In case you missed them, click to read update 1, update 2, and update 3.
Remember the whole car accident and needing to buy a new one story? Well Jon had to figure that out while I was gone. We had hoped it would come in after I was home, but it came in early. A couple days before Jon's mom and I arrived in Richmond, Jon drove the rental car the 4 hours to Birmingham late at night, bought our new car, dropped off the rental car there, and drove the new car back home. He called me when it hit 100 miles in celebration.
Arriving back in Memphis and seeing Jon again was such a sweet, sweet reunion. After going to D.C./Boston/Richmond and all of the emotions those trips elicited, I just wanted to be near Jon and never leave again. Thankfully, he was about to begin Fall Break, so other than 2 days of work, he was free for the next week. We had a new motorcycle, a new car, Mom in town, a tiny Tobin growing inside, and we were together again. We seemed to be drowning in results of many answered prayers. It was humbling. Hallelujah and amen.
Initially I had been nervous about Jon's mom coming to stay with us. I was not sure we would have any energy left and would not be able to fully enjoy time with her. Instead, it turned out to be such a blessing for us. The time together forced us to slow down, really enjoy meals, and savor the time together. Cooking meals together or introducing Mom to some of our favorite restaurants here was definitely a highlight. So. Much. Good. Food.
While Jon was working, Mom and I went on a visit to St. Jude Children's Research Center for a tour of their facilities. They are such a huge part of Memphis and do so much good for children who are very sick and their families. It brought tears to both of our eyes to see how strong those kids are, how dedicated the workers seem to be, and how fun the whole atmosphere was. It was not at all like a normal hospital.
Another fun activity that week was going to a corn maze and pumpkin patch. Pumpkin picking is one of my most favorite Fall activities, so I was thrilled to be able to find a place here to do just that. We donned our boots and took a long trek through the corn maze. Or rather, Mom and I followed Jon, the master navigator, while munching on snacks and cheating by cutting through the corn.
After we had survived the corn, we went pumpkin picking, complete with a couple photos of a baby pumpkin. We could not help ourselves.
After the short week ended and we had to say goodbye to Jon's mom, we immediately started our long drive in the new car to Chicago. Jon drove most of the way up because I slept through nearly all of it. I was so desperately tired. When we arrived, we put our things in our awesome apartment that we rented through airb&n and then went out for a late dinner. This would not have been very memorable if it were not for the fact that Jon ordered a side truffle fries. I learned that night that I apparently have a strong pregnancy aversion to french fries. It was not so much that they made me feel nauseated as it was that they smelled as offensive as limburger cheese or a skunk in the room. I made Jon put them at the far end of the table and swear off ever eating french fries again.
But ah, Chicago. We loved strolling the streets and holding each others hands. It was like a nice long date. It was chilly, we enjoyed some of our favorite coffee, and ate some amazing food. If you ever need suggestions for where to eat in Chicago, we've got a list for you. We Tobins love food.
When we travel, Jon and I love finding things that the locals do, rather than seeing all the big tourist sights. We did take a stroll of the Navy Pier and visited the Art Institute of Chicago, but otherwise mostly stuck to exploring neighborhoods. Jon even looked up local events and saw that they were showing Ghostbusters outside at the zoo one night! We packed blankets, got some popcorn, and picked out a good spot. Best idea ever.
Now for the main event: the Chicago Marathon. After Jon ran it last year and hit a personal record, he decided to try and beat it this year. His training over the summer gave him a good chance for a better time, maybe even a Boston qualifying time. To qualify to be able to run the Boston Marathon, he would need to run a race faster than 3:05:00.
The marathon was on Sunday at the end of our trip. As usual, he felt calm the night before. I got the pre-race jitters for him. Morning came very early but the weather was perfect for a race. He made his way to the start and I made my way to first of the viewing locations.
The Chicago Marathon is one of the biggest marathons in the world, so naturally it draws quite a crowd. There was an electric feeling in the air as the sea of sign-waving fans cheered for the runners racing by. At each of the four viewing points, I was so afraid I would miss him in the crowd. Somehow, I was able to catch him each time with a huge grin on his face. He crossed the finish line at 3:02:08! SO PROUD!!
We celebrated with a huge burger afterwards at Au Cheval... which I unfortunately threw up later. It was the one and only time I have been sick since getting pregnant. (As consequence, I no longer can stand the smell of beef. So no burgers and fries for me for a while!) Jon's burger suited him very well. He seemed to reminisce about the burger for days after, perhaps even more than the marathon itself. Like I said, we Tobins love food. From there, the long drive home was before us. This time, I did all the driving while the champion got some well-deserved rest on the way home. Finally, home.