Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Spring Break

Last July the Hobbs moved to St. Louis to finish Jason's last year of training before he becomes an "official" doctor. With St. Louis being so close to some of the church history sites, we said that we'd try to visit them before they moved. We decided to make that happen during our spring break. With Easton coming in July, we won't be able to do much travel this summer, so this was our chance to go do something before he comes.

We waited until Tuesday of our spring break to leave because flights in the middle of the week are much cheaper than weekend flights. We also flew to Chicago instead of St. Louis because flights to Chicago were $60 cheaper per person and Diana had said that we should see Chicago while we were so close. We were supposed to leave at about 1:00 pm, but about a week before we left we got an email saying our flight was cancelled and we'd have to leave at about 8:00 am, fly to Pheonix, and then fly to Chicago. So our travel day started a lot earlier than we had planned. I love this picture of Logan hugging Corbyn on the shuttle from our car to the airport.

Other than a tight connection in Phoenix, it was an uneventful travel day. The kids did great on the flights as always. We got to Chicago around 5:00 pm. We got our rental car and checked into our hotel. Then we found a Denny's nearby for dinner. It just so happened that kids eat free on Tuesdays at Denny's, so that worked out well. 

After dinner the kids and Rog swam in the hotel pool.

Then the kids enjoyed some cable TV before bed. We don't have TV at home, so it was a novel concept for them.

Wednesday morning we got up and ate the free breakfast at the hotel. Then we headed into Chicago to enjoy some of the sights. We had planned to start at the Willis Tower Skydeck (2nd tallest building in America), but were unprepared for how much parking in Chicago would be. We drove into a parking garage and realized that it was completely outrageous (like $50 for a few hours), so we drove out, but ended up having to pay $6 because 0-20 minutes cost $6! We ended up finding parking under the Cloud Gate Sculpture that wasn't quite as expensive, but after that experience I will never complain about the cost of parking in Portland again. We planned to walk to the Willis Tower from there later, but didn't end up making it there.

Cloud Gate is one of those iconic Chicago things that everyone does and it didn't disappoint.

From there we walked the 2 miles to Navy Pier to have lunch at Giordano's. 

We put our names in for a table and ordered our pizza. (The pizzas take about 45 minutes to cook, so they start your pizza cooking while you wait for a table.) We hadn't planned on doing anything else on the pier, but since we had 45 minutes to kill, we took a ride on the Centennial Wheel. There were good views of the Chicago Skyline and Lake Michigan from up there and the kids enjoyed it.

While we were up there we got a text saying our table was ready, so as soon as we got off, we booked it back to Giordano's. 

We had never had a real Chicago deep dish pizza before and didn't really know what to expect. I'm usually not a huge fan of a ton of cheese on my pizza, so I was worried I wouldn't like it, but we all ended up loving it! One medium pizza was definitely enough for our family. It was very filling!

Our friends, the Yates, both served in the Navy, so we took this picture for them.

After walking the 2 miles back to our car, we decided we'd better start the drive to St. Louis. We didn't get to do everything we wanted in Chicago, but what we did do was a lot of fun! We stopped for a light dinner at McDonald's somewhere along the way and let the kids play in the play place. The Hobbs' kids had waited up for us, so we were glad we left when we did!

Thursday morning we took it easy and the kids enjoyed playing with the Hobbs' toys. Blake had spring break the week before, so he was at school and Skyler had preschool that morning.

After lunch we went to Faust Park (recommended by Emily Pugh) and let the kids play.

Then we went into the Butterfly House there. They had masks the kids could decorate (from Mardi Gras).

It was really hot and humid in there (I think they said 80 degrees and 80% humidity) and by the time we took this picture Corbyn was melting.

I think this was my first time in a butterfly biosphere, so I enjoyed it as much as the kids! Also, I spy a 22-week belly. 

It was fun to see all the cocoons with butterflies waiting to emerge. 

And of course all the butterflies flying around!

Tired Logan! (We also saved money on the trip by getting a car that only sat 5. Last time we'll be able to do that!) Corbyn was a good sport and let Logan sleep on him a few times.

That night we ordered food from a pizza and pasta place that Diana and Jason really like. It's not particularly kid friendly, so Jason picked up the food for the adults and we ate it at Chick-fil-A while the kids ate there and played in the play place.

Friday we went to City Museum. The Hobbs had raved about it, but I was kind of dreading it. Crawling through small tunnels didn't sound like something I would enjoy as a pregnant lady. It's one of those places that is fun for the kids and mostly just tolerated by adults. It was also incredibly busy which we weren't expecting because like I said, Blake had his spring break the week earlier. Somewhere nearby must have had it that week though. Roger kept up with the big kids (Corbyn, Blake, and Peyton) while Diana and I hung out with the littles. (Skyler, Logan, and Grey).

When we first got there the big kids and Rog waited in line for over an hour to go on the famous 10-story slide. They all said it wasn't worth the wait!

They enjoyed the rest of it much more.

We came back together at the end and did some stuff all together before leaving.

Proof that I was there - bad attitude and all.

We had planned to go to the Gateway Arch after that, but we had stayed longer at City Museum than we had planned and Jason saw that tickets were sold out for the rest of the day. It was cloudy and kind of rainy, so the arch wouldn't have been as fun that day anyway.

Instead we went to dinner at Pappy's Smokehouse (recommended to us by Bill and Mariah).

Then Diana took me to Clementine's Creamery for some ice cream while Rog and Jason took the kids home. It's similar to Salt and Straw in quality and it didn't disappoint.

Saturday morning we made the drive to Nauvoo. It was our worst weather day which was unfortunate. It was very chilly and rainy, but we made the most of it. We started at the Visitor's Center.

We left the kids with the Hobbs and went to the temple. We had called ahead and scheduled to do sealings, but we were a little late, so we decided to do initiatories instead. When we got there all the workers were at the veil, so they had us go to the Celestial Room first. Then we came back down and did initiatories.

This beautiful statue is right in front of the temple.

While we were in the temple, the Hobbs took the kids on a carriage ride. Fortunately they had lots of blankets there to bundle up in.

After we finished in the temple, we switched with the Hobbs and they went in the temple while we took the kids on a wagon ride. It took us around the historic part of town and they told us about the different buildings that were there when the saints lived in Nauvoo.

After the wagon ride, we went into the Family Living Center. There they demonstrate different things about life back when the saints were living in Nauvoo. Little Grey was too cute on this sheep.

We got to try bread that had been cooked in this stove and then we walked over to the bakery and got a free (tiny) cookie.

When the Hobbs were finished in the temple we drove over to the place where Hyrum, Joseph, and Emma Smith are buried.

As well as Joseph's parents.

We stopped at the Trail of Hope where the saints left their city and lined up to cross the river, not knowing what was ahead of them. 

After that we had to leave Nauvoo to make it to Carthage before the Carthage Jail closed for the day. There was a nice tour there and that was my favorite part of the day. It was crazy to be in the room where the Prophet Joseph and Hyrum Smith sealed their testimonies with their blood.

This is the window Joseph fell out of after he was shot.

And this is the door the mob shot through.

Logan actually fell asleep during the tour and Rog got to carry him around, so there's no way he's going to remember it, but I hope these two will have some small memory of it.

The spirit was so strong here. 

We got dinner at Dairy Queen and enjoyed some creamsicle-dipped ice cream cones before making the drive back to St. Louis.

On Sunday we went to church and then just had a chill day at the Hobbs' house. We went on a walk, played games...

And watched the kids play a game of laser tag in the backyard.

Monday morning we got an early start, so we could stop and see the Gateway Arch before driving back to Chicago. It was recently made a National Park, so I didn't want to miss seeing it.

We took the tram ride to the top where you can look out tiny windows and see the city.

The trams fit 5 people, but on the way up we had to be split up and the boys rode in one while the girls rode in a different one. On the way down we were all able to ride in the same tram.

We took just a few minutes to stop in the museum and see an exhibit about the Mormon and Oregon Trails.

Peyton is standing at the end of the Mormon Trail in Salt Lake wearing her BYU sweatshirt and I am standing at the end of the Oregon Trail in Oregon wearing my Oregon sweatshirt.

On the drive back to Chicago we stopped at Culver's for lunch. We loved Culver's when it came to Spanish Fork and miss it since it is not in Oregon. 

Their concrete flavor of the day was peanut butter cup and most of us got that. It was good, but I regretted not getting a strawberry one instead.

By the time we made it to the airport we had finished 20 hours (out of 27 hours) of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. We had brought the CDs along, but our rental car didn't have a CD player, so I joined Audible for a month and bought it using a credit. We did a lot of driving and the kids were troopers! 

We had a flight from Chicago to Seattle and then a few hour layover before our flight to Portland. I had packed the kids pajama pants, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and the book we were reading in our carry-ons, so we could do our nighttime routine and then have the kids lay down and get a few hours of sleep before our last flight. 

Of course my plan didn't work out because when we got off the plan they told us our next flight was way across the airport. We had to take a train to that terminal and walk a good ways to the gate. Then while we were working on the nighttime routine, they announced that there was a gate change and now our flight was leaving from a gate right next to the one we had gotten off of earlier. So we had to take a train back to that terminal and walk to that gate. By the time we made it there, we only had about 30 minutes before our flight, so we did scriptures and I read to the kids and then it was pretty much time to board the plane.

Peyton fell asleep on the plane, but the boys stayed awake. By the time we landed it was close to midnight. Then we had to get our bags, take the shuttle to our car, and drive home. (This is Peyton asleep on the shuttle.)

By the time we got home it was 1:00 am. We had left the Hobbs' house in St. Louis at about 8:00 am. Including the 2-hour time change, that was a 19 hour day of travel! All the kids fell asleep in the car on the drive home and went right to bed when we got home. Of course our smoke detector battery was going off when we got home and we didn't have any of that kind of battery in the house, so Rog had to go find a store that was open to buy a new one.

We let the kids sleep in a little, but I had a 10:15 am doctor's appointment that next morning, so I had to get them to school before that. Corbyn said he had some trouble concentrating while taking a test that day, but otherwise I think they survived.

It was a great trip! I'm glad we took the time to do it before the Hobbs move here this summer!