Monday, September 24, 2012

Chicago with my honey

Neil and I got to sneak away for a day by ourselves this past weekend (we traded overnight babysitting with some good friends).  If you have children yourself, you probably know how wonderful and amazing this is, and you can probably imagine how eagerly we have been awaiting this opportunity!  We spent a looong time (many runs!) debating what we would do.  So many options!  We finally decided that we would go to Chicago, and then we had the fun of deciding exactly what we would do there.  We were really hoping to see a fabulous show, but there was nothing that we were super excited to see (we were really tempted by the The Magic Flute, since that's one opera that we both love but neither of us has seen live, but then we realized that it would be really hard to get up there in time, and as it turned out, we would have missed the curtain, so I'm glad we didn't buy tickets after all).

Anyway, long story short, we finally decided that we would just plan to go up Friday night, walk around downtown, eat yummy food, and keep our options open for the next day (we had three or four things we wanted to maybe do, depending on weather and timing).
Kind of a weird picture in the rain, but hey, we were having fun.

So we went to our hotel (the Hilton on Michigan Ave.), realized that the self-park was full and the valet parking was uber-expensive, so we went for our second option and parked underneath Millenium Park, which was a few blocks from the hotel but actually much more convenient for the other things we wanted to do (I was glad I'd double-checked on that one just before we left home).  Then it started POURING rain while we walked down Michigan, and I was super glad that Neil made us go back home and get raincoats, because it rained ALL NIGHT.  Anyway, we had dinner at Grand Lux, which was fabulous as always (Neil had an amazing steak and I had my favorite salad) and then we walked up to Water Tower Place and had fun in the LEGO store, and then we walked back down Michigan and I took a quick detour down a side street to introduce Neil to the glory that is Garrett's caramel popcorn (the pecan kind is my fave!)

The not-so-fun aspect of all of this is that I was having supremely horrible stomach cramps and trying to decide the whole time if I needed to go to the ER (and also trying to not make a big deal out of it because I didn't want to ruin the weekend.  But it was kind of hard to hide because I couldn't really walk).  So we eventually went back to our hotel, checked in, and then I just sort of lay there feebly for half an hour or so and then I got up so we could go see Buckingham Fountain since it was almost time for the last show of the night (every hour on the hour there is a really cool light show with classical music, i.e. 1812 Overture and the fountain goes crazy and shoots up like Old Faithful!  Very fun to watch.)  I convinced Neil that I felt well enough to go (not entirely true) and off we went...we even saw someone propose and we had fun thinking of all the dumb comments we could go make to them about being married, etc.
 Love this--so fun and so gorgeous!
 And then we went back to our hotel again, and I took a picture of the fact that THIS WAS THE ONLY BAG WE BROUGHT, which is totally and utterly wonderful because if the kids were with us, we would have filled the entire van.  Oh, the freedom of a single backpack!
 Then the next morning we enjoyed the fact that we could just luxuriate in bed and NOT GET UP at the crack of dawn....I think it took at least an hour after we woke up before we actually got up, and that was only because we needed to have time to run & shower before we checked out.  Then I realized I'd forgotten to bring any fruit for breakfast (both of us wanted to eat something light before we ran, but I forgot, so we ended up just eating granola bars) and then we went for this glorious run.  I love, love, love running in is always so awesome and so many things to look at and it feels like half the city is out there running and being awesome.  (I like to count marathon tech shirts and see who has run the most exotic marathon.)  And there was, of course, a race that day, so a bunch of streets were closed, and that was fun too, because it's always cool to run down an eight-lane road surrounded by skyscrapers and hey, no cars, go wherever you want!

Anyway, we ran over from our hotel in Grant Park to Buckingham Fountain and then ran along the yacht berths, where we amused ourselves by trying to find the most ridiculous yacht name, and then we ran past the Columbia Yacht Club, over the Chicago River, and down to the end of Navy Pier, where we paused and watched the gorgeousness of the lake.  Then we turned back around and ran back down to the Museum Campus, looped the Field, the Shedd, and out to Adler, which was CRAZY windy (if you've never been there, Adler is situated on this tiny little promontory and the wind just batters you and you feel like you could launch out onto the lake with hardly any effort, which makes sense because you're on a super-tilted walkway that drops off into Lake Michigan).  The gulls were screeching and the sailboats were out against the blue sky and the whitecaps were smashing and it was totally beautiful.  (And then we turned around and the wind was so bad that I thought it would take us forever to make it back to the hotel! I was really glad we only ran about 7.5 miles because of that wind, although originally I'd wanted to run a lot longer, but Neil reminded me that we were spending all the rest of our time walking around downtown.)

Once we got back we showered and then stopped off at a Corner Bakery for breakfast (although it was noon by this time) for a couple of delicious breakfast panini, and then we decided to walk over to Willis Tower and check out the lines for the Skydeck...
 ...which turned out to be two hours long, so we decided to just take pictures instead.

 And then we rode a water taxi down the river back to Michigan Avenue, and thought about going down to the Museum of Science and Industry to check out the U-boat (we have a season pass, but we've never done the U-boat because we always go with the kids and we didn't know if it would be fun to pay the extra $$ and then bring 4 small children into a very small space).  So we waited for awhile for a bus, but then realized that the bus was taking so long that we probably wouldn't make it back before we had to leave, so we went to my beloved Fox and Obel and Neil practically went crazy checking out all the goodies.

So we decided to have lunch there, and then we picked up a Jamba Juice on our way back down Michigan, and then we drove home.  It was wonderful and amazing and SOOOOO incredible (I really can't emphasize this enough) to spend an entire day with Neil where we were so focused on each other.  I felt like I was falling in love with him all over again--we held hands the entire time and it was just so, so, so delightful (coming home was hard!)


Melanie said...

Ahhh! This looks fabulous! I am so glad you guys had such a great grown-up time! Also, of course, very much looking forward to our turn.... And you look so fancy with your scarf and glasses! Very Chicago.

Elise said...

you do look very chic, Rachael! Also, it was funny, because I was looking at the picture that Neil took of you both as you were walking down the road, and I thought, "Huh, it's funny to see pictures taken from Neil's height instead of Rachael's"...and then the next picture was one you had taken crouched down or something, so it was even funnier! Glad you guys had a great time!

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