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A Year In Review

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A Year In Review - Page Text Content

S: Mark & Virginia - 2011

BC: "Let all that you do be done in love." 1 Corinthians 16:14

FC: Mark & Virginia 2011

1: 2011 was another wonderful year full of new adventures! We survived the worst snow storm in over a decade, traveled down south a couple times, and ate a whole lot of chicken! We celebrated weddings and holidays, ran some races, and of course, fell deeper and deeper in love!

2: Joni's visit to Chicago | We began the new year with a lovely visit from Virginia's mom. We had a great time at the Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium. Also, Virginia was thrilled to get her first Smart Phone!

3: We saw quite a mix of genres in concert this year: New Kids on the Block & Backstreet Boys, Kid Rock, and Montgomery Gentry! | Concerts of 2011 | Fun Fact: Virginia first saw New Kids on the Block with her dad and grandmother when she was 7. It was her first concert. | Our Montgomery Gentry tickets were included with the Country Music 1/2 marathon registration. The other 2 concerts were gifts from Optimus!

4: In early February, Chicago was hit with the biggest snow storm in over a decade. Fortunately we didn't have to shovel anything or drive anywhere, and we both had a "snow day" from work, so we decided to head outside for an adventure! | Snowpocalypse | 2/1/2011

5: Oak Street Beach

8: National Association of Broadcasters Conference

9: Mark went to Las Vegas in April for the NAB conference, and coincidentally his best friend, Kuo, was there at the same time for a Microsoft conference! Highlights included eating at In-N-Out Burger and learning more about his industry.

10: Welcome

11: In April we ventured north to catch the spring flowers in bloom at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

12: Nashville

13: For Virginia's birthday weekend, we went to Nashville so she could run the Country Music 1/2 Marathon with her friend, Emily!

14: We ate like crazy in Nashville! After the race, we went to Monell's. The next night, we traveled out to the famous Loveless Cafe for more country cookin', then we stooped at Pancake Pantry for Virginia's birthday breakfast before heading home.

16: The Billy Graham Center Museum | Since it was so much fun last year, we decided to head out to Wheaton again in May to visit the Billy Graham Center Museum. It chronicles the history of evangelism in America, and includes a Gospel presentation as well as several highlights of the life and ministry of Wheaton College's most famous graduate!

18: Spring visit to Delaware

19: This trip to Delaware was a lot of fun! Not only did we attend the wedding of Virginia's friend, Whitney, but we also spent time with all of Virginia's grandparents and visited her aunt and uncle's farm, where we learned about how they raise bees. One of Mark's favorite activities is always playing mini golf on the boardwalk. We also picked strawberries from Joni's garden and released a groundhog that she trapped. On our way back to the airport, we went to the Philadelphia zoo- America's first zoo!


24: We were so excited when Chicago's first Chick-fil-A began construction a few blocks from our apartment. We were peeking in the windows of the yet unopened CFA, when the operator, Lauren, let us in for a tour! At the end she gave us tickets to the Premier Night event, where we ate unlimited free CFA for the night! | Chick-fil-A Grand Opening Weekend

25: First 100 Event | When a new Chick-fil-A location opens, the first 100 customers chosen by raffle get the opportunity to spend the night outside the restaurant in order to win 52 free CFA meal coupons. Mark had to work, but Virginia jumped at the chance, and drew number 99 in the raffle! She got to meet the president of the company again and had a great time camping out in downtown Chicago!

26: Mark's Belated Birthday at the Track | For Mark's birthday last year, Virginia got him a pass to ride along in a real race car, but we got rained out and had to wait until this year to try again! Coincidentally, "Cars 2" opened in theaters that weekend, so we both wore Mater T-shirts and celebrated the "fastest weekend ever!"

28: What summer would be complete without stopping by the Taste of Chicago? This year we stuck with some favorites like Corn on the Cob and Rainbow cones, and we tried a few new items too, like crab rangoon and bacon- wrapped steak bites. Yum! | Taste of Chicago

29: Optimus 15th Anniversary Cruise | Mark's company celebrated all week long to commemorate 15 years, and to kick things off, they invited staff & spouses on a scenic boat ride!

30: Chicago Air & Water Show | Mark's birthday overlapped with the Chicago Air & Water show. He rented a lens and shot hundreds of pictures from the roof of our church.


34: Graceland was spectacular! We were overwhelmed with all things Elvis and loved every minute of it!

35: We didn't fully know what to expect, but from the jungle room, to the awards, memorabilia, cars, airplanes, wardrobe, grave, and insight into Elvis's personal life, Graceland definitely did not disappoint!

36: Sun Studio & The Stax Museum

37: When we first chose our destination, we knew Graceland would be the highlight, but we were also impressed with some other Memphis attractions. We learned more than we ever imagined about soul, blues, and rock 'n' roll at Sun Studio and the Stax Museum. The sunny weather allowed us to check out Beale Street and take a lovely walk along the Mississippi river, and of course we ate some amazing barbecue. We also visited the famous fountain ducks at the Peabody Hotel and counted our blessings after taking a tour of St. Jude Children's Hospital.

38: { | { | The Peabody Hotel & Walk along the Mississippi River

39: Visiting St. Jude Hospital was both heartbreaking and inspirational. It was great to learn more about this amazing organization that seeks to save the lives of precious children facing life-threating illnesses.

40: Antique Archeology in Nashville

41: On our way back from Memphis, we passed through Nashville. Mark visited with a design house while Virginia finished up some last minute homework. The coolest part of this visit was stopping by Antique Archeology, the store from one of our favorite TV shows, American Pickers.

42: Wendella Architecture Cruise

44: Chicago Marathon 2011 | Virginia trained all summer for her second full marathon. She felt blessed to run with Team World Vision and to have Mark has her coach and biggest fan! | "For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and life to come." 1 Timothy 4:8

46: Dave & Kelley's Wedding October 29, 2011

47: Dave and Kelley's wedding was a lot of a fun, and we were honored to be part of their special day!

48: J O Y | Christkindlmarket | 2011

49: Visiting the Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza has become a fun Christmas tradition. We enjoyed drinking hot chocolate from a boot and tasting some European treats.

50: Christmas Carol Day

51: We kept the tradition of seeing A Christmas Carol and walking around Macy's the weekend before Thanksgiving, and we were fortunate to have Kelley's mom and dad join us this year!

53: We had a great Thanksgiving, which started with our 3rd consecutive Turkey Trot followed by a delicious meal and relaxing with family. We truly have so much to be thankful for! | Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; His love endures forever. -Psalm 107:1

54: Our First Help-Portrait Event

55: Earlier in the year, Mark became aware of a charity event called Help-Portrait, where professional photographers and make-up artists donate their time and talent to give beautiful family portraits to those who ordinarily wouldn't be able to afford them. Mark was instantly inspired, and coordinated an entire Help-Portrait event at our church. It was a lot of hard work, but we both agree that it was all worth it to show these precious families the love of Jesus in such a simple, but meaningful way.

57: We spent Christmas in Delaware this year, which was so much fun! Virginia baked a ton of cookies, and we spent a lot of time just relaxing around the house, playing scrabble, shopping, and eating delicious meals!

58: Before we even left for Delaware, Mark was already looking forward to getting some Wawa coffee and watching the "dancing lights" at Apple Electric. It was also nice getting to spend some quality time with Virginia's mom, seeing the Winterfest of Lights, and visiting Virginia's dad's side of the family.

60: During our Christmas vacation in Delaware, we took a quick day trip to New York City. We saw Times Square, Rockafeller Center, and Central park all within a few hours!

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Virginia Walczak
  • By: Virginia W.
  • Joined: over 8 years ago
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  • Title: A Year In Review
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  • Published: almost 8 years ago