Friday, August 05, 2011

We (heart) Madison

Okay, taking a detour back in to a vacation post. Sorry, I'm a little ADD around these parts lately!

One of the really fun parts of our trip was a visit to see friends in Madison, WI. The girls and I woke up on a Wednesday morning and after nine total hours of travel from my parents' house in Michigan (about six hours driving and three hours stopped for food and a visit with a friend in Evanston, IL) we landed in Madison. It was a really, really hot day. At one point the temperature gauge in the car said it was 100 degrees outside. Never been so glad for the A/C! I already wrote a bit about what I did Wednesday night over here but that was only the tip of the ice berg.

My wonderful friend Stephanie, who writes about her life over here joined me for Maggie's book signing at Barnes and Noble. Since Maggie's talk was relatively short, Stephanie got lots of time to chat and catch up before I had to head back to the hotel. Stephanie gave me the number of a babysitter she uses and I was *so* thrilled that the sitter was able to come hang with the girls while I got a bit of a break.

The next day the girls and I met Stephanie and her three kids and my friend Beth, whom I have known since my junoir year of high school, and her two kids at the Madison Children's Museum. The museum has now become my absolute favorite that we have ever visited and it puts Seattle's crappy children's museum to shame. My favorite thing about it was how organic much of it was. Lots of reused parts turned in to new and fun things for the kids to explore and everything was pretty much in big open rooms. The rooftop, as you will see in my pictures, was completely amazing.

Without further ado, possibly the post picture-heavy post I have written in years!

All of the kids together, in one spot! L-R are Stephanie's kids James, Nicholas and Ruby. Then Beth's girls Nora and June and then Iris and Elois.

What's gonna work? Team work!

Eloise and Ruby gettin' their hairs did.

What the girls will look like in 80 years.

The amazing indoor climbing structure. There was so many different parts to this, and not one of them was sterile and boring and predictable.

Eloise riding the end of the tube slide.

I like this photo because it shows a really interesting part of the museum. Old electronc stuff, and old pinball machine, a barber's chair, some weird computer that recognized faces and made animal noises when your face moved. It was bizarre and very cool.

On the rooftop was a garden, a sandbox, some buildings with lots of science/animal related activities, a waterfall and a chicken coop!

The outer edge of the rooftop was surrounded in this glass so the kids could look right out over the city. Here are Nora and Eloise checking out the capitol building.

The other end from the capitol building was a part of the glass that the kids could write on with special markers. We were told this was overlooking Lake Mendota (the other lake in Madison is Lake Menona and I have never known which is which!)

On the bottom level of the museum was the "five and under" section. Since we had little ones with us, the two big kids got to come in, too. Here is Iris crossing a skeleton-like bridge suspended across the ceiling.

The girls sitting in some sort of pod.

My favorite room in the museum. This was a water room in the little kids section, but it had steam and these beautiful glass sculptures lining the wall. The walls were wondows, it sort of felt like a beautiful old room in a hidden garden.

Iris, Eloise and Nicholas playing together.

After the Children's Museum I took the girls to Ella's Deli, which I hadn't been to since I was about 16. It is such a cool place, little toys and trinkets decorating the ceilings, the walls, and the tables. There is a cool old carousel outside to ride, as well.

After we left Ella's Deli we stopped for a few minutes (literally) to visit another friend and see his new house and meet his wife before continuing on to Milwaukee for the rest of the weekend. It was a whirlwind trip!

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