I'm sure you have all seen the famous "American Gothic" painting in some form or another through the years. The picture of the man with the pitchfork and the woman in front of an old farmhouse. But have you ever seen them in GIGANTIC statue form? Matt and I ran across this exhibit one day as we were walking down Michigan Avenue. As a point of reference, that is me standing next to the suitcase in the second picture. I'm serious when I say it is gigantic!
A few weeks ago, Matt and I, along with several of Matt's classmates, headed down to Chinatown for the Chinese New Year celebration parade. Unfortunately, the parade was somewhat disappointing. Although there were a few Chinese Dragons that were worth seeing in the parade, the rest of the parade was not spectacular. However, following the parade, we had some wonderful Chinese food at one of the top restaurants in Chinatown which made up for the parade!! And, we did manage a few snapshots of some of the highlights of the day. Overall, the Chinese New Year celebration was a fun experience!
Matt and I had a wonderful Valentine's Day. Since Matt loves planning surprises, he decided to schedule a full day of fun and I had no idea what we were going to do!
The day began with a manicure and pedicure at our local nail salon (this was just for me, Matt didn't participate...although he has had a pedicure before!)
Then we were off to a late lunch at Cheesecake Factory (courtesy of a gift card from my parents that we got for Christmas!) We love to split the Crusted Chicken Romano...it is amazing & way too much food for 1 person!
We then took a lovely stroll down Michigan Avenue (to walk off our lunch), and ended up in Millenium Park where we spent some time ice skating...
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Ice skating was tons of fun, and as you can see from the picture above (bottom row, middle), I am well on my way to the Olympic Winter Games! We did manage to avoid falling the whole time we were skating! After we finished skating, we took a bus back up Michigan Avenue to the Hancock Building. One of Chicago's best-kept secrets is the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor of the Hancock Building. You can pay $15 to go to the 97th floor of the building to the Observation Deck and only see a magnificent view of the city. Or...you can spend the same $15, go to the 96th floor to the Signature Lounge, get appetizers and/or desserts, and get the same spectacular view! The first picture is the view from our table. The 2nd picture is the amazing view from the women's bathroom window (sorry, it's a little blurry)!
After a full day of fun, we headed back to the apartment where I had another surprise waiting!
What a wonderful way to spend Valentine's Day in Chicago! After all the surprises and fun that Matt planned, I felt a little guilty that all I got him was a book. But at least he was excited about the book! :) I hope you all got to spend Valentine's Day with someone you love.
I realized yesterday that I've taken a lot of pictures, but haven't posted any lately. So...here is the first of a few posts of things Matt and I have been doing lately. A couple weeks ago, we decided to go to the Museum of Science and Industry. It's on the south side of Chicago, and took us about an hour to get to it on the Bus. It was a Saturday and the last day that the museum was going to be free, so it was VERY crowded. Although we had heard many great things about the museum, we weren't extremely impressed. Several of the interactive exhibits were broken, and some of the exhibits were closed. But, in spite of that, there were a few interesting finds in the museum.
First, we got to see the German Submarine U-505, which was captured during World War II. It's capture was kept secret until the war was over, so that the Germans wouldn't change their war strategy. Unfortunately, we weren't able to go on board the ship (the tickets were sold out), but it was interesting reading about the brave men who worked for months to capture this German Sub.
We also saw the train exhibit in the museum, which was pretty interesting. They had a huge model of the city of Chicago, complete with an operating "El" train (Chicago's rail system). It was really fun to watch the trains move around the track, and to see the intricate details in the model of Chicago's skyline.
There was also a car exhibit that had many cars from different eras, in addition to race cars from the early 1900's to race cars of the "future". Below, you can see an 1896 Benz, a race car from 1911, and a Solar Powered race car.
Ok, so for those of you who don't know, I am a HUGE fan of the Wizard of Oz! Seriously, when I was little I watched it all the time! In fact, I watched it so much that my parents would turn on the movie, put it on mute, and I would say all the lines and sing all the songs. I would even sing the "Munchkin Land" song, complete with funny voice and dance. Well, this year for Christmas, my parents got me tickets to see Wicked! In case you don't know, Wicked is the story of the Witches of Oz. It's about the Wicked Witch of the West, and Glinda the Good Witch. I was SO EXCITED to go see the musical. Not only do I love the Wizard of Oz, but I love musicals too! The tickets were for the last evening performance of Wicked in Chicago. It has been playing here for 3 years. So, Matt and I got dressed up (I got to wear my bridesmaid dress from Jen's wedding again!), went out for a nice dinner, and then headed off to the Oriental Theater for the musical. When we got there, we were amazed by the beautiful architecture inside the theater. But the best was yet to come. The show started with a huge mechanical dragon that moved above the stage, and continued with beautiful scenery, amazing costumes, and an incredible performance all around. Even Matt watched intently, and he generally doesn't even like musicals! The entire production was magical, and made me feel like a kid again as I sat there, eager to learn the story of these witches, and to see how it all fit together with the Wizard of Oz. And the two stories fit together seamlessly. Wow! It was so amazing! I wish each of you could have been there to see this amazing show. Sadly, it is no longer playing in Chicago. But if you ever have a chance to see it, you should definitely take the opportunity! We weren't allowed to take pictures inside the theater, or during the show, but here are a couple we took outside.
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P.S. Please note, you can tell in the picture of me by myself that I am not wearing anything on my legs. Let me just say, this was NOT a good idea! Forgetting that I live in Chicago, and that the wind chill was -20 that night, I got ready and rushed out the door, without thought of putting on hose. Now, in Alabama, or even Oklahoma on a cold night, this would not be a problem. Rush out of the house, into the car, turn on the heater, and you're fine. Not so much in Chicago. I did rush out of the building into a taxi on the way to dinner. However, the taxi dropped us at the wrong restaraunt, so we had to walk a block outside to the right one. My legs were cold, but it was bearable. However, when we left dinner, we had to walk 4 blocks (into the wind) to the theater. By the time we got there, I honestly could not feel my toes and everytime I took a step, it felt like needles were stabbing all over my legs. By the time we got into the theater, it was all I could do to keep from crying. We got to our seats, and I wrapped Matt's coat around my legs and put my gloves on my feet (seriously). About 10 minutes later, the feeling came back to my toes. Lesson learned.
I realized today that many things in life are just a matter of perspective. For example, we were at church this morning and it was "praise time." (Side note, our church is really small...maybe 70 people. So, on Sunday mornings we have a time for people to say their prayer requests, or things they are thankful for if they want to, and then we have a prayer.) Anyway, 2 people gave thanks for the "really warm weather" we were having today...it was 30 degrees outside at church time this morning. Yes, they were thankful for 30 degrees. Also, yesterday when Matt and I went outside to head to the museum (a post with pics of that trip to come), I commented to Matt what a nice day it was and how glad I was that it had warmed up. Matt agreed. It was 31 degrees. Now, I must admit that I never thought I would be thankful for 30 degree weather, and certainly never imagined that I would consider it to be "warm weather," but I guess it's just a matter of perspective. Living in Alabama, I would put on warm clothes and gloves to go outside if it got down into the 40's. However, after a few weeks of weather in the 0's and wind chills in the negatives, 30 degrees seems like a wonderful temperature, and I even took off my gloves and hat because I was hot! Hope you have a wonderful, warm week, whatever temperature that may be!