Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Suburbanite Turned Country Girl Visits the Big City

A week ago Thursday, my friend Lisa and I did a most daring thing and hopped a train in the WEEEEE hours of the morning and arrived at Union Station in downtown Chicago before lunchtime. My daughter-in-law Melissa picked us up at the station, served up a light lunch and then carted us around town (what a sweetie!) She laughed at our silly jokes and didn't laugh at our silly questions. I couldn't have asked for two better partners in crime shopping companions. Our destination? IKEA, of course!
Oh, my - Oh, my - Oh, my! We spent 3 hours ooooing and aahhhhing and dreaming and planning.

 An escalator just for the shopping cart. Who knew?!
I did not get our school room finished last week as I had planned, but I did get plenty of motivation and ideas from our whirlwind shopping trip. Oh, the possibilities! Oh, my wish list! Esther and I have been pouring over the catalog I brought home.

When we finally pulled ourselves away from IKEA, we made our way to The Container Store. Another shop full of dreams and ideas and oh-so-many possibilities. It really was an inspirational trip.

Melissa carted us home, picking up Chicago-style pizza for supper. Yummy! (You'll have to take my word for it. I was way too tired and hungry at that point to even think of snapping pictures.) It was fun catching up with Brent and Melissa, but we all turned in early - to be ready for a trip downtown on Friday!

Next morning, we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and then took the Metra (Chicago city transit, "L", train, subway, whatever) to Downtown Chicago, where we met Brent for lunch and took in some of the sites and did some window shopping. OK, a little tourist-gawking and picture snapping, too.

Melissa (daughter-in-law/chaperone/tour guide) and Lisa (great friend and travel companion) riding the train downtown.
The 'L' - The Loop Downtown - it really is e'L'evated

  You know your son has 'made it' when he gives you a tour of his very own cubicle. 
Proud of you, Brent!

We walked and walked and walked. It was a beautiful, sunny day (cool, breezy but gorgeous all the same!) We saw amazing sites like the Giant Bean (pictured above) - a mirrored ball thing shaped like a kidney bean (I have no idea why, don't ask) - look close, you can see Melissa (in blue) in the mirror taking our picture - cool view of the skyline, too. We saw groups riding Segways through the park - how fun would that be?! Why did we not think of that? It's on our to-do list for next visit.

The amazing architecture, beautiful parks, a coffee shop on every corner - it was a blast! The trip was way too short. There was not time for museums or planetarium or aquarium or many other things - guess we'll have to visit again sometime soon.

Lake Michigan stretches out behind us

 This will sound crazy, but another highlight on this trip was a trip to Costco. Everytime Brent and Melissa visit, they pull something out of their bags, or share a treat of some sort and I'll comment "Oh, I love that! . . . or . . . that is so cute! Where did you get it?" Then answer is always - "Costco".  Brent promised me a visit to their favorite store the next time I visited - so I took him up on it. And it was everything he promised. Another shopping/wish list was born - they may need to get a bigger vehicle before their next visit!

We ate spinach on this trip - had to restock

too bad this cute little Chicago Bear wouldn't fit in my suitcase

One last item on our agenda was to get Melissa 'crafting'.  She was hoping to find boxes, baskets or bins to fit the cubby holes in her computer desk (see behind her in the pic below), but they are just an odd size. Soooo,  this mother-in-law who is always full of crazy wonderful ideas convinced her to try custom-making her own. (Once she sends me pics, I'll work up a post on how we accomplished this) How are they working out, Melissa?

Another special treat for me was a quick visit with my Cousin Debbie, who took the train in from the suburbs to meet me at the station before we headed home. It was great catching up family news, just a bit - visit was too short, but I'm so grateful she went out of her way to make it happen. Thanks, Cous! (sorry, no picture)

Though we were both exhausted on the trip home, Lisa and I found we still had plenty to share and discuss. I know we both had a great time, but were very happy to get home again. We are so very grateful to our hubbies, who were happy to let us take this little excursion - and for my sweet grown-up children who were very gracious hosts - and for my dear children at home, holding down the fort while Mama was away. Thank you all!

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