Rewind: The Windy City

AKA…The North Pole.

If you didn’t know, Chicago is a tad chilly in January. But the weather situation didn’t put a damper on our fun. It was so great to be able to sneak away to the big, frigid, windy city for a late anniversary getaway with my man. Sadly, this is the first time we’ve taken a little anni trip. Our actual day comes at a really hectic time of year (Dec 20), and we’re usually home visiting family and enjoying Christmas festivities.

We made the trip in our new {to us} minivan. I tell you this so you’ll fully understand just how cool we really are. Have I mentioned that we traded in the fun car for the swagger wagon? {Honda version but still swagger :).} Truthfully, after 8 years, the fun car had turned into the money-pit car and was at the VW shop at least once a month. It was time to say goodbye. We are thankful for a reliable vehicle with plenty of room to transport our growing family and our endless supply of strollers and gear. Seriously. Babies are small but they sure do require a load of stuff, especially when you’re traveling across three states.

{My friend Christy, also the proud owner of minivan, found us bumper stickers for the back that say “I used to be cool.” However, my siblings would probably tell you this is debatable in my case. Mainly because I’ve wanted a van since I was like seven, among other reasons}.
IMG_3718We arrived late, checked in, and then slept in late the next morning. It was glorious. Although, who am I kidding? I act like sleeping in is a rare thing or something, but I’m blessed with a child who will sleep until 9 am. I sleep in lots of days. Don’t hate. I realize this is all going to change come June.

We had a lovely breakfast together with no one whining or demanding yogurt and bites of our cereal. It’s the little things. Then, we set out {with absolutely no itinerary…or clue where we were going} to explore the city.

IMG_3736Navy Pier was completely deserted, as it was about 15 degrees out, but the views of the city and Lake Michigan were gorgeous.

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IMG_3745And we found a snowy beach. . .

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IMG_3743We tried out Giordano’s deep dish pizza at the recommendation of Adam’s boss. It didn’t disappoint. Then, we had to try Geno’s deep dish pizza the next night because there was some dispute amongst Adam’s work people as to which place has the better pizza. So, Adam felt the need to settle it, and thus, we had deep-dish two nights in a row. But who’s complaining? Not this preggo. I was happy for seven whole meals with just my husband. It was like seven dates in a row. Oh, and Giordano’s won, p.s.!
IMG_3753I loved the city at night. It was kind of magical.

IMG_3767One of my favorite things we did was just walk up and down Michigan Avenue and go in some of the stores. We went in the biggest GAP I’ve ever seen in my life, and Adam actually wanted to try on some clothes. I’ve never once known him to initiate trying on clothes in a store. It was an anniversary trip miracle.

IMG_3772The bean was cool . . .

And I nearly died from hypothermia. . .

IMG_3774Adam was so sweet to take me to a show, which is one of my favorite things in the world to do!

Goofin’ . . .

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A little better.

JW making his presence known. IMG_3779

I Love Lucy was just the cutest thing! It wasn’t too long and was really funny and entertaining. I swear that Ricky’s voice was recorded from the T.V. show. He sounded EXACTLY like him. In fact, the actors and actresses who played Ricky, Lucy, Fred and Ethel were all excellent. They did a really awesome job impersonating the original characters.
IMG_3782After the show, we had a real treat! We met one of my dearest friends in the whole wide world for dessert at this fun little lounge that overlooks the city. You can’t really tell from this picture, but the view from the 96th floor was quite lovely.

IMG_3784 Lauren is a student at Wheaton, and she was so sweet to come into the city to meet us. Catching up was so fun…like picking up right where we left off. Adam and I both have so many fun memories with her from college days…she is so dear to us!

{Please excuse how rough Adam and I look in this picture. Tired, much? I had to post for the memory}.

IMG_3785And then we got up the next morning and came home. And it was oh-so-good to kiss Mr. Boy’s sweet cheeks. A few days away together always recharges our batteries! Thankful for four blessed years with my Adam. . . and finally a chance to celebrate it!

{Oh! And a quick “thank you” shout-out to my sweet Mama who stayed in Louisville immediately following a 14 day trip to Israel and major jet-lag in order to keep a wild, rumbling, tumbling Mr. Boy for us. She loves us so well!}

Christmas in Pictures

We made a very quick trip to Alabama for Christmas this year, but I wanted to document with just a few pictures.

Santa loot…

SONY DSC Coming in to check out the loot. SONY DSCReady to cruise.
SONY DSCChuck the truck.

SONY DSC DSC05197Someone has changed a lot since last Christmas. Tears . . .
SONY DSCNew pajamas. Jenny looks like a model when she wakes up in the morning. It’s a tad sickening. 🙂

photo (2) Probably the best piece of meat I’ve had. EVER. Props to Big Norm. photo (3)

Always excited about new books. SONY DSC Sweet Christmas cousins. SONY DSCSadly, I neglected to get many pictures with family during our Christmas trip, but here’s a family Christmas card attempt taken around Thanksgiving. Oh, how I love these people!

DSC05062Hoping everyone had a happy Christmas!

Colorado Vaca {Part 4: The Incline}

See that little brown line running up the mountain? It’s called “The Incline.” Jenny, Adam, and I decided to get up at 5:30 a.m. on our last day of vacation to go climb it. You’re thinking that we’re a bunch of crazies, aren’t you? I was thinking the same thing when, for one very long minute, I had to encapsulate myself in an extremely foul smelling porta potty at the bottom of the mountain.

Why am I not in my warm, comfortable bed in my pleasant smelling hotel room? . . .

Because I love a good physical challenge {excluding natural childbirth, which I was perfectly content not to attempt}. Jenny and I were discussing how we actually love the feeling of waking up with sore muscles because it makes us feel like we’ve really done something hard. Yes, I realize we may be a little insane.

{Just FYI, what appears to be the top of the incline in the pic below is actually a false summit! Talk about crushing. There’s a good bit more to go that you can’t see.}

The Incline is about 3 miles from bottom to top, 2800 railroad ties, and 2000 vertical feet {the base is about 6000 ft, and you’re above 8000 feet at the top}.

It was definitely a challenge. Ok, it was seriously hard. We took a good many short stops for oxygen and water. Adam and I slowed Jenny down for sure. This was her third time to climb it, and she was much more acclimated to the altitude. Heck, she’d been running half-marathons in CO!

Honestly, though, I really enjoyed it. It was one of my favorite things that we did in Colorado {maybe because I’m crazy, as we established earlier}. It was exhilarating to be out on that mountain first thing in the morning, working up a good sweat. The climb view was breathtaking.

We made it to the TOP!

And {clearly} my hair was feelin’ the pain as much as my legs. Instead of going back down Incline route, we jogged down Barr trail. Have you ever tried jogging down a mountain? It’s a real, live wonder I didn’t break my neck.

It really was a great way to end a great vacation. A big thanks to Doc and J-J for keeping Mr. Boy!

Colorado Vaca {Part 3: Jenny’s Graduation}

One reason for coming to CO was to attend Jenny’s graduation ceremony from New Life School of Worship. On Friday, the day before graduation, we were able to meet a lot of her friends/classmates at a family picnic.

Jen with some of her best girls.

Jen and her friend Candace.

Family 🙂

The parentals.

Mr. Boy and his Mama.

Studying Greek.

Fun times with J-J.

Saturday was graduation day. We had a sweet time of worship to kick off a really meaningful ceremony. Each year, one student is chosen by his/her classmates to give a student response at the graduation ceremony. Jenny was chosen this year. She did an excellent job with her speech. If you know my sister, this comes as no surprise.

So glad we got to be there for this graduation {especially considering the fact that we missed Jen’s college graduation because she was playing in a softball tournament and we missed my college graduation because I was getting married the next day}. It was good to finally celebrate a graduation.

Colorado Vaca {part 1}

So, we’re in Colorado. The weather is not too hot and not too cool. The scenery is unreal. We’re out and about, breathing fresh air in wide open spaces. It’s pretty fabulous.

I’ll admit, vacation is a tad less relaxing with a little one along. Honestly, though, he’s been such a trooper. We’ve dragged him everywhere and kept him up WAY past his normal bedtime every night, but he’s hanging in there and enjoying the ride! He did well on both flights out here. We entertained him with books, videos on the ipad, and lots of snacks. I may have had to change a dirty diaper on the airplane, and L may have had a MAJOR vomiting episode the minute we got into the rental car {too many snacks?}, but other than that, travel day was relatively smooth. No big deal that we carried our baby into the hotel in nothing but his diaper and then had to completely wash puke out of the car-seat liner in the sink. Oh, parenthood…

On Thursday, we hiked 4 miles up Pike’s Peak. It was pretty steep, and I’m not sure how Adam did it with almost 20 extra pounds on his back. Adam and Jen jogged the 4 miles back down, so I carried Mr. Boy down. He enjoyed a nice little nap, and my back was on fire by the end.

Afterward, we enjoyed lunch at this quaint little bistro in Manitou Springs.We also visited Garden of the Gods on Thursday, and we’ve had a pretty full day today. But pictures will have to wait because I’m exhausted. And now I rest.

Family Sunday

My family makes fun of me for my incessant picture taking. However, I’ve been in Alabama since Wednesday, and today is the first day that I’ve pulled out the camera and made some pictures. Not counting the pictures that I’ve taken with my phone, of course. I know. I’m that mom.

{Mr. Boy is making his new favorite face in the pic below. It’s not a mad face. It’s a I’m-happy-so-let-me-open-my-mouth-as-wide-as-possible-and-listen-to-myself-make-noise-face. We do not have a quiet child.}

We had a little photo shoot with J-J after church. . .

and then had to get a few shots with the big boys.

I think someone loves his Uncle Will. Just a little.

And Walker’s pretty fun too.

And sweet Granddaddy. It blesses my heart that he’s gotten to know my baby boy.

In case any of you were wondering, travel day went relatively well. It was an extremely LONG day since we weren’t able to fly direct, but Mr. Boy was a little traveling champ! God heard our prayers. I did have to nurse him twice on the second flight, not because he was hungry, but because he got a little fussy, and I panicked. You do what you have to do. And luckily I was on a seat by myself, so it was no big deal.

And home has been wonderful. . . a restful retreat.