Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Fun!

We had a very nice Christmas, and as usual I am thoroughly enjoying having everyone home.  Archie hasn't bothered me once today at all!  Ibby and Phin are keeping him completely occupied.  We've been casually working on a puzzle for the past week and then people run off and play with new toys, or sneak to a quiet corner to read a book. 

 Matthew and I are starting a diet today, instead of waiting for the requisite New Year's Day resolution kickoff, since we feel disgusting after being gluttonous for too long.  I bought all kinds of appetizers that looked appealing at Sam's Club so we're feeling a little bit post-cruisy if you know what I mean.  We've been invited to a party on New Year's Eve so we're going to take that evening off, but otherwise we are going to do a full 30 day detox and see how we feel.  With eating too much junk and I've also finally weaned that big baby (sad), I've gained almost 15 pounds in the last couple of months!  I wish I didn't have to worry so much about my weight, or that I naturally didn't enjoy eating quite so much, but it is my trial in life -- and there are much worse ones, right?

We couldn't decide what to get for Charles for Christmas so we decided to take a little jaunt up to Chicago and let him choose the itinerary.  We kept checking on to see when it wouldn't be ridiculously freezing and horrible up there and we decided on last Friday and Saturday.  Initially it had said that it would be in the upper 20's and lower 30's, but that would still be better than any day the rest of Winter break so we went for it and it ended up being absolutely gorgeous!  Friday was around 40˚ and Saturday the sun was shining and it got up to 45˚ I think!  Charles decided to look up offbeat places to visit and we had a great time -- by far our favorite trip to Chicago yet!  On Friday we left a little late, but got up there around lunchtime.  We stopped at a little Polish diner and had borscht, goulash, and lots of other things that included sausage, potatoes, and cabbage.  Our next stop was the Vietnam Vets Art Museum and it was really great!  Oh my, the emotion, though!  Young boys sent off to a foreign jungle and deposited in what was basically hell.  War is so horrible!  Anyway, both of those places were tiny hole in the wall type locations that you would totally just pass by if you didn't know about them.  The museum especially!  We stopped because the GPS told us we had arrived, but we couldn't see anything anywhere!  So we got out and started walking around, but it turned out we were parked right in front of it!  Charles had a church on the list next, but I suggested that we go to the Sears Tower since we had never been up it before.  So we drove over there, parked, walked into the building, but the line was so long and tickets were so expensive we passed on that and drove over to H&M.  Dad stayed in the car with the little boys and soon texted me that he couldn't find his wallet!  We looked everywhere, but it never showed up so we've had to cancel our credit cards, etc.  He also had quite a bit of cash and some gift cards that we had bought ourselves to go out to eat.  Total bummer!  And I blame myself for bringing on bad karma once we veered from Charles' prescribed plan.  We had dinner at Giordano's and then went to a hotel.  It took them two hours to get our keys to work and bedding for the hide-a-beds so I was quite frustrated with the little boys not being able to go to bed.  The girls went swimming.  Saturday morning, Matthew and I woke up early and went to the temple.  He had called the bishop the night before to ask if we could call him early to talk to the temple president (since he had also lost his temple recommend with the wallet).  The session started at 7 -- we had arrived around 6:25 -- but Matthew didn't get in until 6:58.  They were a little grumpy in the dressing room, but I made sure they didn't close the doors and he made it!  It was very nice to spend time there and we chatted in the Celestial room for a while.  We had thought there would be breakfast at the hotel.  It did say hot breakfast, but we missed the not complimentary part.  So we stopped at McDonald's and then went to the next spot on Charles' to do list which was a thrift store called the Brown Elephant.  He didn't find anything, but I found the most amazing painting!  It is just a floral still life, but I swear I've been looking for one like it for years!  I always see great art from thrift stores in magazines, but I never see anything I like at Goodwill or even Estate Sales, so that was very exciting for me. 

His next choice was a book store called "Bookman's Corner" and he hoped, hoped, hoped that it would have a ladder!  He wanted to climb up it and find the perfect old book, but alas!  It was closed!  I should've taken a picture of it because it was so amazing!  It had front windows that were full of toppling piles of books -- like they were mountains of garbage!  I was a little relieved that it wasn't open because I wouldn't have been surprised to see rats in there!  Next we drove over to a street that is famous for being a mecca for Indians.  Charles was really hoping there would be elephants wandering the streets and mosques calling people to prayer, but I'm sure that you can guess that once again he was in for disappointment.  There were tons of interesting shops -- hundreds of stores selling gorgeously beaded sari among them.  We wandered around a bit then had a spicy curry lunch.  Last, we drove over to Chinatown, bought some food at a very Japanese-y bakery, found some fun souvenirs, and learned more about k-pop!  

We drove home and arrived around 7 p.m. so that was nice to not have a late night. 

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