Monday, February 28, 2011

Chicago for the weekend!

Hello! It has been so long since we have posted on here, but I figured this was a good time to start again! I will still be posting on my personal blog, but this one will be used more for updates and family matters... I will post later about our new lives here in Rolla, but for now, I want to talk about our latest adventure!

One of our friends, Hope, lives 2 hours south of Chicago, so on Thursday night, Dan, Leandra, Nick and I set out to spend the weekend at her family's home.  She is about to leave for Italy for the semester, so she hasn't been in Rolla.  The drive was definitely challenging.  Leandra was driving, and she did great... However, the weather was terrible.  It rained until we got to Saint Louis and then it started to snow.  We didn't think the snow was sticking... until we spun out of control across the three lane highway.  Leandra was able to gain control again before we flipped or went off the road, which was amazing.  We had to go around 40 mph the rest of the way, so we ended up at our destination around 1:30am.

Hope's home is so lovely, and her family is amazing!  They provided us with so much food and entertainment, it was like we were staying at a bed and breakfast!  On Friday, we just stayed there and relaxed all day. We watched movies, read, ate, played Kinect in their basement.  I must say, I like Kinect better than Wii.  It was so much fun! One thing interesting about Missouri/Illinois is that all the houses here have basements! So weird considering that I had been in very few basements before moving here... They make great play areas for the kids... The Pre-School I work at is actually in the basement of my boss's house.

Anyway, then we went to this cute little coffee shop. I love coffee shops, and I wish Rolla had a good one... We also had some great pizza at Monocles.

The next morning, after being stuffed with breakfast by Hope's mom, we headed for Chicago! We started out by driving along Lake Shore Drive, so we could see both Lake Michigan and all the buildings of downtown Chicago.  Unfortunately, it was super foggy and snowing, so we couldn't see the top of the really tall buildings, and Navy Pier was not an option.  We spent some time in a Northern suburb with Dan's uncle, aunt, and two cousins.  We got lunch at Homer's Ice Cream Shoppe.  It has been there for 75 years, and reminded me of Dairy Palace.

Once in downtown, we checked out the Art Institute's gift shop, which had some great stuff in it.  Then we headed for the big bean!  Apparently the artist meant for it to be a cloud... But it is definitely a bean.  We took some pics and then started walking down Michigan Avenue.

The buildings were all so unique and so lovely! My favorite building holds the Chicago Tribune.  Besides being really beautiful and huge, it has pieces of other famous buildings placed in the walls!  It was amazing! Texas was represented with the Alamo, which was awesome, but obviously I was more fascinated with the bricks from Pompeii, the Colosseum, etc.

We spent over an hour in the Apple store, because I had to get my computer fixed.  We went in and out of other stores, too.  They have everything.

For dinner, we ate at Giordano's, and got Chicago deep dish pizza! I was surprised that I actually liked it! It was great, and the atmosphere was fun.

Then we walked along the river, by the new Trump building, and took some pictures.  By this time, it was dark, and all the buildings looked so pretty lit up along the river.  We walked to the Corn Cob buildings, because Nick is doing a project on them.  They were fascinating! The first few floors have a parking garage, there are no walls, just chain.  And all the cars are parked with the backs to the outside of the building.  There is NO way I would ever back up in a parking spot 10 stories up with no wall. 

Finally, we headed to the Hancock building, which is 96 stories, and has a restaurant and bar on the top two, with huge glass windows as walls.  We got a great table that would have been a lakeside view, but unfortunately, we couldn't see anything.  It was so foggy that it looked like there were giant screens against the windows to keep light from coming in.

As we were heading back to our car, we stopped and watched this cool ice skating and dancing show at the outdoor skating rink by the bean.  It was so neat watching the performers outside in front of the beautiful Chicago skyline.  And it was the first time we had ever seen good ice skaters perform live. 

Back at Hope's house, we slept in and then were fed some great breakfast by her mom.  We watched a movie, played some basketball, ate lunch, and then headed home.

I am having trouble adding pics, but if you are friends with me on Facebook, you can check them out there! Enjoy!

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