Navy Pier is basically a HUGE strip mall on the water, but significantly cooler than the average strip mall. It’s a cheesy tourist’s dream destination. It provides outdoor fun with a Ferris Wheel and play atrium for children as well as shops and vendors along the waterfront. Inside an IMAX theater, expansive indoor greenhouse and hundreds of shops and eateries offer hours of entertainment for people of any age.
Ethan, my little brother, was in heaven at this place! We went to NP in hopes of seeing Avatar in IMAX because Paxston missed the premier while in boot camp. Unfortunately, all shows were sold out so we decided to split up and spend a few hours shopping/sight seeing. As we walked through the stores Ethan became very excited when he saw the Build-A-Bear shop. The day before we had discussed that I was the only person in the family that didn’t have a Build-A-Bear – you can imagine how trouble this thought was for Ethan. So when he saw the store the conversation went a little something like this:
Ethan: AMBER!!! Build-A-Bear!!! Let’s go get you one!
Me: (Not wanting to spend the money on a bear when I could buy so many cool “Chicago” souvenirs) Aww..how sweet buddy, but I don’t think I need a teddy bear. Dixie and Bauer would want to play with it.
Ethan: But you need one to love you.
Me: I have Dixie and Bauer buddy – they love me lots.
Ethan: You need something that doesn’t lick so much….
Me: But I really don’t need to spend the money buddy.
Ethan: Oh don’t worry! Mommy will buy it for you.
Trying to avoid going into Build-A-Bear mom and I convinced Ethan to venture out into the cold and take advantage of the beautiful photo opportunities along the water. At first Ethan was not too thrilled with the idea, but after one or two pictures he became a total camera hog. He kept saying “Ooohhh…look mom! Take a picture of me doing this!” SNAP “Wouldn’t it be so cool if you took a picture of me on this??” SNAP He was worse than a girl at prom. But I must say – we got some pretty cute pictures!
As is common with six-year-old boys, Ethan became bored with taking pictures after about 20 minutes and started to run around. He would run about 5-10 feet in front of mom and I while we were walking and I was scared he would get lost in the crowd. Everytime I called his name, he would run faster. When I finally caught up to him I chastised, “Ethan Douglas! If you don’t stop running away from us I am going to take of my belt and spank you right here in front of everyone. And then they are going to take me to jail for spanking you. Do you want me to go to jail?? Do you??” (I know..judge all you want….but I was at my wits end!!!) Of course this didn’t sit too well with Ethan and he became visibly upset. I softened my tone and tried again. “Listen buddy, I’m sorry for being ugly. It’s just I will be very sad if something happens to you because you are running away from us. I’m going to be nice to you and you be nice to me – stay with me and mom, okay??” By this point mom had caught up to us and Ethan looked at her and said, “Mommy – can we go to Build-A-Bear because I love Amber and I forgive her.” (Oh yeah – that kid is GOOD!)
At that point there was really no escaping it…he drug us to Build-A-Bear and made a bear for me. It was so cute to watch him pick out my bear’s heart and help make him big and strong. He made sure to give him a really good bath and warned me not to let Dixie or Bauer *anywhere* near my bear! I picked out a “Navy Pier” t-shirt for my bear and Ethan and I decided to name him “Chicago”. Ethan even made a birth certificate on the computer for me with Chicago’s name and my information. I was very impressed with how well he did! I would strongly recommend Build-A-Bear to anyone with small children. It’s a great experience and the kids just eat it up. Even I wanted to do it again!
Ethan giving Chicago a bath
Ethan, Chicago & I
After we finished at Build-A-Bear we met up with the rest of the family and took some more photos outside.
Me & Pax being weird
That's much better
All in all, it was a great vacation. As always, it was far too short and I left wishing I could have done more. My time with my family was much needed and I’m looking forward to visiting Paxston again. Next time I will make sure to bring hubby along so he can share in the fun.