7 Quick Takes (v. 68)

1.  Piper (6) has been begging me to take her training wheels off for a few months, but I kept telling her that she had to practice on her big sister’s bike before I would do it.  Piper decided the other night that she was ready to give it a try.  Thankfully, Bailey (9) loves being a teacher to her little sisters since I am in no physical condition to be balancing a kid on a bike for very long.  Within an hour (in spite of a few teacher/student arguments) Piper was able to do some basic riding.  So, last night I went ahead and took her training wheels off, and she’s been continuing to practice on her own.

2.  On the 4th of July, we decided to go into downtown Chicago.  Our first stop was the original Billy Goat Tavern.  I had never seen the old Saturday Night Live skit based on the place, but my husband wanted to go there for its place in Cubs history.  First of all, the place is underground on Michigan Avenue; you have to go down a stairwell from street level into this grimy and scary sub-level of the city.  Then as soon as we walked in the door they started harassing us to order and then getting annoyed that I couldn’t put together an order for six people (four of them children) fast enough.  The food was mediocre at best.  Let’s just say that it was an experience, an experience I have no desire to repeat.

3.  Our main goal was to take the kids to the Art Institute of Chicago.  The first and second Wednesdays of the month there is free admission for Illinois residents, and kids under 14 are always free.  (Of course, parking near the museum ended up being $30.)  We hit some of the modern works (Nighthawks and American Gothic), the Impressionist wing, and the Thorne Miniature Rooms.  Then the kids started whining about being bored and thirsty, so we left.

4.  I wouldn’t let the kids get little knick-knacky crap from the museum gift shop.  Instead I picked up The Essential Guide and Treasures of 19th- and 20th-Century Painting.  The latter I thought would be especially useful in the fall as we begin our history lessons with late 19th century artists.

5.  Before we headed back to the van, we ended up splashing around in the Crown Fountain at Millenium Park.  With this crazy heat wave it felt SO good, and the girls said it was their favorite part of the whole day.  (So much for trying to instill some sense of art appreciation.)

6.  I took Bailey (9) to the orthodontist yesterday.  They said that we could start Phase I orthodontics now for $1500 (they originally told me $2900!) and then move into Phase II orthodontics for $3496 once the rest of her baby teeth fall out in a year or two.  But at this point the Phase I isn’t medically necessary, so we could skip it and just wait for Phase II.  Sorry, hon, you’re just going to have to live with those crooked front teeth a little bit longer.

7.  Today we’re supposed to have a high of 102 degrees with a “RealFeel” of 115.   When I woke up in sweaty misery at 8:30 the downstairs temperature was showing 90 degrees in the house; upstairs I know it was even higher.  Even though this is the first day all week when I have no appointments or activities scheduled to attend, I’m looking into ways to get us out of this Hell Hole, as I have Christened our townhouse.  I’m thinking of taking the kids either to McDonald’s for a few hours or to the small indoor playground our parks district has.  And maybe I”ll try to sweet talk my husband into a road trip to the Chick-Fil-A in Aurora for dinner.

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