Dec 23. We continued our Christmas adventures by heading to Chicago around 11am ET. We ate lunch in the parking garage at Millennial Park and then walked around. We were amazed and grateful it was a sunny warm day (50F) without any wind. Emily preferred to walk around without any specific destination which we did for about 20 minutes around the stage. Eventually we picked her up and went over to the Bean. I had never seen it before and it was so cool.
We then headed west on Washington Ave. and saw the Macy’s window displays the best we could with the HUGE crowds. We continued on to a German market which was so incredibly packed we could barely move. We went through a nativity/nutcracker/ornament trailer full of really expensive German style Christmas decorations. We then shuffled our way around the other booths but couldn’t see much except people. With Emily’s love of independent walking we decided to head back to Millenial park and then on to the hotel.
It took about 1.5 hours to go 28 miles; we never time our travels correctly in that city. We had chipotle for dinner (the last time we had it was in San Francisco).
We got all ready to go swimming expecting Emily would love it like she did she did when we lived in Kansas. She did not and was ready to get out as soon as we got in the pool.
Dec 24. We started the day off with Emily throwing up at 5:50am. It turned out to be a singular event, thank goodness. We spent 4 hours walking around the hotel, trying to keep ourselves and Emily happy.
Travels to Utah went so smoothly we were in awe. We’ve been praying for health and great travels and and we were blessed abundantly. Emily fell asleep in my arms for the first time ever (since she was passed the newborn phase). We landed at 2 pm – 20 minutes early. We did a load of laundry, wrapped presents, and went to the Snow Family Christmas party.
Emily spent the majority of the night playing with or following around Ninja, Andrew’s cousins’ small dog. We had dinner, did a white elephant gift exchange, and Emily took a swing at the Christmas piñata.
December 25. We opened presents, had aebleskivers for lunch, and went to Grandma Jackson’s home in the evening and spent time with Jackson cousins while we were there. Emily who usually goes to bed at 4pm MST, lasted until 7pm and ended the night falling asleep in the car.
December 26. We went to the aquarium with the Jackson family as a christmas present. Emily LOVED running around, waving her arms, and shrieking with joy. She had very little interest in being held. We were all amazed at the varieties of fish that we had never seen before. I began reading the entire Giver series, which I finished in four days. Emily spent time drawing with Grandpa.
December 27. Aimee and I made cinnamon rolls for most of the afternoon for Ariana’s baby blessing the next day. Tyler (Andrew’s cousin) and Jessie Gill came over in the evening and we were able to talk with them before they headed back to Washington.
December 28. Ariana was blessed in the morning at church. It was really neat to be there. We then had brunch at the Jackson’s home with all of the friends and family.
December 29. It snowed! Andrew, Emily and I helped shove the driveway and played in the snow for a few minutes before heading to Provo. We all went down to Grandpa Snow’s and visited with him for about an hour. Emily loved playing the piano, enjoyed watching him play the accordion (we all did!!) and would have absolutely nothing to do with him up close. We think that he might have reminded her of Santa, of whom she is not a fan. Emily and Ariana also got a little bit of cousin hang out time. We stopped by Krispy Kreme donuts on the way home to pick up a dozen donuts for good grades and then we had Wendy’s for lunch.
In the afternoon we went to the Salt Lake Library to do Jackson family pictures because this was the first time in 2.5 years that everyone was together and we added two members to the family during that time. We were hoping to take pictures outside, but after one set up we decided it was WAY TOO COLD and moved indoors. It took awhile because Andrew and I set up the shot on the tripod, then ran to the group, and Andrew’s cousin snapped away so we didn’t have to use the remote, and then we came back to check and set up. It was fun and we got some that turned out with everyone looking, a huge plus with a group of twelve.
December 30. Andrew went to the dentist in the morning. We ran errands in the afternoon with Andrew’s mom to a bunch of random places (like the post office) and decided to make hummus but we couldn’t find tahini at Walmart. When we got home Andrew took Mindy to an asian food store to locate the key ingredient. That evening all of the siblings went to see Into the Woods at the movie theater and Andrew and I stayed home to babysit and watch the 100 Step Journey, which is a new favorite of ours now.
December 31. Andrew dropped me off at my friend’s, Andrea T, on the way back to the dentist. We enjoyed a few hours of chatting in person and having Emily and her two children play/share space with each other. We gave Emily a bath that night and she screamed during the entire event in great distress, which is becoming a new normal for her. All of the kids gathered for dinner together (homemade hamburgers and sweet potato fries) while Andrew’s parents when to their annual New Years Eve’s party. We all had various plans for the night, but most of them got canceled and everyone was in bed before midnight.
January 1. We hung out in the morning at home; Emily discovered Ariana’s mat and loved looking in the mirror. She loves talking to herself and laughing at the jokes or funny things she does in the mirror. We went to the Museum of Natural Curiosity at Thanksgiving Point with all the Jacksons as another Christmas present. It was incredible! We loved the water and motion exhibits the most, all of it was really impressive. Emily started acting really tired and sluggish partway through and it turned out she was getting sick. She had a fever by the time we got home and just laid on me/snuggled until she went to bed.
January 2. Emily was feeling sick so we had a slow day. We put together a puzzle with Andrew’ family and ate puppy chow and chex golden grahm treat. Emily sat in the stroller for at least 2 hours while we pushed her around the kitchen – proof she was not feeling great. Her fever was high enough that we started alternating between tylenol and ibuprofen. We watched Star Trek (2008 movie) as a family that evening and loved it. A good introduction into the trekkie world.
January 3. We went to IKEA with Andrew’s mom for a couple of hours. It was quite the experience and was so fun. We really wanted to get a small table for Emily, but it was 3/4″ too big to fit in our suitcase. We got a kid’s meal and tried a cinnamon roll. We also got plastic cups, plates, and bowls so Emily could use them instead of tupperware containers.
January 4. We had church at one. A slower day.
January 5. Andrew, Emily and I went down to Provo in the morning. We spent the day with my grandma and Kalin. Emily and Kalin played all day together and had a great time. We also had a mini Christmas and opened presents together. That evening we went to dinner at Smashburger with Andrew’s old roommates and their wives/fiances. It was fun to meet and catch up with them until Emily fell and cut her upper lip. It is her most common injury and I’m getting used to the massive amount of bleeding and swelling that occurs from mouth wounds. We watched Saving Mr. Banks after Emily went to bed and I was surprised at how sobering it was.
January 6. We went to BYU campus at 11 and spent an hour talking with our professors. We then met my old roommate, Michelle, and her boyfriend Steven for a quick chat. We went home so Emily could take a nap and then came right back to campus so I could see Eliza and Andrew could talk to Brian. We also had chocolate covered cinnamon bears and let Emily choose her first BYU T-shirt. We visited with my Aunt Angela for about an hour on campus, and then headed over to Jamie’s (roommate from Jerusalem) new home to see her for the first time since before her mission and meet her new husband. Emily LOVED being in their home and playing with the play dough containers that were conveniently located for her discovery.
Emily loves her belly button. She usually has her onsies unsnapped so that she has access to her belly button at all times. It is very important.
January 7. Andrew, Emily and I went to our friend’s home that we both worked with at IT Training. Emily played with her little boy for about an hour while we caught up on each others lives. We spent the majority of the day at my grandma’s home and Emily played more with Kalin. I went and saw my friend Faith for a little bit in the evening. We picked up some pizza and had a family dinner with my extended family, which is always a highlight for me.
January 8. We had a slow morning, packed up, and watched the Sarotov Approach Fireside with my grandma. We ran up to see my friend Jenny during her lunch break, and then went back to Salt Lake to Andrew’s family. Kalin came to say goodbye in the morning. Emily saw me putting away the ice cream scoop and was determined to eat her oatmeal with it.
January 9. We spent the day packing and getting ready to head back home. Andrew discovered that we left his suit in Provo at my grandma’s and so he drove down to pick it up during Emily’s nap. We had a quiet evening and said most of our good-byes. My grandma had an extra doll that Emily fell in love with (it has a belly button too). Emily has been including this baby into most of her adventures. She is often walking around patting its back, like she saw everyone doing with Ariana.
January 10. We got up at 5:30am, left for the airport at 6:45 and flew home without any complications. We landed 25 minutes early and waited an hour for the shuttle back to the hotel to pick up our car. We discovered there was an IKEA 10 minutes away from the hotel so we went and bought the table and chairs for Emily that wouldn’t fit in our suitcase. It was a great break from traveling before we drove 2.5 hours home to Indiana.