Fall Break 2016

It was back to reality this morning after what seems like a very long break from both work & school – Fall Break, to be exact!  As you know, we took our crew up to Chicago for a quickie trip & it was WONDERFUL.  I’m pretty sure I’ve managed to pass along my love for the incredible city of Chicago to both of my kiddies – in just 36 hours!  Here’s the low down on our whirlwind trip – we managed to hit up some very important spots:

  1.  Arrived at the W Lakeshore on Thursday late morning – checked into our tiiiiiiiiiny room (truly, it was) & headed out in search of LUNCH!  We were STARVING & needed to fuel up for some retail therapy!img_8534
  2. Immediately found the infamous Shake Shack & dove headfirst into their burgers & crinkle cut fries (kids did their cheese hot dogs….Mac devoured 2).  While I may have done my burger bun-less (so I could have a few more fries), the food certainly lived up to all the hype.  It was the perfect, kid-friendly lunch we all needed before an afternoon of shopping!img_8537
  3. While having lunch we were thrilled to realize that another “on the list” landmark was literally across the street – Mario Batali’s Eataly!  We promptly zipped across the street to check it out & discovered that we could easily spend the entire day inside this Italian wonderland!  It was heavenly – wines, cheeses, meats, foccacia, olives, fresh pastas, gelato – truly, it was bliss!  Too full from our indulgent Shake Shack meal, we just browsed, enamored by the sheer genius of this Batali creation!  (I’m already planning another trip back in November for my birthday, kid-free with my best girlfriend, and I predict plenty of time spent here!)  img_8549
  4. En route to Water Tower Plaza for American Girl & Lego where both kids entered their own version of Eataly!  Park had Julie’s ears pierced in the salon & picked out a new outfit…..Mac browsed, wide-eyed, through the Lego Store & found something to build back our hotel.  Both kids gave the stores two thumbs up, although I do think Parker was a little overwhelmed in AG.  It’s quite an experience!img_8562img_8567
  5. More browsing & then back to our hotel to rest up & decide on dinner (I know…more eating!)img_8532
  6. Dinner decision – Uber it (kid’s first Uber!) & introduce the kids to Chicago-style pizza at Lou Malnati’s!  While it took FOREVER to get seated, Malnati’s did not disappoint!  The restaurant treated us to a few complimentary appetizers (because of our wait) & we ordered the famous Malnati Salad, plus 2 small pizza’s – basic as they come…..cheese for kiddies & pepperoni for adults.  Truthfully I could have had the salad (which was SO good) & called it an evening, but not trying the pizza would be crazy, right?  We left with enough leftover for another meal – it was just THAT filling & rich.  img_8587
  7. Stan’s Donuts (another foodie landmark) for breakfast (not without having my dear hubby immediately retrieve Starbucks for the two of us upon waking…..luckily there is one on every block in Chicago!)!  My stomach was not liking the rich meal we had consumed for dinner, so I put myself on a coffee-only diet through breakfast, but knew the fam would let me sample bites from their sweet selections!  Mac pleaded with us to get two (we were on vacation, so why not?) and ended up with a Cubs themed Long John & a (very large) chocolate glazed.  Park opted for the pink glazed with sprinkles (shocking!) & the hubs picked the old fashioned blueberry.  The donuts were heavenly & will make it super difficult to go back to our weekly Dunkin’ run!  I mean, there were actual REAL blueberries in the blueberry donut!  YUM!
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8.  Garrets Popcorn, of course!  Our dear neighbors were taking care of our pup, so it only made sense that we treated their family to a Chicago original as a “thank you!”  We went “chicago-style” (cheddar & caramel) all the way!  The smell inside the store was heavenly!img_8605

9.  Museum of Science & Industry –  All sugared up, we checked out of our hotel & headed down Lakeshore Drive to the Museum of Science & Industry  We had heard rave reviews about this museum & since none of us had ever been, this was our one museum choice to close out our trip (before we headed home).  It was AMAZING!  I’m pretty sure you could visit that museum daily for a week & STILL not see and/or read everything!  We purchased additional passes to two of the special exhibits, too – Brick by Brick (the Lego exhibit) & the U-505 Submarine.  Both did NOT disappoint!  The Lego creations were absolutely incredible – my fave was Cinderella’s castle:img_8614

The U-505 was an ACTUAL German U-boat & I could not get over just how tight and cramped the quarters of this boat were!  50+ men had to SHARE this ship for over 100 days at a time…..without a shower!!!!  Insane!  img_8619

After our submarine tour, the Thompson’s called it a day….we were hungry, our feet hurt & Daddy Thompson wanted to beat any potential Chicago traffic! We zipped out to the Skyway, made a quickie late lunch trip to Chick-fil-A & were home by 7:45pm!  My goodness it was a whirlwind, but we had SO much fun!  I’m already looking forward to my “girls only” birthday day next month where I plan on spending plenty more time enjoying Eataly!!!

Cheers to Chi-town!  We sure do love you!img_8526

xoxo – Jamie

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