Friday, August 29, 2008

I Heart Chicago

I promise I won't blog like this on a normal basis - but we've done so much in the last week that I wanted to include for my memories. (So if you're tired of happy Chicago posts, you may want to skip this one :)

On Thursday morning, Brittany, Eli and I ventured downtown on the el train. Eli was really well behaved and didn't fight being in the stroller too much, which was great. I think he thought it was so fun riding on the train and would say "choo choo" in a quiet voice.

We got off the train at Chicago Ave. and hit the Magnificent Mile (Michigan Ave.). There are shops galore and it was lots of fun. We also went up to the Signature Room in the Hancock Building, which is on the 95th floor. We pretended to look at the menu so Brittany could see the view for a few minutes before we "changed our mind" and rode back down in the super-fast elevator. I hadn't been up there since 2002 when Ben and I had the crazy experience of being in the restaurant when a 1,000 lb piece of scaffolding broke loose from the building and plunged more than 40 floors to the ground, killing three people (there were 60 mph winds that caused it to break away from the building). It was a little strange to be back and remember that day.

Back to the details of today though - some of the stores we went into included:American Girl Place (Brittany had to take some pictures for her younger sisters), Macy's, Ralph Lauren (that store has the BEST bathrooms), Nike, Crate and Barrel, Gap, and H&M.

Eli took a cat nap in his stroller while we were in Crate and Barrel and then woke up happy in time for lunch. We ate at the Grand Lux, and my favorite part of the meal was the garden salad w/ the house dressing. It was DELISH! Brittany and I both had bbq pork sandwiches that were tasty too. Eli enjoyed tastes of my food, but especially loved dipping french fries in ketchup and drinking from his straw (as shown in a picture below). The Grand Lux is above the stores on Michigan Ave. and we had a window seat with a great view.

I have to say - I love the kids clothes at H&M! I couldn't resist getting a few things for Eli. He was so hilarious - I tried a winter hat on him (the brown one shown below) and he LOVED it. I think the inside reminded him of his stuffed sheep Bob and his soft sheep rug. He did not want to take it off and ended up wearing it outside, in our hot, humid weather, for a good chunk of time (before I sneakily took it off; it was way too hot). He looked so funny! Eli loves soft textures so much.

Below: 1) Wrigley Bldg. 2) Crain Communications Bldg. 3) the new Trump Tower, almost completed 4) the Tribune Tower

Overall, Eli was amazingly good. He's not usually the most go-with-the-flow kind of child, but we got home at 4 p.m. after a long day in the city without too much trouble. Some other things to mention:

There is a L'Appetito at the base of the Hancock Building. The lemon knots/cookies are SO good! I got so excited when I saw the bakery and ran down the stairs to pick some up. The vanilla buttercreams from Fannie Mae Chocolates are also so delicious. I love being pregnant and not caring as much if I indulge in a few yummy treats.

To sum up the rest of the day, Brittany stayed in the city to go on the Chicago Architectural Foundation's boat tour, then went to the Art Institute, where Ben met her after work and they later caught the second half of the Cubs game, standing up in the crowded bleachers.

I think it's safe to say Brittany and I are both exhausted from our marathon week of sightseeing, filled with LOTS of walking and so many fun things. I am sure next week will feel so ordinary - but that's okay with me though. :) I'm ready to rest (and my wallet needs a break too). Thanks for coming Brittany! Now she's on her way to student teach at an inner-city elementary school over the next four months in Washington D.C. Good luck!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

LDS Chicago Temple

I know I posted a few pictures at the temple last week when I saw Larissa and Ignacio, but Eli was asleep in the car then so I didn't get any pictures of him. This time, he was drowsy but awake, so I got some fun shots when we went to the temple yesterday before playgroup. I did take one of Brittany too, but it was with her camera so I don't have the image.

After Eli's nap, we wasted no time - we went to the Tag Outlet, which is a wholesale company that makes products for stores like Crate and Barrel. We also stopped at my favorite stamping store, Stamp on In, and a funky clothes/shoe store called The Pink Frog. Then we headed home for some deep dish pizza for Ben and Brittany and thin pepperoni w/ no cheese for me, from Carmen's. It was a fun day!

Muddy Morning at Playgroup

We met at a park yesterday that had this great water fountain on the playground. The kids figured out that they could turn it all the way and it would shoot out onto the sand, and stay running until you turned it off! So they dug a huge trench and worked hard at filling it up. Eli thought this was great fun and jumped right in, getting totally soaked in the process. He loved it!!

The kids would take turns filling up cups and water bottles and carrying water over to the further parts of the trench. Eli was carrying around this little spoon from when we got gelato the other day and it was so funny watching him dig with it.

This boy LOVES the water!

This is a similar position to right before he tipped forward and face planted... this happened twice while we were there.

Happy, sopping wet, muddy boy

Some of the moms/kids in the group
(there were lots more on the playground - it was a good turnout!)

I know it's mean to take a picture after your child has fallen face-first into wet sand, but it was too funny not to :) Poor guy! He wasn't happy to have it in his eye, nose, and mouth.

I ended up getting wet and filthy by the end from holding him - he was freezing in his totally wet clothes! The seat of his shorts was covered in wet sand.

We stripped him down before driving home.

Ravinia - Tony Bennett Concert

I'm out of order because I just downloaded pictures from my compact camera... these pictures are from Saturday night, when we took Brittany to the Ravinia Festival for the Tony Bennett concert. Everyone brings picnic dinners and it's really fun people watching - there is wine and cheese all over the place and other fancy things. We brought a green bean/tomato salad, yummy pugliese bread, grilled chicken, some choc. chip bars and a few miniature Baby Ruths for dessert. It was delish!

Below is Brittany and behind her is the sea of people all crowded onto the lawn. It was a sold out show. I think we were the youngest people there by at least 10 years, but the average age was probably 60+?

Me and Ben

It was funny - Brittany and I were walking around the grounds before the concert started, and all of the sudden I heard someone say, "Eli's mom!" It was his pediatrician, Dr. Andy, who was there with his wife and another couple. I ran into them a few weeks ago at our town's farmer's market, which was pretty funny (with a similar greeting - "It's Eli!). He has a son who is a day younger than Eli, which I think is neat.


I realize my posts are all over the place this week, but I had to include this picture - my friend Carrie and I showed up to church on Sunday wearing similar outfits. It was pretty funny.

(and I am totally sucking in on this picture - believe me, my belly is bigger when I'm standing normally)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Lincoln Park Zoo

On Tuesday we went to the Lincoln Park Zoo. Eli LOVED seeing the cows up close!

The wood chips are just as exciting as the animals :)

Eli gets his excitement for fish from his dad...

Chicago Botanic Gardens

On Monday we went to the Chicago Botanic Gardens.

Eli gets SO excited when he sees ducks ("duck duck!")

There is a really neat train exhibit that has models of places across the United States - everything is made out of natural materials.

Sunday Afternoon at the Lake

We've had Ben's cousin Brittany from Portland staying with us for the last few days. She's here all week, so I'll be posting pictures from some of our activities (today I'm catching up, so there will be multiple posts). Below are pictures from our walk along the lakefront at Northwestern University. You can see Chicago's skyline in the background.

Playing in the Backyard

We've enjoyed the beautiful weather this week by playing outside in the backyard.

Can you spot the baby bunny in the picture below?

Eli always tries to climb up the slide, without much luck.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Cutest Apron EVER!!

Today we received the most darling package from my Aunt Babz. She has a talent for wrapping things beautifully and for finding really neat things. The package was for Eli as a housewarming gift. I squealed when we opened it up and saw what was inside:

a kid-sized FROG apron!!

I absolutely love frog things. Isn't this apron so darling??

Eli was still in his pj's, but he had to try it on right away.

Thank you so much! It will be so fun for him to wear this cute apron when we cook and bake together. I think it made him feel like such a big boy and really special. We love it!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Making Progress

First, some pictures of the little guy:

I am happy to say that the last few days have been pretty productive, with the exception of Wednesday, when I felt nauseous off and on all day long. I've unpacked a LOT of boxes - a chunk of them are shown below in our living room.

Last night my friend Jenn came over for a break-the-boxes-down party - then stayed to help me unpack some more things in the basement, which was a huge help. Sometimes you just need a nice friend there to help keep you going. Jenn's presence was enough motivation to move quickly and get things out of boxes.

I've had so much help from other friends too who have brought over meals and other things. Carrie and Sharon have both taken Eli for a few hours this week so I could get some unpacking done in peace. It's so much easier to unpack by myself than with the little guy climbing on me!

I promise future pictures of the house will be much prettier than what you see above... I think I have about 15 more boxes left to unpack; and I have already opened/unpacked about 80! Crazy that we have SO MUCH JUNK... I cannot imagine doing this if I were further along in the pregnancy. I am so thankful that I can bend down and carry things without much trouble.