As soon as Paul gets the pics on here, I will post some of our trip to Chicago. What a blast!
We left home at about 10:00 on Friday morning. It was our plan to have a picnic lunch, but after not passing any parks for a long time we ended up eating at McDonald's (with a playplace) in Valpo.
Our first stop in Chicago was the museum of Science and Industry. The children's favorite part was called the "Idea Factory" which was geared specifically to young children, and even included a special area for babies who can't walk yet. We also really enjoyed the farm area and the boats. Actually we pretty well liked everything we saw. But unfortunately the museum closed at 4:00. After leaving the museum, we hopped into the van to go find a place for a picnic. Paul began by driving toward downtown, but before we reached downtown, we realized that the traffic was just too heavy. So we headed to La Villita.
We were going to have the picnic at Piotrowski Park. But before reaching the park, we stopped a school playground. It was nice and quite. Although there was a circus going on in a big tent about half a block away. (We did get to see camels when we drove by).
After dinner we headed to Sara's place. We took Ogden all the way out (which took about forever) but it brought back neat memories, and we got to see some neat stuff.
It was so great of Sara to put us up. We fit pretty well into her one bedroom apartment, although we pretty much took over.
Saturday morning, we drove out to Elburn (about 45 minutes) for the wedding of Paul's cousin Rachel. The wedding and reception were both outdoors; it was a bit chilly but absolutely beautiful. We had a good time visiting with Paul's uncles and cousins. The food was scrumptious, and there was a large grassy area to run around in.
After the wedding and reception we drove approximately forever to the hospital to visit Manda. Children were not allowed to go up to her room. So Paul went up by himself, and then Manda and Tony (and their other visitors) came down to see us.
After our visit we stopped at Burger King (play place) near the hospital to have dinner. There was a group of muslims having a Birthday party, so it was very crowded and noisy. (Not to imply that muslims are noisy --I imagine any Birthday party would be noisy). I only know they were muslim because all of the women were wearing headcoverings.
Then we went back to Sara's place and watched the Princess Bride, which I forgot to mention we had started watching Friday night.
Sunday morning we got up and went to church in Lawndale. We went to the church (Westlawn Gospel Chapel) where I had worked in the summer of 2001. It was somewhat strange to see the little children I had worked with were now teenagers. The sermon was about using the authority God gives us in ways that are serving Christ. There were lots of anecdotes in the sermon that were highly amusing to me. Much of the sermon I could give a hearty amen too. One of the most interesting moments in the sermon was when the preacher said "Barack On!" (I suppose the political affiliations of an inner city black church in Chicago should be pretty obvious anyway).
After church (about 1:30) we went to Nuevo Leon in La Villita with the Soderquists and a few other people from Westlawn. The teenagers were supposed to be coming there as well, but ended up at a different restaurant (I was a little disappointed by that). Lunch was scrumptious. The Soderquists (the International Teams missionaries we had worked with) eat at Nuevo Leon often, and were obviously on very friendly terms with the wait staff. They gave us updates on the people we had worked with, and we told them about life in Fort Wayne.
After lunch we walked around La Villita. We went to visit lots of little stores, including the hardware store we had fond memories of. We wanted to get Paletas, but since we didn't pass it, we ended up going to a little ice cream shop instead. Yum!
Then Manda called to let us know she was being discharged from the hospital. So we drove about 80 blocks down Cicero avenue to Manda and Tony's apartment. Tony's parents had fixed about enough food to feed an army, so we had dinner there. Tony's family was mostly there. They seemed very nice, and obviously enjoyed our crazy children.
Then it was back to Sara's where we watched Mulan to put the children to sleep.
Monday morning we got up and packed up all of our stuff. Then we drove to little India. Our first stop was the South Asian Friendship Center. Paul had a good visit with the staff there particulary a man from Sicily named Cicero (or something like that). I mostly kept the children in line. We all enjoyed the free chai.
Then we browsed the shops and bought some food stuffs (I got a great deal on rice flour). And we got two dresses for Abigail. Paul did a great job negotiating the price.
We had lunch at a place called Khan BBQ, on the recommendation of Cicero. I hadn't had such good Indian food in a long time. It was scrumptious. We ate up everything except the really spicy stuff that only Paul could handle. All of us really liked it a lot.
We left little India at about 3:00. Traffic was heavy and it took over 2 hours to get to Valpo. Because of construction we ended up taking a slightly unusual route. Paul was definitely ready for me to drive by the time we were out of Chicago!
We stopped for dinner at McDonald's (playplace). I am so sick of cheeseburgers.
The trip was oodles of fun!