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November 30, 2014

They Still Delight...

For all intents and purposes, my girls are Big Kids.  They dress themselves.  They can buckle and un-buckle their car seats.  They go to school.  They are learning to read really proficiently.  They do math “just for fun”.

Much of this Big Kid stuff is welcome, and oh-so-awesome.  But I am so very grateful for the little glimpses I still get of their not-so-Big-Kid selves.

On Thursday morning, I let the girls watch as much of the Thanksgiving parade as they wanted.  This is the only time in their short lives they’ve been allowed to sit idly in front of the TV, and it was something they’d been looking forward to since last Thanksgiving.  It was the first thing they said when they woke up on Thursday, “Mommy!  We get to watch the parade!”  And they were some kind of disappointed they had to wait until 9am for it to start.

I watched the parade over their shoulders as I worked in the kitchen to continue to get things ready for our big Thanksgiving lunch.  They recognized some of the balloons from last year, and they were tickled to hear their first few Christmas tunes of the year.

We had a fun Thanksgiving day…we entertained friends for lunch, and then we had some glorious “quiet time” that afternoon.  We rounded out the day with some crafting, and everyone was actually excited to have leftovers for supper.

At bedtime, it occurred to me we should read the Curious George parade story.  In the story, they don’t call out Macy’s by name, but it’s not a big stretch to see the story is loosely set in the Big Apple.

At my suggestion, the girls SQUEALED with excitement.  (And my heart smiled big with pleasure.)

Baby A RAN to find the yellow Curious George book.  She first raced into the reading room, and then downstairs to scour the bookcase in the den.  She came bounding back upstairs, so excited to read about Curious George’s adventures in the very parade they’d seen on TV that morning.


I know one day my babies won’t delight in having Mommy read books to them.  I sure am thankful that today, they still do.  

October 10, 2014

Football = Soccer ???

...well, not in this country…but I can see my sweet kiddos trying to figure it all out.

This mama is a huge football fan (of the American sort), Alabama Crimson Tide football, to be more exact.  While it was only over the last year that we actually let the girls watch any football (the TV is rarely on while the girls are awake), they’ve been decked in Crimson and White since they were tiny.



Soccer also runs deep at our house.  I didn’t grow up with the sport, buy my hubby lives and breathes it.  It’s his true passion.

The girls have logged much more English Premier League soccer time in front of the telly than they have football, for sure.  And we play a lot of it, too…in our basement, in the front yard, and every chance we get to go to the park.



I see the sports as being so completely different, but I recognize now they can cause a little confusion to the wee ones.

We were at the park a few weeks ago, kicking the soccer ball around.  Baby A did something really nice, and I congratulated her, “That was AWESOME!”  She threw her little hands in the air and yelled, “TOUCHDOWN!

Daddy just shook his head.

I got my turn at head shaking during the Alabama game this past weekend.  During the first quarter, the opposing team scored first on a field goal.  After a few minutes (still during the first quarter), B said somberly, “Mommy, I don’t think Alabama is going to win.”  WHY would you say that, Sweetie???  “Well, they have three goals, and we don’t have any.”


I had to laugh (perhaps to keep from crying)!

...hmmm...maybe they can play soccer at The University of Alabama...yes, that's it!!!

October 8, 2014

The Reading Bug

The reading bug is a real thing…and my Baby A has got it!

Hallelujah!!!

As I’ve written before, the girls have had really solid pre-reading skills for a long, long time now.  I’d count at least two years that I expected them to start reading any day.  I never really pushed them, figuring it would happen when they were ready.  I thought that once they started, they’d just take off, and it sure feels like that’s what my A is doing.

She wants to read EVERYTHING now!

Last night, I was amazed as she made her way pretty proficiently through a huge stack of early reader cards.  She just kept plugging away!

And then before bed, she wanted to read a book.  She picked “The Very Grouchy Ladybug”, which is not exactly an easy reader.  With very little help, she got through the first several pages before it was time for bed.  She BEGGED to read more, but it was time to go upstairs.

It’s a little hard for me to tell exactly where Baby B is on the curve.  She hasn’t proactively sat down to read something with the same gusto as her sister, but she was helping A fill in the blanks in her book last night.  How cute it was to see them playing off each other.


How happy I am to see those synapses firing away.  I hope it’s the start of a long and storied love affair with reading!

October 5, 2014

Short and Sweet

...'cause I just don't want to forget...

When we first moved the girls into their big kid beds, I was so afraid they'd get up and wander around the house at night.  I impressed upon them that they DID NOT GET UP until their clock turned green in the morning.  "If you need something, call Mommy."

The girls are far old enough to go to the bathroom by themselves...but during the night, on the rare occasion that someone needs the potty, I get a summons.  It rarely happens, so I don't really mind.

Tonight, the girls had been in bed less than 30 minutes when I heard my A call for me.  I ran upstairs and found her sister already snoring.  "Mommy, I need to go potty," A whispered when I approached her.

I walked with her into the bathroom, and she did her thing.  I haven't done this in a long time, but I picked her up when she finished.  Instead of her walking back to her bed, I carried her.

"Thank you, Mommy," she told me as she hugged my neck.

What precious baby girls I have.

<3 p="">

October 4, 2014

Fall Festival, but alas, No Pictures

I was talking to GG on the phone last week, and I told her what a big week the girls were having with their Fall Festival.  “I know you made a bunch of pictures!” she said.

Sadly, I didn’t make even one.

There have been a couple of occasions that I’ve gotten the girls out on the front porch step to take pictures before school, but most days we’re on the straight and narrow, trying to get our morning chores done and stake our place in the drop-off line around 7:30.

Even without the visual mementos, I still want to catalog what a fun time the girls had.  Here ‘goes!

Monday was Pajama Day.  The girls were tickled to wear their new-ish “pig” pajamas to school…and they were some kind of adorable.

Tuesday was Hat Day.  They wore their dinosaur caps that GG bought them this spring.  I also let them wear new shirts we bought last weekend.  (How grateful I was to find adorable little shirts at Kohl’s…one was embroidered with the face of a fox, and one, with the face of a mouse [which the girls want to think is a cat]…they remind me of something I would have bought when the girls were tiny…so sweet!!!)

Wednesday was Team Day.  The girls wore their Bama jerseys.  On this day, I went to eat lunch with them.  I could easily write a post on that in itself, but I’ll shorthand here to say how sweet it was to cuddle with them in the middle of the day.  After we ate lunch, I got to shop at the book fair in the library with them.  They were SO excited to pick out a few books.  They’d been talking, in particular, about one entitled “Creepy Carrots”.  We found that first, and I let them each pick another couple.  They seemed almost incredulous that I allowed them to continue to choose.

Thursday was Wacky-Tacky Day.  The girls and I picked out a short-sleeve striped shirt, paired with a floral sundress and denim leggings.  Striped reindeer Christmas socks topped off their ensemble.  Hee hee!

(Actually, I have one picture, although I didn't take it...it was taken by M&C's mom, who had the girls over for a much-anticipated play date that afternoon.)

Wacky-Tacky...now with Monster Hats!
Thursday they also had a Teddy Bear Sleepover at school.  The girls each packed a small bear, along with a blanket (a hand towel, in our case), a toothbrush, floss, and a night-night story.  On Friday, they again wore pajamas to match the theme, and they were shocked to see what a mess their bears made at school overnight!

Baby A’s bear apparently ate an entire mushroom pizza…and left the box there as evidence!  Baby B’s classroom was strewn with toilet paper!

The girls wore their “pig” pajamas again that day…as those are the only ones long enough to properly fit a certain growing kiddo.

Friday morning, I volunteered to sell tickets to the festival during the morning meeting.  It was fun for me to get a visual of the way the girls start their day every day.  I will say, it was LOUD!  They played Katy Perry’s ROAR in the gym (as the school mascot is the tiger).  It was pretty cute to see all the kiddos grooving.

Friday night, I hustled home from work and we headed back to school for the culmination of the Fall Festival.  I knew it was a big deal…but I had no idea how the entire school would be teaming with people!

We headed to the gym first, where the girls climbed the rock wall.  They made it all the way across!  They played Sucker Pull, Toss the Penny, and Mini Golf.  They had a lot of fun doing the Book Walk…Baby A was super lucky and won three books!  Baby B won one.  I was thankful to have been able to steer them clear of the game where you win the goldfish!  They did a couple of outside events, including Cornhole and the Duck Pond.  We ended the night by exhausting our tickets on the inflatable slide.  (Mommy got in on that action, much to Husband’s chagrin.)


At one point, Hubby wanted to take our growing loot to the car.  He said, "I'll find you guys."  I'll bet he won't make that mistake in the future!  I know he had to look and look to find us...not only was it super packed, but the school is designed in a big circle format...AND the girls were both wearing their fall festival t-shirts, along with at least a hundred of their closest friends.  HA!

Such a fun and busy week for my growing girls!!!

September 22, 2014

My (Dusty) Camera

Since the girls started school and I started back to work, I realized I haven't had my camera out nearly as often as I always have.  It isn't literally dusty (the horror!!!), but my September14 picture file was sadly thin.

I packed my camera this past Saturday morning, as the girls and I went to our beloved Jackson's Orchard for their annual Orchestra in the Orchard event.  [I have pictures from our visit each year that I could pull out...but I'm not quite that organized these days.]

Here are a few of my faves...

We started out, listening to the orchestra, under the shade of an apple tree.


Since we didn't get there as early as we'd planned, our spot wasn't very good, and we decided to find a snack.  In line, we ran into none other than "Grandma" June!!!  It had been waaaay too long since we saw her...what a fantastic treat!!!


The girls enjoyed playing...


...and Grandma June insisted she take a picture of the three of us.  What a rare treat!


And last, but certainly not least, we scoped out the pumpkins.



After a super-fun morning, the girls and I headed downtown for lunch.  We opted for Tea Bayou, one of my frequent haunts from the girls' preschool days.  How I'd missed that little place, too!

Here are the girlies, waiting on our food, near-tuckered out from a full morning of sun and fun...


And I had to snap a picture of A, trying to eat a big muffaletta.  It's hard to eat when you're short on teeth!!!


Before we wrapped up our sweet time together, we made a pit stop by the downtown fountain.  This picture opp never gets old.


I've been missing time with my precious babies...and with my camera!  So glad I got a good dose of both this Saturday.

{heart}

September 20, 2014

READING!!!

The girls have had what I would consider really solid pre-reading skills for more than two years now…at least.  They’ve known all their letters since they were around two, and they’ve known all their letter sounds since they were in the neighborhood of three.

They’ve been able to sound out words, letter by letter, but they rarely put those sounds together to make words.

As much as I wanted them to start reading, I *tried* not to sweat it.  I purposefully didn’t push them on the topic, and we learned a million other things before they started school.  I figured that a light bulb would flash on one day for them, things would click, and they’d be reading up a storm.

A month into kindergarten, and I feel like I was pretty right!  The girls are reading!!!  While I wish I could have been the one to introduce the magic, I think it helped having encouragement from their teachers – someone other than Mommy – to get them over the hump.

Baby A, in particular, has been so fun to watch.  She wants to read EVERYTHING!  Two weeks ago, she ran an errand with me on Saturday afternoon.  I had the Kohl’s sale paper with me, and she asked if she could hold it in the car.  She tried so hard to read every single word!  And she was so proud of herself for being such a big kid!!!

Although we have a blue million books at our house, some of them being early reader books, I felt like the girls would get a big thrill from going to the bookstore and buying a new book they could read.  Last weekend I let the girls each pick out a new book.  I suggested they each choose a Pete the Cat book (having an affinity for the little guy myself), and they were tickled!!!

It was such a sweet occasion, made even a little sweeter by the lady who checked us out at the bookstore.  She oohed and ahhed over the girlies getting books THEY could read.  She’s been checking us out since I used to bring the girls in their stroller, and I know she delighted in sharing this milestone.

The girls worked so hard to read every word in their books…over and over.




This may not be a work of great literature, but it will always have a special place in my heart!


September 10, 2014

Kindergarten, To Date

The girls have been in school a full month now, and they are having a great time.  I’m disappointed with myself for not having written down the details sooner, but I am going to try to hit the highlights…

The first day of school, the girls came barreling towards me in the pick-up line, Baby A, in particular.  We got home and had a smoothie, and they couldn’t wait to snuggle with their babies.  Those first few days, in particular, I got lots and lots of snuggle time.  The girls just wanted to cuddle with me and read…and that was fine by me!



The second day of school, Baby A came home with their class “pet”, Thomas the Tiger.  We took him out for ice cream after school, and the girls were excited to read to him at home.  In addition to that big treat, Baby A was ecstatic to bring home a “Reading Award” plaque.  She got it for knowing all her letters.



A few days later, Baby B brought home her own “Reading Award” plaque, so now we have a matching set on the bookcase.  She also got to bring home her class “pet”, Rowdy the Dog.



I love hearing the girls talk about these class “pets” like they have real personalities.  It’s a different approach they take than with their own stuffed babies, pretending Thomas and Rowdy do all sorts of things by themselves.

The girls each made friends right away.  Baby A talks most often about her friend M, and Baby B, about her friend L.  The first full week of school, Baby B brought home a “bracelet” that L made her…a scribbly piece of paper she wrapped around her arm.  A brought home artwork at some point, and they’ve each made artwork in return.

We had major excitement when the classes read The Gingerbread Man.  The girls were thrilled to talk about the gingerbread man they made that RAN AWAY!!!  Fortunately, the principal found him and brought him back to their class…and then they got to enjoy gingerbread cookies.

We had the girls’ first school program last week.  We were due at the school at 6:00 for the students to present the “Seven Habits” of their school culture.  They were SUPER excited for us all to be there.  They were such big kids, sitting with their class on the floor of the gym, facing a huge audience of parents.  They did a great job singing their songs when it was their time, and sitting still while the other classes performed.



The girls are learning new songs and having new adventures.  They love to tell us about the happenings at school over supper every night.  We know all about the safety drills they’ve done…about how to walk down the hall without making a sound…about the dances they do in PE…about the artwork they do in art…and about the instruments they see in music.

It’s doubly neat that the girls are experiencing some different things in their homeroom classes.  They listen intently to each other’s descriptions, too.


I miss spending time with my baby girls during the week so much it hurts…but it does make it a tiny bit easier to know they’re having a great time…that they’re in great hands…at school.


August 23, 2014

Return to "Normal"...at Least for Today

The girls have been in school now for 2 ½ weeks.  They love it, and I love that they love it.  What I don’t love, though, is how far away from our past-five-years “normal” our days are now.

I am up bright and early to get myself ready before I wake up the girls at 6:15.  We eat breakfast, and then I send them upstairs to brush their teeth and get dressed while I clean up the breakfast dishes and get dressed myself.  We fix hair and load lunchboxes, and we’re out the door by 7:20. 

The girls and I spend about 15 minutes waiting in the drop-off car line each morning.  I take a book and we read while we wait for the doors to open at 7:45.  I give them hugs and kisses and head to work.

After school, Daddy picks the girls up, and I try my best to get home by 5:30.  I heat up supper (I’ve cooked everything ahead of time), we eat and clean up…and we’re left with about 30 minutes (if everything goes as planned) to enjoy each other’s company before we begin our bedtime routine.

This is a million miles from the majority of our days to date…when we held our own schedules and had plenty of time to do what we wanted, when.

Today we enjoyed a throw-back to “normal”.  It was a busy day, but oh, so welcome.

The girls slept (more or less, anyway) until 7:00.  We got up, got dressed, and headed out to breakfast.  After breakfast, we went to one of our favorite hangouts, Lost River Cave.  It was incredibly HOT, so we didn’t hike all the trails, but we spent a good hour meandering around the grounds.

After our outdoor adventure, we began our weekend errands.  Daddy and the girls dropped me off at Walmart, while they headed to Target.  They picked me up, a week’s worth of groceries in tow, and we made a quick stop by Sam’s before heading home.

After encountering more than our fair share of spiderwebs during our morning hike, we headed straight for the shower.  The girls played around while I got towels and outfits, and then we all got squeaky clean.  We enjoyed a low-key lunch, and the girls got straight to playing while Mommy had a [glorious!] nap.

I was awoken by the sweetest Baby B.  “Mommy, can you come upstairs and play ‘party’ with us?”  Of course, I would love to!

The girls had worked hard to set up a birthday party for their stuffed kitties.  They were very proud to show me how they’d set the table, made a cake, and iced cupcakes.  (I was pretty impressed with how they pretended to use decorator icing!)  Baby A had made an elaborate play structure from Connectagons to entertain the party guests, and Baby B made a rainbow collage of foam shapes as a present.

We had a great time playing…and then the girls and I headed to the bookstore to buy the next book in the “Little House” series.  We enjoyed a yummy snack at the bookstore, and we had a great time browsing for books.  In addition to the Little House book, I indulged the girls with a book on spiders, one on the human brain, one on skyscrapers, and a new night-night story. 

We left the bookstore and headed to the craft store to pick up a couple of items.  We ran into a couple of the ladies we know there, who were all excited to hear about the girls’ kindergarten adventures.

After the craft store, we had one more quick stop, and we headed home.  The girls rode their bikes on the driveway (while Daddy was cutting the grass), while I made a quick supper.

We had a great dinner, and then we enjoyed some time with our new books.

It was the perfect day.  Yes, it was busy…especially in contrast to Baby A having asked on Friday if we could snuggle all day on Saturday…but it was great.


I am very thankful for this dose of the “old normal” as we’re creating our “new normal”, at least during the week.  And I'm looking forward to cashing in on those snuggles on Sunday.

August 15, 2014

I'm Going to Miss This

I had a really hard time, the last few days before the girls started kindergarten.  It wasn't so much that I couldn't come to grips with my babies growing up...but it was all about how much I would miss the amazing 5 1/2 years we shared so intimately.

Sure, we'll have our mornings and our nights together, and we'll make the most of every weekend...but it's the random, middle-of-the-afternoon, impromptu trips to the orchard that I will miss so very much...

...it's being there for the most average of days, and enjoying the most incredible snuggles, any time I pleased.

...it's sharing the ups and downs and restlessness...turned to incredible displays of imagination.

Here's just a snippet of some of the carefree fun we had this summer.

Swim lessons!

Picking tomatoes from the garden!

Picking strawberries from the berry patch!

Getting lost in a craft!

Having fun at birthday parties!
Playing at the park!

Hanging out at the orchard with friends!


Learning new skills!
Ceramics!

Ice cream with Mommy!
 ...and one of my favorite pictures of the summer...
The dancing fountains!
And, of course, we enjoyed two amazing trips (no vacation time required).

Chicago!!!

New York City...with friends!!!
I am beyond grateful for these baby girls, and for the 5 1/2 years we've ENJOYED, together.  New adventures await, for sure...but these days will forever have such a special place in our hearts.

August 8, 2014

First Day of Kindergarten!!

Wednesday was the girls' first day of kindergarten!  It was really hard for this mama to believe...and even harder for me to swallow...but I focused on the girls' excitement for their next big adventure.

I decided to spare the girls an early-morning photo shoot.  Baby B was raring to go when I woke them up at 6:20...but A, despite being reminded it was the First Day of School!!!...pulled the covers over her head and said, "NOOOO!"

I enticed her out of bed with the promise of crab quiche waiting for her...one of her favorites.

B downed her plate, but A didn't eat her usual portion.  I think 6:20 is just early for my baby girl!

After breakfast, both girls galloped upstairs to brush their teeth and get dressed.  There was a small amount of coaxing, as these are new shirts (ones I bought a couple of years ago on clearance, the girls have been begging to wear them!).  They have a different neckline than what the girls are accustomed to, and A wasn't quite feeling it.  We finally moved past that, and everyone was ready for hair.  They both chose braided pigtails (much to Mommy's delight).

And then we headed to the front porch for a little photo shoot.


They loved the sign I made them!


After pictures, we were off!

We got to school at 7:30, thinking that the first day would be kinda nutty.  It was anything but...I actually questioned myself if it was, indeed, Wednesday.  The parking lot was almost empty!  We were one of the first families to walk into school that day.

The girls were SUPER excited to put on their new backpacks.  I didn't even have to beg for this picture!



And there they went...



(Of course I was following closely behind...I wasn't going to miss walking my babies into school that first day!)

We had to wait for a few minutes for the classrooms to open.  The girls were pretty quiet in the foyer of the school.  I'm sure there were a lot of things going through their little minds!

When we got to their hallway, though, they relaxed a bit.  Here are their pictures in front of their classrooms.

Love the look of anticipation on A's face!

My big girl B!

B gave me a quick hug, and filed into her classroom.  Next door, A gave me a quick hug, and she was gone, ever-so-slightly more tentatively, too.

When I got to school to pick them up that afternoon, the car line was already quite long.  I waited, watching intently to see if I could catch a glimpse of them walking outside to the pick-up area.  I didn't see the girls...but I did see Hubby!  What a surprise it was for all of us!

He managed to get away from his school a bit early, and he headed over to see the girls.  The three of them had to wait until I pulled around, but he was able to walk them to the car.  Baby B had a smile on her face, but A was a little bit overwhelmed, I think.  She wasn't upset, but I know she missed her mommy.

Both girls were EX-HAUS-TED that afternoon.  Still, they loved their strawberry smoothie I made as a special snack.  For supper, I made split pea soup, and A said, "Oh, this is very special, too!"  Hahaha!

The girls told us all about their first day.  A's favorite part was getting to draw a farm during centers.  B's favorite part was watching a cartoon of a pig trying to climb a refrigerator (?).

The girls had two recess sessions that day, but they didn't get to see each other.  They saw each other in the lunchroom, but only from afar.  (They told that matter-of-factly, but I think everyone will be happy when their regular schedule kicks in on Monday and they are together for reading and math.)

I am very thankful that the girls had a great first day (and so far, a great first week).  They are super-pooped, though...I know everyone is thankful this first week is a short one.  Welcome the Weekend!!!

July 27, 2014

Summer Travels to Chicago: City Sights

During our four days in Chicago, we had lots of great time with friends and family, and we also had such a wonderful time taking in the sights, sounds, and tastes of the Windy City, too!

We got into town on Monday night, and we headed northwest of downtown to spend a few days closer to Hubby's brother and best friend.  We took the route through downtown, though, and the girls were mesmerized to see the city at night.  They're very rarely out after dark, anyway, and they'd never seen such tall buildings with all the lights.  They loved driving past the airport, too, and Baby A, in particular, was mesmerized that the L kept appearing and disappearing again as it went over and under ground.

On Wednesday morning, we headed toward the city to spend the day.  Our first stop was a visit to Lake Michigan, and to see the park where Daddy used to play soccer.  It was pretty chilly there, especially out of the sun, in the breeze, and super-especially by the lake!



After the lake, we went to Lincoln Park zoo.  Here are the girls, preparing to go in...



And outside, after our visit...



For lunch, we drove to the area where Daddy used to live, to eat at a Serbian restaurant.  By that time, the sun had come out a bit, and it was a beautiful little walk through Hubby's old neighborhood to the restaurant.


On Thursday morning, we drove into the city again to check into our downtown hotel, just across the street from Grant Park.  The girls were taken with the parking garage.  They thought it was something pretty special to turn our keys over to the attendant and watch someone else drive away!  And they were such good little troopers, wheeling their suitcases to the hotel.

On the walk to lunch, Baby A was tickled to see her TRAIN!



And while we waited for that famous Chicago-style deep dish, we got to watch the US-Germany game.  It was such a fun atmosphere!



(No matter where we are, sights like these always melt my heart!)


After lunch we headed to Millennium Park.  The girls loved all the sculptures!



And then we spied the famous BEAN!

Asked a lady to take our picture...and you can see her reflection in front of us.  HA!

The widest angle selfie one could imagine!
The dizzying view from inside!  You can spot A's bright peach jacket (several times over) if you look carefully! 
More views from Millennium Park...

Love this amphitheater!!!

One of my favorite pics!

And then we began our trek to Navy Pier.  The fog here, in contrast to the bright blue skies -- literally only a block or so away at Millennium Park -- was pretty crazy.

Love this pic, too!

At last, we were to the girls' most-anticipated destination, the ferris wheel!  They'd never been on a ferris wheel before, but they were some kind of excited to try it!


From the ground up!

Squee!!!
Although the ride was so much fun, the view wasn't very good.  It's amazing to see the fog, just hanging...at 3:30 or so in the afternoon on an otherwise sunny day!

The view from the top!
After the ride...all smiles!


Then we were all ready for some ICE CREAM.  It was a really (really!) long walk to Navy Pier, and we were in need of some refreshment!



Despite the contemplative face, she loved it.
Outside Navy Pier, we had to give our review...

Thumbs up from B, and all fingers up (even better!) from A!
Then we headed back to the hotel, taking in more sights along the way...

A cool mosaic wall...

A gigantic fountain...

The view along the river was so pretty!




And this is one of the more bizarre sights I've seen...the shadow of the Trump tower against the fog.  I wasn't shaking when I took this photo...that's really the way it looked!!!



After a pit stop back at the hotel, we took a walk through Grant Park, and spent a little more time lakeside.



At last we headed to dinner, to a little restaurant we kept passing, a block from our hotel.  I had a Chicago-style beef sandwich, Hubby had a gyro, and the girls were pretty incredulous when I asked if they wanted a Chicago-style hotdog.  (We very rarely eat hot dogs, and I think they didn't know they existed in a restaurant!)

My A scarfed down every last bit!
We got VERY LUCKY and scored a SUITE at our hotel...a very cool, historical place.  We could get spoiled to this!

Here are the girls on Friday morning, each in their own QUEEN-SIZE bed, next door to our enormous CALIFORNIA KING-SIZE bed.  WOW!!!

Good morning!  Here comes the sun!!!
We had a wonderful trip to Chicago!
 
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