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Rebecca & Dale

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Dale's family visits Part II!

We were very excited to have the family here for the weekend.  Here they are in front of Dale’s huge ass fish! 
While they were here we went to the museum (see post below), we took them for a nice, long bike ride around our neighborhood and before they left on Sunday we took them into the city to check out Millennium Park–always a good time for the kids!
Here’s Ian splashing through the reflecting pool–his shorts got wet but he had a good time. I got very close to the fountain and Lauren declared, “You are a brave woman!” Ha!
We also took them to the Buckingham Fountain downtown. We had such a nice day. It was gorgeous and sunny afternoon with a lovely breeze so we didn’t feel too hot despite the sun (that didn’t keep me from breaking out in a random heat rash later that day–sexy)!
Ian and Lauren checking out their reflections at the “bean” at Millennium Park. We had fun feeling dizzy as we stared up at the inside of the freaky bean. 
Finally it was time to head back to our place so they could get on the road. 
And for all the cool stuff they saw? Harry Potter, everything at the Museum of Science and Industry, Frank Lloyd Wright Houses, two playgrounds, a huge silver bean, a reflecting pool with video screens, and a large fountain…I think they liked riding the train to and from our house best of all. Ian especially…
This is Ian doing his best Mick Jagger before getting on the train to head back to our house. He’s a hoot!


A Day at the Musuem of Science and Industry with Dale's Family

 Dale’s mom Jackie and brother Wayne came to visit. Wayne brought Lauren and Ian along and we all went to see the Harry Potter Exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry. Ian is a big fan of Harry Potter. Sadly, we couldn’t take any picture of the inside of the exhibit. However, Ian came dressed as Harry Potter and he got to put on the Sorting Hat and was placed in Harry’s own house, Gryffindor!
 Here’s Ian dressed as Harry casting a spell in front of the bewitched car from one of the Harry Potter movies.
 We also enjoyed the rest of the musuem. This is Lauren hanging out on Boeing 727.
Ian fits neatly in the 727!
There was also a sweet exhibit of landmark pieces of architecture–made from LEGOs! So fun. This is Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water.
And these are the most iconic buildings in Chicago–both those that exist and those that are under construction. Pretty cool.
Wayne showing Ian the inner workings of a real space shuttle at the museum.
Lauren and Ian checking out the model trains. 
They stayed for the weekend so more pics to come!


Camping Weekend

Dale and I went camping last weekend and hit up a few of Southwestern Wisconsin’s tourist attractions. We took so many pics I thought we should break up the blog posts. Even before we got to campsite we stopped in at a place called Little Norway.

Most of the buildings on site are part of an old settlement of Norwegians. This building has an adorable grass roof.

The interior spaces feature a collection of artifacts that show what life was like for the settlers. They made everything–from their homes to every tool within, including the bucket and shovels pictured here.

The real highlight of the trip is the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition Norway Pavilion. It is one of only a handful of buildings that survive that were at the famed World’s Fair. I recently read Devil in the White City–a book all about the fair–and was excited to be inside the building. The building was built in Norway, disassembled and moved to Chicago for the exhibit. After the exposition, it was disassembled again and moved to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, by one of the Wrigleys. The Wrigleys donated the building to Little Norway with the condition it must be open to the public. It was disassembled again and finally moved (and re-assembled) at its permanent home in Blue Mounds, Wisconsin! *whew*

It’s very dark inside but Dale’s magical photography brought the building to life for me.

Dale snapped a pic of me snapping a pic (I like to take pictures of tiny, odd things).

I liked these Norwegian dolls with their sly little sideways glances!

Some Norwegian artifacts that are housed in the Norwegian Pavilion.

Apparently, some dignitaries and kings have come over the years and left gifts behind. I liked this one very much.

The door and the floors are all original–the place is in incredible shape for being created as a temporary exhibit. Apparently the Norwegian people took their pavilion very seriously!

Finally, on our way out of town Dale surprised me with a little gift! It’s little Swedish superstar Pippi Longstocking! I LOVED Pippi as a little girl. I remember watching her adventures as a little kid and adored how she exhibited super strength, sass and was smarter than all the grown-ups. It’s been a hoot posing her.


Wisconsin Road Trip

Dale and I love a good road trip. We get in the car and just drive. I got the love of road trips from my grandma Mary Ann (mom’s mom) and Dale got it from his grandparents (dad’s parents), too!

On Saturday Dale had a hankering to hit the open road and he decided we should go to Milwaukee (and if I had said no he would have just annoyed me around the house all day with his restlessness slowly turning to crabbiness).

Dale had hoped to meet up with his friend Gary who lives in Milwaukee (but we know him from back in the Flint days). Since this was a spur-of-the-moment trip, Gary was busy–and his mom has been ill–so we wish him (and her) well!

We took our sweet time getting to Milwaukee from Oak Park. We drove through Racine and up to Milwaukee.
And we spotted a lighthouse along the way!

We also spotted one of the stranger houses I’ve seen lately! There is a house just outside Milwaukee that features a strange assortment of pop culture icons and oddities, including a real Big Boy mounted on the roof of their garage–and a Hamburglar nearby! Check out the roadside curiosities blog for full coverage of the wacky house–it’s craziness!

When we finally got to downtown Milwaukee it was imperative we go to the Bronze Fonz–a life-sized statue of Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzerelli himself! Needless to say I was thrilled! And it turns out The Fonz is not nearly as intimidating in real life as he was back in his heyday! And Dale could totally take the Fonz in a fight, obviously.

After visiting Fonzie, Dale suggested we visit the Third Ward–Milwaukee’s burgeoning upscale arts district. Lots of adorable shops and nice restaurants. Even a fantastic, huge upscale grocery market! We went for an early dinner at a restaurant called Swig–it was really adorable and beautifully designed. And the food was good, too!

Dale took his camera, of course and even got a rare shot of me (I’m a pretty boring subject at this point for poor Dale).

We really liked the Third Ward and I practically had to drag out of that restaurant!

On the way home we got cheese. It was a trip Wisconsin!
We had to.

Once home we feasted on the cheese–it was an early dinner like I said–and watched some TV. It was a great little adventure.


Thanksgiving Weekend Pt. 1

We had a great holiday weekend!

We went to Lara & Tony’s for Turkey! Thanks so much to them for the incredible hospitality and generosity they have extended to us by having us over for holidays! It was great to see them and Lara’s parents.

On Friday we were pretty busy around the house—we organized closets and revamped the office closet, the bedroom closet and the hall closet—and created a huge mess. We now have bags and bags of goodies for charity and a hallway full of milk crates and other short-term storage containers that have been displaced and may now be going to charity, depending on how some further reorganization shakes out. And the office is trashed as I reconfigure everything. *whew*

Friday night we went to Glen Ellyn to eat at Thipi Thai (which was delish and is very cute) and it happened to be the little town’s holiday walk.

They lit their Christmas Tree and it was quite a huge crowd for the size of the area. The street was closed off and every store had attractions and activities for families.

A skinny snowman greeted the kids and a Santa played second fiddle in the window.

It was quite the scene, considering how small Glen Ellyn is. It was all very cute. Dale stopped in at the local bicycle shop and it was a madhouse because they were giving free balloon animals to kids—made on the spot!

On Saturday we went to Milwaukee…more on that soon!


A Visit to Betsy & Bryan's House…

You remember Sarah & Betsy, yes? Last time I went to visit Betsy was when little Owen was newborn! Well, Betsy and her husband Bryan have added another wee one to the family and my friend Sarah set up a visit so we could see the family.

Sarah and Betsy (with little Fern in front). The photos I had with Bryan turned out blurry!

Miss Sophie has gotten big! But she’s as charming and precocious as ever.

She’s also on the move. This one never stops once she gets going.

Owen is getting big, too! He tries to keep up with Sophie but as I said above, she’s a bit of a blur.

And this is the newest addition to the family: little baby Fern! Aww. She’s so sleepy. It’s exhausting being a new baby.

And finally this is Zoe. She’s the family’s slightly perturbed kitty. She is on a diet and is not at all amused by the fact that she can see her food but not eat it. Poor kitty!


Old Town Art Fair

A couple weekends ago Dale and I went to the Old Town Art Fair. It’s a very busy art fair and one of the oldest in the Midwest. And it’s big but not annoyingly so. Best of all? They have some really great artists.

Lewis Tardy does unusual (and expensive) metal sculpture. We thought the sculptures were amazing and you can check out his website here.

Another Tardy sculpture.

My favorite again this year is Nicario Jimenez–a retablos artist with works featured in the Smithsonian! He makes incredible dioramas from potato paste and gypsum powder!

I love these and can’t wait to buy one! Anyway, the retablos feature traditional and everyday behaviors as well as political statements. The above feature “day of the dead” figures drinking and singing. Click on the pictures to get a better view!
A traditional retablo.

A spectacular three-story retablo tells the story of immigration to America today. The folks on the bottom are just trying to get into the country, the second floor shows police harassment of immigrants and the top floor shows dueling demonstrations of immigrants protesting and Americans response–with the police caught in the middle.
A spectacular detail of the larger work above.
Another tradition retablo.
More drunk skeletons!

You can check out Nicario Jimenez’s site here.

Ultimately, we only bought one piece of art. Some girls at a nearby house were selling “affordable” art–this lovely drawing set us back $3 but I think it was worth it. Dale is a big fan of meerkats and this is a faithful representation of the little creatures.


Hot Rods on a Sunday

Last weekend Dale and I stopped by a BBQ for a car club because Dale wants to take some photos of cars and people who work on cars. So he snapped up a few pics . . .

Check out this hot ride! She goes flat when not in motion!

Inside . . .

Back . . .

Front . . .

Craziest wheels I’ve ever seen. And I grew up in Buick City, people! We’ve seen a LOT of custom cars.

A different tricked-out classic!

And another one . . .


Weekend Up North . . .

Dale shot a wedding in Petoskey the first weekend of May and since it was my birthday weekend–and a place where many dear friends live–I decided to go with him.

We stayed with Doug…

and the boys (Oliver and Cole, pictured above).

Dale did everything he could to make it a nice birthday for me. It was great, actually, though this year is filled with painful “firsts” without my mom Dale made it really special and fun. Anyway, Dale had a bunch of people call me (he’s sneaky) and got me a new iPod. Sweet! And my friend Rebecca made me cupcakes for the road trip–she’s a sweetie!

While Dale was working, Doug & I drove to Charlevoix on Saturday to meet our friend Heather and her little girl Maggie for lunch. We also wandered about Charlevoix for a spell and got ice cream.

Heather is pregnant with baby #2 and is due in a couple of weeks! This is us in Charlevoix. Oh, and I’m wearing my new glasses! As one of the bosses at work told me, “very fashion-forward!” But I think that might have been an insult. Hee!

Maggie is a cutie! And she loves her glass, too, obviously! She lit up like the fourth of July when Heather gave her the sunglasses! Ha!

Then it was back to Petoskey. During the weekend we went to a few of our favorite spots including Roast & Toast (an adorable indie coffee shop/deli) that is situated right next to one of my favorite bookstores in the world: McLean & Eakin (I could live there). Also, we went to the greatest kitchen gadget store in Michigan: Cutler’s. It was a very happy trip!

We drove to Harbor Springs on Sunday and had breakfast at Mary Ellen’s Diner–an old-fashioned counter grill and ice cream spot.

Doug & I soaking up the atmosphere! We also saw Iron Man. Good times.

Dale and I took the long way home–we drove along Lake Michigan as much as we could and stopped for dinner in St. Joseph to eat on a restaurant patio and watch the sunset. Lovely weekend! It was great to see Heather & Doug! I wish we all lived closer.


Garfield Park Conservatory's Niki in the Garden

Garfield Park Conservatory has the greatest exhibit this summer! Niki in the Garden is the largest display of Niki de Saint Phalle’s huge mosaic sculptures ever gathered!

The sculptures are both indoors and out.

These are three of Niki’s “nanas”–oversized women that epitomize the joy of living.

The skull is the best! You can go inside it.

And the inside is spectacular! Mirrored and tiled.

Another of the spectacular nanas.

This is Dale’s favorite photo of the day. Isn’t that flower spectacular?