Chicago Trip

We just got back from a long weekend in Chicago! It was Elin’s first time there and we thought it would be a fun place to visit during the holiday season.

We have all been sick with endless coughing and congestion, but the day before our trip we took Elin to the pediatrician because she was rubbing her eye and sure enough she not only had an eye infection but a double ear infection. Not a fun way to start out on a long weekend trip. We actually debated not going, but ultimately decided that she seemed to be ok and therefore we should keep on with our plans.

We left on a Thursday morning and stayed until Saturday late afternoon/early evening. We stayed at the MileNorth which was nice and close in walking distance to Michigan Avenue and all the shopping.

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Elin was a fan of the room and loved running and jumping into the bed over and over.

One of our first stops was the mall that housed the American Girl store. I knew Elin was going to be excited to explore the store with all the extensive displays. She loved it and we we had a hard time getting her out of the store!

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She is getting a bitty baby for Christmas and I hope she likes it as much as she does in the store.

While I picked up a couple of accessories to go with her doll, she ventured over to the lego store and spent a long time in there playing in their play areas.

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After some more shopping in the mall, we went to Smith and Wollensky for dinner which is one of our favorites. Elin wasn’t feeling up to eating much, so she missed out on some yummy steak which is a shame because she actually likes steak.

The next day we went in the morning to the Christkindl Market. It was very interesting but already very crowded and we got there shortly after it opened. Elin really enjoyed looking at the Nativity there. There was a sign out from that said it was the second largest nativity scene on display.

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I was really impressed that Elin could name off several of the figures. I guess the parochial preschool is paying off.

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Inside the market there were lots of vendors with traditional German food and Christmas decor for sale. There were lots of beautiful hand-painted ornaments.

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After walking around for a bit in the market we had to get over to the Macy’s on State Street nearby for reservations to see Santa and reservations to eat lunch at the famous Walnut Room. Here is a little blurb about the restaurant taken from the Macy’s on State Street website:

The Walnut Room has the distinction of being the first restaurant in a department store, and it’s also the longest continuously running restaurant in the country. Opened in 1907, the popular dining and gathering spot was originally known as the South Tea Room. It became known among the ladies of Chicago as The Walnut Room due to its beautiful Circassian Walnut paneling, and by 1937 the affectionate nickname had become the official name. A chicken pot pie dish that inspired the restaurant is still a standout on the menu. The world-famous 45-foot Great Tree graces The Walnut Room from late November to early January each year.

We had heard that it was very hard to get into the restaurant without reservations and they stopped taking them by phone for Christmas back in November, so the the only way to get in was to show up the day you wanted to eat there make reservations in person. We were lucky enough to get lunch reservations without a problem.

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The tree in the center of the restaurant was gorgeous and we enjoyed the decor as we ate. The food was good as well.

They had North Pole fairies visiting the tables with children. The fairy that stopped at our table told Elin all about living at the North Pole and knowing Santa. She sprinkled some magic fairy dust and had Elin close her eyes to make her Christmas wish. Elin’s face cracks me up with how hard she was closing her eyes and concentrating.

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She also gave her a tiny marble that was magical and anytime Elin wanted to talk to Santa or send him a wish, she would just wish on her new magic marble and the fairy would hear the message. Elin was pleased as punch about this and I worried the whole day that she was going to lose that dang marble. By the grace of God we made it home with it.

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After our lunch it was finally our reservation time to go meet Santa. This Macy’s was so festive and they made everything so cute with their displays. There was whole fun little Christmas maze we walked through to get to Santa. There was so much to look at with little replicas of Santa’s house and cute decor.

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Finally it was time to see Santa and Elin had a lot of fun talking to him.

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He gave her a little pin as a gift that she loved

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She was just too happy and excited to be talking to him.

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After seeing Santa, we went out into the children’s section where they had lots of fun activities going on. They had someone making balloon animals, an ornament making station, characters walking around, and of course the red mailbox to mail a letter to Santa. Even though she had just seen him, Elin thought she should go ahead and send him a a letter with her list.

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We couldn’t leave the store without visiting the snoopy display inside and out side the store.

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After some more walking around and shopping, we went back to our room in the later afternoon to let Elin rest a bit and then went to dinner at a nice Italian place and walked around the city some more. We were blessed with very nice weather during our whole trip.

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I don’t have any photos from our last day but we walked around the city and enjoyed all the beautiful Christmas sights.

On our drive home Elin was sleeping and she she woke up, got into a coughing fit, and vomited a few times all over herself in the car. Not a great end to a trip. Luckily we were able to pull over at a rest stop and get her all cleaned up and new clothes on and there was no more sickness in the car after that. We were lucky I guess that she wasn’t sick during the trip and got to enjoy herself.