Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Family Summer Vacation 2011 - Part 1

Most everyone knows that Christos is a soccer player and fan. It is his oldest love. Older than cars and lawn care. So when we learned that the English premier league, Manchester United would be playing the Chicago Fire, we decided to take a family trip there to see the game. This vacation quickly became so much more than that. The vacation was divided into two parts, so I'm going to write it that way.

On Friday, July 22nd we packed the Subie and headed southeast towards northern Indiana where my dear friend Molly and her family live. It was a long 8 hours, but we only stopped 2 times and CT handled it better than expected.

When we arrived, we were presented with a delicious home cooked meal made by Sean (Molly's husband). Flank steak with a rice/kale/garlic dish and zucchini cakes. Most of the meal was made with ingredients grown from their garden. It was the best meal we had the entire trip. So Good!

The kids made friends quickly and explored their overflowing toy room. I don't think CT has ever seen so many toys.

After a storm-filled night, we woke up to humidity. We decided to venture out to the local farmers market. After working up a sweat and appetite at the playground, we headed to their favorite hot dog joint for lunch. The highlight - Dum Dums for dessert. A major bonus for three nut allergy kids. (actually only 2 because Nora tested negative this year.)

We attempted to sneak in a nap before heading to the city to go to the game, but CT was too excited to have live-in playmates. So we decided to hit the road early in hopes that he would sleep in the car before we got to Soldier field. We left at 2:30 thinking we'd have time to spare before the 4:00 game.

HA!! - Chicago laughs at us Minn-snow-tans. "You plan poorly, you fools."

"You're a cool city Chi-town, but I want my money back."

We did not make it to the field by 4:00. It wasn't until 4:45 that we passed the field after sitting in traffic for an hour and a half. Passing the field meant that we were failing miserably at finding a parking spot. We finally parked downtown and high tailed it for a half hour in the 90 degree heat to the field. We made it to our seats at 5:30; well into the second half. I was not happy. But we were there and tried to make the most of the moments we had watching one of the best soccer teams in the world.

The only things that made the adventure positive were an air conditioned car, a kid who napped over an hour and seeing Manchester United score 3 goals in the final 30 minutes of the game.

Proof that we were really there.

After the game we were herded out of the stadium with the other 61,000 (a record for the new Soldier Field) smelly, sweaty and deodorant free fans.

We hiked to Buckingham fountains with Christos' friend, Kyle and his friend, Jared who had gotten tickets with us and made it to the field in time to actually enjoy the game. We briefly met up with our neighbor's, the Silver's, who were also vacationing in Chicago that weekend.

Since we spent so long trying to get into town, we decided to eat dinner there. We failed miserably at that too and ended up cooling off in Potbelly to have a quick bite to eat.

What an adventure. We did it together and that's all that matters.

Once we arrived 'home', the kids were in bed. Molly was half in the bag so we decided to join the fun and crack open a growler Sean had been saving. I can't remember what it was, but it went down well. It was fun hanging out, having some adult time and spending time with Molly, one of my dearest oldest friends.

The next morning we chilled out with Molly, Sean and the kids. It was raining outside so they kids played while we all chatted and tried to figure out what to do with the day.

(You're welcome, Mols.)

Since we were heading north for the second leg of our journey, Sean suggested a pizza place in the city for lunch. Coalfire made delicious fresh ingredient pizza. The staff was very nice and accommodating for our 3 rambunctious kids. It was a great way to end our stay with them.


  1. that pizza looks amazing! What a lovely trip :)

    I used to live in England and am very familiar with Man U. :)

  2. Looks like a good time! And looks like CT had fun on his big adventure :) That pizza DOES look good!

  3. You rock, getting this post done so quickly!! I am SO overly grateful for the time we got to spend together. All the little "mini-visits" just don't give us the chance to "play" like we got to do this time. I love all the pictures, yes...even the morning cuddle shot! It turned out really great!!

  4. Looks like you all had a fun visit! Miss you guys...I wish we all lived closer so we could all play together! :)
    angie :)

  5. Great pics :) What an adventure you had! And it looks like CT had lots of fun as well.