So Many Firsts In Chicago This Christmas
I’m from Chicago and although Jackie will tell you I’m from Orlando, I still have some Chicago blood in me. This past week Tim and I brought the kids up to visit Jackie and Dad and give them a taste of da old neighborhood. We had such a great time and so many firsts. Firsts are the best and I hope both Spencer and Jason have a whole lifetime of firsts ahead of them. Here’s a list of things we experienced as a family.
- Snow. We’d been stalking the weather forecast for days hoping to see some snow. Neither boy has ever actually seen snow, at least not they would remember. The outlook was not so good and that was going to be quite disappointing. However the very day we arrived there was crisp white snow falling from the sky and blanketing the earth beneath our feet. You’ve never seen children so excited. They rolled in it, made snowballs in it, threw snowballs at me (which I’m sure you can imagine how well that went over) and in general just took in every last flake they could. Two days of snow was a first and a memory they’ll have forever.
- Downtown Chicago. I’ll break this one up in pieces because we simply did so much in one day. I was actually surprised by how much ground we covered.
- Macy’s or as my family calls it, Marshall Fields. Hey, the plaque is still on the wall so leave me be. Jackie, Tim, Jake, Jason, Spencer and I walked around the entire block checking out the store windows which were decorated in Chicago this Christmas. We were pleasantly surprised to find out they were decorated in a space theme this year. Since Jason is space crazed he was excited to see each and every window and follow the story of each planet and the boy who would travel between them. On another side of the building we visited with Snoopy and all the Peanuts gang.
- I forgot to mention the boys had their first train ride. From Richton Park into downtown Chicago we rode at the top level of the train watching each and every stop pass us by. The top level isn’t my favorite but I sucked it up for the boys. It wasn’t easy though because of the whole motion sickness thing. On the way home we sat in normal seating. I will tell you that the kids wished there were fewer stops, they grew tired of the train quicker than I imagined they would.
- The Walnut Room. Macy’s welcomed MySentimentExactLee as special guests during our visit into the Windy City. A time honored tradition, eating under the huge Christmas tree and visiting with the Fairies was a first Aunt Jackie didn’t want Jason and Spencer to miss. I’d recommend this special holiday experience to anyone with the time to wait for a table.
- Millenium Park. This was new to me. Cloud Gate aka “The Bean” was one of the most interactive pieces of art I’ve experienced. The ability to see one’s reflection is just the neatest thing. The kids had a blast and so did the adults. We took so many pictures. My favorite part was when you walk under the arch and take a picture straight above, you actually become the center, you swirl. My sweater became a swirl of color but I couldn’t be seen. This is one of the attractions I’d most recommend to people visiting the city. Best of all, it’s free.
- Navy Pier. Winter Wonderfest was taking place during our stay so we jumped on this. Hey, we’re from Orlando so we need constant entertainment. This however was a MAD HOUSE. Never again. Although it was exciting we agreed the lines were long and you just didn’t get your money’s worth. Numerous bounce houses, a few carnival rides and an ice skating rink can be found inside this attraction. The ice skating was what I was most looking forward to since I skated the majority of my teenage years. My family unfortunately did not inherit my skating gene. Jason was miserable and got off the rink within moments. Spencer fared better but only by a few minutes. I was disappointed. I did institute the rule “I will not fall down with you.” I was taught this rule at the beginning of my lessons and I believe in it to this day. If you start going down on the ice, I back away. I’ll help you up, but there is no reason for me to potentially hurt myself or hurt both of us more just to support you. Spencer did not appreciate this.
- Brookfield Zoo Zoo Lights. This attraction is a must do for anyone in the area. The zoo opens in the evening for a special event where the entire park is decorated in Christmas lights and they even have a kick butt interactive laser light show. Of course you are also able to see all the animals just like you would on any other park day. Besides the fact that we were freezing, it was so cold, I mean I still feel the cold in my bones, this was probably my favorite part of our entire trip. The kids and I are still talking about this laser light show where you are able to choose which color lights will shine in these boxes. Don’t miss this event. Also, Spencer was chosen to be a magician’s assistant and since he is obsessed with magic, this made his entire night.
- Quality family time. We had a belated Christmas with Grandpa Bruce, Aunt Jackie and Cousin Jacob. Yes we call these family members by these names. I’m not sure why. Typing it out makes me realize how very “I’m Larry, this is my brother Darryl and this is my other brother Darryl” that sounds. But really, we shared meals, we saw movies, we had sleepovers and we experienced all these firsts with our family we see so rarely. It was meaningful and I hope to do it again in a few years.
- Quality family time with my husband and the boys. Just us, in the car, in the hotel room and just being together. Life moves fast. The kids go to school and boy scouts and I am constantly at blogger events and Tim works. It isn’t very often we spend quality family time together. While I can definitely say there were times I wanted to pull the car over and make everyone walk home there were also times I wanted to bottle the moment and keep it forever. Or take that mental picture and never let it go “click”.
With so many firsts in Chicago this Christmas and all happening in just one week I wanted to put them down in writing. I knew I’d forget and I didn’t want that to happen. I’m happy to share my vacation with all of you and I’d love to hear about your vacation moments or you can tell me about what you did for the holidays. Thanks for reading.