Summer Vacation 2003

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At Ben's 6 month checkup, the doctor suggested he might like some solid food.  We decided to give it a try.  Martha made him some rice cereal, and Bill and Jake demonstrated proper eating techniques. 

It was a no go.

We went to Chicago for two days.  We stayed at the Marriott Suites in Downer's Grove.  Of course, it doesn't really matter where we go, so long as our hotel has a pool!
We visited the Field Museum in Chicago.  We saw exhibits on Africa and baseball.  The boys weren't all that into it, but they liked McDonald's. Directly across from the Field Museum is Soldier Field, which is being updated to add more luxury boxes.  It appears as if a large glass flying saucer crash landed in a Roman coliseum. 
We traveled to the Navy Pier by bus, where we ran into our Cedar Rapids friends Randy and Heather and their kids.  Jake rode some scary-looking rides.  We took a water taxi across Lake Michigan to return to our van at the museum.
Time for a Cubs game!  We drove to the Howard train station and took a redline train to and from Wrigley.  Ben charmed the passengers on his first train ride.
We watched the Cubs lose to the Marlins.  A 2+ hour rain delay put a little damper on an otherwise great day.  We were on the right field side, which was perfect for our Sammy Sosa fans.  We explained to Bill the Sammy cork issue.  We made it through the rain delay, but finally had to leave in the 7th so as to make it to Milwaukee before dark.

Milwaukee was fun.  We went to the Milwaukee zoo, which came highly recommended.  It has giraffes and elephants - unlike the wonderful Minnesota zoo we visited last year - and an odd 60s sensibility is evident in its architecture.

We spent a lot of time at our hotel, the Hilton Milwaukee, a large, older hotel slightly past its prime with a waterpark incongruously built into it.  We told Jake that the hotel had a "fancy pool", and he freaked out when he first saw all the slides.  Bill took the swim test for the big slides, and the lifeguard pulled him out as he sank.  He got good at the blue slide.  Jake went down the yellow slide like a bullet - Martha and Matt were somewhat slower.  Although the kids loved it, even Jake was satiated after two days of sliding.

We drove home via Madison, WI, where we stopped at Ella's Deli and enjoyed watching dozens of mechanical contraptions and riding on the carousel.  A fun vacation!