The Midwest: Heat, Booze and Tiaras

Yesterday was our anniversary, and if you're wondering what I did for love last night, I'll tell you: I watched the first half of the Transformers movie (the 2007 version). No doubt I'll see the second half tonight, which will make me want to see the 1986 version, which we also own, and which, I've recently read, is much better. I'll let you know.

So, anyway, getting back to our big trip to the Midwest. It was hot. Wow, it was so hot. I'm always ready for the cold when we visit the Midwest in the winter, but the heat just shocks the hell out of me every single time. It made Kurt do this:


Thank Heaven there was beer.


 Our first stop was in northern Indiana at the home of the Jeff (AKA "Juice," and whoa is it hard to think of him as anything but Juice, so much so that I was genuinely confused a few times when anyone called him by his given name) and Amy and their three kids. While we were there we also got to see Rhett (and Rhett's lovely bride Susan, and their son Roman Alexander, who wins the prize for best name ever). In fact,  Jeff, Juice and Rhett posed together with some their children, and I'll bet this picture would seriously amaze and freak out 1996 Rhett, Jeff and Juice if I could go back in time and show it to them.



Juice and Amy have an awesome basement with a bar that was dubbed Jayne's Lounge for the duration of our stay. It was our boozy, happy getaway when the kids were asleep.



Maria may be a dentist someday:



Here's Jeff holding little Josh, Juice and Amy's newest. Does anyone recognize Jeff's about-to-cry face?



Maria and Matt. Maria perfected her stair climbing skills on this very trip.



Matt and Kurt.



Kurt greeting Josh (we think):



Kurt and Abby, in the neighbor's (bless them) pool. Juice and Amy literally live in the shadow of this huge church you see in the background:



Here's another view….



It has a life-sized, outdoors stations of the cross. Whoa.



Our second stop was the north side of Chicago, where the heat seemed, somehow, worse. We were closer to water, and it was sometimes overcast and almost foggy. But the heat! It defied science.

This part of the trip had its way, way ups and a few downs. The seeing everyone was all kinds of awesome. And the house was cool (literally and figuratively), but, um, not entirely what it was advertised as being, which was stressful (the crazy lady we rented from, who has some arithmetic issues, was ninety percent of the problem) and somewhat problematic at times. 

Oh, but the friends!



Here's Maria cracking up over something Max said. It was probably a pun, knowing Max.



Danielle introduced Kurt to the game of Airplane. He really, really liked it….



…this ultimately led to a group game of Airplane….



…and even Grandma Marlo got in on it!



Kurt and Sylvia. Like oil and vingar, in a way. Yummy, but needs help mixing. So we threw them together a lot, and often, it worked.



There was a quickie celebration of Sylvia's second birthday. We made the tiaras from a kit Danielle brought, and then we put them on our princesses. Kurt's the prettiest:



Maria and Sylvia, mandatory friends! Fortunately, it shouldn't be a problem.



My children thought they owned Joel, but Sylvia knows for a fact that she does. (Kurt called him "Uncle Rusty" for a day or so. I think he forgot that he knows more than one guy with a beard and glasses.)



We also got in a visit to Libertyville to Jennie and Mike's house, with special guest Aunt Ellen! As you can see, Aunt Ellen is horrible with children:



Jennie and Mike's son Luke is expecting a baby brother soon, and he is really practicing. Check him out:





With Aunt Ellie's supervision, Luke took Maria and Kurt for a wagon ride:



Maria, not the slightest bit alarmed:



Kurt was a hard nut to crack that night, even though Luke got out a bunny and tried to lounge with him in solidarity.



Back in the city, we rode the train and tried, with varying success, to see the sights. Kurt liked the train. A lot. Over the years we have tried to get Kurt to tell us what a cow says or what a sheep says, and sometimes, if he's in the mood, he'll give us a half hearted answer. But for a few days after this, if I asked him "What does a train say?" he'd answer "Doooop-dooop-doop! Doors closing!"



Did I mention we had Grandma Marlo and Grandpa Bob for a couple of days of this? We did.

Here's Maria, obviously a Sox fan:



Here are ten more pictures to prove to you that we had a good time.



Kurt loves fountains the way he loves light switches, fans, and gears. The way the rest of us love money and chocolate.



I must include two Sylvia oriented pictures that I found hysterical. In the first one she's wearing her Mrs. Potato Head's glasses:



And in this one she's rejecting her daddy's love:



This would be a great picture if the kids weren't ruining it:


Quite the trip, no? 

Ah, but next month, we have our BIG trip. And assuming we survive that, we may never travel again. Until the next time.

3 thoughts on “The Midwest: Heat, Booze and Tiaras”

  1. what wonderful pictures!! I’m glad you guys had a hot but wonderful time!! I am enjoying your blog, I write stuff on facebook but it doens’t show up!
    but where are you going on your big trip…thanks for the pictrues…love you guys…anne


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