My in-laws came to visit on Thursday and are now on the Amtrak train back to Michigan. Does that sound like torture? It wasn’t! My in-laws are very kind, non-invasive people. And unlike so many mother-in-laws, mine lacks passive-aggressiveness.

Thursday night we patronized the local German restaurant. Awesome beer selection, of course, and delicious potato dumplings. (Not that I really ate any since Ava stole all of mine.) On Friday, we went the the Museum of Science and Industry because Ava had received 3 free passes just for showing up to school on the first day. (Gah, I know. Pathetic.) We only explored half of the museum (at most) but four hours was enough. The kids had a blast, of course. Especially the Idea Factory for kids 10 and under. I have to say that the Farm Tech display is horrifying. The way that they normalize factory farming of animals and glorify corn reeks of corporate sponsorship of the Monsato/ ConAgra/ Kraft foods variety.

Saturday was a football-watching, beer-drinking, Chicago-style-hot-dog-eating, park-visiting kind of day. For me, it was also the first foray into Christmas shopping. Damn, my neighborhood is awesome to shop in! I picked up some chapstick and tom’s toothpaste for kids at the apothecary and some new shoes, mittens, and a hat at Payless. Then I went to some of the little independent shops (here, here, and here) and bought each of the 3 big girls a little Ugly Doll. Ava will also be receiving a new lunch box and a duck alarm clock. And for me, some yarn and needles for the mama knitting party I went to last night. SO FUN! Knitting with other moms that drink wine and swear while attachment parenting and cloth diapering! Holy shit, who knew there were so many of us out there!!! I brought Helena with me and she spent the evening flirting with Rocky, who is just a week or so younger than she. (I’m sorry, Jen. I know I promised her to Chico, but she’s just not ready for a commitment.)

So, why the mostly? Because I wish football would die a miserably slow and brutal death. Yesterday we went to the Field Museum. We had the free pass from the library. We had a big discussion about how to get there. It was bitter cold and John didn’t want to walk from the El to the museum (about 3 city blocks). That would mean two trains and a bus. With 4 kids. NIGHTMARE. So I suggested we drive. With 8 of us, it was just as cheap to pay to park as it is to take the El and then transfer twice. No big deal, right? Yeah…

There was a home game at Soldier Field, next to the museum and the MUSEUM parking lot was for those with special tickets and $45 to tailgate. As usual, sports trump culture. So we had to drive to downtown, park in a garage ($25 instead of the $15 it would have cost on normal day at the museum), and take the free shuttle. And then we had to walk all the way around the monstrous stadium to get to the Field. And… since I was planning on walking 5 minutes tops, I didn’t have Helena in her warmest suit or a blanket. I was fucking pissed. If people want to waste their time and money watching a bunch of thugs wrestle over a flap of pig skin, whatever. But it should not inconvenience the rest of the city. I have always hated that sport. It started because I could never get onto campus to study on Saturdays thanks to MSU football and the revelers left their garbage everywhere. Yesterday did not improve my opinion.

The museum was awesome. I love the Field. Two trips so far, and we still have a whole floor left to explore. The Ancient Americas exhibit? ROCKS. I could have spent hours in that section.

But, hey, I knitted!