Chicago... Part 3... It's a WICKED story!

Friday, October 26, 2007
Wow... That's all I can say. What a night! It was amazing.

After leaving Ed Debevic's, miserably stuffed with a great burger and fries, we were ready to get all dolled up for our trip to see 'Wicked: The Musical' at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts/Oriental Theatre. Goodness, that's a mouthful!

Allison and I got dressed first and then turned all of our attention to our birthday girl. She wore a glittery blue dress that resembled the dress that Galinda wore in the play... Katie looked so beautiful! The dress was just a vision on her! We curled her hair and put a little glitter on her cheeks and arms. She just loved the attention!

After all that primping we were off to the theatre! Our cab driver got us there in record time and we had plenty of time to look around the awesome place.

Katie was amazed by the huge map of Oz that you see onstage before the show.

It wasn't long before the show began. Now for those of you who know Katie, this will probably be the most amazing thing you've ever heard, so brace yourselves! She was so enthralled by the show that she literally didn't move. There were no "I've gotta go potty" breaks or any wiggling around in her seat (or on the floor, or under the seat). She was AWESOME! We did go potty during intermission, but that was it! She asked a few questions during some parts of the play, but the questions were minimal. I couldn't believe it! She loved the play, and didn't want to miss even a minute. I don't know if it was the big music, the big set, the big Time Dragon, or what, but it worked! I was so proud of her, and now I won't hesitate to take her to another big show.

After the play we walked back to Michigan Avenue. The night was beautiful and the walk wasn't bad at all. We stopped at the Cheesecake Factory for a midnight snack, but we were all so tired that we didn't eat much. Our waiter was a sweetheart, and he reminded me SO much of my cousin Butch who passed away a few years ago. I was blown away. Allison left him a big tip. I think he reminded her of Butch, too. It was a little sad, but a little cool, too.

We weren't far from the hotel, so we went on in and almost straight to bed. I think Allison was asleep before her head hit the pillow good, and Katie almost passed out as soon as we walked in the door. It was a LONG day for a little girl! We were up at 6am to catch our flight, and didn't get back to the hotel until after midnight! An eighteen hour day is hard for everyone, but we sure had fun!

Chicago... Part 2... Ed Debevic's

OK, a little more about our trip to the Windy City. We went to lunch at Ed Debevic's the day we arrived, and let me tell you, it was a hoot! Ed's is a family oriented burger place, where you can eat good burgers, just like in 1000's of restaurants in the US. But Ed's is unique, to say the least: their waiters are rude, and people like it! In fact, that's why people go there, to have waiters throwing menus and straws at them and patronise them. Ed's rules are straightforward: "If you like what you're eatin', order more. If you don't ­ there's the Door." and "Eat and get out".

When we first walked in we got the "wadda you want" service. Katie wasn't too sure about the place at all. Our waiter, Biscuits, started out by saying, "Table for two weird women and one baby". Boy, that really got Katie riled up! Biscuits picked on her throughout the whole meal. She kept telling him (and everyone else) it was her birthday, but got her feelings hurt when one of the waiters walked by and yelled "SO WHAT! NOBODY CARES!". She actually hid under the table and cried a little over that one. I felt a little sorry for her, but they eventually made it up to her.

Right before we got finished with lunch Biscuits came back to our table to sing happy birthday to Katie. He yelled at everyone in the restaurant and sang "Happy birthday, little bay-bee" (which really made Katie mad!) and gave her one of Ed's famous 'world's smallest sundaes'. It was basically a fudge sundae in a shot glass sized bowl, but she loved it! I think I ended up eating most of the ice cream, but Katie liked the attention, anyway. After lunch we caught the bus back to Michigan Avenue and went to our hotel to get ready for our big night at the theatre.

Chicago! Chicago! That toddlin' town!

Monday, October 22, 2007
WOW! We finally got to make our trip to Chicago! It was GREAT! We had a ball... Katie was, for the most part, pretty good, and things just seemed to go easily for us. Here's what our weekend looked like.

October 12, 2007
6:00 AM

We had to roll out of bed early to get ready to leave. Our flight was out of Memphis instead of Little Rock, so we had a two hour drive to the airport. David was home, so he was able to help me get things moving. Katie didn't offer much of a fuss about getting out of bed. I think she was too excited! David made a pan of cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and that served as Katie's birthday cake. He even took a candle and bent it to make a "7". Isn't that creative?

Allison arrived at our house around 7:10AM and we were off! Our plane was supposed to depart Memphis at 10:46AM, so we were running right on time. We did have to stop in Wynne at Wal-Mart for a potty break (and candy to eat on the plane, for me, not Katie!), but we made it to the airport in plenty of time. The parking was horrendous, but we did finally find a spot after accidentally leaving the parking garage and having to re-enter. I'm sure the parking attendants were snickering at us, but we were able to follow their directions to lane FOE (for those of you who don't speak the Memphian dialect, that means 'four') and get to the underground garage. We weren't checking bags, so after another potty break (that coffee will kill you!) we went through security and were at our gate in no time. The plane ride was uneventful, and soon we were in the Windy City!

The train ride to downtown took us FOREVER! They were working on the tracks, so there were several slow zones. Katie was amazed that you could look right into the windows of the apartments beside the El. She's never really seen city life up close, so I guess it really did look strange. We got off the Blue Line from O'Hare and transferred to the Red Line train. To get to the Red Line, you have to walk through a tunnel to another station. Katie was amazed by the number of people in the tunnel, and also by the fact that there were so many black people there. Let me qualify what I'm saying. Katie is in NO way prejudiced, but she's been so sheltered! The little town we live in isn't very diverse, and she's not been very many places that are culturally mixed. I was glad that she was seeing life first hand. It's about time!

By about 3pm we had managed to make it to our hotel. We were checked in and unpacked by about 4pm, and then we were off for lunch at Ed Debevic's.

I will write more on this later, but for now I MUST get some sleep! Sweet dreams!

Katie turns seven today!

Friday, October 12, 2007
Seven years ago, I experienced a miracle. I held a beautiful, brand new baby girl. A girl who looked at us with eyes wise beyond her years.

Her hair wasn't blonde yet, heck, she didn't even have any hair! Her eyes weren't gray, they were blue, and she didn't have any of her cute little freckles, her skin was golden yellow from jaundice! I didn't care. She was my baby girl, and to me she was perfect.

Katie is still my little miracle. She sees things about people and this world that most people never slow down enough to recognize. Some of the things she says really open my eyes. She always looks for the good things about every new person she meets, and with Katie's personality, we meet LOTS of new people!

She is painfully honest, and can't tell a lie (and get away with it) to save her life. There is not a sneaky bone in her body. She is outgoing, loyal, friendly and enjoyable. She is highly rambunctious, a little wild, a tad melancholy and very loving. She seeks approval from everyone, and being rejected by anyone just kills her. She is always a champion for the underdog, and I love that.

Our little girl grows bigger every day, but I will always think of her as that tiny miracle that God sent to save me. Sometimes she drives me crazy, and sometimes I am overwhelmed with how much I love her. She is the life force that keeps me going when I am too tired to move, and the one person who can wear me out more than anyone else. She'll always be unique, and I'll always love her more than life.

This sucks!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007
As I sit here and type this blog, I am steadily blowing my nose and fighting a headache. It's weird, every single person that I have talked to who attended the Arkansas vs. Tennesee Chattanooga game at War Memorial Stadium last Saturday is sick. Isn't that weird? I mean EVERY person! Maybe they had some sort of irritant on the grass, or maybe it's a new form of chemical warfare. Extreme, yes, but also scary.

It seems like the world is working against me having a great time on our Chicago trip. Dang it! I just want this headache to GO AWAY!