Friday, May 22, 2009

goodbye, chicago

I missed the season premiere of my all time favorite show, So You Think You Can Dance, tonight and I am so so so sad.  Mourning...

We have been home for two weeks but unlike my China trip, wanted to finish documenting this trip.  I think it is because the kids are involved.

This is the last of my Chicago stuff:
I started off the morning by getting up and ready before the family so I could go and explore the shops around the hotel.  My favorite were:
Dick Blick Art Materials- I have bought some stuff from them online but to go to the actually store was so much for me.  It got all my nerdy crafty feelings going.  I loved it in there so much.  All the rulers, all the notebooks, all the paper, and even a cordless electric eraser!  Mr. Recession is My Reality made sure that I walked out of there only spending $4.  The cutest wooded ball push pins ever and refills for my mechanical pencil.  How good am I?
Other favorite shops:
H & M-  Love their sale racks.  Mr. Recession couldn't even get me down there.  $20 got me 4 shirts.  Quantity AND quality (well, moderate quality, the place is pretty cheap).  Yes, there are cheap chain store clothes beyond Target and Old Navy.
Garrett Popcorn Shop-  Oprah was right, this place is great.  I love mixing sweet and salty and their signature cheese and caramel combo, though freaky sounding, is so so good.  So good that I went back and bought some more.  Some to share and some to make sure that I have some for times like right now, when just typing about it makes me want it.  Going to grab some from the kitchen, be back in a second...
... okay, I am back and now this is going to take my twice as long because I have to get the cheese off my fingers every time I need to type.

Went back to the hotel to find my family doing their favorite things:  Karl still working (or rather taking and making phone calls about his no longer working, securing files, working out details, etc.) and the kids in their jammies watching TV.  I forced them to stop their most favorite things.  After all, we were in CHICAGO!
I just figured out that I just hold the popcorn bowl up to my mouth I don't actually have to get the cheese on my fingers.  Can't control the cheese/ caramel ratio but I am willing to sacrifice.  
We parked at Millenium Park because it was cheaper than our hotel.  It also gave us a chance to see the park during the day.  
 All these business people eating their lunches and then these two kids started chasing the birds.  They were going at it so hard it was cracking me up.

In suburbia, if something is a few miles away, it take a few minutes to get there.  In Chicago, if something is a few miles away, it takes forever.  We went to a place called Hot Dougs.  Though the had me at, "Welcome to Hot Dougs!  The Sausage Superstore and Encased Meats Emporium," I read further to find that they their "hot dogs" included crazy stuff like alligator and fancy stuff like fresh mozzarella and goat cheese.  Oh, and, of course, they had the Chicago Dog.  A somewhat sacred dish in these parts.  Look at that line to get into the shop.  A HOT DOG shop!  I looked around and realized that this is serious man food.  At some points Eva and I were the only girls in there.  My pomegranate drink was so good.  
Though it was fun to go to such a popular, weird shop, I would never consider that place an appropriate source of nutrition.

The family was so nice to let me go into these cute shops:
Paper Boy- So cute, had every cute ribbon, stationary, paper, gift, book, you can imagine.  The ribbon.  Oh, the ribbon...
(funny story:  I was waiting for Karl and the kids to pick me up after I was done and noticed a store called "Uncle Fun" across the street.  Couldn't tell what kind of store it was but didn't go in because from the name thought there was a small chance that it could be one of "those" kind of stores.  I didn't go in.  But upon Googling "Paperboy" for this post found out that the stores are friends (or uncles) with each other and Uncle Fun is, in fact, a toy store (not just for adults).  Dang, wish I knew that before.  I would have checked it out.)
Paper Doll- Another cute chop chock full of similarly inspiring stuff.    
Renegade Handmade- Talk about inspiring.  A whole store full of handmade stuff.  Like a real live non cyber etsy shop.  
Lesson in posting right after a vacation:  All the shops are kind of fuzzy in my mind, now.  One giant, happy, inspiring, fuzz.  I can't remember which shop was which.  I am pretty sure I mixed up those that I wanted to go to, those that were closed, and those that I actually went to.
Who knew that Monday is the new Sunday in Chicago?  SO many shops were closed.  Lame.

That night I got to go out with my friend Elisa.  She was my mentor teacher my first year of teaching in Chicago and taught me so much.  Along with the seriously helping me out in my classroom, she also taught me how to cook Mexican food (the real stuff) and introduced me to threading, the coolest way of hair removal ever.  Keeping with tradition, we stopped at a threading shop and I got my brows done.  It is so cool.  They use a piece of thread to shape your brows.  Just a piece of thread!   
Then we headed out for Greek food (Think: My Big Fat Greek Wedding). Saganaki (cheese flambe!), gyros, moussaka, and the best dolmades I have ever had (I thought I didn't like them, until I had THESE).  Such a great meal, but even better was the company.  We had a lot of catching up to do.  Awesome night.
In the mean time, Karl and the kids were hanging out at the beach.  I never get tired of that skyline.  Uh, Abbi?  If you are missing a really cute kitchen towel, it is because we had it in our trunk from when we took breakfast to the park. Whoops.  Sorry.  Eva used it to keep her feet off the bugs.  She got freaked out by them.  Smart girl.  Uh, I bet you want that towel back, now.
Among many obvious differences between mommies and daddies:
If it is 9:30 p.m. and the kids haven't eaten, mommy panics
If it is 9:30 p.m. and the kids haven't eaten, daddy doesn't sweat it, he just calls mommy

Enter our family into Pizano's Pizza (the closest non-McDonald's place that was still open), 10 p.m..  Though I was stuff full of great Greek food, I still had room for the skillet cookie and ice cream dessert.  Always room for one of those.
Hotel, sleep, pack, load up...
Then we headed to H & M (as a family, this time), grab the fastest food we could find (chips, bread, and cookies from the bakery) and headed to the Field Museum (once again, our Discovery Gateway membership pass got us in for free!).  
Let it be known that this is the day that a large bag of Doritos provided my children with all the nutrients they were going to get until 8 p.m.  I felt horrible (and gross, too).  They didn't mind.  I did.

The museum was neat.  It brought back a lot of memories from when I did a teacher program there.  I went there a bunch of Saturdays and they taught us all about the museum.  I took my students there for a chocolate exhibit and learned all about the stuff.  I couldn't take pictures of the pirate exhibit so I can't remember much :).

We leave the museum and wisely decide to skip lunch at a place that I REALLY wanted to check out.  We get to the car rental return only to realize that we didn't fill the gas tank, we drive around for a gas station, give up (and decide paying $8 a gallon is better than missing our flight), get to the airport, realize Eva left her purse (with her Nintendo inside!) in the car, have to leave it (Eva cries, of course.  I mourn the money we spent on that Nintendo), rush to security (only to stand there for what seems like FOREVER), Karl runs ahead (only to find that they had finished boaording), asks them to hold the plane, they hold it for a while, we take too long (getting two kids and all our stuff through security, and then running through the airport takes a long time), the guy says that they have to close the gate (and kindly lets us know that the next flight is the next morning), Karl comes to tell us, I need to sit for a breather, Karl goes to double check to make sure that the next flight is not until the next morning, and MIRACULOUSLY the plane has not left yet and they guy lets us on.  

Take a breath.

We made it.  Our chaotic ways were, once again, rewarded.  An entire plane full of people waited for us.

This is the flight where I ate an entire medium bag of Garretts popcorn because I was STARVING.
This is the flight where the stewardess comes running saying, "I am coming, I am coming!" to find two parents oblivious to the fact that their son had been entertaining himself for the last five minutes by pushing the button above his head.  Yep, that one that calls the stewardess.  Yep that one that makes that tone over and over until she shows up.  Yep, totally oblivious.  "So sorry," is all we can say.
The luggage took forever.  Us being in the wrong luggage terminal didn't help.  The kids made the best of it and made themselves comfortable while we figured things out.  Look at the center pictures.  Samuel's lips when he is focusing.  Oh, those lips!

This is the day that I had one of the best meals I have ever had.  My mom had korokke waiting for us at her house.  Even when I have had more than popcorn to eat all day, korokke is one of my favorite meals ever.  

So good to be home.


mmm.chocolate said...

Read and loved both of your posts about Chicago! Love living your exciting life vicariously through your great storytelling. I'm so sorry to hear about the change in Karl's employment. I know you will be okay. I also know that is stressful.

You take the BEST photos of your kids! I love your layouts with all the pictures to go along with your posts. It inspires me to someday learn to be more techno-savvy (I said someday, not today). You are so funny! And, thanks for making me want some cheesy caramel popcorn.

How much am I loving Eva's wardrobe? You are going to have to tell me where you get her fabulous clothes. I'm glad you had an exciting trip. And, even more glad you made the flight!

Kris Tina said...

I always try to convince Ross that Garrett's is delicious - he just won't buy it - the fool.

P.S. - don't worry about SYTYCD - it was just one of the tryouts show - so you still have time - nothing to catch up on . . .yet.

Christina said...

Thanks, T. I feel so much better about missing it, now. I was so sad! I suck at being a dedicated TV watcher.

Heath'e' said...

Few! I'm so glad you made your flight I was sure you were going to tell us you had to stay another day. Sounds/looks like you had a great time.

Alyse said...

Oh my gosh... Garrett's popcorn is so addicting. What do they put in that stuff? Cheesy carmel...mmmm.

I LOVED reading about your Chicago adventure. What a fun trip down memory lane. The Field Museum is still my favorite museum of all time. Glad to hear you made your flight....we've missed quite a few flights out of that airport ourselves.

Abbigail said...

Wow! What a trip! I can't believe you caught your flight. I am glad that my towel got to go to the beach. It will not be missed. They edges roll up when you wash them and make me mad.
I love Garrett's myself. If I lived in Chicago I would waigh 300 pounds because of that popcorn. Sounds so fun and chaotic. Sounds like how my latest move has felt. I am glad you are home and I hope you can relax. I wish I could have gone with you to get my eyebrows done. You always have talked about that place. Was that the friend of yours who drove you to the hospital when you had Eva almost in the car?

Dianne and Sean said...

I love the first picture of Eva and Samuel! So cute!


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