Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Our Fun, Family Trip to Chicago

This past weekend, Jake had set up a few meetings with customers he has in Northern Illinois. He had 2 on Thursday and 1 on Friday morning. So we thought it would be a great opportunity to incorporate an extended weekend getaway right before the kids started back to school this week.

We loaded up and headed out early Thursday morning. The kids and I just waited in the car while Jake had each of his meetings that day and then we checked into our hotel that afternoon. After checking in and doing a little swimming in the hotel pool, we went out to see a movie and have dinner. We went to see Incredibles II, which was great and then had dinner at Giordano's Pizza which was great as well! I highly recommend both!

The next morning, while Jake was at his last meeting, the kids and I got ready and had breakfast at the hotel. We then packed up our things and headed about an hour and a half from where we had been staying, to Gurnee, IL. We spent the entire day Friday at Six Flags Great America. We have season passes so we were able to get in free. It was a great day to be there too. The lines weren't terrible and we were able to ride several rides multiple times. This Six Flags had a ton of rides that Avery could ride, which was great! She's right at 42" and there still aren't a lot of rides at our Six Flags in St. Louis that she can ride yet. It was wonderful that Six Flags Great America had so many rides that she could ride. She even got to go on a roller coaster that went upside down 4 times!! She loved it and rode it 3 different times. Our kids are such little dare devils. We had such a fun day!!

The park closed that evening at 10:00, and we headed to a new hotel, close to Six Flags. We got our stuff unpacked and headed to bed. We were exhausted from spending the entire day at Six Flags.

Saturday morning we got up and had breakfast at our hotel and then drove about 20 minutes north into Wisconsin to visit the Jelly Belly Factory! It was such a fun little tour! You load up on a little train and they take you through and tell you all about the history of the company and show you videos about how the jelly beans are made. Afterwards we got a free sample pack of jelly belly jelly beans and bought a few more flavors for the kids.

After that, we got in our swimsuits and headed to a nice beach on Lake Michigan, about 20 minutes from our hotel. It was so cool for the kids to see a lake that looks like an ocean! They were amazed. It's also cool because in May we were in Florida and swam in the Atlantic Ocean, then this past weekend we swam in one of the great lakes, next month we'll be in California and will swim in the Pacific Ocean and then in January we'll be taking a cruise from New Orleans into the Gulf of Mexico. So all within a year, we'll have been to all 4 sides of the United States. We didn't really plan it this way, but it just happened to work out and we're pretty excited about it. :-)

After spending part of the afternoon at the beach, we headed back and did some swimming at the hotel.

Then we headed to Gurnee Mills Mall for dinner at the Rainforest Café and we walked around the mall for a little while.

This store called "It's Sugar" was so cute and I just had to take a picture of it with Avery because her nickname is "Sugar!" So perfect.

We went back to the hotel afterwards and just hung out and did a little more swimming before going to bed.

Sunday morning we got up, got ready and had breakfast at the hotel before packing up and heading into the city to visit Willis Tower. The kids were amazed by the size of the city and the buildings! It was such a fun experience, besides the hour wait we had just to get up to the sky deck and then the other hour long wait to get out on one of the sky deck glass ledges. However, all in all it was a lot of fun and Jackson said it was his favorite thing we did on the trip!

After leaving the city, we started our drive back home to St. Louis. Along the way, we stopped at this adorable little diner called "Old Route 66 Family Restaurant." The food was good and it was such a cool stop. Right across the street was an old Texaco station that was really cool to see.

These murels were painted on the side of the restaurant. So cool.

We had such a great trip to Chicago and we already can't wait to go back.