This fall has been an absolute doozy. Actually, every month since July has qualified for doozy status. Logan got a job working on a TV show filming in Utah, in one of those classic film business we-need-you-here-like-yesterday-but-twelve-hours-from-now-will-have-to-do-and-are-you-available-for-the-next-six-months-kthxbye hirings. Ami and I stayed in Austin to finish out her summer school semester and then followed him here mid-August. We settled in for a week or two, then traveled to Northern California afor ten days with my aunt, then returned for a bit and… left for Chicago, my home town.
Unfortunately we were two weeks late to celebrate my 20th high school reunion (YES I SAID TWENTIETH) and we missed out on celebrating the High Holidays with my folks, but on the plus side we happened to be there for the weekend of the Chicago Marathon and thus had the distinct pleasure of way overpaying for accommodations. (I kid, I kid. We had a studio apartment in former U of C housing, two blocks from my parents, and it worked out swimmingly. Plus my folks helped offset the cost. Thanks, guys!)
Ami, of course, did great on the plane. She’s pretty much old hat at short plane trips now. We’ve been super fortunate with her.
We borrowed a small foam pad for Ami to sleep on. When we woke up the first morning, I rolled over to check on her and she was MISSING. Turned out she’d squirmed under our bed. (Also, those are totally my sheets from when I was in middle school. The early 90s were a glorious time for Southwestern design.)
Our trip was totally packed with toddler fun and festivities. We visited a pumpkin patch in Hyde Park, where Ami got to ride a pony named Hank. She insisted on calling him Frosty, after her pony friend from the Austin farmer’s market, so we dubbed him Hank the Frosty. She rode him three (four?) times.
We also went to the Shedd Aquarium, where Ami marveled at the belugas and demanded we buy her a purple otter, which Papa obliged. “Mama, dada, papa, I miss my purple otter SO MUCH. You buy him for me? I love him! He so KOOOT!”
The Brookfield Zoo was also a tremendous hit, especially the petting zoo area where Ami got to brush and feed the goats. Guess we need to buy a goat now to keep purple otter company.
She took her job as pretend veterinarian very, very seriously. By which I mean she gathered every animal she could find, examined them carefully, then shoved them into the incubator one after another.
Logan, who’s super passionate and knowledgble about art, couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go to the Art Institute. Ami is probably a little young for the Modern Wing, but I guess it’s never too early to expose a kid to contemporary art.
We also hit up the Museum of Science and Industry, where I spent many, many, MANY happy childhood hours. The place has changed a lot since the 1980s, but some exhibits are the same. They still have the Old Town Main Street, where Ami was enraptured by the Nickelodeon showing of a Buster Keaton hit. The U-505 is still there, and the train diorama (which has gotten way, way bigger). I visited the babies in the jars (preserved fetuses from the 1920’s in various stages of development, from fertilized eggs up through full-term baby), which fascinated me as a kid and which have now been given their own gallery. And, of course, there were the baby chicks, who have been around for 60 years. Yes, thanks, they are different chicks now than they were in the ‘50s. Not only did I gawk at them as a kid, my father, my mother, and my aunts did, too… our family goes way back with these guys. And now Ami has said her hellos, as well.
Oh yeah, and she got a Mold-a-Rama of a green tractor. That injected plastic is just as screamingly hot as I’d remembered, and just as fascinating to observe. Of course, it’s $3 now, instead of the 25 or 50 cents of my youth.
The most important facet of the trip, though, was the time we got to spend with my parents. Dad, Ami’s Papa, accompanied us all over town, gamely posing for ridiculous pictures and fighting lots of traffic on our behalf.
And Mom, Ami’s Nana, presented Ami with all sorts of sweet winter clothes and cute toys. Nana and Papa even watched Ami for a night so Logan and I could have a date night, our first since arriving in Utah in August!
Our trip was lots of fun, but it also went by really quickly. I’m sad that I didn’t get the time to visit all my wonderful Chicago friends and family, and I’m really hoping to make Chicago visits more than a once every 2.5 year thing! Being in Austin, and ESPECIALLY in Utah, has highlighted how extremely fortunate I was to grow up in a city with the rich culture and diversity of Chicago, and I want my daughter to get to know the city I love.