Memorial Day Weekend 2017

OMG you guys I am so tired still from all our Chicago adventuring over the long weekend. I’m going to try to get this thing hammered out in half an hour tops.  Wish me luck (will need.  All the lucks. Because: duh, I type way too much verbal diarrhea on these things.)


Haaaaaiiiiiii!  I had a work trip last week, and then an Editor’s Conference at my office the morning after I got back, and a few months ago I booked a really cheap hotel in Chicago over Memorial Day weekend thinking it would be relaxing (HA, NOT AFTER THE WEEK I HAD) so anyway off we went after my week of insanity.  I was bleary-eyed but ready for some fun, so whatever.  Toss those boys in the car and LET’S GO ALREADY.

We drove down Saturday morning and hit the northside around lunchtime, so off we went for some grub.  Found a Big & Little’s in Wicker Park.  We stopped at a Jewel Osco for some supplies we didn’t pack, then sneakily stayed in the lot and ran off to Big & Little’s for grub.  FREE SNEAKY PARKING YASSSS.


I like this place because the staff is super friendly, prices are cheap, and the food is solid (Japanese/Mexican fast food fusion).  The boys got hot dogs, we got Kimchi fries, and Scott got short-rib tacos.  I got the softshell crab sammie.  I really wanted the poke burrito, but I guess next time.  It was all soooooo good.  Filled us up so we were ready for the day.


Jesus, this kid . He’s gonna be the death of me.  All weekend it was pure 3-year-old bliss or Seriously Pissed For No Rational Reason.


That was a Mad Moment. The hot-dog was a bliss moment.



Afterwards we hit up our fav, the MSI.  MSI Vibes forever.  We started “backwards” this time, in the basement.  With the space room followed by the WWII U-boat room.

Here are my children being an astronaut and “dying due to lack of oxygen”.  Nice.  BOYS.




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Team Mold-A-Rama forever.


I adore the u-boat exhibit. It smells old.  There’s lots of cool WWII stuff.  The older I get the more obsessed I get about old WWII stories and memorabilia.


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The bread is always a favorite.  Who doesn’t love 70-year-old canned bread?


Linus was REALLY into playing cook.  He tried to shoo out anyone that came near the kitchen area and kept making soup in that giant pot.


Off to the rest of the museum.  I had to change Linus after this room, he was soaked.  But happy.  So no complaints.

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The farm room!

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Here is Pete, harvesting crop.  Obviously the future of farming here

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Quick stop in the train room…



So we finally hit up the numbers maze. Basically a series of rooms/maze where 5 sides are mirrors, and one is not, so you go through that little doorway.  Here is a photo from the entrance, hence the orange glow (once you really got going, it all looked EXACTLY THE SAME). This exhibit went on through the length of one wall, so LONG.  I got separated from the boys and for real thought I’d be lost inside forever at least twice while feeling my way along the exhibit.  Pete finally found me and led me out.  Total Mom Fail.


Pete and Linus faces on that mannequin thingie.

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And then we were done.  Off we went to our hotel, this time in the River North area.


Once checked in, we unpacked super quick and started walking the ‘hood.


There was a Glazed and Infused in the lobby of our hotel and the kids were starving, so they each got a doughnut for the walk.

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We wandered our way to XOCO, because XOCO FOREVER.  Tortas are my weakness, and they are closed on Sundays/Mondays, so this is what we gotta do.

The kids are officially Big, or at least Pete is, because he got his very own chicken Baja torta.  I got the roasted mushroom, and Scott got the always-delicious Ahogada. Linus ate our scraps and ran around excitedly watching the firetrucks at the fire station on the corner.


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We went down and got some photos after dinner.



Then we just walked and explored and took in the sights until it was dark.


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See those toy swords in Pete’s mouth? He found them on the ground at the firehouse (ew).  He was so excited, then tripped on the State St. bridge and lost one to the river.  He was devastated.  It also marked the beginning of the Weekend of Losing Things (seriously).  Thankfully, a stop at 7-Eleven for a Slurpee seemed to heal all wounds.


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Slurpee dance.


And that’s it for Saturday.

Sunday we woke up bright (ish) and early (ish) and walked down to Firecakes doughnuts for some breakfast.

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Good stuff.


This little pineapple-bacon bomb, just: yes.



To be honest, though: the pistachio Old-Fashioned was my favorite.  Slowly nursing my last (smuggled) one tonight, in fact.


Sprinkle face.


Then back to the hotel to pack a little backpack and then off to Millenium Park.


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Let’s go.

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I know this is supposed to be Abe Lincoln with a tourist, but it totally looks like Mr. Rogers, sorry.

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What do you know, there was a Good Humor man riiiiight in front of the park…  So we got suckered into buying some popsicles.  God bless the kids for just wanting cheap popsicles and not the fancy treats, I guess.

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Bring on the park.


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“Bridge trolls”


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Linus got super mad at us at one point, and kept throwing his hat away and telling us he hated it, so I hid it behind my back and told him I tossed it in the garbage can.  That didn’t go over well.


And that was officially Meltdown #3 on his part, so: probably a sign that we needed to feed him.  Off we went in search of lunch.

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Shake Shack, thanks for always being there in a pinch.

Okay to be honest: I am a much bigger fan of In-and-Out, but when in Rome…  We were all kinda tired at that point, Linus had a hair-trigger temper due to hunger, Pete was whiny.  We just needed food.  We got all the goods ordered, and I saw a tap that said “Shake Red”.  I assumed it was a red ale, and their beer wasn’t too badly priced (like $4) so I ordered it. Uh, wrong.  WRONG.  It was a red wine (… on tap??) and it was $9.50.  OMG NO.  Cheap red wine gives me heartburn.  So I was in a grumpy mood at that point, just like the kiddos. They gave us a buzzer to come get our food when ready, and we scouted out a booth.


This picture below, you guys.  That’s a Pete who was doing tricks with the buzzer and giggling about it while I half-heartedly warned him to Cut It Out, just put the damned buzzer on the table already dude.  No really, listen to me, put it down dude, like now.  No, now.  No, seriously, stop already.


And then, buzzer tragedy.  He fumbled it, he dropped it.  Back behind the booths and fancy old-hotel molding, totally lost forever, there was no way we’d retrieve it.  I hissed at Scott to HALLLLLP GET THAT THING OUT OF THE WALL.  He strained and grunted and reached and tried to get to it.  To no avail.  Then the wall started vibrating because our food was ready but GOD DAMMIT THE BUZZER IS STUCK IN THE WALL FOREVER AND PEOPLE ARE STARING AND I WANT TO CRAWL IN A HOLE AND DIE.

Pete did not take it well. Probably did not help that I yanked him over to me and gave him The Business about being irresponsible, especially after I already told him to cut it out.  He sobbed into his hands, then Linus caught the Sads too and cried into his little hands too, and I felt like the worst mother ever.


Scott explained to the staff what happened, they were super nice about it, and we all hugged it out and sat down to finally eat. Healing by all.

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I mean, but I was still pissed about my Expensive Cheap Ass Wine, though.  I even kept that cheap plastic cup, out of spite.  I have been using it for my drinks ever since, I’m getting my damned money’s worth out of that stupid plastic cup.  Also THANKS FOR THE HEARTBURN, SHAKE SHACK RED WINE, YOU ARE OFFICIALLY THE WORST.

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Then we used the bathrooms, ran around the halls, and finally left that pretty boutique hotel in peace.

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We had a long, meandering walk back, and it was rather pleasant.  We were lucky, thunderstorms were forecast for most of the day but we were able to avoid it all while outside.

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All day was overcast, but we avoided the rain altogether somehow, as mentioned.  The funny thing is that we got to the hotel, then decided to go for a nice long soak/swim in the indoor pool (such a luxury in downtown Chi…).  As soon as we dipped our toes in the pool, the thunder roared and the sky opened and it was torrential downpours for the next hour while we swam.  We went back up to our room, changed, and by the time we hit the front door of the hotel, all the rain was gone.  Perfect, unplanned timing.  We really lucked out on the weather this trip.

Scott and I are officially old and we were kinda beat after all the morning walking/parenting/tossing the kids around in the pool, but they wanted to hit up the water taxi (and we weren’t going to turn down a good excuse to hit some West Loop goodess) so off we went to the water taxi stop.


Spoiler: we missed the water taxi by 1 minute.  ACTUALLY: it took off a full minute before schedule. There it went, off the dock at 4:49p when we had until 4:50p to load. I was super irritated and asked the boys to let me be and I stomped off down the block to stew for a minute.  I HATE being late and missing the boat put us a half-hour off schedule, meaning we’d miss early dinner and likely have to wait forever for a table, also meaning we’re really pushing making the last boat back.  But you know, what can you do.  Being a giant adult brat about it solves nothing.  So I got over my dumb temper tantrum and we went off to watch some street performers for a spell, and then got on the next boat 30 minutes later.


And for the record: that boat left the dock 9 minutes late.  NOT LIKE I TIMED IT LIKE A BIG VENGEFUL BABY OR ANYTHING.

It was a beautiful ride so I can’t complain really.

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If you watched my Instagram Stories this weekend do know that Pete commandeered my account and posted all those videos/photos.




The Fulton Market/West Loop restaurant area was about a mile from the taxi stop, so we slowly hoofed our way there (3-year-olds do not move fast, nor can you push them on that fact).  That’s fine, there was lots of murals and stickers and other fun art to check out on the way there.  I even saw an empty pizza box with the Bear Champ.  Bear Champ is my most favorite of the Chicago street art, so I’ll take it when I can find it.  Even if it’s on a dirty old pizza box on the street.


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We decided on the Little Goat Diner for dinner, but the wait was over an hour, which: UGGGGGGH I KNEW IT YOU GUYS.  Oh, well.  I mean, I was anxious about missing the last boat back, but what’s the worst that can happen: we walk the entire thing?  Or get a cab? It’s not the worst.  Besides, there is plenty to explore in that hood.

The boys were hungry, so we stopped at the BomboBar window and ordered them a “cooler chocolate”, which was an insanely over-stuffed treat.  While waiting in line, we experienced our 3rd loss of the weekend: Linus got mad at us and scraped his beloved Kurt-Cobain-meets-Dollar-Tree sunglasses across the sidewalk several times, then stared me in the eyes as he tossed them in a puddle.  A very Chicago-esque, dirty, filth-filled puddle. All the other people in line gasped, and the lady in line in front of us said in the most deadpan voice “yeah, those are gone forever”.  No lie, honey.

So there they lay, RIP Linus sunglasses.  We loved you while we had you. I guess if you had to go, with some Chicago street-cred is a pretty respectable place to go out.


We had some BomboBar to soothe our soul after the loss.


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We walked around a bit more until our name was called…


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Actually, we walked until they were too tired and then they played on the ground outside.

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I swear Pete almost fell asleep.


Finally: dinner at Little Goat.  Well worth the wait.  We got a big plate o’ biscuits and gravy, smoked fries, sandwiches, and Pete and I split a plate of okonomiyaki.


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There were bonito flakes on the okonomiyaki.  All I could think of was the fancy cat treats.

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You guys: it had the fanciest bathroom.  The door blended into the wall.  Pete was the first to use the bathrooms there and he came back to our booth so excited to tell us how fancy they were.


Yep, somehow we ate it all.



Oooof, so full.  Time to walk back.


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By some stroke of luck: we made it to the taxi stop with 6 minutes to spare. WHEW.

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It’s a short walk to the hotel from the water taxi stop, which was nice. We were all pretty exhausted at that point.

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Bye, Sunday.

And then it was Monday!  Last day! We were going to stop at Glazed and Infused in the lobby but there was an INSANE line so we walked down to Firecakes instead for more of that goodness.

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Meyer Lemon mini doughnut, be still my heart.


This little sparrow kept coming over so we started feeding him bits of doughnut.  The boys thought that was pretty hilarious.

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Then we went back to the hotel to watch a few episodes of Paw Patrol while we packed up to leave.  Linus thought this was one of the best parts of our entire trip.

Did I ever mention our glorious view, BTW?  Really something special…


And with that, the boys enjoyed all the Lasts.  Last trip down an elevator…



Last time clowning in the lobby…


And the last time going through the revolving door.


Then we packed up the car and I realized we forgot the toddler potty seat in the hotel room, so I had to beg the front lobby staff to let me back into our old room to retrieve it.  I mean, those things are cheap, but WE REALLY NEED IT YOU GUYS.  The lady who let me back in the room did so with a wink and told me she totally gets the importance of that potty.  Fist bump, my sister.

Then off we went, to the Adler Planetarium.


I was a little worried about Linus being in this museum, and it turns out my worries were completely warranted.  He was pretty bored.  I think the most fun was the air vents on the floor.


At least Pete was old enough to get some good out of it.


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Bored, angry Linus.



They had a ‘design’ room and Pete really got into it, he ended up making a pretty efficient LEGO flying machine. So he got to add it to the wall of Good Designs.


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Then we squeezed in some more museum time before Linus had a full-on meltdown.


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Once he hit the point of no return (meltdown city), we changed the boys into swim trunks in the bathroom and walked down to a nearby beach. Go run off that extra energy, dudes.

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We almost had Loss #4: Linus buried one of his beloved police Matchbox cars in the sand and couldn’t find it. We all sifted through sand for 5-10 minutes, then gave up.  Only Scott continued to search, and eventually found it.  So tragedy averted, for once.

_DSC8876 Then we left and made our way north.

Oh and FYI, Lower Wacker is the DEVIL. I am shocked we made it out in one piece.


We drove up to Logan Square, took in the hood and had a nice long late lunch at Rev Brew.

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That little bottle on the table was our reminder to stop to restock on Coop Sauce (which we did at the nearest Whole Foods on the way out…)

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They had a KC BBQ special, and how could we turn that down…

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Linus used his crayons for good: to draw all over himself.  As usual.


Once we rolled ourselves out of there (sooooo full) we walked off some calories in the neighborhood.


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Linus loved the El Train.  Unless, in this case, we were too close and it was too loud.


In that case, he got spooked and ran off down the street.  Like, for real: across the parking lot, down the street, Scott hoofing it after him trying to keep up.  Who knew something so short and fat could run so fast.


For our part, Pete and I stood there and laughed and laughed and laughed.


Are we the worst? Possibly.

So anyway! Took in some more fun art once they returned.

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And that is it it’s the end. Congrats on making it this far, dudes! I am hoping to get one more post out before the month is done (that means less than 24 hours, gulp).

I hope everyone had a safe, reflective Memorial Day weekend.  I know we goofed around a lot, but the weight of what the day means was not lost on us. Thank you to all of those that gave their lives so that we can remain the land of the free.


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