ramona and i had a free week so we flew up to see my family in minnesota, just outside of minneapolis. we spent the long weekend w my mother, father, brother, sister-in-law, and my niece and nephew: drinking really good riojas, eating at a doughnut shop in st. paul, visiting our favorite coffee bar in minneapolis, discovering the tree home of mr. little guy at lake harriet, getting some greasy grub at convention grill, and just lounging at my parents’ really comfy home. shame on me for not taking more photos. after minnesota, ramona and i jetted down to chicago to say hello to some old friends.

our first day in chicago (we were there less than 48 hours!) we headed to logan square where we stopped by longman & eagle for lunch and a drink. afterward, we headed over to sparrow where the one-and-only susan flaga gave me a refreshing fall haircut. after that, mo and i headed to a playground at wicker park.

as i longingly looked at big star to my left and the violet hour to my right as we made our way from the damen blue line stop to the park, i had the full realization that –while, yes, i was on an impromptu trip with my toddler– travelling would not be what it used to be, at least for some time. unless, of course, we left her behind (but she’s so much fun most of the time!) or had the moola to have a nanny tag-along (i must confess here that i use to judge harshly families that brought a nanny on family vacations. let me just say now that i totally get it.)

from there, we headed to ukrainian village where we would be spending the next two nights with my dear high school friend, tara. our other chicago-via-st.-louis-park gal-pal, shalva, came over and we spent the night eating take-out, catching up, and facebook stalking pretty much everyone from our high school (confession here is my penance).

our only full day in chicago was spent at tara’s home and neighborhood with a quick jaunt to millennium park. i love love love millennium park. it’s a great place where tourists and downtown professionals seem to co-exist in harmony. there’s also great public art, open spaces, and notable (usually free) events (one time when i was there i got to see wilco perform). i have been wanting to take ramona to cloud gate (aka the bean) and crown fountain since she was just a bean in my belly. with the company of my fabulous college friend, jasmin, i got to do so. also of note: jasmin and i text each other each fall to let the other know when we had our first pumpkin spice latte, a tradition since college. this year, we didn’t have to. we had them together!

 we left early the next morning to catch our plane out of midway. it was a fun trip but i sure was relieved and ecstatic to see jp and to be home.

p.s. this trip was made possible (the travelling with the baby part, not the funding part) by the use of the boba carrier and a sakura bloom sling. i could NOT have done this with a stroller as there would have been no way to lug my luggage at the same time. i don’t say this to decry strollers (i freaking LOVE my BOB). i just say this in case you are wondering: how the hell did emily travel to chicago with a toddler and a suitcase? carrying ramona on my back is how i was able to do it. really.