Sunday, September 21, 2008

Amtrak, American Girl, and the best time Ever

In celebration of Miss Heidi turning 4, I planned a getaway to Chicago for this past weekend. I invited my mom and one of my Aunts to go along with us. We had plans to go to the American Girl Place and I was super excited.

We got up bright and early and headed to the Amtrak station in Effingham to catch our train Friday morning. Heidi brought Sally's stroller and as such a good mommy pushing her everywhere.Heidi had her very own ticket for the trainInside the station waiting patiently for the train to comeOf course, Rodney came tooAunt B stopped after work to tell us bye before we leftShe took a picture of all of us before we left
(notice the FABULOUS luggage! It was a big hit. I got lots of comments on it from people in Chicago. I felt super trendy. SarahSellz can hook you up. She's has the best selection of purses in town)
Aunt B also brought Heidi a dounut which she really appreciated.The train departed on time and we were on our way!The train ride went really quickly. I was super impressed with the Amtrak and will defintely ride it again. Heidi and I slept most of the way up.
Soon we were in Chicago and Heidi strapped Sally back in her stroller and we were off to hit the streets of ChicagoI had never been to Chicago's Union Station before, so that was pretty neatWe headed off to get a taxi to take us to our hotel. Heidi thought that the cab stunk and held her nose the whole way to the hotel. I have to say it didn't smell great, although I was able to refrain from holding my noseWe arrived at our hotel. Four Points by Sheraton. Oh My, I would recommend this hotel to anyone. The staff treated us so well during our stay. I can usually find something bad about everything, and this hotel deserves nothing but praise. AND, nothing beats having a doorman and a bellhopWe headed up to our room on the 6th floor to check out our room.Just a few minutes later Kareem the bellhop brought our bags and brought Baby Sally her own bed and cookies and milk for Heidi.Sally loved her bedMy Mom and Aunt Barbara brought decorations to have Heidi a mini party. She was super excited about all the princess decorations and her cakeThis is one of my favorite pictures of the weekendAunt Barbara was so sweet to bring Heidi a cake all that way, and the icing melted off into a big puddle. It wasn't pretty, but it sure tasted great!We didn't have our party yet though, because we wanted to head out to American Girl Place as fast as we could.Mom and Heidi both enjoyed the walk. It was only 2 blocks awayFinally, we were there! Gorgeous!We had to stop for a quick picture before we headed inHeidi was super impressed with their window displaysOne of our first orders of buisness when we arrived was to get Heidi into the portrait studio to have her picture put on an American Girl "magazine" that we could take home.
This is another one of my favorite picturesHere we are waiting to get into the picture studio.Finally they called our name and Heidi and Sally were Stars!After our modeling session, we headed upstairs to the Bitty Baby room. It was so wonderful. Every little detail was perfect. It felt like you were walking into a nursery.Heidi immediately picked out a few things that she wanted. Some pajamas and some slippersI was disappointed that there wasn't a "Just Like You" doll that looked like Heidi. Otherwise, we would have brought one home.Heidi did pick out a necklace and a hat that my mom and Aunt Barbara bought herThe entire store was decorated beautifullyHeidi modeling her new hatThe Bitty Baby roomHeidi being sillyWe went downstairs to see all of the impressive historical doll displays. I LOVED thenm all. Heidi is too little for them though. Maybe in a few yearsWhen we were done shopping, we headed over to a park area to kill about 30 minutes before we had to check in for our dinner reservations. Heidi was playing with Coconut the dog. One of the things that I bought at the store.Heidi had fun throwing money into the fountain and chasing pigeons.Then we headed to the American Girl Cafe. (on the second story of American Girl Place)It was my favorite part of the day. The wait staff was wonderful and it was decorated so beautifully in black, white and pink, complete with flower lampshades and buttons on the backs of the chairsSally was given a highchair to sit in and a mug to drink out ofHeidi chose a smoothie as her drink. I had pink lemonade (of course)Our 1st course was sticky buns (no picture), our second course, was fruit kabobs, humus, fresh vegetables, and baked redskin potatoesFor our 3rd course, Mom and Barbara had the stuffed chickenHeidi and I had the american girl pastaOur 4th course was desert. A cake, a cookie and chocolate pudding in a flower pot complete with a daisy sticking out of the topHeidi loved it!After dinner, we were finally done shopping and headed back to the hotel to open the presents that mom and Barbara had brought her and to cut her cake (which no one was hungry for)Then it was time to go swimming!And then bubble bath time!Then Heidi got Sally dressed for bed and tucked her inand ate her cookies and milkWe woke up to room service at 8:00 a.m. Mmmmm omelets, and bacon, and cranberry juiceI was exhausted and Heidi did not want her picture taken that early in the morning.The room service lady found out it was Heidi's birthday and wished her a happy birthday.A few minutes later, there was a knock on the door. She had gone to the kitchen and rushed up with a cinnamon bun for Heidi. What a BIG SURPRISE!Heidi blew her candle out! I was so impressed with the service at the Four PointsSoon, Heidi was dressed and ready to start the dayHeidi had to have her picture taken with Phillip the doorman after he hailed our morning taxiThen we rode the Metra Bus to Oak Forest to see my cousin and her new apartmentShe made everybody lunch and of course, there was more birthday cakeOn the way back into the city, Heidi had to sit next to a stranger. She cried, but got over it. There weren't 2 seats together so we had to sit across from one anotherOur 2nd day flew by and it was time to head to Union Station to catch our train home. Heidi lost Coconut the dog somewhere in Union Station. Just on the off chance someone turned it in, I checked with Lost and Found and I'll be damned if someone hadn't turned it in. I was SHOCKED, and Heidi was thrilled!Heidi and Coconut (dog) and Licorice (cat) on the train ride homeHeidi was exhausted and fell asleep as soon as the train started moving.She woke up with about 30 minutes left

I had such a fantastic time with Heidi this weekend. We'll have to get away once a year and go shopping in Chicago while the boys stay home. I think we may have just started a tradition.




Mandy K said...

I surprised you didn't stop and watch the very exciting Bears/Bucs game.

Rebekah said...

wow, is all i can say! it looks amazing! everything looked PERFECT! Payton and Keely can't wait to go!

Anonymous said...

That place is just magical!!!

Jace said...

Looks like you had a realy great weekend. Lots of great pics. By far the train is the best way to get to Chicago. Also, for a guy, I must admit that that American Girl place was quite an experience. Thanks for posting!

lindemrm said...

I do have one really bad thing to say about the hotel. It was horribly expensive. Thus the great service.

Sarah D said...

Looks like a girl's (be they 4 or 44) dream come true!!

Perhaps you will take pity on the boy Mom's (Sarah and Holly) and invite us along next time!!

Sarah D said...

--by the way, your luggage looked great, but your Mom looked SO nice with her new purse. I am glad she liked it.

Sugar Sweet Thoughts said...

The trip looks like it was sooo much fun! Great pics, too!

Purrfect Polkadot said...

I love all of these photos. I took my girls to the American Place in New York a few years ago and they loved it.

I would love to share some of these photos with the readers at my site. Would you be okay with that?

amberlindemann said...

I'd be honored....thanks