My sister and I (and I think my cousins Jessica and Chrissy, too) used to love this movie! I felt a little bit like Calamity Jane leaving a small town to head to Chicago. Except we took a train and not a stage coach. I came home and dazzled Bobby with my version of this classic Doris Day song. Such a treat for him.
I took the girls to Chicago so we could see my sister Julia and her husband Grant. (She was there for work and he came along.) We had the best time. I always knew I'd fall in love with Chicago. I've wanted to go since we moved here but was waiting for the right timing. Bobby and I were already planning to go this summer and when Julia mentioned she had a business trip there, I practically shrieked with excitement and screamed, "we live 5 hours from there!!"
This trip also helped me get back in touch with a good friend from Provo. Dan and Meredith live in Aurora and we stopped there for a visit and had a delicious meal and they drove us all the way in to the city and dropped us off at our hotel. So nice of them! It was fun to visit with them and see how their beautiful family has grown.
So this trip to Chicago was a big deal for me. I had a really amazing time with my girls. They made great traveling companions. Franny was up for anything. Monday night, after a FULL day of sight-seeing, after a bath and moments before bedtime, she turned to me and said, "Franny go Chicago please?" She wanted to go back out on the town! She was perfect the entire time. I never thought I could enjoy traveling alone with two small children as much as I did.
Monday morning we hit the Aquarium. My favorites were the Beluga whales. They were so pretty! The girls really liked the blue iguana. In the water below where the blue iguana was perched we saw some funky-looking lobsters. They were cool. I bet they would taste fabulous with a delicious lemon-butter sauce. Anyway, Sophie loves to go to Walmart and look at the lobsters. When I pull her away from them, she calls out "Bye lobsters. BYE LOBSTERS!" over and over and she waves at them for what seems like five minutes. Well, when she saw these lobsters she said, "Lobster?" It was almost like, "what are you doing here, lobster?" I was not expecting to see you here."
Then we made the VERY long trek back towards our hotel. Franny spotted a park with a playground so we stopped there after we took pictures at the fountain (which was modeled after the fountain at Versailles.) Franny played there for a long time while we adults rested and Sophie slept in the stroller (which we borrowed from Natalie. Thank you Natalie! It was a lifesaver!) She met this cute little girl from Australia and they played for a while. I talked to her Mom for a while and her husband is an actor and they're living here for a few months while he works on a film. I thought that was pretty cool. I have no idea who he is or what movie he's acting in, but it was kind of cool to be hanging out around an international celebrity family. :)
Julia and Grant left to get our luggage and bring it to our new hotel and I pushed the stroller towards the Palmer House Hilton. We stopped at Millenium Park- which I have been SO excited to see since I saw Mary's pictures years ago. It did not disappoint. Franny saw the fountains after that and I promised we'd go home and get her swimsuit on and come back. We played in the fountains twice. Our first visit is in the video I made, but the second is not. We went again on Tuesday and it was WAY more crowded. She was in her clothes at this point and got completely soaked. I had a change of clothes so it was no problem. She had so much fun and I wish I got pictures but we left the room in such a hurry that I forgot my camera.
Tuesday the girls and I headed out to Jamba Juice for a mid-morning breakfast. After that we did some fun shopping- for them, then for me, then for them again after Sophie spilled her jamba juice on her lap. Franny really impressed me in Forever 21. I was looking for some t-shirts and the girls wanted skittles. I pulled out my diaper bag to retrieve some candy and after I found my t-shirts, we started to head out. Franny said, "Mommy, need to go purse." I was worried this might happen. I accidentally left her purse at the aquarium. I took it off for her in the restroom and I don't think I ever picked it up. So I explained to her that we didn't have it anymore and that I was sorry, etc. Then she said, "No Mommy, need to go purse." I turn around and saw that I had left the diaper bag on the floor and I was all ready to leave it behind in the store! What would I have done. Thank you Franny!
Later that afternoon after more frolicking in the Millenial Park fountain, Grant met up with us and we paid a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago. IT WAS AWESOME. My girls were awesome. I was so glad I got to go! The best part was, somebody handed Grant a couple of free tickets on his way in.
When Julia got off work we all went to eat at Giordano's and had some delicious pizza with a LOT of cheese. Franny ate her first plate of spaghetti and she LOVED it. (I decided that on vacation I'm going to let Franny have food with processed wheat flour in it- like pasta, McDonald's chicken nuggets, etc. It doesn't seem to have any effect on her and it just makes things a lot easier.)
As Julia and I were walking around I turned to her and said that if Mom were still around she would have met us all here. She has never been to Chicago and I know she wouldn't have missed the opportunity to check it out AND see her granddaughters. The girls and I would have shared a hotel room with her, so the newlyweds could have their own room. She would have bought the girls some darling outfit from Gymboree or something, and she would have laughed with Grant every time Julia turned the wrong corner on our way to the hotel room. It was really fun for some reason to imagine all that.
I think I want this to be a tradition. I pictured when my girls are older and taking a trip like this with them. I even thought about someday when they have kids of their own, and them leaving them home with their husbands and meeting up somewhere like Chicago. We'll see the sights, do some shopping, catch a show. That's something my sisters and I never really got to do with my Mom and I look forward to having that kind of tradition with my girls. And maybe my sisters, too.
Here's a video/slide show I put together with highlights from the trip:
As wonderful as the trip was, it was nice to come home to Bobby. I wish I had a picture of the look on Bobby's face when Franny gave him a hug when we got home. She squeezed him so tight and would not let go. He seemed so happy to have his girls home.