Chicago Road Trip: Too Many Hours in a Car [Southlake Family Photographer]
Well we did it. We survived a road trip with the kids to Chicago and back. A little over 2,000 miles with all of our detours and journeys. I have to first and foremost say, we did this trip 2 years ago in our car, and vowed to NEVER do it again. Much like pregnancy and child birth, as time heals your fuzzy mind you forget the pain and suffering associated with such an endeavor. We were vaguely reminded of the horror but figured we would power on and this time get smart and rent a much larger vehicle. Then, in the 11th hour, my amazing, supportive, generous, loving parents let us borrow their SUV which made the trip MUCH easier to handle. I just have to say, I moan and complain about "technology today" and kids spending too much time with screens in their face, but this trip I shut my trap. They both had a tv of their own and watched their own shows free of sibling compromise and it was GLORIOUS. We added some educational shows and made sure we took breaks for coloring, bracelet making, magnets and more. The extra space in the aisles of the car, the third row for my napping and plenty of trunk space for the amount of luggage that would only be necessary for a month long stay made this time around much more enjoyable. Don't get me wrong, there was still plenty of crying, refusal to sleep and general unpleasantness, but overall this was worlds better.
I also have to give a major shoutout to the robot space craft that displayed a hologram in your eye level of the speed limit along side your current speed, then would show a picture of the cars on either side of you to avoid crashing. The same robot also slowed your cruise control speed when it sensed a car in front of you then sped back up when it moved out of your way. Nick and I kept saying, if we had millions man, we'd totally get a robot SUV too.
We had some travel plans change along the way but we made the most of it by staying in downtown St. Louis. We've been to St. Louis a hundred times and have never actually stayed or ventured in and around the downtown area. It turned out to be a fun little detour! I had a free hotel stay to use from hotels.com (a program I HIGHLY recommend using) so I cashed in on an awesome room at the Four Seasons. We spent the day by the pool, then went for dinner and ice cream and splurged on a tiny carriage ride downtown. And I have to say, it was our first experience staying at a Four Seasons with kids and man do they do it RIGHT. We checked in post nap time with two cranky, whining kids, which didn't seem to phase the front desk AT ALL. Dude handled my situation like a pro, came over to a crying Alivia and offered her a bottle of water then brought her over to a closet and wheeled out a red wagon overflowing with toys and simply told her and Caden to pick anything out. LIKE A BOSS. Then, when we came back to our room later that night they had come with a turn down service for the kids that was truly amazing. A customized milk and cookie plate with their name written in chocolate, mini robes & slippers, and a toiletry bag for each of them. Caden told me this was his favorite place ever and didn't want to leave. Me too man.
Once we finally made it to Chicago I snapped a few shots of Alivia jumping in the hotel bed but shortly after that my camera went in it's bag and stayed there for the rest of the trip. I wish I could get better about continuing to shoot during chaos and excitement but I choose to just be in the present for those times. Plus it helps that there was a professional there for the wedding day, so I'm hoping I can just buy some of those pictures to prove, I was in fact, on this trip.
Our trip recap via Instagram