Friday, July 31, 2009

Navy Pier (round 2), Alladin, and Tea!

The guys woke up bright and early to hit the golf course. They had a good time, and returned in time for us to all get to the Navy Pier to see the play "Aladdin".

Since it was a play geared toward children, and the theater was full of kids, we were really hoping that it would be entertaining enough to keep Carson's attention...and it was!

Here he is right before the show started...

It was a GREAT show, and we all loved every minute of it! The singing, acting, dancing, sets...everything...was fantastic!

After the play, we all got some ice cream together, and then Corey kept the boys at the Navy Pier for more fun and games...

while Caylie and I headed out for a special treat...afternoon tea at the Peninsula Hotel!

Our first stop however, was at a little nail salon where we got our finger nails and toe nails polished.

We were loving life until we walked out, Caylie still wearing her ultra-flimsy pedicure sandals, and realized that it was raining, and we had to walk a couple of blocks to catch a taxi...with no umbrella! We got a little bit wet, and Caylie's poor feet were hurting, but we finally found a taxi that took us to the Peninsula!

We had such a good time! The hotel was so nice, and the food was beautiful and delicious. We both got to try some yummy new treats!

We loved having time to just soak in the nice atmosphere, visit and laugh together!

While Caylie and I are not tea drinkers, I really did enjoy my hot tea. Caylie, while not loving her tea, sure did strike a cute pose and fake it for the camera! (Gotta have pictures for the blog ya know!)

Caylie looked beautiful...and sooo grown up!!!

My sweet little Cuddle Bug is turning into such a lovely young lady!

After the tea, Caylie put on her more comfortable shoes, and we squeezed in a few more Michigan Avenue shops before heading back to the apartment! It was SUCH a fun day!

Writing the Waves,

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Navy Pier and Poor Little Carson

Well, I guess most trips have a "not so great" part, and ours was a sick little Carson.

In the middle of the night, Corey and I heard a pitiful little cry from the pack-n-play at the foot of our bed, and then he unmistakable sound of a sick little guy! We immediately realized that Carson was throwing up in his pack-n-play, so we rushed him to the bathroom. As we were trying to comfort him, and get him cleaned up, my mind was also spinning...we had a bed full of blankets and sheets that had to be washed, and had no washer and drier! Aaagh!

Oh well, we had more pressing things to worry about at the moment. We moved the big kids into our bed and we slept with Carson in the living room for the rest of the night. Every 30 minutes or so, until about 5 am, he got sick. Finally though, he fell asleep and rested.

When we all got up, Carson seemed to feel better, although he was kind of dragging. We already had tickets to a show and a boat tour at the Navy Pier, so we decided that we could still give it a shot, since Carson would be able to ride around and sleep in his stroller if he didn't feel like participating in the activities.

We still had the dirty laundry problem though. During the night, I had tried to wash sheets and blankets, etc., in the bathtub, but it didn't take long to realize that the bathtub was NOT going to cut it! As hard as we had tried, it is just almost impossible to get through a night with a sick child without creating a fair amount of yucky stuff, so we decided that we were going to have to get to a laundry where we could drop it off, and then pick it up after we finished with our activities of the day.

We found a taxi, and asked the driver to take us to the drop-off laundry.

I think that we flagged down the worst taxi driver in Chicago! It was like being on a terrible, never ending amusement park ride...and with a driver that would NOT STOP TALKING! Carson cried, and we ALL felt like we were going to be sick by the time we got out of that horrible car!

But, moving on, we had a fun day planned, and were really hoping to turn things around!

Here is a picture of Corey and the big kids after we finally arrived at the Navy Pier.

Can you tell that they were all still feeling car sick!?!?

We went to the show in the outdoor theatre, and although it was a good show, with lots of amazing acts, we didn't stay for the whole time. We had seen shows that were similar before, and since Carson wasn't too interested, we decided to move on, and take a look around before our boat tour.

The Navy Pier has a lot to see, places to eat, and fun things to do.

After walking around and checking things out, it was time to get on the boat. Carson had fallen asleep in his stroller already, so he got some rest, and we all enjoyed the interesting boat tour.

After the boat ride, Corey, Caylie and Christian rode the big ferris wheel, and I hung out with Carson, who was still sleeping in the stroller.

Since Carson wasn't at his best, we decided to spend the rest of the day taking turns in the apartment with Carson. Caylie and I did a little more shopping, and they guys hit ESPN zone again.

By the end of the day, thankfully, Carson was bouncing back.

After a pretty good night of sleep, we had another fun day planned...

Writing the Waves,


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Chicago...Squeezing A Lot Of Fun Into One Day!

Our next full day in Chicago began with a short walk down our street to the Lake Michigan shoreline. I guess we wore Carson out the previous day...see how he is walking and holding his back like an old man?!?

Here is Caylie posing by the water...

It was funny to see the sand and water, and then to see huge skyscrapers in the background! That is NOT how we are used to experiencing the beach!

Me and my sweet girl...

Next, we decided to walk to Millennium Park. On the way, we passed this huge statue. I don't know what the significance of it was, but it was big and cool, so we stopped for a picture!

Below, Caylie and Christian posed for me on the Millennium Park sign. Millennium Park is a big attraction in Chicago. There are often free evening concerts held here. If we had been in town longer, we would have tried to attend one.

The park is also home to this famous piece of art. The Bean. It is a smooth, shiny sculpture that beautifully reflects the surrounding skyline. We really enjoyed getting to see it.

A typical tourist shot...waving to our own reflections in the bean!

The park also has a great fountain area that children enjoy playing in. We didn't have a swimsuit for Carson, but we stripped him down, and let him have at it!

He ran and played...loving every minute of it!

After playing for a while, we coaxed him out, dried him off, and re-dressed him.

Next stop...

Lego World!

Carson is a BIG Lego fan. He thought that this little Lego boy was pretty cool!

And he was so fascinated with the big, colorful wall of Lego pieces!

Caylie did some graphic work on a few of our Chicago pictures (you can probably pick out which ones), and I love what she did with them!

Here, she played around with a picture of Christian helping Carson fill a cup with Legos! The deal was that you pay a certain amount for the cup, and then fill it as full as you can...these boys got the cup VERY full!

With his special purchase in hand, Carson went to sit in Caylie's lap and visit with a BIG Lego Man!

We decided to have lunch at the Italian Village. It was an interesting little place. We enjoyed our meal, and then set off for the next spot on our agenda...


Caylie had wanted to visit Chinatown to shop for a good deal on a purse. She found both a purse and a wallet that she really liked, and was happy with the price. Her purse was her favorite purchase of the trip! I think that it is so cute that I have been regretting not buying one for myself! Maybe next time!

Still plugging along, the next attraction in the lineup was the Field Museum.

We had not even gotten through the admission line before Carson checked out! Caylie and I were exhausted too, so we pushed Carson into the cafe, and sat down to relax a for a few minutes. Corey and Christian took that time to check out the museum, and then traded off with Caylie and me. Carson's nap didn't last long, but it did make things at the museum a little bit easier while it lasted!

There was an incredible, temporary exhibit about pirates on display while we were there. We knew that we were on borrowed time with Carson, so we had to keep moving, but if I hadn't had a time restriction, I could probably have spent 2-3 hours in that exhibit alone!

The museum was huge and fascinating! We were not able to do it the way that it should have been done, but you could easily spend hours and hours there!

In one part of the museum, the focus was "the soil". It sounded boring, and I wasn't very interested in checking it out, but it surprised me. The displays made you feel as though you had been reduced to the size of a bug by making everything around you appear so large. From that point, it taught you about your new surroundings.

Here are the kids posing beside a huge penny!

Christian is hanging out with the bugs...see all of the roots growing into the ground around him?

After we left the museum, we were all wiped out! We went back and took a late nap, and then took a short walk down the street for dinner.

Corey and Christian offered to take Carson and let Caylie and me do some after dinner shopping in exchange for a trip to ESPN Zone when we returned! We took 'em up on it!

We first headed to a store that Caylie had been dying to visit...Urban Outfitters.

She bought some sunglasses that she really liked, so here she is showing them off!

Next, we were off to a huge Forever 21! It was 2 sprawling floors of stylish, reasonably priced clothes. Caylie was eating up every second of it!

While we were there, we received a special delivery...Carson! He was great though. We kept him with us as the guys headed out to ESPN Zone.

When we finally left and started our walk home, we were so tired that we wanted to crawl! I don't know when we have been so tired! We should have just taken a taxi, but didn't for some reason!

The guys had beaten us back, and came down to help us carry the stroller (and Carson) up the winding stairs.

We all crashed into our beds, but it was not going to be a peaceful night...more about that in the next post...

Writing the Waves,

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hello Chicago!

After managing to get our luggage (and ourselves) into and out of the taxi, we arrived at our temporary home for the week. It was a third floor brownstone apartment off of Rush street. Rush street is a trendy little street with nice shops and restaurants. We were also within easy walking distance to the "Magnificent Mile", Chicago's famous shopping destination located on Michigan Avenue!

The one disadvantage that we had not really thought about, but noticed very quickly, was that there was no elevator...only a winding stairway leading to our third floor apartment. Normally not such a big deal, but remember the 13 pieces of stuff?!?!

That part was NOT fun!

After recovering from the cardio workout that we had not counted on, we headed out to see some sights. This was the sidewalk in front of our apartment. It was such a neat street, with lots of character.

First stop, a Chicago style pizzeria. Although I am not such a big fan of Chicago style pizza, Corey and the kids really wanted to try the authentic, real deal, so here we are!

Corey and I had decided that we would give the big kids some spending money early in the week, so that they could make their own choices about what souvenirs, extra snacks, etc., to purchase, and when. We sent them to the bathroom for a minute, and when they returned, we had hidden some money for each of them underneath their plates.

They were surprised with what they discovered when we told them to take a peek!

After getting fueled up, we headed over to visit the Sky Deck at the Sears Tower (although it no longer goes by that name). We were all looking forward to walking out into one of the new "glass boxes" that have only been open for a short time.

It was probably about a one hour wait, but along the way, there were interesting facts printed on the walls about the construction of the tower, interactive digital guessing games mounted on the walls (teaching more facts), as well as a short film to watch. The time passed pretty quickly, and when we finally got into the elevator to ride to the top, we felt like we had a reasonable grasp on the history of the building.

The view from the top was absolutely AMAZING! A must-see when in Chicago!

To be honest, I didn't think that the "glass box" experience would be scary at all, but when we got up there, the kids had to literally pull me out onto it...and I didn't stay long!

Here are Caylie and Christian sitting down in the corner of the box. They were not afraid at all!

Christian wanted me to take a picture of him laying down in the box. I like how it turned out!

Next, as we were walking down the sidewalk, we stopped for a photo op in front of the Peninsula Hotel. It is one of the nicer hotels in Chicago. The doorman offered to take a picture of our family so that we could all be in it.

Around the corner, we discovered a Ghirardelli ice cream cafe...too good to pass up!

Last, but not least, we took a horse and carriage ride through the area of the city that we were staying in. Here I am with my two handsome men during the ride! Notice Carson's jacket? It was actually pretty chilly! We were all covered up with blankets by the time the ride was JULY!

Corey and Caylie taking in the pretty sights...

Carson enjoyed getting to pet the horse after we arrived back, and got out of the carriage...

We managed to squeeze a lot of fun into our first day in the Windy City!

It was time to get back to our little apartment, and get rested up for the next day of fun!

Writing the Waves,

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