I'm sure you have noticed that vacation usually leaves you needing a vacation. Your routine has been changed, your surroundings offering unending exploration, normal is turned on its head. Well, we just got back from vacation. I loved it! We had so much fun going to Thomas the Train and visiting the Raymond's and Jamie in Chicago. Honestly, I didn't want it to end.
We started our galavant in Kansas City. My parents (Grumpy and Boo) joined us on our adventure. The pool at the hotel was great! It had a low grade entry so the kids had a rather large area to play in. Plus, there weren't very many other people enjoying the pool so we didn't have to worry about the kids splashes or squirt guns. There were some down sides. It rained every night making the ground rather squishy and the air humid. The hotel had its issues as well (the biggest being no micro-fridge in the room, we had to rent one but any mother knows that its well worth the money to do so) but, overall, the experience was great. Our trip to visit Thomas at the depot in Baldwin City was rather muddy from the rain. The event staff had tents up over all the activities which, in theory, should have been wonderful. The unfortunate part is that it rained 4 inches in as many hours the night before causing water to run down the sides and into the floor of the tents where it was unable to escape creating mud pits!! OYE-VAY! The train ride, however, was a big hit.
We also visited the zoo in KC which, I must say, is very large. The animals have lots of room to run, play and do animal things... wonderful for them, tough on us. It was lots of walking and we only made it through half of the zoo but the kids had fun anyway. Keegan got to be the leader and carry the map. Kendall and Murphy were out cold by the time we were walking out.
Next came Chicago. We hung out at Sarah and Bryan's in Oak Park (thanks by the way, guys). The kids had SO MUCH FUN running around with each other. I didn't think we were EVER going to get them to sleep that first night... or the second or third for that matter. We played at one of the local parks that had a splash park. Come on Fayetteville, you need to get on that wonderful idea! It was great until, right at the end, a girl rode her bike through the water (which was against the rules) and ran into Kendall. I was not very excited about that and neither was she. Joey got to go to a Cubs game with Jamie (the only one they won of the series). Of course, we went to Trader Joe's and the kids loved the mini grocery carts. We went into the city one day to visit the Shed. It was free all week so you would think that it wouldn't have been insanely crowded. I mean, people had all week! Unfortunately, it was Chicago, in the summer. Not only were the regulars there, the tourists were too. We got there early so we didn't have to wait in line very long but, as were looking around, the walls were closing in around us as more and more people poured in. After about an hour and half, we had to get out of there for a breather. We went out to the lawn to eat lunch and lines (there were two, one for strollers and handicap visitors and one for everyone else) were easily half a mile long each. We played outside for a while and decided not to try to venture back in. Instead we walked over to Meig's Field and let the kids play on the beach. Keegan got to go with Bryan and Tea on the EL back to Oak Park and so excited! We chilled out the next morning and then went into the city that evening for a concert at Millennium. On our way into the city, a giant storm blew in and the bottom fell out right as we got there. After about 30 minutes hiding out in a coffee shop, the rain let up enough that we could make to the pizza shop so instead of playing in the water, we ate an early supper while the rain finished moving through. We got the park, watched the concert, enjoyed a few glasses of wine and watched the kids run around in the grass. Afterward, we played around the Bean a while and then headed back to Jamie for bedtime. Jamie watched the kids for Joey and I the next morning so we could bike down the lake front which was WONDERFUL! That afternoon, Sarah, Bryan and the girls met us for some beach time and a wonderful pasta dinner made by Jamie. Bryan had brought the kites he had been building with the kids and, after adding tails, took Keegan and Tea out the try to fly them. Unfortunately, the wind had died down some and they ended up just playing at the park for a while. After a long 9 days, we headed home Sunday.
The kids really did amazingly well on the trip. Kendall had very few accidents and we had very few melt downs. Unfortunately, now that we are home, we have to readjust to our normal routine. No more getting away with staying up extra late and getting dessert even if they don't eat supper. Hence, the hangover! All in all, it was a great trip and I really am ready to go back but it is nice to have our own space. See ya' next time Chi-town!