Monday, August 5, 2013

Chicago Love

 "The best thing to hold onto in life is each other."
Audrey Hepburn
 
The highlight for our vacation was definitely when we spent the days in Downtown Chicago. 
On our fourth anniversary of "Gotcha Day" we headed into the big city.  We left the world of camping and tents and headed to the world of high-rises and $7 beers. Driving into the city in our big pickup truck was an adventure in and of itself.  Parking garages in Chicago do not have large trucks in mind when being built. After holding our breath as we parked, the girls and I headed to the American Girl Café for brunch and the boys headed off to the John Hancock building. 
The American Girl Café is quite the experience. 
Rosie (being the best big sister ever!) let Lil Miss borrow one of her dolls for brunch.  She sat nicely for the first 10 minutes feeding her loaner doll and giving her fake cups of tea.   
Since it was our Gotcha Day celebration, we celebrated in style complete with crowns and cake.  
The girls were in heaven.   
While we were knee deep in pink frills, and girly squeals the boys were doing more "manly" things.
They went next door to the John Hancock building.  Certainly a better view for breakfast but they didn't get cake.   
 
 
 

{what a view!!}
 
Of course I can't go any where without an agenda.  I try to be spontaneous but that isn't in me.
I had a rough plan of our day:  American Girl Store, Navy Pier, Shedd Aquarium, and Millenium Park.  Those were my wish list for the day.  I didn't know how the kids would do walking around the city all day.  They shocked me by loving the city (sightseeing included) and doing everything above and MORE.  Truthfully I had been to Navy Pier a few times on previous visits to Chicago, but experiencing it with kids was completely different.  The eyes widened seeing the ferris wheel and carousel.  
The Children's museum on Navy Pier was really fun.  It was full of visual stimulation and lots of different activities for the kids.  They would give it two thumbs up!
 
After venturing around Navy Pier and getting a bite to eat at Harry Carey's we took a water taxi to Shedd Aquarium.  The views from the water were amazing.  Even on an overcast day the skyscrapers were stunning.  

 
 When we got to the aquarium I was shocked at the line. The place was packed and were lucky enough to get pulled out of the line to go around the building to the family/stroller line.  Streamlining the wait time we headed inside to see the fishies.
 
{petting the sturgeon} 
{baby beluga in the deep blue sea...}
After spending sometime in the aquarium, we took a walk. 
A LONG walk.  We started back to the truck.  If you are familiar with Chicago the aquarium and Water Tower Place (where we parked) are pretty far away from each other.  We headed by foot thinking if we couldn't make it daddy would hail a cab.  With a few pit stops the kids did great!  Lil Miss took a afternoon nap in the stroller and missed the attractions in Millennium Park, but the big kids got to see even more of the city.  
 {Grant Park pit stop} 
{lion statue in front of the Art Institute}
 {the Bean} 

 
 
After all that they still had smiles to spare!! 
Seriously it was the best day ever.  It was a very Happy Gotcha Day!
The day after our Chicago excursion day we spent most of the day in pajamas.  We played with all the new Legos from the Lego store and put up our feet to rest from being on them all day.  Mommy's feet were reinjured when I stepped on one of those little lego pieces.  Those things hurt.  
{heated Mario Kart games}
{bike rides were fun around the campground}
 On Thursday we headed back into Chicago for a Cubs game.  We were rooting on the Dodgers as they played in Chicago.  An extra bonus was meeting Nate's brother Neil who flew in for the weekend.  Lil Miss was infatuated with him.  She even dissed her own mother so she could sit in Uncle Neil's lap during the game.
 This boy was excited for the game. 
His first major league baseball game.  Something to remember! 

 Lil Miss loved the game too!  She was all about the food and soda and cheered for both teams when people were clapping and shouting.
 {watching Dodgers batting practice} 
 Daddy enjoyed sharing his love of baseball with the kids.  He made each one of the feel special during the game.  We may have had seats in the nosebleeds but we felt like they were the best seats in the house. 
 
 
 {Go Blue!}
The next morning after the game we packed up and drove to Michigan with the camper to Neil's place on Marble Lake.  It was a fun time at Jellystone but our vacation wasn't over just yet! 

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