Wordful Wednesday: Chicago Summer Fun

::patting sweat from brow:: Is summer over yet? Cause I’m exhausted.

No really, it seems like the summer just flew by in a haze of weekend trips and rain storms and car rides to Detroit.

We squeezed a LOT of action into a few short months. And we were supposed to do so much more. Sadly we got uninvited from a friend’s annual trip to her parent’s cottage in the Canadian wild. Apparently having my kids there would have greatly cramped their style. It was shitty and my feelings are still a bit bruised, but we made the best of it. We took the days off that we had already scheduled, packed up the car and headed to…

CHICAGO!!!! to visit my Bro-in-law André and his super sweet bachelor pad. Neither of us have seen André’s place. And sadly we hadn’t been to Chicago together since before we were engaged. SMH. As Cedella would say “Not cool dude, not cool.”

Now for those that haven’t already heard this here’s a little tidbit about Michael and I. We both lived in Chicago at overlapping times, he was there first and left before me and I was there a bit longer then we met a year after I moved home. Even more coincedence? We both worked on Halstead Street during that overlapping period of time. Who knows how many times we sat on the train together or passed each other on the street. Or waited in line at that same Dunkin Donuts for a coffee before work.

Isn’t that crazy? We discovered it on our first night getting to know each other. It still fascinates me and makes me love for a Tardis to take me back and discover all those small passing moments we were almost together, but not.

Anyways…we both love the city. Love. Chicago is the town I would live in again in a split second. I adore Chicago. I want to live there again some day.

So needless to say getting booted from the Canada trip was a blessing in disguise and just what we needed as a family.

Now for the picture overload…

We arrived on Thursday went to André’s and checked out the view. And it didn’t suck one little bit.

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After being floored by the view we rested for a while and then braved rush hour traffic in cab to make it to the Children’s Museum on Navy Pier because it was FREE that night. But this free museum night is not a secret. That place was bananas. Fun but totally chaotic.

As it turned out our good friend’s from Lansing were there playing too. Nicole and Randy and their little ladies Nia and Imani were a welcome sight in the mad crowds.

Izzie and Imani rolled around the baby area.

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Check out Nia, Izzie and Ella getting their groove on.

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My beautiful friend Nicole and I. (P.S. We really needed a flash for this picture! lol)

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Uncle André met us there after work and endured the ‘creeper’ pass just to hula hoop with his nieces. The ‘creeper’ pass is this bright pink badge they make you wear in the museum if you’re a solo dude with no kids in tow. André just screams creeper in his Brooks Brothers, doesn’t he?

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Check out my Mighty Girl. She was totally digging this workshop area. Just a screw driver and some screws and she was engrossed for 35 minutes. Remind me to add a workbench to the playroom, huh?

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On the way home from the museum we were starving and decided to try this little spot in André’s hood. Big & Little’s. Featured on Diners, Drive-in’s and Dives. Gotta say…it was slammin’!!

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They’re schtick is awesome tacos and po’boys. And they do them very very well. This Bahn Mi Fried Shrimp Po’Boy was incredible. Like lick your fingers and ask for more incredible.

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Isora loved the food so much that she only woke up once the food was served. She slept through the wait.

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Cedella and her Uncle appeared to have loved it as well. We may have ordered 1,000,000 tacos. Seriously. That good.

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Then we took a stroll back to the crib. And the view pretty much sucked. Not at all brilliant.

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But then you turn the corner and…the last remnants of Cabrini Green housing projects. A sad reminder that gentrification is a messed up, complicated, sad and yet wonderful thing.

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The next day we hit up the Field. Cause you have to do at least one of the big museums when visiting. Well, at least you have to if you’re in our family. I never met a museum I didn’t like.

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And there she is, hiding in the back there behind that glorious elephant, Sue the Dinosaur. I remember being so impressed with Sue when I was a kid. Cedella was underwhelmed. But she loved the halls of taxidermy animals and was fascinated and disturbed as to how these animals got put behind glass and how they’re not alive anymore.

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I adored this exhibit on Africa. I want so badly to ride on this bus.

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Ella got to cruise on a motorbike with a jambox on the back.

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And I got to hang out and rest in Grandma Linda’s favorite spot in the Field. The Pawnee Lodge. Me and my baby in a papoose were right at home. I even got to do a quick woven wrap demo for some curious mamas.

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And I just love this photo. Outside the museum. Such a sweet moment.

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We had a lot of time in this trip to just relax, cook, visit and take it easy. This was Saturday morning while we were making breakfast. 21st century Saturday morning cartoons…on the iPad.

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That day we loaded up a cooler with drinks, sandwiches and snacks and hit up the 31st beach. It was incredible. The beach was populated but not crowded, and there was a gorgeous view. Thanks to my girl Kasey for hooking us up with this ‘hidden’ gem in the city! Seriously, best cheap family day in the city yet.

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Me and the girls. And André catching some rays.

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This view doesn’t suck either.

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An even better feature of this beach? A really cool playground we burned off some energy at before heading home for the day. This kid is a big fan of swings. Big fan.

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Pretty sure these white dudes are vampires. Just sayin’…

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My sweet active sweaty lovely adventurous girl.

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The next day this mama wanted to do some shopping. I needed a Zara and H&M fix so we headed down to State St. And then this happened. We used a Picasso as a slide. I know, I know, everyone does. And anytime I’ve been to Daley Plaza I have done this. But it never ceases to amaze that this is a Picasso statue.

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Then Cedella found her inner drum circle hippie and danced like no one’s business for this man’s drums. I really wish I could share the video, it was epic. But it won’t download from BIL’s HTC phone. Boo.

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Izzie and I found our bliss in the middle of H&M. She was the perfect little shopping buddy until the second I went in the dressing room and she decided she was starving and wanted Mama and Daddy wasn’t cutting it. She’s such a Mama’s Girl.

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But then I wrapped her up and all was right with the world. Don’t we look ready for a few more hours of spending?

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Sadly my girls are not interested in hours of shopping. So we grabbed some Garret’s, hit up the Disney store and then headed back to the apartment to pack up and head home.

We waited until late afternoon, when both girls were tired, and had a fairly uneventful, though stormy, ride home.

So we may not have gone clubbing or had any 4am hotdogs with a side of obscenities but we had a really fantastic trip!

Can’t wait to go back later this year. Chicago at Christmastime with a dusting of snow is magical. And there are so many things we didn’t get to do this time that we just have to get back sooner than later.

Thanks André and Chicago for hosting us for another incredible memory-making trip!

Where did your family go this summer? Any tips for great urban places to check out with little ones in tow?

Happy Wednesday wordless, wordful or however you spend Hump Day!

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday: 2012 Wrap Up

2012 was quite a year. A crazy, busy, exciting, brilliant, exasperating, joyful and crazy year. We started the year with one independent child and ended the year with an independent diva and a smiley new toddler. And we took an awful lot of pictures along the way.

Wordless/Wordful/Nearly Wordless Wednesday are a staple around these parts. Some weeks these are the only posts I do. Cause I know the pictures of my sweet babies, that’s why you’re here, right?

The hard part? Picking the pictures for this post. I have a bit of an editing problem. Especially because I love every single picture of my girls. Every. Single. One.

So this is one (or maybe two or three) picture(s) for each month of last year from one of my W Wednesday posts. Enjoy!!

JANUARY Bang the Drum. Cedella got a set of drums for her 2nd birthday. This picture captures her personality so completely. Adventurous, silly, joyous and so incredibly noisy. Just the other day my Mom asked “Does she ever shut up?”. And the answer is…nope.

FEBRUARY Social Butterflies. The month of February we were super busy. Showers and playdates. Paczkis and Valentines. I was only a couple weeks away from giving birth and was big as a mobile home. But a pregnant tired Mommy doesn’t really mean much to a busy little Monkey. Here she is, acting a fool, at my cousin’s wife’s baby shower. And bonus…me and Katie. Her daughter is only a month younger than Isora. No, really, I was HUGE.

MARCH In These Quiet Moments was written two days before Isora was born. I will never forget the sweetness of this moment with my Monk. And the before we knew it… She’s Here. Isora Rose was born on an 80 degree St. Patrick’s Day. It was glorious. Wanna read her birth story? HERE you go.

APRIL The New Girl was just sleepy and squishy enough to let me take some really pretty newborn photos. Who needs a photographer when you’ve got Pinterest for inspiration and photography tutorials? I can’t even handle how wrinkly and roll-y she is in these pictures. And the light. Swooning.

MAY We celebrated 50 years of marriage of my amazing Grandparents with a really lovely party. And we struggled with the onslaught of sibling rivalry and Cedella’s inevitable sense of displacement in My Beautiful Monster (I ridiculously love this picture of her).

JUNE For the love of the beach we spent ten days at the cottage on Lake Huron. And it was relaxing, rejuvenating and so much fun. For seven days it was just me, my girls, my sisters and my mom. All us girls. Thrifting and eating and sunbathing and playing board games. Can’t wait to go again this year.

JULY Saw our first trip to the ER and Cedella’s First Battle Scar. It was gut-wrenching and horrible but in the end a rite of passage and a truly eye-opening experience. We learned how incredibly brave and resilient our dear Ella is.

AUGUST The Olympics enraptured us for several weeks in August. Getting to share the triumphs and joys of the Fabulous 5 with my daughter was super cool. And now she’s in gymnastics class where Jordyn Wieber got her start. But it was Usain Bolt that really got us jumping out of our seats.

SEPTEMBER Where the Wild Things Are captured an awesome family trip to the zoo. Cedella became obsessed with maps (thanks Dora) and me and Izzie put on babywearing demos throughout the Detroit zoo. And we celebrated TeTe’s birthday at a super delicious restaurant. Lots of family fun…

OCTOBER This was the second year I participated in the Week in My Life challenge. And boy did we have a busy week. We started out on Monday at the pumpkin patch and by the end of the week we were trick-or-treating (with some baby smiles in between). It was a busy busy month and I barely made it to post every day (never did get Saturday and Sunday published).

NOVEMBER I didn’t publish a single WW post in November. In fact I only published one post in the entire month. Guess we were busy. But I did post our pics from Silver Balls in December even though it happened in November. Though if I was on top of things I would have had a whole post about our Thanksgiving road trip to South Carolina. But no, all I have is us at Silver Balls and the girls through the years (which I LOVE looking at)

DECEMBER We began Teaching Democracy when we protested right-to-work laws at our state Capitol and even got to meet our Mayor. And tis the season for Here Comes Santa Claus as Izzie had her first encounter with the big guy.

Wow. It was quite a year. Looking back on it, it was a really really good one. Hope you enjoyed going through these pics as much as I did.

If you haven’t checked it out yet please take a look at my Life List post from yesterday and check out all the great posts through the linky.

Happy Wordful Wednesday everyone!!

 

Happiness is a loud drum

Michael is a musician.  He plays all manner of keyboards, drum machines and samplers to make a really eclectic electronic sound.  So it is no surprise that he hopes our daughter will be musically inclined.  A have a whole theory about talent and tapping into the unused portions of our brain that I won’t go into here but needless to say I don’t know yet what Cedella’s talents will be, but one thing is for sure, she likes to bang on drums.  Thank you Uncle Joe Namy for the awesome baby sized derbekke!  Ella loves it!  And now without further ado…the world premiere of Cedella drumming!

P.S. She even has the whole John Bonham puking on herself thing going on…my little rockstar!