102 In Life

Our Chicago Adventure

I’ve been thinking about writing my Chicago post for days now. I long to remember and record the account of our lives, both  for myself and for my children, but I want to do so carefully. I’m acutely aware this blog is not just read by me. If I were writing it for myself, I would probably think less of my word choices and just let it all flow from my mouth. But I feel I have a responsibility to be honest and share while not sugar-coating our lives.  Anyway, I’ve been chewing on this one for days…

As for Chicago…  I took all of your wonderful advice {thank you!} and packed each girl a little back pack full of fun things to do on the plane. The back packs were a gift from my aunt earlier this year— but I spied them at the Dollar Tree! Yes, $1. They are perfect “toddler” size.


Early the morning of our departure, we almost decided that Justin would stay home with John Martin. His little cold kept him up the better part of the night. We wavered back and forth and finally decided that we would brave it and we were all glad to be together as a family. Especially considering he didn’t seem to be bothered by the flight at all.


We considered the fact that our airplane was only filled to about 10% capacity to be a tremendous blessing.

This was our first time to fly together since our honeymoon {almost 8 years ago} and we decided  that  flying with 3 small children is a little different! 🙂 Despite the added responsibility we were pleasantly surprised {as many of you said we would be} at how well behaved all the kids were. The fact that everything is new and exciting certainly helped. I think we would both agree that the hardest part of flying was the very short layover in Atlanta. Thankfully we did get to meet up with Justin’s sister in the Atlanta airport, she was flying out just a few gates down from us!  

Seeing as how we aren’t frequent flyers, I was ignorant to the fact that a camera is considered a “portable electronic device”. When we were taking off from Atlanta I was snapping pictures of the kids when the flight attendant came over the “loud speaker” with this announcement, “Ladies and gentleman, the Captain has not yet approved the use of portable electronic devices and this includes CAMERAS. Cameras or anything with an on/off switch is considered an electronic device. Thank you for your cooperation.” I tucked my tail and wanted to crawl under my seat, it would have been less embarrassing if she had brought me a scarlet A and asked me to tape it to my forehead. I put my camera away and didn’t get it out again until we landed.

We were {purposefully} the last to deplane so the girls could peek into the cockpit. When we were boarding Morgan peeked in and the Captain let her come over the loud speaker to announce, “Welcome aboard!” I figured he would graciously allow another opportunity in the cockpit before we got off. The pilots were so kind and both said, “We’ll get out so they can get in!” The girls jumped at the opportunity. I made sure it was ok to get out my “portable electronic device” to snap a few pictures! 🙂


The next morning we headed into the city with the girls to hit the American Girl store. Justin graciously stayed back with John Martin while he napped. DaddyBoy made reservations months ago for the girls to have lunch.


My girls knew very little about the American Girls and prior to lunch didn’t have a doll. The restaurant thankfully has a wall of dolls and highchairs you can borrow for your meal! Each girl chose a doll and enjoyed sharing tea and dining with her!


Lunch was delicious and as long as you’re not 3, you will enjoy it.

This was what I condsidered a simple Mac ‘n Cheese mishap. Paige was under the impression that her sandwich would be served with Mac ‘n Cheese, like Morgan’s. Thankfully, with DaddyBoy to the rescue, a side of Mac ‘n Cheese was promptly delivered to the table and a smile resumed.
What a stinker!

DaddyBoy loves his little ladies, especially considering he may have been the only man in the entire room. I won’t say he necessarily will be back again anytime soon, but he enjoyed treating his girls!


After lunch we headed downstairs to check out the dolls. I’m not sure what planet I’ve been on or how they have eluded us, but somehow the American Girls haven’t made their way to our mailbox.

The entire store is like a shrine to the American Girls.

The girls loved it, Morgan more so than Paige.

But both girls left with a doll, thank you, Mom & DaddyBoy! Paige got a single twin toddler that she promptly wanted to name Carol. But seeing as how we have 10 dolls named Carol, we persuaded her to choose another and she chose Anna! Morgan came home with Kit Kitteridge, whom she very much resembles and adores!

The next day {Saturday} was beautiful and mild. We stayed in the suburbs and got a late start to our day. We met up with a precious friend, Anne for lunch at Portillo’s.

While we were there, Mom taught John Martin how to dip his french fries in ketchup.


Then we hit the local mall that has a double-decker carousel.

Anne and DaddyBoy both knew it would be a hit. We went round and round and round. The kids loved it, I thought I was going to throw up!
I loved watching Mom and DaddyBoy as we made our circles!

I don’t know why, but that picture absolutely cracks me up!

Next, at Annie’s suggestion, we hit the Mt. Saint Mary’s park on the Fox River in St. Charles. It was a hit. Even Jon Bon Martin had a great time.


The kids had such a great time that most of my pictures from our time there look more like this.

Mom and DaddyBoy watched for a while, then Mom got in on the action and took Paige down a slide with a 25 foot drop while DaddyBoy snuck away for a loaf of bread.

It was really nice to get a taste of fall while we were there!

The park sits right on the Fox River. When DaddyBoy returned with a loaf of bread, we promptly made our way to the little quackers.

They are restoring the river banks and I did everything within me to avoid the “orange mesh fencing” but it was inevitably going to show up.

My children had never fed ducks before. The Raiger “weally”  wanted a duck to eat the bread from her hand, she waited a long time and finally tossed it in.


When the loaf was gone we made our way back up to the park. Rover found a little rover and he absolutely loves a “woof woof“!

Once we confirmed that this rover had never eaten a Rover before we let him get a little closer.
Rover was in love with the little rover and I think the feelings were mutual… or maybe it was crusted, dried ketchup and hot dog remains.

Before we left we hit the swings.

We spent Saturday night with close friends, eating, talking, playing; it was really fun but I didn’t take any pictures!

Sunday Mom and DaddyBoy offered to keep JM so that we could take the girls into the city. We hit the Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier.


They got to do a “real live” archaeological dig, just like their daddy does. Although, this was more paleontological in nature! 🙂
This is to prove I was on the trip.

The girls loved the museum. It is what it is, a Children’s Museum… so parents, if you ever go, don’t get your hopes too high for yourself– it’s geared towards little ones!

Monday was another slowly started day. We hit CPK for lunch.

Post lunch Justin and DaddyBoy took the girls with them, while Mom, Rover and myself hit a few shops at Geneva Commons. He was less than thrilled with his shopping adventures.

Monday night we spent again with wonderful old friends and Cousin made her way out from Naperville. It’s always fun to be in the company of people that you go way back with. I unfortunately have no pictures of this night either.

Tuesday morning came too quickly and we found ourselves back at the airport.

Rover loves his back pack carrier that I found on Craig’s List, it’s a crazy story. The short version: I got on Craig’s List {for the first time in my life– won’t be my last} the day before we left looking for a back pack carrier for the trip. I inquired about this one for $20. Ends up belonging to  a “new friend” she replies and can’t believe it’s me inquiring, I had no idea it was hers. She used to read the blog when she was living in Budapest last year. She gave me the back pack. That’s a very abbreviated version. Anyway, the little back pack was certainly a blessing to our family and the Rover {as long as he was in it} was a little angel!

This post is taking forever… here are pictures from the airport.
And I braved humiliation again and used my portable electronic device to take a picture when we were departing.
Rover was really good on the way home too.

His ears seemed to bother him a little when we were descending into Atlanta so I offered him a gummy worm and told him, “This is for your ears!”
Being the very literal little guy that he is, he immediately put the worm in his ear!

Ok… I’m late for a Thanksgiving Feast!

Thanks, Mom and DaddyBoy for a wonderful little getaway! The girls favorite thing from the whole weekend was “the park”…. just goes to show how simple  and relational children are! 

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  • Mandy Norris
    November 20, 2009 at 9:49 am

    Precious pictures…so glad y’al had fun…yes, the American girl doll has taken over our life for my 4 year old via the grandparents!! She loves it, though! So glad y’al are home safe! Have a good weekend! Mandy

  • Mag
    November 20, 2009 at 9:57 am

    That Carousel makes me ill too! We sometimes go to the theatre there and my kids always want me to take them on it, but I just cant! So terrific that the girls went to the American Girl store, it is really special, if you dont go too often! Kit is my favorite. Also fun to see the pictures of our little town, it really is a wonderful (if not chilly) place to grow up! Glad you had a good time.

  • Cassity
    November 20, 2009 at 9:59 am

    I absolutely love the American girl doll, Kirsten was my girl! I used to wait for the magazines every month or so and circle every single item in them just dreaming of it all. I think if I find a store nearby, I would probably be just as excited to go and see it now! Looks like you guys had a great time!

  • darla
    November 20, 2009 at 9:59 am

    looks like an amazing time, and reminds me of times with my little ones…just i don’t have the great pictures that you do. what a blessing to be a great photographer and have good equipment. i wasn’t ever that blessed, but i do have the good memories. i have 2 girls and a boy in the same order. you have just brought back a ton of memories for me. thanks!

  • julia
    November 20, 2009 at 10:00 am

    I love that picture of your parents at the park. It makes me miss my own.

  • stephanie
    November 20, 2009 at 10:03 am

    i love the tea party and Rover meeting a rover! That dog is beautiful!! (As are your children!)

    a camera question for you…how do you manage to shoot a clear picture when the kids are in motion? I’ve been reading the manual, and trying all the settings, but all i usually get are blurred shots of my kid moving around…help please?

  • Melanie
    November 20, 2009 at 10:06 am

    I feel like a kid on Christmas morning looking through all the pictures from the American Girl Place. My daughter has Kit too and I so want to take her for a visit. We may have to settle for the Atlanta American Girl Place trip though. I love the shoe in the picture of the leaf. Can you share the brand and where you got them? Glad you all had such a great trip and thanks for sharing!

  • Christina
    November 20, 2009 at 10:07 am

    What a fun trip! I love the pictures of Paige waiting so patiently for the duck, Rover and his rover, and the silly Morgan one! They make me want three children of my own.
    Does JM use MAM pacifiers? My son does and I haven’t seen a clip for them. Would you mind sharing where you found one? Thanks!

  • Amber
    November 20, 2009 at 10:10 am

    What a wonderful post! As always, your pictures and storytelling are amazing! The American Girl store was my favorite part. It makes me hope that I have a little girl one day to take there! So sweet!
    I also want to say that I love how you started the post being so honest and candid about what to share and how to share it. I’ve never “met” you, but this is something that always comes through in your blog, and is one of the things that I admire you for!

  • Alice
    November 20, 2009 at 10:15 am

    What a heartwarming post! I very much enjoy the small glimpse you give your faithful blog-stalkers. Having to travel 10 hours to visit my grandparents, this post brought back warm memories of special trips we made when we were little! Thank you for sharing your trip Darby!

  • Laura
    November 20, 2009 at 10:18 am

    You are so blessed! What a great trip…loved the part about the American Girl dolls. My grandparents gave me my first doll when I was six! What great memories!!

  • Jan
    November 20, 2009 at 10:20 am

    darby, you need to have your own photography workshop for photographing families and children. i’d be the first to sign up! your images capture the story perfectly. what lenses did you take with you? i’m wondering how to pack efficiently when it comes to the most versatile lens.

  • Katie
    November 20, 2009 at 10:21 am

    Such beautiful pictures of your children! I love the ear-worm! That’s too cute!

  • Kellie
    November 20, 2009 at 10:23 am

    Awesome post and pictures!

  • beki
    November 20, 2009 at 10:24 am

    Aww, it sounds like such a great time! The bit about Paige and the ducks reminded me of this past weekend when Ava wispered to me at the zoo that she wanted to bring a duck home with us. I need to bring my kids somewhere to feed the ducks!

  • Jennifer
    November 20, 2009 at 10:31 am

    I can never get through one of your posts without tearing up! LOL Either I am a total crazy sap or your kiddos are some of THE MOST beautiful on the planet. That little Rover of yours reminds me so much of my own son, Noah…and now I need to go hug that little bugger with all my might! Thanks for sharing your life Darby…it is a really beautiful one. Precious pictures. Glad that you enjoyed your trip! My own parents are celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary in Florida at the moment and I miss them! Have a wonderful weekend! : )

  • Jessi
    November 20, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Sounds like a wonderful trip and that everyone enjoyed it! Love the pictures of Rover with the white dog, beautiful and you can see the enjoyment in the little one’s eyes. What great pictures you take and you capture the emotion of the moment.

  • Talysa
    November 20, 2009 at 10:36 am

    Love your pics! But even more…I LOVE your SHOES!!! Do you mind telling what brand and where purchased?

  • Christy Stargel
    November 20, 2009 at 10:36 am

    What a fun trip! Love the backpacks and can’t get over the fact that you got them at the Dollar Tree! Wow! And I also love your shoes in the leaf pic – where can I get a pair?

  • jessica
    November 20, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Your recaps are always the best! I don’t have kids (yet?), but I always love your photographs and stories about your trips! It’s going to be a great treasure for your kids to have those to treasure many years from now.

  • alston
    November 20, 2009 at 10:40 am

    wonderful pictures — looks like such a fun trip! so glad the plane travel went well. i’m still laughing about “Carol!”

  • Dana
    November 20, 2009 at 10:44 am

    The Dollar Tree backpacks and the backpack carrier are further evidence that yes, Darby can do anything for $1. I feel vindicated! https://livingtotellaboutit.wordpress.com/2009/07/27/when-i-grow-up/

  • Kristen
    November 20, 2009 at 10:45 am

    I love this post and I love that you were right here in Chicago where I live!! Your pictures were amazing, I’m so glad you made it into at least one!! Love the yellow scarf. Those pictures of Rover with the dog are priceless, so darn cute! And one more thing, cannot believe your plane was so empty on the way out…that is bizarre. Your post made my Friday 🙂

  • alison g. (brazil)
    November 20, 2009 at 10:45 am

    The trip looks like it was a complete success! Your kiddos were troopers, from what I can tell – think Rover might be suited for air travel! 😉
    And, I’m continually amazed (and inspired) by your skills with that camera – you make it look easy, girlie!

    Glad you’re all back on terra firma – take care!

  • Erin
    November 20, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Thanks for sharing your adventure with us! I love Chicago and now I really want to make a trip with my 2 1/2 year old after seeing how much fun you had with your kiddos. You have the most adorable kids I have ever seen! Loved the pictures of Rover with his friend Rover-ADorable!!!

  • Lorraine
    November 20, 2009 at 10:51 am

    I have been following along with your blog for a while now and I just have to say, your little boy makes me miss my boys when they were that age. Hold onto those chubby little cheeks and chubby little fingers for as long as you can! Your family is absolutely darling, you are so very blessed!

  • Jenny
    November 20, 2009 at 10:53 am

    Ok, it’s official…I’m so jealous of your picture taking ability. I have the same camera and am NO where near close to getting the same pics. Completely jealous.

  • Abby Maddox
    November 20, 2009 at 10:54 am

    I’ve been anxiously checking for this one, and you didn’t disappoint 🙂 Looks AWESOME!

  • Suzanne
    November 20, 2009 at 10:56 am

    Gorgeous pics! You are an amazing photographer, and your family is so lucky to have these photographs! I totally agree with the other commenter – if you open your own photography studio, I will be the first person in line to hire you! (And you can also come on all my family vacations and document them for us, lol.)
    You have a beutiful family. Thanks for sharing with us!

  • Amber E
    November 20, 2009 at 10:57 am

    Your blog CRACKS me up!! I’m telling you, your little guy reminds me so much of mine. I love him putting the gummy worm in his ears….. too funny!!! Looks like a great trip. Traveling with kids isn’t too bad, huh?!? haha.

    BTW, LOVE your shoes!! You must share where you got them 🙂

  • arre
    November 20, 2009 at 10:57 am

    what a sweet get-away! your recap is lovely. your family is beautiful. and i cannot stop laughing about Paige wanting to name yet another doll Carol! oh, that or the picture of her with her head in what a i presume to be a dino’s mouth.


  • Melissa
    November 20, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Amazing trip recap and looks like a great time. You amaze me that you were able to travel with ease with three children. I travel a ton (solo) and seeing families traveling always makes me grateful I am solo. As for American Girl I can’t believe you didn’t know about them!! They are the best. I had two when I was younger as they were just coming out. Now they are unbelievably popular, so lucky your girls got spoiled by grandma and grandpa! Glad your trip was fun.

  • chesley
    November 20, 2009 at 11:06 am

    ok, so someone already asked my main question…where did you get those cute shoes?!! wonderful pictures to document your time there..one question, did you use your flash on those indoor ones? i know you don’t normally & neither do i, but those look especially bright to be without it indoor, esp in the American Girl lunch. Love your blog!! your children are too cute for words :)!

  • Rebecca
    November 20, 2009 at 11:19 am


  • Rachel
    November 20, 2009 at 11:40 am

    I absolutely love the pictures of Rover and his Rover! They are too precious. The whole post was great! Thanks for always sharing.

  • E @ Oh! Apostrophe
    November 20, 2009 at 11:44 am

    What beautiful photos of your beautiful children! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Paloma {LaDolceVita}
    November 20, 2009 at 11:55 am

    Darby, I am so glad you had a wonderful trip! As always, your pictures are gorgeous! The kids look so beautiful and happy. I got a new camera for my birthday 2 weeks ago and decided to go with the Canon Rebel XSi because I was so inspired by your photography!

  • Sara
    November 20, 2009 at 11:55 am

    Such beautiful pictures! I found myself smiling the entire time I was reading your post, I so enjoy following along on your sweet family adventures. Would you mind sharing which lens you used on your trip? Your photographs are always SO good, but these are particularly fantastic. Thanks!

  • Tonja
    November 20, 2009 at 11:57 am

    Hi Darby! I so enjoyed the pics from the trip! Tell Miss Morgan I said Hi!

  • Shauna Thomas
    November 20, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    I think this is my most favorite post ever. I just smiled the whole way down the page. The American Girls books came out just as I was hitting “the chapter book stage” and I devoured them. I enjoyed seeing the girls’ A.G. lunch!

  • bryn
    November 20, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    As always, I loved this post. Your posts like this always makes me want to have kids ASAP. We need to wait a couple years, so I’ll just live vicariously through you. But I especially loved the part about American Girl’s. The books were such a big part of my childhood, and I never did get to get a doll 🙁 I’m glad your girls did though! Samantha was my favorite.

  • Lillian @ Domestic Simplicity
    November 20, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    What a great trip and wonderful memories! I cannot wait for the day when my little girl is big enough for the American Girl dolls! I got one in second grade and still treasure it to this day. I love so much that their favorite part of it all was the park – sweet little souls don’t ask for a lot in life, do they?

  • Lillian @ Domestic Simplicity
    November 20, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    p.s. Another vote loving your shoes!

  • Abbie
    November 20, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    It looks like it was a fabulous trip. The ride home always seems to come more quickly than you’d like. Love the pics of JM with the dog. Too cute!

  • Katie W
    November 20, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    So I randomly ran across your blog, the last time you came to Chicago. I thought it was interesting because we just moved from TN to Geneva, IL. So it was funny to see places that I now know as home to be on someone else blog. Does that make since? Anyways, I am glad you had a good time. I have two boys, so the American Girl store is not something I see in my future, but it looks adorable.

  • Megan
    November 20, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    What a fun trip! I love all the pictures, but the ones of JM with the dog!!!!!!!!!!!!! TOO TOO TOO Cute! I hope you got some pictures of your whole family?

  • Mandy
    November 20, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Yes, info on the shoes please!!!! Love your blog.

  • pam
    November 20, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    darby, i loved ALL the pictures! what a fun time y’all had. thanks for sharing. 10% full flight, wow… every flight i’ve flown in the last 10 years has been packed full to the point where they’re giving away tickets if you get off. and i desperately want those black and white striped plates at the american girl restaurant. pam

  • Jessica
    November 20, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Looks like a fantastic trip! I think it’s interesting that the Morgan and Raiger’s American Girl dolls that they picked to have lunch with have their mother’s hair color and complexion which is not like their own. I think that says a lot for how they LOVE their mom.

  • Scattering Lupines
    November 20, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    I’m so glad they have an American Girl Doll! I had Samantha Parkington, and my best friends had Molly, Felicity, and Kirsten!

  • Misty
    November 20, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    The worm in the ear actually made me laugh out loud. Thanks, I needed a laugh. When my 8 year old boy was 4 he found a tiny eyeglass screw on the floor during his PREK 4 nap. That afternoon he told his father “That screw in my ear sure does hurt” Bill said, You don’t have a screw in your ear. Then he thought about who Will is and looked. Well there was a screw in his ear and we met Jonathan Lindman that evening (ENT). We asked Will why he put the screw in his ear…. “Because I didn’t have a pocket”
    This is probably a strange comment but I just have to say it because it is true. Your Dad is gorgeous!! I’m sure that you think so too. It looks like you guys have a good relationship with him, what a blessing. Praise God.

  • Megan
    November 20, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Can you believe I have to read your blog without pictures now?? It would take a year and a half to download each post with all of those pictures with our slow African connection. Sigh. It will be like a lovely present to open when I get to a place where I can see all the pictures again!

    Glad you had fun on the plane. You should have seen us flying for 18 hours with all three! Whew!

  • Kristi
    November 20, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    Looks like you all had an amazing time. They are just so darn cute! I showed my daughter about ketchup a few months ago and now we have to dip everything. Kids are so funny! We got an american doll catalog in the mail this week and the dolls were precious! That is so neat to go to lunch with them.

  • Rochelle Heinz
    November 20, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Awww your babies are so beautiful!! I love all the pictures you are a wonderful photographer!

    Take care!

  • Carolyn
    November 20, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    Looks like so much fun. You did a great job getting it all down on the blog with so many pictures…REALLY great pictures. I wonder how many pics you have on your computer! (Your shoes are quite cute and I’m glad you threw a pic of yourself in there…)

  • May
    November 20, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    Beautiful pictures, Darby 🙂 I especially love the carousel – I rode one just like it when I was a kid and always loved the spinning, then rode it again on my honeymoon and felt so dizzy!

    Can’t say how much your blog is an encouragement for me as a wife, mother and child of God. Have a very blessed day!

  • Lindsay
    November 20, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    So glad the plane trip went well, love all the pictures! I had American Girls growing up and my Mom would make us dresses and a mini one for our dolls (I think you can buy patterns specifically for the dolls… if you need another project!) Lots of fun memories!

  • Becky Brodbeck
    November 20, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    I enjoyed reading about your trip…looks like a wonderful time with your parents. I drove past your old house in the ‘ville today (taking a short cut thru Anchorage)it made miss you and thankful for all the great memories! Lots of Love-Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Kristin
    November 20, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    Darby, it sounds/looks like you had a wonderful trip…yeah!

    DO NOT SUPPORT CRAIG’S LIST!!!!!! I loved it, too, until I recently learned that it is used as a cover-up for prostitution and sex trafficking. “Craig” has received complaints and refuses to safeguard the site. People continue to use it and are inadvertantly supporting these things. I was skeptical of the validity of the claims initially until I went and saw for myself the things being “sold”. I know you wouldn’t ever support something so vile and thought you’d appreciate knowing. It stinks b/c there are some great deals on there…but it’s just wrong.

  • Melise
    November 20, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    Ok I LOVED that you took that picture of yourself in the mirror to prove you were on the trip! I KNOW right? Moms never get their picture made! I loved the American Girl store, the picture of your shoe with the leaf, the little rover with Rover but I think my favorite was Daddy and daughters at the lake (orange mesh and all)…so precious! I love Daddy’s and their girls! Looks like a fun fun time!

  • Andee Johnson
    November 20, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    Looks like a great trip! My husband and I were thinking of taking our children to Chicago next year. They have never been and we think they are finally old enough to enjoy the trip.

    This is a weird question but I love your shoes in the leave picture! They look so comfy – are they new this year, if so, do you mind sharing where you got them.


  • Lindsey
    November 20, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    what a great entry! i loved seeing all the pics! you are truly blessed! i would alos like information on those adroable shoes, please please share 😀

  • Susan
    November 20, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    Love your photos! You really have a great eye and inspire me to continue to play with/figure out my camera. Thanks for sharing!

  • Kristen
    November 20, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    Love your pictures! I showed AC the American Girl pics and she said, “WOW…Awesome!” The Chicago store is a bit fancier than ATL. And yes, Morgan and AC both could pass as “Kits”:) If she ever wants to dress up like Kit, you know who to call! Looks like a great trip. Enjoyed seeing y’all today!

  • Claire
    November 20, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    Thank you for sharing your family trip with a complete stranger. The worm in the ear is precious.

  • Leisel
    November 20, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Good times! My fav pics are the white Rover licking your Rover, and the precious one you took of JM in the swing with his fingers gripping the swing & framing his cute little face.

  • Cheri
    November 20, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    Love your shoes! where did you get them?

  • Betty
    November 20, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    My first time to comment, I am one of your blog-stalkers,I guess. I have been reading your blog ever since the orange bathroom was in the Washington Post. Your children are beautiful, your writing is perfection, and you make me laugh. Loved the photo today of JM and the dog in the park, so precious. Thank you for sharing your family.

  • beth
    November 20, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    looks like a wonderful trip! your children are seriously precious! Can’t wait to have some little blondies of my own 🙂

  • mommasissy
    November 20, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    so much to love! john martin and that dog might be my favorite.
    raiger ticked about the mac-n-cheese, hilarious.
    its all so good i cant pick and choose.
    i love you a LOT and wish we could have been there too! once sloane is a little older we’ll join in on these adventures!!

  • Lauren
    November 20, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    I have so enjoyed keeping up with your blog and all your wonderful families adventures!!! Love all the pictures!! Your kids are adorable. I have a 14 month old girl and I can’t wait for the day she begins to enjoy all the American Girl stuff too. We are also looking forward to having a little “Rover” (baby boy due next month) of our own soon 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend!!

  • kendall boggs
    November 20, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    How totally fun!!! I love the pics! I remember taking my girls to the American Girls place in Chicago. What great memories!

    just a reminder to your readers….
    My contest for the giveaway of the painting “Grace” ends Thanksgiving Day. Would love for your readers to comment for a chance to win!!!

    Thanks Darbs!

  • Mott
    November 20, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    The pictures of Rover with Rover are absolutely precious! The look on your Rover’s little face while he is with the dog is the cutest. Of course, it goes without saying for the girls, too! But I love it when the dog was licking his face! I can tell you all had a good time by the pics and I’m glad you’re home safe and sound!

  • Jenn
    November 20, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Thanks for sharing and brightening my day with your delightful pictures.

  • Brandi
    November 20, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    Darcy.. great pics. Thanks for sharing, even if they are mostly for your family 😉 I have fun looking at them. You take great pics. My favorite, Paige’s face while on the carousel. It’s like she is just mesmerized with joy. So cute. Love your shoes too. Those are cute, and look comfy.

  • Karen
    November 20, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    So cute! What a wonderful time to spend in Chicago. Now, thats a great trip… spending time with old friends and a little bit of shopping too. Seeing Chicago brings back memories of my ex-bf. He lived in Chicago while we were dating (and still does, hence the “ex” part) and I would fly in to see him on weekends. I got a little misty when I found myself picking out his building on your aerial skyline picture (which is fantastic by the way). WAH! Anyway, thanks for sharing your lovely trip. Your family is absolutely adorable. Now, maybe its time to call that ex… and see what he is up to…

  • amy
    November 20, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    I love your blog and share your faith. Your pictures are so great. It looked like so much fun. I wanted to let you know about Craig’s list and their history of promoting sex slavery. It is very sad and frustrating to see Craig’s attitude about his adult sites. I would love to buy things off of Craig’s list because of their great deals, but we have got to take a stand against trafficking! I know you just didn’t know, but please share with your readers…how great that you have the opportunity to educate so many!

  • Meredith
    November 20, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    How wonderful! I am so glad y’all had a good time and made it safely home. Love the pictures and JM is TOO cute with the dog. I about cried over Daddy Boy taking the girls to the American Doll store and cafe. That is precious, and who am I kidding, I did cry! What wonderful memories and time spent with family!


  • Carol
    November 20, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    Loved this post. Being an Illinois Girl, I felt right at home! I’m not sure who was smiling bigger. . . Rover or the rover. So happy you all had a great time.

  • sammyw
    November 20, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    where on earth are those shoes of yours from – i love them!

  • natalie @ our old southern house
    November 20, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    great pictures…as always!! 🙂
    we have an american girl cafe and store here in atlanta.
    my daughter, who is just over 10 months old, got her first american girl catalog in the mail last week. how did they already find us?!!?!? craziness!

  • Amanda Thrasher
    November 20, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    I know everyone is always so impressed with the pix of your kids, how well behaved, etc. but I LOVE Mom and Daddyboy! They are troopers and looked like the hostesses with the mostesses. Happy Weekend! A

  • Anne W
    November 20, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    Absolutely precious pictures of your little ones! Looks like you had a wonderful time; thanks for sharing!!

  • LeAnn
    November 20, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    It looks like you all had a blast!! My little Morgan (8 yrs old) has suddenly jumped into American Girl fever!! She has gotten several catalogs and keeps changing her mind as to what doll to get. She seems to be comming back to Emily more often though. She has NO CLUE she is getting one for her birthday!

    Oh, the picture of Paige with her head in the dinosaurs mouth cracks me up!! Love it!

    Thanks for sharing your life with us!

  • Emily
    November 21, 2009 at 12:06 am

    What a fun vacation it looks like you guys had! The pictures of your son with the dog have to be my favorite :] Can’t wait to actually get to see Chicago one day..

  • emily
    November 21, 2009 at 12:23 am

    American Girl made me giddy! I had Samantha, Molly, Kirstin and Felicity, and back in the 90’s they had the American Girl magazine that was basically for tweens/pre-teens, and I remember having birthday cakes from it. The dolls now reside in my parent’s attic, but will resurface when I get married and have kids. Just an FYI- I got Samantha when I was 5 and decided she needed a shorter hair style- if one of your cuties does that, you can send her to the ‘doll hospital’ and they will fix the hair, and send her home with a hospital gown and baloon- or at least that’s what they used to do. I thought that was soo cool, ha. Fun fun memories for your girls! Thanks for sharing them with us.

  • Brittan
    November 21, 2009 at 8:08 am

    I am so glad you had a fun trip! I laughed so hard at JM and that dog, those are precious! My youngest loves dogs too- Happy Thanksgiving!!

  • jen
    November 21, 2009 at 8:22 am

    The pictures of JM and the dog are priceless! The absolute cutest thing I’ve seen since my own almost-14 and almost-11 year-olds were little. SO CUTE.

  • Paula
    November 21, 2009 at 8:48 am

    wow…you take beautiful photos…you have the “eye”.

  • Anne
    November 21, 2009 at 9:22 am

    Brenna, Megan (and I…probably most of all) always thought a trip to the American Girl store would be so much fun. Thanks for the photos….we never made it to the store…which is probably a good thing…because we still ended up with LOTS of dolls and doll things! I love the pictures in the park…the flying hair and the dog licking JM. What a nice trip!

  • Blake
    November 21, 2009 at 9:36 am

    As always, your pictures tell a wonderful story. You are a great photographer. Would also love to know what lens you used. Love the girls’ coats. Where are they from? Always enjoy reading your blog.

  • janet
    November 21, 2009 at 10:01 am

    Great post! Always enjoy reading your blog. Daddy boy is one handsome gentleman. Your mom ( who is equally as stunning) radiates warmth and genuine love in their eyes. You are a very lucky lady! Your children are beautiful….
    Thanks for sharing~

  • Kaylene
    November 21, 2009 at 11:22 am

    your trip looks like SO much fun. Thank you for sharing with us. That American Girls place looked like a little girl’s dream come true. I know I would have LOVED it as a kid. I had always wanted one of the dolls but never could get one. I did, however, love reading the books.

  • cheri
    November 21, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    can you pass along your scumptious looking chicken pot pie recipe?

  • caroline
    November 21, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    I don’t know how you even have time to read all of these comments but as usual… great post and WONDERFUL pictures. You are very talented and what memories you capture. I really enjoyed every part! Your children are SO precious. I wish we lived near each other, I would love to be your real life friend! 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  • Debra
    November 22, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    What a great trip! Two questions:
    1) what lense were you using on the trip? The wide angle?
    2) the guitar shoes. Where can I find those?
    I found your site through a friend and love it! I love seeing all your projects and getting fun ideas.
    Debra – TN

  • Kristy
    November 22, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    oh my goodness. what a great post. i almost feel like i was with you. how wonderful for your kids to look back on this someday. looks like it was a wonderful time. your pictures are so great! just curious, how many did you take? and i am so happy to see you in “one” of them :O)

  • cleondann
    December 3, 2009 at 7:06 am

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    cleon dann

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  • ethan1066
    December 23, 2009 at 2:02 am

    what a wonderful post ..i must say the pictures are really good…i always enjoy reading your blog…keep on sharing such memorable things with us..see u…

  • Maggie
    January 5, 2010 at 12:38 am

    I love reading your blog & I always enjoy the pictures. I was told about it by very close friends from Mt. Carmel, and I was excited to see photos from your trip to my home in the Fox Valley! Keep up the great work!

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