Week in Review – 5 Sept 2016

Alternate Blog title: Pokemon Go Weekend.

Did our annual Chicago Trip for Labor Day.  We planned to leave early but got a late start (had to wait on our CSA pick up time first), but oh wells.  Traffic wasn’t that terrible, which was a plus.  We usually break it up with a stop at the Belvidere Oasis to use the bathrooms, refill our coffee, and play in the play area to get the crazies out.  Always seems like the longest ride, which is kinda funny because it’s maybe two and a half hours total.  KIDS.


I only include a photo of Charcoal Delights because who knew, there’s a fast food spot called Charcoal Delights!  And I won’t lie: charcoal delights sound rather appetizing.

We were ready for lunch by the time we hit the northside, so stopped at Bang Bang for some biscuits and some piiiiiiiiiiiiiie.  The honey pie, be still my heart. Also they stock the fridge with ice-cold Vernors so Pete was a happy guy.


With full tummies, we drove on down to the museum campus and hit up the Field.  Last year we hit it up last, and the kids were pretty worn down already, so we thought we’d switch it up this time.




By that time it was 4p-ish so we thought we’d be good to check in to the hotel.  Except: it was a busy weekend (obviously, being a long holiday weekend) so in reality our room wasn’t quite ready yet and he had to wait while they scrambled to have something ready.  Whoops! Not too much later though we were set up and ready and Linus practically had a heart attack because OMG THE FIRE STATION IS RIGHT THERE ACROSS THE STREET FROM OUR ROOM.  He spent a lot of time at that window, watching them wash their trucks and ready equipment and move in and out as calls came in.  Being a downtown station, it kept pretty busy.  Linus took all his snacks down there, sat and played quietly and watched the action.

I would be remiss to not mention the fact that, once arriving, the kids were both marveling over how FANCY the hotel room was.  Apparently it’s been awhile since we stayed in a nice hotel with them.  So anyway, Scott gets comfy on a bed, and they are going around just oooh-ing and ahhhh-ing and I’m explaining to Peter that he should NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES TOUCH OR ATTEMPT TO EAT ANY OF THE DELICIOUS LOOKING TABLEAU OF SNACKS that were beautifully laid out on an expensive looking weight-sensitive tray, and then I hear Linus cheerfully yell out that he’s taking a bath.  And I hear that distinct sound of velcro diaper straps being pulled off.  So Scott and I both sprint into action, as you often find yourself doing once you have children, but while he does so, he knocks over a bottle of soda.  And it spills like a waterfall, all over the nightstand and back behind it and all over the phone…  So he yelps and starts cleaning that, and I run over to help, and then remember the toddler is trying to take a bath, and run instead to the bathroom, only to find Linus standing in the tub fully naked, peeing into the drain.


So I had to give him a shower, clean the tub, Scott cleaned the carpet and table and in the end we think we might have killed the phone (sorry, Hyatt Regency).  And that was our first 5 minutes in our hotel room, folks.  Thankfully that was the most excitement we had in there.

So.  Post snack break and emergency clean ups, we went out to explore.  The boys played a LOT of Pokemon Go while we were here, apparently downtown Chicago and the River and Lake are teeming with Pokemon things and stops and whatever.  So long story short: we took a lot of walks.


Eventually we dragged the boys into a restaurant for dinner.  XOCO is closed on Sundays/Mondays, something we didn’t plan for last year (so we missed out).  This year we were sure to hit it up on Saturday: tortas and churros (with ice cream for dipping them).  OINK.  We wandered a lot on the walk back to the hotel, stopping at a River North fire house for awhile and letting Pete play his game as much as he wanted.  It was almost 10p by the time we hit the hotel and both kids zonked out as soon as their heads hit the pillows.


Everyone slept in until almost 8a the next morning (!!!Magical!).  I was going to do a donut run, but the kids were like WE WANT TO GO TOO so everyone tossed on some clothes and we jetted out the door pretty quickly.  I think I was still half asleep to be honest.

We took our time, hit up Do-Rite for donuts and coffee, blessed coffee.


Took the “long way” back, ended up detouring through Millenium Park.  Long detour, much preening into Cloud Gate (Linus loves staring at himself in the mirror, so this was not shocking) and splashing in Crowne Fountain.




Pete spent most of his time playing Pokemon, fighting in gyms (?).  I was starting to get annoyed at that point I won’t lie.  We had to make a few rules about Pokemon Go at that point.

Anyway: Linus wiped out in the fountain and at that point we decided to walk back.


We took the longer round-the-block way, so that we passed the firehouse outside our window. They invited us in to check everything out; they even complimented Linus’ abs.  That kid was blissed out. labor-day-2016-014


When we got to our room they were just getting ready to clean it up, so we grabbed some snacks and terrorized everyone in the lobby for awhile.

Our hotel-room snack table, BTW, was a thing of beauty.  I mean when we got there anyway, they tore through the goods pretty quickly.


We wanted to head to Fulton Market, but Scott and I were more than a little concerned about the boys making the entire walk (it would easily take us an hour to walk there).  Enter: the water taxi.  There was a stop just a few blocks and over the Bridge from our hotel, and it would take us to the near West side.  Tickets were hella cheap, waaaaay cheaper than a cab.  And it cut our walk in half, which was baller.

And I mean, hello – boat ride.


Took our time walking, that neighborhood has certainly changed since the last time we were there.  The bars/restaurant scene has exploded in that area.  Pete insisted on pushing the stroller.  I mean, on the one hand: it meant he wasn’t playing that stupid game. On the other hand: he was slow AF and constantly banging the stroller into walls, fences, landscaping, my ankles…  Not sure if that’s a good trade to be honest.


We checked out the ‘hood, and settled on some Cruz Blanca for a late lunch.  Street-style tacos and brews, yes please.  The kids shared my plate which means they gobbled up all the chicken, then ate all the tortillas.  Wow, thanks dudes.  I ate my grilled veggies with the grilled chips and salsa, and to be honest I can’t complain.  Who knew grilling the chips would be such a game changer; they were sooooooo goooooood.


They had a great playlist going and at one point, Pete excused himself from the table and went out to the open windows and discreetly danced it out when no one was looking his way.

Eventually we rolled outta there and walked back to the water-taxi stop.  Pete was pouty because Pokemon Go was not allowed on the walk, but eventually he perked up.  Eventually. When I threatened to just delete the stupid game off the phone if he didn’t shape up.  Funny how that works.


Got an open-air seat on the ride back, score. I sat with Linus and Pete and Scott got on the phone to play (wait for it…) Pokemon Go.  Peter at least shared with the baby next to him.  Or attempted to suck him into the Pokemon Go cult, depending on how you look at things.


By the time we got back to the hotel I was done walking for the day, but the guys wanted to go score some of the Pokemon things or fight at a gym or something, but it meant more wandering and hitting up the Riverfront again, and I was just: no.  NO.

So they went, and Linus and I chilled in the hotel and watched all the action at the firehouse. They got a big call at one point, all the engines and trucks and the ambulance all flew outta there.  Then we played cars on the floor, reenacting all the firehouse action while we waited for them to get back to the firehouse, and then we got bored enough where we roamed the hotel.  Filled up the ice bucket.  Hit up the water station on the 2nd floor. Checked out the fitness room.  Ran the halls…

After a few hours (YES HOURS LATER THEY WERE STILL GONE) we were hungry and, since it was already dark and I was feeling lazy, we just hit up one of the restaurants in the lobby.  I brought my phone to keep the crazy toddler occupied, no shame.  And what do you know, after settling in and placing our order, the boys arrived back.  So they joined us for a late dinner and then we all tucked in for the night.



On to Monday!  Woke up with the sun, those little punks!  Actually no let me be perfectly honest: Scott made a rookie move, forgot to turn off his weekday alarm.  So that went off way too early.  Then his secondary alarm went off…  At that point I was awake, and I went to the bathroom and got ready and then dragged stuff into the bathroom with me to start packing without waking up everyone else.   However the boys were pretty restless at that point thanks to the 2 blaring alarms.  Long story short: at some point they admitted defeat and we all got up.  Packed most of our stuff.  Then hit the pavement because COFFEE MOMMY NEEDS HER COFFEEEEEEEE.

We decided to hunt down the play area in Millenium Park, which meant crossing BP bridge.  So pretty, so picturesque, too bad my son could not look up from that damned Pokemon game long enough to enjoy it.


Once we got to the park we took the phone away and were like GO. PLAY.  OFF WITH YOU and that was the last I saw of him.  They have several small play areas tucked into the trees and landscaping, which was cool. The boys had a blast and we had to drag them away because we were all sweating and dying of heat stroke and they were like NOOOOOOOOOOOOO. (But Monday was hot, dudes, and I was wearing a black shirt.  A now-soaked-through-with-sweat black shirt, totally attractive.)


(Linus had a bit of a meltdown about sharing OMG NO NOT SHARING THE HORROR and we had to have a time out, and after he got done crying he attempted to re-gain my sympathy by showing me all of his boo-boos.  Which would not be so hilarious, except: every last one is at least a week old at this point. But I humored him, and he was done throwing his tantrum, and we hugged it out for the boo-boos.  And went back to play.)


Actually the main reason we dragged them away was because it was time to check out of our room.  Womp, womp.  We checked out, retrieved the car, and off we went to the MSI.  Our favorite of all the Chicago museums, and I feel like I have this place memorized by now but in a good way. It feels homey at this point. So! Anyway: we did all the things and had all the fun. And the boys picked different Mold-o-Ramas for once, so no more steam engines or planes added to our collection, we now also have a tractor and U-boat.


We took our first trip into the water-play room and I have to say: God bless the MSI for adding dryers to the walls in there.

After that we hit up our traditional Labor Day lunch spot: Revolution Brewing.  Actually we hit it up because we know it’s open on Labor Day.  But whatever, it’s a tradition now and I have been here enough that it feels like a Chicago-y version of Free State Brewing to me.  Great beers, solid food menu, nice and loud and kid friendly.


After our meal we walked around Logan Square.  The guys did one last run for Pokemon things, and Linus and I enjoyed all the murals and artwork.  A win all around.


Stopped for some coffee at a little unassuming spot called Gaslight Coffee (reallllllly good, surprisingly good cold brew) then we were off.  Good-bye for now, Chicago, we’ll see you in the fall sometime.


And we all were hating life Tuesday morning.  Post-vacation blues, ugh.




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