Tuesday we awoke bright and early. Well the alarm woke us. And yes it was early, but not that bright yet. We packed up the car, coordinated plans, and hit the road. Mom the kids and I back in the Prius. Aunt Edna, Luke, Sara, Little C, and K in Aunt Edna’s car. We took off a bit early so we could get to our hotel and drop off our “stuff”.

We are swiftly becoming loyal Embassy Suites customers. People. You seriously cannot pass up the deals these folks provide. For instance, this trip we chose the Embassy Suites Downtown/Lakefront. Without parking, we spent about $170/night for a 2 double bed suite with a view of Lake Michigan. So our room included a spacious bedroom with a wall of windows, a bathroom, and a sitting room (with sofabed), plus an extra sink, microwave, and mini-fridge in a cubby in the hall with the bathroom.  I’d say that’s a pretty awesome deal to start with for a hotel downtown. Not to mention it’s gorgeous. But then add on the fact that the pool, hot tub, and fitness center are free (which in major city hotels, they often aren’t). Pretty sweet, right? But no, we’re not done yet. You also get free breakfast. Pretty standard in this day and age except this breakfast includes made to order omelets (with a choice of about a dozen fillings), pancakes, sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy, oatmeal, fresh fruit, cereal, yogurt, muffins, bagels, doughnuts, croissants, coffee, tea, juice, hot chocolate, and probably some other things I forgot. Seriously. All free, no tricks. And THEN you also get a free Manager’s Reception each night featuring free snacks (chex mix every night, meatballs one night, nachos another) and free drinks, including wine and beer. Add all that in and your $170/night room rate is a steal.

And we haven’t even talked about the free entertainment. Glass elevators. Well, elevators in general are free amusement to a 4 year old. But add in glass elevators and you could ride for hours. A player piano in the lobby. And at many Embassy Suites there are “streams” with real koi running throughout the lobbys/restaurant areas, along with bridges crossing the streams and plants everywhere. Not at this one, but the lobby was on the 6th floor of the building. (Below it? Bowling alley. Movie theater. Multiple restaurants.) Our room was on top, 17th floor. The Boy thought that was pretty awesome. I also liked that the rooms were all decorated with photographic work featuring iconic scenes of Chicago. We also love Embassy Suites because every room is a suite.  So for the first time this trip, everybody had their own bed. Suite? SWEET!

You can see plenty of professional, beautiful photos of the hotel on their website. My take-away photo was a night shot from near the elevators:

So, now that my hotel love has been fully proclaimed…what are we doing in Chicago today? Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier.

Oh my goodness. We could have stayed at the museum for DAYS. The kids had so much fun. The Boy started off climbing a 2 story pirate ship. (Okay it’s not officially a pirate ship, but that’s what he has christened it.) The different levels of the ship are connected via rope ladder tubes. You know, so nobody falls off. Plus wooden swing bridges on the way down. I fully expected he’d get halfway up the first rope ladder and freak out. But nope, up up up he went and then down down down he came and then back up up up he went. Unfortunately with the rope tubes the photos aren’t very good. Next stop the Firehouse.

They even had a (small) firepole to slide down. Turns out the Boy was too chicken, but the Girl loved jumping off the platform. She didn’t quite get the idea of grabbing onto the pole. I didn’t think the Boy would ever make it to the rest of the museum, but I finally pried him out of the fireman stuff and on we went.

A whole section for construction. Here’s Sara, the Girl, Little C and K working on a project. And then…then my kids died and went to heaven.

An entire water play area. Complete with raincoats. Because there might be crazy folks like us there who will do this to you:

Although there were no coats small enough for the Girl. Who probably needed it the most.

Seriously. She tried to dump at least 3 buckets full on her head. The Girl loves the water.

Other parts of the museum to explore included a dinosaur dig, a bugs and butterfly room, a treehouse room, an invention room, and “main street” complete with grocery, bus, post office, construction company, and car wash/mechanics shop.

I know you like to “roll with it”, but this will not turn you into an actual tire. Sorry.

After exhausting the kids with the Museum, we had one more stop we had to make on Navy Pier.

Yes it was March, and yes, the weather was only 30ish some odd degrees, but we rode the Ferris Wheel. Well, not all of us. We three kids, plus the three bigger kids. The Girl and the Grandma’s stayed safely on the ground. Inside. The cars do have plexiglass around them so the infamous Windy City wasn’t whipping the wind through.

(Yes, I have a thing for “self-portraits”. So what.)

Unfortunately the carousel was closed while we were there. So we walked back through the Pier and finally said goodbye to the cousins. We were sad to see them go, but we sure had fun with them. Here’s hoping they come visit us this summer!

We walked back to the hotel and the Boy and I hit the pool for a quick splash. It was pretty cool, but of course I never took a photo. Something about taking my camera to a nice wet splashy location.

After swimming we picked up some snacks from the Manager’s Reception and then headed back upstairs to figure out dinner. We’re in Chicago. There was one thing I really, really, really, wanted. And thankfully they deliver.

And with that, we fell into bed.