Thursday, July 11, 2013

North by Northwest - June/ July Trip - Day 4

The next morning dawned bright and beautiful.  What a treat to wake up in downtown Chicago in the fantastic Renaissance Hotel and head down to the fitness room to work out with this view:
Amazing right?  I felt so very blessed.

It was also a special morning because it was this sweet girl's birthday!
I headed down the street and purchased some cupcakes from the Chicago location of the famed (NYC) bakery, Magnolia Bakery.  Loved them!

We spent the morning relaxing, walking around and at one point, we stopped in front of this big glass window to watch/ listen to the radio hosts talk about sports (for our sports obsessed little man of course. :-)

Very soon, it was time to head toward Water Tower Place and the American Girl Store for ML's birthday lunch!  

American Girl Bistro Chicago, like all Bistro locations, accepts reservations online.  Not knowing whether my brothers and sisters in law would want to join us, I'd made reservations for 4 at the 2:30 lunch seating.  My thinking was, if everyone decided they wanted to join us, 2:30 would be my best chance of getting everyone 'in' with us.  I was right!  At 9 am I called to change our party size from 4 to 12, and they were able to accommodate us!  Yay!

I decided not to go with the birthday party package.  At a fixed price of $22 per person, this lunch was already around $100 per family.  Since every family was paying their own way, I didn't want to add on an extra $12ish dollars per child and $2 per adult just for a cake and a few treats in the goody bags.  {We had done the birthday package with my nieces last year in Atlanta - click HERE - for details on that trip and one year old photos of what comes with the birthday package.  Hee.  :-)}

ML still felt like a princess though!

And the atmosphere and the food were still great.  For some reason, the food didn't seem as good as when we ate in Atlanta, but it was still really good and still a lot of food.  Everything was bite sized for the most part - too adorable given the doll theme.  Our waiter was fantastic!  Loved him!

Marie Grace was ML's birthday present.  I got her last year when American Girl offered her for 50% off!

Some of my nieces don't own dolls, so they were able to borrow dolls from the collection the Bistro offers their customers.  There are shelves and shelves of dolls just waiting to dine with a little girl or guy!

Now, I mentioned that I didn't buy the birthday package, but because we told our waiter it was ML's birthday, they STILL put a candle in ML's dessert (included for everyone in the $22 fixed menu price) and let us sing Happy Birthday to ML.  BONUS!!!!!  - Didn't pay for the package, but she still felt like it was her party all the way down to blowing out her candle.  :-)

After lunch we made a few other small purchases and hung out while everyone else shopped:

So sad that my doll, Molly, is leaving.  She's the last of the original three, sniff, sniff.  :-(

No doubt the American Girl Doll Store in Chicago is the most beautiful I've ever been inside!

After the AG store, we headed across the street to the John Hancock building to enjoy the view:

And then on the way home, we rode the El!  My kids have ridden the subway in NYC, but they really don't remember it, so this was a special treat to them, ha!

We had some fun, bounce on the bed time before dinner:

Dinner was at the hotel on the second floor.  Again, what a view!

After dinner, we decided to take the kids out to Millenium Park.
Waiting in the lobby:

Magic nighttime bean:

Super bad cell phone pictures, badly edited.  :-)

And we finished the night with the music and light show at Buckingham Fountain (played every hour on the hour on summer nights from dusk-ish until 11pm-ish.)

And then finally home to this great view for one last night!

The next morning we were saying good bye to Chicago

and heading Northwest and then West.  Mt. Rushmore, here we come!