Sunday, March 31, 2013

Chicago Cultural Center

Our tour of the great city of Chicago continues! Last weekend Mica and I went on a tour of the Chicago Cultural Center.  We got there early for the tour because we heard the tour groups were large and they only provide one tour a day. However, we ended up being the only ones there that day! Woo hoo!

Our tour guide was incredible. You could tell from his tone and body language that he loves what he does. We learned so much about the history of the city and the Cultural Center. For example, the word Chicago is an Algonquin (Native American) word for "place of the onion". The city land used to be a field of onions!

Also, the World's Fair was held in Chicago in 1893, the year the Cultural Center was built. In anticipation of this great event, the people of Chicago built the Center to impress all the people who would be attending the fair. Also, several new inventions were introduced at this fair including the zipper, popcorn, Juicy Fruit gum, the Ferris wheel, and the first electric automatic washing machine. The Center was originally built to be a library and a meeting place for war veterans but then in the 1960s was converted into a center of history and culture.

OK, enough history. Let's see some pictures!

Here is a stained glass dome in the Grand Army of the Republic rotunda.

This room used to be a large reading room which is why the windows are so tall and large. They relied heavily on natural sunlight back in the day. You can see our humble tour guide too.

Here you can begin to see the AMAZING tile work done here (all cut and laid by hand) and the theme of plants and agriculture that permeates the center. This theme represents the farmers of the Midwest.

This is my favorite room by far. The walls and ceiling are covered almost entirely with bright and beautiful tiles.

Same room here.

This is a famous Tiffany stained glass dome designed by (I believe) a relative of the guy who founded the Tiffany jewelry store. It is gorgeous!

This room and staircase was used for a scene in the film "The Untouchables". Where we are standing is used by many couples when they wed in the hall behind us.

More tiles. Also, there are quotes ALL OVER the place including the names of numerous authors (which makes sense because it used to be a library). 

Cool shot here. You can see all four floors from this vantage point. 

This is a sparkling building that is both governmental and private. There are several merchant stores inside as well as state offices.

What great use of natural light!

What does this say to you? It looks like all three pieces form a large tower. 

 Mica and a trash can. And what a lovely trash can it is.

Can anyone guess what word these letters form? Hint: it's an advertisement for an art show


Random Blues Brothers walking around Chicago. It makes sense to me.

Every time we go into the city we bring home a bag of Garrett's Popcorn!  We always get the Chicago Mix which is a combination of the cheese popcorn and the caramel-covered popcorn. I want to be buried with these delicious little treats.

We dyed Easter eggs this year.  We need to practice. I made the little football egg.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Our Irish Weekend in Chicago

St. Patrick's Day is a special day here in Chicago. Friday night we attended a free charity concert put on by a Celtic band called "The Crossing". They were brilliant and very entertaining. The purpose of the concert was to raise money for some girl scouts to travel to Peru for volunteer work.

This song was written by the fiddler lady. She wrote it for her son who was born in Peru. She and her husband adopted him when he was just an infant.

Get down with your bad Irish self!

This one is my favorite!

The day of the parade starts off with a little bit of leprechaun magic that turns the Chicago River into a nice bright shade of green.

There were gobs of people outside that day. The actual city streets were filled.
 We don't have a lot of green clothing. Everyone was wearing something green except for us. Thank goodness Mica brought her little green flower pin!

Here is the beginning of the parade. Mayor Rahm Emanuel can be seen after the bag pipe players.

Chicago is hosting a Comic Book Convention next month. Here come the geeks and freaks!

And here we are trying to stay warm. We got to a good viewing spot about 45 minutes before the parade started. It was well worth it. (I'm so glad no one photobombed this shot)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Christmas with the Martins

Matt and I took an extra long holiday this year.  2 whole weeks!  We spent the first half with the Martins in St. George, Utah.  We had so much fun together!  We played games, made stockings, watched movies (The Hobbit!), ate amazing food, saw Santa Claus, went to the temple, watched an outdoor Nativity, took family portraits, and decked the halls yo!

My Christmas pictures were a little random this year.  I didn't take as many as I would have liked.  We recently purchased a nice video camera.  So, we have lots of videos!

Christmas Morning

Martins are so silly.  I love it!  Please notice Julia's stocking.  It's awesome.
 I think we're starting to look our age...dang you wrinkles and eye-bags!
Cafe Rio!!
Practicing our skit for our Christmas Devotional.

Random videos.

Opening presents.  Most of our videos were of the grandkids so we're only posting a few.

Here are a few videos from our Christmas Devotional.  Each of us prepared something: a poem, story, music, skit,  etc.  Below we have a video of Lucy singing and a skit that Matt, David  Chris, and myself performed.  We used Martin childhood memories to create a story and used puppets to act everything out.

After-Christmas with the Heinzen's

The second half of our holiday was spent with my family in California.  Like with the Martins, we had some killer food (In-n-Out, yo!), watched movies, played games, visited with family, served food at St. Mary's Dining Halland other merry activities.

Heinzen's who eat together, clean together (sometimes).
Joseph rocking his Buzz Lightyear apron.
Love this little nugget :)
Love the jammies.
 Quality game time.
Random videos.

Ira and Joseph playing Christmas music for my sweet Grandma.  Ira doesn't like to be recorded on camera (as you'll soon find out).  I don't know why.  Quit hiding your talents under a bushel, Ira!

Opening presents