Friday, October 1, 2010


Wow... what a city and what a wonderful time we had. I was pleasantly surprised at how clean and breath-takingly beautiful the windy city is. It was less crowded than NYC with a tad bit slower pace, the shopping was more reasonable, the city was pristine with flowers around every bend and the architecture was absolutely incredible. In comparison, we did miss the street vendors selling items and food on the street corners and the energy of NYC is a bit different - it's a little more seductive and spirited in the big apple, however, we all really fell in love with a big way.

Our main reason for going to Chicago was to speak on behalf of St Jude. A true honor and we are so fortunate to be able to share our story about what this hospital means to us and to Ellie and her quality of life. We did this Monday night at a dinner for Kmart managers and executives. The dinner was held in the Sears Holding complex in Hoffman Estates, IL. What an impressive place. I don't know if you were aware that Sears merged with the Kmart corporation several years ago (... you probably did know that and I am the only one living under a rock that had no clue.) Kmart is a huge player in the upcoming Thanks and Giving campaign for St. Jude. They raised the most money last year out of all the campaign sponsors and this year they were formally recognized as St. Jude's corporate partner for 2010. Last year they raised close to 7 million dollars in the 2 month time frame of Thanks and Giving. Isn't that amazing! Like I said, it was a privilege to share Ellie's story. Tony Thomas (founder Danny's son) spoke before us and he really gave Ellie such a build up calling her a superstar and playing her commercial with Jennifer Aniston. The best part was being able to tell them all that she just celebrated her 8th birthday and is cancer free. Wonderful words to say over and over again!

Tony Thomas
Ellie and Tony. He looks a lot like his dad.

Steve and I have already talked about going back to Chicago for another long weekend sometime in the Spring. We learned that 80 inches of snow is normal for the Windy City in the winter months so I don't think we will go in the immediate future. It was also quite the romantic city with many cool hotels, clubs and restaurants. A nice getaway without the girls would be fabulous. I think Emma may kill us though because she was really loving all the shopping in Chicago. That girl has fashion in her blood and loves to window shop. We did treat her to her first leather coat on this trip. (I think we were just feeding the monster though.) Ellie loved the American Girl Doll Store and brought one of her dolls with her for a makeover. We have now been to the American Girl Doll stores in Chicago, NYC and LA. Mall of America in MN is next on the list. My girls are just like me with their love for being in a big city. It was really a wonderful time! Here are my favorite photos. You can check them all out by going to the photo link on the right side of the blog.

The view from 94 floors up at the John Hancock Towers
Lake Shore Drive
Lake Shore Drive & Lake Michigan. Beautiful!

Favorite Photo
This is my favorite photo from our trip. How I love my girls!

Stage Ave - Chicago
Stage Avenue = lots of shopping

Downtown Chicago
Michigan Avenue.... beautiful church in the background. Look how windy it was...

Love the architecture
The architecture was incredible.

Some window art
Art Studio downtown

catwalk pose
I was taking a photo of the flowers and noticed Ellie's pose afterward. cute!

Heshey Store
Emma in the Hershey Store

W Hotel Chicago
Our hotel lobby... 2 disco balls. That's how we roll.

A segway tour - what a great way to see the city

Me & the Mister
photo by Emma

Ellie & Kit
Ellie beaming at the American Girl Doll Store

Giordono's Pizza
Giordono's deep dish. :)

Family of four
In our hotel lobby right before heading to the airport to come home.