August Adventures Chapter 2: Chicago

Forewarning: This is a lengthy post due to the number of pictures.

Before I really get to Chicago, I mentioned in the previous post that our new MOPS year started.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it to the first meeting since we were out-of-town, but the awesome ladies of the group had a good time together.  If you are local and are pregnant or have a child(ren) ages birth to 5 years old, I encourage you to joins us sometime.  Here’s our local site to check out details:  We Love MOPS.  Even if you’re not close to me, definitely find a group near you at the MOPS International website.

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Chicago was a business trip for Hubby, and a pleasure trip for the girls and I.  We were fortunate enough to tag along with Hubs, and all of us had a great time.  I was quite impressed with the city.  My initial impressions were awe in the architecture, surprise in how clean the city was and inspired by the plantings and parks of the city.  We tried to do as much as possible in the two full days we had in the city, but still missed out on some neat sights.  I guess we’ll have to go back sometime which is fine with me.

The girls did well on the plane.  EK has flown before, but MK had not-she was the one I was concerned about.  We would be traveling during both naps; not a great set up for being confined in a plane for an 1 1/2 hr.  But I had erred in my cynicism.  MK slept the majority of each flight and didn’t have any issues with the pressure changes.

Seeing the city from the plane is when I started to get excited.

We decided to bring the umbrella stroller and not the double, so EK had to do alot of walking.  Here’s one of our creative transportation ideas for some tired little legs.

This was the first real view of the city.  We got off the train and these were our surroundings.  It made me think I was on the set a movie or TV show with the train tracks rattling above and the hustle and bustle of folks below.

We walked a few blocks to our hotel, the Swissotel.  Our room was great.  Plenty of room for the four of us.  I was pleasantly surprised and very pleased.

Another pleasant surprise were these views from the hotel window.

Okay, this is when you realize that I am country gone to town.  It’s silly that I took a picture of a shower, but I had never been in a hotel room that had a separate shower stall from the bathtub.  Yet another pleasant surprise.

Check out first red-letter paragraph below.  What a cool, high-tech mini-bar fridge!

While we were walking to the hotel, I was enamored with the beautiful architecture of the city.  I’m surprised I didn’t run into a light pole or a person since I was constantly looking up and around at the buildings.  This is a very small and not too impressive sampling of the character of the architecture.

I thought this was a temple or a mosque, but actually it’s…

…the water works building.  It was quite impressive!

more striking monuments…

Our first night we ate some Irish pub grub at The Elephant and Castle (very good I might add).  We noticed the “open during filming sign” and asked our waitress what it was about.  She explained Transformers 3 was being filmed on the street and in the parking lot/deck next door.

During dinner, we noticed a car with this sign pulled up and parked on the street (we were eating al fresco).

And after dinner, we checked out the set and props next door to the restaurant.

We did a little sight-seeing after dinner and just generally checked out the area.

We hit Millennium Park.  We saw the big silver bean, official named the Cloud Gate.  I’m usually not a fan of modern art, but this installation was beautiful in its simplicity.  Plus it was shiny, and I like shiny things.;)

The girls played some in the fountain at the park.  The face in the background would change periodically.  On occasion it would have a face with its lips puckered and water would shoot out.  Fun for the kiddos.

This was another art piece at Millennium Park.  A big thanks to the stranger that was kind enough to take a family picture for us.

Tuesday morning had Hubby at a meeting and the trade show, so the girlies and I took on Michigan Ave; aka The Magnificent Mile.  For shoppers, this mile held true to its name.  Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Bvlgari, Tiffany’s, Neiman Marcus are just a few of the many designer stores on the strip.

The girls’ Granny F and Granddaddy told us to visit the American Girl Store and pick out Christmas presents for the girls.  Let me forewarn any of you that have not ventured through those doors to beware.  I enjoy shopping and don’t get easily flustered with big crowds, but here I was down right overwhelmed.  So many dolls, and girls, and accessories, and a hair salon, a cafe and NOISE.  It was craziness with all the little girls running around shopping for their dolls.  Despite being overcome with a pint size version of chaos, we managed to some fun and pick out the Christmas presents.

This was EK’s reaction (excitement) when I told her she could pick out a doll from Granny F and Granddaddy.

This is the American Girl store restroom.  It is the cutest public restroom I’ve ever seen!  And just in case you were wondering, no, I don’t have some bizarre interest in pictures of bathrooms despite there being two in this post. 🙂

There were art pieces all along the Magnificent Mile.  Check out the name of the art piece below.  It really spoke to me especially since MK was snoozing and EK was content to walk and look around.  I had my own little bit of peace and quiet then.

I took this picture because I remembered The Drake Hotel from the movie Mission Impossible, and I’m dorking like that.  It’s at the end of the Magnificent Mile.

That night we wanted Chicago deep-dish style pizza.  So we trekked over to Giordano’s.  The pizza was really good although I think a more fitting name would be pizza pie because that’s more what it was like.  Note to those with young:  Bring plenty to play with/snack on/entertain the peeps with.  It takes about 40 minutes for the pizza to cook (and don’t forget to add time for drinks, deciding on toppings, slow waiters, etc.).  This is not a quick meal; tasty, but not quick.

After dinner we visited the Navy Pier, specifically to ride the ferris wheel.

We had a hard time getting the correct setting on the camera so we don’t have any good pics while riding the ferris wheel.  This was a good as it got.

We only used public transportation during our visit, and that was completely fine with the girls.  They really enjoyed riding on the buses and train.

The girls and I had seen the Hershey’s Chocolate store during our outing while Hubby was at the meeting/trade show.  We didn’t go in ’cause we knew he would want to go with us.  So all of us visited the store and picked up just a couple of treats.

After being told to hold on tight and not drop the $40 chocolate bar, EK did the obvious.  She dropped the candy bar.  The packaging looked unscathed, so we took that as our cue to exit stage right.  Thankfully we took this picture close to the door.

The Lincoln Park Zoo and the Art Institute of Chicago were next on the agenda.  It struck me funny that the zoo was free, but it was $13 for adults to get in the museum.  Nevertheless, we enjoyed both.

Lincoln Park Conservatory…beautiful!

The Willis (formerly Sears) Tower was a must see on our list, so we visited it Wednesday night.  The Skydeck is the name of the top-level where you can walk out on glass boxes that horizontally extend 4 feet from the side of the building.  It’s eerie when you first walk out on the glass and see the street below, but once your brain tells your eyes that it’s okay, it’s really a cool experience.  Here’s a picture looking down at the street from one of the glass boxes.

Hubby went to the Chicago Botanical Garden early on Thursday morning before our flight home.  I wish that we could have all made it, but it would have never worked time wise.

Our flight home was as uneventful as the our flight to Chicago.  As much fun as we had, we were all so glad to be home.

Next event on the August calendar:  EK’s birthday…

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