Sunday, October 30, 2011

Chicago Visit

Mom's Caesar salad turned into a baby's adventure.
Last weekend, Ava, Bena, and I drove up to Chicago partly for my work trip and then we stayed for the rest of the weekend to visit family and friends. Aaron was out of town all weekend for his annual canoe camping trip in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with his two best friends, Zac and Chris. They're totally off the grid all weekend, even without cell service.

We left on Thursday morning starting out on the 3 1/2 hour drive to Chicago. My work meeting was at 4pm and I booked a hotel room for me and Ava to stay in downtown in the Loop near my client's office. The leader for the Chicago user community is a mom too and she offered to hook me up with a babysitter, which was a huge help. The only catch was that we had a very short timeline because the babysitter goes to high school on the far north side of the city and I had to pick her up and get them settled at the hotel before I left for my meeting. I dropped Bena off at her old daycare kennel for the night since couldn't stay in the hotel with us. She had a blast playing withe dogs while she was there.

Ava didn't have an afternoon nap that day so she was exhausted to say the least. When I left for my meeting, Ava was really upset. The babysitter was really sweet and tried to play with her and even put her down for a late nap. I went to the meeting, but I couldn't stay for the happy hour. I got a text from the sitter that Ava couldn't stop crying. I headed back to the hotel and she was a mess. The poor thing was all red and really upset. I finally got her settled and then we ordered some dinner. It's really hard to be a working mama sometimes. My clients were really understanding that I had to miss the social hour, but it was worth it that I could go for the meeting part.
Friday morning, we got up early and picked up Bena from her doggie daycare, then went to visit our friend Viviana and her 4-week old baby, Valentina. It was so great to meet her baby and see her transformation into mommy-hood. Vivi is such a good hostess that she insisted on cooking breakfast even though I was hoping to cook for her so she could sit and relax with her baby. When I held Valentina, I put her in my ring sling to show Vivi how to use it. Ava got really jealous and when I picked her up too, she pulled at the sling because she wanted the baby out of HER sling. I guess she is not ready for a sibling. Wow!

We had a nice visit, then we headed to Aurora to my sister-in-law, Megan's house. Later that afternoon, Ava got to play with her cousin, Colin. That weekend was also Colin's 2nd birthday so we brought him a bag of fun art supplies. I wish I could have gotten a better picture of Colin and Ava, but these two tots move so quickly! I asked Ava if she wanted to hug Colin and she went in to hug and kiss him and he turned away. I guess he was too shy. It took them awhile to warm up since they hadn't seen each other in awhile. Then later that day, Megan had some pizza on her plate and the kids were interested. She fed them pieces like baby birds. It was so cute! Colin and Ava will have fun years ahead at Grandma and Grandpa's lake house!
Trying to hug her cousin.

Hug attempt #2

Playing in Colin's high chair.

Tranquility for a toddler's afternoon nap.

Homemade greeting cards.
Early Saturday morning, we left the Gingerich's and headed back to the city. My friend, Valeri, arranged for us to take a Paper Source holiday craft workshop in Evanston that morning. She asked her sister to watch Ava while we went to the class. Vanessa was great! She put Ava in the stroller and had Bena on the leash to head to the park while Val and I headed to the class. They had a blast in the park. Bena got squirrel crazy and Ava got swing crazy! When Ava sees a swing she says "wee, wee." She even feel asleep for a nap after the park and a snack. I was relieved because of how badly the previous babysitting experience was for that trip. Val and I had so much fun at Paper Source. We used to take the workshops back when I was living in Chicago. We stamped, glued, cut, embossed, glittered, and you name it. I got some supplies for holiday greeting cards, tags, and a fun paper baby monkey puppet craft set to make for Ava this winter when we spend our days indoors.

Later that afternoon, Val, Ava and I headed to the Andersonville neighborhood for a quick visit with our friends, Lauren and Dave. It was fun to catch up and hear about their recent travels. We're hoping to host them in December in Indy.

At Val's that night we had pizza and her mom's Greek salad, then watched a movie. Ava fell asleep in my arms while we were watching TV snuggled up in her blanket. Ava loves the city so much! The sights and sounds are so interesting so she stays awake, fighting her naps. Even on the long drive she doesn't sleep very much either. Thankfully, my friend, Lisa, lent me her portable DVD player. I borrowed some DVDs from the library for the drive. Ava loved the Elmo and Dora videos, which really saved me because she didn't sleep much.

We left on Sunday morning for the 4 hour drive. Val lives on the far north side of Chicago so the drive is about 4 hours. I stopped halfway through on Sunday afternoon to perk up with some iced coffee and I got some french fries to share with Ava. We only get fast food when we're on a road trip so I don't feel too bad, although I don't want to make it a habit! It was a very busy weekend, but so worth it!

Stroller ride in Andersonville

Driving home with a treat and DVD.

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