Ok, let's talk about Christmastime in Chicago. I went home for nearly two weeks. And now we're going to sprint through those weeks in photos and words.
I was excited to get to Chicago because Mom told me she was going to take me to a new burger place when I got there and a taco place her kitchen and house painter recommended that first night. True to her word, we did both. Here's the taco place, El Asador.
Never ever seen this at a taqueria before: Teeny tiny bowl of soup to start.
Four lovely tacos, spring onions thrown in on the side.
This bottle of Fanta I actually drank on my second trip to El Asador, which occurred about an hour after my first trip to El Asador when we decided to bring Owen, Greg and Becky there straight from the airport.
The next day, Christmas Eve, we went down to Hyde Park.
To the Rockefeller Chapel,
For a churchy Christmas thing.
Then we came home and had Christmas Eve lasagna.
Followed by pie (everything eaten all two-weeks long was followed by pie). I decided to use a candle to make my slice of pie more special.
Then we held our traditional Christmas Eve family gathering with readings of the Polar Express and No Room in the Inn.
The next day: Christmas! We got up really late, it just happened. Everything was pretty slow moving.
But still we had Christmas.
This shows that Santa knew Kristen was coming later.
Traditional Christmas breakfast. Bacon really well crisped. I made the eggs, Boy Scout style.
I just googled "Boy Scout eggs" and now I suspect this might be an expression used only in my family. If you are not in my family, tell me this: Do you know what Boy Scout eggs are?
Time to take out the trash, Santa.
Ok and then the day after Christmas Kristen's family came. And the day after they came we went to the Lincoln Park Zoo. Because you have to.
This chimp is asleep and holding his foot.
Look real close. See the sharks? I shot this picture through my Zoo Lights glasses that make lights look like sharks. They must have been a gift from the Shedd Aquarium.
Dinner at the downtown Las Fuentes where they treat us real nice.
Then my siblings and stepsiblings and I . . . I mean siblings in law . . . went to see a Steppenwolf Theater production of the Mikado.
It was performed in a circus tent set and the audience could sit wherever they like and move around during the show. If the actors needed to be where you were, they'd just shoo you out of the way. At first I did not know if I'd suffer this convention gladly, but I found myself enjoying the show a whole lot.
At one point the family was separated by drama.
I mean, like, literally separated by drama.
The next morning: Brunch at the Bongo Room. Because you must!
Lobster Roll Benedict.
Then on Sunday old buddy Jeremy from growing up was at church visiting his folks. Always brilliant to reunite with this old chum.
Typical around the house scene.
The next day, or maybe another day, we took the kids ice skating.
And that night, or another night, some of us older folks went down to the Music Box Theatre to watch the Umbrellas of Cherbourg.
Chicago might only have one proper repertoire theater, but she sure is grand.
Despues, Argentine steakhouse dinner.
Garlic and garlic and garlic.
Then the snows came. This is the snows after seeing the Hobbit of Smaug.
And this is the snow the next day after seeing Mr. Banks is Saved.
New Year's Eve we played our second of two D&D games. (Truth be told this photo is from night one) Things got pretty exciting and dangerous. Everyone's characters were finally leveled-up, the dark mastermind behind the events of our first game last year was revealed, and everyone may have died at the end of the second night.
With the help of many helpers, I cooked a traditional Frankies feast for the family. Here's just one dish, the cavatelli and hot sausage in browned sage butter.
New Year's Day, or the day after (probably the day after, actually) I babysat Walker while the family went downtown. (Or did he sit me?) If anything deserves it's own post, it might be our afternoon together.
Then the next day we went to the Legoland in Schaumburg.
The Littlest Princess.
There wast this Buzz Lightyear-esque ride that I rode over and over trying to get a best score (and stay ahead of Kristen's score). My highest was 8000-something. Does anyone know of a place where they keep Lego Kingdom Quest high score records online? Doesn't seem as popular as the aforementioned Buzz.
Some kind of 'round in circles, up and down ride.
Final night: Everything super cold, but would only get colder. We take one more trip to Las Fuentes.
Becky Dreams of Tamales.
And it looks like my last picture from the trip home is of our complimentary flautas de papa.
And then super early the next morning I was one of the few people to have a flight into New York that wasn't cancelled. So I took it!