Shedd Aquarium with the Cuzzies

I was telling a friend the other day about my blog, and it blew my mind how different my life is since I started it. Now instead of going to see new spots for myself, I want to share the city with my baby, whether I’ve been there before or not!

While our nanny was recently sick, Nate took Ellie to the Art Institute (first museum trip!), and this past weekend we went to the Shedd Aquarium with Nate’s older brother and his family (that includes four fun kiddos).

Ellie can be in the Bjorn face out now, so she really enjoys looking around and observing everything on our outings. At the Shedd, she loved visiting with family, seeing all of the marine life, and even sea horses! Once we went underground to check out the dolphins and whales, she was able to snooze from the peacefulness down there. I hadn’t been in so long, and it was just so relaxing to watch the animals and zone out (just a little).

There are so many activities for the children, too! They felt starfish, played in a submarine, and watched the diver feed the fish and more in the big tank in the lobby.

My advice to you: go early! We went on a free admission day, and it took us maybe 20 minutes to get in using the stroller line (that’s another tip if you have little ones!). When we were leaving around noon, the line was at least three times the size. 

We had such a great time with our family at the Shedd! It was fun to spend time together and take advantage of this great city!

More adventures with Ellie to come soon. Check out my updated to-do list!

   
    
    
   

Week #22 – Mah Jongg Event at the Chicago History Museum

Our friend Megs, who took me around the Chicago History Museum earlier this year, invited Nate and me to an event to play Mah Jongg…what the heck is that? After getting clarification that it’s a Chinese tile game that Jewish women began to play in the early part of the 20th century, I was in. Nate loves to beat me mercilessly at games, so I knew he’d particularly get a kick out of it. I especially wanted to go because the name of the event was “Memories, Martinis, and ‘Mahj”. How could I refuse?

By the time we arrived, the games were in full swing. You could tell the people playing were pretty serious, so I knew early on that I’d be a spectator at this event and not a participant. Not to mention the fact that there are 136 tiles with different Chinese symbols and numbers in the set, and there’s a guide book needed to play. (I now know why they offered an info session!) So we headed over to the photo booth (woo!) to start out the night.

The photo booth, which was a photographer taking photos, was fun because of the props. Nate was a great sport and dressed up in a tie, hat, and 50s glasses! The full-size photos were ready later in the evening, and were a great keepsake from the event.

After photos, we grabbed a cocktail. I believe mine was called the Red Dragon (cosmopolitan) and Nate got a Manhattan (I forget the name!). Very tasty! There was also a spread of Jewish appetizers, followed by sweets and tea and coffee.

We hung out for a while…mingling, chatting with our fellow partygoers, learning trivia about Jewish Chicago, reading the Mah Jongg memories in the scrapbook they were putting together at the event, and…waiting for the raffle. If there’s one thing I love more than photo booths, it’s raffles! I earned a raffle ticket for my “50s-style dress”, and was excited to possibly win some swag: mugs, tote bags, and even a new Mah Jongg set. Did I win? YES! What did I win? Free parking to return to the Museum, which I’m excited to use. I’d really like to bring my nieces and Nate’s nieces to the Museum to learn more about my great city.

The Chicago History Museum has a ton of really cool events happening all the time, so make sure to check them out!

Chicago History Museum
1601 North Clark
Old Town

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Week #13 – Chicago History Museum

My family friend Megs works at the Chicago History Museum and offered to take me on a personal tour—how could I refuse? She mentioned a new fashion exhibit called Inspiring Beauty that was definitely worth seeing. Sounds like the perfect Saturday afternoon. And it was!

There is SO much to do here—for adults and children alike—so I’m including just a few of my favorite memories from the day.

  1. FACING FREEDOM – This exhibit gives interactive examples of how groups in U.S. history worked hard to fight for freedom, from the women’s suffrage movement (see me holding my banner below) to a Chicago school boycott. Megs and I were a part of this exhibit, too! First we took our picture, chose a word to go with our photo (we chose UNITE), and, voila!, our photo is one of many that appears on a pillar in the exhibit.
  2. TOURING THE FIRST L TRAIN CAR – Did you know the first L train car can be found here? Not only can you see the train, you can walk through the car. The seats are a little hard, but the car is so beautifully designed. It’s fun to sit and think about all of the people who’ve been on the train before you.
  3. INSPIRING BEAUTY: 50 YEARS OF EBONY FASHION FAIR – Think Oscar de la Renta, Christian Dior, and so much more! If you see only one thing during your visit, it should be this featured exhibit (open through January 5, 2014). You can’t take photos, so you’ll have to experience this one for yourself! Don’t miss the dozens of haute couture outfits featured during the 50-year history of Ebony Magazine’s annual traveling fashion show. Their beautiful construction, fierce colors, bold patterns, and exotics materials make it difficult to choose one favorite! Some of my favorites include a full-body tattoo black dress by Sarli, a Nina Ricci bold purple coat and jumpsuit, and an elegant blue coat by Pauline Trigere that was worn by Eunice Johnson, co-founder of Chicago’s Johnson Publishing Company and producer and director of the Ebony Fashion Fair.
  4. VIVIAN MAIER’S CHICAGO – A picture is worth a thousand words, especially in this exhibit. The black and white photos of Vivian Maier, a nanny who photographed her life during the ’60s and ’70s in Chicago, speak volumes of the times without using a single word. This was another fun way to see fashion of the past, too.
  5. SENSING CHICAGO – I dressed up as a human-sized hot dog, rode a high-wheel bicycle, and smelled a farm. All while in this fun, experiential exhibit. Priceless…

I’ve included lots of photos, so be sure to take a look. Or better yet, plan a visit to the museum! Special thanks to Megs for the great tour!

Chicago History Museum
1601 North Clark
Old Town

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