Monday, August 12, 2013

Sweet Home Chicago

Brooks and I had a fun get away to Chicago during my last week of Summer Vacation! 
It was really fun just having a week with him. And it was much easier having just one child to travel with. Brooks was pretty good on the plane. He was busy for about an hour and then slept for the rest of the flight. Mommy even got to read a magazine! 

Auntie and Flob picked us up from the airport and brought us back to Grandma & Grandpa's house. It was fun for us to be able to see Bob that evening. He was busy working downtown for the rest of our trip, so we were happy to have had a couple of hours with him. 

Can you tell by the smile on his face that he was SO happy to be there?! 
He was being such a ham! 

We got in on Sunday night and went straight to Portillos for dinner! The perfect way to start our trip- with the perfect burger! Yum! 

The next day we had a lovely lunch and afternoon with my cousins Sandy, Kristen, Amanda, and Jason. We had a great time catching up and laughing...a lot! But I didn't take any pictures! Bummer! 

The rest of the day we just hung out as a family, had Lou's for dinner, and I got to watch the Bachelorette finale with my Mom and Sister which was super fun!

Here are a bunch of pictures from life around Grandma & Grandpa's house! I took most of my pictures during the week on my phone, so they aren't amazing, but the phone is just so handy in capturing day to day life.

Brooks loved Griffin the cat. All my boys have LOVED their cats! 
In this picture Brooks also has a bloody mouth. He has had a few spills lately, but he is one tough cookie! 

I got some funny pictures of Griffin's love-hate relationship with Brooks. 
One minute he'd freak on him.

And the next he'd be purring. Brooks would still just get right in his face and "ooh ooh ooh". One time Griffin swatted at Brooks and then he cried, but 2 minutes later he was back in his face. Good thing he doesn't have front claws! 

Doing a little reading. Brooks is starting to enjoy paging through books, looking at the pictures, and listening to me read. It doesn't last long, but it makes me happy that he's finally interested in something other then a ball. 

My family always pulls out all of our old toys for the boys to play with. Mallory and I used to set up all the play food in the bay window and pretend it was Jewel. When we were young, my mom took some years off from teaching and worked in the Bake Shop at Jewel part time. We loved pretending we worked their too with our babysitter Carrie. Mallory and I were having so much fun reminiscing as we pulled out each little food. Our favs were the cupcakes and eggs. 

One day we watched our Maleske family reunion video for some laughs. It made us want to plan another one soon! Or if Tyler or Mallory would ever just get married, we can have a little reunion then! So get on it people! 

Grandpa and Brooksie had some good bonding time this week. They love to give "knuckles" and play catch. Grandpa always has M&M's on hand too, which Brooks just loves! 
On Tuesday and Wednesday, my Mom and I drove up to Michigan to see my Grandma, my Dad's Mom, and I had a special visit with "my best"- Jill! A separate blog post about that trip will be next. 

During my trip I was able to get together with some great, life long friends. 
On Wednesday night I met Kerri and Joe and Don and Jocelyn at an awesome Mexican restaurant- MAGO! It was amazing! I am hopin' and prayin' that we get one in Denver soon. It was so reasonably priced, delicious, and fun! The menu is modern, they make complimentary fresh guac right at your table, and they have mariachis. What more could you want?! 

We talked, caught up, laughed, and ate. Perfect. 
The weather while I was in Chicago was wonderful. We had a little rain here or there, but it was in the 70's most days, and the nights were heavenly. After dinner we walked around The Arboretum, chatted some more, and had froyo at The Bamboo Spoon! 

And one more exciting thing about the evening was that we were able to celebrate BABY LIU!!!! We have been waiting anxiously for 4 years to hear the wonderful news. Kerri is pregnant!!!! After many years of waiting and praying God is blessing them with a baby of their very own! His plan is not always ours, BUT it is always perfect! I can't wait to spoil and snuggle that little Liu so soon! 

These two. What can I say? God has always blessed me with wonderful friendships. When we are together, after any amount of time, it is always natural. We always pick up right where we left off. And we always wish we could be together more often. These S.H.S. friends are so special to me. 

On Thursday, we got to spend the whole day with Grandma. 
We played toys. Brooks opted for the diaper and Nikes look. 

And he did some cleaning. Brooks is definitely a Jansen. (Well, he takes after his Opa, Auntie Cara, and Uncle Brad at least...they LOVE to clean. Weird, I know.) He is so into cleaning lately. He loves to take wipes and clean things, himself, me, and here he is cleaning Grandma. He loves the vacuum too. And his wipes kept him busy and quiet on the plane ride home as well which was nice! He scrubbed down any area of the plane he could reach without disturbing the people around us. 

One of the many reasons why I wanted to go home this summer was to see this spunky lady...
so on Thursday we made sure to spend some good time with her. 
Grandma Verna

She has been ill this summer and suffers from dementia and any time spent with her now is just so precious. She is still full of life and zest despite so many hardships. And she can still make me laugh. After spending time with both of my Grandma's this week, I saw so many qualities in them that I admire. I grew up with two grandmothers who speak their minds, value family, and love and serve God. I'm lucky to have learned all of these things from them.

After our visit with V.E.E.H.M.M.S. we went to St. Peter's to check on a few things in my Mom's classroom and to visit a few people. 
Then it was time for lunch. Nana's was an obvious choice! I grew up eating here, but they just opened up a drive through, so I had to made an inaugural run through it for my yummy hot dog!  

That afternoon my Mom and I caught up on shows while Brooks napped and then she made my requested pot roast for dinner. Wow did I eat on this trip. But it was all soooo good, I couldn't resist. I sure miss my Chicago style food here in Denver. 

That evening I snapped some cute pics of Grandma, Grandpa, and Brooks...

Auntie hopped in a couple too...

Then Grandma and Grandpa were happily on babysitting duty while Mallory and I got together with the Deering girls. 
(myself, Lauren, Mal, and Jen)
The Deerings live in Streamwood and we grew up playing with them and carpooling with them to school. We had so much fun laughing about the good old days- like Mallory trying to roller skate and falling over and over again while Jen and I watched and laughed. 

We hung out at our house so they could play with Brooks for a bit. They always bring sweet gifts for our boys when they come. They are so thoughtful. And they are SO funny! Oh my can they make me laugh! 

Then we headed to Coopershawk for some drinks. 
Mal and Lauren were in the same class at St. Peters and went to Streamwood High together as well. They are besties for life. 


Jen was a year behind me but we always had mutual friends and kept in touch in high school as well. Whenever I go home we always see Lauren, but it had been more than a couple of years since I had seen Jen. And it was so nice to get caught up. She is funny and generous and loyal. And I'm so glad we reconnected! 

After a couple of drinks we headed home for a late night of Project Runway! My Mom and I watch most of the same shows, so it is always fun when we are together to have someone to watch them with! 
She had a conference to attend the next day, so we had to make the most of our last hours together. 

Friday morning I woke up early to hug and kiss my Mom and Dad and to say goodbye before they headed off to work. Then the rest of the day I spent with Mal before I had to head to the airport that evening. 

Of course we headed over to Streamwood Florist to spend some time with some of our very favorite people. 
We love our Soo-ja! And she LOVES our boys. She held Brooks and walked him around the shop and showed him every plant and talked to him about each stuffed animal and let him smell the flowers. She is the sweetest! 

She is just such a funny, loving, hard working, kind, honest, person. Such a wonderful first employer and now friend after all these years. We saw Ik too, but he was busily getting dishgardens ready for a delivery, so I didn't get any pictures with him. 

Soo gave Brooks some mints. He sat right here, where I sat for hours in my high school days, and ate them. I think his facial expressions here are too cute! I would sit here and answer the phone, take orders, and call orders out to other florists. And on really slow nights, I'd play myself in a mean game of Yahtzee or two while I waited for the phone to ring or a customer to come in. Oh, the memories! 

I LOVED this job! 

After visiting for awhile we headed home for lunch and a nap for Brooks. 
Brooks is definitely going through a independent streak. He is really still pretty easy going and happy. But this boy now knows what he wants! No more highchairs, and sometimes no booster seats either. He wouldn't sit in this booster all week, but for some reason for his last meal, he walked over, pushed the chair out and wanted to hop in to eat his lunch. He ate so well and sat so nicely. Crazy kid! He is also SO into ketchup. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, gets dipped in it. Hotdogs, jello eggs, cheese, berries...everything! And he must use a fork at every meal. He wants to do it all on his own. He even tries to put his own pants and shoes on. I love his independence, but it's scaring me that I'm starting to see a little Heathy in him! Ha! 

After a short nap, we headed into early Friday rush hour traffic for our long drive to Midway. Thanks Mal for driving us! We said our sad goodbyes, breezed through check in and security, and then had some fun walking around the airport while waiting for our plane. 
We climbed. We ate M&M's. We shopped. We walked laps. 

And we ate beef! I rounded out my Chicago style eating tour with a delicious Italian Beef sandwich and fries that we shared. 

This picture cracks me up! He was walking the stroller around everywhere while we waited for our flight. I turned away for one second and when I looked back I saw him sucking down my Diet Coke. Look at his face! AHHHHH caffeine...bubbles...sweetness!!! Looks like I may have created another addict. 

Everything went well with our flight on the way home. He was a busy boy and didn't sleep a wink, but he didn't cry or scream, so overall it was a success. Momma sure was tired when it was over, but we survived! 

It was such a nice week. Brooks was such a great traveler. Like any baby he had a crabby moment or two. But he slept well, was constantly spoiled and loved on, and had so much fun! Relaxation for Mommy, bonding for Brooks- just what we needed as we head into a busy start of school. And again this week was such a reminder of just how blessed we are with amazing family and friends. Thanks everyone for such a warm welcome home. We love you! 

1 comment:

Jill Sloothaak said...

Love this awesome recap of your time in Chicago!!