I told Ryan on Wednesday night I wanted to catch the 8:30 train out of Michigan City (about 2hr 45 min away) so we could get to Chicago before noon. Which we assumed we'd have to leave town by 5:30am.... meaning I'd need to be up at 4:30am to get ready. Ai yai yai!
Well, I slept through my alarm and we didn't wake until 7am. Obviously not going to make the early train, so we got ready and planned to hop on the 10:55 train. We though we were cutting it close, and were cross referencing the time and our travel location (via my iPhone) the whole way there. Whew... we made it with a bout 20 minutes to spare. We figured we'd swing through McD's to take lunch onto the train since we wouldn't arrive in Chicago until 12:40. The lady at McD's said "We don't start serving lunch until 10:30. I glanced at the clock- 10:25. I scoffed and said "Well, we'll be back in 5 minutes!"
We went to the train station to go ahead and get our tickets. I looked up at the clock near the boarding ramp and it says...... 9:40. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? HELLO! We totally forgot about the hour time difference! So, technically we had a LOT of time to spare and we COULD have made the 8:30 train by just leaving at 6:30am (which would have been more do-able). And... no wonder the McD's lady sounded like she thought we were nuts... we were trying to order lunch at 9:30am!
Anyhow, we made it on the train and the boys were SO thrilled. I swear they have been waiting for this for So long. I'm sure we could have taken them from the Carroll Ave Station to the 11th St. Station and back and they'd have been as happy as two clams.
They did great on the ride there- ate lunch, watched out the window and generally were just excited to be on the train!
Once we arrived in Chicago we headed to the Hilton Chicago near Grant Park. Perfect location for the museum and aquarium (which were the main attractions for our trip). We could see the Field Museum from our hotel room on the 14th floor. The hotel was fabulous. We felt a little out of place with our kids in midst of all the business people but oh well. The sheets and bedding were FAB. I sooo could have taken them home! And the rooms were big!
We tossed around the idea of trying to lay Hudson down for a nap but since it was already past 1pm and the Field Museum closed at 5, we wanted to just go and spend as much time as we could there. The boys had a blast at the museum. There was so much for them to look at and they LOVED the dinosaur exhibits. Right now they have a big "Sue the T-Rex" exhibit going on with a 3-D movie and Robo Sue (which sadly, we missed... we didn't realize it closed at 4!). We also got to see the baby mastodon mummy that was discovered in Russia. And... they had this AWESOME Underground exhibit that was a little like "Honey I Shrunk the Kids". Porter seriously thought we had shrunk and was freaked out by all the bugs and spiders. Some of them really moved! It was cool, and we even saw Crawly the Crayfish... ginormous-size!
Hudson fell asleep in the stroller shortly after leaving the museum. We stopped by Buckingham Fountain for a few minutes before continuing on our way up Michigan Ave.
For dinner we headed to Gino's East. I can't visit Chicago without hitting Gino's. Of course, Ryan feels otherwise but he agreed to go because he knew I'd love it. The unfortunate thing about the location of our hotel is it is about a mile from the Magnificent Mile. And Ryan's knee has been acting up for a few weeks (a few years ago he had knee surgery and now his other knee is acting up.... looks like more knee surgery is in the near future). Once we got to Gino's, Ryan counted that we walked 23 blocks. Poor guy! It did feel like forever, but mmmmm! Gino's was sooo yummy!
On our way back we stopped at the Disney store and then just headed back to the hotel. The boys were whooped.... Hudson was seriously so wound up and so tired he was delirious. We finally got them to settle down (oddly, Porter was calm and ready for bed and Hudson was bouncing off the walls. Totally opposite for these guys!). We all crashed around 9pm.
The time difference was not such a great thing for Hudson. He was up bright and early at 6am!!! There was NO getting him back to sleep. No sirree! Once we finally got up and around, we packed our bags and took our suitcase to the baggage check and headed to the Shedd Aquarium.
Since we have an aquarium membership at Pine Knoll Shores in NC, we were able to get in free (minus all the "special" exhibits... like the dolphins and penguins etc. You know, all the COOL stuff...). Hudson really loved the turtles. He was talking to them and asking them what they were doing "Hey turtle! What doing?" Porter fell in love with a puffer fish and was convinced he was sad in his tank and we needed to take him home.
For lunch we picked up some hotdogs and ate by the boats. We walked on up Michigan Ave and stopped at Millennium Park. Porter splashed in the water for a little bit and we also saw the "Magic Bean" for the first time in person. Pretty neat!
Our next stop was Gap. Since Jackson's Gap closed, it has been awhile since I've been to Gap so I was having serious withdrawals. I picked up quite a few $10 shirts and tanks (I am so boring). Then we stopped by the Lego Store. Hudson ooohed and aaahed over the Cars sets and Porter liked anything with wheels.
On our way back to the hotel we were seriously dragging. I was tired, the kids were whiny and arguing and Ryan's poor leg was killing him. We did make it back, though, and were able to catch the 2:40 train to Michigan City. Originally we had planned to stay in Chicago until 5 or 6pm, but I think with our 6am wake-up call (thanks, Hudson) we were all exhausted and just ready to head home.
Hudson was overly tired on the train home- indecisive and tantrumy and whiny. Near the end of the ride he slipped off the seat and hit the window... busting his lip and breaking open the scab that was already on his chin from a McDonald's trip earlier this week. His lip was bleeding pretty bad and of course he was ticked that I was trying to put anything on it so he screamed and screamed for awhile. His lip had swelled almost instantaneously. Poor guy!
All in all, the trip was great. We had great weather, the museum and aquarium weren't too busy, and our hotel room was very comfortable. Minus Ry's bum leg, all of Hudson's Terrible 2's Tantrums (Oh yes... almost ALL day Friday he had tantrums. Over EVERYTHING!), and the shortness of our trip, we had a great time! We are thinking of making this an annual "School's Out" trip, except next time staying 2 nights.