Chicago, Portland, Keizer, Salem, La Pine and Bend. Those are all the places we visited over a 9 day period and 9 days just wasn’t long enough.
Our first stop was Chicago. Dave had two days of meetings so the girls and I went along and spent some quality time in Chicago. Before I go into detail about the trip, let me just say once again that I absolutely love Chicago. I think I’ve been to all the major U.S. cities – New York, LA, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Seattle, etc. and Chicago is by far my favorite. I won’t go into all the reasons why I love it so much, but I do love that city.
We arrived in Chicago Monday evening, checked into the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park Hotel, let the girls play a little bit and then went to bed. The next morning Dave headed to his meeting while the girls and I prepared for breakfast and a day at the Shedd Aquarium. It was cloudy and threatening rain, but we chose to make the 2 mile walk from the hotel to the aquarium. Just as we could see the aquarium ahead, it began to rain. Fortunately, it wasn’t one of the torrential downpours we regularly get here in Illinois. Instead, it was a light rain that managed to get us wet, but not soaked. Lili thought it was great fun walking in the rain(actually, she was riding in the back of the double stroller and mommy was walking). As we approached the aquarium in the rain, we discovered that the entire city of Chicago was going to the aquarium as well. We waited in line for at least 45 minutes and then it was finally our turn to purchase our tickets. It was very crowded, but that was the only thing disappointing about the aquarium that day. Okay, Lili’s less than desirable behavior was a bit disappointing as well, but lunch and the dolphin show seemed to cure what ailed her that day and she still talks about the dolphin show today. Unfortunately, holding Naomi during the dolphin show didn’t allow me the opportunity to take pictures, but I did manage to get some pictures during our visit that day.
On Wednesday, Dave left for his second days of meetings while the girls and I checked out of the hotel and headed off to met my friend Meg for lunch. Meg’s little guy Sam is from Le Toukoul orphanage and she had not yet met Naomi. Meg is either a very good actor or she really was smitten by little Ms. N. Our lunch date was just what the doctor ordered. We talked about the kids, Meg’s weekend plans with a friend from Indiana and her kids, our upcoming trip to Oregon and life in general. I so wish I lived closer to have more lunch dates and outings with my friend. Thanks Meg!!!
After lunch, the girls and I headed down Michigan Ave to find a new pair of sandals for mommy. I wasn’t planning on shopping for sandals, but Naomi decided to pull the pretty silver and white beads off my sandals and since they couldn’t be repaired I needed to find a new pair. My shopping trip was unsuccessful and once again, we found ourselves walking in the rain. Still, I love that city!!!
After our walk up and down Michigan Ave was complete, we made our way back to the hotel to meet up with Dave and get our van. We were going to be checking into a hotel closer to the airport for our flight out the next morning, but not until we went to Portillos to meet with some adoptive families for dinner. I met Kerri via the blog world a few years ago. She has a little girl from Guatemala who is a few months older than Lili and an older daughter from Ethiopia. She and her friend Jocelyn, who has two girls from Ethiopia, were on their way back from Wisconsin where they attended an Ethiopian Heritage camp. They were spending a couple days in Chicago before heading off to MoGuat in Missouri. I had been reading Kerri’s amazing blog for a few years and almost felt as if I was meeting a celebrity. It was awesome to finally meet her in person. A bonus was meeting another mom from Indiana along with her three kids from Ethiopia. What I didn’t realize at the time, is that this woman was the very same person Meg had plans to meet that weekend. What a small world.
The other big event during our trip to Chicago was Naomi’s persistence in trying to walk. The hotel room apparently made her feel secure in her walking adventure as she practiced her skills over and over again.
While Naomi isn’t quite yet a walker, she is certainly trying and I think we’re only days away from her walking more than crawling.
Also, I need to explain the last walking photo. Naomi loves to put things over her head. In this case, it was my shirt and somehow she managed to get my pants stuck to the shirt and pulled them along for the ride. Here is the picture I took shortly before she stood and took off.
Our trip to Chicago was over and our next stop was Portland, OR. Stay tuned for my post on Portland and TAFRU.