Well, guys, it’s been a while. Let’s see; I’m going to recap (mostly for my own records) but I’ll try to keep it interesting.
I packed most of the stuff Friday night and after a quick breakfast at a local place, we finished packing and got on the road. Honestly, I think we got out later than we wanted to (maybe 9 or 9:30) but it all worked out fine. In fact, the first day went really well. Our plan was to drive roughly four hours then find a playground and eat lunch. Ash looked up playgrounds in Montgomery. Alabama and it routed us to an elementary school in the ghetto. BUT, it worked out. No one was there and it had a decent playground. The kids liked the break. Ash took over driving then and got us through the rest of (boring) Alabama and into Tennessee. We were in town by 4:30 so we had a bit of time to relax before meeting an old friend of mine at a mexican placed named Chuy’s. We had a good time, though Isaac was in rare form; he kept throwing his napkin and just would not eat. Once back in the hotel, Ash went to the workout room to get in 5 miles and that’s when the weirdness started.
The kids were asleep and I was drifting off but the people next door were banging on the walls. And the more I listened, the more I realized it was actually a person being banged into the walls; she and her boyfriend or whoever were having a serious fight and he was beating the hell out of her. She’d cry and he’d go, “Listen to me, baby…” and they’d get quiet but then the banging would start all over. I ended up calling the front desk and a guy came up. After that they quieted down… until about 11:30. And that was when they decided they liked each other again… a whole lot. And oh my god I had never wanted anyone to just finish in all my life. AND, they woke up again at 4 and did it all over again, complete with wall banging and moaning. What an awful night of sleep!
After hitting up the Hampton Inn free breakfast (more on this later) we got on the road. I took the morning shift through Tennessee, Kentucky, and some of Indiana. The traffic was fine but Isaac was starting to lose it around Louisville so once we crossed the bridge into Indiana, we stopped at a Target for some things we’d forgotten and a break. As we headed up through Indiana, we started to see snow and Ash plotted our lunch stop. He scoped playgrounds in the Indianapolis area and found one only 30 minutes off our course in Noblesville. Oddly enough, the GPS told us to turn left when in actuality, it was right. But it was a GREAT playground and covered in snow. The kids had a blast and even though it was longer than we wanted to stop, it was well worth it.
We got into Chicago around… 5:45 and went straight to our hotel to unload the bags. Then we drove to my brother in law’s place. He can park in front of his house and anywhere within a certain range with a sticker, so he secured us a free spot around the corner and we unloaded our car and made the switch. The plan was then to eat pizza and his idea of a short walk and my kids’ idea – in the cold – was vastly different! (we cabbed it back.) The pizza place was pretty darn good, though I ordered a burger. It was an amazing burger though! Isaac had a major blow out and I had forgotten diapers in my purse so after, we stopped into a CVS. They didn’t have a public bathroom but when I told her it was for the kid, they let me use their personal one. It was a long night, seems like. We all went back to the hotel and Ash and his brother took a run. I promptly fell asleep. We were in another Hampton Inn, right downtown, and it was great! Had a suite so it was nice and comfy. The reviews said the only negative was the fire station half a block away but we never once heard the sirens.
The next day, we went to breakfast again (one of the main reasons for staying there was the free breakfast and man, I highly recommend Hamptons. They have quite a spread and it’s GOOD.) and then checked out the indoor pool. No one was there and the pool was a bit cold. We went into the hot tub because it was warm but not hot. Elliot freaked out (he still can’t swim) so the whole planning for indoor pool swimming was pretty much busted. Oh well! Around 9 or 10, Uncle Elliot picked us up to do last minute shopping. I was done but of course, in typical man fashion, neither Ash nor his brother has gotten anything. After a morning of Target and Toys R Us, we went to Whole Foods for lunch. Yummy! Kids napped in the afternoon while Ash and Elliot wrapped gifts and ran. We tried to do the zoo lights later but they weren’t on for the 24th so we ended up going to Navy Pier for ice cream right before they closed and then ended up ordering a pizza later into the hotel room.
Christmas morning we had breakfast and then Uncle Elliot picked us up. Christmas was pretty good! I got all useful things and, as usual, Ash bought the kids way too much stuff.
As soon as gifts were open, I began the meal prep. I was fairly nervous about making a turkey in a foreign kitchen, as weird as that may sound. Lots of pressure to get it right. But everything turned out fine. I don’t like gas stoves though, I decided. I think we ate around 3 then took a drive to Solider field to check out The Sledding Hill, which apparently has not been created yet because it had no snow. Our sledding dreams were dashed. However, we kind of decided then that we’d do the Shedd Aquarium the next day.
Aquarium was awesome! We had a great time there and it was a nice break from the previous day’s stress of Christmas. Since it was our last day, we just enjoyed the time we had. After the kids’ nap we went to Navy Pier to check out their Winter Wonderland, which is basically a fair indoors.
Prices were a bit steep so we ended up going back down into the normal shops to the little train we’d scoped the days before. Mostly for Isaac’s sake because he loves trains. We went out for Mexican after and thus concluded our last full day. Breakfast the next morning and kind of a late start because we had to load the car, but we got on the road just fine. Sadly, there was a TON of traffic and snowy conditions so that was a VERY long day. I mean, we pulled into our hotel in Chattanooga at 11 PM, which was way later than planned. I have never been so thankful to see a hotel room in all my life.
The next day we got out and had about six hours of driving but hit more traffic. We ate lunch near Atlanta and finally got home around 6 PM. Thank God. I tell you what traveling does: makes you thankful for your home. I love you, Tallahassee.
A New Year’s song for you today!
Well, there you have it. I’ll try to get back to regular blogging now, though I don’t go back to work until Wednesday. Happy New Year’s Eve!