I don't know whose idea it was to have two babies at the beginning of Lent, but it never really seems like Lent around here until the second or third Sunday. I felt somewhat guilty about planning a vacation sort of trip during Lent, but I can move neither the birthdays nor Lent, so it is what it is. As it turned out, it was rather penitential for me anyway.
Faith, my mom, and I went to Chicago this past weekend. My husband would call it a long run for a short slide. Really long run. It wasn't a bad trip, all in all, but it was not all cake and ice cream, at least for the grown ups. Chicago is about six hours from Columbus, and we arrived in Chicago at 3:30 on Friday, which is apparently rush hour, and it took us an hour and a half to drive eight miles, at the end of a long drive. Add that to six hours home, and out of the 54 hour trip I was driving 13 of them. And I slept awful (do you sleep awful away from home, too?), and I have a cold, and Chicago was windy (duh) and very cold and snowy. Ok, so the planets did not align for our trip, but Faith had fun.
One thing that was great was that no where else (in the world, I think) can you walk into a restaurant or hotel or out on the street with a doll in your arms (grown people) and folks just smile at you. Faith brought all three of her American Girl dolls (including Bitty Baby) and so my mom and I both had one to carry (lucky us). No one thinks it odd at all that grown ups are carrying dolls. They even comment pleasantly about all the pretty dolls and tell you to have fun. So silly and surreal.
American Girl Place was very nice, and rather Disney-esque as I had hoped. All the people there are pleasant and all in on the big secret of how wonderful girls and their dolls are. Most everyone is well-behaved and willing to go the extra mile for you to have a great experience. It was not quite a big as big I thought it would be and we had a whole day allotted for just American Girl Place.
We arrived at 9:10 a.m. (10 a.m. our time, and after the only really nice meal there -- breakfast at Oak Tree) and by 11 a.m. Faith had chosen what she wanted to spend her money on, was finished looking, and tea at the AG cafe wasn't on schedule until 4 p.m. We walked around Water Tower Place for a while, but with no intention to shop that wasn't much fun.
At Kit's window
It was Faith's idea to head back to the hotel and wait until the afternoon to come back. Good idea. She played with her new things and my mom and I caught several parts of the Catholicism series on the Chicago PBS pledge drive, while I worked on some knitting. Good fortune there.
We had her picture taken and "placed" on the cover of the magazine
The tea was nice -- a la American Girl -- but we were tired afterward (a lot of walking and cold windy weather) and went back to the hotel so Faith could swim in the pool.
Like I said, long run for a short slide. We went to Mass at Holy Name Cathedral, and were invited to carry the gifts, which surprised us. It was a beautiful Mass (except they read next week's readings -- what's up with that?) and a beautiful Church, and it was good to get on the road after Holy Eucharist.
We arrived home to a clean and empty house and had to turn right around and go to Noah's band concert. Today is a catch up day (catch up on laundry, menu planning, and grocery shopping) and tomorrow real life starts again.
The hotel offered wifi for an extra fee (which is ridiculous considering the prices just to sleep there) and I refused to pay for a password, so I had no wifi all weekend. I need to catch up on blog reading, if I have time, and Pinterest, though I see my friend Elisa found a little chink in the Pinterest fun and I'll have to think about that for a while.
I am anxious to cook some good meals, I am hungry for real food after so much junk food over the weekend. Everything in Chicago is so very expensive, and because it was so cold and windy we didn't want to walk terribly far to eat, so we ended up with not great food. I wanted some real Chicago style pizza on Saturday, but was too tired to walk the five blocks to pick it up, and the delivery wait was an hour and forty five. As fortune would have it, the Brown-Eyed Baker has Chicago style pizza on her blog this morning, and I think that's what's for dinner tonight. With a big green salad.
I have some links regarding the HHS mandate to share with you but that will have to wait. The laundry is calling me.