Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Travel Weekend: Chicago and Cleveland

After a long time away from the blog I am back and armed with lots of pictures! This weekend I had a "visit-my-family-marathon". On Friday morning, bright and early, I left on a megabus headed for Chicago to see my baby sister.

I arrived about 15 minutes ahead of schedule and, because of that, my sister had not yet arrived at the station to pick me up. I stood around the bus for a while, trying not to seem as awkward and lost as I felt while searching for a place to wait. Finally, I spotted a Corner Cafe down the next road. Perfect! I briskly walked there, suitcase in hand, ordered a chai latte and waited for McKenna. It turned out to be a good choice because then we were able to grab a bite to eat before Kenna gave me a little tour of her city.

K said "Let's take a tourist picture of you!" This is the result :)

We talked for a long time that afternoon/evening and got caught up on each other's lives. As much as modern modes of communication are convienent in long distance relationships, nothing will ever be able to replicate the feeling of a face to face chat with my sister.

Saturday morning we woke up after hardly any sleep (sorry for snoring, Kenna!), got a yummy breakfast together and then went to a nearby conservatory to enjoy some time in a truly peaceful environment. The conservatory turned out to be a great decision and we enjoyed walking through, identifying plants and reminiscing about our childhood gardening experiences.  If you're planning on visiting the area, I highly recommend it.

Posing next to one of my favorites - hydrangeas :)

Kenna and I surrounded by hanging baskets

 After our floral adventure we headed off in a new direction - the movie theater to see The Great Gatsby. And, let me just say, it was fantastic. K and I were mesmorized by the unique and artistic portrayal of the novel and, of course, by the Prada-designed costumes!

After the movie, however, we realized that our schedule may have not been the smartest idea. We went to see the movie at 1 PM, leaving us only 45 minutes to grab my luggage and race to Union Station. Anyone watching us would have seen lots of power walking, some sprinting and plenty of panting on my part. We made it with about seven minutes to spare! Thank goodness. I sat on the top deck of the bus and watched as Kenna waved me off. I'm going to miss that girl. Already do, in fact.

Instead of heading home, however, this time my bus was headed for Cleveland where my eldest sister, her husband and my niece were all preparing for my baby nephew's christening which took place on Sunday. It was a long drive and I read around 120 pages of The Help while sitting there. That is, until the bus driver decided to play the bass drum with the brake ;) leaving me feeling a tad bit nauseated.

The christening ceremony, which took place Sunday morning, was beautiful and moving! My niece said one of the "leader lines" in the congregational reading and you could tell that she had practiced diligently. After saying her sentence-long line she grinned and glowed for the rest of the reading. Success! Baby James, however, didn't think the ceremony was that big of a deal. He slept through the entire thing - even as water was sprinkled on his head.

The family posing pre-baptism

A congregational reading with the godparents
After the ceremony, everyone - our big Italian family, church members, and law school friends - came to a brunch that my sister hosted. There was, of course, plenty of food and plenty of noise. It was so good to catch up with my relatives and update them on my plans for this summer, next year, and remind them that, yes, I am still dating that Jordan guy. ;)

The beautiful spread excluding the french toast and breakfast casseroles
After staying there for a while, Dad (who drove to Cleveland on his own) and I headed out to start our six hour drive back to Indy. It had been a long weekend and I was so ready to be home.