Shop Small for a Day // DEALS FOR TODAY ONLY

First of all, in no way am I being compensated for this post--just passing along a good deal!  I was scrolling through Instagram this morning when I came across a post about a small business promo code good all day today at 100+ small business shops.  So naturally, I did a little investigating and discovered that a few of my wish list items for Baby #3 are well as some additional products too cute to pass up!  The promo code is SSPJULY and it's only good through today!  Here are my favorites!

Bannor Toys // 15% off 

 This state rattle is stinkin' adorable.  You can customize the colors and order it to be personalized or not.  (I screen shotted the Iowa rattle only because it has a better shape than the boring rectangle that is Kansas.)
 Baby Bling Bows // 25% off

If this baby was a girl, I'm pretty sure we'd be broke from bow purchasing alone.  Good thing he's a boy.  #saysmyhusbandeveryday  How cute are these three knot bows!?

Binxy Baby // 15% off

One of these shopping cart hammocks is on my wish list!

B.Stamped // 50% off of $20+ purchase

I have a similar necklace with my boys' names that I wear every single day.  Definitely going to need a new one that also includes Baby #3's name!  And seriously, 50% off of any order $20 or more?!  That's amazing!
Covered Goods // 15% off

Another item I just wrote about on Tuesday!

Dockatot // 10% off

I've seen many a new mom rave about these things in recent weeks.  With a $165 price tag, I'll pass for now, and hope this baby is as good of a sleeper as my other two!

Fawn & Clover // 20% off

I didn't include any personalized items on my wishlist, but I would sure love one or two items.  This swaddle + hat is adorbs.

Feltman & Co // 10% off

This handmade teether is as cute as it gets!

Flourish Leather // Free Shipping

I'm in love with this leather bracelet (and there are tons of alternative colors and styles!).  Prices are already low, so they are offering free shipping!

I already have similar tees favorited on Etsy for when our little arrives!

I was never a fan of the teething necklaces when they first came out, but now there are such cute and trendy styles.  I love this one!

Marley Monsters // 15% off

These baby gift sets would make for such a fun gift for any new mama!

Mint & Birch // 10% off 

Another option for personalized jewelry.  I heart the rose gold bar.

Swim Zip // 20% off

I'm thinking this UV protective option would be amazing for next summer when I have a 6+ month old.  "I really love putting on sunscreen" said no one ever--and this would totally minimize the surface area required.

And once again, where is that money tree when I need it?!?!

Wish List for Baby #3

I didn't feel like things changed too much in the 21 months between when Brantley and Holden were born, but here we are 27+ months later and it seems there are so many new baby products on the market!  Of course, none of these are true necessities, but a girl can always dream, right?!

Solly Baby Wrap - I wasn't much of a baby wearer with either of the two boys.  We used the Bjorn on a fairly regular basis, but those can't be used until the baby is a bit bigger.  The Solly, on the other hand, can be used as soon as the baby is born.  I have heard amazing things about these wraps and it only seems natural that with two other kids in tow, one of these may come in mighty handy!  Definitely #1 on my wishlist!!

Bandana Drool Bibs - Brantley drooled like crazy (sometimes he still does!), but I hated covering his cute outfits with a tacky bib!  These adorable bandana bibs have become increasingly-popular over the last couple of years and once I found out I was having a boy, I couldn't wait to get my hands on some!  Lucky for me, my sweet blog friend, Crystal, already gifted me a set and I couldn't have been more excited to receive them in the mail!

 Inch Bug Orbit Labels - Apparently I've been living under a rock because all of my neighbors were familiar with these personalized rubber labels for bottles and sippy cups.  Genius!  And seeing we are 99% certain of our name at this point, I could probably go ahead and order some! ;)

Covered Goods Nursing Cover - Confession: I'm not even a hardcore breast feeder.  I've tried...and tried and tried and tried to breastfeed both of my kids, but I have not had the supply needed to fulfill either of my babies.  Nonetheless, I will try again and I will pump for as long as I can manage, but I'm also not going to get worked up when the time comes to switch to formula.  Anyway, these nursing covers are not only adorable, but multi-functional as they can be worn as an infinity scarf and used as a car seat and shopping cart cover!  So even if I only get three months of breastfeeding use, these things do so much more!

Lily Jade "Madeline in Brandy" Leather Backpack Diaper Bag - With Brantley, we bought a fairly inexpensive diaper bag from Buy Buy Baby.  And then with Holden, I bought a Petunia Pickle Bottom backpack on Craigslist and it was life changing.  So although the Petunia Pickle Bottom will suffice for Baby #3, I recently saw this Lily Jade leather backpack diaper bag on Instagram and fell in love.  It's still a back pack, but it's leather so it looks more like a women's' handbag than a diaper bag!  I seriously love everything about it--the tassel, the removable organizer, the size, and the color.  Well okay, everything but the price tag. :(

Binxy Baby Shopping Cart Hammock - Here's the deal: those two person limo-sized shopping carts at Target are fabulous.  And once Baby #3 is old enough to sit up in the front part of the cart, we wont' have a problem.  But until then, Baby will stay in his infant carrier.  And when you put an infant carrier in a shopping cart, there's no room for anything else!  Enter the Binxy Baby Shopping Cart Hammock!  It's literally like a hammock for a shopping cart.  It takes up very little cart space, leaving room for a cart full of groceries!

Breast Pump - See above--breast feeding has just not worked out for me in the past.  I have no idea if it has anything to do with my pump, but it is an old pump!  I got it from a co-worker who was getting rid of all of her baby stuff and although it's a Medela and was only used with one child, it's old (10 years this spring)!  I know insurance companies have to provide breast pumps these days, so it may be worth looking into a new one.  Obviously not if I have to pay for it, but if I can get one for free, why not?!

Any other new(ish) baby products I need to know about come November??  Do share!

5 Months Pregnant with 3.0

Welp, my due date is exactly four months from today, which essentially means I'm five months pregnant, right?!  Some days, I feel like it; other days, I don't.  Some days, I think I'm ready for life with three kids.  Like, I'm ready to watch Brantley and Holden interact with the new baby.  And I'm ready to see who he most resembles.  Yet other days, I'm honestly not sure how we're going to do it.  Life with two kids has plenty of challenges as is, and a little nervous to throw a third into the mix!  Regardless, November 25 is fast-approaching and I'm both counting down and appreciating this "simple life" with two.

Last week, we went for our follow-up sonogram since they weren't able to get a good picture of the aortic arch at 17 weeks.  Luckily, they saw what they needed to see right away and everything else looked good, as well.  The baby was moving nearly the entire time and giving the technician quite a run for her money.  Hoping that's not a sign of what's to come!  She also confirmed it's a boy!  That definitely made me feel better moving forward.
We also recently started progress on the nursery.  In case you missed it last week, here is my inspiration.  It's coming together quite nicely...and very quickly.  When I get my husband on board with something, we are both very anxious to see the end results.  Anyway, the crib has been set up and the Craigslist dresser has been re-finished.  I also painted our changing table blue, and so far, I'm loving how it looks!  The walls of the nursery still need painted, but we wanted to arrange the furniture first so we know where the crib will sit (so we can decide what to do with the wall behind the crib--blue accent wall, wallpaper, or the same color as the rest).  Just like when we were designing Brantley's nursery, I love peeking into the room, sitting in the glider, and dreaming about what's to come.


How Far Along: 5 months (22 weeks and 3 days)

Size of Baby: The size of a papaya.

Gender: Still a BOY!

Weight Gain: 20 pounds at the 20-week mark.  I haven't bothered (or cared) to weigh myself since!  Although I'm on track to gain more weight this time than with each of my two previous pregnancies (29 pounds total with Brantley and 34 with Holden), I'm not stressing about it.  It's my final pregnancy and you know what, I'm not going to deprive myself.  I have always believed in eating in moderation and I'd rather live a happy life full of goodies than a sad life full of healthy food all the time, especially while pregnant!

Food Cravings: I wouldn't consider this a craving (after all, I didn't make a trip to the store just to buy them) but the grapes lately have tasted so, so delicious!  Can't get enough!

Food Aversions: Nada.

Movement: I am finally feeling the baby on a consistent basis!  The movements aren't quite strong enough yet to feel from the outside, but I definitely feel him wiggling and flipping in there!

Sleep: Minus this crazy heat, I'm sleeping pretty well!  I usually get up once per night to pee.

Clothing: About 50% maternity shorts, the other 50% regular (stretchy shorts or shorts with my Bella band).  Mostly regular tops still since flowy tops are all the rage.

Other Pregnancy Symptoms: My left hip bone feels bruised from sleeping on my left side.  Also, just recently (like two nights ago), I woke up with horrible Charlie horse cramps in my legs and feet.  Horrible!  My feet and hands feel swollen on occasion (had to take off my wedding band yesterday), but again, likely due to this heat more than anything.

What I Miss: I miss feeling like a normal person at the pool.  I either wear my two-piece and feel large and in-charge or I wear my maternity one-piece and feel....large and in charge!  Last week when I put on my one-piece for the first time, Brantley said "Is that a swim suit, Mama!?"

Best Moment: All of the nursery progress!  Also, I think we have a name.  First and middle.  (Yes, Craig, this is me agreeing to your suggestion.)  However, I will not be sharing until he arrives! ;)

Looking Forward To: I mean, I'm not looking forward to going back to school at all, but I guess if I have to go back (in two weeks!), that means my third trimester is just around the corner!  Also, I'm sure my old students will be anxious to hear the baby is a boy and anxious to see how much I've grown.  Getting legit dressed each morning, however, is not going to be fun!

And finally, here are my bump photos from the past month!  And remember, I post them on Instagram on a weekly basis if you want to follow along on there!  Tomorrow, I'll be back with a few wishlist items for Baby #3!

Friday Five

It's been a hot minute since my last Five on Friday post!  Seriously, June 10?!  That was almost the beginning of summer and now, somehow, we're nearing the end (I have only two weeks to go--eeek!)  Anyway, I'm a little late to the game today, as I feel like I've been painting non-stop for about two days now!  Really, that's a lie--yesterday I took a 2 1/2 hour nap and today I did a little nursery shopping.  But a ton of painting, too!  Oh, did I mention I'm painting in our garage and it's 100 degrees out?!  That is not an exaggeration!  We have been under a heat advisory for a few days now and it's safe to say it's scorching hot out there!

| one |

Speaking of painting, thanks for all the advice on nursery colors earlier this week!  Paint has been purchased (40% off, yeah!) and I'm happy to report, it's almost done!  Our final color choices were: smoky blue for the changing table (and maybe an accent wall, tbd) and pure white for the walls.  Remember, the best color to describe our crib is dorian gray (painting the dresser and nightstand to match) and our existing trim is shoji white.  I will also add touches of black and white (mainly because the piping on our old glider is black) and some golds!

 This has definitely been my nursery inspiration, although I think ours will look a little different with the added touches of gold.  I couldn't be more excited!

via Pinterest

| two |

My parents offered to take our kids for a few days, so I headed north on Wednesday to meet them half way and I will do the same on Sunday to get them.  I know my parents are loving every minute and I'm certain the boys are, too!  However, we Facetimed last night and I had to laugh when one of the first things out of my mom's mouth, "Look what I have!" as she showed me her glass of wine!  Which reminded me of this...

And then this...

Seriously, kids are exhausting.  Fun and silly and joyous and worth it...but exhausting!  Craig and I don't have big plans while they're gone, but I'm sure we'll enjoy a nice dinner or two and continue working on the baby's room!

| three |

Everyone's posting about Nordstrom's big anniversary sale this week, but you wanna know a little secret?  The only purchases I've ever made from Nordstrom are my Uggs, my Toms, and Clinique make-up.  That's right!  I'm just a Target/Old Navy kind-of-gal and to be quite honest, I'm a little intimated by Nordstrom and their prices!  That being said, I do enjoy seeing what other bloggers are raving about, and thanks to some recommendations, I may have purchased a few things online this morning!

I really wanted these earrings in rose gold, but they were sold out.  If I don't love them when they arrive, I may try to exchange them for rose gold once they're back in stock!

Kate Spade New York Mini Stud Earrings in Opal Glitter/Silver
Regular $32, On Sale $20.90

Next up, this tunic/sweatshirt!  (Thanks, Laura, for suggesting it!)  Hoping it fits my prego belly...or at least, covers the rolls after giving birth because it looks mighty comfy!

Caslon Space Dye Tunic Sweatshirt in Purple Streaky Pattern
Regular $49, On Sale $29.90

And finally, I've wanted to try these leggings for over a year now!  People rave about them all the time and Lord knows I can always use another pair of black leggings!

Hue Ultra WW Leggings in Black
Regular $36, On Sale $20.90

| four |

Lo and behold, I still love Target.  I got these sandals a few weeks back and I'm in love!  Sometimes, I think strappy/gladiator sandals make my legs look stalky, but because the straps on these are so thin, I don't think they do!

| five |

A few weeks back, Beauty Brand's had their annual liter sale where all liters of shampoo and conditioner are only $10.  I typically purchase one liter of each every summers and it lasts me the entire year!  #perksofnotshoweringoften  Anyway, I have used Revlon shampoo and conditioner for a few years now and I was ready for a change.  I asked the BB employee for a few recommendations for fine hair, and then as soon as she walked away, you know what I did?  Found a completely different kind/brand that I liked the smell of and that's how I chose my new shampoo!  A month later, I still love, love, love using it.  I hate taking showers, but at least I love the scent of my shampoo + conditioner!  If you're in the market, may I suggest Hempz Original Shampoo & Conditioner for Damaged and Color-Treated Hair.  According to Hempz, the scent is floral/banana!  Sounds about right!

Hempz Original Shampoo \\ Hempz Original Conditioner

 That's all for today!  I'll be back next week with my 5-month prego update (ahhhhh!!!) and my wishlist for Baby #3!  Happy Friday, friends, and stay cool!

Linking Up With:
Momfessionals and A Little Bit of Everything for Friday Favorites 
September F A R M for Oh, Hey Friday
A.Liz Adventures for Five on Friday

Holden's Big Boy Room Inspiration

This past weekend, on a whim, we converted Holden's toddler bed into a full-sized bed.  Craig was on his fourth consecutive day off of work {at home} and sitting still is not in his vocab...hence the beginning of the project at 4pm on Saturday night.  Since we have decided to make our guest bedroom into the nursery (instead of bunking the boys and using our existing nursery), we needed to clear it of it's contents anyway, which meant we had a full-size mattress and box spring up for grabs.  Perfect for Holden's full-sized bed frame.  We also decided the bed would force us to move the glider and changing table essentially we did a whole lot of swapping.

Along with the glider and changing table went all of the baby stuff--wall prints, valance, decor--and since we hadn't planned on doing this so abruptly, we weren't prepared with any "big boy" bedroom items.  The poor kid was left with a cream sheet from the guest bedroom and an Iowa Hawkeye blanket as his comforter.  The rest of his room looks even more pathetic.  Nothing on the walls (except for existing handmade bookshelves), black curtains, and a chest of drawers + night stand.  In fact, I cringe every time I walk into his room.  I may be no home decorator, but his room is just plain pitiful at the moment.

Anyway, I fear it will stay that way for awhile.  After all, planning two new bedrooms is no cheap matter.  So in the meantime, I've been racking my brain and online window shopping (ahem, adding ideas to an Amazon wishlist) for Holden's future big boy room...although hopefully future means sooner than later for this poor middle child's sake!  

Keep in mind, I'm working with a, espresso (black) bed, chest of drawers, and nightstand to match.  Oh how I wish I could change the finish of the wood, but we paid a pretty penny for the set and I'm not about to paint something of that quality so soon.  (I'll save that for ten years down the road.)  For his room, I want something functional, but boyish and trendy at the same time.  I also want to lighten up the room--the black furniture makes it so drab in my opinion!  Here's what I came up with!

Trees Plaque with Hooks // Black Bed Frame (already have) // Frontier Comforter Set

Like I said, I'm sure I'll be dreaming about these items for far longer than I'd hope......unless the hubs reads this post and likes my ideas so much, he uses my links to order everything.  I'd be totally okay with that. ;)

Nursery Inspiration

It's funny how much things can change in just a short amount of time.

Just over four years ago, I was planning a nursery for Brantley.  I wanted bold colors and a modern style.  I wanted dark furniture.  And despite my baby boy on the way, I wanted nothing to do with the color blue.

Fast forward four years and my opinions have done a 180.  For weeks now, I've been slowly scheming how to convince Craig to let me re-do our nursery.  You see, when Holden was born, we plopped him down in the same room we had spent days designing for Brantley.  Same furniture, same colors, same decor, and same bedding.  We literally changed the name on the wall and that's it.  My husband is incredibly cheap and he didn't believe in "wasting" money on a new nursery just 21 months after planning our first.  (Instead, Brantley got a new "big boy" room.)

When we found out Baby 3.0 was a boy and I mentioned wanting to change "a few things", it was obvious Craig was not on board.  I have been racking my brain trying to figure out how to move furniture, but keep all the baby stuff together, and get rid of all the lime green decor that I'm soooooo over!!  Keep in mind, our changing table is black and our glider is gray with black piping...but I'm also over the black!  I even sent Craig a "proposal email" with a few ideas. ;)

But this weekend, that all changed and I am so excited to report - we bought a new GRAY crib!  Which obviously means, we have no choice but to redo the nursery.  Hallelujah!

It may seem ridiculous to some that we bought a third crib, given we already have two cribs (both have been converted to full-sized beds), but we came across a deal too good to be true!  As we were browsing the clearance room at Nebraska Furniture Mart (where we never find anything), I walked past this beauty.

Munire Chesapeake Full Panel Crib, Grey

Half joking, but totally serious, I said to my hubby, "Can we please just buy this for the baby??"  And to my surprise, he was on board!!  I mean, our options were either 1) buy a new set for the baby or 2) buy a new set for one of the boys and do a whole lot of rearranging because I refused to use our black furniture for Baby 3.0.  But like I said, this was too great of a deal to pass up, given the quality of this 4-in-1 convertible crib, and after going to lunch to weigh our options, we both decided this was a good idea.

Our next plan of attack--find a used dresser or chest of drawers that we could paint to match the crib.  You know, because the coordinating dresser on Amazon is $820 (no thanks)!  24 hours later, we have one in our possession and hubby has plans to sand it, while I'm already excited to paint this bad boy and pick out new hardware.

So naturally, I have been browsing Internet sites all weekend for nursery ideas and decor.  I went from negative 10% inspired and excited to 110% inspired and excited--and I can't wait to watch this space morph into our new baby's room.

First order of business, the colors.  I tried as best I could to match the crib color to a paint sample at Sherwin Williams.  Dorian Gray seems to be the best match.  We will also be painting the above chest of drawers to match.  

I want to accent with blue.  Maybe a blue wall.  And I want to paint our old changing and end tables blue, as well.  (Mainly to cover the black but also for the pops of color.)  After bringing home eight samples, we have it narrowed down to two blues: Smoky Blue and Inky Blue.  Smoky blue (options 1 and 2 below) definitely has more gray in it, while inky blue (options 3 and 4) is blue-er.  Note: I think I like Inky Blue better, but since I'll be painting a couple of pieces of small furniture (changing + end tables), I don't want to overdo it!

Finally, I may or may not want to paint the walls from the neutral color they are now (Amazing Gray) to an off-white or cream color.  I haven't picked exact colors, but I could do something with more white (options 1 and 3 below), or something a little creamier (options 2 and 4).
 Option 1: Dorian gray, smoky blue, and off-white
Option 2: Dorian gray, smoky blue, and cream
Option 3: Dorian gray, inky blue, and off-white
Option 4: Dorian gray, inky blue, and cream
And of course, I couldn't start planning without putting together an inspiration board.  In addition to the gray and blue, I want to add in some black and white and touches of gold.  This nursery board is definitely giving me all the heart eyes!

Crib | Glider (already have)
Gold Circle Shelf | Changing Table Color (ours is a different style) | Lamp

And finally, I want to make a DIY mobile, similar to this only in the above colors.  It's been a hot minute since I've completed any sort of DIY project and I'm already excited to get my hands on this one!


So...tell me what you think!  Which blue is your favorite?  Whiter walls or creamier walls...or keep the walls their current shade of neutral (SW Amazing Gray)?  Paint one wall blue (it would be the wall the crib is on) or keep all of the walls consistent?  Or....Vanessa (who I would trust wholeheartedly to decorate my entire house!!) threw out a super crazy idea - temporary wall paper on the crib wall!!!  Send me your ideas!

Our Chicago Vacation

First of all, is it really a vacation with two kids in tow??  Turns out, going to dinner every night is not quite as enjoyable as it used to be...not to mention, crazy expensive in a place like Chicago!!   And I once read an article comparing a vacation and a trip.  Needless to say, if there are kids along, it's no vacation!!

Anyway, as much as we wanted to go back to Florida this summer, with the country up in arms about Zika, we decided that heading south would not be in our best interest, so we went north instead.  We chose Chicago partially because it's a kid-friendly city, but also because we wanted to hit up a Royals/White Sox game.  Turns out, the only time the Royals would be playing in Chicago all summer long was the weekend six weeks post-knee surgery for Craig, and because it is such a walking city, we decided to forego the Royals game and gave his knee four extra weeks to recover.

So last Thursday evening, we took off for my parents' house in Iowa - about four hours from Kansas City and halfway to Chicago - and finished the drive on Friday.  Of course, upon checking into our hotel, the boys immediately wanted to jump on the bed, which gave me the perfect opportunity to make my first-ever Boomerang video. :)

We stayed at the Hilton DoubleTree Chicago - Magnificent Mile.  It was about three blocks from Michigan Avenue and five blocks from Navy Pier, so the location couldn't have been much better!  There was an Einstein Brothers in our hotel and a grocery store next door, which made for convenient breakfast/bottled water/beer runs.  I booked the hotel on Priceline and got a pretty decent deal, but we still had to pay a ridiculous amount of money for parking.  Such is the Chicago life, I guess!

For the most part, we tried to do one major activity each morning, then back to the hotel for naps, and one more activity after naptime.  Attractions got so busy around lunchtime though, everything was much more enjoyable in the 9/10-o'clock hours in the morning!  Although we took an Uber twice while there, we packed two umbrella strollers (had to buy a second one!) and walked nearly everywhere!  Luckily, we had amazing weather while there--an average around 80 and partly sunny most of time time.  Our final day was the only hot and humid day, and boy am I glad, because I could barely handle all the walking in that weather!

Unfortunately, the boys both came down with hand, foot, and mouth disease while there.  Brantley started acting weird on our first full day in Chicago (Saturday).  He wouldn't eat, wouldn't talk, and was just plain cranky.  We chalked it up to a major lack of sleep (4th of July was just five days prior) and him being completely overwhelmed by all the people.  He was a total downer and it was putting the entire family in a bad mood.  He seemed okay the next morning (after a stern chat from Daddy) and we had a super fun day...also our 6th wedding anniversary.  We had an Italian dinner that night and midway through dinner, as quickly as the flip of a switch, Holden started acting weird, as well.  He was fussing uncontrollable and kept saying his nose hurt.  Like any parent, we assumed he got pasta stuck in his nose. :)  It was shortly after that that I felt his forehead and knew instantly he had a fever.  Craig went to pick up some saline nasal spray (you know, for the pasta) and Ibuprofen from the nearest Walgreen's, while I held Holden on the bathroom floor in our hotel room, just certain he was going to throw up.

On Monday morning, his fever was still present and he was in no shape or form to go sightseeing.  Although completely back to normal personality-wise, Brantley woke up with sores around his mouth...and so began my suspicions of HFM.  (I noticed sores on his arms, legs, hands, and feet later that day.)  Because he acted fine, I suggested Craig take Brantley to do something fun and I offered to stay in with Holden.  Holden is a total mama's boy period, but even more so when sick.  We snuggled, he slept, and I caught up on blog reading.  I also counted down the hours until his next dose of Ibuprofen could be administered because it was obvious he was miserable!  (I did get to sneak out during naptime for a little shopping along Michigan don't feel too sorry for me!  It was also during this time that I called our pediatrician's office back here in KC.  They confirmed the HFM as much as they can via phone and said, unfortunately, there's nothing you can do for it.)  There was an AMC theater just a few blocks away, so Craig took Brantley to see The Secret Life of Pets that evening, while I stayed back and watched The Bachelorette. :)

On Tuesday morning, Holden woke up with a similar rash as Brantley's, but his fever seemed to have subsided, so we resumed our normal family-of-four activities (hallelujah!).  However, it was obvious Holden was in quite a bit of pain so around 1pm, we decided to go back to our hotel, pack our bags, and head home about 17 hours earlier than planned.  Honestly, it was so hot that day that we had no interest in doing anything else outdoors, plus we knew Holden would be miserable if we tried to do something touristy.  We were more excited about the thought of driving home in hopes of the boys sleeping a good portion of the way than we were about staying one more night with a miserable kid.  We pulled out of our hotel's parking garage around 3pm, which meant we hit some pretty bad rush hour traffic and what should have been just under an 8-hour drive was more like a 9 1/2 hour trip.  We got home at 12:30am (Wednesday morning) and the boys (Brantley's rash, Holden's attitude) have been slowly improving ever since.

Now for the rest of our trip - the fun we had before the crazy illness and of course, the pictures!  I have broken them down by day.

Day 1 // Millennium Park, The Bean, and Giordano's

After checking into our hotel, we took off walking towards Millennium Park.  The park is home to The Bean, which is what I really wanted to see (i.e. take photos by!).

We asked a random lady to take our picture by The Bean.  I guess I should have zoomed out my camera lens first...because clearly she didn't do it!  Anyway, I promise we were, in fact, at The Bean, even though you can't actually tell!

We walked across the street for dinner at Giordano's, famous for Chicago's deep-dish style pizza.  The nice thing about this place is that you can place your order while waiting for a table so once you're seated, the pizza is ready.  We got our table pretty quickly so we still had to wait awhile for our pizza, but it's a good idea in theory!  Brantley was obsessed with this fountain outside of the restaurant and could have run around it for two more hours!

Craig wasn't (and isn't) a huge fan of Chicago deep-dish ("I like Pizza Hut better") but I could eat it every other night!  Holden agreed.

I tried to snap a few photos of the boys on the walk back to our hotel, but they were anti-cooperative.  Sigh.

Day 2 // Architecture River Tour and Willis (Sear's) Tower

Both mine and Craig's favorite part of the trip was the architecture river tour.  He was excited from the get-go (he's a history buff) and I was just excited for the boat ride, but I actually enjoyed a lot of the history, as well! much as I caught anyway; Holden got a little antsy during the 90-minute ride so I had to do my best to keep him entertained.  (This was also the day Brantley started acting weird.  You can definitely tell in a lot of these photos.)

After naps that day, we took an Uber to the Willis (formerly known as the Sears) Tower.  The Willis Tower was once the tallest building in the world (now the eighth) and is the second tallest building in the U.S. behind the newly constructed Freedom Tower in NYC.  We bought our tickets ahead of time, which saved about 30 minutes, but we still waited in line for about an hour and a half before finally reaching the top.  The Willis Tower is one of those things you have to do once in your life, but it's a bit underwhelming and overpriced just to go to the top of a really tall building. 

The biggest attraction at Willis Tower is The Ledge, a glass overhang 103 stories above the streets of Chicago.  We waited another 25 minutes for our turn on The Ledge and despite the pep talk I gave myself the entire wait, I just couldn't do it!  I could barely even muster up the guts to snap the boys' photo on it!  All I wanted to do was pull them off and hold them safely in my arms!  So I didn't get the best photo, but I was happy to have them back on the normal floor.  For the record, Craig couldn't do it either!  (And for the double record, I woke up multiple times overnight that night with visions of that glass floor falling through!!!!!!)

Also worth the mention, for lunch this day we went to Portillos and had Chicago-style hot dogs!  I could have eaten one of those every day!


Day 3 // Navy Pier, quadcycle ride along Lake Michigan, roof top swimming, and our 6th anniversary dinner 

Day 3 happened to be July 10, also known as Craig and my sixth wedding anniversary!  We started the day by walking a few blocks to Navy Pier and taking a ride on the famous Centennial {Ferris} Wheel.

After the ferris wheel, we decided to rent a quadcycle and ride it along Lake Michigan for an hour.  Brantley and Holden both loved it and we must have been quite the sight because everyone we met  smiled/laughed at us! 

Despite how it looks, it was actually hard work pedaling this thing!  I decided I would have enjoyed it more if it was motorized. ;)  However, don't be fooled.  Craig did 90% of the work while I took videos and selfies. ;)

Back at our hotel, we decided to take advantage of the rooftop pool.  I mean, it's not often you can swim on a roof surrounded by skyscrapers galore!  It was a bit chilly though, not gonna lie!

 For dinner that evening, we walked to a local Italian restaurant and had dinner on their patio.  It was unlike any anniversary dinner we've had to date, you know, because of kids and all!  And this was the dinner Holden snapped his fingers and decided he didn't feel well......or he may have gotten pasta in his noes, we'll never know! ;)

I snapped this photo below with my iPhone on our way back to our hotel.  It ended up being one of my favorite photos from the entire trip!

Day 4 // The beach and Michigan Avenue shopping (for me)

I don't have a ton of photos from this day because this was the day I stayed with a sick Holden in the hotel room.  Craig took Brantley to the beach and apparently, he loved it.  Like he was running, diving into the sand, and acting like a crazy kid according to Craig.  (His HFM sores didn't bother him one bit!)  I really wish I could have seen it, but it was probably good for Craig and Brantley to have a little one-on-one time.  They stayed at the beach for far longer than I expected they would.  Every time Craig suggested leaving, Brantley flat out refused.

When I finally got out to do a little shopping, I took a photo of the bump along Michigan Avenue!

That evening, while Craig and Brantley were at the movie, I decided to grab some dinner.  I called in my order to PF Changs, which was only a half mile away on the other side of Michigan Avenue.  As I was walking to get my order (with Holden in the stroller), three police cars pulled up to the curb with their lights on, quickly got out, and headed in the same direction as me--towards Michigan Avenue.  When I arrived to Michigan Avenue (one block further), I noticed quite a few police lining the corner of the intersection and more police cars pulling in by the second.  My heart started beating out of my chest and I quickly realized a Black Lives Matter protest was coming around the corner.  I wasn't sure what to do, as security guards were standard guard their businesses and employees were locking all doors along Michigan Avenue!  I quickly ducked into a business (which I thought was a hotel, turned out to be a shopping mall type place) as two girls came out and watched with wide eyes as {what seemed like} hundreds of police lined the block.  I still didn't want anything to do with the protest or be anywhere near it so I took off in the shopping center until I found an information desk and someone to direct me to {the safest way} to PF Changs!  Being alone with Holden, this was such a scary situation and for once, 15 minutes later, I was thrilled to be safely back in our hotel room with a sick kid!

Day 5 // Water taxi to Shedd Aquarium

When Holden woke up fever- free the next day (Tuesday), we decided to make the most of our last full day and head to Shedd Aquarium.  We walked to Navy Pier and took a water taxi to Shedd.

I thought Shedd Aquarium was a complete waste of time and money.  I'm so sorry if this is your thing (no offense at all), but it's just not mine.  I guess I thought it would be cooler than it was--bigger fish, bigger aquariums, more interactive maybe?  But it wasn't and I will never go back.  It didn't help that we had one cranky kid who wouldn't even put shoes on thanks to his HFM sores.

Brantley tried to touch a sting ray, but they never came close enough.

We stopped for one final photo opp and then headed back to our hotel to pack.

The car ride home was pretty miserable at times with a crying, whiny toddler who was in obvious pain, but we made it safely which I am very thankful for.

Despite the setback, it really was a great vacation trip!  Lots of fun was had and lots of memories were made.  And it's crazy to think that our next vacation will be one with our family of five!!