Sunday, July 27, 2008

My kind of town, Chicago is... [Part 1 of 5]

As I mentioned before, I have 475 photos from our trip to Chicago. Only. Well, actually we spent all our time in Evanston and only ventured into Chicago on Sunday for the Sox game but who cares? Details. We had an amazing time.

Day 1 - Wednesday
The plane ride from Houston started off rough but was no indicator for our trip. After waiting for curbside check-in in the 700 degree Houston heat with a baby melting in her BabyBjorn, I decided to head inside and wait in yet another (longer) line. At least it was air conditioned. Avelyn could only stand so much bouncing around and eventually started to whine and whimper because after all, it had been approximately TWO whole hours since she ate and the poor dear was on the brink of starvation. Luckily all the single business travelers in front of me just shot me dirty looks with a side of "Dear God, please don't be on my plane" instead of letting me go in front of them so the crying noise would disappear. It's a baby people, not an alarm clock. I can't just 'snooze' her or pull the plug.

Anyway, turns out the plane was delayed for an hour and a half because of maintenance problems and we had to wait for a new plane. (Which I am not opposed to. I enjoy being alive.) I was initially bummed but it offered me plenty of time to feed Avelyn, change her and strike fear in the hearts of the other 90 people waiting for our flight.

(Segway: I'm sure all you people with kids out there can relate. Naturally I always hope she will behave and not let loose with the 'Wail of the Abused Child' but I absolutely love it when we enter a room/restaurant/airport and the whole place turns and looks at you with dread; afraid you will be "that mother" with the crying baby. And then your child is an absolute angel and they all feel really stupid for shooting you dirty looks for the last hour, annoyed that they spent most of their time making snide remarks about "what if she cries! why would they bring a BABY out in PUBLIC to EAT?!?" instead of enjoying themselves. Ahh, life's little joys. Thank you Lord, for blessing me with a beautiful baby who sleeps through dinners out.)

So our plane finally arrived and we took off at 9:40 pm, arriving in Chicago a little after midnight. Kevin was late picking us up so I'm quite sure I was less than friendly and excited to see him. After all, I had by then been awake for 20 hours, traveling with a baby and he wasn't there waiting to greet us when we got off the plane? Come on, dude. Luckily for him my meds have kicked in and I'm a slightly calmer, less angsty me. (With most people. Do not automatically assume you're one of them.)  I'm only half kidding.

We finally got to Northwestern around 1:30am but Avelyn was wide awake. She wouldn't fall asleep until 2:30 and by the time I took a shower it was almost time to wake up again. Luckily she is pretty good about falling back asleep when I bring her to bed with me after she wakes up way too early.
Kevin was pretty busy during our visit but we got to see him during meals and when he had time throughout the day. Damn that job that pays (pretty) well. Damn those high school kids. Damn that "staff" and I use that term loosely since they all appeared completely inept most of the time and COMPLETELY oblivious to the fact that I hadn't seen my husband in 4 weeks and only wanted to hang out with him (and Uncle Pennybags) and not them. Listen people - if I don't already know you pretty well there are very good odds that I don't care to get to know you. Very. Good. Odds. Read my 'About Us' if you want a good description of me.

Day 2 - Thursday
My first official meal back in the big 'E' was at Gigio's, one of my favorite pizza places. It's not the world's best pizza and the restaurant is really hot and there is usually a line but it's pretty good and I hold quite fond memories. The best part about Gigio's? They sell Strawberry Crush. It's divine.
Avelyn clearly has no sense of taste as evidenced by her (more than slightly) rude reaction to my offer of pizza. Come on kid, I'm working on learning to share.
I tried to take a lot of pictures of Avelyn with Kevin so that one day she will look back at her first summer on earth and think she really had a Daddy. "Mommy, who's that guy in your pictures? He looks like a less-gray version of Daddy, is he his brother?" More on that other guy in the picture, Uncle Pennybags, later.
Day 3 - Friday (Avelyn is THREE months old!)
If you've known me at any point in the last 5 years then I am sure you've heard me mention my nanny-baby, Mae. She was nine months old when I started watching her. She will be six in September. [Sigh.] I always make a point to visit her and her family when I am in Chicago since they are some of my favorite people I got a chance to know while living there. Last year during our visit (almost a year to the day) Mae told me I was getting old and asked when I was going to have kids. I remember quite vividly telling her it would be a few years because I had to finish school. Ha.
I can't believe how big she is! Little sister Elaine will be three this year too. How time flies. I remember holding her when she was three weeks old and handing her back immediately when she started to cry. Funny how things change!
After our visit Friday afternoon I was very excited because Mae and Elaine's mom had offered to watch Avelyn so Kevin and I could have a night out. We were planning to see The Dark Knight, the only movie I have wanted to see all year. When I showed up at the movie theater the power had gone out on the entire block and all the shows were cancelled. So much for my baby-free night out at the movies.

We ended up at Prairie Moon for the next few hours and had a fantastic time with our friends. I didn't have the camera on me since I was supposed to be in a movie so we don't have any good shots from that night. Trust me, a few people there could benefit from photographic evidence that the evening took place. (Don't worry, it wasn't me. I was prepared to go pick up a baby at 10 pm and tackle a 4 am feeding. I am a wise, old, responsible woman now... ahem.) We had such a good time and were reminded how much we miss our group of friends! We will be in California soon enough and will be surrounded by our favorite people and laughter that rarely ceases.

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