CHICAGO FAMILY TRIP PART 1 – THE BEAN

Shey texted me and said “Plane tickets to Chicago are real cheap right now, we should go!”

So we booked it and took the family to see the third largest city in the United States.  Of course at the time we booked, we didn’t know that this same weekend we were going to be there with countless thousands of others who would be there to watch the Chicago Cubs win the World Series, something that hasn’t happened in 108 years!!  #traffic

For two of the kids, it was their first time ever on an airplane.

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I mentioned this to the stewardess as we boarded and asked if my son could peek in to the cockpit and bless her heart, she went right in to the pilot, said a few words, and the next thing I knew they had him sitting in the co-pilots chair with a BIG smile on his face!

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Other than at takeoff – when I thought he might literally pass out for a minute – both of them really enjoyed their first time flying.

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When we got in our seats, I offered him my phone to snap a few pics out the window and the next 23 pictures on my camera are almost identical to this one:

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By the time we got to our hotel, there was just enough time to check in, grab some dinner and a hotel pillar, and then hit the sack.

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My photo loving family.  🙂

The next day we were so excited to head to the city!

We were told not to drive our own car because there was little parking, and what there was, was very expensive.  So we took the train.  I’m telling you… we had NO idea what we were doing!

How do you get on the train?

Which train?

How do you get off?

How do you PAY for the train???  We were in a whole different world!  Thankful we had Sam there who clearly wasn’t as excited to be riding a train as the rest of us were.

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I just love that photo up there.

The train took us to Union Station and dropped us off underground.  It was amazing!  It was dark and cold when we we got off, but then we walked into the station and upstairs to ground level and sunlight.  Union Station was HUGE!

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There were pigeons everywhere!  Just like you would see on Sesame Street!  Haha!

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We met some friends at Lou Malnati’s pizzeria, which happened to be the exact pizza place that I called and had deliver pizza to Sam and his mission companion on his birthday back in June when I googled “best pizza place in Chicago.”  I can’t confirm that is truly the best in Chicago, but I can undoubtedly say that it was seriously good pizza!

But the highlight was meeting this couple whose happy home was the first door that Sam walked into with his companion upon arriving in his first area back in August 2014; even before going to his own apartment to drop off his luggage!  They were so good to them.  They welcomed him, fed him countless times, invited them into their home over and over, and they also took good care of ME, sending me messages of comforting reassurance every time they saw him, letting me know he was doing well.  I loved those messages!  It was so good to finally meet them in person.  And they aren’t the only ones!  There are others who were just as good to him, who we did not get to see, but for whom I am so thankful!

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Oh how I love this guy and his Chicago accent!  He talks just like you would imagine!

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After dinner, we walked around downtown Chicago together on our way over to Millenium Park, to see Cloud Gate, or the famous giant bean!

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It is breathtaking!

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I could have spent hours here.  It is in the perfect spot with the skyscrapers of Chicago as it’s backdrop.  Such an enormous and beautiful piece of art!

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We walked and walked, enjoying all the sights and sounds of the big city; the smell of good food, the interesting people, the sound of sirens echoing off the buildings, drug deals on the sidewalk….

…..apparently we walked right past that last one and Sam saw it, but the rest of us were oblivious!

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The two behind me saw me snapping away at the cuteness of Rick and his daughters and wanted to get in on the action, haha!

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As we stood at this intersection by the Trump tower, I couldn’t help but feel like I was in another world; far, far away from my long country roads and peaceful nights.  It felt surreal, almost like I was on a movie set.  What a fun and exciting place to visit!  But certainly not someplace I would want to live.  I love my simple, quiet country life.  🙂

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In light of recent events, we are sure glad we didn’t plan this trip one week later!  Look what’s going on at that intersection now…

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Yikes.  This enormous city is one place I would NOT want to be in a disaster, a crisis, or a political election.

Anyway, it was hard to say goodbye to our friends, but we had a train to catch…

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…some hot tubbing to do, and of course we had to check in on the Cubs and see how the World Series was going!  “wheninRome”

If that was our only day in Chicago it would have been a fulfilling trip.  Oh, but there was more…

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