Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Mother's Day Weekend In Chicago

It's the start of our road trip season! We had planned to go to Ohio for an extra long weekend, however that didn't quite work out the way I would have liked. Instead we opted for a crazy 48 hours in Chicago. Chi-town is one of Hubs and I's favorite places (also the place where we got engaged) and we had only taken the minis once for a short trip last April (read about that here). 

A picture from our engagement taken (nearly) ten years ago. We went to "our" spots this trip and told the kids our story. You can read a brief rundown of our engagement here.

We thought they were at good ages to take to the museums and be able to walk all around the city. Well, the good news is they were able to walk around the city with no issues (10+ miles in one day actually), but we found out the hard that museums aren't really their thing. A couple of hundred dollars lost on admissions to places and a lot of our time was spent exploring our favorite Chicago parks and people watching as we walked up and down the many streets. 

We booked a hotel room through Hotwire and got an amazing deal on the Sheraton Grand just off of Michigan Avenue (and right along the river). We got a nice river view room with two queen size beds. We're accustomed to bringing along a blow up mattress because hotel rooms are made for four. Sometimes being a family of five can have simple difficulties, but we manage! The hotel room was $80 per night, plus $55 per night for parking. Those of you who don't know downtown Chicago well, that's a pretty amazing deal.

 Did we pack for a weekend or a week? Hard to tell with five of us to pack up!

After a later than planned leave time thanks to a missing portable dvd player (and thus, the purchase of a new one) and one big fight that required us to pull over and have me get in back with the kids, our drive was easy. The kids actually did amazing with the drive (both ways). I'm pretty sure we've turned them into road trip lovers.

 Beautiful sunset

Hubs and I had a good laugh as we drove down into the parking garage, ducking our heads as we went under the low beams....as if that made a difference.

The minis took in the river view from our window before crashing. We woke up a few hours later to the oldest mini staring out the window at the tall buildings. We quickly found out their favorite thing to do in Chicago is walk around, look at the big buildings, and comment on the architecture.

This little one slept through all of us getting ready for the day.

We got everyone up and ready to go, and then set out to get breakfast. We had planned on going to Yolk, but a quick Starbucks breakfast won out both days. Our plan was to eat breakfast and then drive to Field Museum, but once we started out walking, we chose to just keep walking. We walked up and down Michigan Avenue, through Millennium Park, Grant Park, the lake front, and ending at Museum Campus. It was A LOT of walking, but the kids did amazing with it!

City kid. He snatched my coffee way and finished it off!

We took the minis to Buckingham Fountain (aka the site of our "engagement"). They thought it was "really really cool, but I wish we could play in it."

 What a difference 10 years makes!

Lil Miss E got tired at this point and hitched a ride on dad's shoulders. 

Nearly 10 years later, we stood in the exact spot where we got engaged. I actually have no idea where that engagement ring is and I don't wear my original wedding ring (I don't want the diamonds to be ruined by our numerous messy projects and such), but this spot still makes me smile.

The oldest mini has been begging to go to the Field Museum to see the real Sue. They were all sooo excited to go......and it turns out that's pretty much the only thing they enjoyed at the museum. Basically, I spent $100 for the oldest mini to kinda like the exhibits and to listen to the younger two whine "are we done yyyeeet??"

 Running away from the jaguar.

I thought they would enjoy the story about the Lions of Tsavo. Instead it made them want out of the exhibit.

And this one freaked at the tiger. She was the only child screaming in the museum.....fun times.

Taking a break by Sue's real head before we learned all about dinosaur bones. The oldest mini loved this portion of the museum.

 And she's done....

Hubs and I answered a lot of questions about evolution. 

The last exhibit we saw was the Egyptian pyramid before exploring the gift shop. The minis chose new polished rock to add to the rock collection.

Yes, I walked barefoot back to the hotel because I wore the wrong shoes for walking. My feet are now badly bruised, cut up, and blistered (as I mention before, we hadn't planned on walking all day). Totally worth it though!

We had just enough time after walking through the parks (again) after the museum to rest at the hotel for about 20 minutes before meeting my friend and her husband for an early dinner at Lou Malnati's a few blocks from our hotel. 

More walking after dinner and a little bit of shopping on Michigan Avenue, followed by a mouth watering dessert at Ghiradelli's. This time around I put on my comfy running shoes for all of our walking.

Once we were done with dessert we walked back through Millennium Park to Maggie Daly Park to play. The kids LOVED it! Next time we're in town we'll try out the rock climbing portion of the park.

Finally back and resting in the hotel room! Well, they rested. I got ready and went out for drinks with a friend. Luckily, the minis were so wiped out that they didn't hear me come back late.

Elizabeth to Matt: "here honey, lay down. Cuddle up with me," said through fits of giggles.

Absolutely crashed. That's what 10 miles of walking in one day will do to ya!

Packing up and checking out is always my least favorite part. We have to make sure everyone is ready to go, has everything they need, that no one has left anything behind, etc. Sure enough as we pack up, a mini or two goes behind us and gets things out of bags. Checking out is always a two hour ordeal for us. I'm hoping to improve that time this summer.

Sunday morning was mom's choice since it was Mother's Day. I chose to take everyone to the Art Institute, despite how the previous day's visit to Field Museum went. Well, Art Institute was an even bigger disaster, but I got to see my favorite paintings and introduced the minis to Monet, Van Gogh, and pointillism. I even got a few ideas to try out this summer!

 And this is how well it went....

And that was the end of our time at the Art Institute. I barely managed to talk them into a family selfie before leaving.

Lunch on Sunday included more Chicago style pizza, this time from Pizano's. On our first couple trip to Chicago 10 or 11 years ago (I sadly cannot remember), we got into the city late at night...and starving. We walked up and down a few streets before we came across Pizano's. We make a point to visit whenever we're in Chicago. This time around, we ordered their Chicago style pizza and a thin crust pizza. Both were amazing. We were happy the minis seemed to enjoy this place as much as we do!

The minis were thrilled to be able to color on the tablecloth. They were not so thrilled when we informed them they couldn't bring the (dirty) tablecloth home with us. Thankfully it was Mother's Day so Hubs got to fight that battle.

Our wonderful waiter brought out a surprise dessert for us for Mother's Day (apparently I was the only mom in the restaurant who chose to eat with her kids!): a homemade chocolate chip cookie on the bottom, a layer of ice cream, whipped cream, and tons of chocolate sauce. For not being hungry after lunch, the five of us managed to finish this off!

Our last stop in downtown Chicago (other than my friend's beautiful house in Oak Park for one last potty break) was another walk through Millennium Park. Despite it being only 60 degrees out, the minis insisted on running through the fountains and got soaking wet.

Of course the one mini who said he wasn't getting in the water because it was too cold wound up the wettest! This one doesn't sit on the sidelines for long!

 My most favorite picture from our weekend!

I'm still incredibly impressed with my minis stamina (I mean, seriously, over ten miles in one day!!??!!) and I loved seeing their reactions to the city life. As much fun as it was, we'll probably keep our next Chicago trip a couples only getaway....or until the minis can enjoy the museums and such!