Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Yesterday we had a large group that headed to Chicago for a day of sightseeing.   There was 6 adults and 8 kids in our group, which made for an interesting day.  I decided, after much debate, to leave Tony and Bella at home with a sitter.  So while in the city with only one person to keep track of, and that one person being 14 years old, my day was pretty easy.  Not only did I not have a ton of stuff to carry, the one bag (purse/camera bag combo) I did bring, Anya carried all day for me.  So with no kids to keep track of and no bags to carry, I had a constant feeling that someone was missing or I was forgetting something.  
The whole group (minus me, the photographer)

Anya and I

Once in Chicago we headed for Willis Tower (which I will always think of as Sears Tower, why would they change the name of such a famous building?)  We all headed up to the observation deck.  It was kind of cloudy and overcast, so the views were not as spectacular as I imagine they are on a clear sunny day, but it was still a great sight from 103 stories up.  We had fun taking pictures on the glass floor.  Anya was so scared, which I found funny, because she weighs far less than what most people standing on that glass floor weigh, and they weren't afraid.  
Willis Tower

Willis tower is 103 stories up
Francie and Lilia
Chicago from the top of Willis Tower

My niece Katya and I


Lilia (Chaparone staying with Francie)

Lilia teaches at Anya's boarding school.  They have had some good bonding time here in Michigan.  I hope Lilia will take extra care and pay special attention to Anya when back in Ukraine.

Francie and Mason in the gift store
After Willis Tower, we all piled into a few cabs and headed to Portillo's for lunch, where we would be meeting up with Serafina and her 3 boys plus Anijia (her host daughter from Latvia).  The food there is so good, we all had too much to eat, Anya's belly was protruding she was so full, well truthfully all of ours were, but it really showed on her cause she is such a skinny girl.  She ate a whole bowl of pasta and 2 big meatballs.  I think pasta is her favorite food she has had so far.  She always seems to eat a lot whenever we have it.  (another sign that she is a good fit for our family :))

We then decided to walk to Navy Pier (about a mile), stopping for pictures along the way.  The sun was shining and the day was getting hot.  Poor Serafina had to carry her 4 year old on her back most of the way.  I really felt for her, I know that would have been me if I'd brought Tony and Bella.  At one point she had one kid on her back, and one kid she was trying to carry in front of her.  Francie came to her rescue and carried one.  Once we got to Navy Pier, we rested for a bit in the gardens and took some pictures before heading over to the rides.  The swings were a big hit with the kids, we even got the 2 Ukraine chaparones to go on them.  

Me discovering that I didn't pic the most flattering shift to wear.  

Anya showing off her big belly after eating a BIG lunch

Irina, one of the Ukraine chaparones
Rachael and her 5
Francie and Mason
Natalie with her cute boy Mason 

At Navy Pier in the gardens

Sasha (our translator for the day) with Anya

Sergey and Ben

Everyone loved the swings at Navy Pier

Irina on the Ferris Wheel

Lilia on the Ferris Wheel

Katya playing in the fountains

Chicago from the top of the Ferris Wheel
After Navy Pier, we headed back to the parking garage (another mile back) so Serafina could get her van.  Before heading for the train station we all had some frozen yogurt which was a self serve (fill your cup as full as you want with whatever yogurt and toppings you want) and the kids really piled their glasses full.  Even knowing everything cost more in Chicago, we were all shocked at the cost of this yogurt.  For just Anya and I it was $15, and I just got a small amount for myself.  I'm not gonna say how much Rachael's was, but lets just say, she could have taken the family out to dinner back here in Michigan for what she spent on yogurt!!  
Anya enjoying her yogurt (she ate the whole thing!)

Then it was a mad dash to get 14 people to the train station, we had to take the Chicago Subway first, just to get us to the train station, we managed to get there 30 seconds before the train left.  

In Chicago we did all things that would have been fun for Tony and Bella, it was just the long day that worried me, with all the walking, or riding in the stroller for them, or worse, me pushing an empty stroller and trying to carry 2 kids that had me worried.  I promised Tony I would bring him a surprise if he would stay home with Micayla our babysitter.  He bargained for a green tractor with a chisel plow, and a cupcake.  Deal.  On our way home from Chicago, I remembered about the promised surprise, and since the farm store was closed, we swung by walmart and I got him a Cars race-track and a little toy doll for Bella.  When we got home, kids were happy and playing outside with Micayla.  Micayla gave me a big hug when she saw me and said she missed me and was so glad to see me!  (I translate that to, I made the right decision leaving them home.)  After I gave Tony his surprise, which he loved, he said, "but where is my tractor and chisel plow?"  I had to explain that they don't sell tractors in Chicago.  I'm sure by weeks end, he will have talked me into that tractor and chisel plow from the local farm store.  

PS in case your wondering, yes I did try to get Anya to wear something a little cuter and less comfy looking, but she was pretty adamant that was what she wanted to wear!  


Sandman said...

That looks like a great day. It is really nice to see your families doing so much together. Wish we had that opportunity. We really need to make a trip up there for vacation. I want to come for baseball Alone. How did the kids interact with one another?

The clothes thing makes me laugh. We have been trying to buy all these dresses and girlie stuff. I finally asked and Masha likes shorts and sweat pants lol.

Elle J said...

What a fun, long day! We've been to Chicago with a toddler and preschooler walking the same Mile and waterfront and subway to/from the airport with luggage even in tow - and you made the PERFECT choice to keep your Littles at home with a sitter. =) Great photos and story!!!

Tina in CT said...

You were smart to leave your two little ones homes. If I'd been Natalie, I'd have left Mason there too. Lugging little ones around when sightseeing is not fun.

Looks like all you bigger kids had a great day. I can't believe what they charge for yoghurt!!!!!

Annie said...

That looks like so much fun! You made the right decision leaving the children at home (though I can tell you feel a tad guilty). It gave you and Anya great bonding time without her feeling she had to help watch them.

There is a "Sugar Berry" yogurt place in East Lansing, and though I love it - it is expensive!

The Sears Tower photos scare me just looking at them. I didn't used to fear heights, but I've changed!