6/22/2016

The Joy of Traveling With Our Children

This post is sponsored by Holiday Inn brand. As always, thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that make this blog possible!

A few stray Fruit Loops add a pop of color on the tan leather seats in the minivan. Crushed Cheerios are now woven into the dark fabric of the floor mats. And a handful of gooey, melted fruit snacks are wedged between the car seat buckles and underneath their bases  -- all stale yet fresh reminders of our first road trip as a family of five.

It's funny how traveling changes once you have kids.
Road Trip with Kids
Years ago, we'd hop in the car and stop wherever it took us with no real agenda.

Now we plan our sight-seeing around nap times, convenient locations with access to kid-friendly amenities (like a good breakfast with coffee...lots of coffee for us.) and family-friendly entertainment.

To be honest, life with three kiddos still seems a bit surreal at times. It's been a whirlwind adding three daughters to our family (two via adoption and one via pregnancy), and as exhausted as we are from our first family road trip this weekend, we had so much fun together!

The heaps of dirty laundry waiting for us -- the missing shoes, the dirty bottles and sippy cups, the pile of mail waiting to be sorted -- they're worth it all to see new places through the enthusiastic and eager eyes of our daughters.

The joy of traveling with our children is something we'll never take for granted. Especially because we weren't always sure we'd be able to have children in the first place. Now, we get to experience the world through their eyes, and we wouldn't have it any other way.

We've been to Chicago a handful of times [I was there with some girlfriends last year]. But spending Father's Day weekend in Chi-town as a family gave us a great opportunity to connect with our children and see the city a bit differently than we have in the past...

What we saw:
Travel With Kids - Chicago
A 2-hour wait outside Lou Malnati's Pizzeria for dinner a few blocks from the hotel.

What our kids saw:
Travel With Kids - Chicago
The perfect opportunity to hop on Dad's shoulders and see trains, people and cars from a higher vantage point.

What we saw:
Travel With Kids - Chicago Cubs
A traffic jam outside Wrigley Field (thank you, construction), a lucky parking spot across the street from the stadium and the sun beating down on our sweaty selves while lugging two strollers up and down staircases inside the ballpark.

Oh, and the diamond where catcher Willson Contreras hit a home run in his first major league at-bat. ;)

What our kids saw:
Travel With Kids - Chicago Cubs
Lots of Cubs fans, green grass, and BASEBALLS. And a big open space to throw Fruit Loops (Sorry, baseball patrons, if you lucked out and sat in one of the many piles of fruity O's our two toddler's left behind...).

What we saw:
Travel With Kids - Chicago Holiday Inn
Gorgeous views of the Chicago skyline outside the front doors of the Holiday Inn hotel.

What our kids saw:
Travel With Kids - Chicago Holiday Inn Hotel
Trains. Lots of trains to wave at. All. The. Time.

What we saw:
Much gratitude for the kind folks with the Holiday Inn hotel for hooking us up with tickets to Shedd Aquarium so we could bypass the long lines and big crowds. Apparently everyone wanted to visit prior to a big country concert across the street.

What our kids saw: 
Travel With Kids - Chicago Shedd Aquarium
Fun family time at an afternoon aquatic show learning all about water habitats, penguins, belugas and fish.

What we saw:
Travel With Kids - Chicago Holiday Inn Hotel
A thoughtful, complimentary sugar high left in our hotel room after we arrived back from dinner. And a potential mess ;)

What our kids saw:
Travel With Kids - Chicago Holiday Inn Hotel
A sweet, giggle-invoking snack with lots of sprinkles to eat in their PJs on top of comfy beds.

What we all saw:
Travel With Kids - Chicago Holiday Inn Hotel
Countless adventures as a family; lots of laughs, a little sleep, lots of coffee and a fantastic breakfast buffet...but perhaps best of all, memories we'll treasure for a lifetime.

Related content:
Top 3 Reasons All Moms Need a Getaway
10 [Unofficial] Tips For a Fun Mom's Getaway
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Holiday Inn. The opinions and text are all mine.

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