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Planes, Trains & Automobiles!

Posted Sep 17 2009 4:47pm
So anyone who watches Top Chef knows that the most recent season took place in Chicago. Being someone who loves to cook and used to run a restaurant, I love Top Chef. Megan really got into it with me this season too and even had her own favorite - Stephanie. I didn't have a favorite, but had voiced my opinion that I would rather Richard or Stephanie win over Lisa. At the end of the 2nd to last episode, Megan turned to me and said "I hope Stephanie wins Mom! If Lisa wins, I will just be done with life!" Thankfully, Stephanie DID win...and Megan did not have to be done with life. Katherine knew that Megan had taken a shine to Stephanie and found an interview in a local paper where Stephanie had suggested her favorite restaurants in the city. Tuesday morning, we went to Stephanie's favorite brunch spot, Violet, in Lakeview. It was super yummy!
Then we made our way to Oz Park. Megan loves the Wizard of Oz - so ever since I had visited Katherine a year and half ago when she lived in Lincoln Park, I had wanted to bring Megan here. We walked all around the park and sought out each statue.

Dorothy’s Playlot has a huge playground that Megan had fun on for almost and hour. And then we sat in the Emerald City Gardens and made daisy chains while enjoying all the beautiful flowers.
After Oz Park, we walked the 3 long blocks to Lincoln Park Zoo. This place rocked! And it was all free! We saw lions, tigers, leopards, polar bears, camels, giraffes, penguins, sea lions, monkeys, apes, antelopes and zebras...and we didn't even get to all the exhibits!

After the zoo, we headed back to Kate's to pack. Sadly it was time to start thinking about heading home. We thought we would throw everything in the suit cases and make one last quick trip back to the beach....but instead, we took our time, and Katherine introduced Megan to one of her favorite authors. Pride and Prejudice was on TV and the two of them snuggled on the couch while Katherine painstakingly explained the funny English talk, and pointed out all the "Pride" and "Prejudices" that kept Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy from one another. It was quite cute to sit back and watch.
Our flight home left at 8. Which meant we needed to get to O'Hare at the height of traffic. Katherine and I decided it would be best to take the El to the airport. Which actually suited me just fine - because it was another form of public transportation for Megan to experience! Katherine dropped us off at the Blue Line station a little after 5. We hugged and said our goodbyes - agreed not to cry - and went on our ways. 2 stops into our 8 stop train ride, Megan turned to me and said "I miss Kate already, Mom. I want to go back!"
Everything went smoothly until it was time for our plane to take off. We ended up being grounded on the tarmac for almost 4 hours due to a lighting storm! By the time we got into the air, we were so late, Orange County airport had shut down. So we were re-routed to LAX mid flight. (Which meant I couldn't let anyone know!) Thankfully Megan slept most of the flight. We landed in LA a little before 1AM. And then had to take a bus back to Orange County. Knowing there was no way Matt could leave to come pick us up, we then caught a taxi - making it home at 2:30 in the morning! I thought it a fitting ending to our Big City trip....I had wanted Megan to experience all the things we don't get to do very much around here. The trip home included a car, a train, a plane, a bus, and a taxi!
It was MORE than worth it, however. It was so good to see and be with my sister. We had so much fun together. And it was also so good to be with just Megan. I loved getting to listen to only her, do only what she wanted. Katherine - thank you for making our trip so FUN! For planning all the fun events, for taking the time off work, for making us feel at home, and for creating such great memories with Megan. I can't wait to bring the other kids when they turn 5...Great family tradition you suggested!
And that's the end of our trip! Time to move on to more Summer fun. Some pictures and stories about Wyatt or Molly maybe?? I think it's time!!
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