Saturday, August 9, 2014


Approximately a year ago (I am so bad at posting timely blogs), I went to Chicago to visit Stephanie and Joseph, since I hadn't seen them in more than 2 1/2 years, which was ridiculous. We were accustomed to seeing each other basically monthly until they moved to Chicago and I moved to Korea a couple months later. Needless to say we missed each other and were excited to see one another! It

I had never been to Chicago and was excited to see their life there. It was nice to hang out with them like no time had passed!

Stephanie was quite pregnant at the time. Their daughter is now 11 months old and I can't wait to meet her. Hopefully that will happen soon!

These top 2 pictures are from Stephanie's baby shower the day I arrived, which was lots of fun. I was in charge of writing down all the presents and who gave them, so these were the only 2 pictures I took that evening. It was a fun night meeting new people and seeing all their needs provided for!

One of the days we headed into Chicago and explored. Our first stop was The Bean and the area around it. All of my knowledge of Chicago came from watching ER an embarrassing number of times, so I didn't actually know much about the area, though obviously learned as I went. The bean is in Millennium Park. It's a very nice park and has a lovely view of the skyline. I recently read in a book ("At Home" by Bill Bryson, my new brain crush) that Chicago is built on marshy ground and buildings easily sink, so it was actually a feat of engineering that the skyscrapers are there and still standing. The foundations had to go many feet into the ground and occasionally, when attempting to build a building, it would tilt and become dangerous. They had to plan for the buildings to sink (up to 6 or 7 feet) during the building process.

The skyline.

The park included some strangely painted pigs.

Here is Stephanie joining in the photobombing craze. Apparently I should not have told her about Adrienne, Allison and Anna's constant photobombs.
I loved the old buildings in Chicago. The design of them is quite lovely.

The Bean! It was awesome! As you can see, it's quite reflective and it seems completely seamless.

There I am!
There we all are!

Stephanie and I and lots of other people.

Joseph and I and lots of other people.
You can vaguely see me in the reflection.

Underneath the bean was strange. Everything repeated until it was a minuscule reflection at the top. Pretty cool.

Some of the beautiful architecture of downtown Chicago.

We walked around the park a bit more.
This was strange. She was moving.
She was also moving.
Isn't it lovely!

They had a nice little garden in the park.

We threw pennies in the fountain for good luck.

There is a small bug in this picture.

We drove by some museums which I hope to visit at some point!
And we drove by the lake, which, by the way, is enormous and looks like the ocean. I kept expecting to smell salt, but obviously never did.

There is a tall fountain spouting water.

We then headed to a different area of downtown and got deep dish pizza at Gino's, which was delicious. And it was my first deep dish ever.

People could draw on the walls, which gave it a cool vibe.

Stephanie and Joseph!
I love everything on it!

They accidentally forgot about our pizza, or it took an inordinate amount of time, or something, so we got a discount and free drinks which was quite nice.


Stephanie and I!
We didn't have any cool pens, so this was my attempt to add our names to the establishment.
It didn't work out very well.

The pizza!

There's God.
And I'm assuming this is Gino.

Lauren and Tina, united at last.

Also, that poor Lauren's last name was "Hipple" which is a little unfortunate.

We arrived at the best time apparently, since we didn't have to wait but left and there was a huge line.

We then wandered around and, of course, bought Garrett's popcorn for snacking later during a movie at their house. We watched "The Ward" and it was terrifying/stressful. At one point Stephanie said, "I think this is putting stress on the baby!"

Here is a large Nordstroms.

The walls of the Chicago Tribune had pieces of rock from all over the world, including but not limited to, Mt Rainier, the Great Pyramid, Suwon Korea, Hans Christian Andersen's house, Angkor Wat, Petra, Pearl Harbor and the House of Parliament in London.

Oh and Bloody Nose Ridge, of course.

A cool parking lot. I took this picture through a fence.

Joseph laughed at me a lot because the fence ended approximately 2 feet after I stopped to take my picture and I could have easily taken the picture not through a fence...oops.

The Chicago Tribune building
The Chicago Tribune again.

The Chicago Tribune building again. As you can see, that's the only one I know.

This is one of my favorite pictures that I've ever taken.

A small river/canal/body of water/who knows.

Stephanie and Joseph.
Stephanie and I.
Joseph and I.
Stephanie and I again.
This was the parking area just under the above picture, which was a bit eerie.
The Billy Goat tavern was in that parking area/street, home of a famous SNL sketch.

This building had an enormous amount of sewing machines. I don't know why.

Joseph's hand photobombing my picture.

I gave Stephanie's baby, who we now know is a beautiful little girl named Delanie and is almost a year old, a pillow with my face on it, so she would know my face. I did it mostly as a joke, but it is an amazing pillow. After I gave it to them, they set up my bed to sleep in. I heard, "Ok, Lauren, your bed's ready!"

I walked it to the sight of my face all tucked in to bed. I was laughing hysterically.

The following day we drove to a camp that some of the church members were attending and hung out. The rest of our trip (Before and after) included lots of hanging out time and wandering and eating Chicago's great food. I also got to hear Delanie's heartbeat at their doctors appointment, which was awesome. And I felt her moving which was weird and resulted in me constantly feeling her moving. I'd never felt a baby move before, except with Adrienne and Grant I'm assuming, but I don't remember.
My favorite picture!
The view from the airplane was fantastic!

I had a great trip and fully intend on visiting them again soon!

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