Celebrating My Little Brother In The Windy City

On Thursday morning, I hopped on a plane headed to Chicago to meet up with my mom and attend my little brother’s graduation from Navy boot camp. I can’t believe my baby brother is so grown up!

Mom and I met at the airport and headed north to the Great Lakes Base area. It was pouring rain but we found an adorable restaurant called The Shanty. It was very rustic, a little quirky but the food and drinks were delicious! Mom and I split some alligator tail and a citrus salmon dish. I also indulged in a glass of cinnamon apple sangria that didn’t disappoint.

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The next morning was graduation! The ceremony was beautiful. Almost 800 men and women graduated with JP and it was neat to see so many different families from all over the country supporting their sailors.

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JP is the one carrying the white and red flag.

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Division 314!

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We wanted to treat our new sailor to a delicious meal — no “chow hall” involved, so we headed off base to an adorable little town called Lake Bluff. We found ourselves at a local spot called Inovasi and were able to treat JP to a burger and fries… well, we thought we would! He grabbed the check before we could blink. What a gentleman. And in uniform too!

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We spent the rest of the day with JP just wandering around North Chicago and hearing all about his division, the guys he met and what he’s most excited about moving forward.

The next day we headed into Chicago. Despite heavy traffic we were able to enjoy a beautiful day walking around the Navy Pier.

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Sunday we went to mass at a local parish and spent our last few hours with JP shopping at the exchange on base and making sure he had everything he needed before we left. I can’t get over how grown up and squared away he is!

I’m so glad my mom and I were able to be there for this major moment in JP’s life. It was a wonderful weekend — one I won’t soon forget!