Spring Break 2013

SEVERAL weeks ago, I started mentioning to Matt that I wanted to take the boys somewhere for a long weekend for spring break. For whatever reason, he kept dragging his feet about making a commitment to this, and I lovingly, patiently waited until he decided he was in (insert eyerolls, lots of sarcasm here).

When it was all said and done, it was nearly a last-minute trip, at least in this planner’s eyes. Late on Tuesday night we solidified our plan, which was to leave Thursday when Matt got home from work and drive up to Chicago and stay three nights. Oh, and we weren’t telling the boys about it, so it could be a surprise.

Can I just tell you how hard it was not to spoil the surprise, even though it was just 2 days? I had so much packing and planning to do and had to be so secretive about it, but we pulled it off!

Here’s the video of us telling them what was up…I knew the second they saw the DVD player hooked up in the van, they’d be confused…

Aunt Heidi and Uncle Jeff, I hope you feel really special right now ๐Ÿ™‚

The first 20-30 minutes of the trip was spent telling them what we planned to do, and nonstop excitement and chatter. So fun. This included lots of talk about watching the Illini/Indiana Big Ten Tournament game the next day, which was being held in Chicago (the boys asked immediately after that video ended if this meant we were going to the game). Tickets had long-ago sold out, but Matt was holding out hope for scoring (relatively) cheap standing-room-only seats on StubHub. However, we didn’t let the boys know this; we told them our plan was to drive by the United Center in the morning so they could see where the game was, and then head up to Lincoln Park to BWW to watch the game.

Obviously, we got into Elmhurst (where our hotel was) really late, so we got everyone to bed as quickly as possible. First thing in the morning, Matt was online seeing if tickets were available. They were, and barely under what we decided we were willing to pay! He printed them out and presented them to the boys at breakfast…lots of celebrating followed, as you might imagine!

Only Jack Henry was less-than-thrilled about our non-seats…we got in the United Center right when the doors opened so we could claim a good standing spot, so our total time at the game was 3 hours+. He sat on the floor and asked when it was going to be over a million times, and the Illini lost, but it was still totally worth it. It was such a fun experience to be at the Big Ten Tourney, and one that the older boys will certainly remember for a long time!

We spent the rest of Friday afternoon having lunch at Pockets and then traipsing all over downtown in a steady, cold rain, until we were freezing, drenched and crabby. We spent some time recharging in the van on our way to see Aunt Heidi, Uncle Jeff, Lucy and Rockit dog, so by the time we got to their condo, everyone was in a good mood again. We walked to a bar & grill a couple of blocks away and had a fun dinner with family to wrap up our night!

Saturday’s agenda was to see Wrigley Field (just a drive-by) and my old apartment (no one cared but me), and then head down Lake Shore Drive to Hyde Park for the Museum of Science and Industry. By some miracle, we literally crossed over the Chicago River AS it was being dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day…like we could see the green swirling in the water! So cool, especially because it was something we hoped to see, but knew that we’d have to go out of our way later in the day to make it happen.

The Museum of Science and Industry: love, love, love. Would definitely recommend to anyone with kids 4 and older, or even just adults. Tons of great stuff to see, lots of buttons to push, a huge variety of neat exhibits. We saw the new Animal Inside Out exhibit, which prompted alternating “ewww” sounds and hilarious laughter (there are a few human specimens – all male, by the way – in addition to animals).

The rest of Saturday was spent driving to Schaumburg {during which time I enforced “mandatory napping or you don’t get to swim in the hotel pool tonight,” which was glorious and one of my best ideas all weekend} to go to Ikea and then have dinner at Portillo’s, which was, of course, delicious, and the only meal all weekend that pulled me off my diet.

The boys all got to swim, but I bowed out gracefully when we saw that the pool was FULL of people: primarily unsupervised children age 7-15. Our boys didn’t care, and swam for a bit before bed.

Sunday morning wasn’t quite as early a wake-up, and I was shocked when I texted Matt from the fitness center to come join me for breakfast and got a reply that everyone was still in bed. At nearly 8:00am! This is simply unheard of in our family, which means, I guess, that we sufficiently wore them out over the weekend.

We had one more fun thing to do, though, before leaving the Chicago area, and that was stopping to visit our friends, the Kellys. I love what Karen said in her post: so good to see your BFF in real life, and know she exists outside the virtual world we use to stay connected. ๐Ÿ™‚ Our kids just pick right up where they left off nearly 2 years ago, the last time they saw each other, which is just so fun to see.

After a too-short stop with them, we headed back to STL a bit nervous about the weather, but only encountered a brief stretch of sleet before it turned into all rain for the remaining 100 miles or so.

Here’s a photo-dump to wrap things up!

4 responses to “Spring Break 2013

  1. The video is AWESOME!! Can’t believe the 1st thing that they asked about was seeing H & J! You guys really did a lot of fun stuff–just too bad about the Illini loss & the hideous weather. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Nevertheless, a very memorable time for all!

  2. Very cool weekend! We didn’t realize it was a surprise for the boys!

  3. What a great kick off to their week off! SO great to see you! I’m going to push for a long weekend in St. Louis this summer! ๐Ÿ™‚

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