Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Adventure

"The Adventure - Part 1 - Home through the train ride"

A few days ago Amie & I were talking about the train that goes into Chicago from here. We heard it was like $5 & took you right to where you wanted to go. Sounded like a perfect plan to the $17 parking that Dustin & I had found a few days earlier. But then I got to thinking (& Amie did too) that maybe it wouldn't be such a grand idea...strollers that you have to fold up, possible cabs, lots of stuff to carry, etc etc. We decided against the train & thought driving would be the best. We thought that today we'd go to the aquarium. Great for the kids!!! Perfect.

Well...until this AM at 9:40 when she said that they decided to take the train & we needed to leave by 10am!!! LOL "OH crap!" I said. I had a twinge of anxiety right off the bat cause that means that we have to pack completely different than if we had the car. Consolidation. (Plus, we can't forget that she's still on antibiotics so we have to take that refrigerated.)

Anyways, we managed to get out of the room & into the car by 10:10am. But unfortunately that meant that the 10:26am train was missed & now we'd have to wait to 11:26am. No biggy once we got there cause we literally had to park like 1/3 mile away & then get tickets.

We waited for the train & had to fold up the strollers so that we could get on. This meant taking everything OFF the stroller, CARRYING it on the train, finding a place to sit, & then sitting there in utter misery waiting for the train to arrive. I was sitting on the seat with Brooklyn (IN HER SEAT) on my lap & Cali next to me, with Dustin & the stroller (mind you...this is a DOUBLE stroller) behind us. Thankfully Dustin took Brooklyn a little while after we started so that I could help with Cali.

So we get to our stop & now we have to UNLOAD! Not knowing the station or the area we had no idea if it would be a big waste if we folded out our stroller or if we should just keep it folded up. So there's Dustin: carrying both the folded up stroller & Brooklyn in her seat. And there's me: trying to hold Cali's hand (which is a feat in itself when she's in the I-don't-want-to-hold-your-hand-because-I-think-I'm-independent stage) with ALL of our stuff. We got out of the train arrival area & headed towards the doors.

I guess I just wasn't thinking.... no scratch that. I wasn't thinking. Cause I didn't realize we'd have to take a cab. I hate cabs. Me & cabs just don't get a long. I don't know why. I just hate them. So the aquarium that we're headed for is miles away...not walkable, especially in THIS weather.

"The Adventure - Part 1 - Home through the train ride"...although slightly difficult was a success. Check.

"The Adventure - Part 2 - From the station to the Aquarium"

So now we're at the cab dilemma. Do we take 2? Or should we just get a van that Bruce suggested....which was an excellent suggestion by the way...something I didn't think of. We decided that instead of waiting for a van, we'd just take 2. Sounds simple enough right? Haha, WRONG!

Poor little Cali...we just expect her to get in some strange car? Yeah right!!! I threw all of our stuff into the back seat & he folded up the stroller. I put Brooklyn in kind of behind the driver, sorta, & then got in next to her. Dustin practically had to throw Cali in the car kicking & screaming & then buckle her in & shut the door while I was holding on to her. She SCREAMED literally about 20 blocks in to the ride. Grrrr. There was nothing I could do to console her. Well this whole time little Brookie was sound asleep. Haha not anymore. Once Cali decided that she was going to be done crying, Brooklyn decided to take her place. She screamed the whole rest of the way to the aquarium. I tried a paci, I tried a bottle, I tried everything short of actually getting her out of her seat. UGH! I was so mad that Dustin was up front not doing a darn thing about it...(but really, what was he going to do from up there???)

"The Adventure - Part 2 - From the station to the Aquarium" - complete & total disaster. Simply stated. Check.

"The Adventure - Part 3 - The Aquarium"

So we get to the aquarium, unload, & then I let off a little steam... We paid, went in, looked at the fishy's, & then left. Hahaha, ok it was a little longer than that, but it was pretty uneventful (as melt downs, no crazy behaviors worth writing about, & no horrible experiences). Cali had a ball. Brooklyn was great. Zoie loved it. Zac was wonderful. And all 4 parents were content.

Cali at the kids area. She loved touching all the fun things...& playing in the water of course!
Notice Bruce & Dustin also partaking in the hands-on experiences in the back! ;o)

Cali & Daddy watching the dolphins.

Cali playing in the submarine.
"The Adventure - Part 3 - The Aquarium"....soooo great. Check.

"The Adventure - Part 4 - Getting home"

When it was time to go we found a van taxi which was great...but SOOOO not legal! The City of Chicago could have made a fortune if they'd pulled us over. ;o)  (And that's all I'm gonna say about that.)  We decided to not get dinner yet (at the risk of temper tantrums & melt-downs) & just go back to the train, take the train back to where we came from, & get in our cars & find something to eat. We got to the station safely, thank the Lord. However, when we arrived we were too far over in the lanes for unloading. We should have been in the right 2 lanes but we were in the next one over...& there was a traffic jam. Perfect. So our brilliant driver says "Oh just get out here...I'll help you!" HA!! Ok then...we'll simply grab all of our crap, the strollers out of the back, & FOUR CHILDREN & exit the cab in the middle of the street! Riiiiight.

Well that's just what we did. The guy grabbed stuff, Dustin got strollers, I got Cali & Brooklyn, Amie got Zac, Bruce got Zoie (or at least I THINK that's what happened, cause it was all in the blink of an eye) & we were out of there. By then of course traffic was now moving & horns were honking in every which way. How appropriate.

Keep in mind that this is approximately 5:30-5:35-5:40'ish PM...RUSH HOUR!!!!!!! So naturally Union Station is jam packed. Dustin led the way & we all made our way inside the station. Dustin & I went to our immediate left to the same elevator that we'd came in on & didn't even look back, but the Moller's stayed to the right. Oops. But we didn't think anything of it when we were standing at the elevator & looked across the station to see them doing the exact same thing. To me it looked like we all pressed the elevator button at the same time. Easy. We'll just all go up & meet at the top right? Haha. Riiiiiight again! First off, Dustin & I stood in the elevator for a while trying to decide which floor we wanted. After waiting for about 20 seconds we finally figured out that the Metra floor was where we wanted to go. So we got off there & immediately looked to our left....but didn't see the Moller's come off the elevator. Well they must be stuck or something. So we waited. And waited. And waited. Huh. So I call Amie. Lo & behold they're already on a train?!? WHAT THE HECK?!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How on earth??? For a split second I thought they were teleported to a train cause there was NO way they made it there that quick!

So in a mad panic I hang up & just start doing a perimeter search...trying to figure out where we were & where we needed to go. (This is where my Amazing Race skills come in...) Some guy must have seen the look of total horror on our faces cause he came up to us & asked us where we needed to go. I showed him our train schedule & he was like "Oh I'm going near there...follow me." Oh how great. So we follow him to the even numbered tracks. (The odd numbered tracks were on one side of the building & the even numbered ones were on the complete opposite side.) He showed us how to check which train was ours, which was a HUGE help. He went on his merry way & we started walking down the hall trying to figure out which train was ours. We got to the end & no train. There was a conductor standing there & she asked us where we were going. I showed her our schedule & she said that we needed to go to the ODD numbered tracks! Oh how great.

She pointed us in the right direction & we were on our way. Apparently though we didn't look like we knew where we were going cause another man came up to us & asked us if he could help. Again, I showed our stuff to him & he showed us where to go. As soon as we came to the odd numbered tracks we immediately found our train, got on, & were on our way. We were one of the first ones on so we got 2 seats that faced each other, which was nice with Cali.

Once we got on Amie & I were texting to see what the heck happened! When we were trying to decide where to go in the elevator, they had already gotten on the elevator, gotten to where they needed to go, & gotten off. Then when they got off they immediately found a Help Desk & were on their way. They thought that we were in front of them, cause that's how we entered the building. So everything that could go RIGHT for them, did. But everything that could go WRONG for us, did. (They would have totally kicked our butts in The Amazing Race...)

Cali on the train - finally posing for a picture...with Daddy's hat!
 Anyways, we got on our train & got to where we needed to be. Little did we know though that Bruce was waiting for us as you get out of the train station so he could take us to our car cause it was just 21 degrees outside....which was SOOO nice of him. But we didn't know that so we went a different way out of the station & walked the 14 miles to our car! But they found us & then we were off to dinner.

By the time we got to eat all 4 kids were either asleep or almost there, & the wait was 1/2 hr, so we just decided to grab something & bring it back to the hotel.

"The Adventure - Part 4 - Getting home"....another complete & utter disaster x's 10!!! Check.

Dustin & I told ourselves we would NEVER do the train-thing again. But now we're reconsidering our decision cause the first time is always the worst, right? LOL I guess we'll see...

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