Thursday, August 1, 2013


We are back.  And we are exhausted.

Chicago is a much different city when you are toting four young kids with you. Todd and I have been to Chicago many times, enjoying the nightlife, the food, the music, the art museums, the theater.  I have always loved Chicago, but I knew taking the kids to Chicago would be a different experience all together.

I fell in love with Chicago all over again through my kids' eyes.

We drove into Chicago on Tuesday night.  It was fun driving into the city in the dark and watching the kids' eyes pop out as they took in the Chicago skyline.  Very exciting stuff.  Then of course there was the excitement of staying in a hotel.  The kids were CRAZY after the long car ride and it was near impossible to settle them down.  Bedtime that night was madness, and there was far too much scolding and yelling.  I was afraid we were off to a bad start.

The kids were tired the next day (surprise, surprise- messing around until after midnight makes you tired) but the day went surprisingly well.  I think Todd and I started off to a grumpy start (we were also tired so we were less able to handle the kids' fighting and whining) but we managed to turn it around.

There is so much to do, and we tried to cover all the major bases. We bought Chicago CityPasses and that helped immensely.  We got in to all of the attractions we wanted to see.  The problem was fitting it all in to our two day trip.

Our first stop was The Shedd Aquarium.  It was a very cloud/foggy Wednesday morning but that didn't stop us from walking from our hotel to the aquarium.
We spent 7 hours walking around the aquarium, taking in a dolphin/beluga whale show, and seeing thousands of amazing fish.  The kids loved it.  So did I. (i won't bore you with the hundreds of fish pictures i took- your welcome)
The kids were bone tired after walking for over 7 hours but we dragged their little bones over to the Field Museum to see some very old bones.  A dinosaur named Sue.
More walking, walking, walking and the kids were practically crying.  So, we walked them back to the hotel (we are so mean) and relaxed in our room for a little while.  As a treat for all their wonderful walking we took them to The Rainforest Cafe. Not exactly what Todd would have picked for a birthday dinner but he sure was a trooper.  
It was another very late night and the next morning we were up bright and early so we had plenty of time to fit in more adventures.

This time we took a cab (it was a little too far to walk and I think the kids' feet weren't working so well anymore) to the Sears (Willis) Tower. The kids marveled at how fast the elevator went up 103 floors and they LOVED the little glass observation decks.  As you can see below, I did not.  I was clinging to the wall and only managed to stick a foot out onto the glass.  Watching my kids go out onto it nearly made me pass out.  I'm sweating just thinking about it.  I'll probably have nightmares tonight.  Grace, Tommy, and Ben later admitted to me that it REALLY freaked them out too.
When that was done we went back to the hotel and packed up our stuff, grabbed our truck, and drove over to Navy Pier.  We took the architectural riverboat tour.  I absolutely loved it.  And I think the kids liked it too.  When they saw the glass observation boxes sticking out on the side of the Sears Tower they couldn't believe that was how high up they were.  Yikes!
It was a perfect day for hanging outside on Navy Pier, and a perfect way to wrap up our Chicago trip. Hopefully the kids will only remember the awesome sites we saw and fun activities we did and forget about mom and dad losing their patience one too many times in the beginning.
Overall, I'd say the trip was a huge success. 

Kids exhausted.  Mission complete.

No rest for the weary. Tomorrow morning we are leaving early for a trip up north.  I'm sure the kids won't be thrilled for another 3 hour car ride, but they are willing to put up with it for a visit to the cabin.  Hopefully there will be much fishing, and swimming, and bonfires so we can properly and thoroughly exhaust them again.  

Ahh... summer.


Cyndy Bush said...

Love the pic with all of you in sunglasses. So cute! Sounds like a lot of fun.

Bijoux said...

How fun! I remember taking our kids to the Rainforest Cafe in Vegas many years ago. They loved it. I would not be able to handle that glass floor at Sears Tower. I get queasy just thinking about it.

Tabor said...

When you vacation you do it up bigtime!! They will always remember that one. I have donated a chambered nautilus shell or two to the aquarium...maybe you saw it? ;=)

Riahli said...

Looks like you guys know how to have fun! I can't believe you packed all that in and didn't lose your mind!!! Ha ha!

Riahli said...

Oh and there is no way I would have gone up in that elevator, and if some how I were tricked into it, I would lose my cool and probably cling desperately to my children. ;) Giggling hysterically with tears streaming down my face, because that's what I do when I'm nervous and freaked out. I look like I need to be committed frankly. I started hyperventilating just looking at the picture of your kids stepping out on the glass... No Freaking Way!!! Good job mom letting them live a little and not infesting them with your fears, much better mom then me. I try so hard, but I fail often.

Angie said...

I so want to visit Chicago and all 3 of those places are on my Must See list!! Looks like so much fun.

The cabin sounds like a nice restful trip. Hopefully everyone will get plenty of relaxation :)

Kat said...

Riahli- I did have nightmares last night. Doggone tower. I think I would rather go sky diving than just standing on that glass box "waiting for my death" as Joey said. He he. I do try very hard not to pass my fears on to my kids. And I went back to the glass box and stood on it for half a second just to try and rid myself of that fear. I don't think it worked. ;)

Mom24 said...

What a wonderful trip! I love the Shedd and the Field Museum. I know exactly what you mean about the walking, we went to Chicago in December, it was so horribly cold that year we took lots of cabs, the cordoroy in Jacob's pants froze. :)

I absolutely love your flats, too cute!

Hope you enjoy the lake.

(I don't think I could have done the glass box either.)

Dawn said...

This sounds like such a fun trip for your whole family. I've never been to Chicago before. I'm pretty sure I'd love it.

Wendy said...

How fun! I wanna go to Chicago, too, and do pretty much everything that y'all did. lol

Love the pictures

Wisconsin Girl said...


Elaine Alguire said...

Man, I missed you in Chicago just by a couple of days! We should meet up there someday. I love that city. I really want to take my family someday...

Dani said...

you have a beautiful family! I can't wait to start taking trips like that will my kids!

Emily said...

Looks like fun!!! I have always wanted to go to Chicago. And it cracks me up how you refer to your cabin as "up north" when I think you are just "up north" in general! I would probably refer to that cabin as "wayyy the heck up north!" ha!

Anita said...

This brings back memories of my family's trip to Chicago, though we didn't do the touring that you did. With three girls who were young at the time, American Girl was tops on the list. And we managed to see Navy Pier. Because we were mainly visiting friends, our touring was limited. The friends did take us to the zoo in Milwaukee, though, which is close to where they live. You've inspired me to get back and do the things you all did. The photos are great. I'm with you on the glass observation deck. I may have fainted or thrown up if I stepped out on it. :)
Continued Happy travels!

lime said...

sounds like a great trip. my favorite shots are with sue, the glass floor and the sleeping kiddos. but our family likes the weird shots best. thanks for sharing such happiness.

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson