Laura and Autumn had the pleasure to join me on a business trip to Chicago last week. After being with FEMA for a little over year, spending 50 nights on the road, and traveling almost 40,000+ air miles, it was nice to have family come along for the ride. Chicago was our destination because the annual FEMA Mitigation Planners Workshop was held here this year.  This was my second visit to Chicago this year, Laura and Autumn’s first ever, and it was a great visit to the Windy City.

“But wait! Where was Ethan?”

Ethan was being cuddled, loved, spoiled and more by his Grandma Lynda. She flew up from California to spend the week with him in Seattle. They had a fun filled week of visiting the zoo, riding the ferry, eating at Old McDonald’s (as Ethan says), going to preschool, reading books, books, and more books, and spending quality time with Grandma. He had lot of stories to tell us each evening when we visited with him on Skype.

In Chicago, Laura and Autumn spent their days exploring the city. They put on a lot of miles…well, Laura put on the miles while Autumn enjoyed the front row view from her Bjorn carrier. The weather was perfect to be outside. We stayed at Hotel Monaco and had the best service. We highly recommend this hotel to anyone visiting Chicago. They attended to our needs, and then some, to ensure that Autumn was taken care of. I’ve never left tip for housekeeping and these employees deserved it. Some of the highlights include a tour on the Chicago River, eating pizza Chicago and non-Chicago style, walking in Millennium Park, and viewing the wonderful architecture.

While we didn’t anticipate this part, it was a nice experience to be able to bond with Autumn without Ethan. Of course we love Ethan and missed him dearly, but there is something special to have one-on-one time with your children. We had that time with Ethan for 2.5 years and it was good to get it with Autumn for a bit. For me, it was the most I’ve spent with Autumn and, after being home this week, I think it shows she taken a bit more of a liking to me. Also, watching the two kids see each other after 5 days was very cute. They were full of smiles and Ethan was full of hugs for his sister.

Overall, it was great experience to visit Chicago. As with many of the major cities we’ve visited over the years, it has it’s own unique style. As for Ethan, he’ll join us as we take to the air in December to visit family in the bay area.

>> View more the Holts in action in our Photographs section.

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