Chicago 2012

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This is going to be a bit of a long one. Two years ago, we took a trip to Chicago to see my cousin Peter get married. We found out recently that it was his sister’s turn, and we were excited to return with kids that might be a little more suited to all the travel and running around. We had a lot of fun, a bit of fighting, and took plenty of pictures to share all around.

The week began innocently enough.

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What? That seems innocent enough to me.

Quickly, though, we got down to business. Bags were packed, checklists were checked, and cars were loaded to the brim. All of this, of course, goes undocumented with photos because you don’t get free hands when you’re carting everything through the airport for two kids.

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Okay, I managed to snap a few when we sat down to wait for the plane.


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That’s the best I could get out of him.

If you’re wondering about Max’s nose and upper lip, he decided that the day before the trip would be a good time to take a face plant onto the sidewalk in front of school. Minor injuries were sustained, but liberal applications of bandages got us through the weekend without much fuss. We managed to board and get in the air without issue (Owen thought it was all kinds of fun) and waited patiently for the captain to notify us that we could turn on our portable electronics.

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This photo could have been taken at any point between then and the time they told us to put them away.


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Ditto.


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This is what happens when the plane lands and you’re in rows 28 and 29.

The rest of the day was hit or miss. Evidently we’d planned our vacation right in the middle of a massive heat wave, so we had to keep a low profile for much of the rest of the day. We wandered around Navy Pier for a little bit until the crowds got to be too much to handle with a stroller, then headed back to the hotel to rest. Our plan was to have some dinner, then find a spot where we could watch the July 4th fireworks display.

I won’t go into too much detail on the disaster that was our dinner, but it involved a water bottle, a change of clothes, and an hour-and-a-half wait for food. We actually wound up getting everything to go and rushing down to the pier so we could catch the tail end of the show.

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Just barely made it.


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Everyone seemed to have a good time, despite their hunger.

When the show wound down, we quickly headed back to the hotel and ate what we could before the boys went to sleep.

When we woke up in the morning, we had to make a few modifications to our plan. We’d originally thought about going to the zoo, but the temperatures outside made us seek refuge elsewhere.

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The aquarium has air conditioning!


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Plus, lots of stuff to look at.


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Like this turtle!


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And these touch screens, which we had to tell him were less interesting than the fish.


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And this beluga whale.


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And this penguin!


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Oh hey, I remember that guy.

The boys, of course, couldn’t wait to get to the play space with the yellow submarine.

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A whole place filled with underwater wonders, and this is what gets them excited.


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Seriously. Happiest he was all day.

When we went in to buy our tickets, there was a giant mural that informed our children (Max, specifically, since he can read pretty well now) that they had a Dora the Explorer 4D movie on offer. We gave in and paid a little extra so the boys could have bubbles blown in their faces and experience 3D for the first time.

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Really, it was so I could get this photo.


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This one too.


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When we came out, Max spotted this guy and demanded we get a photo with him.

The rest of the day was much less photo-worthy. There was a bit of a mishap before lunch that left me half-mostly-blind (Owen somehow managed to knock out one of my contact lenses) but we managed to make it through with as little fuss as we could. That didn’t extend to the rest of the day, which the boys filled with as much fuss as possible. Luckily we were only there until the following morning, as we were headed out of town to join the rest of the family in Lake Forest.

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Max was very excited about that for some reason.


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Owen was happy to just hang around coloring and playing.

It wasn’t too long before we got a chance to visit with the extended family.

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This took the form of a trip to the lake.


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Max decided this was “play with lake rocks” time.


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Owen refused to do anything but cling to one of us. Can’t blame him, as the water was pretty cold.


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We all got cleaned up and headed back, and Max wanted to hold hands with Nan.

Everyone enjoyed a nice lunch at aunt Molly’s house (thanks again for everything!) and somehow I got so caught up in talking to my relatives that I didn’t catch any more photos of the kids while we were there. I did, however, pick the camera back up after naptime.

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We had to keep telling them to get out of the hot tub.


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Christy also comandeered the camera for a bit.


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Uncle Bob continued the family tradition of throwing little kids around the pool.


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Then the kids stole all the pool noodles.

After we all dried off, everyone settled in to enjoy some nice deep dish pizza and get some much needed rest.

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Until far too early the next morning, of course.

We had a wedding to go to in the evening, but not much to occupy us for the rest of the day. Temperatures had managed to come down a little bit, so we decided to revisit our earlier plan.

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To the zoo!


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Max spent much of this time bonding with his cousins.


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One in particular.


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Owen did the same.


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He also seemed pretty interested in the zebras.


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We did manage to get a half-decent brotherly photo.


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Plus one of these, which we really should get more often.

By the time we made it through the first half of the zoo, everyone was starting to get a bit tired. Nan treated everyone to some time sitting down. Prepare for a deluge of carousel photos!

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Max and the elephant!


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Collyn and the cheetah!


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Owen and the gorilla!


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RyanPaul and the frog!


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Kyle and the animal whose ears are in quite a bit of pain!

After that, it was a bit of a blur. We walked through the upper part of the zoo pretty quickly, and Owen started to give in to fatigue. I managed to get him to look at one last animal before he finally dozed off.

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See? We went to a zoo! Animals!


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And that, as they say, was that.

At long last it was time for us to do what we came all that way to do. At the latest possible moment, we threw on all of our nice clothes and headed out to a nearby farm for the wedding.

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People seemed pretty happy with the hats.


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The boys tolerated them well enough.


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We even managed to get an obligatory family portrait.


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The boys were well behaved for the ceremony.


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Granted, they had plenty of entertainment.


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We tried to get a full family portrait, but…well, you know.


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Thankfully, we were able to capture a photo of all the Larkin men together.


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Then I snagged an obligatory shot of the bride and her brothers.


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Then we had ourselves some dinner, topped with plenty of cheese.


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So. Much. Cheese.


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The long weekend started to take its toll on Owen.


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I took him on a walk to check out the sunset, but that was about all we could get out of him.


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With sunset, of course, comes dancing!


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I’m told that he cut in when she was dancing with her brother. Stinker.


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As the night went on, Owen became less and less able to keep up.

Then, once we loaded everyone up in the car…

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Out.


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Out.

Max actually nodded off in mid-sentence. I guess he was more tired than he was letting on.

It was quite the trip for everyone. The boys had a good time despite some bad behavior, and Max spent the next couple of days asking if he could go back and dance with Eliza every day. Everyone made it home safe and sound, and we were glad that we had a chance to see all the family and participate in the joyous celebration.

If you want to check out the rest of the pictures, you can find general trip photos here and wedding-specific photos here. See you next time!

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