Friday, January 6, 2012

Vacation Rewind!

WAY back at the beginning of December (the week after thanksgiving to be exact), Sean had a conference in Chicago, so the kids and I tagged along. I had never been to Chicago and wanted to visit so while I realized a week in a hotel with two kids wouldn't be easy the idea was preferable to staying home alone with two kids! Sean and I really enjoy traveling together, as we have very similar if not identical travel persona's (go go go, see see see, do do do) and we both like exposing the kids to new and different things. So when half the trip is paid for as a business expense its a win win. I didn't take very many pictures because most of our non-travel days it was just me with both kids and wielding a camera proves a bit challenging but here are a few pictures to give you the gist. Overall, despite the December chill I really loved Chicago and would like to go back.
"Sorry Meg you'll get used to all the pictures"
Our first solo day we took a cab from our hotel to the Shed Aquarium. LOVED IT! I have very high zoo and aquarium standards and this is a good one. The main section is older and not as awesome but the newer part (the part you pay more money for) was really really great. The person who took my money told me Colin didn't look three and therefore didn't charge me for him..I don't think she could tell than I also had Meghan in the bottom of the stroller or I might not have gotten them both in free. This is the only picture Meghan is actually in!
This show pool was really stunning with the windows overlooking the lake. So cool. The show included a visit from Santa flying in and onto the water. Colin was fixated. Unfortunately, no flash photography was allowed so non of the pictures came out.
OOps I used a flash for this one (I thought they just meant during the show not in the entire aquarium!) and got yelled at. The white blob in the water next to Colin was a beluga. Colin really loved just standing and watching, very usual behavior for a three year old (even for THIS three year old) but he is my son! Meghan chilled in the stroller or Ergo baby carrier and was happy as a clam. Sean joined us for lunch and after the cab ride home, I decided to take a break from cabs. (crazy drivers = car sick mama, not to mention the whole lack of a car seat for C)
Day 2: I took the kids to the Chicago Children's Museum. WOW. We didn't have to pay since we are members of the NY hall of science but I would have paid twice the price for this museum. I couldn't believe the number of cool things Colin could do. Unfortunately he was feeling a little inhibited by the mounds of school groups that were there but after a snack he warmed up a bit. Here he is driving a fire truck.
And now he is driving a car. There were tons of other cool things that didn't involve driving vehicles but when I look back at the pictures it looks like Colin only drove things. This is likely because he was contained and not needing to be followed and therefore I could pull out the camera. Here he is driving a car in kid town. He also filled the gas tank and changed the tires.
Driving a bus! There was even a street light in front of the bus which is just visible in the picture. Colin loved pretending to stop and go, and I even showed him how to use the gas and break pedals. I should mention that we took the subway here, which involved some know-how since I needed to have elevators for the stroller, but I was really quite proud of my ability to navigate without much trouble. I guess once you know one subway system the rest are easy to figure out. I did have to walk a mile or so each way to get to and from the museum but it was totally worth it.
Another view of driving the bus. We had a ton of fun. I had to pull him out of kid city to get him to see the rest of the museum which included a place to dig for dinosaur bones! We didn't even get to half of it.
This was an indoor forest room with a tree house. There was a ball ramp along two walls that Colin really got into, and a place to go fishing with magnetic fish. We had a problem with another little girl hording the fish while her mother threatened to make her go home if she didn't share but never actually followed through on that particular threat so Colin got a bit frustrated that he couldn't play with that.  What was I going to do wrestle her for them? The muesum is in a mall and in another section of the mall was a large Thomas the tank engine like ride on train. Colin LOVED that!
Later that night Sean met up with us and we went to visit the bean, which likely has another name but I don't know what it is. Here is the best photo I got of the city in the reflection of the bean. It was very pretty. It was about this time that Colin's behavior took a turn for the worse while in a restaurant. But really? What did we expect. This was his second week in a row of travel (Thanksgiving in Syr the week before) and we were eating 2 meals a day out. Its a lot for a little guy. We rolled with it and just ate dinner in the room the next night. (go go go, see see see, do do do has to be flexible to accommodate a preschooler)
Day 3: This day I had pre-booked us some tickets to "If you give a cat a cupcake" This was actually something I was very nervous about because of Meghan. If she pitched a fit I would have to take her out and I wasn't sure what I would do with Colin in that scenario. Thankfully it didn't happen. She didn't sleep peacefully but she didn't scream. I spent a lot of time bouncing and shushing in her ear but Colin just LOVED the show.  Our seats were LITERALLY on stage.
The stage was actually the floor and the seating when up from there, our seats were front and center. This was one of those cases where Colin looked terrified during the whole show but as soon as we walked out of the theater he asked to do it "again sometime" and then talked about it for a long time. The cat character was rather loud and spent some time actually engaging the kids in the audience (at one point he pretended to take Meghan from me, without actually touching her at all) so I think he made Colin a little nervous but overall it was a TOTAL success and I look forward to taking Colin to other shows here in the city.  Later this day we wanted to go to a different museum but Colin definitely had had enough, so it was back to the room for a nap and some Chicago style pizza which I famously ate four pieces of before digging into my dessert. All that walking left me with quite the appetite.

Over all we all had a great time. The flights were a little trying. There were only two seats to a side, so I had Meghan with me (next to a stranger) and Sean had Colin across the aisle. Sean definitely had the harder job even with jet blue's tvs. It is just hard to keep Colin from kicking the seat back in front of him and keeping him entertained for three hours. Meghan was good but not easy, she basically just wanted to be put down and obviously that wasn't an option, but no one screamed (much) so it was a success. Next time I go to Chicago I might like to see some of the more adult focused activities but hey, this is my life right now and I embrace it.
Fun times.

1 comment:

Elaine and Brandon Carder said...

I feel tired just reading about all your adventures..you two sure must have stockpiled on sleep years ago because you are always on the go. I love it though and Colin and Meghan are so lucky to have such adventurous parents!!!!