Thursday, April 21, 2011

Party in the Windy City

My dad was in Chicago last week for a judicial conference at Northwestern.  We decided to go over and meet him there on Friday.  Since John's schedule didn't coincide with the South Shore schedule (and who wants two cars in Chicago?), the girls and I rode the train over and then walked up to meet my dad at the hotel.
The big girls were doing great walking through downtown until we got stopped on the sidewalk to wait for the Obama motorcade.  For 30 minutes.  It nearly killed Olivia, and after that, she lost the spirit of walking adventure.  She kept looking across the street to determine if that side was going to be let loose any earlier than our side.
The babies (although Bella would object to that term) did great.  However, only those who have walked with a double stroller (and a total of four children) through downtown Chicago can understand how conspicuous I was.  C.O.N.S.P.I.C.U.O.U.S.  I think I drew every glance for a mile.
We headed to Navy Pier with my dad, where we ate, of all places, at McDonald's, by the children's request.  They probably could have gone back to the hotel with their Happy Meal watches and been pleased with the outcome of the day.
This is Bonny Bunny, who was performing with those crazy actors that roam around Navy Pier.  (One actor, dressed as a Louis XIV-style king, asked Mimi for the time, and when she gave it to him, he said, "Thank you, young lady."  Best part of Mimi's day, hands down.)  Bella thought this enormous bunny was fun from a distance, but terrifying at this range.
We visited the Children's Museum, which was super fun.  (I especially love the skyscraper project, although building a skyscraper was a challenge with Maddie in the backpack and Bella putting plastic bolts in each and every hole in our structure.  There is a reason that construction crews normally contain no two-year olds.)

My dad reserved rooms for both of us at the Inn of Chicago, right on the Magnificent Mile.  It was the perfect location.  (Thank you, Dad!)  We were able to walk anywhere we wanted to go for entertainment or food.  The lobby is super fancy, and my girls showed their delight at the fanciness by bouncing into each and every wingback chair while I was trying to check in.  (Again, conspicuous.)

When we got up to our rooms, it was obvious that this was an old hotel that had been renovated. The rooms were still really small.  My stroller could not fit through the narrow passageway that led from the room door, past the bathroom, to the beds.  But still, delighted with the shiny marble and sparkling chandeliers that had greeted us in the lobby, Olivia plopped herself onto the double bed, ignoring the cracking paint and the window AC unit, and declared, "This is the fanciest hotel EVER."  Then she stated her intention of slipping into her swimsuit and going for a swim.  I said that I didn't think they had a swimming pool.  She immediately sat both upright, disgusted, "WHAT?!  No pool?!  And they call this a fancy hotel."

Mimi and Bella (as well as my dad, ahem) were easily entertained once they realized that the drawers in the TV console were roomy enough to serve as spots for hide-and-seek.

John joined us that night.  All my girls decided they would rather be in the hotel room with "Big Grandpa" (which differentiates him from Great-Grandpa Anderson, a.k.a. "Little Grandpa") than with Mom and Dad.  With only Maddie in our room, John and I slept like logs.  I don't have room for the story here, but suffice it to say, my dad was not nearly so fortunate.

In the morning, we headed down to Millennium Park, where we showed my dad The Bean, which is a favorite of my girls.
And again, as you can see, even in this Picasso-esque perspective, the Ergo carrier keeps the smallest one perfectly happy.  (I heartily recommend it.  Heartily.  Everyone should have one of these.)
Trips like these make me so sad to move away.  I love Chicago!  


Lyndsay said...

We missed you guys by a week! I felt conspicuous enough with one babe, so I can't imagine four. We're forever annoyed at the Museum of Art folks who told us that Daphne could not play on their steps (the huge four-foot steps) because it was unsafe. It made me think that no one in Chicago has children.

Annie said...

I LOVE your hair, Emilee.

Jeff and Larissa said...

That's so funny, Ellie and I were in Chicago that afternoon/night. We should have coordinated a meet up!

Lyle said...

I think the bright colors might have played a small part in drawing the attention of others to your children. And in the defense of Big Grandpa, I would note that nothing else but hiding in the drawer would distract Bella from her frustration at being required to stay in the hotel room with Big G instead of in the other room with Mimi and Livi while Emilee went for pizza.

Aaron & Nancy said...

We went to Chicago right after Madelyn was born and had two strollers (one single, one double). I don't think anyone noticed us either. Seriously, a fun city, but a lot of work with little ones.

I hope we get to see you at Stake Conf. next month before you move!

Liz said...

I've always wanted to visit Chicago! I'm impressed that you made it with the four kids. I've always known you would be a super mom!