This was Calvin's first year to have a trip for his birthday rather than a party. It was weird to not have a birthday party.
Weird and sad.
I think I need to just go crawl into a ball and deal with these emotions for a few...
Why is it the things that can make us the most stressed are the things we end up missing the most when they are gone? Here I'm talking birthday parties. Last year I couldn't wait for the thing to be over...the party favors, the food, the decorations, I was feeling pretty burnt out from it all. I was thinking that a break would be nice but here we are a year later and I am already missing the parties.
This year Calvin wanted to go to Chicago and spend the night downtown. He is so adorable and loves big cities with all of the lights.
So that's what we did! I was a little apprehensive because, with Calvin having Autism, some things he may really, really want to do end up being way too much for him and it ends up disasterously. I think him wanting them that bad and then them not working out is what makes matters that much worse in the end.
So let's just say I had my doubts that this would work out.
We took the train to Chicago. We were going to drive until we did the math and realized it was going to be at least $70 to park our car at the hotel.
So we decided to take a train. It was a fun experience for the kids and it was super easy to get into town. We got off the train, hopped into a waiting taxi and $4.50 later we were at our hotel. Easy peasy! If you live somewhere that you want to go to Chicago but not drive INTO Chicago I highly recommend the South Shore Train Line. Easy and cheap!
Let me just say, our hotel was amazing! Nick upgraded us to a suite and it was so nice to have the kids in one room and us in another! We also had a dining room table and a full kitchen. It was super fun! Not to mention that our hotel was adjacent to Eataly so it was a perfect excuse to stop and drink loads of amazing hot cocoa and coffee.
After we got checked into our room we decided to try to make our way to Dave and Busters. We do not have one by us and Calvin has been begging (BEGGING!) to go there since I don't even know when. So Chicago was a nice location to go. I say nice but it was 6 degrees outside. And it is called "The Windy City" you know. So we decided to set out and see how far we could make it before we needed to hail a cab but by golly we walked the entire way. I was so proud of us!
And at Dave and Buster's let me just say, I was so proud of our kids! We gave them each a power play? card and let them loose. They didn't ask for more money or complain or anything. They are just the best kids in the world! And they had the best time! Calvin loved playing two-player games with Nick while Emma spent the majority of her time at the skee-ball because that is what she loves.
After a couple of hours we were done at Dave and Busters so we walked our way over to the kids' favorite part of the trip...cupcake ATM!
It was so much fun to get to choose birthday cupcakes from the atm and then watch on the screen as the machine fulfilled our order. The kids LOVED it and I thought it was so adorable! The cupcake ATM is at Sprinkles. If you get the chance check it out. I can vouch that the chocolate peanut butter cupcake was incredible! Emma got strawberry and the birthday boy got Smores. They both said they were amazing too!
After gourging ourselves on cupcakes we made our way to do some shopping. We bought a lego set for Cal's birthday, meandered through Dylan's Candy Shop, and then decided it was high time we had some Chicago pizza. We went to Gino's which, by the way, is our family's favorite. There are a million different places but that is our fave. Supreme with the patty sausage please and thank you!
By that time it was the late hour of 6 in the evening so we walked back to our hotel but not before getting some more drinks at Eataly. Nick and I were about to crash so caffeine was definitely in order. Can someone please tell me why we were so tired at 6?
The kids then wanted to go swimming but not before we vegged in our living room watching the Lego Movie. So we spent the night watching movies, snacking, swimming, and then repeating the whole process. It was a perfect night for our family.
When it was time for the kids to go to bed Nick was trying to find a light for them as a nightlight that wasn't too bright. Calvin said "it's okay Dad, we have the city lights for a nightlight." That boy melts my heart, he is just so cute!
The next day we left our hotel at about 8:30 and walked to the American Girl store. Oh and by the way, it was now a frosty 2 degrees. I thought we were going to die. Emma and I always have the best time there! The best Jerry, the best! Even though this is a no-spend year we surprised her with $30 to spend at the store. For those that know American Girl you know that that barely buys an outfit. One outfit. But Emma was so taken aback. "That's so much money!" She said. She was so surprised!
It was a lot of fun to shop with her and to pick out an outfit. In the end she picked an adorable outfit from Kit's collection (we have Kit) that she thought was a good choice because all of her other dolls could wear the whole outfit or parts of it. I love how she is so thrifty like her Momma!
After the American Girl store (and yet another trip to Eataly!) we went to lunch at Harry Carey's Nick's very favoritest restaurant.
It was an incredible way to end our fun weekend before hopping back on the train. We were all exhausted but a perfect amount of exhausted: we were all ready to get back to our home and decided we had just enough fun.
And that was our trip! Hope you enjoyed visiting Chicago vicariously through my photos :)