Vacation megapost comin' atcha! Our 10 days in Chicago and Kalamazoo:
First, the plane trip. You know the expression 'a monkey on your back'? That's nothing compared to one on your lap. Luckily the flight wasn't full so Josie was able to stay in the car seat and we took turns attempting to keep C occupied.
The girls ran around and we enjoyed Mike and Eric's great company and Mike's phenomenal cooking. Mike, I am still thinking about that tandoori chicken from 2012.
Purloined pair of boots #1
First viewing of Frozen:
Frontera Grill was delicious but after living in SA, where even drive-thru Mexican is pretty great, it wasn't the revelation it would have been three years ago. Still delicious. Clementine commandeered everyone's attention by insisting everyone around the table give her a high-five, including the waitstaff. Over and over.
Saturday's dinner was Piccolo Sogno Due. I had the spiced ragu pappardelle --- soooo delicious. We dined early at 5 pm and even so there was a conspicuous penumbra of unseated tables around us (a bit nice of a place for two kids, but deal with it, Chicago). Brunch at Siena Tavern on Sunday (lobster hash!) was equally fab -- brava, Elise! Good planning!
Luke ran around with the Flavor Savers and my fam and I caught up - leg 2 of Midwestern Vacay was a success.
Backyard with iPhone reflection. Impression: not in Texas anymore.
Off to urgent care. (CHIEF COMPLAINT: 'STINKY FACE')
That settled, Luke and I had a day date to the mall:
And Stillwater's liquor store due to its advertisement of its immense hot sauce selection.
Despite being able to open all the drawers, for the duration of the week she honed in on grabbing a spoon out of this one:
And pulling chargers and cooling racks out of a lower cabinet.
We saw a movie for the first time in ten months (Imitation Game at Alamo Drafthouse and can I get an ohmygosh! for their espresso milkshake - so good or maybe that's my it's-only-been-three-days-and-I'm-already-grouchy-diet talking?) and just hung around the house enjoying family time.
On a tour of one of the family businesses (National Flavors -- no relation to the Flavor Savers, just a strange delicious coincidence).
And Ike's business. It adjoins a classic car shop...
And if someone breaks in and steals this jaunty moped with tassels, I don't know anything about it. Nothing at all.
Josie (7 months) and Graham (9 months).
The prettiest little baby girl in the world? YES.
Here C is dancing to Luke's piano playing.
The gymnasium (my in-laws built a B&B for their grandkids basically).
I wish this were in focus - her body language is so expressive.
"Here you go," as she rolls the ball to Josie, the sitting duck.
Giving a hug.
Probably my favorite photo of the trip.
Luke's college roommate Alessandro and his wife Mod came from Detroit to visit. Alessandro has multiple sclerosis and I exhort you to:
check out Mod's beautiful blog and photography: Moves In Circles
and give lots and lots of money. Team Alessandro has raised over $65,000 for the National MS Society!
C was very interested in his scooter as it possesses a few of her favorite things: a light, keys, and buttons. Because of these enticing attributes, he calls it 'an angler fish for children'.
On Thursday night we attended a chef's table dinner at Zazio's with the theme of olive oil.
Dan and John.
Sisters in law Kristin and Sara.
Here I mention that Sara, the brunette on the right, took me to her 5:30 a.m. boot camp and spinning classes earlier in the week. She's 25 weeks pregnant with her seventh child and I *wish* I could hang with her.
Us, in beige.
Siblings Isaac and Susie are truly the male/female versions of each other, no?
Mod and Al, most photogenic couple ever.
The consensus was the first dish, simple and fresh, was the best.
Back at the ranch.
On the slide from the first floor to the playroom. On the morning of our departure I took C down the slide one last time and coasted into a huge puddle of standing water on the mat -- quite the surprise. (A pipe from the ice maker a floor above was leaking).