So, after the trip to England that put the fear of God into us concerning family travel, it took 9 weeks before we'd get back on an airplane together. But last weekend (July 26 to be precise), the three of us enjoyed a 2 hour flight (included a missed approach - a first for the Giraffe) to Chicago. The flight was easy and we had a great stay.
The difference this time was a healthy child who was a great travel companion. Chicago has one huge advantage over Montreal if you are the Giraffe - more buses. I know I have mentioned this before but he's my son and he has developed the same deep unhealthy interest in public transport (though fortunately at these oil prices, not yet in airlines).
We had a great time catching up with friends, including attending a third birthday party for Kalaya, blowing bubbles with Ailani, meeting Lilah, and going to foodlife with Charlotte. We had a Giraffe who seemed to enjoy all this and slept consistently later than he has ever done in his life (6:45-7:30 every day) which really made it feel like a vacation.
The longer it has been since we lived there, the more that Chicago trips seem like holidays rather than returns. But of course they are holidays with a lot of social interaction and the more intimate knowledge that extended exposure to a city provides. I continue to read about Chicago on various web sites and obviously having friends also allows us to keep up with life there. As we enjoy food, it's a great city to visit. We missed out on good Thai food this time, but we did have brunch at Frontera Grill (I'd recommed it but not with a tired child) and Sweets and Savories (this restaurant came highly recommended by LTH Forum but I found brunch disappointing - it was good, but it was expensive and it wasn't good enough). We also managed to have dinner at Foodlife in Water Tower Place which was is a food court that is better than it needs to be (that's intended as a compliment, not a criticism), and at Volo in Roscoe Village which was very good but not exactly the Giraffe's taste (we went at 5:00pm on a Tuesday so his antics only disturbed the staff, as we were the only customers).
And we had beautiful weather which meant we enjoyed time in Seneca Playlot Park (which is a great downtown playground that seems realtively unknown) and the Giraffe loved his first visit to Crown Fountain in Millenium Park. I still find the amount by which the city of Chicago overspent on that park to be incredible but it is a wonderful amenity for downtown Chicago and I suspect it will bring in enough revenue to the city and its retailers/hotels/restaurants to justify all that.