Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Windy City.

Chicago. The Windy City.

In mid-December every year there is a music conference called Midwest. Musicians around the globe gather in Chicago for performances, development, and camaraderie. And, a few lucky spouses and families get to tag along to enjoy the festivities and all that the city offers. This year, I got to be one of those lucky tagalongs. With the conference falling over our  anniversary, I got to join in the fun. We got to see old friends, watch amazing performers, listen to Wynton Marsalis conduct an open rehearsal, and catch a few of the sights and eats around town.

Giordano's Deep Dish pizza.
The pizza is so thick and delicious
it is hard to eat more than two pieces.
Even though you REALLY want to do so.
The Deep dish pizza in Chicago is so good that we had to have it twice while we were there. After Giordano's one night we went to Lou Malnati's on the suggestion of a native Chicagoan. 


On the afternoon of our anniversary we separated from the group and walked through the park to visit the aquarium. We had a little less than 2 hours until they closed so we just did the first tier of attractions. {Note to self: Museums in Chicago are pricey. At the aquarium alone, the "basics" were about $15 or so apiece. For an extra 10-15 you can see the dolphins, belugas, penguins- you know the "cool" stuff}. However, the scenery didn't disappoint either way. The Chicago skyline is breathtaking.








For dinner that night we went to a place called Nightwood. They serve local and sustainable food and the atmosphere was very "us". We enjoyed what was probably the most deliciously roasted chicken I have ever had in my life. We then topped off the evening by sharing a few beers in the pub at our hotel.

By the Christmas tree in our hotel on our anniversary.



Then, one afternoon while the Hubs was doin' his band director thing - I got to venture out to the Art Institute of Chicago. Oh. My. Word.  I had not idea that it held so many famous originals. Sure, I knew that there would be pieces by world renown artists like Georgia O'Keeffe, Picasso, Monet, etc...but I just didn't realize that some of the most recognizable paintings would be kept here for us to enjoy.


American Gothic by Grant Wood

A little Monet.




Georges Seurat's  Sunday Afternoon on the island of La Grande Jatte

The Chicago skyline from a window in the Institute.

Pablo Picasso's The Old Guitarist


Marc Chagall Window 

Our home for 3 and a half days.

Thank you, Windy City. You were good to us!



It was nice to get away from our daily lives for a bit and enjoy just being Adam and Danielle. I missed our little Bug dearly- but she didn't seem to miss a beat while staying with Ouma and Oupa. She even got to play with Nana some too. What a lucky girl! {Our daily video chats were also a nice way to pass the days until we saw each other again}

She enjoyed some time with others while we did the same. Plus, the reunion was pretty sweet- if I do say so myself.


Monday, January 7, 2013

Some Christmassy love.

The decorations are put away. Well, all except the tree in MC's room. Oh, and the mat in front of the oven. Oh, and the handmade Basset on snow staring at me as I type this. Anyway....

The season was viewed from the eyes of an almost two-year old this year.

"Helping" daddy fluff the tree. - Dancing with the nativity and kissing baby Jesus. 
Making salt dough ornaments.  -Opening an advent calendar filled with treats.
Seeing the Downs family lights. -Touching the ornaments and "ights" on the tree.
-"Gently" handling the collection of nutcrackers and snowglobes. -Singing songs.
-Trying and failing (probably more to parent error) to make a gingerbread house.
-Taking a picture with Santa (also known in MC speak as Ta-ta).
-Decorating sugar cookies while stopping to eat the M&M's and chocolate chips along the way.
-Sleeping at Ouma and Oupa's with the impending winter "storm" and traveling to Nana and Papa's to open up presents in jammies with licks from our sweet dog. (whom we miss dearly)
-Sliding down a roller coaster and driving in a Tike-sized car. -Saying Whoa! to things pulled out of a stocking. -Helping unwrap presents and wanting to stop and play with the same one.
-Sharing a meal and plenty of kisses with all of your favorite people.


What a special season it was. All because a Savior was born. Celebrations and gifts to represent the everlasting love He has for us. Simple earthly tokens to mark the sweetest time of year.

















Sorry gingerbread house. Better luck next year.
Or, maybe we will just try those ice cream cone trees...












video





Until next year, sweet Christmas. We celebrate your reason.



A Thankful Heart


Catching up on some memories via the blog today.



A thankful heart

Prepares the way
For You, my God
A thankful heart
Prepares the way
For You, my God
Come fall on us
We fall on You
A thankful heart
Will be our rhythm
Come fall on us
We fall on You
A thankful heart
Will be our song



This song, "Come Fall on Us" has been echoing in my heart recently. It started trickling in as I reflected on the holiday season. Creating memories of what will probably be our last of holidays in this home.

Thanksgiving with close family nearby and new friends. Thankful for God's abundance of provision, love, and hope in our lives -seen through the people nearest and dearest to our hearts. 



Little hand turkeys decorating napkin rings...

Before the consuming of deliciousness...








I love how the Hubs and I have the same pose of
 food prep concentration going on here.

 


All of the guys.

Porter kids got the green memo.

A pure gift of sweetness - the toddler and the knitted friend.










And so, the song echoes back...


A thankful heart

Prepares the way
For You, my God
A thankful heart
Prepares the way
For You, my God
Come fall on us
We fall on You
A thankful heart
Will be our rhythm
Come fall on us
We fall on You
A thankful heart
Will be our song

Preparing my heart for more thankfulness in 2013. I am joining like so many others have done in remembering 3 things that I am thankful for each day. Big or small. Hoping to expand my heart in more ways than one - preparing the way for direction and voice from the one above. Building up my strength and hope to fight things that try to break in - with gratitude. 

Hoping you are surrounded by the same.