Today we flew in to Chicago, Il. It’s our first family vacation since Adri was 18 months old, when we went to Galveston for an extended weekend trip. It’s also our first trip anywhere outside of Texas with children. Last time Royce and I were outside the stateline was on our honeymoon 11 yrs ago! We’ve traveled a lot with all the kids – but never farther than Dallas. And even then, we’ve only done that twice!

The flight was much anticipated by the kids. Adri has flown before, but it was a first for the other 3 children. The children all really enjoyed it and they were extremely well behaved – which made me a very happy traveler!

I think the funniest thing Claire said on the plane was when we were above the clouds and she looked outside and saw the sun setting and said, “Oh my gosh. Look at that red button over there!” When I told her it was the sun, going to bed, she let out a big belly laugh and said, “Oh that silly sun!!”

Our flight was delayed by about a half hour – which put us in Chicago right at 9pm. And even though our hotel was only a 30 minute drive from the airport, it was still midnight before we got the kids settled into their beds. We had to wait for the luggage, and then wait for the rental car, and then driving through downtown Chicago on a Thursday night at 11pm…well…you’d think you’d be ok…but no…just like home – there was an accident or construction – and everything was backed up!

The hotel is really expensive. And we are staying in the cheapest we could find. Even then – it’s going to cost us more than the airplane tickets! We didn’t tell the hotel there would be 7 of us in the room! We couldn’t possibly afford 2 rooms and really, for the most part, there are only 4 of us in here. The oldest 3 children are staying tonight through Sunday night with my brother. But still – there’s no perks here. No pool. No hot tub. Not even a free continental breakfast!! You’d think for the rates you’re paying that you’d at least get a free pop tart!! (Around $200/night for 1 room w/2 double beds!! And that doesn’t count the $14/day parking fee for the rental car!!) LOL!

Hannah and Alaina (my oldest niece came with us!!) brought along their American Girl Dolls since we are going to the AG store on Saturday. The funny thing is we’ve just been treating their dolls like part of the family and we have this funny side story going that Chloe and Kirsten are on a trip to Chicago to adopt their new siblings!! Alaina is getting a new doll and Claire is getting a doll for her birthday! So I guess, technically, Chloe is getting a new sister and Kirsten is getting a new cousin! And I’m going to be a new gramma! How exciting! So, naturally, we are planning on taking photos of the dolls enjoying their adventure in Chicago as they come to get new siblings/cousins!

So look forward to photos/stories in the next post!