Tag Archive for Chicago

A Mini-Vacation with a Few of Our Kids

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A few months ago Travel Man and I took a little vacation to Illinois with our two middle kiddos, one daughter-in-law to be, and our grandson.  This was quite a mix of travelers, and it was grandson Evan’s first time flying in a long time. We were on our way to visit my Grandpa and my Mom.  The smartest thing Travel Man planned for this trip was getting the kids their own hotel room.  They got to play cards and board games at night (yes they did travel with Settlers of Catan, and Phase 10), and we go to enjoy the peace and quiet.  Oh what an adventure we all had together.

My top ten list of fun and sometime humorous experiences went like this-

1. We took up two rows of seats on the airplane.  This required the inevitable discussion of who would have a window seat and who would have an aisle seat.

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2. Even though we were in the air flying we still heard this question, “Are we almost there yet?”  which came from the grandson. On our flight to Illinois we had one stop with no plane change.  So that question was unavoidable.

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3. We are all from Southern California and we traveled to the chilly (I mean freezing) Midwest region.  (We must have been nuts!)  Who ordered the 30 degree weather, and light snow flurries at the end of March?  It was a little blustery on a couple of days.

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4. Evan got to make his first snow angel in the snow near Lake Michigan.  He had so much fun.  He also found it necessary to step in or dig in each and every pile of snow he encountered.  Never mind the fact that the snow pile might be a little black with dirt or asphalt mixed in.11647350_10204559991694178_1914139083_n

Freezing our buns off at Lake Michigan!!

Freezing our buns off at Lake Michigan!!

5. My Mom took us on the “family tour” of all of the places she lived growing up, the house I grew up in, my grade school, and various other meaningful landmarks. The church in the background in the top picture here is the church where my grandparents met.  It is also the church where my parents were introduced to one another at a wedding reception.  A small world. After our excursion on this chilly afternoon Evan proclaimed, “Well that was certainly an interesting family education.” (Evanism 101)

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6. Eating a Chicago style deep dish pizza at Giordano’s. This was probably the yummiest dinner on our trip. There’s nothing like a Chicago deep dish pie!  Evan’s quite the pepperoni aficionado, and he told us the Chicago pizza was on his top five list!

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7. The Sky Deck at the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower).  Evan and I did not take the jaunt out on the Sky Deck.  We were too chicken to look straight down at the street!  We did get to take in all of the great views of the city from the 103rd floor, and Evan got to see Soldier’s Field first hand.

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Feet only. Looking straight down from the Sky Deck.

8. Seeing the bean in Millennium Park.  This is a work of art that is nicknamed “The Bean.”  The actual name of this piece of art is Cloud Gate.  You can get some truly cool reflection pictures while standing under or near the giant “Bean”.


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9.  Hearing Evan exclaim, “Grandma I think my eyes are frozen”.  On our chilly day in downtown Chicago.  He was layered with a sweatshirt, beanie, scarf, and hood from his sweatshirts, and he just could not keep his little face warm.  These are some of my favorite pictures of Evan invading the “Windy City”.

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10.  Getting to see five generations of my family around my Grandpa’s dining room table. That is a view that was priceless.  We miss my Grandma dearly, and this was one of those moments when you count your blessings, and are thankful for all of the good things in your life.

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Travelling with the kids was really a treat for us.  Joking, laughing, getting out of the hotel on time, etc, etc.  We were lucky to have our experienced “Travel Man” with us.  He always, always makes sure the travel can go as smoothly as possible, and we always have a great time wherever the destination may be.  We’re looking forward to more mini-vacations like this one soon.  One of these days granddaughter Madison will get to go along for the adventures.  For the time being we enjoy keeping the travel/road-trips as a special treat for Evan.

**Photo credits to Travel Man (aka Tom), my daughter Hilary, and daughter-in-law to be Erica.  Thanks everyone for your contributions.

It’s Our Turn to Pay it Forward

While travelling from one city to the next with Travel Man last week we lost his Bluetooth.  It got left in the rental car when we were making a mad dash for the door to the terminal to escape the chilly Chicago “spring” weather.  Unfortunately, we did not realize this had happened until we got into the rental car at our destination airport.  The Bluetooth was brand new, it’s a pretty cool model, and Travel Man was bummed.   After a few attempts to reach the rental car agency Travel Man finally got through to someone who could help him.  The representative patched him through to the Chicago Midway terminal, and they checked to see if the car was still there, but it had already left the building.  Travel Man left his phone numbers and asked the agent to contact him if they found the Bluetooth when the car was returned.

We were not holding out much hope that we would see the Bluetooth again.  And a tiny, little side note; this entire phone calling phase of our day was going on while we were driving to Demopolis, AL from Birmingham.  We were exhausted from the days’ travel, and locating the right phone number (me), and then getting through to the right person (Travel Man) was nearly like a navigational “discussion”.    It was not pretty for a few minutes there, but we got through it.  Let’s see that was on a Friday.

Travel Man had to work Saturday morning, and would you believe he got a phone call from the rental car representative.  They let him know that his Bluetooth had been returned that morning, by the person who rented the car after us.  This special person made a special trip back to the airport to return Travel Man’s Bluetooth. Awesome!  The rental car agency shipped the Bluetooth back to our house, and it arrived a day after we got home from this trip.

If you’re a positive sort of person like Travel Man and I tend to be this is the kind of act that gives you a glimmer of hope.  Yes there are good people out there in the world.  Those people do kind things for one another on a regular basis; it’s a habit for them.  So if the person who returned a Bluetooth to Chicago’s Midway terminal is reading this post, we thank you.

And now it’s our turn – to Pay It Forward.  The kindness of a stranger goes a long way, probably even longer, when you’re travelling and away from home.  We always try to go out of our way to be helpful to others, and when given the opportunity we both lend a helping hand.  We are always happy to Pay It Forward.  That kind of opportunity usually happens when you least expect it.

Have you had a chance to Pay It Forward recently?

On the Road with Travel Man

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Our first flight at 30,000 ft.- somewhere over the Midwest.

This past week has been quite a week.  I have been on the road with my Travel Guy while he has been working. How did this happen you ask?  Well, the stars were aligned, the timing was just right, the destinations were workable, and there was an opportunity for me to say, yes I would like to go with you. So I did.

This trip has been a whirlwind of travel for me, totally the norm for Travel Man.  We left California last Tuesday morning for our first destination; Quincy, MI.  We flew into Chicago’s Midway Airport, and drove to our Michigan location.  Travel Man worked there for two days, and then on Friday we headed to Demopolis, Alabama via Chicago, again. He worked the weekend on his second assignment  in Alabama, and then we headed for home yesterday morning.  That is a story all on its own.

It has been quite a while since I travelled out on a job assignment with my hubby, and it just reminds me of how unique his work-a-day world is.  He really does not live in the Monday through Friday world at all.  He lives in the job assignment to job assignment world.  Many of his assignments require him to travel over the weekend, so his Monday’s and Friday’s come and go with little or no fanfare.  Not a lot of TGIF’s in his work world.

Now, I realize that the “Road Warrior” schedule is not for everyone, but my Travel Guy, he just puts his nose to the grindstone and gets the job done.  He does not always get to sleep in.  He is not always able to be home for Sunday breakfasts and the like, but this is his job.  It’s what he does, it’s how he rolls, and how we pay the bills.

We had some crazy weather while we were in Michigan.  We saw lots of lightning, heard some awesome thunder, and on our way back to the airport on Friday there were a few snow flurries.  Isn’t this April already?  What happened to Springtime?

We, or I should say I,  had some serious issues on Friday figuring out what time zone we were in.  I was insistent that we would be on East Coast time in Alabama, Travel Man was not convinced.  Thank goodness for the automatic updates on the cell phones. I totally relied on my cell phone for that update, and readily admitted I was wrong.   We were on Central time.

Now that I have experienced this work-a-day travel first hand again, it is much easier for me to relate to the fact that my guy can feel like a total zombie when he gets home.   And it usually takes a few days for him to feel “normal” again.   The time changes can really mess with your brain and your body clock.

All in all this has been somewhat of a relaxing time for both of us.  We have gotten to spend some much-needed time together, gotten caught up on some missed conversations, and gotten to eat more than a few meals together.  Over the next week I will have a few adventures and tales to share with all of you about my week on the road.  Stay tuned for more of my tales,  “On the Road with Travel Man”.

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