My friends, the moms of the P. family and the H-S family, thought it would be fun to take everyone downtown to see the windows and the Cristkindle market, so that's what we did yesterday morning. J. was my hero and offered to go with us which meant that he would also drive our van and find parking for it. I have taken many small children on the El before, but between the cold and the fact it would cost as much for everyone to ride the El as to pay for parking, it just didn't seem like my idea of a good time. Of course, trying to find parking for the giant van didn't sound like much fun, either, so I happily took J. up on his offer to chauffeur.
We all met downtown and J. even found some street parking (wonder of wonders, but it was a good thing because non of the lots will take the van). We began by looking at the windows of Marshall Field's. (Yeah, I know it's Macy's now. I'm still not happy about it and steadfastly refuse to call it by it's current name. I still call the tall building the Sear's Tower, too.) The children liked looking at them, but I have to say they were pretty disappointing. M. was muttering in the background something along the lines of, "I could do a better job than that... and they had a huge budget." I think she probably could have... and done it all with recyclables. Not that I"m biased or anything.
Due to our previous success of taking dozens of children through IKEA without mishap combined with the balmy 24 degree temperature, we then decided to troop up to the 8th floor to see the giant Christmas tree in the Walnut Room. Here is our group. Each of us were missing at least a couple of people and I had an extra, so the numbers are a little off, but there were still a lot of us. I think the littlest people were getting pretty warm because they were bundled in snow suits and we wouldn't let them undress for fear of losing pieces.
From there, we trooped back downstairs via 8 floors of escalators and headed to the Christkindle Market that sprouts up from Daley Plaza. It was fun to walk around and see the different things for sale and we shared some hot pretzels. When it was time to leave, J. and I decided that it would probably be easier to have everyone just walk to the car because many tired children just standing around and waiting is not always a good thing. They were all troopers. It was a fairly long walk (maybe 7 blocks?) to get to where the car was and they all managed to make it. It helped that some older children were willing to give the littles piggyback rides and crossing the bridge across the Chicago River was diverting. Even H. kept up and didn't complain about being tired. She is so much stronger than she used to be.
So now I think we're done with fun family outings until Christmas and I can finally focus on getting to my to do list.... I hope.