Thursday, July 28, 2011

Trip to Chicago

This past weekend, we headed to the Chicago area to visit family. We left Friday morning and traveled through a pretty fierce (but much needed) thunderstorm to arrive safely at Lynette's in Crystal Lake. As we were driving through Algonquin's many shopping venues, I noticed something both exciting and horrifying! Borders is going out of business. I guess I should have known it was coming: I've been hearing about their financial woes for quite awhile. But wait, you're thinking, she said "exciting." What's exciting about a bookstore going out of business? I'll tell you what's exciting: books on sale! The signs were prominent: 40% off. Clint took one look at my gleaming eyes and sighed. "Let's get to Lynette's first," he said. "I promise we'll come back."

There is really only one important thing that must be discussed when gathering with Genthners, I have come to realize: food. We talked for I think two whole days about food. In the meanwhile, the girls fit in a nail polishing session and the kids all jumped on the trampoline and played hide and seek. And we ate lots of good food. Like Lynette's homemade green tea gelato. Green tea! Who knew?
You're probably worried about whether I got to Borders. Fret no longer: I did. But here's the sad part, the part I couldn't see as we were driving 55 mph along the road: there were two tiny little words above the 40% off. Guess what they were? That's right: Up To. There wasn't much on sale, really--not much cheaper than Amazon, that is...which is probably why Borders is closing, eh? I got a few things from the bargain books section...
Then we headed over to visit Jeanette and Frederick for a night, eating more delicious food and sharing a great bottle of wine. More thunderstorms and rain...Sunday was a going away party for Annette's family: they're moving back to California. It is sad to see them go, but now we have a place to stay when we finally make the cross-country trip!
Sunday evening we headed over to see Micah and Sarah, who live in Buffalo Grove. Somebody really, really loves her cousin Jonah.

I'd often look into the living room as Sarah and I were talking about...well, food, if you must know--to see Eva settled comfortably on Jonah's lap. And he's a pretty easygoing thirteen year old boy, I think, because he didn't seem to mind. One time as they were walking out the door to get back on the swing set, I heard Eva say, "Jonah, you're my best friend" as she slipped her little hand into his.

Monday evening, we drove a mile or so to a park that boasts having the highest spot in the Chicagoland area. It did have a great view: we could see downtown. The kids were more interested in the small things, though, like grasshoppers.

And it was Micah and Sarah's anniversary! We cooked South African food together before going to the park, and we went out for ice cream afterward at Oberweis. Yummy. (I had Key Lime Pie ice cream!)

Tuesday morning, we took the kids down to the city (Chicago) to walk around and see the sights. Marilyn was new to me. The picture crops out all the loads of tourists (which, of course, we are not) standing below taking closer pictures.

There will be a new Lego store soon in Watertower Place, but for now, they have a temporary location in the mall and some of their sculptures for photo opportunities. Doesn't Jonah look happy?

I wanted to get more shots of the gorgeous architecture, but we were trying to walk quickly so as not to spend too much time downtown (somebody was mentally tallying our parking cost) and we were worried about how long Jared would last.

Lunch was a toss up: Chicago style pizza or Italian beef? By 1:00, we were so hungry and footsore, we didn't care which as long as it was readily available. We decided to just head back in the general direction of our parking garage and hope something caught our eye. We were waiting at a light when I heard a lady say, "Let's stop for pizza; it's right down here." I think she may have been an angel. We followed her and her family to Gino's East where, Lauren was pleased to learn, graffiti is encouraged. The pizza was great, and it was nice to rest our feet.

After lunch we walked east so we could see the lake, but we didn't get close enough to get our feet wet. All in all, it was a nice, relaxing trip. Good times, great food. Wonderful families.

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