Saturday, May 30, 2015

Chicago, New York, South Bend, Oh My! (Part 1)

We took our first vacation as a family of 5 this week. My mom joined us in our journey across the North Eastern United States. Her side of the family comes from Western NY and visiting them was our main purpose for the vacation.

We loaded up our new Chrysler Town and Country on Friday April 24th and headed for our first destination, Chicago IL.

Josh had to work Friday so we didn't get on the road till about 3 which with all the stops we had to make for the wee ones, put us into our hotel late that night around 10p. After a little rest (kids didn't sleep well) we headed out Saturday morning to spend the day seeing some of what the windy city had to offer.

First we headed to the Lincoln Park Zoo near Downtown Chicago. It was a bit raining that day so the zoo was nearly empty but we still had fun looking at some of their beautiful animals.









The girls got to build magnet monkey/apes. They were asked to build the one they thought would live in the tropical rainforest and Kiara chose the correct one.






















They made friends with a monkey.


Khloe was excited to be in the "rainforest"!

Hanging with the fish

I promise she had more fun that she is letting on in this photo!

See there is her beautiful smile!

After hanging at the zoo a few hours it was time for lunch, we enjoyed a picnic lunch...in the van!
Next we headed down to the Navy Pier, getting to drive through Chicago's magnificent mile.








We spent the next several hours at the wonderful Navy Pier. Like I said it was a rainy day but the sun did come out for a bit and it didn't rain very hard while we were there. However they are remodeling the entire pier so there was construction stuff everywhere. Didn't make for the photos I had hoped for but still took plenty anyways.





 Inside the piers "mall" we visited the "Amazing Chicago Funhouse Maze". This place did not disappoint! I found a groupon online ahead of time which made the reasonably priced tickets really cheap!
 The mirror maze was so much fun and was actually quite difficult. Once we found the door out there were a few other things to look at on the way out, like this "Chicago made the first... mirror"
 After the maze there were two games we played as family. The first, we split into two teams, the room was divided and had lights that you had to run all over and hit as they light up. Green team killed! We may have been divided really unfairly though...Daddy was with Khloe and Kayla, against mommy, grandma Gigi and Kiara!

 This was the second game, even more fun. Each person picks their own color and as they light up around the room you run around and hit your color. Great exercise too!

The next day we packed up, took a quick dip in the pool and got on the road about 12pm. That was the longest of all our drives, we pulled into Ellicottville NY at 2am! Granted we lost an hour, that was still 13 hrs on the road and we all felt it! My mother stayed with my grandfather and his wife while we stayed in the ministry house.

Monday we spent the day relaxing in the huge ministry house we were staying in, that the St Paul's Lutherans church offers travelers and spent some time with my grandpa Seeley visiting the New York state park, Alligany Park. Spring hadn't quite sprung up there yet but the views were still pretty cool.








 At the park they have like a visitors lodge that the kids enjoyed seeing.






My grandfather lives in a town called Great Valley, here are a few photos from a look out point over near his town.






On Tuesday we headed to the small town of silver creek where my grandmother used to live and I spent time growing up. I showed my family a few of the places that I had memories of and then we headed to another small town where we spent the evening bbqing with my second cousin Denise and her husband Kevin and a few other relatives.


Part 2 coming soon..