Thursday, April 14, 2016


Friday was a good day. Darin had an article he wrote posted in the Washington Post, he found out that he received the FLAS scholarship (which means that he won't have to TA next year to secure funding. Yay!), and we left for Chicago. We took this itty bitty plane to Newark. I've decided little planes are loud and scary. Not my favorite. The flight from Newark to Chicago was MUCH nicer.

I spaced taking a picture of the hotel (The Palmer House Hilton--where the conference was held), but this is a picture I snapped of the lobby. It was unlike any other hotel I've ever been in before. Massive, fancy, and suuuuper slow elevators. I just read that it is the nations oldest hotel in continual operation and one of the world's last remaining Grand Hotels (told you Darin! I felt like I was in el Gran Hotel!) 

We got settled in, Darin did some conference stuff and I did some shopping, then, we went to Giordono's for some stuffed pizza which did not disappoint. 

Darin snuck away from the conference scene for lunch on Saturday so that we could go explore the city a bit. The hotel was in the PERFECT location. There were restaurants and stores all around and it was just a few blocks away from Millennium Park and Lake Michigan. I totally fell in love with the city feel. All the people walking to and fro, the trains zooming past, the escalators in all the stores. While we were eating lunch we tried to guess if the people walking past were tourists or living in Chicago. 

After walking around a bit Darin went back to the hotel for another panel and I walked to the Field Museum. It was quite the walk there and back but like I said, I fell in love with the city, so walking was nice (my sore feet may have said differently). 

I got in to the museum free with our Ithaca Science Center pass. After I gave the lady my card she was like, "You can see everything except the exhibits." I was like, "Soooo, what can I do?" She said again, "Everything except the exhibits." She finally clarified that she meant the "special" exhibits that you had to pay extra for, it was quite a funny exchange. 

It was nice to walk around the museum sans kids and actually be able to go at my own pace. There was an Ancient Americas exhibit which was really interesting to me after taking a history of Latin America class at BYU. 

Learning about these Tsavo Lions was also really interesting. 

I took tons of pictures of animals to show Shae when I got back. He would have loved their Animals of Asia exhibit. 

That night we went out to eat with Darin's awesome mentors for some Thai food and then crashed after a long day. 

While Darin presented on Sunday morning, I took the train to an elementary school for a nice little Sacrament Meeting in the auditorium of the school. As much as I missed those kiddos of mine, it was really nice to take the sacrament/listen to the speakers in peace. I just stayed for the first hour and then got back to the hotel just as Darin's panel was ending. We met up and booked it out of there to catch our flight. 

From what I heard after the conference, it sounds like Darin did great (I have no doubt that he did). It was cool to hear people talking to him afterwards and hear them say things like, "You're a FIRST year PhD student? First years don't come to this conference." I loved meeting Darin's mentor/boss from Michigan. He was just SO nice. Darin has been blessed with such great mentors who have given him so many great opportunities. We are both extremely grateful for them and the wonderful opportunities that they continually provide him.

While it was really hard to leave the kids, I'm so glad that I got to tag along with Darin on this trip. It was super quick and Darin and I didn't get to spend as much time together as an ideal "weekend away" would have allowed, but it was still incredibly nice to spend more than the usual amount of time together and focus on him and me and our marriage. It was actually really nice to have some alone time as well. I don't get much of that and I'm realizing just how precious that time can be. Time for me to recharge my mama battery, to think and ponder about my little family and set goals about how I can be better for them, and also to think about me and what my needs are. Very emotionally healthy trip overall :).

Big thanks to my mom and dad for being rock stars and watching the babes for us. Seriously, you guys are awesome. (I taught Joy School Monday morning and the kids just LOVED my dad. We played duck duck goose and the kids would only choose him. One of the moms even texted me later and said her son couldn't stop talking about how cool Shae's grandpa was). 

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