Are you ready for a photo bomb? We had the opportunity to meet up with my sister in law Jean and her husband Matthew in Chicago while they were there from San Diego, promoting their game company Wiggity Bang Games at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair the weekend before Thanksgiving. If you're in the market for a fun game to share with friends to to give as a gift, check out their games Furt, Magic Feather, and Quao.
We've taken the train to Chicago since Arden was born. It takes a little longer, but it's nice to be able to move around and not worry about driving while handing drinks, toys, etc. back to the girls. We download television and movies onto our phones, which entertains us much longer than it does Arden.
Checking out the view out her window.
Hadley slept next to Dave for about an hour and a half which let him have some time to relax.
Meanwhile Arden and I went to the dining car to color and have a snack.
Then I broke out a few of my Strawberry Shortcake dolls from when I was a kid. These have gotten some serious mileage as I used to take a big box of them with me to babysit and now we've been slowly awarding them to Arden for good behavior.
Hadley meeting Aunt Jean for the first time. We've Skyped several times, but it's been since Arden was about seven months old that we last saw them in person.
Millennium Park's Cloud Gate, better known as The Bean. We found an apartment rental through VRBO in a high rise just next to Millennium Park which worked out very well for what we needed on this trip and for traveling with two small kids. We'll probably do something like that again in the future, but look for a different management team - it was a pain getting everything confirmed.
Arden was sorely dissapointed by the lack of swings and slides in Millennium Park. I think we need to make a stronger differentiation between parks and playgrounds in the future...
This is how we traveled through Chicago, though mostly Hadley was in the stroller and Arden in the backpack. I love the Chicco Liteway stroller because it reclines almost completely and is tall enough for Dave to push even though he's 6' 5". I also can't say enough about how convenient it was to navigate using Google Maps with the transportation option to show us the best train/bus/walking routes around. Combined with the CTA bus tracker and we were always confident about where we needed to be and how long we'd have to wait.
To make it up to Arden for the Millennium Park misunderstanding, we took the girls to Oz Park and Dorothy's Playground on our way to Lincoln Park Zoo. Hadley has been under the weather with a cold, but she enjoyed herself at the playground as well.
Arden ran herself silly all over the playground and we had to pry her away to get to the zoo.
A view of the Chicago skyline from the Zoo. I'm always so pleased and surprised that such a lovely zoo is free.
Hadley snoozing away in the stroller - again. She pretty much slept her way through Chicago due to her cold and being so comfy and snuggled up in the stroller with the Bundle Me. The weather was also very nice for November - in the 50's all weekend. Notice the Starbuck's coffee in the stroller cup holder - a little Mommy's pick me up since I wasn't feeling so hot either..
Arden and I on the carousel. She was dead set on this particular panda bear to ride on and named him Po-Po.
I had to include this shot because I thought it was funny that Dave caught himself in the carousel's mirror.
Yes, we put our kid on a leash. She actually loves it and will twirl around and make sure we're holding the end. It's nice to have the peace of mind that she can't take off on us in a crowd. The display she's looking at is a poop game at the big cats exhibit at the zoo. Did you know bees pooped? I guess everyone poops (there's even a book about it!), but I never thought about bees...
This baby monkey on Momma's back was so cute!
Arden got a big kick out of this howler monkey putting on a show for all the kids.
This is one of the best shots I got at the Shedd Acquarium. It's pretty dark in there, but this display with ducks held Hadley's attention for quite some time and was well lit.
We went to breakfast with Jean and Matt the last morning. Hadley wasn't feeling the photo opportunity and this was from Jean's iPhone as she was even unhappier in all my shots.