Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Babymoon - Chicago 2017 - HAMILTON

I know that my baby is already here, and that I'm a tad bit behind in posting about our babymoon, but it was such a fun trip, I want to have a little document of it.

Before I can get to the babymoon though, we have to rewind a little to Christmas. As usual, the holidays were amazing. We were able to spend ample time with both sides of the family, we enjoyed lots of fun Christmas activities, spoiled Izzy rotten, sang in lots of concerts, and celebrated our Savior. Christmas morning was spent with the McHardys, and it was as enjoyable as ever, opening gifts and enjoying the delicious traditional breakfast. I knew there was an extra special present coming from Alex. I didn't know what it was, but he was so excited to give it to me, and made me open it very very last. He handed me a tiny red foil gift bag that was stuffed full of folded papers. Immediately, I figured it was tickets, or reservations somewhere, but I was in disbelief when I unfolded them and saw a plane ticket to Chicago! I opened the next paper, and it was our hotel reservations, and lastly I opened the paper and saw a poster for Hamilton. He had bought me tickets to Hamilton. I obviously cried and honestly couldn't believe it. But it was all true, we had a trip planned for the 3rd week of January. Alex had even called my OB to ask if it was okay for me to travel that late in my pregnancy (I would be 33 weeks when we flew) and planned with my parents to watch Izzy while we were gone. He definitely topped himself this year in the gift department. Good luck ever getting me a gift better than this one, hun.

As if I could become any more obsessed with the musical, I spent the next few weeks before our trip listening to the Hamilton soundtrack on repeat (Izzy may or may not have a large number of the songs memorized...) and watching ALL of the Lin Manuel Miranda interviews on YouTube.

Side Note - if you haven't heard of this musical, please go look it up, listen to the whole album, then listen to it again, and I guarantee that you will love it!

We flew to Chicago on a Thursday afternoon, and with the time difference got into ChiTown around dinner time. We hopped on a train into the city and had a short walk to our hotel. It was a super memorable walk though because Trump was sworn into office that morning, and the residents of Chicago were not too happy about it. There were some loud, but peaceful, protests going on, and they were marching down the Millenial Mile, all the way to Trump Tower. And lo and behold, our hotel was directly across the street from Trumps hotel, so we basically walked in the protest all the way to drop our bags off. I loved reading everyones signs and seeing how passionate everyone was. It was definitely more fun that we anticipated having on the way to our hotel!

We immediately needed deep dish pizza and found the closest Giordano's and practically ran there (as close as you can get to running while being 33 weeks pregnant!). We ordered our pizza right when we walked in since it talked 45-60 minutes to bake, but enjoyed endless sodas and a delicious cheesy bread appetizer. The pizza is just so good, and the company wasn't bad either, and it was the best way to spend the first night of our babymoon "in the greatest city in the world". (<- Hamilton reference.)

The next morning I was so excited to go eat. Haha, basically the reason for going back to chicago besides Hamilton, was the food. There is just so many amazing places to eat and when you're pregnant, eating is your MO. We got ready, and checked the weather and were shocked to learn that it was going to be GORGEOUS sunny 60 degree day, and was going to actually be warmer that back in Mesa AZ! So crazy! We left our jackets at the hotel and enjoyed the most beautiful day in the city. We started out at Wildberry! Let me tell you, if you find yourself anywhere near Chicago, you absolutely must eat here! The wait is long but it is 1000% worth it. I ordered the eggs benedict and I think to date, it's the best meal I've ever eaten. Alex got a chorizo scramble and their famous Wildberry pancakes, and they did not disappoint. After breakfast we strolled through Millenial Park and took some pictures at the Bean, and again moseyed down the Millenial Mile while the Womans Walk was going on. I loved being there and reading all the creative signs and seeing all these amazing women and men band together to march for something they believe in.

We spend the majority of the afternoon walking through the shops on the MM, and eventually made it to the Lincoln park Zoo. If you know me, you know I love Zoos, and so even though we had come to the zoo last time, I was happy to walk through again. By this point though, my poor pregnant body had had enough walking, so we snagged an Uber home to our hotel and got ready for HAMILTON!

I was beyond giddy at this point, I couldn't believe we were really about to see Hamilton! I probably checked to make sure the tickets were in my purse at least 50 times. We scarfed down some amazing burgers at a fun and weird little diner on the way to the theater, and once we got the the theater, of course we had to wait in line to get a picture in front of the poster.

We got to our seats, and we opened our Playbills, and both Alex and I practically yelled at each other when we read who had recently joined the cast as Aaron Burr. It was none other than the hilarious and amazingly talented Wayne Brady! It was so awesome to have a familiar face on stage! It somehow made it more emotional, almost like I was rooting for a friend and like I had a personal connection to the play!

The lights dimmed, and the tears almost immediately started to flow. I will never forget the cheers that erupted when Alexander came on stage that first time, or when Angelica is rapping and says that "when I meet Thomas Jefferson, I'mma compel him to include women in the sequel" of the declaration on independence. I loved seeing the relationships evolve in front of me. I had an idea of what happened from listening, practically non stop, to the soundtrack, but there is nothing that compared to watching it all unfold on stage. It was incredibly emotional. And this play, this incredible musical about the man on the $10 bill, has quite literally changed my life. Seeing this play recharged me. Ever since seeing it, I have been hyped, filled with joy, hope, gladness and quite literally my soul has been nourished. It's just incredible was an amazing work of art can do to you. I don't know if I will ever love a show as much as I love Hamilton. And the fact that I was able to see it, with my loving husband makes it that much better. The only problem I have had with seeing Hamilton, is that it isn't just like seeing a movie, where if you love it, you can go again and again. I don't know if/when I'll ever see Hamilton on stage again, and it breaks me a little, but it also makes me cherish my experience in Chicago that much more. I now listen to the music and envision what I saw that day in the PrivateBank Theater, and it's just marvelous.

After the play, I practically floated home. Alex and I just raved about all of our favorite parts, sang all the songs, obsessed over the actors, and I basically asked if we could extend our trip by a day, and get tickets to Sunday's show! We stopped in at a 7/11 so grab some late night snacks and went home and just enjoyed our Hamilton High.

Sunday morning, we had to check out of our hotel, but were able to leave our bags, which is so so helpful. We immediately knew that we wanted to eat at Wildberry again, because it was JUST THAT GOOD! Breakfast again was amazing, and we enjoyed everything we ordered.

So after breakfast, the plan was to go uptown a little and watch the Packers/Falcons game at a Packers Bar. we found one near by, but by the time we got there they had reached max capacity, so we were turned away. I was super bummed, and felt bad for dragging us all around the city for no reason. We decided to just head to the airport a few hours early and find a bar in the airport and watch the game there. Not much can stand between me and a football game!

We checked out the AA lounge once we got through security, and were so happy to see that they had the game on in the lounge, and so that meant, comfy chairs, good sound and UNLIMITED SNACKS and DRINKS! Heck yes! We were able to have free wifi, changing ports and foot and football. it was so relaxing and honestly the perfect way to end our babymoon.

Shoutout to my mom and dad who watched Iz while we were gone. They always do the funnest things with her while we are gone. This time they took her to the aquarium, and to Disney on Ice! Love them, and are so thankful that they are always so willing to watch izzy for us!

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