Monday, December 26, 2011

Holidays in the City

Call it the honeymoon glow from only living here for 3 months, but there is something magical about the holidays in this city.  All the apartment and office buildings decorate the lobbies with huge trees and elaborate Christmas decorations. Even outside they replant the planters with pine displays and lights on the trees.

Our park across the street even displayed a tree with lights the weekend after Thanksgiving. It leans and looks really pathetic on the huge lawn, but again there is something so sweet about displaying a random tree in our park for the dogs to pee on.

Most of the buildings have lights at the top and change the colors for seasons, holidays or special occasions.  This is the Merchandise Mart displaying their red and green lights.

Although we have only got snow twice this winter (much to my dismay) I was able to capture a few photos.

To continue the holiday celebrations, my work hosted a fabulous holiday party at The Farmhouse and the next night our friends Jacquelyn and Mark invited us to a dinner party followed by Joe's Groupon Holiday party at the Aragon Ballroom.


This year Joe and I decided to stay in the city, not travel and enjoy Christmas together.  We both had 4 days off. On Friday we went out to dinner at the GT Fish and Oyster Bar near our apartment. They had a spectacular menu of you guessed it, oysters along with other small seafood dishes to share. The drinks were amazing and so was the atmosphere.

Next we walked over to the Chicago Theater where we had tickets to "A Christmas Story" play. It was a fantastic show, included most scenes and had cute themed drinks at the concession stands. I enjoyed a Red Ryder which was vodka and cranberry juice. Joe chose a FRA GEE LAY which was a rum and coke. 

To end the night we stopped at the Hubbard Inn for a nightcap. The Hubbard Inn has my all time favorite cocktail: French 110. Joe was forced to enjoy a cuban concoction in a tiny champagne glass and felt the need the need to lift his pinky while drinking it. What a fancy skinny guy.

The next day being Christmas Eve, which I look forward to more than Christmas Day, turned out much better than I ever imagined. Joe told me he rented a zip car and wouldn't tell me where we were going. Turns out we pulled into the Zales parking lot and were going to finally pick out my wedding band for my present! This has been an on-going joke for us considering we have been married for 5 years and never got around to getting one.  A very nice surprise indeed. 

Auugh Christmas Eve! My favorite. This year I decided to cook. I made sauteed shrimp in garlic, wine and butter with alfredo, lemon, chives and cilantro pasta and garlic bread. For me this is a big endeavor and was quite pleased with the result.Joe said he was also, but as mentioned above, we have been married for 5 years- not sure if he meant it or not. hahaha.

Champagne and present opening followed. Joe and I are also infamous for opening all of our presents the night before, but this year we behaved and only let the boys open their stockings. Grama Gray had special stockings embroidered with their names and filled with treats!

Next came Christmas morning. No snow, but a delightful breakfast and time with Joe and the boys. Our Christmas tree was overflowing with gifts and we Facetimed with Joe's parents and my family from afar. Great day indeed. Here are a few snapshots. 

We attempted to ice skate at Millennium Park on Christmas Day but quickly learned that everyone else had the same idea. Fun views and got us out in the sunshine for a few hours. 

And last but not least, a small tribute to Meghan Colleen Coker who passed away the day after Thanksgiving. Meghan was the sweet little Beagle of the Coker family. This is an ornament I had made for Joe and his parents to remember her by.  We will miss you always Miss Meghan. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

First Snow!

We finally got our first snow last week! It didn't snow for long and it wasn't cold enough to stick, so I was not able to capture any pictures, however I caught a screenshot of the weather app for proof! LOL

Tater is even sporting his sweater when Joe isn't around to take it off. :)

To celebrate Jim and Maggie's birthday on their last week in Chicago, we went to The Webber Grill downtown for dinner where I indulged in Beer Can Chicken. YUM. Afterwards, we ended the evening with a night cap at the Hancock Building on the 96th floor Signature Room. Views were spectacular and the photo's just don't do it justice. I sipped on some champagne and enjoyed the sights of our new home town. Too bad the snow didn't stick- we'll have to go back there for the view with snow.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Notre Dame Plays Navy in South Bend

Well, as many of you know- Joe and I are obsessed with Notre Dame football. (ok- Joe is). One of the deciding factors in moving to Chicago is the proximity to South Bend. Enter our first HOME Notre Dame game since we moved! Joe's family came out to Chicago from all over to join us, first Uncle Jim who attended the Naval Academy is able to get us tickets every year. His wife Patty, Joe's parents (my favorite in-laws) from North Carolina, Uncle Kevin & Aunt Chris from California and Uncle Mike from Ohio. Quite the crowd. Pretty certain that was the most people we have had in our apartment at one time.

As usual, our trip started off by a stop at the bookstore for some high priced paraphernalia. Then the storm blew in! The clouds got dark and the rain and hail hit. It was beautiful and made for some fantastic pictures.

After the rain and a few beers, Joe and I toured the campus and covered the Dome, the Grotto and the Lake.

And the football game! Or should I say butt kicking? 56-14

Touchdown Jesus!

Uncle Jim (still a happy camper even though Navy lost)  with Uncle Kevin

Uncle Mike- GO IRISH

On Sunday we went sight-seeing. We saw the famous Chicago theater sign and Marilyn Monroe statue.

After all the fun was over, we had to go back to reality. BUT, thanks to our friend Jacquelyn- we got a new couch! It's like we are grown-ups, the couch we had was over 15 years old and full of holes. Not to mention it was blue leather. LOL