Weekend Recap: Shopping friends. Forever friends.

This past weekend, I enjoyed one of my very favorite weekends of the year.  You see, every November (or sometimes, it has been December), seven of my dearest friends and I go on our “Annual Chicago Shopping Weekend”.

Eighteen years ago, most of us were all working and teaching in the same elementary building.  We played Bunko together and still do, eighteen years later…wow!  Well, a plan was devised to have a girls’ weekend in Chicago, full of shopping and fun.  Eighteen years later, we are still setting aside a weekend to be together to shop, eat, drink, and cherish the friendships God has blessed us with.

Now, though I’ve been apart of this group for eighteen years, the first year, I wasn’t able to go.  (That would be called…being only a few years out of college and trying to live on a teacher’s salary.  AKA…no money.)  But for the past seventeen, I’ve been able to make it and I absolutely. love. the. memories. we. make.

 

Yes, that's me with my eyes closed.  And brown hair.  We all wore blazers with a Boyd Bear pin that year.  PRESH.

Yes, that’s me with my eyes closed. And brown hair.
We all wore blazers with a Boyd Bear pin that year. PRESH.  Just precious.

There used to be twelve of us, but some moved away and others found that though they loved the friendship piece of this whole weekend, serious shopping was always a “must” and some just didn’t love shopping that much.  As in twelve-hour-day shopping.  So, for the past seven years or so, it has been the eight of us.

You all.  I can’t tell you how blessed I am by each of these gals.  It’s crazy how we can be so different in ages (from 41 years old to 64 years old), have such different lifestyles, be at such different seasons in each of our lives, yet.  Yet.  We all love each other and value the bond of friendship that we have.  We are BLESSED.

This year, we had decided to spend our weekend in Des Moines, due to people having family and job circumstances coming up.  We knew this would be much closer and easier and we knew it isn’t just about Chicago (though, we’ll be back there next year)…it’s about being together.

Friends, my heart is full.  By Friday evening, seven of us were together (one more came Saturday after a job obligation) and we laughed and told stories and caught up on each of our lives.  Saturday and Sunday, we continued to shop, but as the years have gone by, it’s become less about the shopping and more about just being together.  Life gets busy and some have moved away, but we always set aside a weekend in November to get together to shop and laugh and cry and eat and drink and be merry.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I want each of these gals to know that I am soooo thankful for them.  Through marriages, births, deaths, new jobs, new cities, new homes, throughout all of life’s ups and downs…these gals are some of my best friends.

Here’s a stroll down memory lane with these dear friends of mine…

We used to eat at Braxton's restaurant each year.  It is no longer at Oakbrook Mall, but we loved that place!

We used to eat at Braxton’s restaurant each year. It’s no longer at Oakbrook, but we loved that place!

 

I have no words.

I have no words.

 

This was taken on a Sunday...our final day of shopping.  I know this because  tennis shoes+ shopping=sore feet.

This was taken on a Sunday…our final day of shopping. I know this because
tennis shoes+ shopping = sore feet.

 

Taking our lunch break to refuel and regroup.  Then, it was always...back out to shop!

Taking our lunch break to refuel and regroup. Then, it was always…back out to shop!

 

Sometimes, we had a mimosa to start our shopping day.

Sometimes, we had a mimosa to start our shopping day.

 

The evenings were spent laughing and playing games and getting all crazy (in our matching pajamas).

The evenings were spent laughing and playing games and getting all crazy (in our matching pajamas).

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Chicago shopping trip with our Charlie Brown Christmas tree

Pajama pic with our Charlie Brown Christmas tree

 

We LOVE pajamas!!!!

We LOVE pajamas!!!!

 

Sometime, Christmas headbands were required.  Getting the hotel room ready for a FUN night of craziness.

Sometime, Christmas headbands were required.  Getting the hotel room ready for a FUN night of craziness.

 

Watching some funny videos...in our matching pajamas.

Busting a gut while watching some funny videos…in our matching pajamas.

 

More entertainment...in our matching pajamas.

More entertainment…in our matching pajamas.

 

Our typical food for our evenings staying in the hotel and catching up on life.  Of course, ALL healthy....lol

Our typical food for evenings of staying in the hotel.  ALL healthy food and drinks.  NOT.

 

At one of our favorite stores...Von Maur in Yorktown

At one of our favorite stores…Von Maur in Yorktown

 

At our favorite outdoor mall...Oakbrook

At our favorite outlet mall…Aurora Shopping Center.

 

Last year in Chicago

Last year in Chicago

So, I raise a toast to these gals and thank God for bringing them to my life.  Mary Jo, Mary, Ginger, Eileen, Joan, Angi, and Kelly…I love you all!  And here’s to many more years of friendship, shopping, and making memories together!!!

 

 

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1 Comment
  • Melanie
    November 26, 2016

    I have always loved it that you have such great friends and support for each other. I always call you the “Steel Magnolias”. You all have been there to support each other in life’s ups & downs.
    God bless you all! And here’s a cheer for many more happy times together! 💖

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