Well, the blogging every day in November didn’t exactly pan out, but I was able to get a few things blogged that I had wanted to. I’ve been meaning to post about our first ever official family vacation, which involved an airplane flight and a stay at an Embassy Suites and EVERYTHING. We went over MEA fall break to Chicago- it was Sam’s first airplane experience.

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Notes on the airport/flight experience… security lines were short. We carried on everything. Humphrey Terminal, so kids at least got to play in that kiddie play area. Ryan had an incredible amount of ants in his pants about when the airplane would get to our gate, when we’d be getting on the plane, when we’d move, etc etc. The boys and I were sitting together with Daddy tagging along across the aisle. Sam did fine, however for our first fight 70 minutes was plenty:)

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We stayed at the family friendly Embassy Suites downtown on the river/lakefront. Lovely set-up with a bedroom for the ‘rents and a living room pull-out sofa bed for the children. The boys loved the hotel- especially the glass elevators, the escalator, and the open hallways where you could look all the way down 14 floors to the lobby/atrium area. They thought the pull-out sofa was the coolest thing ever. And the swimming pool, the swimming pool was also a huge hit. No photos of that, but here is some hallway running.

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We didn’t have any real grand plans for the trip. We went in with the following agenda: walk on Michigan Avenue, go to the top of a skyscraper, ride a train, visit Uncle Jim, go to Millenium Park, and look at the lake. My non-plan for this trip very much involved going wherever the wind may carry us, but I didn’t exactly factor in the LITERALNESS of this. I mean doh, we were in the windy city. In October. The weather was not ideal for walking around the city with two small children. After night one of staying up way past bedtimes and eating a dinner which consisted of goldfish and trail mix from the evening ‘manager’s reception’, the boys were eager to try out the pool the next morning. So we got a late start on our first day of sightseeing. In the rain, we walked Michigan Ave to the Hershey store and then on to the Lego store. The boys whined the entire time about it being too cold, too rainy, too far to walk. We ended up eating lunch at the Cheesecake Factory (at base of the Hancock), but when we were done it was still cloudy and foggy and the view would have been horrible and everyone was tired and grouchy so we just went back to the hotel.

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We pretty much forced a family nap upon everyone that afternoon, given the not so terrific moods we were all in and the late night we’d be having visiting Jim and Erik. Family nap was a roaring success until we all woke up and the boy-devils erupted in screaming fits. That lasted a good hour before we could finally leave the hotel and get in a cab for our evening with the uncles. The boys entertained themselves at Jim and Erik’s with imaginary fun involving a magic bowl and a magic pumpkin. We were able to stay for a good three hours- a remarkable feat given we used no toys and no TV the entire time.

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The next day it appeared sunny and nice outside, so we decided to make our way to Millenium Park. After about 30 seconds of being outside the boys were complaining about being frozen and unable to walk another step and IT’S TOO WINDY LET’S GO BACK TO THE HOTEL!! We stopped halfway to the park to step into a tourist shop and buy kids’ winter hats for the boys. We made it to the park and saw the bean and fountains. We then had hot choc/coffee at McD’s/Intelligentsia, and then we finally, FINALLY hopped aboard the el for a train ride to nowhere. When we got off the train, we looked at Halloween stuff in a Ragstock and then grabbed sandwiches from PotBelly. All the while dealing with lots of whining and lots of crabbiness from everyone (ESP Pat). We took the food back to the hotel and ate lunch. After decompressing with some TV, I gave the boys a choice of making that looooong walk back to the Hancock tower to go to the top, or staying at the hotel and swimming. They chose swimming.

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This post has been sitting here for a really long time. I think I was meaning to add more photos…perhaps I’ll come back and do that one day.

To sum up this vacay– imho our kids were still too young to appreciate and enjoy this type of a walking-around trip, especially when the weather was sub-par. Also, Ryan had a very hard time not knowing exactly what the PLAN was every second, which kind of takes the fun out of letting a vacation day evolve on its own.

Oh yeah, one more thing. Both kids were obsessed with all the PIGEONS.

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