Saturday, May 16, 2009

Last Stop: Chicago!

(Hold on to your hats... this is going to be a long one, with lots of photos!)

We spent the last two days of our Midwestern Tour in downtown Chicago. What a town! I had anticipated being a little intimidated by it, but to be honest, I absolutely loved it! We stayed in another Residence Inn, like the one we stayed at in Peoria, and were right in the heart of it all. It was amazing. Here is the view from our room on the 17th floor.

The weather on Thursday was absolutely gorgeous. We couldn't have asked for a better spring day in Chicago. So we decided to take full advantage of it, knowing that storms were likely for Friday. First order of business was to head down to Navy Pier. It was about a mile away from the hotel, and there was a free trolley that dropped us off right at the entrance.

The pier was such a cool place to hang out. We rode the 150 foot Ferris Wheel...

And the carousel ...

And did some souvenir shopping. The view of the Chicago Skyline was incredible with Lake Michigan in the foreground.

After the pier we hoofed it over to...

to check out "The Bean"

I'll be the first to admit that I don't really get art, and this piece is no exception, but Andrew had fun taking pictures of our reflections in The Bean.

Millennium Park also had a beautiful garden, that nicely contrasted the vast city and towering buildings that were its backdrop.

We then crossed the street over to Grant Park to see the famous Buckingham Fountain. If you're not familiar with this particular fountain, just think of the opening credits to Married with Children! It was so pretty, and so BIG!

Grant Park was so pretty. I could have just sat on a park bench and drunk it in all afternoon, but alas we must keep children busy! So Joshua and I decided to have a race through some trees instead (it ended in an honest tie!)

The day quickly got away from us, and before we knew it, it was nearly 7:00 and we hadn't even eaten dinner yet! So we trekked back to the pier to catch the trolley back to the hotel. What an eventful walk back that was! The path you must take to get back to the pier takes you over a couple bridges. Of course it's over the bridges that Ben, who is sitting in his stroller, decides to start fiddling with anything he can get his hands on. And of course, we have to walk as far to the right edge as possible so as not to be run over by zooming bicycles who share the path with pedestrians. So first bridge, he kicks his cup holder, which is a separate piece from the stroller tray, over the side where it lands safely in the grass... about 20 feet below us. Okay, so I guess that's gone. Oh well. We're just about done with this stroller anyway, so no biggie. Next bridge... which goes over the Chicago River, he starts playing with his binky (Sidenote: yes, he totally fell off of the binky wagon this last week but who cares... it made life so much easier!), when all of a sudden he lost his grip on it, and where does it go? You guessed it. Spalsh! Into the river. He still gets sad over losing his binky. He tells us "Uh-oh. Binky river!" Good thing we brought backups with us!

After we finally made it back to the hotel, it was 8:00 and we were all exhausted and starving. We had no intention of taking the kids out to dinner that night, so Andrew decided to head out for some Giordano's Pizza to bring back to the room. After figuring out where it was, he walked the 10 blocks to the restaurant all by himself, navigating the city streets like a pro. He was so proud of himself. He said he felt like a big boy. =) The pizza was amazing, and went well with the midwest favorite, Old Style that we washed it down with.

After that day, exhaustion doesn't even begin to describe how tired we were!

The next morning the sky was threatening to open up at any time, so we decided to get an early move on to experience the Magnificent Mile and Hancock Tower before the storm started. We started at Hancock, and took the fastest elevator in the U.S. to the 94th floor observatory. Our timing was impeccable. As soon as we were in line for the elevator, with only about 10 people ahead of us, an enormous field trip of middle schoolers came in, filling the waiting room. So glad they were right behind us instead of right in front of us! Once we got up there, all we could say was "Wow." What spectacular views from up there.

We headed back down Michigan Avenue, also known as the Magnificent Mile to do some shopping on the way back to the hotel. We stopped at the Hershey Store, where Joshua got to play with a chocolate machine, which he thought was super cool.

And we also stopped off at the Disney Store and Lego Store.

As we passed in and out of shops, the rain started to fall. We had thought enough to put Joshua's rain jacket on him, but only had one umbrella with us, which I tried to hold over myself and the stroller as we scurried through the rain. It was just about lunchtime, and the rain wasn't too bad yet, so we decided to stop off at the Rock & Roll McDonalds to pick up lunch on the way back to the hotel.

It really didn't seem to be much more than a double decker McDonalds with some nostalgia in cases. There might have been more to it, but it was totally packed and we were a little preoccupied with getting the boys back to the room before the rain got any worse. We're from Phoenix.... the rain scares us! =)

After the kids ate their lunch in the room, we put them down for a nap. However, Josh decided he didn't want to sleep, and instead found a dime that apparently looked tasty.... Yes, Joshua swallowed a dime. You've just got to wonder what kids are thinking when they do such things! Thankfully it went down okay and he didn't choke, and we have confirmed with the pediatrician that all we have to do is wait for it to come out the other end. Oh, Joshua!

He did finally lay down and go to sleep for a while, giving us a little more of a break than it had originally looked like. After I got him up, Josh and I threw on our swimsuits and headed up to the 27th floor to take a dip in the pool, since there really wasn't anything else for us to do given the weather.

The pool wasn't as heated as I would have liked, and Josh thought it was way too cold, but he did discover the hot tub, and decided that was just right for him. He was cracking me up, because he didn't want to be in the cold water, so we'd get in the hot tub, but then he would see all the other kids having fun in the pool, and he decided he wanted to go over there. Of course after being in the hot tub, the pool water felt even colder, so every time he went over there he chickened out of getting in after getting his feet in the pool. But that was fine with me. I was totally cool with hanging out in the hot tub!

That was pretty much our time in Chicago. I would love to go back there someday when the boys are a little older so we could hit some of the museums, and definitely a game at Wrigley. But we had so much fun and got to do everything we set out to do. I love Chicago!

1 comment:

Jen S. said...

What a blast! Love seeing all your pics...