Friday, July 2, 2010

Our Chicago Visit!

We're home and settled from our three-week vacation visiting family and friends in Louisville, Chicago and Minnesota. Here are some of the highlights from the first half of the trip!

The Harus welcomed us with an all-American pork chop dinner (Mmmm. I love pork chops) and made us so comfortable -- they even let Madeline sleep in Kainoa's brand new big boy bed! They treated me to a surprise birthday party with cake and gifts. We loved seeing sweet Kainoa and baby Makaoi, but hated how short our visit was. We slipped out the next morning while the sun was rising to get a jump on the Memorial weekend traffic for our long drive to Chicago....

Here is the magical secret to long car drives: lollipops. One after another, for as long as it takes. Every time we heard a noise behind us, we'd just wing another Dum-Dum towards the backseat. Sadly, this epiphany was short lived since Charlie nearly choked twice later on in the vacation, but at least it got us from Louisville to the Chicago suburbs.

Madeline was so excited when we pulled into Geneva that she burst in on Tom taking a shower. We had a wonderful time with Rob's mom, dad, sister and Gram. Grammy put the canopy on Madeline's princess bed, Tom took the kids fishing, and Nicki tossed water balloons with them in the backyard. Mads and Charles had a blast making Rice Krispie treats, seeing a parade, going to the playground, making forts, reading French childrens books and having festive family dinners every night. Rob and I enjoyed meeting Nicki's French friend, Thomas (to sound authentic, say it like this: Toe-maa) and seeing her charming apartment in Elgin. Rob and I enjoyed some couple time on our last day -- thank you, Sandie. It felt so wonderful to be back in the house where Rob grew up, surrounded by family.

Some of our closest friends, the Martens and the Pattersons, now live in Geneva too, so we also loved meeting their babies, Kai and Marin, for the first time! The six of us hosted a Memorial Day barbecue at Erica and Craig's beautiful house -- we were thrilled to see our friends, the Kaluses and the Parrillos, and meet their new babies, Holly and Eloise. A couple of other highlights: Erica, a professional photographer, took incredible candid shots of our family! And Jo and Jason, who have been restoring a gorgeous old home, invited us over to inaugurate the brand new deck that Jason built. We had so much fun laughing and catching up that two nights in a row, embarrassed police officers came asking us to pipe down. We were very proud of ourselves (though we're going to teepee Jo's lame neighbor next time we visit, which is about as mature as getting the cops called on you at 32 years old.)

The Chicagoland Tour Continues
After a wonderful visit, Rob took the train into the Loop and had a blast over the next several days with some of his closest college friends, including Matt Pawlak and his brand new fiance, Suzie, the McAllisters, Dan Matarelli and so many others. They went to street festivals, ate Chicago-style hot dogs, and watched the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup.

The Hisers
I drove with the kids up to Rockford to see our dear friends Buffy and Dan, and finally meet their seven-month old daughter, Sophie (who is wearing the most adorable helmet for another month). Madeline and Ellie were two peas in a pod, which was no surprise since they played together several days a week for the year that Buffy and I still lived in Peoria. There was a lot of giggling and jumping on the bed. It meant the world to me that Buffy flew down to Nashville to meet Charlie shortly after he was born; I was so happy to be able to visit them!

The Browns
The next morning, we drove to Wilmette to visit our college friends, Erin and Erik, and their sweet children, Cassidy and Gavin. It was lovely to see their adorable new house. We had so much fun playing with their giant backyard swing, going to the playground, and visiting with another sorority sister of ours, Mandy, and her darling boys. Erik stayed home with four sleeping kids on a Friday night (what a rockstar!) while Erin treated me to a fabulous girls' night out. It was special to meet one of Erin's good friends, also named Megan (happy coincidence!).

Whew! And that was just the first week! More to come....


Johanna said...

SO loved having you here. I already feels like a lifetime ago. Can't wait to come visit YOU- hopefully in October! Let's test those Nashville police. :)

Chelsea said...

Wow, what a whirlwind. I can't believe all the fun visits you've packed in this summer. I'm finally catching up on everyone's blogs.

The cops came round to tell you to tone down your shenanigans!?? Woo-hoo! Who says you can't still be crazy after you have kids?? hehe :o)

The Brown Family said...

We LOVED seeing you!!! You are so great for making all those visits. Miss you guys!!!