Sunday, September 8, 2013

Quick Chicago Trip...

We spent last weekend, Labor Day, in Chicago for Nick's grandmother's 94th birthday celebration.  It was quite literally a fly-in and fly-out weekend because we were in Illinois for less than 48 hours.  

Overall, Georgia did pretty well on the airplane.  The two hours leading up to the flight were a tad rough.  Once we got to the airport she really, really, really wanted to get on the airplane immediately.  Unfortunately, we didn't have a plane to get on yet.  So, we waited... and she screamed bloody murder.  Every time a plane took off, she thought that was her plane leaving without her.  By the time we actually boarded our plane, I was wiped out and had already threatened to never take her to the airport ever again.

We landed at O'Hare in Chicago right around nap time, so we knew we had to get to the hotel as soon as possible.  We had already planned to meet Nick's brother, his wife and daughter at the rental car place since we were sharing a minivan for the weekend.  We landed an hour after them, so we assumed they would get the car and we'd be ready to head to Naperville to the hotel.  However, Dollar Rent-a-Car, had other plans.  I don't usually give negative reviews for companies on this blog, but we will NEVER, EVER, EVER be renting from Dollar again.  Our family waited well over an hour to pick up the car, even though we had a reservation.  Their attitude - tough, go rent somewhere else.  Great attitude.  Primo customer service.  When the car did finally roll up, it looked like it would fall apart.  And, in fact, the trunk carpet/plastic pieces were falling apart.  But, the car seats took the cake for me.  Both families needed toddler car seats and were clear about this in our reservation.  We were given booster seats.  The reasoning for this - "we left the car seats outside overnight and it rained.  They're wet."  When my sister-in-law called to complain after the trip, she was again told that if we didn't like it, we should have left and went to a different rental company.  Again, great customer service.  So, I have no problem slamming Dollar on this blog and will continue to do so again and again.  You don't care about your customer's safety, then I don't care about your reputation.  You certainly won't be getting our business again and I highly encourage my readers and followers to avoid them.  They are nothing but trouble, rude, and disrespectful.  

Luckily, the hotel was fairly nearby and the car didn't implode on the drive there.  We immediately checked in and got both girls upstairs for a nap.  Of course, our crib was missing when we first got to the room, so Nick attempted to sleep with Georgia in our bed.  Not happening.  A pack-n-play showed up a few minutes later and we made the quick decision that Georgia's new bedroom for the weekend was going to be the spacious bathroom in the hotel room since it was the only dark place and then we wouldn't have to be perfectly quiet for the next 2 hours tip-toeing around the room while she napped.  Georgia was exhausted and took a great nap.  It was hard to wake her up, especially with the one hour time change, but we had to get to dinner.  

Georgia had fun running around the hotel lobby with Abby and her other cousins, whom she was meeting for the first time.





Who needs toys when you have a trash can to play with in the hotel????






Harper and Georgia loving the hotel carts in the lobby



On Sunday, we had the morning to ourselves before the party so we took the kids to a nearby playground to burn some energy...





Georgia and Grandpa Bruce at the playground






Swinging with Abby, Uncle Ken and Grandpa





Abby, Georgia and Auntie Sherrie



After the playground we headed to Panera to pick up lunch and I took the opportunity to ask them about their allergen binder.  I've never been able to find Panera's allergy information online, so I've never ordered food for Georgia before at their restaurants.  The binder was eye-opening.  I spent a good 5-10 minutes just flipping through the binder and I wrote down everything that was "Georgia-safe."  I was blown away by some of the options available to her, including many of their breads and bagels.  She greatly enjoyed a blueberry bagel for breakfast the next morning at the airport.

After another brief nap for Georgia (and no nap for Abby), we were on our way to Great-Grandma's party...




Georgia and Abby holding hands


Upon our arrival at the party, a professional photographer was taking family photos and then attempted to get a large group photo.  With 6 children under the age of 3, it was quite an adventure... to say the least.  I asked one of Nick's cousins to grab my camera and take pictures of the shenanigans.  Needless to say, they are my favorite photos from the weekend.  Chaos!!




Nick's cousin, Jeff, enjoyed the photo shoot!




Abby had enough of this game.  Let's get out of here!




Even trying to get a smaller group family photo proved a little challenging


Once family picture hour was complete, I tried to get a few photos at the party...



Abby, Harper, Lars and Georgia all sat down for approximately 1.5 seconds, so I tried to convince them to smile!




Auntie Sherrie and Georgia




Mommy & G




Georgia had fun stealing her Grandma Rosalie's cane



We wrapped up our trip later that night back at the hotel.  Thankfully when I packed, I threw in a recent gift from Mimi -  a packet of glow sticks.  They were a hit with the kids and entertained everyone for quite awhile.




Harper may have hoarded a few of the sticks




Georgia held tight onto the ball her Daddy made her!



video



Monday morning brought a very early alarm clock wake-up call so that we could get to O'Hare, return the rental car and head to our flights.  I got the full service TSA strip search thanks to Georgia's allergies and our need to fly with her rice milk.  Thankfully, the staff were very nice as they searched every single cavity of my body and G got to keep her milk.  Oh the things we allergy moms do to keep our expensive little juice boxes of milk!  A huge thanks to Aunt Elaine and her pez dispensers - they were invaluable during take-off and landing when the iPad was not an entertainment option!  And a huge thank you to my friend, Heather, who told us all about the CARES airplane safety harness for the flights.  Georgia never tried to get up during either flight and it felt much more secure to have her in a harness vs the regular adult seat belt.




Watching her beloved "Nemo!"




The best part about taking an early morning flight, home by 1pm with the rest of the day to do laundry and get ready for the week!




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