Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Midwest Mayhem I

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.

We rented a minivan at the airport (aside: after driving it for a week we are so excited to buy a minivan, hash tag officially old) and drove to Elgin to see our friends Mike and Eric and their twin girls. I saw them last December but Luke had not seen them since they were four months old.

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:

From Elgin it was off to downtown Chicago (between snowstorms) to meet up with my sisters, my mom, and my mom's friend Diane. Robin flew in from Tacoma; Elise made our schedule. First stop: Frontera Grill! I asked Elise to make restaurant reservations with two requests in mind: 1) a Rick Bayless place and 2) somewhere with housemade pasta. When I told Mike this and he mentioned the Italian place Elise had chosen, I knew it was going to be good!

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.

Shedd Aquarium on Saturday:

Swimming after dinner:

ps let me recommend the La Quinta here because they upgraded us to a suite (=two rooms for two cribs) and cost about $100 a night.

Josie and Daddy take a siesta:

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.

To Michigan!

Backyard with iPhone reflection. Impression: not in Texas anymore.

While in Chicago we noticed Clem's face had a foul odor -- her breath? her nose? I was worried about another sinus infection that would lead to another ear infection. Luke tipped her upside down and pronounced, 'there is something TURQUOISE in her nose'. No, no, I said -- maybe you're seeing the back of her nose? But then I tipped her upside down and peered in with an otoscope and there WAS something turquoise lodged in her right nostril.

Off to urgent care. (CHIEF COMPLAINT: 'STINKY FACE')

Where we saw the doctor almost immediately and he pulled this out promptly:

A little blue pom pom, actually much more turquoise than this photo conveys.

That settled, Luke and I had a day date to the mall:

And Nisker's Burgers.

And Stillwater's liquor store due to its advertisement of its immense hot sauce selection.

This week Josie mastered the skill that Luke has been working on with her: holding her own bottle. THE BEST.

We stayed at Luke's parents' home where C spent a lot of time with her cousins. And hiding. Can you find the Clementine here?

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).

Beard net

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).

Up late with Josie, who refuses to sleep before 11 pm.

Kitchen light.

Nope not done -- part II of vacation megapost to follow. This month is probably my busiest ever work-wise (interview! call! lecture preparation! lab inspection preparation!) - it was especially good to relax with friends and family before gearing up to go go go.

No comments:

Post a Comment