We arrived at the hotel around 10:30. Never having been to quite a "posh" hotel, I didn't think through the whole, tip-the-porter-and-everyone-else thing. So when someone came out and loaded up a cart with our things, which I had planned so that it was manageable by myself, and then took us all up to a room which I didn't even know would be available yet, I only had 20's and tipped him with one! Can't really ask for change, can you!? :)
It was a nice hotel. The kids were in heaven. (There was even the stereotypical robes and slippers in the closet. I was cracking up. And an honor bar, with no lock although I received a key. Keeping the kids out didn't prove as hard as I thought.
I just love Chicago. I love the architecture, which always proves difficult when I'm driving and also trying to take in the wonderful buildings around me. I love the meld of modern and historic. I love the pace of it all. I love that you can wander down any given street and find an eclectic mix of people and activities. Love it!
After checking in and getting settled, we headed to the main stage area of the festivities. We did run into a snag on the way there. The street/area where we were staying was about a story below Michigan Avenue and the festival. I walked a couple blocks looking for a way "up" but it was only to be had by going up a large flight of stairs. With a double stroller. And three kiddos. Oh my. We got out of the stroller, and started up. Luckily a very nice gentleman helped us out by carrying the stroller for me so I could take Liam. We were on our way!
Once we got there, it was busy, but not horrible. We listened a while to Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players, they were so fun! Remind me a lot of They Might be Giants and The Imagination Movers.
We wandered the stalls and got free vanilla sugar cookies from Whole Foods - yum! - bracelets advertising Chicago Olympics, saw a beautiful gingerbread house done up by Doubletree Hotels, and a few other things.
We listened a while longer to Justin R. and then waited for the Cheetah Girls. We were fairly close, and it was pretty sparse in the way of people. I kept telling Olivia that soon there would be tons of people packing us in, she was to stay by us and not move or they would just move her out of the way, and that we had to be careful. I don't think she really believed me until all the people started coming. :) We had to wait a while, but it was fun! Olivia ended up standing on the stroller and Braeden was on my shoulders. There were so many kids up on shoulders in front of us that they couldn't see otherwise. I got some great video of them to put on a disk for the kids. :)
After, we headed back to the hotel to warm up, eat, and meet up with a friend of mine who lives in Chicago. Some others helped with the stairs again! My friend and I reconnected recently on Facebook and he wasn't busy, so we made plans to see the parade together. We had some time to talk and catch up a bit before heading out to brave the cold and the crowds.
The kids were excited to meet Mr. "D". They love meeting my friends! It's too cute! Braeden however, was a bit overstimulated, and was quite a handful. But that's Braeden. You just never know.
Since we weren't out there real early to claim a spot, we had quite a few people in front of us for the parade. But we did the same as at Cheetah Girls, and I think they got to see quite a bit. My friend "D" got some GREAT pictures and I got a few too.
After the parade were fireworks. NOT Liam's favorite part of the evening! :) But it was fun to see!
We fought the crowds and made it back to the hotel for a short warm up and a few pictures, before D had to catch a cab back to his place.