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!!!
Here in Venezuela we have the Holy Week off, kind of like US¨s spring break, with the difference that is a religious holiday. But then of course, we also take advantage of the break and usually go to Margarita Island to my parents´ beach house.
Because blogging doesn´t happen in bubble, nor does life... or vacations, this one had a rough start... The week had been pretty messy, Ari got sick, with a very high fever, I could tell she had a throat infection and an ear ache... to make matters worse, she would not by any means take any type of medicine. Took her to the doctor Tuesday morning, and she had what I thought she had, the problem was that we couldn´t get her to take her antibiotics, the solution was to inject her three days in a row. It might sound like a drastic solution... but trust me, this two year old has the will of a gladiator! So with Ari being sick, plus real life, I had no time preparing in peace for our trip. That led me to not printing the plane tickets until the taxi was waiting outside... It was 1 pm, and according to my wonderful memory, our flight was at 4 pm, I really thought I had checked online our plane tickets several times and our departure time was 4:00 pm... when we got in the cab to drive to the airport I looked down at the tickets once again and realized our flight was at 14:00 hrs... which meant I had really messed up here and we were never going to get on time to the airport. Real life. Luckily for me, Gabriel maintained his cool (am still wandering how he did it!), and even though we missed our original flight and all the planes to the Island were overbooked, we were able to pull some strings and boarded at 7pm. It was a very stressful afternoon, the girls wanted to kill me, I am sure Gabriel did too, but as it turns out, luck was on our side and we made it to the Margarita!
Margarita Island, and my parents beach house ¨Miel y Papelon¨ is a tropical paradise for me! Here I promise you that I spend the days just breathing in God’s majestic views, and breathing in life. The sounds of the waves, of the cool breeze, the continuous laughter of the kids muffled by the sound of the ocean is all the fuel I need to realize once again that I am living the dream!
And trust me, as beautiful as this island is, is not paradise because of that, is paradise because here my girls grow as sisters, they become sisters to their cousins, they become friends for life, I find my sister again, and my mom and dad aside from really being the greatest grandparents in the whole world, are able to be the very best for ¨25¨ hours a day! So as you can see.... yes, this is paradise!
Here as my dad said.... ¨Ari found herself a new slave¨!!!
Memories at the beach.. many... but then there are the memories at the beach house, and those might not make as pretty pictures, but am sure they might make for prettier memories.
Every morning we wake up to the voice of many excited kids .... sometimes of an excited grandpa waiting for company. And even though I am not much of a morning person, waking up to this sounds and the smell of fresh made arepas in the outside kitchen, and a table full of my loves just makes for a perfect morning!
This last picture is not of this vacation but I didn´t take one of all of us sitting at the table this time.
Evenings at Miel y Papelon...
fancy dinners with not so fancy plastic plates!
Waiting for Abeyo to get home from buying the day´s catch for dinner... this is so cute!
These little two.... there are many types of love... their love... well it just makes your heart bigger! Pali is the only boy in the house, and he has our hearts with his kindness, sweetness and love, and then because I think he looks a lot like me, well.... I tend to play mom to a boy whenever he is with me, and while on vacation that happens for the whole time!
On Palm Sunday we went to Church and then went for some ice cream at the mall
This is our stop for Cocada everyday after the beach... Cocada is a very typical drink, kind of a coconut smoothy made of coconut and coconut milk! It is soooo good! We also have hand made coconut ice cream sold at the beach in its very own shell, and you can also buy coconut water straight from the coconut, right on the sand!
For some sightseeing I exchanged my tween for the sweestest nephew you could ask for!!!
and of course the best of the best.... real life love, in front of the camera or behind, perfect smiles, real hugs, sun kissed girls who couldn´t love each other a little bit more!
To me, the smiles of these 6 children is what makes this vacation and the captured memories from it even more special. I'll look back at all these moments where kids are smiling and waves are breaking and cheeks are sun kissed red, hair is beautifully messy and salty, and I'll know that this little part of this puzzle, is good, it was easy but also it was hard earned.... because family, although it looks easy and beautiful in pictures, is hard work. And every memory, every smiling moment, every great picture, every vacation, every beach trip to Margarita, is hard work... with the best reward ever, a heart full of love and memories to piece all of us together!
Have a great week!!!!
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 13, then I have an 11 year old, and now I am starting again with our three year old happiest toddler ever. Glad you are here, hope you stay a while!
Am now a member of Communal Global!!!