Run hard, Play hard, Love Hard

Run Hard, Play Hard, Love Hard

Monday, August 2, 2010

Chicago Part 1: The Wedding and Vacation

Stayed up all night getting the house spotless (or close to it), we set out to our first train ride. Amtrak out of Newton at 3am to Chicago Thursday Morning. Kids were excited when we woke them up to get to the station. But after maybe a hour, they were both out cold again for a few hours. Must be nice to be under 4 feet tall.

Great Grandma and Great Grandpa were a nice distraction for the kids too. Having 4 adults to wrangle 2 kids under 6 years old. There were a couple movies watched on the laptop. A game or more of Uno. Lots of playing with Truck, Tractors and Combines. A good amount of time on the Nintendo DS. Some book reading. Some music listening and phone playing. And of course some napping. All in all a descent trip there.

We arrived to our first hotel, The Willows on Surf Street in Lincoln Park district, just after 5pm. We got settled and heading to my cousins rehearsal dinner at a Little Mexican food place just less than a mile walk. It was yummy. (plus MARGARITAS!!!!-- the kids had virgin strawberry daiquiri's) We walked back- however I was exhausted and Margarita filled, to amazed I make it back- to the hotel, showered, bathed and to bed. I was out in 10 minutes flat, easy. (just ask the hubby, apparently the kids were up a while. **sorry babe**

Friday morning, we got up and all 6 of us (my 4 and great gparents) headed for a little walk to the  Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Lincoln Park. It was KID AWESOME!! Lots of things to learn and lots of hands on things!! We all even played with it all. It is a MUST STOP for anyone with younger kiddos, or adults that want to learn about being green and nature. :o) And there was an AWESOME Butterfly room!! They are everywhere and anywhere, and you have to check your body before you can leave the room. There was a cool bench on our way out, so BigGirl decided to "become the sculpture". So Beautiful. 

**this was the least expensive place we attended on the trip: 2 seniors, 1 child (BigGirl), 1 free child (littleman), 1 student (hubby), 1 educator (me- hey the school district gave me an educators ID for coaching!)= $29!!!**

After the museum, we went for lunch at a place that a very savvy friend of mine suggested we go (lets call her CityMom) Lou Malnati's Pizzaeria. It was about a mile walk, LittleMan slept the walk there and the majority of the 30 minute cooktime wait. Smart kiddo. They have TO DIE FOR Chicago Deep Dish Pizza. We ordered "The Lou" with the World Famous Buttercrust. (Mushrooms, fresh spinach, sliced tomatos, with mozzarella, romano and cheddar cheese. HEAVEN!

** FYI- the mail their pizza's anywhere in the USA!

After yummy lunch, we headed back the to hotal to relax, shower and get ready for the wedding. We ran into some relatives a block from the hotel. So I ran a couple errands with a cousin and sent the family back to the hotel. So 30 minutes to and hour later of SPEED walking around the shops, I can feel a good blister on my right foot and good rubbing in the croch area. G.R.E.A.T. I get right back to hotel, take shower, deal with blister (thank god for my flat flat flat sandals that I am wearing with long dress that night) and apply BodyGlide to rubbage. I get the rest of the family ready and we are out the door, into the shuttle and off to the wedding about a mile down the road.

**no shuttle will be bringing us back, we taxi or walk it. (damn blister)

The wedding is beautiful, a few tears are shedd (not mine thankfully), the appetizers are yummy (fried squid!!), the OPEN BAR is gracious, the kids are deal-able, the dinner is SOOOO GOOD that I can't finish my meal, the cake a yummy layed white AND chocolate, with raspberry jam and chocolate cream fillings with white icing. The kids fall asleep before the first dance starts. So the great gparents offer to take kids back to hotel to bed, so we get them a cab and off they go. Hubby and I stay to dance and OPEN BAR (remember) for another hour or so, then we walk back to hotel. (Blister is healing nicely already, by some miracle and the rubbage is too! WOOHOO!!) We get back and kids are sleeping in gparents room, so we each crash in a different bed.

** I know, but I was BEAT and relaxed from the OPEN BAR. And hubby wants to watch TV a little that doesnt involve cartoons.

Saturday morning: We get up and check out of the first hotel. Sad to leave the wonderful area and really nice hotel, but there is more to do, and the next hotel is literally 1 block from Grant Park -the ROck N Roll 1/2 marathon location. So we get a Taxi and we are off to the Travelodge Downton Chicago. We get there and we can't check in until after 3pm, but they have a luggage storage service in a secure room. So we leave it all and start our day. We are having a family day (aka my 4 only- great gparents on their own). So, my 4 decide to go to see The Willis Tower (aka Sears Tower). We only have a short walk, maybe a mile. We arrive and are told the wait so far is about an hour. (this is from security thru all the works to the exiting at top from elevator) No problem, nothing else to do. However, we get thru security fast! I accidentally cut about 20+ people in line (seriously, accident and no one said a thing-only know because hubby pointed it out about 2 minutes later- whoops). We purchase our 3 tickets (plus 1 free LittleMan) = $44. We skip the "info" movie, and get in line to the elevators, after maybe 20 minutes, we discover that it is going to be revolving doors, we ask a worker what to do, and there is a stroller/wheelchair door, YES! We skip past 60+ people, aka NOT cutting, we have a reason to be ahead. :o) We get in the elevator with 29 other people (yes I counted) and we head up 103 floors! And crap it is fast, you just keep yawning or something to keep your ears pooping. And at each level that you are as high as another tall building, like the Eiffel Tower, it tells you that on a little TV in the elevator. NICE Distraction. We get to the top, and well, the picture talk for themselves.....

The Willis Tower

reflection from the mirrored elevator ceiling of willis tower

**we did spend the $22 for the professional skydeck picture of us, if I get it scanned soon, I will post it in another blog.

We leave the tower and walk a half mile to a bus stop that will take us to the McCormick Place so I can get my race registration done. I try to shop a little at the Expo, but to crowded and kids are getting hungry, antsy, etc. So I leave spending nothing in there. WOW.

A stop along our walk

We grab a cab from there to the Shedd Aquarium. When we get there a few dollars later, there is a nice outdoor cafe with tree shaded tables in the park area. NICE. So we order the nice thing on the CityMom's must eats, Chicago Dogs. They are onions, peppers, dill pickle, tomatos, and maybe more stuff hotdogs. THEY ARE YUMMY!!

The kids have pretzels, our chips, and we have been downing the water all vacation so far. Major help on the money when you aren't buying drinks!!

We then head over to the Aquarium, wait FOREVER in the Stroller/wheelchair line. (Many strollers) We get in and it is AWESOME!! Their are 3 Floors! Tons of things to see and do, yes hands on with a few things, like star fish. A 4-D 15 minute movie experience. We choose Happy Feet, and it was good. When water splashed on the scene, it did at us too. When bubbles were on screen, they were at us too. When someone got poked in on scene, our backs did too. The floor shook, the lights changed colors, etc. We spent a few hours in the aquarium, and we could have spent a couple more easy.

 **Purchase our 3 tickets (+ 1 free Littleman) = $74.

large a** anaconda!!

My FAV pic!! Octopus!

We were so tired, and we still had to check in at the hotel, find dinner somewhere close, and get my race morning stuff ready. We are taxi'd back to the hotel, only about a mile or so. But we were beat. We got into our hotel room, and I wanted to cry. It was such a dramatic difference from our fancy hotel to this one. This is one of those hotel that you dont bring kids, it is just a night sleep (not a good night sleep) and hot water. And it was a TIGHT fit. We were 7 stories up in a teen-digit high building and the 2 elevators were small, we had to wait for 4 elevators before we could go downstair to find us dinner. By this point, I was on the verge of tears and/or a massive angry fit. However, we got downstairs, walked a couple blocks and found a cute cafe 2 blocks down, The Artist Cafe. (It has a website, amazed by this considering the authentic style of it) I had my pasta- yummy, the kids shared a cheese burger platter, and hubby had a Ruben platter. Made it through dinner and got back to the hotel. Great Gparents got back and took the kids to their room for a bit so I could try to breath and get set for the mornings race. We finally got to bed, each taking a kid, and somehow got to sleep. Worsts nights sleep either of us as even had. I had the BigGirl "leech" sleeper, and Hubby had the LittleMan bedhogger........ to be continued.


Teamarcia said...

What an adventure! Lou's is my big race fuel--love it!
I'm so bummed I missed you at the expo--I was there around noon til maybe 1:15.

Nemmie said...

Fun fun FUN!!! That is a lot of sightseeing, my friend. Looks like you had an awesome time.

Can't wait to hear how the half marathon went! :)

funderson said...