A Weekend in Chicago: Travel Video


Last Saturday we drove 13 hours in the car with R to Illinois for a family weekend to celebrate my grandpa turning 80. We stayed overnight at my grandparents' house, and in the morning we drove into Chicago with my immediate family and extended family.

We went to a Cubs game, ate pizza, saw the bean, and walked over 22,200 steps just on Monday alone. Jordan, R, and I flew home Monday night. We partied hard, and we still haven't recovered, but we did it! R is a traveling rockstar, and I honestly cannot believe all the things we've done with her during her first year of life.

Once again, we had a rough traveling experience coming home. You may remember what happened to us coming home from Virginia in March. Our flight was cancelled, and we had to stay overnight and take an early flight the next morning. Annoying for adults, but when you add a baby to the mix it's SO FUN. It's just how I wanted to spend a day of paid time off. Read my sarcasm.

Well, friends, learn from our mistake and never book the last flight of the day. Our flight home from Chicago got, wait for it, cancelled. Mechanical malfunction or some other nonsense. Long story short, after weighing our options we decided to have American rebook us on an 8:30 pm flight to Dallas. We could stay at my parents' house and fly to OKC in the morning. Not my favorite but acceptable. But THEN, the 8:30 flight got delayed and delayed and delayed again and didn't leave Chicago until after 11:00. R decided sleeping wasn't as fun as crawling around the airport terminal making friends, so Jordan and I took turns chasing her around for hours.

We arrived in Dallas around 2 in the morning. We were the only flight and still had to wait over a half hour to get our bags,even though we didn't actually check anything, but when they gate checked the car seat and our suitcase they decided to put it through baggage claim. By the time we got to my parents' house it was after 3 in the morning. We got up at 6 so my sister could drive us back to the airport for our 8 am flight.

What I'm saying is, I was extremely well rested.

I practically kissed the Oklahoma ground and swore never to leave again. Or, at least never book the last flight of the day because only terrible things happen when you do that. BUT WE MADE IT. And I have another story for the blog. So there's that.

In related but not as terrible news, Jordan and I bought a video recorder as a joint birthday gift, and I took it for a spin in Chicago. I filmed a bunch and used iMovie to put it all together. I think making videos is my lost calling, because it is so fun to make these even though I stay up way too late working on them. The video should be embedded below, but if it's not you can click here to watch it on YouTube. Hope you enjoy! All in all it was a fun weekend with family, and we certainly packed in as much as we could in just two days.

p.s. If you are interested in how we budget for travel, click here.

Recently Reading



I finally have read enough books to do another review roundup! I love reading book review posts, although lately I feel like I haven’t been agreeing with a lot of the books that everyone loves. I sometimes think my job as an editor puts me at a disadvantage, because I’m pretty picky when it comes to books. It’s often hard for me to set aside my editor brain and not critique the characters or dialogue or plot. But I suppose that’s the beauty of having our own opinions. Below are reviews of my recent reads. If you have read any of these, I would love to know if you agree or disagree with me!

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
5 stars

After being grumpy about Big Little Lies, a few people recommended What Alice Forgot, and I’m very glad I gave Liane Moriarty another chance. I loved this book! It was a quick read that was well written and made me think about my own life and marriage and how I would feel about myself in ten years and where I want to be.

Prayer: Does it Make Any Difference? by Philip Yancy
4.5 stars

I’ve mentioned this book a few times already on the blog. I have been reading this slowly over the past 3-4 months, and it is great. The author dives into answering some of the basic questions we have about prayer in a very real, easy-to-understand way that I appreciate. It’s changed the way I think about prayer in my own life.

This Is Your Brain on Sports by L. Jon Wertheim and Sam Sommers
4 stars

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books, so it's not one I would normally pick for myself, but I thought I would give it a try. It is nonfiction, and each chapter focuses on a different aspect of sports such as why we like to root for the underdog, whether or not the quarterback really is the “prettiest” guy on the team, and why we get so upset after our team loses. 

It was a quick read and easy to digest. Some of the chapters were more interesting than others, but overall I liked it. It came out within the last year, so all the facts, stats, and references are up to date. I don't know if it will be quite as interesting in a few years when everything is more dated, but for right now it worked. I would consider myself a casual sports fan, and I had heard of almost all the stories and references in this book.

*If you would like to read this book, I will send you my copy for free! Just comment saying you want it, and if there are multiple people I will randomly choose someone and mail it to you!

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
4 stars

This book features a grumpy old man named Ove who is depressed after his wife dies and makes plans to kill himself. However, his attempts keep getting foiled by the family next door—a husband, pregnant wife, and their toddler. It sounds kind of morbid, but I thought it was well written and light while touching on some serious subjects. I enjoyed the story and the characters a lot and think this book would be a great plane/vacation read or just something fun to read before bed.

I have two main complaints and one minor complaint: 1. The main character, Ove, is 59, but I would have found it more believable if he were at least ten years older, possibly even in his 80s. Complaint #2: way too many similes. The writing is unique and creative, but there were too many comparisons to paint a picture of the scene that I found it overwhelming at times. Minor complaint: Sometimes it felt repetitive. I would start a chapter and think, wait, did I already read about this? The answer is yes, I did, but the author is telling us again in a different way, which was slightly annoying.

Isaac’s Storm by Erik Larson
3.5 stars

This is a nonfiction account of the Galveston hurricane of 1900. As in Larson’s other books, I sometimes feel like there is a bit too much information, but overall I enjoyed this book. I had little knowledge of the Galveston hurricane before this, and it was interesting to read about. 

My main critique is probably that I didn't feel like Isaac was a very big player in the book at all, especially considering the title. But perhaps that is the point. His role in warning people about the storm was built up over time, even by Isaac himself, and Larson's findings tell us that he was just as unaware as everyone else. As far as nonfiction writers go, Erik Larson is one of my favorites. He makes these stories come to life, and his list of sources and careful details are evidence of hours and hours of research.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
3.5 stars

Almost everyone I know absolutely loved this book, but I'm conflicted about how I feel about it. It's well written and kept me up at night reading way later than I would normally be awake, so that's obviously saying something. I have never read a book specifically from the point of view of characters living in Occupied France during WWII, so that was interesting (and horrifying, because the conditions were awful).

I can't put my finger on exactly why I didn’t love it, but there was something that kept me from totally losing myself in this book like I did in, say, All the Light We Cannot See or a few others I've read that are set in this time period. I felt like the story was a little too rushed, and some things I had a hard time totally believing. I did tear up a bit reading the last couple of pages. Overall I did like the book, but I didn’t love it.

The Dark Ferret Society by Emily Humphreys
2.5 stars

This was a fun book by debut author Emily Humpherys. Full disclosure, Emily and I are friends from college! I bought this book to support her writing career and to check out the story she’s been working on. It is such a huge accomplishment to write a book, and I am excited for her! The main characters are high schoolers who are part of a secret society that pulls pranks at school. The characters and plot are creative and this would be a good book to take on vacation or if you needed an easy read between denser novels. I think this would be especially fun for a younger audience. 

I did notice some grammatical errors throughout, and I found it hard to suspend disbelief during some of the scenes with either the way the characters were acting or the plot itself. However, overall I liked the message of the story and thought she did a good job leaving the ending open for a sequel while still giving this book a nice conclusion. She is working on book #2 in this series right now!

*If you would like to read this book, I will send you my copy for free! Just comment saying you want it, and if there are multiple people I will randomly choose someone and mail it to you!

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen
2.5 stars

I have never read anything by this author before. This book was perfect for what I needed it to be: a good road-trip read, quick and easy but enjoyable. The story itself was kind of strange, and normally I would probably have more of an issue with some of the way plot points were fleshed out. Or, I guess I should say how they weren't fleshed out. There was a mystery, but it wasn't the focus of the story, and it was "solved" rather quickly. I also didn't feel like the way the characters acted was completely believable. But, again, this was a great vacation book and it kept me entertained on our recent 13-hr drive to Chicago. 

If you want something with depth, this isn't the book for you. If you want a quick read with an interesting setting and a plot that you will probably be able to guess before it's over, you might enjoy this one.

p.s. Want more book reviews? Michelle and Kristen have great ones!
p.p.s. You might also like: Unpopular Book Opinions /  Read in 2016 part 1