Monday, August 6, 2012

Traveling to Chicago: The Generational Way!

When I was a little kid, travelling usual involved towing a trailer, popping a tent, eating food no one really enjoyed eating, food rations, fighting with my brother, breakdowns on the side of the road, and many odd adventures.  We never flew in an airplane.  We rarely stayed in a hotel room.  Oh, the stories I could tell.  We haven't gone camping with our kids, yet.  Kevin did not camp as a kid.  But, I am working on the three of them.  Eventually, we are going to get some camping gear.  But, we do enjoy travelling and exploring.  However, given the strange experiences I had growing up, I did not want to do my children a disservice of growing up "normal."  

Last week, spur of the moment, my parents and I planned a quick trip to Chicago to reunited my girls with my niece.  Yeah, my brother and sister-in-law were there, too.  No, we did not fly.  No, we did not even rent a mini van.  We all climbed into a Honda Accord.  My dad drove.  Mom and I took turns sitting in the backseat in between the girls.  My children were much better behaved when my mom was in the backseat.  When I was back there, Dad said, "I feel like we are travelling with three kids."  Yep, I am that kind of mom.  The trip went smoother than I expected.  I kind of felt like I riding in the car with the Waltons.  Mimi even learned how to tie her shoes!  Oh, how can I forget????  We also traveled with our furry friend, Rocko, who split his time between the front and back seat.  

Hello Poochie!!!!
 Once we got to Chicago, we played.  The cousins played and the adults played with the little ones.  My dad and I took Mimi and Violet to the Museum of Science and Industry.  Mimi went on the Coal Mine Tour and the tour of the U-505 Sub.  Violet took a nap!  I am serious.  She took a nap with my dad on a somewhat remote staircase.  She did however enjoy sitting in a jet engine with her sister.  

Believe it or not, they climbed in there unprompted.  
Then Saturday arrived and it was time to head home.  Not via the tightly packed Honda, but by Amtrack.  It was so much fun, despite my fears of travelling alone with two little girls by train.  My brother drove us to Union Station.  The girls were very worried we were going to miss our train.  Once we made it too the tracks, I held the hands of two nervous girls as we walked in between massive Amtrack trains.  The engines were on.  The trains were loud.  They made loud belching sounds which startled the girls.  They were very, very brave and very, very small next to the trains.  We settled in - Mimi was thrilled but Violet was still a little unsure.  

First moments on the train!
After about 15 minutes of sitting on the train, the conductor announced engine trouble.  The train needed to be shut down and locomotives needed to be switched.  While sitting on the dark, hot train the girls asked lots of questions and much to my surprised, behaved.  When the lights came back on, Violet exclaimed, "Yeah!  The lights are on!  That was so much fun!"  We spent about seven hours on the train with only two sisterly fights.  I  bought Vi a ham sandwich but she insisted on eating my caprese sandwich.  Grrr!  We survived and we all had fun.  Now, I keep fielding the question, "When can we go on the train again?  Can we do it next week?"  No more trains this summer but we do have two more destinations left before school starts in the fall.    

We love the train!

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