Sunday, July 31, 2016

One Year Anniversary Extravaganza

While we would have loved to celebrate our one year anniversary by returning to our honeymoon location...

we decided to be a little more practical and stay stateside :) Although, Mexico is in the plans for our 5 year anniversary...I'm putting that in writing here so I can use it as leverage in 4 years :)

Our anniversary extravaganza plans all began when we got a text from my Aunt asking for a quick video of us wishing my little cousin Maddi happy birthday. My aunt was planning on putting together a little video to share with her at her Sweet 16 party.

Well, AJ and I got to talking, and since his sister lives outside of Chicago and only about an hour away from my Aunt and Uncle, we decided that we should make the trip to surprise my cousin for her birthday, all while fitting in some time with Jenni and Evan AND getting a few days in the city to celebrate our anniversary...

 And that ladies and gentlemen is how "Anniversary Extravaganza" was born! 

We got on the road bright and early Wednesday morning...

 With one minor hiccup along the way...

yep, here we the Chevy dealership in Hannibal, Missouri. My trusty Cruze, who was recently paid off I might add, decided to add some excitement to our trip when the check engine light came on. No one panicked (much) and after about 30 minutes in the dealership waiting room we got GREAT was just a sensor and nothing that needed to be replaced right away! 


We got to Jenni and Evan's a little later than expected...but we were welcomed by this cute little bottle of champagne in our "suite" for the night. I seriously have the most thoughtful sister in law #ShesTheBest

We quickly got cleaned up and headed in town for dinner...

We got a quick show from Elvis...
and then had dinner at the infamous Mickey Finns. We have tried to eat there the last 2 times we were in Chicago and both times they were closed. We can finally mark that off the "to do" list...although, I can't say we won't be back :) 

After dinner we headed home for some beers and catching up. It was so nice to sneak in some time with family...but as usual it just wasn't long enough! 

The next morning we got up bright and early and headed to the train station to go into the city. We decided to leave our car at Jenni and Evan's because it's $52 a night to park your car at the hotel...yep, we learned that the hard way during the Chicago Marathon! 


We got checked into our hotel...

 took a quick hotel room selfie....

and checked out the killer views :) 

After taking a little nap/rest, we headed out to take on the city! We decided that even with the heat we would make the walk to the Shedd Aquarium...spoiler alert #BadIdea

We stopped at the fountains in the park for another quick selfie (Fun fact: I remember these fountains from the finish line of the marathon. This was where I had 4 billion things in my included...and couldn't see the screen on my phone or get a hold of AJ and the rest of the clan to figure out where the were. I sat down right here by the fountains and pulled myself much as one can after 26.2 mile) 

We hoofed it a few hundred more miles (and gallons of sweat) only to show up at the aquarium to a REALLY long line. At that point there was no way we could be outside a minute longer so we headed over to the Field Museum (good thing they were close together!) There was a decent line there, but it was inside so we didn't mind! 

We were greeted at the door by Chuck Testa's greatest masterpiece (If you don't know who that is...check him out on YouTube and thank me later)

The Field Museum was the attraction I was most looking forward to, and it did NOT disappoint! 

 We pulled out the selfie stick for the final time during the trip and took this disaster of a photo. Who knew we were so selfie stick incapable?

My favorite part might have been Egypt 3-D...but mostly because it was dark and cool and no one could tell that I took a quick little cat-nap :) #TouristingIsHardWork

After the Field Museum we headed over to the Shedd Aquarium and since we had purchased the "City Pass" we were able to jump in a MUCH shorter line that began indoors #PraiseJesus

 The aquarium was hands down my favorite thing from our weekend...which is why I only took one photo. #TooBusyCheckingOutTheFish

After the aquarium we headed back to our rooms to get cleaned up (i.e. apply deodorant) and head to the pier. 

The Navy Pier has been on of those places I have wanted to go for to say I was excited was an understatement.

The pier was everything I imagined it to be and more...and the best part was the temperatures cooled off and the breeze from the lake was heavenly! 

AJ immediately headed for the Ferris Wheel...and while I have always thought I wanted to ride it...I began to have some second thoughts...You guys...this thing is HUGE! 

AJ talked me off the ledge...and pointed out that there were lots of children in line playing it MUCH cooler than I ;)

Turns out, I panicked for nothing...the Ferris Wheel was not only completely enclosed and air conditioned, but it didn't sway or rock at all. I felt totally at ease up there...#NotThatIHadAnyDoubts ;)

 I tried to get a good shot that showed how high up we were...instead I got this goofy shot of my husband :) #NeverADullMoment

Words can't describe how beautiful the lake, the city skyline, and the pier were from the Ferris Wheel at sunset! The Navy Pier is a MUST that's for sure! 

After the Ferris Wheel we headed to Giordano's for some pizza! We've been before, but it was on SPD 2 years ago and no one was in a good enough place to wait 45 minutes for pizza, if you know what I mean :)

45 minutes seems like an awfully long time to wait for a pizza, but trust me when I's worth it :) 

Day 2 started a little later due to our amazing hotel room...nothing beats a king size bed, blackout curtains, and 60 degree temps!

We definitely learned our lesson from day 1 and decided that public transportation was the way to go. Luckily, the train station was close by and would take us within a quarter of a mile to the Science Museum. 

However, being the public transport newbies that we are...we struggled a bit...

 (AJ's face in this picture says it all!)

but we made it and we are still I call that a success in my books :) 

Luckily, the Science Museum was worth every second of public transportation chaos...

Seriously, one of the coolest places I have ever been! I thought my head was going to explode with all the information...don't worry...I let it leak out and have retained nothing I learned on that day :) 

 With our City Pass we got tickets to this "really cool" flight simulator (can you hear the sarcasm) I may or may not have yelped a few times...the pilot was rather reckless...but we survived to see another day ;) 

 I took these next few photos for my loyal blog reader and friend, Laura...

Who knew the history of bikes was so extensive...and cool -probably Nicholas, but that is besides the point ;) 

After a few hours at the Science Museum we headed down the street for lunch...

I know not everyone agrees, but I love graffiti, and this was some of the best I have ever seen! 

Lunch was a little hole in the wall Greek restaurant that is apparently "all the rage" among the college students. Neither of us were disappointed in the slightest! A Gyro salad was an excellent choice! 

We finished lunch pretty quickly and had a few minutes to kill before the train came so we checked out this used book store...


I never wanted to leave...seriously, there were THOUSANDS of books EVERYWHERE! #BookNerdParadise

After being drug out of the book store, we headed to the train station so we could spend some time at the Chicago Art Institute. 


Unfortunately, because we had spent so much time at the Science Museum we arrived only an hour before they closed. However, since we had purchased the City Pass we figured we might as well see what we could! 

We will definitely be coming back and spending an entire day here! It was amazing! 

After the Art Museum we headed back to our room to get cleaned up for our "anniversary dinner"

We made reservations at The Grillroom Chophouse and Wine had good reviews and was right across the street from our hotel...which was really appealing at that point because we were exhausted and couldn't bear another Uber or train ride! 


I had the BEST mac and cheese I have ever had in my life...

And we toasted to an incredible year :) 

After dinner we wanted ice cream (although I wasn't sure I could stuff any more into my already full tummy) so we headed down the street to Baskin Robbins...unfortunately, they were closed...

So we settled for a Snickers ice cream bar back in the hotel room while we watched "10 Things I Hate About You" and went to bed by 10PM #WatchOut #WeCrazy

The next morning we got up, conquered public transportation yet again, and hopped on the train back to our car so we could head to my cousins birthday :)

I can't believe this sweet girl is 16 years old...and DRIVING! It was so fun to surprise her...and I am not sure who enjoyed it more...her or us :) Seeing her face as we pulled into the driveway was PRICELESS! 

Overall, our "Anniversary Extravaganza" was a total success! 
We certainly rang in one year of marriage in style :)