be wearing a skirt!
Then she sent me down ahead of her, because she was concerned that the nets might break if we were both walking across them at the same time. Once I returned to solid ground, Brynna had a full-blown panic attack on the top platform. I was about to climb back up to get her when a lovely little girl not too much older (perhaps five?) turned around, went back up, and slowly and carefully talked Brynna down. It was lovely to see.

After returning to Chicago, we spent our last morning at the Shedd Aquarium. Brynna had such a good time that she hasn't let us cut off her wristband yet!

Here she is getting ready to see the Happy Feet 4D Experience.

There were sharks and beluga whales and penguins and otters, oh my! None of those pictures came out very well, so I will not bore you with blurry swimming sea creatures. But it was cool.

After a nap, we took the train out to the airport, at Brynna's request. With her shrieking with delight and making up little songs about trains, and our luggage plus carseat ensemble, I don't think anyone mistook us for urban natives. 

On the way home, I used the airplane Wi-Fi for the first time (to get some work done) and Brynna amused herself on the iPad and, other than refusing to sleep, was a charming traveling companion. 

Farewell Chicago, we hope to be back soon!

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