My 1st trip to Chicago!

Nothing like a quick whirl-wind visit to Chicago in November to sight-see and celebrate a special birthday and anniversary.  And as always, my husband is brilliant at surprising me like this.

turning 40

Unless you follow me on Facebook, you might not have realized that 2017 was a big year for me. I turned 40! It was not something I was looking forward to at all, possibly because it’s the first big birthday celebration I remember us having for my dad.  We always celebrated birthdays but this was a big event full of all of the grim reaper, over-the-hill novelties.  I”m not sure my dad was a huge fan it the experience but he’s always a good sport.

Not being a big fan of parties, I mentioned to my husband that for my birthday, I wanted to be able to just get away somewhere with just him.  It didn’t even matter where.

Well, my husband loves a good challenge and set about arranging a surprise trip for us- a combo birthday and anniversary present!  This was not easy to do.  Arranging child care for the monkeys also included chauffeuring them to their various activities (and during Nutcracker season).  He did it though with some help from his parents.  And so we were off to Chicago for a whirlwind trip to see it all.

Get Ready for Snapshots!

This post is going to have a mix of horrible cell phone snapshots and my attempts at non-portrait photos while we walked around Chicago.

Day 1 started with our flight to Chicago and then a drive down to Champaign, Illinois for a concert with the Foo Fighters!  I’m a huge rock and roll concert fan and have been going to concerts since I was about 8.   I haven’t been going to as many shows these days because my husband isn’t as big of a fan of rock but he’ll indulge me occasionally.  He knew that Foo Fighters were high on my list of acts to see someday.

And they were awesome!!  Foo Fighters Concrete and Gold tour with The Struts!  Such a great show!

Day 2 found us back in Chicago for some sightseeing.  Because it was sunny and beautiful (but cold) we opted to check out the Willis Tower.  If you ever have the opportunity, it’s worth the visit.  I don’t know that words can adequately describe the views from the top.  It was amazing to be so high that you were seeing helicopters flying below you.  Needless to say, I took a few pictures.

Lake Michigan view from Willis TowerLake Michigan view from Willis Tower, ChicagoChicago view from Willis Tower

I also made an attempt at capturing a Chicago city street.  I’m pleased with it but I also admit, I need to practice this type of photography a lot more.

Chicago city street

Day 3 started with a surprise snowfall.  Just about an inch but still slushy and cold.  We walked (almost ran) to the Field Museum for a day of exploring there and at the aquarium next door.  The gray cloudy and snowy day made it even darker in the museum so I spent most of my time just taking in the sites with my eyes and not my camera.  We checked out Sue, the dinosaur, and several of the other exhibits.  And looking back at the map, I’m sure there’s still so much we missed.

The Field Museum, Chicago

After the Field Museum, we visited the Shedd Aquarium.  It was so amazing to walk around.  I wished that we had the kids with us for both places.  They would have loved it!

beluga underwater, Shedd Aquariumred jelly fish, Shedd Aquarium

Before walking back to the hotel, I had to try a shot of the skyline at night.  Didn’t take too much time though because it was still so cold.

Chicago at night

After dinner, we headed out to Second City Comedy Club to check out an improv show!  It was definitely funny and I successfully avoided being called to participate in any skits- yes, there was quite a bit of audience participation.  And as we were heading out after the show, Andy spotted Tim Meadows (a favorite actor from SNL and one of my guilty favorites, Mean Girls).

Day 3 was another cold and snowy day so we hit another museum, The Chicago Art Institute.  My inner artist was geeking out at being in the same building and able to see so many iconic images.  Again, it was so big, we barely scratched the surface.  Because of the art, I didn’t take any photos but had to rely on my memory.  I definitely have to go back someday.

After a long day of drinking in art, we enjoyed resting our feet while taking in the Chicago Symphony.  Remember how my husband, isn’t a huge rock fan? The symphony is more for him.  Manfred Honeck, the conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony was the guest conductor.  It was nice to have a little part of Pittsburgh with us in Chicago.

It was such a nice trip, even more, special because we don’t do this often.  Just getting to spend time talking and eating Thai food and enjoying each other’s interests.

Now I’m officially 40 and with the start of a new year, I’m challenging myself to be more adventurous- to be willing to travel more and to be willing to take more pictures beyond portraits and snapshots.  Growth is good.  Stepping out of your comfort zone is good.  I need to keep those things in mind, always.


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