Sunday, August 10, 2014

Chicago through the iPhone: a long-winded tale of travel and adventure

Brace yourself for a play by play commentary of our most recent trip to Chicago... you've been warned.  
First, I present to you the many stages of Bennett's travel.  
 Stage 1: Playful, happy, entertaining oneself with blanket.  Life is good.
 Stage 2: Just stopped for lunch and got back into the vehicle.  Shock that we are not there yet.  Life could be worse.
 Stage 3: I am miserable, so you must be miserable.  I will produce high pitched screeches to punish you for putting me in a seat for hours on end.  Life is terrible and you are to blame.
 Stage 4: I give up.  I will sleep my way to Chicago.  Too bad Bennett reached stage 4 about 10 minutes from our final destination.
 Upon arrival the children tested out the air mattress and pulled out all of Mary Kate and Adam's boardgames, scattering small pieces and cards to the far corners of their home.  Thoughtful ones, those children.

The next morning we headed out for some city breakfast at SIP Southport and Irving Restaurant.  It was heaven on a plate.  The children behaved like angels as you will see evidenced in the following pictures.  But seriously, considering they typically dine at McDonald's and Chipotle, I was pretty proud of their brunch behavior.
 Lakin carefully completed the menu maze with great enthusiasm.
 Followed by the teasing of her brother, which at first amuses Ben...
 ...then he decides he's actually not okay without the hat..
 ... he looks to his mother for a little assistance, but she continues to snap photos of this sweet sibling moment...
 ... to rub it in, Lakin performs a riveting victory dance while Bennett shrieks...
 ... and looks again to his mother in disbelief.  Mother then makes Lakin give the hat back, return to her seat and eat her french toast.  End scene.
 Chris, Adam and Colby, friends since middle school.
 Sunglasses and swimsuits, naturally.
 After brunch we looked to get a quality photo of Mary Kate and her curly haired shadow.   If you read this blog you know how this typically goes.
 um, yes...
 nailed it.
 photo taken by Lakin.

Later that day we ignored the weather forecast and hit up the beach.  The water was freezing but that didn't stop the Jaeger children from frolicking by and in the sea.  After about 30 minutes of water time, they were starving for a hot dog and ready for a towel swaddle.

 Walking in a towel swaddled up like this proves to be impossible for someone with legs as long as Ben.  Cue multiple tantrums as the towel would inevitably unwrap and fall to his feet.  Oh, two, you are such a fun age.
 Mary Kate to the rescue, she carried the little mummy up the shore to the corn dog hut.
 He expressed his gratitude with some back arching and crying.
 But the promise of a corn dog was all Ben needed to recover to his cheery self.
 Lakin on the other hand...
 Could only smile when the delicious and overpriced corn dog was in her hot little hands.
 As rain began falling we feasted on our expensive snack.  Corn dog for Lakin and donut dog for dad and Bennett.
 The rain quickly turned from a slight sprinkle to a serious pour.  Mary Kate took this as an opportunity to jog several miles home (my athletic friends are crazy) and we carried/drug the kids the multiple blocks back to the car where there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth from Lakin about how wet her towel was getting in the rain.
 Monday Chris and I were on our own as our hosts had to attend work.  After several careful hours of Yelp research (you think I am kidding) we selected Tweet as our next breakfast adventure.  This place was my favorite.  When we sat down they brought baskets of toys for the kids, served them complimentary bananas and breakfast cake immediately and their menu had us really torn on what to order because it all sounded dreamy.  Chris settled on the biscuits and gravy which were the best I have ever tasted.  I picked the chilaquiles- so much food, so tasty.

That night, Adam took us to a White Sox game.  The game didn't start until 7 and I wondered how the kids would do that late.  Bennett could have stayed the whole game he was enjoying his time in the rain, snacking on peanuts and nachos and singing along with the jumbo tron.  Lakin, was a little irritated by the rain and ready to get in her bed and go to sleep.  When it started to down pour in the 7th inning we cut our loses and started the trek home.  I'm sure we looked like a bunch of drowned rats when we finally made it home.  Chris and I end up carrying both children the entire walk from the El station while balancing an umbrella.

 Double fisting a hot dog and a nacho.   Boy makes me proud.

Tuesday Mary Kate hit the town with us and we began our journey at a little Spanish bakery near the Osborne's house.  We were not sure what we picked, but it all was delicious.  We enjoyed our breakfast of champions in Millennium Park while listening to the orchestra practice in the amphitheater.

 Lakin picked out this "pink bread" which was essentially a loaf of bread with pink food coloring and tons of sugar dusted on the crust.  She inhaled it.
 We did the bean... when in Chicago... bean.

 The kittens loved the Bean.  They made sure to photo bomb as many tourist photos as possible and played a game of dodge and seek from Chris and I as we frantically ran around and through the bean trying to keep an eye on them.  Fun times.
 Chris and I with a little photo bomb by Lakin and the Joovy double stroller.
 Target had a family fun tent set up with art projects, kids performances and tons of giant building materials for kids to climb and build with.  We spent at least an hour in the tent taking advantage of this wonderful, free attraction.
 Bennett got serious about his artwork.
 Lakin created a beautiful piece of art too.  She was so proud when she finished her creation, she even let me take a picture and willingly looked at the camera.
 We were ready for some more food.  Do you see a theme? So Chris and Mary Kate consulted their mobile devices to find up the best food truck options.  Little known fact about me, I love eating from food trucks.
 Chris and I chose Gyros at the Big Shish.  They were maybe my favorite Chicago meal.  Oh Tzatziki sauce, I dream of you.
 We then took our hooligans to a nice little green space intended for professional business people in the financial district and let them run wild and eat McDonald's cheeseburgers while we enjoyed our food truck scores.  To those nice suited patrons dining in our space that day, bless you.  If you were wondering, MK chose a food truck that specialized in mini burgers and sandwiches.  Her three sliders were also delectable.
 The kittens did a fair share of walking in Chicago.  This guy was fast and sometimes had to be strapped in to the stroller due to his unpredictability but overall I was impressed with how much they walked and endured on our all day adventures.

What trip would be complete without an attempt at a family photo.  We thought the end of Navy Pier would make an idyllic backdrop for a sweet snapshot of the four of us.  The children were not having it.
 I might have been possibly whispering threats or bribes...
 Bennett is losing his cool.
 The best we got.  True to life, friends.

We returned from Chicago Wednesday night and were so thankful for such a fun getaway as a family and time spent with our dear friends in Chicago.   Thanks Adam and Mary Kate.  We may have stolen a Rubik's cube from your home.  We promise to return it to you someday soon.