Tuesday, May 26, 2015

hello, spring!

Goodbye, winter...hello, Spring! After a long, tedious winter we were dying to get outside and start enjoying the outdoors. And like always, our schedules were packed with lots of activities. Back in March Olivia and her jazz class had the opportunity to perform at half time during a basketball game at one of our local colleges. These girls have recently started performing more often and were getting ready to compete in jazz for the first time in April. These extra performances helped the girls needed get competition ready! They did a great job in front the big crowd and looked absolutely adorable!

How do you know that Spring has arrived? Spring break! We don't often take a big trip during this break from school, but we did want to do something with the girls, so...we took them to Chicago for a few days. We have been promising Olivia a visit to the American Girl store for years, so we figured it was time to pay up on that promise. Upon arriving, we immediately checked into our hotel. The girls went crazy! It was a great hotel, only a block from Michigan Ave.

We wasted no time, and headed straight to American Girl. The girls could barely contain their excitement as we approached the store. I set up an appointment with a personal shopper so that the girls could have the full experience and not feel too overwhelmed with everything. I am so glad I did that because the store was definitely overwhelming to first timers.

Our personal shopper did a great job helping Olivia pick out the doll that looked the most like her. She helped her find a few outfits and accessories to bring her more to life. The sparkle in Olivia's eye was priceless...she was simply in heaven. For a girl who was never much into dolls was suddenly in love with her new friend.

Next it was Cecilia's turn. She already had an American Girl baby that my Mom gave her for Christmas, so the goal was to find a nice outfit and a few accessories for "Baby Anna". Her attention span for browsing outfits was short lived. We quickly found something for her and moved on, with a little help from me. 

Once everything was picked out we went into a quiet room to sort through everything before making our final decisions. At this point Cece was starting to get hungry and tired. Things were going downhill quickly. Cece's mood can turn on a dime, so we knew we had to wrap things up fast.The girls were so happy with their dolls and outfits. You wouldn't know it by the look on Cece's face, but she really did enjoy the whole experience. 

That night we headed out for some Chicago-style deep dish pizza. We were starving from all of that shopping. After dinner we just went back to the hotel for some snuggling. It was important that we got a good night's sleep to get ready for our big American Girl brunch the next morning.

We got up bright and early to head back to the American Girl store to have a special brunch with the girls and their dolls. But first, Olivia's doll had a hair appointment. Yes, you heard me right. She wanted to get her doll's hair styled, so we had to make an appointment to get the style she wanted. I've got to hand it to the American Girl people...they sure know what they are doing!

It was then time to head into the dining room for our special meal. To say that the American Girl people know how to put on a great dining experience for the kids and their dolls is an understatement. Everything was top notch!

Everything from the food to the details in the place settings...it was pure perfection! They attach little chairs to the table for the girl's dolls to sit in. They give them little cups and saucers to drink out of. No detail was forgotten. This was definitely one of the highlights of our little roadtrip.

While staying in downtown Chicago we took some time to walk Michigan Avenue. Our shopping was limited as browsing through stores was not Olivia and Cecilia's idea of a good time. They couldn't resist the Lego store though! What kid could?

We thought it would be fun to take the girls to the top of the Sears Tower while visiting Chicago. It was fun to see the girl's reactions to being that high above the city. It was quite a view. Todd and Olivia took it one step further and did the "tilt" experience. A hydraulic contraption leans you forward to give you the feeling of hanging over the city skyline. Cece was too young to partake so we watched as the daredevils took in the experience. Olivia loves this sort of thing.

It's hard not to eat well while in Chicago...so many choices, so much great food! We took care of the deep dish pizza on the first night, so for night #2 we took the girls to Ed Debevic's. Ed's is a 1950's style diner where the servers are rude to you on purpose. I know...sounds silly, but it really is a lot of fun. I explained it to the girls before we went so they weren't confused. They ended up really enjoying the experience and had no trouble slipping into the role...especially Cece!

Our final big activity while in Chicago was to tour the Shedd Aquarium. We had never been so we were really looking forward to it. We saw some pretty awesome things that day and it was a great way to wrap up our short getaway. 

Slipping away to Chicago during Spring Break was a great idea. We jammed a lot into two days, and to say Cece was exhausted from the non-stop excitement speaks for itself.

With Spring in full swing Olivia is back outdoors for her soccer training. But first she had to wrap up her indoor training. Through the Fall and Winter she continued soccer with her indoor league as well as her Futsal league. Futsal is a form of soccer that is done on a hard surface with a heavier ball. It moves quicker which means she has to move quicker. I believe this has helped her tremendously, but of course she had a blast playing with her best bud too! 

Another sign Spring has arrived...Easter! Such a fun holiday with the girls. No better way to get ready for the holiday than to dye and decorate eggs. We really haven't done this much in the past, not sure why really...but I'm guessing it has to do with the mess it creates. My Mom was kind enough to host the egg dying at her house. The girls got creative with their eggs and were pretty proud of their creations!

What do kids enjoy most about Easter? Egg hunts, egg hunts, and more egg hunts. Cecilia is obsessed with plastic eggs and loves any activity having to do with them. Now before the egg hunts could begin on Easter we had to first attend church. That is the reason for the holiday anyway. My cuties were ready to go in their Easter dresses!

As soon as service was over we went onto the church playground for the first egg hunt of the day. The kids do not have to look far for these eggs. They are everywhere! It's a mad dash to grab as many candy filled eggs as possible and my girls did just that.

After church we headed home for a bit before the rest of the day's activities. While at home the girls opened their Easter baskets from us. We kept them small as i knew they would be getting a ton of stuff from other people throughout the day. A few movies and some candy...that's all it takes to make these two happy!

Next it was off to The Forte's for our annual Easter feast. Our dear family friends include us in their family dinner each year which consists of more delicious food than you could possibly imagine and yet another egg hunt. They treat our girls like their own grandchildren and include them in all of the activities and give them very generous Easter baskets. It's always a great time!

Now if you think the girls were tired of egg hunts you would be wrong. They were still up for one final hunt at their Nana's house. It amazes me how neither of the girls seem to get tired of searching for eggs. Cecilia especially would do it everyday if she could. And you can never have enough candy or trinkets. I cannot begin to explain how much candy we had accumulated by the end of the day.

It was a super packed Easter. So nice to spend the day with family and close friends. The plastics eggs are now all put away until next year. (thank goodness!)