I read about the Christkindlmarket in Chicago a year ago, and penciled it on my calendar as a reminder of something I wanted to do. I live in a sea of scribbles, with about 1 out of every 100 inspirations ever coming to life. But 12 months later, after much thought and planning, I found our family enjoying an unusually warm, late evening breeze, holding a cup of hot spiced cider, right in the center of the Christkindlmarket in Chicago last weekend. It was downright lovely. While it’s probably not even a tenth the size of the actual Christkindlmarket in Nuremburg, the Chicago Market holds a delicious array of European crafts and food, straight from artisans traveling far from home. If you can navigate the crowds, it’s an absolute treat of eye-candy.
We had seamless travel, containing many adventures in the balmy weather (what?!). I had to peel off my coat walking back from the Market Saturday night. I was overheating. In Chicago. Crossing the river. In DECEMBER. Global warming ain’t just an ice cap running into a river in Egypt folks. It’s a heat wave in Chicago. In DECEMBER. That’s akin to hell freezing over…but I digress. We took in the the Museum of Science and Industry, along with the Charlie Brown/Charles Schultz exhibit. The girls will tell you we ate at the world’s coolest McDonald’s. That part is true. You don’t run into a 2 story behemoth of glass that has a patisserie upstairs paired with the golden arches too often. We attended the Winter Festival at Navy Pier. After deciding “ice cream for lunch” wasn’t Daddy’s best plan (everyone was exhausted and cranky shortly after inhaling his plan), we ended up spending a lazy hour (or two) at a great joint called “The Local”. If you would have told me that someday I’d chill out with my children, eating yummy cheeseburgers and sweet potato fries, while listening to 80′s tunes at a Pub in downtown Chicago, I would have LAUGHED. And then choked on my own spit. But that’s exactly what happened, and it was AwEsOmE (make your voice warble up and down…because all the other ways are WRONG, that’s why).
Sara and Kelly will grow up, and they’ll remember this trip very differently than I will. I can hear them now at age 20, “Hey, remember that time we went to Chicago and stayed at the great hotel with a pool? And we swam, and swam, and watched movies curled up on the couch in the hotel room, and there was that wicked cool McDonald’s? And Sara stuck her face in her cupcake and hot chocolate at the same time, and you bought us those stuffed animals at Disney, and Daddy let us eat ice cream for lunch? Remember that great trip?”
Um…well, yes girls, but don’t you remember climbing the rock wall? And watching live chicks hatch? And you drove a submarine? And learned how to draw and spin a zoetrope? And those cupcakes weren’t just any cupcakes. We ate at Magnolia’s. Magnolia’s girls. Mommy had waited years to eat at Magnolia’s. The festival was full of amazing German food and unique art?
OK, fine. Daddy let you eat ice cream for lunch in Chicago. Agreed: ice cream + pool = awesome-coated-kid-loving-awesome. But just for the record, we DID see some SIGHTS…shutting up now…starting to sound like my own parents…