But at least the view was nice.
Luckily they did have roll away beds available...and I may have been a little sneaky and taken the queen bed for myself. We also didn't know at the time, but discovered very quickly upon arriving, that there was some sort of conference for the Muslim community at our hotel. The place was packed! We stood in line for at least ten minutes just to get on the elevator to get to our rooms. Insanity.
We figured out it was some sort of education conference, but that's as far as we got. Which totally explained all of the teenagers, toddlers, and babies roaming the halls and throwing crayons, cups, and balloons in the water feature. But regardless of the minor inconvienence of a really crowded hotel, we had a fabulous experience there. I actually spoiled myself just a bit and the first night got room service. Mom and Rachel were out picking up Leah at the airport, and I didn't feel like fighting the crowds to eat at a restaurant downstairs. So I ordered a $25 hamburger. It was the best hamburger I've had in a long time. And then as I was putting the tray outside my room and the door happened to shut behind me. No shoes, no phone, no room key with me. I just stood and stared at the closed door for awhile wondering what to do next. Luckily there was a house phone close by and security was very understanding. It was just a little embarrassing.
Christmas day was homemade dinner and presents!
Cornbread stuffing with chicken, green bean casserole, yams, and cranberry sauce...Yum! Very infrequently these days do I get home cooked meals, I was very happy.
When it was time to open presents Mom had us all close our eyes and then dropped something into our laps. It was very furry and I was very nervous to open my eyes.
Maw Maw passed down two real fur wraps to Rachel and I. Leah being the anti-fur, California dweller that she is got a beautiful ring - not fur. But Rachel and I had to strike sexy poses of course. We also all got cards stuffed with money thanks to Mom and Maw Maw and Paw Paw. Leah was very happy...
So was Rachel...
Leah got Rachel and I really cool wrap skirts from sunny Cali. Maybe not so appropriate in the below freezing Chicago weather...but we just had to strike sexy poses in them anyway.
The natural progression of course would be to combine the furs with the wrap skirts...
We were having a lot of fun...A LOT of fun. There may or may not have been a glass or two of wine involved at this point.
But Rachel and I weren't the only ones getting presents. All the kids chipped in money and got Mom a digital photo frame. Rachel knowing Mom's aversion to all things technological had already loaded on a bunch of pictures...probably for the best.
Rachel's two adorable doggies were forced to stay on their little beds the whole time becuase Rachel is a big meanie.
They were really cute...and didn't really stay on their beds anyway. I got everyone a random sampling of some of my favorite stuff, smelly stuff, cute sockies, Bert's Bees chapstick, candles.
There were the coolest fuzzy slippers ever...I had to model those too of course...
Or maybe I'm just a ham for the camera. There was a vibrating neck pillow...
And there was a package that Jason had wrapped about a year ago that I thought was for Leah but wasn't really sure. So it was a surprise for everyone!
That night we all went to see Avatar in 3D at the Imax at Navy Pier. It was amazing. If you suspend belief enough to be ok with the fact that they're trying to kill the humans it was fantastic. The 3D plus the Imax was a little intense though. Rachel ended up pretty motion sick, and I had to keep taking my 3D glasses off to give my eyes and equilibrium a rest. But the special effects were beyond words, it was really an amazing movie. By the time we got back to our hotel that night they had finally found mom and I a room with two beds.
The view from the room wasn't quite as nice, but we both had beds to sleep in. And the bathroom was nice a big for mom and I to spread all of our Clinique products out.
Saturday was the day for shopping!!!! Mom was beyond happy because it was snowing just for her...she was the ONLY person in the entire city who was happy to see it snowing.
Watch out for falling ice. We shopped our little hearts out at Water Tower Place. At some point it became a really good idea to find a Puma store...because I love Puma...and the weekend was all about spoiling, pampering, and doing what we wanted. Some nice Chicago stranger that mom had no qualms about talking to pointed us in one direction. We then wandered aimlessly up and down the streets of downtown Chicago looking for the store. Some other nice Chicago stranger that mom had no qualms about talking to pointed us in another direction at which point we promptly hailed a taxi. The cabbie knew about a brand new Puma store that had opened up not two weeks ago. Yes please! Lo and behold on the same block was the Chicago theater that we needed to head to after shopping at the Puma store. Why did we need to head to the Chicago theater you ask?
To watch Cirque Du Soleil of course. Which was fabulous. We had floor seats about ten rows back.
Sorry my high ISO gets really grainy...but this is the stage from our seats. We were really close.
And it was about at this point that they nice security guard kindly told me no pictures allowed. At any rate the show was wonderful, the acrobatics unbelievable, and the skinny, long haired guy in a trench coat really, really scary. Afterwards we all hopped into Rachel's car to head back to the hotel. So this is what happens when you try to pile four women and a million shopping bags into a small Kia...
Sunday it was time for me to head home. But before I could do that there was one more thing we had to do. That's right people...pole dancing lessons. You thought I was joking? I was so not joking. Rachel's been attending an exercise class for quite some time now, and it just happens to involve a pole and/or sexy type exercise moves. So you walk into a big room filled with poles...no mirrors, and the windows are blacked out. You turn the lights down low and the music on high. It turned out to be a really intense workout...my abs are still sore. The teacher taught us one pole trick...and basically I learned to stick with my day job. Wow I took a pole dancing lesson...unreal.
The weekend was fabulous, it was great to spend time with Mom, Rachel, and Leah. Despite forgetting wallets, spilling water, talking with strangers, and getting lost a lot, those are the coolest ladies I've ever met. And I shall leave you all with one final picture. By far the all time coolest present I've ever received. I shall proudly display it from this day forward!