Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Chicago McGago

Over the last couple of months, North Texas has been flooded (literally with rain) and it has caused all sorts of issues.  One Saturday night while having dinner with my girlfriends, Boyfriend sends me a text message telling me that we are having electrical problems with our house-basically when our air conditioner turns on, the lights in the house work and when it cycles off the lights went out.

We had a call into our home warranty because we suspected our house may have been hit by lightening (electrical work is something I won't let Boyfriend mess around with) but due to the fact it was Memorial weekend we wouldn't be able to have someone come over until Tuesday.  Since the issue was only when our A/C was off we just decided we would have a high electricity bill and stay nice and cool.

All was grand until I woke up from my nap around 5:00 on Sunday afternoon sweating.  I went to ask Boyfriend what was up and he explained that the A/C was no longer working.  Y'all-I live in Texas and do not stay in houses when the A/C goes out.  I can't sleep when I'm hot and am not interested in even attempting one bit.  

We started throwing around ideas-we could stay at my moms but it would be a bit cramped.  We contemplated contacting a friend who manages a hotel to see if she has any rooms but we didn't want to put her out since it was a holiday weekend.  Taking into consideration that I actually had the next two days off from the holiday-I half jokingly said, "Let's see where flights look good to and go there!"  Boyfriend jokingly encouraged me, only out of curiosity.

For those who may not know, I work for an airline so my family is privileged to fly nonrevenue, on a standby basis.  I first looked up flights to a beach but they were booked, especially considering at this point it was already 6:00 in the evening-not many flights left for the night.  I searched Chicago and there happened to be an 8:40 pm flight with a dozen or so seats open.  I said, "Want to go to Chicago?"  

Boyfriend looked at me, smiling and said, "Let's do it!"

I didn't know if he was serious or not but after about ten seconds I realized he was, thought it through and just said, "Yolo!"  As annoying as that phrase is, it does have some merit.  Why shouldn't we just hop on a plane, no hotel reservations made, no plans on what to do when we land?  So what if we have two young kids.  So what if we just threw a bunch of clothes in a bag, unsure if we brought way too much or not enough.  We could figure it out, we were on an adventure.  You only live once after all. 

Evelyn was surprisingly excited for our trip. Considering we had just come back from Disney, I think she now knew that plane trips=fun trips.  She was dancing around the airport singing, "Chicago McGago!!"  It honestly made me a bit sad that she was so much more excited for this trip vs our Disney trip but a five year old in a good mood I will take under any circumstances.

Within two hours from our decision, we were boarding our plane to Chicago and headed to the windy city.  On our way to the airport, we did do a bit of research and booked a hotel with the app Hotels Tonight.  We got an excellent rate on a hotel downtown right off the train station (my only requirement due to the fact it would be nearly midnight and I didn't want to drag the kids around the city that late).  Our expectations were far exceeded but we quickly realized our family was so not cool enough to stay at this hip hotel.  Evelyn loved the artwork above our bed and while we were reminded why we upgraded to a king size bed, we all fell asleep rather quickly excited for our adventure that would take place the next day.

We woke up fairly early despite only having a few hours sleep so that we could maximize our time there-our intentions were to catch a 7:30 pm flight that evening home.  Boyfriend picked a breakfast spot close to our hotel so that we could game plan the rest of our day.  At breakfast, we decided that we had enough time to visit the iconic Chicago Bean and the Children's Museum before having lunch with our niece and then heading to the airport.  It was going to be a full day!

As we were walking to the bean, it started to sprinkle a bit but not too bad.  Just as we were walking up the bean, it started to rain significantly more so we ran to a table with an umbrella and wait out the, thankfully, short storm.  As we walked up, Evelyn was less than impressed by the bean but still had some fun making faces at her reflection.  After about five minutes, Evelyn said, "Ok-what is next!?"

We started our trek towards Navy Pier, feeling really lucky that it didn't seem as though it would rain again.  We made it there right before the Children's Museum opened and waited in line to purchase our tickets.  Once inside, we quickly became overwhelmed with how many options we had.

By far this was the best museum for children that we have visited.  There were so many different interactive exhibits and kept both of our kids (despite their wide age gap) entertained and engaged. We ended up spending way more time than we originally anticipated.  


At some point, I checked out to see what flights looked like and they were looking pretty tight and as though we might not make it on.  Boyfriend and I discussed staying another night but we were being cheap.  I just had no desire to take the trip out to the airport to not make our flight and have to turn around again.  We decided to let Priceline's Name Your Own Price be the final vote-after a four star hotel for $55 request was accepted, we were confirmed for another night in Chicago!

We left the museum and headed to Boyfriend's top dining priority-Portillo's.  Luckily it was a favorite of our niece who lives in Chicago for school and we were able to have a relaxed lunch since we didn't have a flight awaiting us. 

Not the best at group selfies and Penny is hiding in the baby carrier.
We made the very long walk to our next hotel which ended up being just as awesome as our first. Everyone rested for just a tiny bit and walked over to Oak Street Beach which was very close to our hotel.  I was so impressed by this beach-the sand was very clean and the water was clear.  Despite the fact that the water was posted to be a chilly 58 degrees, Evelyn had a blast jumping and splashing around.  Penny wanted nothing to do with getting her toes wet but loved eating the sand (or maybe not).

As the sun started setting we slowly walked back to our hotel, just enjoying being outside.  Exhausted as we entered our hotel room I made the girls jump in the shower with me to wash off the sand and then we all took a late nap.  We accidentally slept until 9 pm but woke up starving, there was a small restaurant just a few doors we walked over to.  I think we irritated them because it was 9:35 and they closed at 10:00 but we promised to be quick and we were out of there right at closing time. 

Once back at the hotel room Evelyn wasn't quite ready for bed so she entertained herself with videos on the iPad while I repacked our backpacks so we could catch an early morning flight. Another night of only a couple hours sleep and we were back at the airport to watch the sunrise.  Due to an Air Traffic Control delay (which worked in our favor and freed up some seats) Evelyn caught up on a bit more sleep.

We may have only been in Chicago 36 hours total but we fit a lot in and had so much fun.  Boyfriend had never been to Chicago before so we need to go back so he can experience more of the city itself, but I am tempted to fly back up there just for another Italian beef sandwich from Portillo's!

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