Tuesday, October 14, 2008

weekend in pictures

I know, I know, my posts have been a little word-heavy lately. So I'm making up for it all. Today. In one post.

We drove up to my parents' house on Thursday evening (I had given my students a workday on Friday morning, so we weren't holding class that day, since many of them prefer to meet for workdays in a PC lab rather than a Mac lab, where one of my classes is taught, and I don't blame them one bit). Anyway, Neil did research all the way up there and then more when we arrived, then more research on Friday morning while I took the girls to my favorite park. A playground, miles of woodland trails, an apple orchard--I spent SO much time there in high school. I love that place, and it's within (long) walking distance of my parents' house.

In any case, we went for a walk in the woods.

Abigail, as you can see, is really into holding hands. Juliet? Not so much.

So I realized something on this walk: I've never been in these woods by myself (i.e. where I'm the only adult). Abigail was kind of scared, and I was trying to reassure her, and then I realized that I was a little spooked too when I actually thought about it. And then I thought about once when I was on a walk there with a guy I was dating, and these deer ran really fast across the path, and I (who knows why, because I've seen lots of deer in my time, including lots of deer being butchered on the kitchen counter) thought they were wolves, and I was going to get eaten (I screamed so loudly that I scared him too, and then he teased me about it for years). Anyway, nobody else was in the park, and we were pretty far in the woods. So we came back, but not before we had loaded ourselves up with miniature pine cones and spent lots of time making up stories about fairies sleeping on moss. I'm so happy that Abigail is a full-fledged member of the world of imaginative play. Seriously, I cannot even tell you how happy that makes me.

Technically nobody is allowed on this rocking horse (because the head sometimes breaks off and pitches little people forward), but I think we forgot to warn Neil about that. The cool thing about this horse is that it's made out of a barn that used to stand on our property in Ohio--it was really old (I'm thinking 100-150 years? maybe more like 50, I'm not sure) and pretty dangerous, so when my parents built the house they had the barn knocked down and some of the wood was used to make cool things in our house, like the bookcases and this rocking horse.

The reason why we came up on Thursday was so we could take my grandparents to lunch on Friday. They graciously rearranged their schedule for us (seriously, they have so many cool things going on!) and we went to this fun place called the Spicy Pickle. It's basically a soup/salad/panini bar. I had half a panini stuffed with artichoke hearts, sausalito turkey, feta, and sun dried tomato mayo, plus the "forest" salad, which was spinach, portobello mushrooms, hazelnuts, grilled onions, and sun dried tomatoes. It was delicious! Oh, and my dad took us to another of our favorite restaurants on Thursday night--it's a Lebanese place called Schwarma King. So I ate my fill of hummus, baba ganoush, Lebanese salad, and of course!!--lots of schwarma. My mouth is literally watering just thinking about it.

After lunch on Friday, we went back to my grandparents' house and Abigail and Juliet tried to play with every beautiful/breakable object in sight while Neil and I ran around frantically taking things away. They settled down and we had some ice cream and fun time together.

On Saturday, we got up bright and early to head to the temple. You already know about our exciting drive (what I forgot to mention before is that we weren't driving the Jeep, since my parents had graciously offered to loan us one of their cars for the day, since the gas mileage on the Jeep is TERRIBLE. So yes, all the damage was to my parents' car, which made it a lot more stressful!)

Neil thought this guy's bike was really cool, so he asked me to take a picture. The guy saw me take a picture and then I felt a little weird.

Our first stop was this really chic little neighborhood downtown, which I wanted to go to solely because it had an Anthropologie, and I have been wanting some of their latte bowls ever since I read about them on Stephanie Nielson's blog several years ago (yes, I know, I've been wanting these for a long time, but I wanted to go browse the store sans small children).

So I got one in every color except for pink (and white, because it was boring), because both Neil and I agreed that if we had a pink one, we would be washing it ALL THE TIME because pink is Abigail's favorite color and she would refuse to eat out of anything else (trust me, we know this from experience). And I know the picture of them on my counter is fuzzy, but I bought them for the glorious mishmash of colors, which you can still see.

Then we headed to the Art Institute, by way of an hour-long search for parking, because guess what? Sunday was the Chicago Marathon, and there were free concerts all over the city. Seriously, the place was packed. We were able to park in the place we'd originally planned to park, but it cost a sweet $18 and was still a mile and a half away from the Art Institute (we parked at the Museum Campus lot). So we had ourselves a good walk, and then we got to the Art Institute, and they said you can't have any food or beverages in the museum (figured on that) but that you also can't have any in your checked bag (did NOT figure on that) so we went back out on the steps and ate three oranges and a granola bar each (lunch!). Then we stuffed our pockets with contraband granola bars and Craisins and gave away our Triscuits to a guy sitting on the steps. I hope he enjoyed them.

Then we went in. At first I was kind of upset, because my favorite exhibit there is the French Impressionists, and most of them were off display because of renovations to the museum. But then I was totally exhausted a few hours later, so I don't know if I would have lasted much longer anyway. I'm happy to say that Neil really enjoyed the museum, which was great, because I was wondering if maybe we should have gone to the Field Museum or something instead, but he really liked the Art Institute (we've got some great new quotable quotes and inside jokes now!)

At least we got to see my very favorite painting (Seurat's A Sunday on La Grande Jatte), if not all the Van Goghs and Monets that I'd been describing to Neil. And I did spend a lot of time looking at other exhibits that I usually go through more quickly in favor of the Impressionists.

Half an hour before the museum closed, I was practically asleep on my feet and RAVENOUS, so we headed four blocks north to get some real deep-dish Chicago-style stuffed pizza--at Giordano's, of course.

We waited about an hour for our food (note: we were seated immediately; it just took FOREVER to bake the pizza, so we had plenty of time to consume a really ridiculous amount of fried zucchini, mushrooms, and mozzarella sticks and take lots of pictures of ourselves and make up stories about everyone around us).

Then the pizza came. It was HUGE. Not in diameter, but in fillings. I don't think I've ever seen so much cheese in a single space in my life.

When we left, I was so glad we'd come earlier than we planned--there were people EVERYWHERE waiting to get in. Seriously, like all over the entire square.

We started the walk back to the car--I was so grateful at this point that we were parked 2 miles away, since I felt pretty sluggish after all that cheese!--and meandered through Millennium Park. Neil thought the outdoor amphitheater was awesome, and I was told to post both of these shots:

Then we did the obligatory stop at the bean:

and took a picture of our reflection:

and watched the cool fountains...

...and meandered back to the car in the breezy twilight, stopping to kiss on the bridge and look out at the gorgeous night. It was just lovely.


Meghan said...

The stone that held the main central beam holding up the barn floor (a floor made of 2 oak rough sawn 1X14) had a date of 1860 carved into it. So 148 years. We were very sad to tear it down. We got an estimate to stabilize the foundation and repair the roof--not the entire barn. It was going to cost more than our house. I climbed up in the top rafters and decided it was just to cool up there to leave the barn standing with our children and neighbors around.

We had a wonderful time with you this weekend. It was a true delight to spend the day with Abigail and Juliette.

Love you,

Meghan said...

Glad your day improved and that you had such a great time downtown. One of my very favorite trips ever was to Chicago when Dad had a conference there and we stayed downtown and saw "Joseph and the Amazing...." We walked a lot and it was a perfect trip.

Elise Decker said...

yesterday, my friends and i watched a couple make out outside of my building for 45 minutes (well, not watched, but you know...) i hope you and neil weren't some of those people.....

Cris, Jon, Austin and Ethan said...

Man Rachel! I thought I was wordy!...j/k. It's good to get the details...man! can you say spitting image??? your youngest looks just like you minus the hair.

Emily said...

maybe if you're clumsy and i'm lucky we'll get to meet in real life sometime -- i know i would really like that. i love popping in in your blog and getting caught up on all i've missed. beautiful girls. beautiful food. beautiful mothering. you amaze me with all you manage to accomplish in a day!

Kilerkki said...

I'm late, but I'm so, so glad you guys are okay. Mom told me the front of the Camry now matches the back, so it doesn't sound like you guys have too much to feel guilty about. *hugs* I'm really happy that you were able to have such a fun time in Portage and Chicago, too. Your pictures really made me want to go hang out in Schrier Park again. (I wonder if the residual fear is from the Haunted Forest...? Did you ever go there in high school?)

Hope you and the girls are doing well--and that you're getting more sleep, these days!

lanada said...

i heart chicago. and i'm really sad that you didn't take pictures of neil's toes by the seurat.

Lindsey said...

I love the Art Institute in Chicago. Ryan and I went last winter in conjunction with a trip to the temple, and we had a great time. We managaged to spend 8 hours inside, but there was a special traveling Impressionism exhibit installed at the time, and we desperately wanted to get our money's worth. What an amazing place full of amazing works.

Katrina said...

i've never been to chicago--it looks a lot of fun!!

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