Monday, February 7, 2011

Off to Chicago

On Friday, we set out for the snow-covered land of Chicago to move Adam to his apartment.
(What?  Yes, Adam started school at Siebel today already!  The last few months have FLOWN by and already Adam is off on his brewing adventure while the kids and I brave the cold back in Iowa.)
We arrived in Chicago Friday afternoon, and thanks to a heads-up from a friend, we were prepared for the rush hour traffic (which starts at 3 pm on Fridays, apparently).  We stayed at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, which I found through, thanks to a suggestion from a friend.  While we could have paid less money to park our vehicle farther out and take the train into our hotel, we opted for paying the hotel fee for their garage as we had all of Adam's stuff in our car.
Friday afternoon we walked through the conference center (which will host the 2011 Chicago Auto Show this coming weekend) and to the McCormick Place lakefront view where we were able to see the lake, boats on the lake, and also had a grand view of the Planetarium and downtown.  It was also cool to see the start of the setting up of the Auto Show.  It smelled like exhaust in that entire building.
(Excuse me for not having pictures right now but I wanted to get this post out but have yet to unearth the camera from wherever it ended up over the weekend...)
After this longish walk (which involved chasing after Raven, carrying Raven, and going backwards to get Raven multiple times when she decided it was fun to head in the opposite direction), we went back to our hotel room to determine what to eat for dinner.  A quick use of the iPhone found a pizza place that was only about 5 blocks from our hotel, so we pulled on our shoes, bundled up in our coats, and headed out again (it was brisk out, to say the least).
Now, as you might have heard, Chicago got snow this last week.  A LOT OF IT.  So, it wasn't any wonder that there were still unshoveled spots where walking through the snow sunk one up to her knees.  There was a lot of ice and snow... well... most of our walk, it seemed, which made the trek to the pizza place even more exciting, only to arrive and find out that they didn't have beer.  BUT, they had the Chicago deep dish, which is what we were after.  So, we settled into a nice-sized Chicago deep dish pizza, and amazingly enough the kids ate WITHOUT bibs and neither one of them got any pizza on their shirts.  How this happened, I do not know.
After we returned to the hotel, Adam took Julia swimming while I put Raven down for bed.  Fast forward to 9 pm, and we were all asleep.  Tiring day!

We took our time getting ready Saturday morning and then piled into the car to find Siebel.  We knew the address of it and we braved traffic to find it.  After finding Siebel, we headed towards Adam's new digs in Logan Square.  Thankfully on the way we saw a Dunkin' Donuts where we stopped in for breakfast... we hadn't ordered hotel breakfast because it was very expensive and the piece of cheese was not enough to tide the kids over to lunch.  We ate a bunch of donuts, which the kids thoroughly enjoyed, and then headed off to find Adam's apartment.

We were fortunate to get a parking spot right in front of his place - this was amazing in itself because we quickly learned that a.) cars were still snowed in and no going anywhere soon and hence, not giving up their space and b.) those who had left their spaces "saved" them with chairs and stools and up-turned buckets... you saved your spot.  We met Adam's landlord, who took Adam on a stroll to the nearest grocery store, and Adam and the girls and I unpacked his stuff (Julia was a great help, making sure underwear and socks ended up in the right drawers).
After getting Adam's apartment settled, we headed out to grocery shop and pick up a rug at Target.  Thankfully the Target we found was ALSO a grocery store, because the amount of time it took us to get to Target and then to navigate the crazy busy parking lot of Target and then to actually shop... well, let's just say that we spent about 4 hours our Target Trek to get there, get the stuff, and get back to Adam's apartment.  I can honestly say I've never seen any Target that busy except at Christmastime.  When I refuse to go to a Target.  Ha!
We unpacked the groceries and made sure the girls got a snack and then made snacks for later that evening.  We decided to go to Portillo's in Skokie for a late lunch/early dinner, and thankfully it was quiet and kid-friendly.  We enjoyed our hot dogs and fries and shakes, and I also bought a chocolate cake to share with our Superbowl gang on Sunday. 
After Portillo's, we just drove.  We drove around for a couple of hours finding things and seeing things and generally checking out the lay of the land within a few miles of Adam's apartment.  We randomly drove by Lane Prep School and then read about it on Adam's iPhone because we were in such awe of the place.
This time we headed back to the hotel fairly early and after hanging out in our room for about 45 minutes, we both got suited up and took the girls down to the pool... for about 1/2 hour for Raven and about 45 minutes or so for Julia.  It was enjoyable watching our kids in the water and spending a quiet evening together as family.  After eating a snack back in the room, we put the girls to bed and hunkered down ourselves for a little reading, only to both be asleep by 9:30 pm... oh, well!  It was an exhausting weekend!
Sunday morning we packed up the car, drove to Walgreens to get Adam his CTA pass and some cold medicine, and we dropped him off at the train stop to send him on his way.  It was sad (but quick) to see him go but we'll see him again soon!

Adam will catch you up on his first week of school with a new blog post later this week, and I'll post some pictures later.  If you want his mailing address (please note he will only be in Chicago until March 26th), please let me know!


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