due to carter's late birthday, we opted to take a girls' weekend trip rather than have a birthday party. on the weekend before carter's actual birthday and inservice for preschool, my mom and the girls and i loaded up and headed for the mecca of american girl . . . chicago!
we left on thursday and headed to st.louis for the night. somehow, my dad and josh both thought chicago was only a couple of hours away from st.louis until the day before we left. it was then that they decided to inform me we would have to drive an additional 5+ hours the next day. and, yes, i said 5+ because i was traveling with a nursing 7 month old and an almost 5 year old that may need a potty break with very little warning.
the girls were easily entertained while we repacked to head to chicago.
en route, spencer needed to eat and my mom thought it would be good for carter to get out and run around a little at a visitors center. we exited following signs for the local visitors center. we drove for miles following all the little brown signs until we happened upon a . . . visitors center, no we never found that . . . a salvation army thrift store! so, we killed an hour and while feeding spencer in the car, i witnessed the woman in the car next to me use a breathalizer to start her car. seriously.
back on the road . . . we drove until we arrived at our hotel where we had purchased the american girl package. it included lots of special attention and monetary discounts, milk and 2 very large & very yummy chocolate chip cookies, viewing access to molly:an american girl on the home front and this . . .
how cute is that bed!! we quickly changed clothes and headed out for our evening at american girl place & cafe.
look how giddy she is standing in front of the window display.
when we checked in for dinner, they gave her this fun sticker. dinner at the cafe was quite amazing. they know how to cater to little girls, especially little girls who love their dolls.
the tablescape (ha!)
ruthie and carter seated for dinner
every course is so cute and geared towards the girls. the cinnamon rolls were a precursor to the appetizer.
carter was so appreciative through the entire evening. she kept saying, "this is the happiest day ever."
her dessert for the evening came with a little candle to help her celebrate.
their signature dessert is homemade chocolate mousse served in adorable glass flower pots with a faux white daisy.
here she is with her loot. thank goodness meme's intuition told her to insist on bringing the stroller because i have no idea how we would have gotten it all back to our hotel otherwise.
giddy and delirious in the shop
of course we had to open everything once back at the hotel. her big gifts were julie and her bed and the entire collection for her new puppy, sugar.
exhausted from a very long day.
the next day, we woke up and headed to breakfast (part of our package). we were there long enough for me to finish eating when i picked up spencer to realize she had blown out everywhere-nice. we headed back to the room to get her cleaned up but not before she helped herself . . .
once everyone was cleaned up, we headed to navy pier for the day.
some distortion in the fun house mirrors.
you cannot go to navy pier without a ride on the ferris wheel.
meme and spencer on the park bench below.
we switched for carter's ride on the carousel.
of course we brought along our new friend julie, too.
after exploring the pier, we headed inside to get some lunch and get josh popcorn.
spencer got to experience her first fry, a sweet potato fry, and she loved it.
then we headed to the children's museum. a sweet friend from preschool and on sent us a pass. now, i have to say i have not been to our children's museum in years, but this museum was a-mazing! we could have spent the entire day there easily.
this exhibit is called the block party. carter loved the band area,
the pizza oven,
and the ticket booth.upstairs in the art area, she redid someone's face to make julie. she piece the hair together to make it longer and wound it up to create her braid and gave her a straight face because she was sad she wasn't with her (she was with meme and spencer in another area.)
here she is in the water feature.
and, here is spencer waiting, or sleeping.
they had this cool shadow area. note how the "rain" is falling off the umbrella.
we had so much fun exploring. then we headed back so carter could play with all her gifts. i walked to giordano's and picked up a stuffed pizza and we enjoyed pizza and a movie.
she was whooped. we packed up the next morning to head here. i spotted this place from the interstate on the way up and looked it up online. we planned our trip home so we could walk through here at a time where we needed a break. it is a 1950s high school. they have tons of stuff in the auditorium, stage, basement and in some of the classrooms. it was so cool to walk through a building with such history. you could almost imagine the girls in their poodle skirts and the guys in their letterman jackets headed to class. (i seriously think i was born in the wrong decade!)
the only purchase that was made was for some soft serve from the giant cone outside. then we headed back home to see our boys!