Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Chicago: Day 1, Part 1 The Flight, Hotel and Children's Museum

Our flight to Chicago was a bright and early one on Saturday - 8:40 am to be exact. Ugh!!! I got our tickets as part of a big $39 airfare sale, and from the time the sale started to a couple of hours later when I could catch Brent and sort out dates a lot of flights were taken, so I didn't have a ton of later options. But, with it being a Saturday and us living so close to everything we didn't have to leave the house until 6:30 and had no trouble getting checked in. Thankfully it seems most of the construction is finally finished so parking and getting into the airport and around the terminals was much easier. Of course Lilli was most excited about pushing her stroller around the airport.We grabbed some breakfast in one of the food courts and it was a little odd watching all the 9-11 remembrance footage as we were about to board a plane. I had no qualms about flying on September 11th, and felt if anything we were honoring those who had lost their lives that day, and not letting the terrorists win or create fear in us. As a matter of fact, Brent and I flew about one week after September 11th to New England, which was really an experience we'll never forget with deserted planes and armed National Guards at the airports.

We've been in 3 airports now with Lilli (Nashville, Kansas City and Chicago Midway) and honestly we have the best airport for children. After we ate we walked over to the in-terminal playground and let her slide and run and play with the other kiddos until we needed to head over to our gate. ALL airports need a place like this for kiddos to let off some steam!
This video absolutely cracks me up. The children are super excited - and being fueled by Lilli! I think what I find most hilarious is when Brent pans out to the runway and you can see what they're so excited about.

We boarded the plane and thankfully it was a pretty light flight so we had lots of room to ourselves and didn't have to share our row with anyone. I'm still not totally sure Lilli "gets" that she is on an airplane when we fly. She loves airplanes (it was one of her first words) and would get so excited seeing the other ones taxi past our window.
She did ok on the plane. When she was younger it was much easier!!! She didn't sleep a wink, even though she got tired and SO close. She had a couple of little fits, but wasn't too awful until we started landing. By that point she just wanted down, but it was pouring down rain in Chicago as we landed and was fairly bumpy so I needed to hold onto her pretty tight and she wasn't thrilled about that.

I will never pretend that our life hasn't drastically changed post-Lilli. By the time we each went to the bathroom and changed her diaper we were literally THE last people down to baggage claim. Our two bags were the last ones circling and the area was completely empty. I'm pretty sure I don't even remember what it's like to speed down to baggage claim and be the first ones out!
We hiked around to grab the Orange Line into the city for Lilli's first Subway experience. She fell asleep pretty quickly into the ride which was great! She needed a nap!!!
This is underground in the Red Line when we had to switch trains. She would've loved the dinos on the wall!!
It had been pouring rain and chilly the whole time we were on the trains which STANK because our hotel was about another mile or so from the nearest Subway exit. We got so lucky because the rain stopped to a drizzle when we came out, and then completely ended. We didn't get so lucky in that our stop wasn't handicap accessible - and had a TON of steep and narrow stairs back out to the street. I ended up pulling our luggage (68 pounds) up the stairs while Brent carried Lilli up the stairs in her stroller. If there had been even 5 more steps I wouldn't have been able to make it!

Lilli immediately made herself right at home in the hotel room and ran straight towards anything that looked breakable or like something she shouldn't have. Here's a video of Brent trying to get her to smile (hence the "cheeses") and then she discovers the phone. We don't even have a real home phone, so I don't even know how she knows that you say "hey" into it.

This is part of our view from our hotel room - the Hancock building (black on the far right) was covered in fog when we arrived! Our plane had landed at 10:00 am and we arrived at our hotel right at 12. 2 hours of transit time, ugh!!! We quickly decided we would cab it back to the airport when we left (total transit: 35 minutes)
We dropped off our bags in our room, got situated and headed across the street to Navy Pier. We had lunch at a nice little Mexican place and then headed into the Children's Museum of Chicago.
This was the only place we went to where Lilli wasn't free, but I guess that's to be expected!
It was really a cute little museum with lots of things for them to touch and play with, as well as special areas just for toddlers. I'd highly recommend it for things to do with kids in Chicago. It was pretty crowded as it was still somewhat rainy and dreary outside, but it's pretty large so if there are some annoying kids around you it's easy enough to move on and then come back!!!
This was the dino dig room where you could dig for fossils. This one little boy had been buried alive by his parents! Ha!
Brent had a great time.
Photo Opp in the Big Comfy Chair!
That's part 1 of our trip! Stay tuned for more!!!

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