Last week I got the pleasure to spend a long weekend in Chicago. I had only ever driven through there on the way to retreat last summer and we stopped for pizza on the way back. I was super excited to spend the weekend in a “Big City” which is something completely different then home. It was quite the experience, full of new adventures and learning opportunities. I decided to make a little list of some of the things I learned during my trip to the Windy City:
- I never have a layover unless I am not flying one certain airline. Of course, that meant an hour and a half layover on the way out. Pair that with a two hour time difference and it made for a long day. Luckily Xza’s hubby, Kevin, was nice enough to pick us up from the airport.
- Caribou Coffee’s Campfire Mocha is both sinful and addicting. Holy moly. I am a die hard Starbucks fan but this thing was out of this world. It tasted like a s’smore in my cup complete with perfectly burnt marshmallows (yes I like them burnt). My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
- People in Chicago are so nice. Much nicer then I was really expecting, to be honest. They give up their seats for mommies wearing babies, open doors, use manners, don’t complain about breastfeeding in public (no side eye or anything) and a nice gentleman even carried my huge ass suitcase with a carseat strapped to it down the stairs to the train for me. It was so nice and refreshing.
- It is cold as balls there. Harper and I left 80 degree weather and it is safe to say neither one of us was truly prepared for the change in climate. It was FREEZING. Ok, well it wasn’t so bad until the wind started blowing and then it was frigid. Harper’s face was wind burnt and by Saturday she had a fever. The good news is that she did learn a new word… “Brrrr”.
- Public transportion… Here in AZ we really are way behind in this department. I wish that there was more options for us to use besides a car. It is nice to be able to get damn near anywhere we wanted using public transit. The only downside was that we were tourist so we didn’t really know where we were going. Plus once we got too far into the center of the city then Siri nor GPS were any help. We got off at the wrong stop and walked like 15 blocks to get to a destination. In the cold. It sucked. Thankfully on the way back to our hotel the bus driver helped us out a bit.
- Jessica is a great roomie. I had such an amazing time bonding with her and Cormac. I also got to met her BFF, Robin, who is equally as rad.
- There are those stupid revolving doors everywhere. I am stupidily terrified of them therefore a mini anxiety attack happened before each one that I entered. It seems so ridiculous but all I kept thinking about is what if I got stuck??? There would eventually be no air to breathe and I would suffocate to death. Then I saw a wad of someone’s hair stuck to the outside of one in the subway… that DID NOT help matters.
- Chicago’s sushi is better than Phoenix’s. Specifically Oysy’s Philly roll. OMG
- Chicago style pizza is delicious but it is not the same when doing delivery. We were able to stop and get pizza on the way home over the summer and it was to die for. This time we ordered the same pizza up to the room and it was not the same. Still good but not AS good.
- Chicagoans have no idea what a torta is. We went to Rick Bayless’ joint for tortas, and while they were delicious, they were sandwiches. The Arizona native in me chuckled. In my experience torta’s are made on a fry bread type of bun and these were on more of a thick ciabatta thing. I know Xza and Kevin love the food (it was really, really, really good) but to me it was not a torta 😉
- Beco and Ergo rule! It was so much fun having the playdate prior to MommyCon. Each person got to walk away with their very own, brand new Beco Gemini or Ergo Standard. There is nothing better then seeing a room full of babywearing parents.
- The Art of Chicken was the very best meal I had the whole time I was there. It was seriously so freaking good! We had our pre-MommyCon Playdate at the Purple Monkey Playroom and right across the street was this new restaurant. I ordered the 1/4 chicken El Jefe style with fries and a bottle of mexican Coke. The fries and chicken were truly delicious.
- The Shedd Aquarium was pretty awesome. I thought it was a little expensive ($30 admission) but it made for a great day. We were so busy working that it was nice to escape for a few hours. The kids all really seemed to dig it. The jellies are their biggest attraction and I can see why. They are so fascinating. I am really glad I spent the money to go. I will never forget watching Harper watch the jellies.
The trip and MommyCon event was an overall success. It is always rough traveling alone with a toddler but it was made pretty easy. I can’t wait to go back when the weather is a bit nicer and there is less work to be done so I can truly enjoy what the city has to offer.