Friday, December 19, 2014

While Momma was away . . .

I've finished telling you all about the great time I had in Chicago with my besties, but you may be wondering what my kiddos were up to while I was gone. Well, my husband graciously agreed to take two days off work to take care of the children so I could go on my trip. Without him agreeing to do that, I'm not sure I could have worked it out to go. I'm very thankful for his willingness to take care of the kids, but I think they all had a great time! 

This photo was on the camera . . . I'm not sure what it is or where it was taken, but I kind of love it! My serious little man:

So, on Thursday morning, Chris and the kids met my sister and her family at a pumpkin patch that we traditionally visit during Fall Break. The patch is in the town where my sister and her family live, and we always have a great time there! 

Chloe Jo and Brianna:

Our three little sweeties!

The pumpkin patch generally has a little station set up to decorate Autumn themed masks. This year was the first year that the children showed much interest in it, though.

Brianna's mask:

Chloe Jo's mask:

One of the kids' favorite things about this patch is the little train. It's the only patch we visit that has a train. Brianna was obviously excited about riding it!

Chloe Jo ready to go:

Brenson, unfortunately, did not want to ride the train this year. I'm not sure why? I asked him why he was crying in this photo, and he just told me that he didn't like that train. He is definitely a boy who knows what he does and does not want, and this is one thing he did not want!

The girls sure had a good time, though.

Russ texted me this photo while I was in Chicago. It made me miss my little guy!

Brianna always loves the animals . . . and she's generally the only one!

Chloe Jo has made some progress this year . . . in years past she wouldn't even stand close enough to the animals to get a photo.

Feeding the ponies:

I'm not sure what's going on here? I can't imagine she was actually feeding the animals, but maybe?

There is also a fun hayride there that we generally enjoy. Chloe Jo and Russ look like they're having a good time.

Chris and Bren on the hayride:

Brianna and Lisa:

The kids both told me how much they loved visiting the pumpkin patch! I was sorry to miss it, but I'm so glad they got to go anyway.

After naptime that day, Chris helped both kids decorate some pumpkins they got at the pumpkin patch. It was just a little sticker kit, but they sure turned out cute!

Brianna LOVES cats. So, naturally, hers was decorated like a cat.

Then, Chris decided to clean out the garage (we had been doing a lot of garage clean out to try and make room for baby things), and found some old paint. He decided to let the kids paint these huge pieces of cardboard in the yard with the paint.

These photos tugged at my heart a bit as most of these colors were what were in the kids' rooms before we repainted and rearranged rooms to make a nursery for the twins.

If messiness is a sign they had fun, there's no doubt that fun was had!

Their masterpieces:



I'm not too sure what they did during the day on Friday, but that evening they attended a little Fall Festival in the neighborhood where our friends, Ross and Tia, live.

Brenson enjoyed the haybale maze.

And apparently, Brianna really loved this pumpkin, ha!

My sweet girl:

My handsome boy:

This photo cracks me up . . . it's very uncharacteristic of Brianna. She looks so calm and thoughtful! I love it, though!

Both of the kids really enjoyed the balloon artist, but Chris said he was about as slow as could be. I guess Daddy wasn't in a very patient mood :-).

Brenson got a brown pumpkin with an orange stem from he balloon artist.

And of course, Brianna had to have her face painted. Girl loves face paint!

This is one of the best face painting jobs I've ever seen! And I love this photo of Brianna!

The next morning (Saturday), Chris and the kiddos helped out with our church's monthly food pantry, then went out to visit Chris's grandparents. I'm telling you, they had a fun time doing all kinds of activities!

While at Chris's grandparents house, they spent some time enjoying the outdoors and picking pears.


I guess Brianna thought this was great fun!

I wasn't sure what to think when I saw this photo . . . does this look safe to you??? Ha!

They also picked me a whole bunch of flowers. They were so proud to give them to me when I got home.


Brianna and Brenson with their great-grandparents:

And finally - one of my favorite photos from the bunch - Brenson is looking through grandpa's binoculars out the sliding glass door at Grandma and Grandpa's house. Grandpa stands there and does this all the time, so it's so cute to see Brenson mimicking him! 

I'm so glad that they had a great time with their Daddy while I was off having fun of my own! It certainly made it easier for me to be away from them. Now, in the future, we'll see how Chris does with FOUR children, ha! 





Thursday, December 18, 2014

Chicago Part 3

Today's post is all about our third and final day in Chicago. You can find Part One here and Part Two here


Day three was Saturday, October 18th. We had planned to leave our hotel room at about 8:00am since we knew that we only had the morning to site-see. However, we were all feeling a bit sluggish that morning - plus we had all of our stuff to pack up - so we didn't end up getting out of the room until closer to 9:00am. And really, that was just fine! We only had one must-see that morning, so we still had plenty of time. 

The weather this day was more of what I think of as "typical" Chicago weather for this time of year. It was raining, cold, and windy. We were so thankful that this was the only day we had to deal with this weather! It was actually just drizzling when we first set out, but the rain picked up as the morning went on. 

We started the morning by riding the L toward Grant Park as our must-see for the day was Buckingham Fountain. On the way to Grant Park, we stopped at Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast. I had eaten in the room, but I was up for breakfast number 2, ha! I had actually been craving Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast for several months. I had it when I was barely pregnant in Colorado last June, and it was SO good to me. We don't have any close to where we live, so I was thrilled to eat there. Can you tell?

After breakfast, we started to make our way to Grant Park (which was still about 6 blocks or so away). By this time, the rain had really picked up and it was kind of miserable. Kendall had a waterproof jacket, but the other three of us didn't really have any protection from the weather. I decided I did not want to be wet and cold all day, so I ran into a Walgreens and purchased an umbrella. Amy and Angie just toughed it out!

We stopped in several souvenir shops on our way to Grant Park, but I'm not sure any of us purchased much? We really were just looking for a break from the weather :-).

Despite the chilly temps and rain, the city was still beautiful!

The view from Grant Park:

Buckingham Fountain closed for the season on October 19th, so we were there just in time!

Because the sky was so overcast, these photos just don't capture how beautiful it was in person. 


I was SO glad that I purchased the umbrella . . . well worth it!

I love this photo of the four of us!

What great memories we made!

Enjoying some of our last views of the city . . .



. . . and trying to survive the crazy wind and rain!


It was about 11:00am by this time, so we decided to make our way back over to the area where our hotel was located. We had left our luggage at our hotel, so we'd have to stop back by there before heading to the airport. NONE of us wanted to walk to the L in the rain, so we decided to grab a taxi again. It was a pretty scary ride . . .

Haha!

We had some time to kill before we needed to grab lunch, so we stopped in Starbucks for a warm drink and a little rest for our feet. I was, for sure, thankful for a place to sit down for a while! I told the girls that there was NO WAY I would have been able to do this trip if I was even just a few more weeks along than I was (I was almost 23 weeks at this point). It would have been a different story if I was just pregnant with one, but twins has been a much bigger strain on my body.

After Starbucks, we decided to make one more stop at Garrett's Popcorn!

Seriously, THE BEST popcorn!

The rain had really let up at this point, so after Garrett's we walked about 4 blocks to have some lunch at a place called Portillo's. On the way over there, we were observing that the Garrett's Popcorn bags looked kind of like Victoria's Secret bags to us. Angie was sure to let us know that she'd "rather have popcorn than fancy panties any day." Haha!

Then, once inside Portillo's, she said, "Nothing's better than a handful of popcorn while waiting on a cheese dog!" :-)


The hot dogs were SUPER yummy. I look kind of crazy biting into mine in the photo below! Kendall was finally feeling a bit better and was able to enjoy a bit of a Chicago Dog as well as a cheese steak sandwich. Of course afterward, she was asking us all, "Does anyone else want a Pepto?" A small price to pay for enjoying the local cuisine :-).

We all really enjoyed our lunch . . . can you tell?

Portillo's was basically just around the corner from our hotel, so we walked over to get our luggage and use the restroom after we finished eating. Our plan was to take a city bus to the L and ride the L to the airport, but it was still very wet outside. We decided to just take a taxi to the L instead since it would pick us up right at our hotel. . . I think we got a bit lazy on our last day! It ended up working out great, though, because we took a taxi ride four different times on our trip, so we each paid for one ride. However, there was a misunderstanding with our taxi driver who was taking us to the L with our luggage. He thought he was driving us all the way to the airport (which we DID NOT want due to cost). He did end up driving us farther than we intended, but we cleared up the miscommunication and he just dropped us off at a different L station than we originally intended. He asked us why we didn't want him to drive us all the way, and we told him it was because it was too expensive and we were out of money. He said (in his African accent), "Oh, out of money? That's a bad plan!" Lol. 

Riding the L for the final time . . . 

The closer we got to the airport, the more the train emptied out. I was thankful that I had a seat the whole time, as people were SO nice to always give one to me due to my big ole' belly :-). 


We were impressed with how the train came right into the airport! We never even had to step outside. 

There was a slight snafu getting through security as the TSA agents weren't impressed with Angie's souvenir shopping at Trader Joe's. However, we made it through eventually and were ready to head home! Unfortunately, we didn't have a direct flight home. Instead, we flew through Dallas, so we had a full afternoon/evening of travel ahead of us.

Good-bye, Chicago! We enjoyed visiting you!


My body was super fatigued from so much activity and my muscles (especially my back) just ACHED. It was a pretty miserable plane ride for me from Chicago to Dallas. However, I kept looking down and seeing my baby belly, and I would just smile. I loved this view! Amy was sitting on one side of me, and a guy about our age was on the other side. At the end of the flight, he said to me, "Did I hear you say you are having twins? Good luck with that!!!" Ha!

Our flight from Dallas to Tulsa landed at about 9:30pm, I dropped Amy off at her house, then headed home. I was home by about 10:30pm and EXHAUSTED. But, it was such a great trip, and I would have done it again for sure! I would love to visit Chicago again, and I think we're all already looking forward to our next girls trip! I thank God often for blessing me with such good friends!