Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Road Trip Day 3: Chicago

Part I: The Retreat (as dictated to me, Ashton, while Mom drives :D)

Started off the day with a great retreat. We had about 20 great moms gather at a gorgeous home and discuss how we can bring more peace, purpose, order, and joy to our lives. So enjoyed presenting with Paige Clark, one of our excellent Power of Moms trainers who lives in Chicago. Such a great group; I only wish I had more time with them. We crammed in as much learning from each other as we could in half a day. Such a beautiful in that peaceful, lovely home as we discussed our favorite moments of motherhood and how we can be more present, peaceful, and joyful.

My "Ah ha..." moment from the retreat: I'm doing a pretty good job respecting my boundaries, but I've still got a ways to go to create consistent margin in my life. I need that space around the edges of the pages where I write so much into my life. It's in the margin that those beautiful moments of joy can happen the most.

I was so "present" that I didn't even remember to take photos until most of the group had already left. Darn! I have beautiful pictures in my mind, though, of all the women there and the feeling in the room and the ambiance of Megan's home - and maybe sometimes those pictures in our minds are even better than the ones we stop the action and interrupt our thought-flow to take....

Here are the three photos I took at the end when most people had left:
Here's Paige (long, dark hair and headband), who organized the retreat and helped to present. She did a great job!
Paige took this picture so I could be in one.

Isaac and Eliza in front Megan's beautiful house.

Isaac and Eliza came with me to the retreat and had a great time playing with the sweet baby daughter of our hostess. Ashton babysat the twins at the hotel. They seemed pretty excited to have some uninterrupted TV time and great snacks.

I loved getting this kind note from one of the attendees:

I just wanted to take a moment and thank you for the inspiring info you shared with us during the Power of Moms retreat.  This was my first retreat and I really enjoyed the time out to discuss my profession: motherhood.  I'm very interested in the programs that you are offering on your website and look forward to diving in deeper into the philosophies and ideas you have.  I'm also excited to be linked into a mom group and hope that through it I can continue to learn from other moms and network with other moms in my area.  I'm always working on being a better mom!  Today, Saren, you asked if any of us had a life goal or purpose that we've felt a desire to work on our whole life.  I've been pondering that today and have realized that one of my goals is to help women more fully understand their great and unique potential. I believe most women are in need a good healthy shot of self-esteem.  There is so much good women can do in this world, one of which is raise a happy, functional, righteous family.  I believe that a strong, confident woman, can do extraordinary things. So thanks for encouraging me to contemplate my goals and purpose and move these things forward. 

Part II: Exploring Chicago (this part's by me, Ashton.)

Ok, so after my mom got back from the retreat, we all got out of the hotel and over to an AMAZING authentic Chicago pizzeria. As I like to say, Italy invented pizza, Chicago perfected it. Check our a picture of it over at bit.ly/piiiiiiza. After that, we parked our car at Navy Pier and walked all over Chicago. We went to Millennium Park and saw really pretty gardens and Cloud Gate, aka "The Bean". It is totally awesome modern art that everyone can interact with. We also checked out this really cool amphitheater and listened to a little bit of a concert they were starting there - psychedelic rock - not really my thing. Cool to see so many people there at the concert, though. See some photos below and more by clicking here.

After that, we saw all the skyscrapers (including the Willis Tower). We wished we had time to go up to the top but it was pretty impressive from the bottom. Then, we started heading back to the car and saw the theater district and lots of really cool buildings (my mom liked the old ones, I liked the new ones). We wished we had time for an architecture boat tour but we had to get on the road. We also saw the place where they film the news and weather - they had big windows to the street so we could see in to where they actually do the filming. And the Chicago Tribute building was cool because it had all these pieces of famous buildings from around the world stuck into its walls - like a piece of marble from the Taj Mahal, a piece of carved stone from Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, even a piece of granite from the Salt Lake Temple.

All in all, it was a pretty epic day.

Here's the day in photos:

Cool sculpture (one of many) along the bike/walk trail along Lake Michigan (and lots of huge yaughts)

At the Art Institute of Chicago (Liza and Mom were sad it was closed. I wasn't really.)

Gardens by Millennium Park

Amphitheater at Millennium Park

A pro photographer actually told Silas to stay there so she could take his picture there.

Eliza, Isaac, Silas, and Oliver falling in the bean


Looking up at the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower)

The top of the tower wouldn't fit in the photo above so here it is:

Playing "crack the whip" with a sculpture at Navy Pier.

I love Chicago. I'm gonna need to come back soon. Especially for the pizza.



Kris M. said...

Hi Ashton--you are doing a fantastic job writing for your mom's blog! So glad you had a great time in Chicago! I actually live in Beverly with my 5 kids (4 boys and 1 girl)--sound familiar?! I would have loved to come to your mom's retreat, but I had to work at the hospital downtown. Isn't Chicago fabulous. Wish you had more time. The pizza is the best! I hope you enjoy the rest of your trip together and thanks for stopping in my hometown! Don't eat pizza anywhere else; you will be disappointed. Keep up the good work because I'm sure your mom appreciates it.

Bethany said...

You've completely convinced me that I need to visit Chicago. What fantastic pictures. And now I want some pizza ....

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great stop. Thanks for all the details and photos, Ashton!

Jessica Taylor said...

I'd like to know what you're using to easily put pics on your blog while you're in the road. Sunloverjess (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks!

bjahlstrom said...


I am really impressed with your command of the written word! For a young teenager, you are quite talented!

Eyrealm said...

Love this Ashton! We were there a couple of years ago and saw lots of the same things. Gotta love that bean! What great writing Ashton. Sounds just like you're telling me in person. Great job!


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