Gene and the kids are off work/school for two weeks and I took three extra days off this week so we decided to hit the road. We discussed many options, but the thing that remained constant was that Logan wanted to go to the Sears Tower Sky Deck. He talked about it nonstop. Yeah, he didn't care if we went to St. Louis or Indianapolis or Wisconsin Dells... As long as we went to the Sears Tower first. (And yes, I KNOW it's the Willis Tower now, but would anyone actually know what I was talking about?)
So Monday night after work I did laundry and packed. Tuesday morning I finished packing and got everyone up early, hoping to leave around 7. Hah. We did manage to pull out of the driveway at about 7:40, BUT we still had to get gas, shop the gas station for the perfect road snacks, stop at the ATM and run through the McDonald's drive-thru. We started on the road for real a few minutes after 8. Traffic was excellent. We hit a minor slow-down right outside of the city, but were parked and walking into the Sears Tower at 10:45am. The line for the Sky Deck was HUGE. We waited maybe 20 minutes just to get into the elevator to take us down to the level where we could buy tickets. We then waited another 30 minutes to get through security, another 10 to buy tickets, another 15 to get into the movie and then another 20 to get on the elevator to the Sky Deck. Ok, I'm not adding all my times together, but it was around 12:30pm when we finally arrived at our destination.
I have to admit, it was So. Cool. I was surprised because I'm usually not a fan of heights, but this didn't bother me at all! I can even remember other trips when it did bother me. Logan held it together for a while, but by the time we made it over to the new glass boxes he was freaking out and begging to go down. There was no way I was going to spend fifty bucks and all that waiting time to skip those boxes! We had Logan stand far back while the other three of us waited our turn to stand in a box and look straight down over the city. It was a thrill for sure! By this time we were all starving and Logan was about 10 seconds from a meltdown so we got in yet another line to go down. Fortunately, the down line was very short :) We filled our bellies with pizza and then Logan wanted to go back to the gift shop. Uh, ok. He actually spent $13 of his own money to buy a mini Sears Tower replica. He calls it his trophy. I think in his mind he earned this trophy for bravery on his terrifying adventure. Funny how the whole Sears Tower thing was HIS idea! He immediately changed the whole experience in his mind and it is now one of the best things he's ever done.
We left the tower and started walking aimlessly up the street, trying to decide where we should go and whether we should take a cab and how we would go about getting a cab when we ran into a La Quinta. Hey, La Quintas are usually cheap and clean! And we can see the Sears Tower from our hotel! We booked a room and found they have an indoor pool. Bonus! The kids are happy, the rate is acceptable. Actually, I think it's cheaper than we've paid for the La Quinta in Schaumburg. Yippee, we found a hotel.
We walked back to the Sears Tower parking deck and got our bags (We would have paid $36 to move our car two blocks for the night) and settled into our room. We headed back out after an hour or so and found that getting a cab in Chicago is rather effortless. Our next destination was the giant Lego store on Michigan Avenue. The kids and I spent a good hour packing cups full of "pick a brick" Legos. We also found an awesome set of 30 minifigs that came with bikes, dogs, skateboards, ATVs and tons of other accessories. That is one fun store! I kind of want to go back today and do the build your own minifigs thing. Probably won't happen.
Gene and I had never shopped on Michigan Avenue before, so we thought we'd check out Water Tower Place. Yawn. We're just not shoppers. Or hip or fashionable. Or at all interested in ANY of the stores at that mall! Or ANY of the non-Lego stores on the way to the mall. We did check out the American Girl store. Kaylin was very impressed and expressed interest in getting a doll some day. Honestly, she was way more thrilled with the Lego store. I think the bulk of her American Girl interest was because she was surrounded with gorgeous displays and crowds of other girls drooling over the dolls. I told her to research which doll she wants and if she really wants one I'll bring her back for her birthday. Her perfect acceptance of that offer further cemented my notion that she's really not terribly interested in the dolls. They are very nice, though.
We grabbed another cab back to the hotel. I told Gene that what I wanted "for Christmas" was for him to go pick up some food and then take the kids swimming while I relaxed in the room. He did! I played with Legos and dinked around on Facebook. Today we're either going to Navy Pier or the Field Museum. I'm considering booking another night at this hotel so we can do both. The kids love being in the city. It's supposed to snow today so I really don't want to drive several more hours north. I want to go to Racine to visit my old zebras at the zoo, but that trip will have to wait until another time. Oh, and Logan found a brochure in the hotel lobby for a Hershey store on Michigan Avenue. The brochure has a coupon for a FREE Hershey bar! Hmmmmm. Twenty bucks for cab rides to the Hershey store for a free candy bar or a buck at the Walgreens down the street? We shall see...