Monday, January 30, 2012


*warning: very, very long post with a lot of pictures!*

Thursday (the 26th), I ditched the kids and husband and left for Wisconsin!
I had a layover in Minneapolis before heading to Madison, WI.  I was really surprised by how flat everything was.  This is the view from the plane of Minneapolis:
No mountains...or hills.
 I got to Madison around 2:00 PM and Danny picked me up since Steph was still working.  I got a tour of the city.  The university there is the Wisconsin Badgers and the campus is HUGE!  About 3 times the size of the U.  The students ride around on scooters and mopeds (I'm not sure what they do when it's snowing...the bus maybe?).  Thursday night we went out to a mexican restaurant for dinner with some of Steph's family.  It was really fun and so. freaking. cold.  It can be the same temperature in Utah as Wisconsin and I would be shivering within seconds there.  The humidity makes the cold go straight to your bones.  Good times.  ;)

The next day was our spa day!!  Merry Christmas to us from Danny!  

About to head to the spa.
First up was a massage.  
My lady's name was Kathleen and she was hilarious and really good at what she did.  After the massage, Steph and I met up in the relaxation room before the next event.  We were able to snag a picture really fast while in our super sexy robes...

I'm not sure how she got the cozy, fluffy white robe, but mine didn't look half as comfy as hers.  :)
 Next up was a body scrub and wrap.  It was so incredibly relaxing and probably my favorite part of the experience.  After that, it was an aromatherapy steam shower, followed by a regular shower.

Steam area.

THREE shower heads!!
 Since it was connected to a salon, they provided the top of the line shampoos and conditioners, body washes, and face cleansers.  SO NICE!

They also provided deodorant, lotion, and plenty of towels.
 After showering and dressing in our regular clothes again, they brought us a snack which was really more food than we could finish.
It's Wisconsin, so there was plenty of cheese!

Water and hot tea, too.
 Time for pedicures!

After the pedis, we had manicures done and I'm so in love with my nails.  I also loved sitting there listening to the heavy midwestern accents around me.  All of their o's and a's sound completely different than I'm used to.  It was fun.  :)
After that, Steph got her hair colored and cut!
 Our nails....
Mine are the dark red ones (they look brighter here than they are).
Our toes!  Danny saw this and said that it looks like one person's feet are painted different colors.  HAHA  We should have gotten our other feet in there, too.  ;)  Steph's are on the left and mine are the sparkly pink ones.  Lexi LOVES them.
New cut and color.
 And I got a haircut!

I LOVE my new A-line!
 The guy who cut my hair was Casey and he cracked. me. up.  He would say something like, "So, are you mormon?"  I would laugh and say, "Yep!"  And he would immediately say, "Oh, I didn't mean to offend you."  hahaha  He kept apologizing for offending me when he hadn't said anything remotely offensive.  :)

We ended up at the spa from 9:30 AM until 4:30 PM.  I know it sounds weird, but we were both so tired after our spa day.  However, we went home and picked up Danny, then headed out to dinner! 

Cute couple!
 I think the restaurant was called Mariner's Inn.  
(M, get ready, I tried lobster!!)

Dipping the lobster in the butter.  I left it in there WAY too long because I was so freaked out to try it.  It ended up being way too salty because of the butter.  My own fault.
Nom, nom, nom.
The second bite wasn't as bad as the first because I didn't let it soak in butter for an hour before trying it.  It still had a weird texture (very chewy).  I also tried clam chowder!  (That was delicious!)

After dinner (we're still on Friday here), we headed out for...
the Blue Man Group!!  None of us had ever seen their show before.

 I took all of those pictures before they said, "No photography or filming of any kind."  Oops!
I really don't know how to described the show other than saying that is was the most amazing thing I've ever been to.  If you ever have the chance to go, GO!  I'm very seriously considering taking Shane to Vegas for a night just to see their show.  He would LOVE it.  :)

Saturday we didn't have any set plans and decided that morning to go see Chicago and stay the night there!  I snagged some pictures of their apartment while they were packing in case any of you are interested (so, mainly for Kelly).


Danny and the living room.

The door on the far right that you can barely see is what leads to the hallway. 
My room! I actually thought I'd be sleeping on the couch (and I was more than fine with that), but nope!

Danny and Steph's room.

Steph in the guest bath.

The master bath.
The drive to Chicago was about 2 1/2 hours (we didn't hit bad traffic).

View from the hotel room.

Another view from the hotel.  We were on the 25th floor.
 Danny relaxed in the hotel while Steph and I went shopping and sightseeing!

Shoe shopping at Nordstrom Rack.

I made Steph try these heels on.  They were gorgeous!!

Interesting people....

Random people ice skating at Millennium Park.

This was a cool silver bean shaped thing that reflects the city in the picture.  Isn't that awesome?

The red things are seats.  This is an amphitheater (I think that's the right name for it??).  They open up the glass part and the concerts are held here.  I thought it looked cool.


Double streets.  Can you see them?  Great use of space!

I had so many layers on.  My body was toasty warm, but once the wind hits your face, you're frozen.
I was told that that day was warm for Chicago.  I'm not sure I believed it.  :)

Super tall Marilyn Monroe.

The detail on the buildings was beautiful.

The entrance to the Chicago Tribune.  The pictures really don't do any of this justice.

Navy Pier was having it's Snow Days!

In the middle of a creation.

Angry birds!

Steph at the entrance to the pier.

There was a free stained glass exhibit with some gorgeous art.  Plus, it was inside and warm.  ;)

View of the city from the pier.

Here were some of the snow sculptures:

The Navy's seal (eagle).

The thinker.

Kissing fish.

I told Kaden these polar bears were hugging.  We'll pretend that's true.

This one was called, "Dancing with the 'saurs."  Two dinos waltzing.  haha  Loved it.

I knew Kaden would like this one, too, since it looks like Jack Skellington.
 We walked a total of around 6 miles that afternoon.  This is how I did:
Just let me sleep.

I saw this and knew Lexi would think it looked like Rapunzel's tower.  Both she and Kaden said that immediately when they saw the picture.  :)
 Before dinner, Danny and I headed to the top of the Hancock Tower.  Heights aren't Steph's favorite, so she waited for us at ground level.

They advertised "skating in the sky" and it turned out to be lame (we didn't do it).  It wasn't even real ice and it was the smallest "rink" I've ever seen.

Danny at the top.

It was gorgeous to see at night!

1,127 feet in the sky.

This is the 6th tallest building in the United States.  It was really, really cool to see the city from the top! 
After that, it was dinner time at the Cheesecake Factory!  I'd never been there and it didn't disappoint.
Cute, cute!
 We hit the mall on the way back to the hotel and this fountain was so cool.
It looked like vases, but it was just the way the water fell.

View from our hotel at night.

Steph (who only wanted something small for dessert) asked for a piece of chocolate cake.  That massively huge piece of cake is hers.  hahahaha  Mine is the one at the top (it was Godiva chocolate cheesecake and yes, Kelly, I totally broke my 6 months of no sugar.  And I'm not sorry in the slightest.)  And Danny's was a peanut butter and butterfinger cheesecake (on the right).
 Danny took the pullout bed and gave us girls the bed.  Sleepover!!

 Sunday morning, we headed back early so I could catch my flight home.  This was the "Welcome to Wisconsin" sign at the border.

I spent the next few hours on planes and arrived home Sunday evening.  Kaden and Lexi were so, so excited to see me, but Ari took about ten-twenty minutes to warm up to me again.  Now she won't let me leave the room without holding her hand.  :)

It was the best vacation and so much fun to see Steph and Danny!

(P.S. If you're still reading, thanks for sticking through this long post!)

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