I got my MBA from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign back in 1998. It doesn´t seem to be that long ago, but once you say 1998 you realize it was really last century. This is one of the reasons I wanted to go with the family to Chicago, and so we finally did! A lot has changed since I was last there, or maybe the fact that this time I was going with Gabriel and the girls made it all so different and super amazing!
Traveling with kids to big cities is not always easy, but is always fun and doable. When the girls were 3 and 5, and Ari wasn´t even in our imagination, we went to Paris and spent 5 days looking for the Aristocats! It might sound dumb but it made our time there with them a lot of fun, it fueled their imagination and allowed us to walk every inch of Paris without a major meltdown. after that we´ve made it all the way to Istambul with them, and have always managed to mix culture with fun!
Chicago was a super easy city to visit with kids, there are many museums, an aquarium, planetarium, about a million parks, gardens, walk ways, mini water parks everywhere, boats, zoo, and even though it can get crowded there is a lot of space fro everyone to feel comfortable.
So here are the things we did:
This was definitely our favorite place in Chicago, you can either go and spend there one whole day, or go everyday at any time of the day for a little while to cool off and let the kids be for a while! There is The Bean, the Pavilion, The Water Walls, The Art Institute of Chicago, different parks for kids of all ages, and the Buckingham Fountain. I always carried Ari´s bathing suit and a change of clothe with me just in case we bumped into some kind of water... which by the way was always freezing because it comes directly from the lake, the cool thing is that I never saw a child complaining about it!
If you ask Ari, am sure this was her favorite place in the city! The water, the splashing, the kids, the laughing, the faces..... everything was fun!
One of our favorite moments was a concert we enjoyed at the Pavilion. I don´t really know what orchestra was playing or what it was playing... but the whole experience of sitting there with my family, surrounded by people all just enjoying life at its best was sublime!
Lakefront Trail, Grant Park and Museums
Be sure to rent a bike and sit on every piece of grass you find along the way to enjoy the skyline.... amazing really, we loved it!
If you want to amaze your children, you can as simple as try different forms of transportation and you are guaranteed a good time... if this includes a boat, well even better!
I think we chose the perfect time to come to the Pier.... it wasn´t hot, it wasn´t crowded and we got to enjoy one of the most beautiful sunsets!
,Willis Tower and Financial District
Cool... fun and exciting! The fun starts when you get on the elevator to go up more than 100 floors.... and then standing on that glass cube above the city was thrilling! In this picture we look like a regular and well behaved family... well.... let me remind you that we are latin, and we tend to be a little loud, so getting all of us to sit there still, as if it was completely normal were we were, was not an easy task.. am sure it probably made some one else´s day!
Lincoln Park and Chicago ZOO
Children and animals, there is this special bond that they have that I love to see, and in this Zoo the experience is up close and personal! This was the most amazing zoo ever, it was free, beautiful, and I had never seen Gorillas so close to me before!
And then of course.... of the week that we spent in Chicago, my fondest memories are the good times that this 4 gave us each and every day! So yes, as I always say family is hard work, sometimes even exhausting.... but once you have a second to look into your children´s smiles... the world turns into the most perfect place, and there is no place you would rather be!
After a month of traveling what feels like around the world.... am back at my desk, maybe I even have a flower in my hair, a pretty messy house, a spoiled rotten tod who now won´t let go of her paci and refuses to go potty... but most of all, I am back here with another treasure of family memories, full hearts, and as a stronger family!
Am a dreamer, I think I was born one, and will die one. That is one of the reasons I love traveling so much, because vacations are like double the fun when you count the time you spend planning and dreaming of the good times we are going to have plus your actual vacation! Then of course, because life is real,,,vacations are pretty real too, and not everything is picture perfect as pictures look! Regular things like finding a place to eat when you realize you are starving can turn out to be a real nightmare, thinking that you can still potty train your baby while on the go was as optimistic as it gets, and then suddenly we are in a hotel bathroom taking the stroller apart so we can wash it down... or tired kids whining because that day it made no sense to walk and walk without really having a place to go. And then there are the days that you are sooo tired that you get angry at how in the world could the girls possibly still be laughing at anything and everything... to then find yourself laughing with them because they tell you.... ¨mom... you really look exhausted today!¨
We made many good memories that as I start to see the pictures, know that they will feed my dreamer self for years to come, they will put a smile on my face every time I remember them, my pick me ups when I need picking up...and will make me long for vacation because for the time we are together nothing else matters in the whole wide world.
This year we made it to Panama, Orlando, Chicago and NYC. I will write a post on each city later on this week and next, but here are some random pictures, the ones that while I downloaded them stood out to me... the ones that make me smile!
About this picture... well I guess that if you see her red cheeks, you can also imagine that it was about 100 degrees... but with that smile there is only one possible place she could be!
Once in Chicago, and me being an architect, we just had to run to the Bean and take as many pictures and selfies as we possibly could! it was fuuun!
Love watching them without them seeing me.... I just go into this far away world...
This park was more fun than any water park we´ve been too.... I might be exaggerating a bit but right now it just feels that way!
They ran on every inch of grass Chicago had to offer!
A concert in the park!!! I can´t tell you we listen to every note of the symphony... but it was a the best of time!
A selfie after mass at St Patrick NYC!
At the time I saw this painting on a building... everybody was hot an whining.... It magically all turned good right there!
The best of this trip.. my children, blended but embedded in me...all mine!!!
This past weekend was our Carnival holiday, which means a long weekend taking Monday and Tuesday off! Usually when we get the chance we fly to Margarita Island, a 30 minute flight, where my parents have our family vacation home.
When I was a kid, I vividly remember my grandparents house at the beach where we would all go and spend weekends and a lot of vacation time too. I remember I learned how to ride a bike there, I remember getting all dressed up with mom made customs for carnival, I remember my mom and aunts all gathered around the kitchen preparing dinner, I remember non stop playing with my cousins, and my grandfather burning leaves outside the house. Details, not many, but I do remember those were happy times, I remember closeness that still bonds our families together.
Exactly that is what now this house ¨Miel y Papelon¨ means to us. I don´t know if the girls will remember every vacation spent here, or every game they played, or how they spent hours long swinging in the hammocks or having breakfast at the table were we all fit, and how they became mermaids and dolphins one day after the other. But I am sure that the times we have spent here will forever be embedded in their hearts and minds. And once they grow up, I am sure that this memories will keep them together, because in this house cousins became friends, and aunts and uncles, parents, and grandparents became just one!
This time it was only the five of us, It is a little different when is only us, but time alone only the five of us is pretty cherished too!
what I like most about the house is that once you go in... you are still outside...
and then again... the beach... oh my! is not because is my country, but this is one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean.
Without a question life is better by the sea!
Hi! my name is Carolina Perisse de Rico, I am a stay at home architect with the biggest project ever... my girls! The oldest is 16, then I have an 14 year old, and my miracle baby who is 6. Glad you are here, hope you stay a while!
Am now a member of Communal Global!!!