This past weekend we went to Chicago for the day via a trip to Iowa. We left Friday night right after work to start the 6 hour drive. It was pretty uneventful until the last 45 miles. We drove through some serious thunderstorms. Not only was the rain so heavy it was hard to see, every lightening strike would illuminate the clouds. I looked like a tornado might drop down at any time, but we kept driving (of course) and finally got there around 11:30pm.
I was up around 6:15am the next morning to run the Bix 7. The Bix is 7-mile race in the Quad Cities during an annual jazz festival honoring musician Bix Beiderbecke. It is a fun race and I have done it for four years now, but I forgot how hilly the course was! Just over 15,000 people ran the race this year and while the weather was slightly cooler than normal this year, the course was still tough! But, I finished (after getting a cramp with only 0.25 miles left - ugh!) in 1:02:57. My time was a little slower than I hoped, but compared to my race times over the last several years, this time was great. After that, we spent the day by the pool and ate smoked ribs for dinner.
Sunday morning we were up early again to head into Chicago. Todd has been wanting to take his niece and nephews into Chicago, so we decided on a game at Wrigley! Todd had on some old sandals as we left and forgot his shoes to walk around in. So, we stopped to get shoes in Wrigleyville at 10:00am on Sunday morning. After that we parked and got tickets for the game. It was very important to get the tickets as we knew it would be hard to get 5 together and also because our nephew Max was concerned about going to the game without tickets. We promised him we had been many times and gotten tickets outside of the stadium, but we definitely needed tickets in hand to make everyone happy! We grabbed lunch, bought Sharpe #1 for possible autographs, lost Sharpe #1, and made it to our seats. Thankfully the Cubs won, so the kids got to sing the Go, Cubs, Go! song. I think they enjoyed the game and we definitely kept the cotton candy guy busy. After the game, we saw the bucket drummers, bought Sharpe #2, got Ben some Cubs baseball cards, and waited for Cubs players to get some autographs.
We waited near where the players park their cars. It is kind of crappy because they all leave and never sign anything. They should at least sign for a few kids. It only costs them a few minutes of time to gain fans for a lifetime. We waited and watched Lee, Dempster, Fontenot, Soriano, and other players leave. Rich Harden, the winning pitcher came out and was talking to others inside the gated parking lot. Finally, after about 10 minutes, he came over and started signing autographs for people. It was awesome of him and all the kids were excited. We were trying to get in for our autographs. Todd held Ben on his shoulders so he could reach over the top of other people to hand in his Harden baseball card for a signature. Max climbed up the side of the fence and hung over the game program open to the page on Harden. Both got signatures (of course, we didn't need the Sharpes #1 and #2 as he used the same pen for everyone).
After that, we headed downtown for a quick tour of tall buildings, a stop an Millennium Park, and some Chicago-style pizza. We didn't get home until late, but had a lot of fun! Next time we'll hit a few other attractions. I think all the kids are ready for the aquarium.