Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dave Matthews Concert

Last weekend, Ben and I went to the Dave Matthews concert at Wrigley Field (where the Cubs play). It was a HUGE concert and it was fun to see the spectacle. I felt like I was in high school again when Dave was so popular. Ben’s office got some tickets for one of the rooftops just outside of Wrigley… it turned out that the view was terrible, but it was still fun to be there and hear the music.

Here’s a bad picture of me (I didn’t realize the person was already taking the photo) that gives you a little better view of the surroundings and how high we were – I think it was about three or four stories up.

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Here’s one where we’re actually smiling. These were taken with our junky old point and shoot, so picture quality is just so-so. And the sun was shining right on Ben’s face as it was setting for the day.

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Jason Mraz was the opening act for the concert – we were surprised that there wasn’t too big of a crowd there at the beginning. Do you see that entrance down below at the end of the red wall? That’s where members of Dave’s official fan club (the VIPs) entered to be on the field. Regular people had tickets up in the stands.

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We took the el down to Wrigley… purple line express to Belmont, then hopped on the red line and went one stop back on THE most crowded train I have ever been on. Ben and I barely fit in the doors – we were worried they weren’t going to close! The woman’s face next to me was inches away from mine and every time the train shifted on that short little run to the next stop, I felt the weight of the crowd pushing against me. There was a group of guys passing some big liquor bottle around, and they each took a swig and the rest of the guys would cheer. It was quite the experience and just about everyone on that train was going to the concert, so we all pushed off as the doors opened at Addison.

The crowds continued – it was crazy to see how many people were outside, in the nearby bars and restaurants or picnicking out on front lawns. Streets were shut down all around the stadium. There aren’t many concerts held at Wrigley Field and this was a big deal.

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And a few hours later, here’s a shot of when Dave was performing and the stadium was PACKED. There were so many people stuffed onto that field and in the bleachers. You can see how bad our view was – we couldn’t even see the screens!! It’s okay though, it was still a lot of fun. The whole concert lasted from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m. – it was super long and we were standing almost the whole time, talking to people from Ben’s office. My feet were killing me by the end!!

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Blurry shot of us as it was ending -

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We realized the concert was coming to a close, so we RAN out of there toward the el as fast as we could. Past the crowds in the streets who were drunk, stoned, who knows what else. Past the slow pokes. We made it onto the train before the swarms of people hopped on and we we even scored seats! It was a happy ending to a fun night out.

And since bombs seem to be the theme of the week with everything going on around us (there was another bomb threat a few days ago, this time at the middle school)… a Lebanese man tried to plant a bomb in a trash can in a corner right around Wrigley on the Saturday night after the Dave concert. The man thought he was planting an explosive, but he was unknowingly working with an informant and undercover FBI agent, who were able to give him the fake bomb.

YIKES. Thank goodness for fake bombs.

On a safer note, we now have the alarm installed and on. I can finally sleep more peacefully after what happened last week!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Robots Painted Our Car

Ben and I take turns telling Eli stories as we tuck him into bed (after the whole bedtime routine - brushing teeth, putting on pjs, reading two books and saying a prayer). Tonight, Ben was telling Eli about what robots do - that they build cars, tractors, all kinds of stuff.

Ben: "In fact, a robot probably painted our car."

Eli's eyes got wide and lit up in his lightbulb moment: "I want to paint our car!!"

I don't think it ever occurred to Eli until today that someone/something painted our car black. While it could use a nice fresh coat of paint after years of parking it on the street when we lived in our condo, we're not letting our 3-year-old do the honors...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Caramel Brownies

I made these brownies over the weekend - they are rich and delectable. Totally worth a lactaid for me. :) Anyway, I thought it would be fun to share the recipe and bump my scary burglar story down a little...

Caramel Brownies

From Sept 2009 Family Circle

Makes: 32 brownies
Prep: 30 minutes
Bake: 35 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Caramel Brownies
  • 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 4 ounce unsweetened chocolate
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 bag (12 ounces) chocolate chunks (2 cups)
  • 1 package (14 ounces) soft caramels, unwrapped
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan with nonstick foil or with regular foil coated with nonstick spray.

2. In large microwave-safe bowl, melt together butter and chocolate in microwave oven on high for 2 minutes; stir until smooth. Whisk in eggs, sugar, flour and vanilla. Stir in pecans. Spread half the batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with 1 cup chocolate chunks.

3. In medium-size saucepan, melt together caramels and heavy cream over medium-low heat until smooth, about 5 minutes. Evenly pour over batter in pan. Spread with remaining batter. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup chocolate chunks.

4. Bake in 350°F oven until top is dry to the touch, about 35 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on wire rack. Lift brownie from pan with foil. Cut into squares.

Monday, September 20, 2010


It's been a weird week for our little city. Last week, a dog walker found a decapitated man at the park next to a junior high. Apparently, the man committed suicide at 4 a.m. by strapping a pipe bomb to his chest and setting it off (people in the neighborhood woke up to the sound of the explosion). Can you imagine finding a headless man like that?? It's so horrible. A few days later, the high school had a bomb threat. Weird to have two incidents like that in one week.

And closer to home, like AT my house, someone tried to break in to our house. It's SO CREEPY. Thankfully we had shut and locked all of the windows that night... The burglar pushed the window screen in and used a pry bar to try to open the window, but he wasn't successful (thank goodness).

I'm pretty sure this happened in the night, because I noticed something was awry when I went to open the front window on Friday morning. The screen had been pushed in (and was bowed in a way that looked like it had been pushed in the middle). The metal frame was a little bent too. When Ben came home from work, we went outside and looked at it more closely and saw where the guy used a screwdriver or some other tool to try to wedge it open (there is an indentation in the metal frame).

I've felt unsettled lately after having a nightmare a few weeks ago that someone was trying to break into our house. It really spooked me and I kept trying to brush it off, thinking it was just me being paranoid. Of all the houses to rob on the North Shore, I'd say ours is pretty low on the totem pole in terms of valuable stuff inside. You want my ugly 10-year-old t.v.? It's yours. Just ask me! But don't break into my house.

I get the city's daily crime report by email, and sure enough, today there were multiple listings of homes where someone attempted to pry open a first floor window. There was one home where the burglar was successful, got in through the window and stole a laptop and backpacks.

At least now I don't think I'm totally crazy - the fact that there were other reports from the same day makes me fairly certain that someone did attempt to get in our house. We don't currently have an alarm system, but you can be sure we are getting one now. Thanks Mr. Burglar, for freaking me out enough that I will ALWAYS close and lock our windows at night.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

September Beach Pictures

I had a photo shoot last weekend on the beach, and Ben brought the boys over in the bike trailer as I was finishing up. They played off to the side from where I was taking pictures (of the most beautiful family – I still need to finish my photography blog so I can post some recent sessions). I looked over and saw Charlie running around, covered in sand and shirtless. After my photo session was done, Charlie ran up to my stool and climbed right up.


Ben got creative with the long grass next to the beach and braided a headband for Eli, who thought it was the coolest thing.


I always bring sheets of stickers for the kids that I’m taking pictures of as a reward at the end. Charlie found my stash in the bag and started putting some stickers on himself (which is a common way for him to entertain himself at church too – he often has a few dozen stickers on both arms).


Checking to see how the sticker tasted – not so good, apparently.


I actually got in the pictures this time! Shocker :)


Ben and Eli were racing up and down the beach – Ben tripped on purpose so that Eli would catch up and win the race.


Love these boys.