My dad and Danette arrived at our house around 9 a.m. on Friday. After visiting a bit and sharing information about Noah, we were out the door. The drive up was wonderfully relaxing! We just enjoyed the alone time being able to talk without interruptions. I was craving pancakes, so we made a quick stop at IHOP for lunch. Their blueberry pancakes hit the spot! We drove the rest of the way to Chicago and stopped at The Museum of Science and Industry as soon as we got into the city. There was quite a bit of snow in Chicago already, but more was pouring down out of the sky. We accidentally turned onto what I thought was a road to the parking lot but ended up possibly being a walkway. OOPS! It made for a good laugh! We paid for parking and walked inside the museum. There was no one in line to buy tickets, which made me remember that they closed at 4 p.m, and it was already 3:30 p.m. CRAP. This trip was not starting off as planned! We rolled with it, got back in the Jeep, and drove to our hotel.
The Affinia hotel is located on Superior just off Michigan Ave., and it proved to be a great location! We freshened up and decided to shop a big before our dinner reservation that evening. We went into the Disney store and had so much fun picking things out for Noah! We almost never buy him toys or presents except for his birthday, Christmas, and Easter, so it was fun picking out some different things for him. We decided to actually purchase everything the next day so that we didn't have to go back to our hotel. It's hard to believe that we will be buying souvenirs for two boy by the time we take our next trip.
As we left the store, Ryan pointed out Tiffany & Co. He and I had been there only one time before when we were just dating, and I had tried on an $11,000 emerald cut diamond engagement ring. We both nearly fainted that day, and I was so surprised to hear Ryan say that he wanted me to pick something out that day. I am not someone who puts a lot of value in material things. I have a few things that are dear to me including my engagement ring and wedding band, my emerald (Noah's birth stone) and diamond ring that Ryan got me for my first Mother's Day, a pair of diamond earrings that he bought me a few years ago, my cross necklace, and our pictures. Clothing, purses, shoes, etc. have just never meant all that much to me. We walked into Tiffany's and glanced at the jewelry on the first floor. Then we went upstairs to look around, and the first thing I saw was a necklace with a lower-case, cursive "a." It was very elegant yet simple, and I thought, that might just be the one. We looked around and had the lady helping us show us a few other necklaces, but I didn't care for anything else I saw. We went back to the first necklace, and I tried it on. It was really perfect! I told Ryan that I wanted to wait and think it over before we bought it. That's me trying to keep balance and practicality in our lives!
We took a cab over to Wildfire, a steak, seafood, and chops restaurant off Erie and LaSalle. During the cab ride, I looked at the clock and saw that it was an hour earlier than what we thought. Oh no! We forgot to change our watches, and for some reason, my cell phone hadn't automatically changed time zones. That means we could have gone to the museum afterall, and we had more time to shop on Michigan Avenue than we thought. You'd think we never left the house! Unfortunately, there was really nothing to do in that part of town. We were pretty cold and decided to grab some coffee and hot chocolate nearby and go into a store called Sports Authority. Ryan looked around at the running gear while I relaxed for a bit. We killed a good hour there before walking over to Wildfire.
|At Sports Authority capturing the moment|
After dinner we jumped in another cab and took a ride north to a place called Blokes & Birds to meet up with our friends Jo and Pete Scott from Hanover. We only get to see them once in a great while, so we really treasure the time we have together! Jo and Pete arrived shortly after us, and we spent the next hour and half catching up and hearing about their latest trip back to Lebidoti, where they were Peace Corp volunteers for over 2 years. Then, fortune and fame began calling Jo's name, and she had to run out the door to prepare for Geek Show at The Playground Theatre where she performs with an improv team. Ryan and I made our way over there a few minutes later, grabbed the best seats in the house, and excitedly awaited the show. I had never seen Jo perform, and you start to worry, "What if it isn't any good? What will I say to her? What if I don't laugh?" Well, truth be told, it was a HILARIOUS show, and I didn't need to pretend to like it because I really loved it! Of course, she was a star and stole the show. For those of you who know Jo, I'm sure you're surprised! We had a great time and were sad to say goodbye after the show ended. We crashed at the hotel but couldn't wait to start another day of fun together.
Saturday morning we grabbed a quick bite to eat and jumped on the subway down to Pizano's, our first stop for our Chicago Pizza Tour. The Food Network and Travel Channel always have shows on New York City pizza versus Chicago Pizza, and finally we were going to have the chance to decide for ourselves which one we preferred. We had taken the Brooklyn Pizza Tour last May when I surprised Ryan with a trip to NYC for his 30th birthday. We enjoyed pizza at Pizano's at the Loop, Apart Pizza at Lincoln Square, Coalfire Pizza in West Town (supposedly comparable to Grimaldi's, which we had in Brooklyn), and Gino's East at River North. The pizza was delicious everywhere we went, and although we had some interesting people on the tour with us, we really enjoyed the experience together! At the end of the day, we are Brooklyn Pizza People all the way! :) See below for a photo tour of our experience.
We made a few more stops at Crate & Barrel, Niketown, and Garrett's Popcorn. I cannot explain how much I LOVE this popcorn! Two gallons of popcorn is around $65 after tax, and I GLADLY spent that! This is coming from the Dave Ramsey-loving, stick-to-the-budget, coupon-cutting me. That should tell you how good this popcorn is. I have eaten almost half of it since we've been home, and I'm beginning to panic about what I'll do when it's all gone. So, if any of you are going to be in Chicago anytime in the next few months, I will pay you to get me more popcorn. :)
|Ryan at Jake Melnicks|