Family Memorabilia in a Museum + Chicago Recap

Chicago was a trip we won’t forget! Only two of the kids came with us, since Cole and Matt had already been a separate time and traveling is difficult for Kiddo. It was so amazing to get to spend some quality time with my mom exploring and packing in some seriously delicious food and sights!

click to watch the full video

Memorabilia Handoff Ceremony

As many of you already know, my mom was adopted. She traced her genealogical heritage several years ago and found out she had father who was alive and three sisters. In that journey, she became close with her father, who passed away last year. Amazingly among his belongings, the family found memorable from his great uncle, General Kopiki, who as a general in Napoleonic times for Poland!

click to watch the full video

The family worked with a military appraiser the Smithsonian recommended to validate the belongings and find the right museum for them to live. Then, we headed with mom to Chicago to attend the ceremony and “hand the items over” to the Polish Museum of America.

The museum was very interested in the belongings and the family’s stories. It was so special for my mom, who waited her whole life to find her family only to have it be celebrated this far back! If you haven’t seen it yet, check out this reel recap.

Our Resident History Buff

No one enjoyed it more than Wes (12yo), our resident history buff. One of my favorite parts was watching Wes deep dive with a historian, literally, for hours. She even went to a special area to pull out things not on display for him to see!

Wes made a point to tell me that we have had “good people helping others far, far back on both sides of our family” with such pride. My grandfather on my dad’s side is Hungarian, so we have a lot of Eastern European DNA. He actually helped to bring Jews across to safety while fighting in WWII, which Wes was proud to learn.

I love that he looks for these elements in dark times in history. I take pride in being a “helper” and now see that our family has always been helpers!

Restaurant Crawl, Crime Tour and More

The best part of Chicago?

The food.

We sampled just a scratch of the surface of all the amazing food Chicago has to offer! They have SO many gluten-free options – we enjoyed:

click to watch full video recap of all the food

The (crime) history.

I will say, I’d never done a crime tour before and LOVED getting to experience that for the first time with the boys.

My favorite part was learning more about how prohibition actually increased crime rates and the rise of the North and South Side Gangs– both what brought them together and then ultimately killing each other.  It was so fun Finn (14yo) even pointed out “I didn’t touch my phone the entire time!”

The architecture.

Who could choose, we loved it all – it was my 3rd time exploring the city and it never gets old! Everyone loved the Architectural Boat Tour, a way to learn more history. And we also walked around the Magnificent Mile, went to Millennium Park, and saw The Bean!

click to watch full video recap of it all

The education and history.

Mom left early but we didn’t fly out until late, so we took the opportunity to head to the Field Museum to visit Sue! We started in the underground exhibit, where we “shrunk” down to the size of insects. Insects don’t generally bother me, but it was something about seeing big, close up, and mechanically moving that seriously creeped me out.

The boys loved seeing Sue, the most complete T-Rex skeleton ever found. What’s more? It was discovered by a woman!

I can’t recommending night flying with kids, but having that (almost) full extra day to fit in the Field Museum and water taxi was worth the extra drama! I loved having a bonus day with just the two boys to do all the things on their lists. It was the boys first flight since pre-pandemic, and Wesley’s first flight with a window seat!

And in case you missed the fun, I have an entire highlight reel documenting  our tip over on Instagram. This trip was definitely one for the books.

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