Tuesday, July 2, 2013

4th of Chicago - July 2013

Chicago!  Here we come!

Olive is much better with air travel these days.  I think we all look forward to it as we can plug in, grab a drink and just chill out for a while.  I forget to do that sometimes, but vacations have a way of reminding you.

Cheetos, check.

Olive is starting to 'barter up' on everything.  For example:
Me: you can have one cookie.
Olive: Can I have three cookies?  etc.  

But sometimes she gets it wrong, like when I say she has to go to bed in 10 minutes, she'll counter with 3 minutes.  So like any good parent, I accept her terms.

We arrive on time, as does our bags, and GRANDMA!!

Two happy ladies ready to start a vacation.

Lovely to see that Willow tree again, and look at that water..

Jason was already fishing, and Olive wanted to join in the fun.

I was crouched in the Cat-tails but was busted.

It was great to be back and just relax for bit.

 Grandma wanted us to speak up for any items we might want to take home with us.  
And Rebecca and I both were thinking 'sailfish'.  

Grandma was delighted.  

So I asked her to do her best Vanna White..  well done GGmah!

The port that launched a 1000 Manhattans..

So many good memories.  I can hear drinks being poured and stirred right now.

Grandma pulled out Grandpa's childhood drawing board.  Filled with wonderful doodles of the day.  Dick Tracy, Popeye, even one of his dad saying "Ill take on all comers!".  Wow, what an item.

While we went through cufflinks and older items, Olive was fascinated with the spinwheel, just as I was when I was her age.  Wow, what a trip.

Art is everywhere in Grandma's house, and many of it created by her!  She's super talented and I can see where I get my artistic chops from.

A very cool model of the famous Y-3.

Plenty of tchotchkes to go through, each having its own story.  Postcards from Grandpa to his parents, keychains, political pins, cigarette holders, and old toys and knick knacks.

Later in the day Olive came running up to the house.  We caught a FISH! We caught a FISH!!

So everyone ran down to the dock as Uncle Jason pulled out quite the catfish.  The fisherman could not have been more proud.

Nice work you two!

Then the fish started speaking and asked "if he granted them three wishes, would we let him go?" 
They thought for a while and then Olive bartered and got him up to five wishes, $10, and a cookie.

Unfortunately, the cookie tasted terrible so they just decided to let him go.

Olive went up to the house and had one of Grandma's ice bars instead. 

Later Olive went outside to play with Spike. 

This is just before Olive lost some teeth.

(just joking)


So we went into town and loaded up on some provisions..  And then went back to Mom's as tomorrow would be a big day.  But first, Ashley, Rebecca, John and I went downtown to Chicago's premiere comedy theater, The Second City!

It was a busy night and a packed house.  We had lots of fun although the show was just ok.  
Olive stayed home with mom and Spike and they went to "Despicable Me 2".

We got home pretty late and went right to bed knowing Olive would be waking us up soon.  

And sure enough.. O woke us up and was ready to get back in the water.

You know you cant go to Chicago without some POOL TIME!

Olive started with water wings but soon they came off.  She's taken some swimming lessons and become a much stronger swimmer.  If she could, she'd stay in the water all day.

We took a quick break to hit some golf balls..

Then back in the pool for some R & R.

Party is starting.

Creepy Darth Vader masks, check.

This seems bizarre.  Olive? you ok?

Olive was really getting comfortable with her new water wings.  And seeing her swim so much makes us happy because she falls asleep early and doesnt get up at 5am.

For her birthday we had an ice cream 'bar' with all the trimmings.  For a hot day like today, it was perfection.  MMmmmm!!

Cant believe we're celebrating a 4th birthday today..  Wow.

Happy Birthday O!

After all the desserts, it was time for the all the awesome gifts!

Her first Hawks jersey!  Thanks Ellen and Bob!  and Go Hawks!

Olive is now in the tribe.  The Blackhawk nation.

Cheryl and Joe arrived, and Grandma put Joe immediately to work making her a Manhattan.

Well Olive is usually pretty photogenic..  But I think she was getting tired from all the attention.

Sparkler time!

As the sun went down, we busted out glowsticks and sparklers.  O was a little nervous about the sparklers..

But the rest of us had fun.

I think she was exhausted at this point.  
On a side note, we agreed that once she turned four, she would need to give the 'binky' (pacifier) away so another baby could use it.  So she knew this was one of her last nights with it. 

So after partying it up, and lots of laughs and drinks and mosquito bites, it was time to call it a night.  So instead I dropped my brothers really expensive phone on the patio and shattered it.  Argghhh.  Sorry Jason.  Guess its time for me to go to bed.

The next morning, John, Jay and I hit up the Volo Auto museum and Antique mall.  Rebecca and Olive went to go buy party supplies for the big day.  Boy was I tempted to buy tons of old Bulls collectibles and Star Wars toys..  But I didnt.   Guess those are signs of me becoming an adult.  But I still got giddy seeing the Hollywood cars like the General Lee, the Batmobile, and the actual bike they used for Pee Wee Herman's Big Adventure.

And soon it was time to head back.  Olive and John got in some playground time before we went back to mom's pool, which on a hot day like today, sounded perfect.

To quote a favorite relative of mine: "Woo Hoo!!"

What?  Still more birthday gifts to open?  Now Im thinking we should have brought an extra suitcase with us..  Or maybe we'll just leave all the gifts here.

Just joking Olive..

Cant visit McHenry without some Foxhole Pizza!  Yum.

Olive and Grandma played with a little Czech tchotchke we got her when we lived in Europe.  It help her interest for 22 seconds which is a record for a non-electrical device.

But soon she wanted to get back to the pool party.  Cant blame her..

Some friends from Chicago came up North and brought along their 7 week old puppy.

Olive fell instantly in love.

This was a pretty cute dog.  And she followed Olive everywhere she went.

It wasnt long before she started asking if we could get a puppy.  But I said we already have two cats and two hermit crabs and that we dont have room for a puppy.

Of course more and more moments like this happened..

Please dad??  Please..??

So we hung out at the pool that afternoon and then went out to the Grandma's house on Pistakee Bay.  

Olive wasnt having any fun..

Just kidding!!

And soon she was running around the yard just as I had done since I was her age.  It was pretty magical to watch.

 Vicki set up the slip n slide but it was getting kinda late.  But there was still time for running.

We even busted out the kite but without any wind..  we just ended up running a lot, which made daddy very tired.

Sunset buds.

Prince CJ arrived and held court with 
Lord Uncle John and Queen Majesty Lois the Vth

Always have loved this birdhouse.  I wonder if grandson birds are up there visiting their grandma birds.

It was a lovely sunset, and what a great time to just relax and laugh.

Three sisters!

After this picture, Olive started crying..  She stubbed her toe and one of the toe nails was smooshed.

Auntie LeeAnn helped her out.  30 seconds later, she was fine.

So back to the sisters!!

And Super LeeAnn of course!!

Lee Ann is awesome.  She's always helping out, taking pictures, moving chairs, helping Grandma, bringing food, and just flashing that lovely smile everywhere she goes.  

She is a big part of the family and has really been there for this family through good times and bad.

The sun was starting to go down so we tried to squeeze in some shots..

I had Tequila, Mom had Rum, Grandma had Vodka.

Ha ha.

The ladies of the Lake.

We finally got everyone together for this shot, except Jason.  Where was Jason?  Oh yeah, he ran off to the Yacht club to see Joe and Cheryl (they were hosting a giant 4th of July party).

He made it!  I think thats everyone..

Time to get ready for fireworks.  So we prepped by slathering on the bug spray and Olive plugged her ears because she doesnt like fireworks that are too loud.

CJ and Spike enjoying a nice quiet moment..  (that is until the paparazzi arrived).

Look at these two at make out point..

We just sat and watched Spike and Cj make out for 20 minutes.

Olive thought it was strange at first but then she got into it.

Then the real fireworks started.  A local Lake hotel was blasting off a full on fireworks show across the Bay.  It was fantastic and provided many oooohhhs   and aaaaaahhhs.

LeeAnn took some group shots so I thought it would be cool to try and be in mid air when she snapped it.  But that took a lot of attempts..


Then we tried to have some fireworks of our own.

CJ the Sparkler King proclaimed his manliness to the entire kingdom.  We all bowed out of respect and allegiance.  And then we went back to being more silly.

And that was the finale of our fast week in McHenry.  
It was another  fun conclusion to another great week on the lake.

And before you knew it, we were back at the airport heading back to LA.

Thanks Grandma Ginny and everyone else for lovely trip!

Happy 4 year old?  Check.

We had a smooth flight back and only a few nagging mosquite bites to scratch.  But plenty of great memories and fun times to smile about.

And surprise!  Look who we saw at LAX??

Wow.  All this excitement packed into one week?

Whats a little girl to do?  


Happy 4th everyone and thanks again for such a lovely trip.


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