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.