Friday, January 14, 2011

Exploring Chicago!!

What a great day we had today!! We decided to head to the SkyDeck today...& then do whatever else we thought would be fun. So we headed out ( our CAR) at about 11am & headed for downtown Chicago. About 1/2 way there it was like a light bulb went off in my head...."Uhhhh we can't do the SkyDeck today! It's sooooo overcast outside & we wouldn't be able to see a thing!" So since it was getting close to lunch time we decided to go to the Hard Rock Cafe instead. Anyone that knows me knows that I love HRC. I go & get a t-shirt from every single one that I can find. So we couldn't pass it up. (It certainly didn't have to be this trip...could have been any of the other 4 trips here, but the opportune time came so we ran with it!!)

Our only dilemma was the parking in downtown Chicago. First off, there is a lot of places to park. But second's soooo darn expensive! We toyed with the idea of taking the train again just cause we didn't want to go to point A & pay $20 to park. Then move to point B & pay $20 again to park. By the end of the day it could have been SOOO much, which we just can't afford.

So as we were driving around the block of HRC we noticed metered parking. We pulled into a space & Dustin got out to check it out. Thankfully a local was there & he got the "inside scoop" from them! LOL  Turns out you can pay as you go. So if you're only going to be in one spot for a short time then you can pay for that spceific amount of time. It ranges anywhere from 20 mins to 2 hrs. So Dustin put in 2 hrs, put the ticket stub on the dash, & we went on our way.

After lunch we thought that maybe we could do the SkyDeck if it cleared up...but it hadn't. So we decided that the SkyDeck may have to wait until the next trip. :(  Instead, we decided to go to Navy Pier. We knew nothing about the place, but thought we'd just go & see what it was. Well about 2 blocks in to the trip, Cali was asleep. We knew better than to wake her, so we just decided to drive around downtown Chicago & see what we could see.

We still drove to Navy Pier but there was hardly anyone around, plus all the parking was for cars about 6'8"...& we're 7'. So we thought that this was definitely a summer attraction. So we continued driving. We found Michigan Ave (the Magnificent Mile) so we drove up & back down that. Then we drove on Lake Shore drive (right along Lake Michigan). We saw an ice skating rink, lots of shops, TONS of Starbucks, & lots of little places that looked like they'd be great to eat at!

After an hour Cali woke up so we went back to Navy Pier one more see if maybe she'd like to go to the Children's Museum or see the IMAX show. We found a parking attendant who directed us to the very last parking garage which was like 7'8". By the way...all these parking garages were amazing. They were all heated with garage-like doors that open & close for each car. They were NOT busy at all, which was nice, cause we got to park right by the door.

Remember, we knew NOTHING about this place. So we got out of the car, unloaded the stroller, & bundled everyone up cause we knew how cold it was outside. LOL Imagine our surprise when we walked through the doors & the entire thing was inside!!!!! YESSSSSSSSSS!!!!! Oh we were soooooooooo happy. So we took all our jackets off & just started walking. We were down at the far end of the pier, so we had the entire pier to walk. We just broused shops, eating places, kiosks, etc. It was such a great time. We found out that the Children's Museum is free on Thursdays, so that'll wait till we're here next time with Cali. I also looked into the IMAX which I thought Cali would love but they were only playing Tron...euw. So that was a no-go too.

We found a little kiosk in the middle of the asile that sold hand-knitted hats. They were just adorable. Pretty much the ONLY thing that I'd forgotten at home was a hat for Brooklyn. Of ALL things to forget, & I forget her hats! Duhhhh. So this whole trip I've had my eyes open for a good hat for her growing head. So we were browsing the hats & I asked the lady if they stretched, or if they had bigger ones. She was SUPER nice, but said that Brooklyn had a small head so why would we want a bigger hat? I then told her all about Brookie & her expanders, & the need for such a big hat. We picked one out (see below) & I tell you what...she's just adorable. And the lady even gave us $5/off cause of our "story".

Mommy & Brooklyn - with her new hat!
We continued walking around browsing the stores & shops. And then decided to make our way back to the car. On our way back Cali just happened to see the cute little train ride for kids...yeah, that literally just goes in circles. But for $2 how could we say no?

Cali riding the little train.
We went back to the car, got in, & started back for the hotel. We had needed to get diapers, wipes, & formula for a day or so & we were definitely not going back to the hotel until we had them in hand. There's a Super Target near our hotel so we went there, got our stuff, & came back to eat left-overs for dinner. Gotta love a super cheap day that's filled with lots of fun & great kids!!

On our way home we heard from Christine. Josh had his surgery this AM & they had gotten to go back to their hotel at 2pm! She said he was doing so much better this time around than he was 2 weeks ago. How great!!! Dr. Bauer even got to remove some of his nevus, which is even better. She wants to meet up tomorrow so we'll probably take it easy by going to the mall again & letting the girls run free. That certainly has helped in the past. :o)

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