I think I found it…

I wrote my last post, pretty down in the dumps, wishing the Christmas fairies would sprinkle their dust on me.  I was being a bah hum bug, and truly was getting on my own nerves.  But last month, after some shifting of funds, saving money, and using the hubbies travel points we were able to schedule our 3rd annual family trip to Chicago during the Christmas season.  The kids had no clue…they kept asking, “Aren’t we going to Chicago this year for Christmas?” to which we would just smile, and say, “Maybe not this year…”

For the last couple years we haven’t traveled past a state or two, having gone to Michigan last summer for 4 days, and Chicago a handful of times.  We don’t spend money on fancy hair cuts, and have cut out all luxuries to include massages, nails, cable, and eating out at “regular” restaurants for the most part.  I cook at home more times than not.  We are truly frugal, shopping consignment for clothes, and EBay for many gifts.  BUT…we don’t cut out good food, or nice places to stay when it comes to our family.  We simply believe it’s important to teach our kids to be frugal, but also appreciate the good things in life.

So to get a deal of half off at The Drake Hotel, and be able to use points was a win/win for our family.  Our kids have always begged to stay there, but as most know, a one night stay can cost a pretty penny.  Saturday night we advised the girls to get to bed early, and pack an overnight bag.  They were GIDDY.  “Where are we going?”  We just smiled.  Pulling up to the Drake was priceless, as the girls just were beside themselves with joy.  And THERE…was my Christmas spirit.  I finally found it…in my children’s laughter.  YAY.

So here are some pics from our 24 hour trip to the city we’ve grown to love.  Chicago.  Despite the gray, overcast, and dreary weather, I found myself coming alive this weekend.  And all due to my family’s joy of being there, with, me.  We enjoyed good food, shopping, and some much needed down time.  Oh…and we walked 5.1 miles just on Sunday!  Win again!

Beef shank for dinner at Quarntino!
Beef shank for dinner at Quarntino!
Say Cheese!  At Eataly!
Say Cheese! At Eataly!
The city looked AMAZING this weekend.
The city looked AMAZING this weekend.
My people.  The mirror to my soul.
My people. The mirror to my soul.
Fondue from Quarntino  YUM even though I don't do cheese often.
Fondue from Quarntino YUM even though I don’t do cheese often.
Yes, this is Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio's initials carved in on their wedding night.  SO COOL
Yes, this is Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio’s initials carved in on their wedding night. SO COOL
Roasted Octopus from Quarntino.  More winning.
Roasted Octopus from Quarntino. More winning.
Our tradition to buy an ornament each year in Chicago left us with THIS. Love.
Our tradition to buy an ornament each year in Chicago left us with THIS. Love.
yes, I got the 15 year old to sit on Santa's lap...More winning.
yes, I got the 15 year old to sit on Santa’s lap…More winning.
Sisters...my heart!
Sisters…my heart!
And here is where I found my spirit...in these two little people's eyes...joy.
And here is where I found my spirit…in these two little people’s eyes…joy.
Eggs benedict from Bar Toma.  DELISH.
Eggs benedict from Bar Toma. DELISH.
True love...TRUE love.
True love…TRUE love.
Zappoli's from Quartinos...have you been there?  You MUST GO!
Zappoli’s from Quartinos…have you been there? You MUST GO!

Sooooo…at the end of the day, besides being tired, I find myself full of Christmas spirit finally.  We were able to spoil our kids at the mall due to being TRULY frugal all year, and seeing their faces made my heart melt.

And yes…there was mad jumping on the huge bed in our hotel room, just to add to the fun.  My kids were LAUGHING and my heart sang.

There it is… my Christmas spirit.  I am so glad I found it. Family…food…feel good stuffs.  YAY.

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays everyone!

❤ Michelle

12 Comments on “I think I found it…

  1. I have never been to Quartino, but your pictures certainly make me want to now!

    Can you believe that I have lived in Chicago for 32 years and have NEVER been to the Drake? How crazy is that?!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a wonderful Christmas story, Michelle! I’m glad you had fun with your family, making everything special for them 😀 Merry Christmas to you too!

    Liked by 1 person

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