Sunday, December 9, 2012

Fall in Chicago

We have been able to enjoy some of the fall fun this year even without all the beautiful trees from TN. Preston, I, and our friend Casey went to a fun corn maze/apple farm/pumpkin patch, and I carved a pumpkin for the work pumpkin carving contest. 

Fall brought along a sad memory we will hold. The passing of Preston's grandfather. We traveled down to TN for the funeral, which gave us a chance to visit with friends and family. The trip was a sad time of remembering such a wonderful and loving grandfather.  We will miss his constant support and encouragement and his never-ending love. In remembering him, there are a few more words to read about him here from his grandkids: In honor of
Grandfather with Dean, Preston, Derek, Holly and Forrest
Upon returning to Chicago, Preston and I completed the Hot Chocolate race. If only we were able to get hot chocolate before the race, when it was FREEZING, but the chocolate afterwards was a fun reward.

Of course, with Fall there is THANKSGIVING! A wonderful holiday where Preston and I were in Kentucky with my mom and dad and sister. We enjoyed good food and relaxing time with the family. Yes, we went BLACK FRIDAY shopping.  We left at MIDNIGHT  (thursday evening) from my parents home and didn't get back home until 9:00am on Friday.
Playing Monopoly - I won!! :)
My parents were given a large amount of pecans and so we all gathered to help crack and clean the pecans. Very Thanksgivingy event.
My father and I usually make our not-yet-famous Chocolate candy every year.
These are the business hours posted where my father gets his hair cut.
During our black Friday extravaganza, we purchased me a smart phone. My first. So far, it has been quite enjoyable and there is so much stuff that the little phone can do.  It is very tempting to get back on Facebook; however, my simpler facebookless life is pretty good.

We will be back down in TN the weekend of December 15th to celebrate in Preston's GRADUATION!! Very excited for the trip to come and for the Christmas holidays which are fast approaching.  

Blessings and love, 
Krystal (and Preston)

Some gals from Urban Life Skill - mentoring program I'm a part of.
View from top of parking garage near our house. Top of Sears tower changes colors every month!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Good Bye Sunshine (lots of photos)

Well over the last few months we have been enjoying the last rays of sun and warmth of summer. Fall has started, pumpkins are everywhere, and the leaves (little that are here) are changing colors.

In August Preston and I had an opportunity to take some time off of work and enjoy some rest and relaxation away from Chicago - a concrete jungle.  We headed up to the little rural town of Suttons Bay Michigan where below you will see some photos of our stay.  It was PERFECT weather.

(We were very blessed to find me another bike for this trip since mine was stolen a week before we left. )
Broken lock :(
Fresh Apple Cider :)

Having Breakfast at the famous Martha's Leelanau Table

The water of Lake Michigan used to go all the way up to the light house.

Trying to break a world record - most paddle boats in one area (or something) we didn't make it.
Arial view of all of us floating together

Insane assylumn turned into shops and restaraunts

Us going on our 34 miles bike ride. Woohoo!

We climbed up some pretty awesome sand dunes!

Shortly after that came the Chicago Half-Marathon (13.1 miles).  Super fun! Can't believe I actually did it. Since then Preston and I both ran another 5k, and we look forward to a 15k race in November. Running is more fun now than when we first started :)
Before the half marathon - I like eating red peppers when running
Preston met me after the race - Woohoo!
Our most recent venture was to Minneapolis, MN. Although we traveled from one city to another, Minneapolis is smaller and quainter than Chicago. It really was a beautiful and fun city to see. Of course, we went to the humongous Mall of America....and some other spots around the town.
Our friend and Preston's colleague Casey!
Preston with his other friend Spongebob ☺
Lunch at the Spaghetti factory
Famous Stone Arch Bridge 

"The Stone Arch Bridge is the only bridge of its kind over the Mississippi River. It is made of native granite and limestone, and measures 2100-feet long by 28-feet wide. The bridge consists of 23 arches"
Candid :)
Homemade Ice Cream from Wisconsin...yum
We were actually in MN for a conference that Preston attended for work (Christian Community Development Association), and then he went to another conference in Texas the next weekend (Collaborative Family Healthcare Association).  

Overall, we are doing well. Continuously getting busier and more involved with the world around us up here. We started participating in our church's worship team - a fun blessing
Now we are just trying to see how long we can ride our bikes to work before we start freezing in the mornings. hahaha.
Blessings and joy to all,
Preston and Krystal 

Our recent Groupon find - We went on a walking pizza tour - learned a lot of pizza history and then went to Mrs. Field's store for dessert!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

It's been a year!!

The beach in Chicago!!
Whoa...already 1 year. Tomorrow, August 1st, will be one full year of Preston and I living in Chicago. It has been a wonderful year with unexpected opportunities and surprises.

Now it is SUMMER in the city....the beautiful city.  Chicago comes alive in the summer and we have had some fun visitors so far.  Below are some photos of visitors:

Candace and Nathan at the Cornerstone building

Candace and I at Millenium Park

At the Jelly Bean factory in Wisconsin.
Preston's grandfather was able to come up to Chicago for a day in June.  We had a fun time showing him around the city. Here's a photo of him and Preston at the top of Sears/Willis Tower!!

We also had my parents visiting in the month of June....

Flowers downtown
 ...and some friends of my from grad school visiting this past weekend!!
Beverly and Ashley having fun in front of Buckingham Fountain
We actually ate dessert at Michael Jordan's Steakhouse!!! (Dinner was quite pricey...dessert was all we could afford)
I had a unique opportunity last month to be a part of a was a taste testing for chewing gum, and I got paid. Interesting. AND much more interesting: Preston defended his dissertation and this is his final week as an intern.  He will finish up and continue at Lawndale Christian Health Center for his year long Post-Doc. 

Some gum and my check! Yay!
Preston at his dissertation defense
Preston and his chair for the dissertation committee...Dr. Hirsh

Again, it has been a great year.  One thing that Preston and I both have grown to really enjoy in this lovely weather is biking to and from work whenever we can. 

What I am most looking forward to in the next few weeks is our upcoming water rafting day in Wisconsin, and at the end of August Preston and I are planning to go on a camping/hiking/whoknowswhatelse trip. As much fun as the city is, it will be nice to be in some quietness of nature!

That's it for now...on to another year of fun times.  Blessings, Preston and Krystal

We got a free slurrpy on July 11th (7/11) at 7-11!!
On Preston's trip to TN in July - this is how much he paid for gas....a sight we may never see again. :)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A little bit of family and a little bit of Mexico

A couple of weekends ago, Preston's three brothers came to Chicago for two nights. It was really nice to see them and spend time with them. It appeared that Preston and his brothers were mutually encouraged by one another. 

Photographer, Dean, took some nice shots from the Hancock Tower
Another nice shot by the lake 
 The guys had a good time going around the city and had Chicago hot dogs, which they liked, and deep dish pizza, which they were not very impressed with. Again, it was a joy to see them and to enjoy their humorous personalities! It's a great thing seeing the brothers interacting together...the Lord is good!
Forrest, Dean, Preston, and Derek

This past weekend was Cinco de Mayo. Preston and I live in a Hispanic neighborhood. We are two of the three Caucasian people on our street. We like that we are surrounded by Hispanic culture and often find ourselves talking in Spanish to those around us. Chicago really is diverse, and it tends to be pretty segregated (not necessarily in a bad way). The other day I was in the Indian part of town picking up some cultural foods. I actually felt like a foreigner. Most women were wearing wraps over their heads/faces, people were speaking a different language, and I did not understand most of the signs or labels. I love the culture around here. 

Back to Cinco de Mayo: 
Just for the record, Mexico's Independence Day is September 16th - not May 5th. Here is a piece I found from the History channel: "Cinco de Mayo—or the fifth of May—commemorates the Mexican army's 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867).  

Our experience with this Cinco de Mayo (celebrated May 6th): 

I ran a 5-mile race on May 6th. I was very surprised and happy that I averaged 6 MPH. I did not expect that. The best part about running a Hispanic race - free CHURROS!!! Yummy to my tummy! After the race, I went by this luggage warehouse to pick up a bag for Preston -- kind of a shady place that only took cash...hmm...but it was cheap and I think a good deal! Great morning until I was on my way back home. Not only was the Cinco de Mayo parade happening in front of our house, but there was also a fair at the park near our home; therefore, a ton of roads were blocked off. After driving around forever, navigating around blocked off streets, and being turned away by a traffic cop, I FINALLY made it home.  Although frustrating, it ended up being kind of funny.  hahaha

Luggage Warehouse
Preston also had issues with roadblocks due to the Cinco de Mayo parade.  He got stuck for an hour in the rain on the other side of our street; but it was a welcome reprieve (even if forced).

That's what happens when you live in a Hispanic neighborhood ☺ 

A week from today Preston is leaving for Afghanistan....I will write a blog about that later. Preston and I have been quite busy as of late. He has a lot of work to do on his dissertation...but the end is in sight!! Praise the Lord!!!

Life is good and God is great.
Preston and Krystal 

We walked down to the park/carnival one night for "dinner" -- Mexican dish called Pambazo!

Preston starting to eat the churro we got...chocolate filled churro. Mmm, mmm good!