Some of you may have noticed that Naomi and I have been strangely absent from the world of ones and zeros lately . . . and any awaiting email replies, facebook responses and/or any other news from the Hanks clan in Chicago have our apologies. We are on day 6 of being without a computer right now, as it is feeling a little under the weather. I'm awaiting a CD from Utah that will (hopefully) fix the problem, but if not I'll have to ship the whole thing into the store I purchased it from to get it fixed. It is under warranty, but it is a hassle as that would be another 2-3 weeks without or beloved portal to the world!
I am able to access the internet from work (during my lunch break, of course), and this blog is one of the few internet locations my company doesn't block from employees (sorry facebook people!) so, rather than play backgammon with someone from Saudi Arabia, I suppose I can fill whoever reads this on our sweet weekend!
Naomi and I finally had the chance to make it into downtown Chicago on Thursday, the 3rd of July. We took the 45 minute train ride into downtown, not far from the Sears Tower. We were so close to the tower that we decided to go see it! (It'd been some 4 weeks since I was in China and toured a skyscraper, so I was feeling deprived!) The Sears tower was incredible, and it was nice to get a tour of a megastructure that was given in good ol' english!
Now, anytime you tour a major site like this, you have to pass through a security check. We found out very quickly what a devious little girl we have. Even though she passed right by all the big burly security guards with guns, the metal detectors and the like, she still managed to sneak a bomb onto the observation deck of the Sears tower. Dad was, however, able to save the day and disarm the WMD in the bathroom and Brooklyn received her first diaper change at 1,400 ft above the ground!
After leaving the Sears tower we wandered on down to Millennium park right next to lake Michigan. There was an event going on called the "Taste of Chicago" in which hundreds of restaurants set up booths in the park, and you, yes you, could enjoy a small sample of any restaurant's food the size of a sample at Sam's Club for a mere $10 a morsel! Luckily for us and our already strained pocketbook, we've got friends in high places! We met up with Karina and her Sister Jeannette right next to the big bean, and ate some excellent Giordano's Chicago style pizza. Karina and Jeannette are good friends of mine; Karina and I served as missionaries in the same area in New York City some 6 years ago now. Thanks to them, we got some sweet food, and had excellent seats for the fireworks show!
For some reason, Chicago does its main fireworks show on the 3rd, which I never could find a reason for. Regardless, the show was absolutely amazing, and easily the best I've ever seen! They launched the fireworks from a pier out into the lake, so the view was amazing! We even had our own personal soundtrack to the whole show, as our loving daughter decided she did NOT want to be there, and for the hour before the show and during the entire thing she screamed like a banshee, and was completely inconsolable. Naomi and took turns holding her and walking around the waterfront while she screamed in our ears, trying not to annoy the same people around us for more than a few seconds at a time! Karina, in her infinite charity took her for most of the actual fireworks show so that Naomi and I got an uninterrupted view of the awesome show. Thanks Karina!
After the show, we made the treck back to the train station where we battled thousands of people for elbow room on the streets, and later, the train! On the way back, we even had some excitement, as someone dropped a beer bottle on the road from their 4th or 5th story window that exploded some 10 feet in front of me. How it managed to not hit anyone I'll never know! At one point, Naomi saw a bunch of people running around a block away, and we found out from the news the next day that there was a gang fight and someone was shot and killed about a block away from where were at. Ahhh, another day in the big city!
We did finally get home around 12:40 or so, and Brooklyn slept a glorious 11 hours straight!
The actual 4th of July was a pretty lazy and relaxing day for Naomi and I. We put a bunch of blankets out on the deck and slept outside that night and looked at the star (correct: singular . . . we are in a major metropolitan area) and watched the few fireworks go off around the Schaumburg area. It was nice!
Oh, and just thought I'd mention the fact that for the whole weekend, the hottest it ever got was about 80 degrees! hehehe You'll notice in the pictures we're all wearing jackets! Ah yes, there's one thing I don't miss about Utah in the summertime (I heard it's broken 100 several times now!)