Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Chicago Bucket List #CoCoInChicago

Next week I will be getting on a plane to Chicago. I grew up in the suburbs about 30-45 minutes from the city. I loved going downtown to visit the museums, zoos, parks, fountains, beaches, attractions. 

See the follow up post to my trip HERE.

I moved to Arizona back in 2000 and I have only been back to visit a couple of times. My last trip to Chicago was over Christmas in 2011.

This trip is scheduled around the SoFabUotR conference on July 9th. I attended my first conference a little over a year ago in Phoenix. I made it a goal to attend the Chicago conference and I made it happen. I fly into the city on Wednesday, July 6th. 

I will only be in Chicago for 4 days and 4 nights. With one day for the conference and traveling time that only leaves 2.5 days for cramming in as much as I can. I decided to write up my own bucket list for my trip.


The first place I want to go for Chicago food is Portillo's. They finally opened a location in AZ but it was after I moved 150 miles north of that neighborhood. Something about having a great Chicago Dog in Chicago makes it taste even better. There is a location about a mile from my hotel so I am sure I will make it over there for an extra piece of chocolate cake before I leave town.

As I was mapping out my trip on Google maps, I saw Cupcake ATM listed a few blocks away. It turns out that Sprinkles actually sells cupcakes from a machine. I think I will have to check that out.

Donuts! I miss having yummy donuts from a bakery or donut shop. In AZ, there aren't anything besides chains and grocery stores. I am planning to check out The Doughnut Vault before I get on the train to visit my mom. 

My brother told me that the line for The Doughnut Vault wouldn't be worth the time. Instead I went to two different locations of Glazed and Infused while I was in the city. I loved the donuts I bought. They even had some mini donuts for $1 that I shared with some blogger friends at the conference. 

Attractions and Locations to Visit:

Willis Tower Skydeck - I went up to the 103rd floor as a child. Back then it was called the Sears Tower. Since I moved away, it became The Willis Tower and they added THE LEDGE. I am excited to stand in the glass box and see the city from a unique perspective that I never could (or would) have done as a child. (I am receiving a free ticket to the Skydeck in exchange for mentions on my social media channels.) 

Photos– Courtesy of Skydeck Chicago at Willis Tower

Millennium Park is where you can find Cloud Gate (aka The Bean,) Crown Fountain, Boening Galleries, Wrigley Square and Millennium Monument, and the Jay Pritzker Pavilion

You can even download a free app to see the day's events Google Play or Apple Store.

Transportation and Lodging:

O'Hare airport can be overwhelming in size but the amentities and artwork are amazing. After I collect my luggage, I will be heading to the Metra Train. I can ride all the way downtown and be a few block from my hotel. 

When I head out to the Willis Tower, Historic Water Tower, and to Michigan Avenue I will be using the Chicago Water Taxi to get around. I am hoping to get some great photos from the river as I float to my next destination. (I received some complimentary day passes for my trip.) Wendella Sightseeing, Co. Inc., a Chicago family owned and operated business is entering it's 80th season as one of Chicago’s premier sightseeing and tourism venues.

The first half of my trip I will be at the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza on the river. 
After having my first reservation canceled with a billing error, I called the Front Desk to rebook my room. The reservations agent was rude and short with me on the phone. I finally agreed to an additional $30 per night charge since I needed to have a hotel room when I arrived. Hours later I still had not been sent a confirmation email. I called back and spoke with John at IHG Rewards. He let me know that there was NOT a reservation set up for next week. He apologized for the trouble and got my room booked. I am still paying a higher rate than I wanted to because no media rate was given. Hopefully my stay will prove to be better than the customer service given over the phone. 
The views from the hotel should be amazing. The lobby is on the 15th floor! IHG and Holiday Inn did reply on social media and have said they are confident I will be taken care of during my stay. I promise to update after I check in. Also, I currently have the IHG Rewards app downloaded to my phone to track my reservation and reward points. 

The second half of my stay will be at The Westin Michigan Avenue. The SoFabUotR conference is being held here so there will be a lot of bloggers in the halls. I am getting to share the room with a couple bloggers that I follow online. It will be nice to finally meet them in IRL.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

I'm calling in CRAZY!

This post has been in my head for days but I couldn't get it typed out. Tonight I got angry with someone over a parking spot. I am done. I don't want to be me this week. I am calling in crazy.

Original start to my post:
Even as someone with a long history of depression, I can't always tell when I am having an episode. I still feel that depression will only present itself in certain way. Usually I sleep. I don't shower. I don't leave my room. I forget that it can also be frustration, irritability, restlessness, hunger, anger. There is no one way to be depressed. Not even for the same person. 
I am at fault of generalizing my own symptoms. I don't give those other things enough importance. I gloss over the irritability, anger and frustration as a tough day or my over active boys. Trust me, those do play into my moods but it is still the depression taking over. 
I tend to get mad at myself when I do this. It makes me feel stupid that I didn't realize that I was slipping back into the dark. That only produces unneeded and unproductive guilt. I am always my own worst critic. I will still always have contempt for myself even if everyone else loves me. 

My current #crazy level is ashamed and hopeless. I am at that spot where I want to cry but the mood stabilizers are working enough that I won't be able to have more than a couple tears. My head is pounding. I slept a good part of the day and had to force myself to get up and take the kids out for soccer and VBS.

I am sure that this post is hard to follow for anyone that doesn't share my crazy. I hate when I can't follow a conversation and it is ten times worse when it is all in your own head. Nothing is overly horrible. I am not sad. I am just done.

These two are amazing. They love me even when I can't love myself. They love me even when depression and anxiety take over my day. These two keep me from the extremes of my bipolar.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

21 years ago... June 7, 1995

21 years ago I went to the hospital ready to have my first baby. It was early Wednesday morning, June 7, 1995. I was 18 years old and I had no idea what I was getting myself into!

However that stubborn, big headed, brat of a baby decided to take his sweet damn time to make an appearance. It was getting close to 36 hours since I had eaten. I had been hooked up to pitocin for almost 20 hours. The epidural numbed me from my chest toy toes. I was yelling at the doctors and staff to just cut me open!

Finally at 3:26 am on Thursday, June 8th, 1995 my son Christian Anthony Mora was born.  He weighed 9lb 7oz. I was the youngest mom in the OB ward and I had the biggest baby.

My life has never been the same.  The twins are getting my second go at raising boys alone. Hopefully I have learned from any mistakes that I made the first time. 

Christian, I love you so much! 

I can't believe you are turning 21. I hope I did right by you.

Thank GOD I don't look my age! See, God has made me into a #fatgirl to keep the wrinkles away. It helps me look younger than my 39 (and almost 1/2) years.

Christian is happily married to his junior high sweetheart, Brooke. They met in youth group. They have been married for almost 3 years. I am so proud of the man he has become.

Happy Birthday Christian!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Surviving Summer!

We have survived the first full week of our summer break. The boys finished school before Memorial Day. We have had a BBQ with friends, watched a movie downtown at the square, started the summer movies at Harkins, and today they are at their first Vacation Bible School. The boys are registered for AYSO soccer and they start on Saturday. Things seem to be falling into place. (Although I should delete that and not chance screwing it up.)

These are some of the planned activities we are doing this summer in Flagstaff, AZ. Check out the info and find activities that will fit for your family.

Have a great summer!

Movies on the Square are sponsored by FLG DBA (Flagstaff Downtown Bussiness Alliance.) Every Saturday night they sponsor a free public showing of a movie. They set up an inflatable movie screen, everyone brings chairs and blankets, and we have a lot of fun. Certain business sell pizza, ice cream and snacks. Sometimes there is live entertainment before the movie starts. We have been attending for a couple summers now and the boys love it.

We will have our fill of movies this summer since we are also enjoying Harkins Summer Movie Fun. For $5 a ticket, we can attend 10 movies over the summer. Yes, $5 for the entire summer. These are not new releases but the boys love going to the theatre. Popcorn and refillable drink cups are not too much of a cost when you consider how inexpensive the ticket costs.

The boys also love to attend Vacation Bible School. We usually go to a couple sessions held at different churches in town. Some of the programs even include a meal for the kids. To be honest, it is a nice break for me because I can get errands done alone or blog. (Which is how I got this done today.) These are a few we are planning to go to this summer.

Walk this Way at Christ Church of Flagstaff
Who can go? Children 4 years-old - incoming 5th graders
When is it? June 27 - July 1, 2016 from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm each day
What does it cost? $10

Click here to register.

Mega Sports Camp at Mountain View Church: 2150 East Linda Vista Drive 
Click here to register.

Flagstaff Christian Fellowship: 123 S. Beaver

Trinity Lutheran United Methodist Church
Vacation Bible School is coming soon. July 18-22

Comment here with any other activities you have planned or let me know if your kids will be at any of the same events.