Thursday, June 14, 2012

Chicago 2012

The girls and I just got back from a fun-filled week in Chicago visiting my sister and her family.  We had so much fun and took close to 200 pictures.  I have narrowed it down, but not by much, so here is your fair warning that there are a ton of pictures in this post!

I flew out on Tuesday June 5th with Kirsten and Katie.   They were fantastic on the plane even though it was a really late flight.  My sister and Kaley picked us up and I stayed up until after 1 am visiting with my sister.  Wednesday morning got off to a rough start.  I took the kids to the park about 8:30 in the morning because everyone else was still sleeping.  Not too long after we got there, Katie was going down a slide and got her right shoe caught and flipped her leg behind her.  When she got down she tried to walk and fell over.  She could not put any weight on her leg at all.  So we took her to an urgent care doctor where they took x-rays and thank goodness ruled out any broken bones.  It turns out that she hyper extended her hip, pulled her quadricep and sprained her knee.  She was not a happy little girl.  So we spent most of Wednesday recuperating and visiting.  Once she went down for a nap, I took Anne to Costco - she had never been there before! 

On Thursday we headed to downtown Chicago.  Our first stop was the Children's Museum.  They has some really incredible exhibits.  One of Kirsten's favorites was the circus room which among other things, included a tight rope.
There was an entire fire safety area with a house, firestation, firemen, and a firetruck.
Kirsten waited in line very patiently for over a half an hour to climb up the pirate ship.  
Kaley was a great sport and went up right behind her
Once we found the water room, the majority of our time was spent in there.  We seriously stayed in there for almost an hour and a half.  The girls all had to wear rain coats and then there was an entire huge room full of fun activities with water.  They could build dams, use a pulley to get water in buckets, play with ducks and boats and so many more things.  They really loved it and were completely soaked despite the rain coats.
They even got to do water painting on a stone wall, which considering how much Katie loves to draw, was a total hit!
The next room had a stream, boats, and a tree house were the kids could play.
Then there was a the public works room.  They got to shop in a store, drive a bus, drive a car, fill it with gas and their favorite - design an under ground pipeworks system.
The Children's Museum is at Navy Pier, so we spent the rest of the day there.  It is on a peninsula in Lake Michigan with an incredible view of downtown behind you.  (Don't you just love Emily and Katie in their matching strollers?!)
We took a ride on the Ferris Wheel that goes up 50 stories with great views in every direction.  I thought that Katie would be scared, but she and Kirsten really enjoyed it.  This is looking towards downtown.
Looking out at Lake Michigan.
We had to divide between two cars, but as we rounded out at the top we could see Sarah and Emily in the car behind us.
Kirsten was super brave and decided to go on the swings with the big girls.
I think that she was crazy, but she absolutely loved it and wanted to go again!
Then she joined the little girls on the Carousel.  I guess she is at that age where she can have fun with both groups!
My beautiful nieces, Sarah and Kaley
We spent the rest of the night walking around the pier and doing some Father's Day shopping.  Anne even treated us to Garrett's popcorn.  The Chicago specialty is to mix Carmel and Cheddar popcorn.  It was surprisingly good.

We got home pretty late that night, but I headed out with Sarah and Kaley to the 10 pm showing of the Hunger Games.  They still had not seen it and I was more than willing to see it again.  We went to this great old theater in downtown Downers Grove.  It was like stepping back in time and we had a blast.

Friday we spent the majority of the day swimming and then setting up for Sarah's end of the year party.  She has such a great group of friends.  They were so kind and respectful and even let Kirsten hang out in the backyard with them for a few hours.
Katie and Emily also spent a ton of time playing out back.  Seriously who can blame them though, the weather was amazing and Anne has an unbelievably beautiful yard.  I have major yard envy!
Katie and Emily were basically inseperable the entire time we were there.  Katie called Emily "my anna" and would wander around the house calling for her every morning when she woke up.  I am so glad that they are so close in age and could spend so much time playing together.
Saturday morning we headed out to an amazing splash park in Glen Ellyn.  The girls are both obsessed with trains and for the longest time only wanted to be in the "choo choo!"
Those are the two cutest train conductors I have ever seen.
Kirsten jumped right in and wasted no time at all getting as wet as possible.  It is so different being at a splash park when it is only 75 degrees, as opposed to the 95 degrees we have been accustomed to here.
Sarah was a good sport and spent the whole time chasing kids through the water.
Water break!
Everywhere we went in the car, Katie and Emily would sit there and play with each others feet.  It was seriously adorable!
On Friday night, we went to the drive-in movie to see Madagascar 3.  It was the girls first time and only my second to ever go to a drive-in.  We arrived about 2 hours early to get  a good spot.  So we spent the time enjoying pizza for dinner and then running around in the grassy area in front of the screen.
The girls all got super cozy in the back of the mini-van just before the movie started.  I started to wonder if they would fall asleep, but they all perked up as soon as the movie started.
On Sunday we dressed Kirsten, Katie and Emily in their matching dresses from Easter, so of course we had to get tons of pictures.  Emily insisted on having their pictures taken by the roses and Katie would hardly stop hugging her long enough to look at the camera.  
 Kirsten changed out of her dress as soon as we walked in the door, but she was still willing to pose for some pictures.
 Anne has a beautiful arbor with cascading flowers on both side of her house as the entrance to her backyard.  As I said earlier - total yard envy!  Katie had no problem hugging Emily or "my anna" for another picture.
 And then we took yet even more on the little bench in the backyard.  I can't get enough of those adorable smiles!
 Monday morning I took Kirsten, Katie and Emily to the park again, and no accidents this time!  Kirsten loved doing the zip line and mastered the monkey bars (a fact that she is extremely proud of).
They all three enjoyed the teeter totter and Kirsten loved making it go.
On Tuesday we headed over to the Wheaton Zoo.  It is a small zoo with mostly local animals.  We saw several kinds of owls.
And an absolutely beautiful peacock.
When we saw the fox, Emily said "Swiper no swiping, Swiper no swiping, Swiper no swiping."  Followed promptly by Katie's "Ah man!"  It was seriously was too cute and totally spontaneous!  They also had racoons, coyotes, lots of birds, and then a farm animal area with ponies, horses, donkeys and cows.  The favorite of the day were the ducks. There were probably close to a hundred of them, and all different kinds.  We even saw some baby ducklings.
Emily kept asking where the monkeys were.  After explaining to here that there were not monkeys at this zoo, she kept saying "we go to the other zoo now and see the monkeys."  She and Katie then both cried for Monkeys the whole way home!
Monday night Anne made a cake and had an early birthday party for Kirsten and Katie.  She gave them each a pillow pet, a shirt from Washington DC and gave Kirsten a hand-made necklace and bracelet and Katie a Minnie Mouse plate set.  It was so thoughtful.  Then we had a girls night and watched Breaking Dawn Part 1 - they had not seen that one yet either!  And once again we stayed up way too late talking.
Tuesday morning we headed back to the park to let the kids play while Anne and Kaley played tennis.  Then we spent the afternoon packing and making homemade Chicago-style pizza.  Then we headed out to the airport.  Our plane was delayed and after two hours on the tarmac, we de-planed and waited another two hours in the Chicago O'Hare Airport.  It might not have been so bad except that it was late at night, we were all tired, I was alone, everything was closed so we couldn't buy any food, and I had no stroller because it had already been checked.  We survived though and finally landed in Dallas about 1 am.  We made it home by 2 am and all crashed.

We had such a great vacation and loved spending so much time with Anne and her family.  It is hard being so far away from my sister, but I love how we have been able to stay close and have our kids be so close and have strong relationships despite the distance.  As much fun as vacations are though, it is sure good to be home.  Kirsten and Katie missed their daddy terribly and have hardly left his side since we got back. Now it is time to start figuring out what to do with our summer!


Kacey Andersen said...

HOW FUN!!! It looks like y'all had an amazing time! I can't believe how beautiful Sarah and Kayle are!!! I loved all the adorable pictures of all the girls together! We miss you and hope you can relax before the big reunion!

Ryan, Cassie and Crew said...

What an amazing vacation. I can't believe how grown up your girls are. Beautiful. Looking forward to seeing you all at the reunion.

Janet Adams Starnes said...

I am glad you, Kirsten and Katie had a good visit with Anne, Sarah, Kaley, Emily and Otto in Chicago. Visits are good--but you are right, it is always good to come home. Loved seeing you on Sunday and early Monday morning--Clinton still cannot get over how much Katie wanted him to rub her feet! Love, MOM

Nancy said...

Looks like a great vacation!