Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas #2

Prepare yourself for a long post with lots of pictures. Sorry in advance.... You can find most of these pictures on my Instagram and Twitter feeds, especially if you search for the #KarasDoesChicago hashtag. :)


Since we've been married, J and I have always gone to my family's house for Christmas because of his work schedule. But because of his more flexible work position, we were able to spend Christmas with his family in Chicago this year.

My panic set in on Thursday night when I was trying to pack and saw the weather forecast:

Gulp. Is that a negative niner I see in there?! I was not amused and honestly didn't think I even owned enough clothes to survive in that weather... but Jon vetoed me running out to shop on a Thursday evening, so I sucked it up and packed what I already had in the closet.

We headed for the airport right after school on Friday afternoon. It had been a long, eventful day at school, so I slept almost the entire flight. Our ride -- Jon's brother -- was sick, so we had to call some friends to pick us up at the airport. It was eventful trying to get out of the airport, since our friend forgot where she'd parked. ;) But the delay was fine, since it gave me a chance to enjoy the holiday decorations in the airport:

On Saturday, the kids, my mother-in-love, her BFF, and I all went "into town." My youngest niece, A, and my nephew, little J, were the best of friends and started jabbering away as soon as they saw each other in the car. Their conversation was all over the place. Here are some of the things I texted Jon while evesdropping in the back seat:

I'm a super-hero, apparently.

It was a long drive.

Here's my attempt to record some of the randomness:

It's a tradition for them to go to the Macy's in downtown Chicago and eat dinner under their massive Christmas tree. We arrived at the store around 1:30 or 2, and the first reservation we could get was at 5:30, so we killed some time by shopping and walking around the city.

Model of the city....made out of of chocolate.
Christmas store inside Macy's
A nativity scene -- hooray!
  Thought I was in NOLA again for a second:

"What do you do for a living?" ... "Oh, I drum on a bucket on the street."

 We took a break from walking to sit down and eat some fancy chocolates.... I knew I married into this family for a reason. ;)

My fav nine year old and me:

Then Jimmy jumped in on the action while my other niece socialized with the grown-ups:

We're smiling because our feet are resting and there's chocolate in our bellies.
Grandma said it was time to go...back to walking.
Finally, it was time to eat. This was part of our view:

As you eat, a "fairy" walks around, sprinkling you with "fairy dust" and "granting" your wishes. The kids were pretty excited about that.

Afterwards, we hopped on a bus and went to Navy Pier.

Reminded me of Town Square back home... I love wrapped trees!

We made it to Navy Pier and made a beeline for some ice cream {again, this is why I married into this family... haha}. Afterwards, we made the trek back to the bus and finally, back home.

All that walking kinda wore me out the day before, so the next morning, I was eager for some coffee. Our hotel had a complimentary breakfast, so we made sure we woke up in time for it. Apparently, this "coffee well," as I named it, is not uncommon, but it was the first time I'd seen any such thing:

Not Starbucks and certainly not my K-Cups, but... it'll do.
We lounged at my brother-in-love's house all day:

This chair became my BFF while we were there. SO COMFY.
 Here we are on Christmas Eve:

Here I am, smiling through my chattering teeth in the car:

Here was the thermometer in the car one evening. NOT ACCEPTABLE. But after that, 20 degrees felt like a heat wave.
It was so stinkin' cold... I quickly found out that my "snow boots" are poor facsimiles. I also quickly understood why my mother-in-love took one look at my "winter coat" and laughed at me before boarding the plane at DFW.

Here was a pond that I thought was a parking lot... I'd never seen a totally iced-over body of water before.

It snowed quite a bit on Christmas day, and Jon quickly went outside to shovel the driveway {he's weird and likes to do that}. I went outside with him and got my first look at "real" snow. Who knew that the real thing is actually soft and fluffy?!

Jon was so sweet and made sure that Santa visited me at the hotel. Santa knows me so well -- he brought me Reese's Christmas Crack Trees and a sweet card. :) Jon also made my Meme's famous dumplings as a way to make me feel more at home away from home... I married such a good guy. :)

Uncle Kent texted me this, and I had to share it -- it made me laugh:

Here's a shot in front of one of the Christmas trees at the house:

Here's a little summary video I made for Instagram:

In case you can't hear it, this song talks about how I'll see Illinois again... Perfect!

We came home yesterday afternoon and went to bed pretty early. Neither of us is feeling particularly well, but we're hoping we'll get better ASAP, since my family is coming to visit early tomorrow morning.


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