We were up early and out the door to catch the 8am train into Chicago. Lucky for us, the Beverly Shores train station was a mere 5 minutes from our house.
The trainride took a little over an hour. Xavier loved it. I can't express how much of a trooper he was the entire vacation. He thoroughly enjoyed himself, which made me endlessly happy.
Out of the station at Millenium Park, we headed straight for Navy Pier. The following are shots from along the way.
Waiting for the Navy Pier Trolley. Ben really liked this lamppost, I guess.
The trolley's driver made some entertaining comments on the short ride there, and was also very nice, asking everyone to "please give my little friend up front and his parents time to get off without crowding them." I have no idea who that man is holding onto Xavier's stroller, but he helped us get the stoller on and off in that tight space, so he's great in my book. :-)
If you've never been to Navy Pier, I'll have you know, if you go in the summer, its hot, there's no shade, and its crowded. Despite that, its F-U-N. There's a lot to do, and its very kid friendly. (Important for our crew of 10.)
X and I at an art exhibit
Boats of all kinds dock on the pier. So its actually a working pier, how 'bout that!?
We stopped at the Children's Museum gift shop, and Ben played with these trains while we waited for the Dannemillers to get out of their IMAX film. (IMAX and I don't get along well.)
After eating some really awesome Chicago style hotdogs, we met back up with the Dannemillers.
Ferris wheel from the bottom...
...and views from our ride.
Those are the Dannemillers WAY down there!
The carosel. Ahhh...the carosel. This, my friends, is where it all fell apart for us. Up until this time, vacation had been blissful. Not that we hadn't had our little bumps in the road here and there, but on the whole, it had been pretty perfect.
Ben had decided he DID NOT want to ride the carosel (duh!) and preferred to put $10 worth of quarters in the remote control boats to drive around for 3 minutes. We said 'no'. Disgruntled, he sat by Nick on the bench while Xavier, Courtney, Clara, and Gabe, and I rode the carosel.
After that last picture was taken, the mother of all public temper tantrums ensued. He was already upset about the boats, but now, he wanted to button the top button of his shirt, and was having trouble. I was hot, and perhaps a bit too quick to get irritated with his insistence of sitting RIGHT THERE until he buttoned it "just right" (which sometimes takes several minutes). It was our plan to head to the end of the pier, a good 20 minute walk in the crowd with the 10 of us, to catch our friend doing a special helicopter fly-by. We didn't want to be late.
So, I insisted he needed to 'walk and button' or 'be carried and button'. Neither of these choices was acceptable to him, and without warning, the dam broke. What he unleashed on us was embarrassing, raw, primal anger. It was awful and will probably be remembered by us forever. Yikes.
Eventually he calmed down (it took over a half hour), but the rest of the day was spent with raw nerves, teetering on the brink of either Nick, Ben, or myself losing it all together. We were all very hot, dehydrated (despite trying to keep up with fluids), and tired. Not a good combo.
Anyway! We made it to the helicopter fly-by from our highschool friend, Mike! Super awesome!!
Clara, Will, Abram (Courtney's brother), Gabe, Bennett, and Nick at the end of Navy Pier:
Bennett, cooling off. (Literally and figuratively.)
Leaving Navy Pier...hoping changing venue will change the mood.
X can sleep pretty much anywhere, anytime.
Next was a 1 hour architectural river boat tour. Interesting. Nice photo ops (which made me happy). But again - hot, dehydrated, tired, and now add hungry to the mix.
Mallory, about to attack Benny!!
More love between Malmal and Benben.
After the boat ride, we walked 1.2 miles to eat at a great deep dish pizza place Nick had seen on Food Network (Lou Malnati's). It was awesome, and I would have eaten a ton, had I not wanted to vomit. I was so hot, dehydrated, motion sick, and stressed. I'd had it. Nick and Xavier ate (did I mention how good Xavier was the ENTIRE TIME?!), Ben bounced off the walls (his meds had long since worn off), and I contemplated jumping in the Chicago River our way back to the train. (kidding. lol)
When we left the restaurant - it was pouring down rain. No umbrella (of course). Ben decided he didn't want to walk or be carried, and sat down on the sidewalk. 1 mile later, the skies clears up, we found the train station, bought tickets back to Beverly Shores, our friends met back up with us just in time and life was good again. The bag of candy I bought Ben at the train station could have helped with that too. Oh, what!? Give me a break. I was on the verge of a breakdown people!!! ;-p
SO, Chicago was:
End of story.
Travels with Aaron (as of Jan 2011)
7 years ago