Monday, July 9, 2012

We Are Still New At This

We always said that we love living in Chicago-land for the availability of things to do and things to see.  But honestly, we rarely take advantage.  Yesterday we wanted to do something special with Kinley but really weren't sure what.  On a whim, I suggested that we take her on a train ride.  So we kind of just went with it.

The Metra goes through our town several times a day going to and from the city.  It makes several stops along the way in the different suburbs.  We decided that we would take a short ride to a neighboring community, get ice cream and ride back.  She was stoked!

Because our plans were really on a whim and not planned out with a schedule in front of us, we were hustlin!  I was at Michael's during her nap and texted to see if she was up yet.  Richie said that she was, so I decided to rush home to get ready for our trip.  He informed me that the next train came through in like a half hour.  Shouldn't be a big deal, I thought, we live just minutes from the train station.

I picked them up and off we went.  Well, wouldn't you know that when we're in a hurry, there is a competition bike race going through town and every street that we need to go down is closed.  We fly into the station parking lot only to hear the train track gates dinging and coming down.  RUN!!  I was laughing hysterically and the sight we must have been....but we jumped on the train with only seconds to spare.

Finally on the train, our girl was in heaven!  She just loves train rides and insists that she's on Thomas, every time.  This is when the hustlin' was worth it.  Seeing her little face light up while watching the world go by.

After a short ride, we got off to go for ice cream, with plans to catch it on its way back through in like a half hour.  So we walked down to the Dairy Queen and then found a shady, grassy spot to hang out.  We were feeling pretty good about ourselves at this point!  (and Kinley was obviously enjoying herself!)

We had about 15 minutes left before our train was due, so we started walking back towards the pick up area.  On our way, we found some fountains for her to play in.  She succeeded in getting completely soaked but was having too much fun to tell her no.

We got back to the train platform with only minutes to spare and were ready to board the train.  Only seconds before it got to us, we realized that we were waiting on the wrong track.  Those of  you familiar with the Metra system, know what I'm talking about.  We were on the north track and we needed to be on the south track.  So, not being able to hop the tracks (for fear of safety) we had no choice but to stand there and watch our train go by.

And wait two hours for the next one.

Kinley was hysterical!  "My choo-choo left me!"  My heart broke for her.  We were standing close enough to touch it--and even asked the train worker to open our side of the door.  He just threw his hands up (and I wanted to throw him the bird). At first, Richie and I were the train, at each other, at ourselves.  How dumb could we be!?  Of course it wouldn't be on the North track!  Grrrr.  So now what?!  We're "stranded" for two hours!

Then we realized, this wasn't really the crisis that we were making it out to be.

We knew that our first order of business as stranded travelers was to find the toddler a potty.  So we walked back to the downtown area and found several little restaurants with tables set up outside.  Let's do dinner!  Eating outside is the ideal situation with a two-year-old.  She can make noise and move around and no one really notices.  On our walk to the Mexican restaurant, we saw a kids shoe store that had a cat a store pet.  That seems to be really common up here.  Kinley loves cats.  She was glued to this storefront for a long while.  And it was nice to not be in a hurry.

We ate a nice dinner, she went potty, we visited the cat again and then walked around to enjoy their downtown.  And what a beautiful downtown it was!  Dare I say that I liked it more than our downtown?  So many ice cream shops (should have visited one of those to start instead of the DQ!) and stores.  We played at the fountains again and just really enjoyed our family time.

It turns out that our crisis of being "stranded" turned into such a great evening!  I honestly wish we would have planned the longer stay to begin with.

Twenty minutes before our train was due, we started back towards the platform--again.  And this time, we went to the south track.
We sure felt the wind knocked out of our sails when we had to stand and watch our train go by without us on it.  We felt dumb and lost and just hopeless.  How would we get home?  What are we going to do?  How could we be so stupid?  And all that it took was looking at it from another angle, with a better attitude, to know that we really weren't so bad off after all, we actually had an ideal family evening handed to us, on a silver platter.  Which is just what we needed.

Makes me realize that a lot of things in life are really based on how you are looking at them and with what attitude you're using when dealing with a situation.

So, we missed a train, big deal.  We're new at this!  We've not done this before....but you can bet that on our next ice cream escapade, we'll be much wiser!

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