The Stream

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Candy Talk


The butterfly, the M&M, and the Alien have some training to go through.


Confused and misguided.





After our first trunk or treat of the week, I noticed that Mat and I failed to train our kids on picking good candy. When Micah was given the choice to choose her candy, she strictly went for pink wrapped things. Ahhh! It was all about the color for her. She was merely judging the candy by it's outside and not by the goodness inside.

The kids have to pay us a parent tax from their Halloween candy for taking them to these things... waiting in lines, carrying their sweaty gloves when they get too hot and crowns when they keep falling off, and taking them to the bathroom when they have tightly wound one piecers on. Why not give them some direction? Just channel them a little.

We laid it out for them:


Good candy, you have your,

Twix, M&Ms, Snickers, Reeses, Kit Kats, Baby Ruths, Milky Ways, Milk Duds (see where I'm going with this?)

Bad Candy

Airheads, Starbursts, Laffy Taffys (except the banana), Jolly Ranchers, Dots, Dum Dums, and More Dum Dums.

That simple. Hopefully we won't have to raise taxes this year. Everyone's Happy!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Onto Columbus

We stopped over night in Columbus to visit Thee Other Harrises (Mat's brother)

Jocelyn (sis in law) was kind enough to watch our kids while we went dashed away to the temple. Temple great, having someone breaking into our car while we were in the temple not so great. It was the old "put a screw driver into the lock trick and give it a good hit to pop the lock" technique. Mat had it happen to him on his mission in Australia. When he went to open his side of the door, he noticed it right away. Panicked he said, "Is our stuff all here!" "Yes, why?!" Whew, luckily they got away with none of it, laptop, gps, camera, dvd player, my purse, Ipod, you name it our Harris mini van store was open for bizzness! Glad we were blessed.

Once that all settled down.

Little bit of Rock climbing

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A little family time

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Had lunch at a wonderful Venezuelan restaurant. Holy moly! I am still dreaming about it the plantains. We stopped off for some ice cream at Graeters. Very good, very creamy.

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On our way back home, Becket started realizing his fun was going to end. He could be on a trip for the rest of his life, and he was somewhat disappointed that he had to return home. Oh smell! I told him hard work and a daily routine help you appreciate life's little escapes. I'm sure that sunk deep into his head!

Top Five Things About Chicago (from a kids point of view)

Top Five Things About Chicago (from a kids point of view)

#5 The Museums

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#4 The Sand

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#3 The Lego Store

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#2 The Pigeons

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#1 The Power of Escalators (even if they do think they are powering them themselves)

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Thank you Chicago! I disliked and feared you at first and now I am absolutely in love with you.

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Had a Day Where You Missed Things By 2 Mins?

When we got back into Chicago we just had one of those days where we were missing everything by a matter of minutes.

We were going to take the shuttle from the hotel to the train station and we waved goodbye at it as it drove away.

We got to the train station and didn't have the right card and when we returned, we had missed the train.

When we were approaching the bus stop, we again waved at the bus as it puffed it's exhaust into our faces.

Arrived a the museum to learn that it was closing in 40mins.

Almost missed the bus to uptown. I was sprinting the length of the bus with the kids crying out of fear and the bus driver kindly opened the doors She made me say thank you first before I got onto my seat. Whatev! She said she had to wait for me, she was just jealous of.....well, just jealous of me and my three kids. Whatever, bus driver lady!


With all the red lights, we still had a good day.

FREE DAY at the Shedd Aquarium.

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Museum of Science and Industry

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The Beach at Lake Michigan

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Dinner with the new fellow taking Mat's place (middle) and Attending N

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Busy day and another picture of Micah passing out in random places, Chicago city bus. Thank you bus driver lady.

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The Harris Split

Mat stays in Chicago for conference and interview stuff, while I go to Wisconsin to see old friends.

Mat's stay went a little like this:

Went for a run and watched the sunrise over Chicago:

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Went to Borders because of boredom and then took some pictures of the city:

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Sunday, he rejoined his conference classes and interviewed with potential future employers (more on that story when we know more). Just keep your fingers crossed in the name of the Harrises, if you truly care.

Mic's stay went a little like this:

Drove up to Wisconsin only to find a towering plaster of Paris Ramses statue with a pet gold plated pyramid slightly behind him. Who thinks of these wonderful ideas? Who has this Ramsey passion? It's like ancient!

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Toured the Jelly Belly Factory. Train Car + Video Clips around a Costco like warehouse + Sales Pitch for expensive sugar wrapped up into a bean + Free Sample= Tour. It was free and a perfect stop to make some sandwiches.

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Stopped at the Mars Cheese Castle. Turns out, Wisconsinites like their cheese sharper than knifes. It makes you purse fish lips in seconds.

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I also took the kids to a brewery. That's right, "Kids, we're going to learn how they make beer." Becket with a a stretched out "Whhhhhyy?" Gretchen: "Turn on Scripture Scouts or pause it when we go in!"
They were a little confused as to why their mother would take them to such a place, but I heard it was worth a stop. Besides, Gretchen drew a Griffin, (Sprecher's mascot---you know, half lion, half eagle) on her G page in kindergarten.

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It also appears that Becket is still working his shift from the Jelly Belly factory and it looks like we have the mad drunk, the silly drunk and the aloof drunk all on one table.

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We finally landed in Wisconsin to visit friends that we knew in North Carolina. Thank you Cutler's for putting up with us over the weekend. I'm sure they are loving their space back. I presented the kids with T-shirts according age. They were a scream to say the least! The kids looked like a walking family reunion, but they loved being identified by their age. Let me know if you would like me to make you a T-Shirt, I'm sure these will be big sellers with woman over 30!

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I find it interesting how their age marks their height as well.

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We also got to see the good old Irish bunch for dinner. Karen just had a baby and she was already fixing dinner for us. There was a little guilt not bringing dinner to her, but what do you do when you're a traveling nomad?
I do just love this bunch.

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We played at la playa, watched a Bollywood movie, met their new friends at church, snagged Brooke's tried and true recipes and then we drove back down to Chicago.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sue and Bueller

We ate at Subway for lunch, a place that the kids have never eaten at, but have always wanted to go. I think it was the catchy, "Have it your way at Subway!" slogan that had them intrigued. They were disappointed to learn that they served most of their LEAST favorites. They thought riding the subway and eating at Subway was a riot and this is what led me to my 2nd mini break down in another restaurant (see Indian restaurant post a few down). Between hyper "have it your way kids!" and Micah hanging on the chip basket for the third time then finally knocking down her chair, I had had it. I took a deep breath and said to my sweet children, "Say thanks mom for not killing us at lunch." Kids in monotone voices, "Thanks mom for not killing us at lunch." Becket: "Why would you kill us?" Me: "Forget it."

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We headed to the Field Museum. We talked to Sue the dinosaur. Well, more liked roared. She's doing well, a little achy and brittle, but well. She is the most complete T-rex in the world.

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They had the perfect little corner for my kids to nest in. This-

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They are always make-believing nests and eggs with their dinosaurs at home and now it has come to life. Speaking of coming to life--how about king tut and the ancient ways? They got a kick out of the Egyptians beds. I told them never to complain about their sleeping arrangements at home--I could always make them a bed like this:

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We were fascinated by the whole Egyptian wing. When Micah saw the mummy in the tomb, her words, "We got to get him outta dare!" Obviously we didn't, and that was a good thing with security buzzers and all. I did have them try to pull a piece of the pyramid. They moved it a whole big fat zero millimeters.

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EYE SEE MAT! We met up with Mat for dinner, but after the dear ophthalmologist posed in front of the eyeball. How perfect to have this piece enucleated for the ophthalmology conference.

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It is actually the artist's actual eyeball that he tried to replicate himself. Mat's words, "He did a good job, it is anatomically correct." That is from a person who sees a lot of eyeballs, so I decided to poke the artist in the eye to see if it was real.

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Off to the Art Institute of Chicago, because it was free night. We stood in front of A Sunday Afternoon at La Grand Jatte by Seurat, just like Cameron did in Ferris Bueller's day off. It was amazing, yes the art, but mostly the Ferris part. I love that movie and it made me miss it. I asked Mat to get it for me so that we could watch it when we got home. Chicago = FERRIS

They also had these lovely homes we could tour in the museum:

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Except they were all miniature! Trick and a treat. A Chicago must!

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Chicago Style Everything

No Keys. I remember placing the keys on the table after I got back from obsessively locking my car in the hotel parking lot ( a nightly Rainman tradition, no matter where I am). Why weren't they there where I had left them? I text Mat assuming that he must have them, but I carefully word it as to not place blame. "Did you see my keys anywhere?" I text. "You're going to kill me." he texts back. Yes. I was going to kill him. And yes, this was not the first time he has taken my keys.

I am forced to take the train into Chicago. Exhaling slowly, this trip won't be so bad for a mother of three, right? Right. It was actually good Mat forced my hand at the train because it was actually the smartest, worrisome ride I could have taken. And, the kids loved it too.

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Destination: Children's Museum. As we strolled, we came across some interesting things. When you're on a long walk to the Pier, you tend to notice anything to keep the kids from complaining.

Like this:

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Or this:

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Finally, we made it to the museum with our fabulous reciprocating museum pass.

Gretchen on the big comfy couch. This was taken after Micah landed head first off the couch. She is howling at my leg as I snip-snap the picture.

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After the museum, we met up with Mat at the giant coffee bean and then headed for a traditional Chicago dinner.

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We grabbed a dawg at Portillo's- Chicago Style: yellow mustard, a whole pickle, tomato wedges, onion, sport peppers, and a dash of celery salt. It was really good, and I must have been really hungry because hot dogs are not my usual.

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And then we ordered a deep dish Chicago Pizza at Gino's east. My fat stage car trip traveling pregnancy has turned into the 2nd trimester. Becket got to graffiti the seat, since the whole restaurant was tattooed head to foot.

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The pizza was good. And our warm, full, bellies were entirely pleased.

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Now it was a matter of getting our sleep glazed kids to the train without their dead weighted bodies breaking our arms.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Big Windy City, Not so Windy

We made it to Chicago after a few wasted hours of learning that cereal USA, Battle Creek, MI didn't have a cereal taste tester table waiting for us (closed forever) and that an intriguing sculpture we were looking for was only on a two year display--it is amusing some other part of the country at the moment.

Last time I was in Chicago, it was cold, dark, and seemed unfriendly. This time with three kids and mostly solo, I have had a whole new experience. It must be the sun and the Indian summer days. It's a happy place, clean, lively, lots of things to do.

We got in a little early so we checked in and checked out Northwestern University per Anna's suggestion.

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It was absolutely wonderful. It was a Charleston, SC except north, way north. Quaint streets, well groomed classic houses, and street Christmas lights in the trees. I love it when cities decide to leave them up all year round. They set the ambiance so nicely.

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We hit an Indian restaurant, hence Micah's packed sandwich. A lot of people belong to my Indian food club, my kids, not one of them.

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They were also so wound up! After bounciness, the YOUR TALKING TOO LOUD talk, and the fifth time to the bathroom, I had had it! As my kids and I were riding up the elevator, I took the 30 second moment to look my kids in the eye and tell them flat out that I was grumpy, tired and hungry, so BEHAVE! They actually took pitty on me and did it. Especially after Mat got Mr. Wackadoodles to stop showing off and draw the framed picture on the wall. Brilliant Matty! Dinner was exquisite after my little elevator break down.

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Tomorrow, our first adventure into the city, and no keys! Find out what happens on this Harris Life.