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Chicago

For Thanksgiving, we packed up 3/4 of our house and drove to Chicago.  My sister, her husband and my newest nephew W, live there and we wanted to greet this new family addition, just 11 days after he was born!  As most of you probably realize, this Thanksgiving adventure is much different than our norm.  Normally we host, but after 4 years of hosting 16+ people, I was happy to hand off the torch.

When I say, we packed up 3/4 of the house and drove... I'm talking, we (my dad) drove a FULL SIZED van with room for 7 to sit and about 4 feet of  space in the rear for our things. To say it was hilarious, was an understatement.  Luckily, the windows were tented a bit, so people couldn't see our faces as we drove through the country.

With two kids, I wasn't sure how this ride was going to go.  I had prepared for Coen to take a nap in the car, but with so much stimulation from my parents and no true quiet time, a nap didn't happen.  He started to crash at one point and I thought we were in the clear, but that only lasted a few minutes and then he was back to talking up a storm.  Emie, on the other hand, slept 5 of the 6 hours we were on the road and only woke up to have a meal and then was back to sleep.  She's seriously a great baby!  Plus, I think she really likes her infant seat because it keeps her snug.

On our way there, we ran into some of the thickest fog I've ever seen.  It was actually really scary because we were traveling at a pretty good speed but their were traffic lights that would come out of no where and that made the anxiety level rise (for mainly me but also) for the rest of the car.  It was tough, but eventually, it did break.  At one point, we saw a semi that had a car that basically went under the semi.  It looked like the car was trying to cross this 4 lane highway and took a guess as to when a truck wasn't coming and failed.  That about put me in the looney bin.  I was a nervous wreck the rest of the trip.

We made one stop for bathrooms and a snack, but then we stopped again to get gas and in doing so, we saw all of Gary, Indiana.  Boy was that not exciting.

Shortly after our last stop, we were in Chicago, driving through the city and making our way to our "guest house".  Chicago has a TON of apartments that are basically homes split into apartments that are for rent and we had one of the prettiest houses in our little village that we rented.  It was perfect.  Three bedrooms, a full kitchen, lots of closet space, a dining room, a huge living room and a sun porch.  The kicker is that we paid (okay, my parent's paid) as much for this place a night as we would've paid for a hotel room, anywhere in the city.

We had a great time visiting with family, until Coen came down with a temp of 104.6.  We booked it out my sister's place so fast, for fear that we'd infect W... but luckily he didn't seem to even notice.  Coen was better in a few days after several rounds of medicines and was back to normal by the time we got home.

We did venture ALL THE WAY downtown and while it was insane, we did it and we made it fun.  We saw the bean, Macy's with all their Christmas windows and decor, we rode the train a lot and we even made it to the German markets that were going on downtown too.  It was cold, but we just pushed through and made the most of it.

Riding the train.  This (in my opinion) isn't a good time.  In general, it's fine, but I'd much rather drive.  Or only ride it in the day and not at night.  Why?  Well..... One day, while we were visiting, we were riding the train into town to Carter's and Land of Nod.  Basically what happened is we loaded up the double stroller, we had my sister with her Moby and her baby, and them my mom and I.  We hopped on the train, counted our stops and at one point switched trains.  We ended up at a location that didn't have an elevator.  It just had stairs and an escalator and our double stroller wasn't about to fit up any of those options.

So we sat.  We were sitting ducks, amongst some city folk that were starting to startle this country girl.  One BEAST of a man approached us when we weren't looking and completely scared the crap out of us.  He was (seriously) almost touching the stroller and asking for change.  We literally didn't have a dime to spare.  And after that encounter we just decided that we would head home.  So, how I like to share this story to others, in a little less detail is that we basically rode the train for a little over an hour and didn't go anywhere.

My after thoughts of our trip:

  • Chicago. It's a great city when you don't have kids.
  • Riding the train is great, when you don't have kids or a stroller of any kind.
  • My sister and her husband need to wrap up their time in Chicago and just move home.
  • I will never stay in a hotel in Chicago again, now knowing about these guest houses and about this house that we stayed in.  It was FAR better than any hotel and so much more comfortable for kids.
  • I look forward to visiting Chicago again, when my kids are much older and we don't require a stroller.  Or when we can leave the kids behind and just go as adults.
On a side note, this was Emie's first trip, period.  But first out of state and first time to Chicago for both kids.  Very exciting and I'm glad we did it. 

Maybe next year we can just skip the standard Thanksgiving meal all together and just go to the beach and relax.  Can you relax on a beach trip when you have two kids under 2 years old?

Comments

You are right, public transportation in CHI is not stroller friendly! We are heading down to the market Saturday and I plan on wearing Gavin.

Sorry you didnt have a better experience in our town!

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