Oh Chicago, how I love you! There is still something that just feels like home when we land in this city. In fact when we got off the plane at O'Hare, Canaan said, "Ah it's just so good to be in my home city!" (Never mind that he left when he was 10 months old. 

We did a whirwind 5 days here. We landed and had an afternoon and evening with Nate's family, first at Laura's house where they packed boxes and painted and then at Giordano's where we opted for thin crust pizza (sacrilege) because of time constraints. My kids were exhausted after a 3am wake up and day of flying. Canaan laid on my lap for the last half of dinner but Eden and Ariela had became instant best friends and played Barbies through the whole meal. Canaan took to Nolan right away, appreciating making him giggle as he toddled around eating bites of pizza.

The next day we did breakfast at the Runyans and I just sat on their barstool while kids played and the Runyans did life. I love that sitting on a stool in their home is just as sweet as a big night out. We got started on talking about the enneagram and conversations about our numbers and how they interact were woven throughout the entire trip. We did mini-golf til it starting thundering and I loved seeing Emily frustrated that the kids were golfing incorrectly. I wouldn't have expected her to be a rule-follower but we quickly realized they were entertained anyway and proceeded to do a 3-way adult competition far behind the kids. I was so touched by how much time the Runyans gave us in the midst of a hectic summer. I felt so intentionally loved. We walked the river path on a blustery morning where Edie sweetly supported Eden as she hopped along with a broken flip flop, we did the Lincoln Park Farmer's Market for peaches and donuts at firecakes and I was so, so glad to have Eric drive and be in charge of all the parking. We sat in the middle of Maggie Daley park, hoping our kids wouldn't get lost in all the frenzy. We had chicken fajitas and a peach, blueberry, chicken salad. We talked about family, and personality, and depression. We got rained out after only 30 minutes at the River Forest pool Katie, Emily and I did a dinner out at a place with good wine and little bites. I loved the arugula, duck and blue cheese flatbread and also the cozy isolation of sitting outdoors on a thunderstorming night where we were the only table and had to speak loudly to be heard over the rain. One of my favorite parts of this trip was getting to know Edie and Ella better. They surprised me with how welcoming they were, since it's been awhile since the kids have been all together and they've never done life together. But they played for hours every day, streaming toys on all 3 floors. Each night they would do a show for us that was super creative. One night it was a fall, summer, winter, spring theme with each kid in charge of a season. My favorite was a show where Edie's room was decorated for christmas and cut up papers were flung from the fan to seem like snow. Watching reindeer races had me in stitches. I made blueberry cobbler and chocolate marshmallow layer cake with Ella and enjoyed her dramatic vocabulary. There were so many times when I wished Nate was sitting with us, recognizing that there is a comfort to this friendship that he absolutely loves. I love that conversation never ceases and is meanders between stimulating, funny, deep and real. We ended our time together with breakfast over Spilt Milk. Four inch high flaky biscuits with egg and bacon, saucer sized cinnamon rolls, a few tears and words of truth from a best friend while Eric contended with all 4 kids on barstools. It was a meal and conversation that won't soon be forgotten.

We also got to spend some time with cousins. We met Laura, Ariela and Kingston for breakfast followed by time at Irving Park. The kids got sweaty, alternating between every type of swing possible while Laura and I talked about her upcoming move. Our last night we did dinner at Matt and Tina's with everyone. The kids were entertained with toys for one year olds for a good, long while and Matt grilled kabobs for everyone. One of my favorite parts of the trip, though, was a last minute decision to head downtown before going to Matt and Tina's. I realized as we got on the train that the kids and I hadn't been alone in 3 weeks and it felt just right to do that one adventure alone. Canaan gets the magic of the train and the magic of downtown that I feel perfectly. There is just a feeling that I get when I'm downtown that I don't have anywhere else. He loved the hustle and bustle, the sounds of train brakes screeching around the Loop, the people going every which way. He wore the horse sweatsuit Edie had just given him and got quite a few compliments from all the hipsters downtown for Lollapalooza.

 

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