So something big happened last month. I turned THIRTY. I still haven’t quite come to grips with it. Not because it was tragic or anything but I simply don’t feel like I’m in my 30s yet. Wasn’t I 20 like yesterday?! However, I was ushered into a new decade in the most amazing way possible and it is time I share a birthday recap on the blog.
It all started a couple of months ago when my friend at work told me that Chris had requested that I be off work for both June 15 and 16. My interest was immediate piqued but for MONTHS Chris did not give any hints and denies knowing anything about it. So I let it slide and went along for the ride. As of June 14 I still didn’t know anything other than I was not going to work the next day. Chris, the girls, and I were sitting down to dinner when there was a knock on the door. On the doorstep was my mom and step-dad! Thinking that must be the surprise I was pretty pumped. But the next thing I knew the following message was posted on my FB page:
“You have about 14 hrs to pack. SP is at 0900, pack for about 48 hrs, bring something nice just in case. Good luck and happy early birthday. The fun continues.”
So needless to say I was excited! I had no idea where we were going or what we were doing so I packed WAY too much stuff but I didn’t want to not have what I needed. Prompts at 0900 the next morning we were packed in the car and ready to. And I STILL didn’t know what we were doing!
What I DID know was we were heading north. Once we hit St Louis Chris finally told me we were going to CHICAGO. Chicago isa 6.5 hour drive from where we are in Missouri so we killed the time singing to the radio and chatting. We hit the city right at rush hour (yuck) but made it to our hotel. Chris booked us a Marriott Residence Inn Chicago Downtown/Loop. Apparently our Cabo trip got us enough points for a free night. The hotel was really nice, modern, and new. The location was perfect and allowed us to pretty much walk anywhere we wanted to. The breakfast was included and pretty complete and the lobby bar was nice. I would definitely stay there again. Once we got settled we quickly changed and headed out for our first night in the city.
We went to Giordano’s for some pizza before exploring a bit. Giordano’s came highly recommended and it did not disappoint. After stuffing ourselves silly we headed down the street to the John Hancock building to take the elevator up to the Signature Room Lounge on the 96th floor for a drink. Oh my goodness y’all – the views were breathtaking. It was nice to just hang out and soak it all in.
By the time we were done with our drinks we were totally read to hit the sack. We caught an Uber back to our hotel and slept blissfully through the night. Is it bad that one of the BEST parts of being on vacation without the kids is uninterrupted sleep?! I woke up so refreshed and ready for a busy day. After grabbing breakfast at the hotel we made the trek to Millennial Park to see Cloud Gate. I mean you can’t go to Chicago without a bean photo right?
We then continued walking along Michigan Avenue and eventually made our way to Navy Pier. We snagged some tickets for the Centennial Wheel as Chris had never been on a ferris wheel before. Tickets were $12 each and worth it. We were on it for a total of about 20 minutes and did 3 full revolutions. It was a neat perspective looking back on the city.
After the wheel we realized how hungry we had become with all the walking and sat down for some lunch. The attendant at the wheel recommended Riva Cafe and we are so glad we listened. We got an awesome seafood dip, shared some crab, and sipped on a cold beer while overlooking Lake Michigan. It definitely hit the spot.
After lunch Chris indulged me and accompanied me to do some shopping. Living in the middle of nowhere means all my shopping is done online. I can’t tell you how great it felt to be in a Nordstrom and able to try on clothes. I was basically in heaven and got a couple new summer pieces. We eventually made our back to hotel to get ready for the pinnacle of the weekend. Many of you probably don’t know but I actually had a full scholarship to college for theatre education which I ended up turning down in favor of being pre-med and my academic scholarship. I was a HUGE theatre geek in high school and my love for the stage has never left me. Chris basically made my life and bought us tickets for HAMILTON. And it was everything I ever hoped it would be.
The next morning we loaded back up and made our way home. I walked in to my house only to be surprised by my closest friends here in Missouri for a grand birthday finale. I am so thankful to my parents and friends for being there and really making me feel special.
That wraps up my birthday recap and if you are still reading than thank you. I would be remiss to finish my post without bragging on my husband for a bit. Being an Army man has meant that Chris has missed a large number of my birthdays (and our anniversaries) due to June being a busy military month. He went above and beyond this year and really made this birthday one I will never forget. I am so thankful to have him as my partner in life and he truly made this my best birthday ever.
Have you been to Chicago? What is your best birthday memory? Are you Hamilton obsessed like me?