Another advent season ends and I know I say it every year but Christmas just comes so quickly.  This Advent we reflected on a year that was, like every year before it filled with trials and so much joy.  Turns out those are unequivocally linked and anyone who tells you differently is not fully living into reality. This year felt more settled than the previous few years before and also brought new opportunities and challenges that are more clearly seen when the dusk settles form so much change. 
Every year it feels too busy to make time to explore Chicago for a couple days right before Christmas and EVERY YEAR I am so thankful we make the time. This city is just such a part of us. It is always a reminder of how much can change and just how much remains familiar. This year the highlight was the warm weather- it was 50 degrees on December 23rd and 24th.  We were actually sweating in winter coats!! We have fought the freezing cold in years past but this unseasonably warm weather meant we could actually enjoy being outside all day! 
Family Selfie tradition. Looking back on each year it is just insane how much has changed. 
We arrived on the first day and met up with Shoe fam for lunch at our fave Portilios. It was a quick overlap of their time in Chicago but so fun to see the cousins.   

 these girls

these boys. they got jokes. 
 Same picture every year. 
teenage attitude be like. 
No wait and free ice skating at the Skating Ribbon 
After a few minutes skating we took our coats off!!
Maggie Daley Park because warmest Christmas ever! 

How Abishai felt about all the walking. 
the wonder of the city. 

 Yes! New windows this year! Never as good as Marshall fields but at least they were new!

 Also, sad PSA: Macy’s closed off the upper Walnut Room tree viewing area to make offices. #boo

 It will always be Marshall Fields.

 Evy’s letter in Macy’s

 19,000 steps and counting…we might be definitely are the obnoxious people who lay on the beds at Macy’s

 Exploring the Pedway

 The Nativity at Christkindlmarket.

 Me: “Hug and be cute”
my people.

 We walked by the Daley Center and everyone yelled “That is where our adoption was!!” Then they apparently tried to hug Rayne to death.

Keep in mind they weigh almost the same. Abishai is allergic to walking (should make Disney a fun experience) 

 We stopped to the Apple Store! 
Real life be like. 

As amazing tradition with our people on the warmest of winter days. Hoping your adventures this season are full of meaningful connection. Happy Advent friends, 


  1. […] YES! If I forget something they remind me and our teenager knows every single ornament and guesses them if the other kids forget. Every year we repeat certain activities and they remember and we reflect on the differences- for example they love the $5 to bless someone anonymously but now laugh at the little storybook we used to read but they still get it out on that night. We used to live in Andersonville and participate in all the Santa Lucia festivities but we still celebrate that day by reflecting on the history and we love some Swedish vibes. We always try to find a live nativity near us and also “surprise” the kids with a trip downtown for an overnight at a hotel to see Chicago at Christmas. […]