After having four kids (whom I love desperately), I have new perspective when we get to travel without them: Eat. It. Up. Mark and I try to enjoy at least a weekend alone together a year to remember and celebrate us apart from our children. Really occasionally every parent should have the opportunity to sleep in, or eat without interruption or walk looking up instead of down, hands cupped with your husband instead of your child’s. Most of the time, it’s a weekend in an Austin or Ft. Worth hotel when my parents can graciously watch the kids. Every once in a while we get to do something extremely special like heading to the California wine country or a Florida beach or, like this month, taking a long weekend trip to Chicago. My cousin Ian married his wife Elizabeth at the beginning of the month, and half of my family traveled to be there. Several of our family and friends helped us make it happen (with money or childcare — THANK YOU!), and I admit, it helped me appreciate our precious weekend all the more. We met my parents, my youngest brother David and his wife, Karabeth, and my sister Kristen and her hubby (also Mark’s youngest brother), Tim. We laughed until our cheeks hurt and ate and drank and walked even more. My parents and Mark and I walked onto the Skywalk on Willis Tower (formerly Sears tower) — which was scarier than I expected (standing on glass floating above the city), and of course, we experienced the train where we met and conversed with a homeless man who somehow thought he was our personal guide, Mark and David became motion sick, and we watched a girl vomiting between the train cars (while it was moving). We walked State Ave. and the Chicago River and Millenium Park and Northwestern University and the shore of Lake Michigan all while discussing what we would eat next or where we get hot coffee. Instead of snow or bitter winds, we enjoyed warm sunshine and mild Chicago winter weather (high 40s and low 50s) with our warm chocolate croissants. In short, the entire weekend, although blurry with activity, was lovely.