The plan this Spring was to visit a quaint town up North and spend a quiet weekend on Michigan Lake. Well, per usual, our plans changed.
Our first problem was in the fact that better planners than us had the same plan…which meant there was little left to book by the time we started looking (and of course what was left was big $$$$$). Secondly, I wasn’t feeling the lake scene by mid-summer. Not that lakes aren’t fab – they 100% are, I wish I was sitting by one right this second in fact. But I was needing some city scene so we opted for a weekend in Chicago.
Was it perfect? We had a bullheaded, ornery 2 year old with us. Sooooo the answer there would be no. But it was very much just what our family needed. (Admittedly, for how much chaos Bing caused, I have to give him credit in that he spurred just as many smiles.)
2 days before we left I had an adjustment at the chiropractor. We were discussing the weekend and he filled me in on a little tip about how they roll into Chicago. Usually we drive all the way and pay a crazy amount of money to park. (I mean crazy. The total usually ends up being another night at your hotel room.) Thanks do Dr Foster, we parked FOR FREE (say what???!!!) at the Dune Park Station and took the train into Chi-town for less than $35 round trip. The kids thought it was awesome, there was no traffic to deal with and NO CAR. Even better, our stop was literally a 5 minute walk to the Shedd Aquarium and a less than 10 minute walk to our hotel. This was by far the saving grace of our trip.
This trip was for all of us but really it was for Jettie. She is our wanderlust child. Always talking about places we read in books or she sees on tv. (Oh I get it sweet girl.) There is a great deal of guilt inside of me that we do not travel as often as I’d like…but if I get hung up on that then I am focusing on what we don’t have instead of what we do. And that’s pretty lame. So for this getaway I told myself to relax, enjoy and simply let her lead they way. Again, it was not pure perfection, but her cup was filled to the brim from spending the weekend in the city with her favorite people. (Maybe it was perfect.)
And then there’s this guy. His cup is always filled, overflowing in fact.
We had no set itinerary except that we were going to vista the aquarium upon arrival. This is how Sticky and I have always traveled and it just works for us. (I will list places/things/eateries that we ended up seeing below.)
My thought was I’d shoot gobs of gorgeous Chicago images with my “big girl camera” but that didn’t happen (which is why there is this mismatched collection of images). I did however go to town with the phones, of course. (Hence the obnoxious collage below.)
Things of note that made the trip more, shall I say, memorable.
- We discovered our stroller had a blown tire once we got to the train station. We found a bike store with just the right size replacement, thankfully, but we had to get to Chicago, do the aquarium, then hotel first. If you have ever pushed a stroller with a blown tire you will understand the fun in that.
- Bingham did not fall asleep till after 10:30 the first night. Woke up at 4AM with his shoes in hand ready to leave. Getting to him lay down was not an option so we went the iPad route. That worked for about 10 minutes and then onto to body slamming in bed it was. (We are at about 4:30AM now.) He worked up a grumble during that activity…and it was a big one. The diaper and pj pants were no match for it and we ended up with poo smeared all over our bed. All before 5AM. We kept looking at each other and laughing because what else are you going to do? (Sleep if you’re Jettie apparently.)
- On the last night, we decided to take the kids for a bite and then back to the hotel for chill time. Bing did not want to ride in the stroller after dinner (you know, since it had been fixed and all). Instead I carried him which was not all that bad until I felt the wetness on my arm. A blowout again. Twice in 24 hours. He was wearing white shorts too of course. (See 2nd to the last row, all the way to the right image.) Way to vacation big guy!
Thank goodness for cute kids, fun cities, beer at lunch and my husband because I know I could not have done that weekend solo. Believe it or not I am ready to do it again!
How we got there:
South Shore Line
Where we stayed:
Hilton Downtown Chicago
Where we visited:
Buckingham Fountain/Grant Park
Where we Ate (all kid friendly):
Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap (all good but THIS was a fave)
Where we shopped:
Chicago Bicycle Company
Zara (Michigan Ave – Jettie picked our her 1st day of Kindergarten outfit here)