When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. I live by this. Sometimes I forget to add sugar and the lemonade is a little too tart, but mostly, yep. I make pitchers full of lemonade. And so when I unexpectedly, unpreparedly found myself in the states, I made lemonade.

Chicago is six hours from Soren. My best friend lives in Chicago. I had a couple of days where Soren had to work, Declan need a break from a house full of people, and I rented a car & drove to see my Emma, hubby Derrick, and twin boys Connor & Logan. My godsons.

I still remember the day, almost 16 years ago, when Emma called me half screaming, half crying:

“WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN????” I’d been right there. Standing in Gramma’s kitchen in Roswell, NM. Hot from a day selling alien t-shirts to tourists.

“What’s up?” Me the calm one, LOL, normally it’s the other way around. Emma is my rock. She grounds me.

“I’m pregnant with twins!” She was still yelling, crying a little more. I’d been making fun of her for having another, pointing out how a large family is quadruple the work (her oldest Garrett is the same age as Tessa). And now, unexpectedly, it was twins. Twin boys it would turn out. Two fantabulous perfect boys.

Twins may have been unexpected, and there may have been a bit of a panic moment at the beginning, but boy were they wanted. And loved. They still are. In those early days we held them, shared them, bathed them, they were so tiny. Even 2 years ago, the last time I saw them, they were still small. Just 13 then. 15 now. And not small!

I walked in the door. They both bounded up from the couch, so like puppies at this age, and hugged their Auntie Toiny. Enveloped me is more like it! Their long lanky arms almost circling me two times over. Both over six feet. Where were my babies?!!?

We ate Portillo’s hot dogs that night. My only topic of conversation “When did you get so tall??” Tess & I felt like toddlers next to them. We stayed up chatting till Emma fell asleep on the couch, after making plans to see Chinatown & the Bean the next day.

Tess grumbled. She didn’t want to see a “bean”. How dumb is a “bean”. I ignored her. I’m getting better at that. Instead we all piled into my car, drove to the train station & trained into Chicago, happily playing Life on Connor’s phone the whole way.

Our first stop was Chinatown. Tess loves all things Asian & I was dying for Dim Sum. By the time we got there, it was almost 2 pm & my tummy was grumbling. I may have overordered Dim Sum, but on a happy note we got to try all the things! Even the things we still aren’t really sure what they are.

After we wandered the little shops in Chinatown, stocking up on our favorite Japanese candies and seaweed snacks then grabbing some boba to ride the “L” to the Bean! By then all of Tess’ grumbling was long gone. Her face was all grins & smiles. Chinatown, Chicago, skyscrapers, Dim Sum, the lake, the Bean! This was all her speed. So far removed from life in Germany.

Truthfully, my eyes were soaking it all in. I love the big city. The hustle, bustle, the people, buildings, food, smells, sights. I couldn’t get enough of any of it. Any one spot had a million different angles to take photos. I so needed more than one day. Instead I took a couple of quick snapshots here & there, focused mostly on the kids, on Emma, and had a truly phenomenal day & evening.

It was like Chicago knew I was on borrowed time. She preened and primped, showing off her beautiful colors as the sun set and night settled over the gleaming lights. It was breathtaking.

At the Dragon Gate! Chinatown!

Dim Sum. No idea what it is, but she’s willing to try!

Tess’ spirit animal… snake?

A little shopping. A little boba. Time to take the “L”!

Goodbye Chinatown! Til next time.

Waiting for train #2. The sun is setting over Chicago.

Just past the horizon lies Lake Michigan.

Train #2! We are going to the Loop!

Logan is tall enough to get us all in a selfie. We are so short

In the middle of downtown Chicago. I feel like such a tourist LOL!

Under “our” train. I could spend days taking photo’s.

Last glimpse of a truly golden sunset.

The Bean! I am amazed by the Bean!

Chicago from Millenium Park

Connor playing in Crown fountain designed by Catalan artist Jaume Plensa

Crown fountain

and suddenly it’s night!

Waiting for our Uber. We’re city folk now!

My beautiful, tall, wonderful Godson Connor

and his equally tall, amazing twin, Logan