Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Chicago Trip Day 2, Lincoln Park Zoo, BBQ at Megan's and Navy Pier

Dawson was excited to get going once he woke up. He was all ready to go, bringing me his shoes as soon as he had a dry diaper on.
Our first sighting of Chicago. Much bigger skyline than Minneapolis! So many tall buildings there.
After grabbing some McDonalds for breakfast we headed to the Lincoln Park Zoo to meet up with our iVillage friends from Dawson's message board.
Dawson liked looking at the animals, but they didn't hold his attention for too long. Most of them don't do enough for entertainment at his age.
I think his favorite part of the zoo was the music lady. There was a music lady at the hospital and I think she reminded him of her. She let him shake some maracas, but I think he was waiting for his turn at the guitar.
Dawson seems to like the water animals the best. It always holds his attention for much longer.
Dan holding Dawson. He had been running off, so Dan carried him for a bit so he could still see animals.
Tyler liked watching all the people and commotion. He's a people watcher.
This Gorilla was posing for people. He had 2 positions and would hold one for a while, then switch. It was kinda creepy! I wonder if he always does that.
Dawson liked the ledge around the monkey cage
Mommy and Baby Zebra. The baby had brown stripes. I had no idea that they could be brown, I assumed they were all black. Maybe they change colors once they grow up and lose the baby fur like horses do.
Dan holding Tyler, who wasn't feeling so well that day because he got his harsher chemo the night before.
There was a footbridge at the zoo that had a good view of the skyline
After the Zoo we went straight to Megan's house for a BBQ and to let the kids play in her backyard. It was lots of fun. They had a sprinkler out, but my boys don't like that sort of thing, so they hung back. Dawson's favorite was their train table, he didn't want to leave it for much of anything. He was being so good I finally just let him stay inside and play. 

Back row is Jennie, Megan, Julie, Julia and Me. 
Front is Owen, Henry, Sophia, Spencer and Dawson
Dawson loved this mower
Don't let the pic fool you, they were both trying to get and keep the ball for themselves
Tyler took a much needed nap in his carrier while the kids played.
Spencer, Dawson and Julia at the train table
Tyler playing with a hot dog bun. I was hoping he'd attempt to eat it, but it was too squishy and fun for that.
More fun at the train table. Dawson didn't like sharing the train though.
Tyler crawling around on the deck
Walking on the deck. He always has his hands up like that when he walks.
A classic Tyler face, blowing a raspberry
Reaching for something Dan has
Chicago skyline at night from Navy Pier
The kids were pretty tired from our long day but trying to stay awake to see what was going on at the pier.
We had just finished watching the fireworks and were sharing a funnel cake. Yum!
Our hotel room. Dawson came in and promptly fell asleep on our bed. It was 2 double beds.
They had a desk and dresser in there, with a flat screen TV. It was nice watching cable again, we don't get any channels at our apartment.
The playpen we borrowed
The room from the other corner. That's the bathroom on the left of the little hallway by the door. There was a big closet on the right side.
Tyler crawling around the room
Tyler liked the dresser drawers and the closet door the most.
They went to sleep even earlier this night and slept great. It was nice getting sleep, we sure needed it!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Chicago Trip Day 1, Getting there

We left around 9:30am, that went pretty smoothly. We had the car packed all except the DVD player and other more expensive or perishable items. Dawson was excited to get going, as always. I held off with the toys and movies for a while and let them sleep. I think they lasted all the way to WI before needing entertainment. They pretty much slept for the first bit. We went to Madison last year, which is the same route, unfortunately. We found ourselves stopping at the same rest stops, not that there's many to choose from. The MN portion of the drive was the most interesting actually. There's more towns and things to look at, even though I'm very used to driving it, being it's the same route to the hospital. It was nice to be heading in that direction for something more exciting this time. Wisconsin was where things got very boring. We got out the portable DVD player and a couple toys, that kept them entertained for a while.

Most of our drive through WI looked like this
Occasionally we'd see a billboard for cheese. They sure are proud of their cheese!
They even have restaurants specializing in cheese. I'll have some fries with my cheddar, please! ;)  I have no idea what they serve at these places, we didn't stop at any. It was funny to think about though.
Occasionally we'd see some rock formations, they were neat to look at
It was Tyler's turn with the DVD player. Dawson was snacking on some crackers
After a long 11 hour drive, including many stops to nurse Tyler, use the restroom, let the boys play on a playground, eat, etc, we finally arrived around 8:30pm to meet my friend Jennie at the hotel in Northbrook, IL. We got a discount, her playpen and some diapers that her son wasn't needing anymore, since our kids are both the same size. It was a nicer hotel, we saw many higher end cars there and everyone was wearing a suit! We felt rather out of place with our noisy kids and shorts! We were put on the 6th floor. They have 7 floors for guests and 2 more for the higher end club suits. I noticed later that there were a couple other moms with kids in our hallway. Maybe they put all the people with kids in one area? It would make sense, though we didn't hear a peep from anyone outside our room. The kids did great. I got everything hauled into the hotel in 1 load, kids and all. I loaded up the luggage cart, carried Tyler and Dawson walked until we got to our floor, then I had him ride the cart so he didn't run off to explore.
Once we got settled into the hotel, Dawson was eager to get going again. He's so used to hotels and staying at the Ronald McDonald house. That was our routine, we'd drop stuff off, then head out to find some food or look around and play in the play areas. Unfortunately he didn't find any play areas, but we did go out for some food before settling in for the night. :)  I guess the size of footwear didn't matter, he just wanted out!
They did great that night, Dawson went to sleep easily and so did Tyler. Last year it was hard to get them to bed in a strange place but they're used to that now. I guess that's one good thing about all this, it's made them 
very versatile! Tyler fell asleep on the bed after nursing and was transferred to his playpen.
Dawson got out of bed while I was nursing and this is where I found him once I was able to get up. At the foot of his bed on the boppy. He can fall asleep in the strangest places. The other day I found him on his floor on a pile of stuffed animals. He looked so comfy I just left him there! This time I did put him back in bed, boppy and all to make sure he didn't wake up.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Pony Rides and Airplanes

The day after the Airshow we went to the Sauk Rapids Food Festival. They had pony rides so I asked Dawson if he wanted one. He was all for it. I wasn't sure how he'd do but I assumed he'd really like it since he tends to like fair rides. He sure did! He bobbed his head with each step and hung on all by himself. I walked next to him but never had to correct his seat.

He was so impatient for them to start, he was leaning forward and moving up and down a bit to get his horse going. It was cute!
Bobbing up and down with the pony's steps
Finally gave me a bit of a smile, but he was still happily concentrating on the pony
He looks so cute sitting there
His 2nd ride, he got to ride the bigger one this time. It was a smoother ride since he had longer legs. Dawson was excited to get going.
He was scrunched up because he was moving up and down with the steps
He was very upset when it was time to get off. He clung to the saddle and I had to pry his fingers off. Even then he somehow clung to the saddle with his legs. He put up such a fight. Afterward I was hoping he'd like just watching them, but he was mad, trying to catch up to his horse and find a way in.
That day before we left we could see the Airshow from our apartment! We watched for a bit, the boys really enjoyed it.
Tyler is so cute, I love how he sits sometimes. He often crosses his legs like this.
The boys watching some cartoons before heading to the food festival. Excuse Dawson's cookie face. :)