Saturday, May 24, 2014

Spring Break: Chicago, IL

After our long drive to Louisville (for a fun visit to the Louisville Slugger Museum and Mammoth Cave), and after our short drive from Louisville to Cincinnati (for a day at the Creation Museum), we took another short drive to Chicago. If you're interested, the grand total of drive time thus far was about 14 hours. But, spread out over several days with a lot of interesting stops and adventures in between it really wasn't that bad. Except for that drive to Louisville - did I mention it was long?

Confession: when the Chicago skyline came into view and I knew we were almost "home," I got teary. Seriously. Life is a thousand times different now with four kids in the suburbs than when I was a young 20-something with just Grady in the big city, but seeing the familiar skyline and having such fond memories was enough to make me sentimental.
We only had three days in Chicago, which is long enough to enjoy several sights but short enough to get overwhelmed trying to prioritize what to do. And, given that our kids had gone several days without naps and later than usual bedtimes, we knew we couldn't push a firm itinerary.
Grady and I loved.loved.loved our six years of living in Chicago. We dream about buying a small condo there so that we can always have a reason to visit. I am beyond content with our home in the south, but my time in Chicago will always hold some of my most favorite memories and experiences. And, it will always feel like home.
Our hotel was right off Michigan Avenue, so we took the kids for a walk along the Magnificent Mile. It was a Saturday, so of course it was very busy, and unfortunately my boys haven't grasped sidewalk etiquette yet. Lots of gawking at panhandlers. Lots of run-ins with people rushing the opposite direction on the sidewalk. Lots of tripping on people in front of them because they were too busy looking down and playing don't-step-on-the-crack-or-you-break-your-mother's-back kind of games. About 15 minutes into our walk Grady and I realized our family had become what we always rolled our eyes at while we lived in the city: obnoxious suburbanites.
We took the kids to the apartment we lived in for a couple of years, just outside of the Loop and just off of Lake Michigan. Our place was on the 30th floor and we enjoyed some incredible views. Not to mention, there was a wonderful rooftop deck, and indoor pool and exercise room, and they served a continental breakfast every morning. And, Moody Bible Institute was right across the street so my morning commute time to work was a grand total of five minutes. This wonderful place we called home is a far cry from where we live today. Now, our home backs up to woods and a creek, our neighborhood is next to a cow pasture, and no one is serving me breakfast each morning. Sigh.
A highlight, for all of us, was an afternoon in the John Hancock Observatory where we took in views from the 94th floor. We had fun pointing out our old apartment, The Moody Church, office buildings, beaches, and other places we used to frequent when we lived in Chicago.
Our time in Chicago fell over Easter weekend so we had the privilege of spending Easter Sunday in our old church home, The Moody Church. The service was beautiful and hearing Dr. Lutzer made me homesick for the years we sat under his teaching. It was fun to see so many old friends and their kids - families sure do grow in seven years! Hugs and hellos and talk-a-mile-a-minute catch-up conversations... simply not enough time for it all.
We visited some special friends for dinner (Giordanos' pizza!) at their home and it was a complete pick-up-where-you-left-off and talk-as-though-nothing-ever-changed kind of evening. It was refreshing. It was encouraging. It was special. And, their five kids and our four kids were instant buddies... playing and laughing and talking as though they'd known each other for a while.

All too soon our short stay in Chicago came to a close and it was time to travel on to Michigan. A short three hour drive and we'd be at my parent's home for a week to visit extended family. I wasn't ready to leave Chicago just yet, but I was ready to see my parents and to introduce my family to Jaxton.

More on our Spring Break adventures in Michigan soon...

1 comment:

  1. Sarah,
    I have been a follower of your blog for a long while. I know you home school your kids and I am looking for a little advice. I want to start some sort of schedule with my son and would greatly appreciate any help/info you may could provide. He is 1.5 years old. We need to have structure in our day and I'm not sure where to start. My email is I would be very grateful for any help you could provide. Thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.