Sammi is one of the greatest people I have ever known and has helped me get through a lot. She looked so beautiful and it was so great to see her after not seeing her for basically three years. Sammi's family is just the greatest and I'm so glad to know all of them.
I've always loved Nauvoo, but it's even more awesome to go back since we were married there.
ILLINOIS VOL II: Over Labor Day weekend, Jeff's friend Chris flew in and then we drove to Chicago to meet up with Jeff's dad and step-mom.
Chris is a really nice friend to Jeff and always flies from North Carolina to see him. He came all the way out to our reception in Idaho.
Of course we went to a Cubs game, ate deep dish pizza, walked Navy Pier, and went to The Bean. We also went up the Hancock Tower which was awesome because I've never done that before. Jeff also saw the building from the cover of a Wilco album. That was kind of big.
ILLINOIS VOL III: What was supposed to be a temple day trip ended up as a temple/work two day trip.
Thursday Jeff had jobs in the east Chicago area (aka Gary aka the ghetto) so he dropped me off at the South Shore Line station in South Bend.
It was a whirlwind of public transportation for three hours after that. Trains and buses and stations, oh my. Maybe I got a little lost. Maybe I burnt my tongue on white hot chocolate from Dunkin Donuts. Maybe some pigeons almost attacked me after I dropped some of my pumpkin muffin.
BUT I did make it to our hotel. Which is all that really matters.
It was kind of a big day for me.
The only public transportation experience I had previous to this was in San Francisco where I was with six+ other people, and comforted by the sounds of The Freshman coming from Wayne Bass.
I'm kind of impressed with myself for making it from South Bend, IN to Skokie, IL all by myself (with the help of Jeff who got help from Google Maps).
By the time Jeff was done with work, we were both starving.
So we consulted Yelp to decide what our best food option was in the suburb of Skokie. It told us "Irving's For Red Hot Lovers" of course. I thought it sounded kind of scandalous, but we were HUNGRY.
Red Hots are actually what they call their hot dogs. And we didn't even get one. But we did get some Italian beef sandwiches and "the best cheese fries in Chicago" (according to Yelp). They were kind of crazy. I don't know if they're my favorite, but I've definitely never had cheese fries like that before.
The temple was our main reason for going to Chicago. And we were oh-so-glad we were able to get there after weeks of wanting to. We feel so much peace both inside the temple and after having gone there. Even though four hours (give or take for traffic) is a lot longer than the four minutes it took to get to our temple in Idaho, we are still so grateful to have a temple this close.
Fun Fact: The Chicago temple is in the suburb of Glenview, which is also where The Brendan Leonard Show was filmed. (Which is only a fun fact if anyone besides me watched it on ABC Family.)
We cannot say enough good things about Freddy's in Cicero. Especially Jeff.
After serving his mission in Southern Italy, he's kind of an expert on pasta and all that crap. And we eat a lot of pasta.
Something we don't eat a lot of are ARANCINI (which is really only found in Sicily in Italy, so it's even less common in the States).
Using the Internets, I found the hidden gem that is Freddy's. Which has arancini. It is SO. GOOD. I don't even like food that much and I could eat a million arancini. Well. Probably not. But Jeff did say it was even better than some of the arancini he had IN Italy.
Freddy's is a little Italian grocery store and restaurant all in one, so we also got some Italian beverages. Jeff got a six pack of chinotto. Which I think is disgusting tasting. Apparently it's an acquired taste. And I got aranciata. Which is a lot like carbonated orange juice.
We've been super lucky to be able to get all this traveling out of our system before TadPoole comes and demands all of our attention. Which we will gladly give him because he will be so cute.
We had some money fairies help us out with these trips which we are very, very grateful for.
Note: Some of these photos were taken with Jeff's iWorkAllTheTimePhone. (The ONLY reason I want an iPhone is to have the Instagram app.) Some I edited using these Photoshop actions. Pathetic? Yeah kinda. But it's not really like I have anything else to do.
Except go check out some Roald Dahl books from the library.