Thursday, July 19, 2012


This past weekend was a perfect summer weekend. On Saturday evening, we took the train north of the city to Ravinia Park, an outdoor music venue, to see the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The concert was incredible! Two of the three pieces they played were by Antonin Dvoƙak, quite possibly my favorite composer. He is a fellow Bohemian (Czech) and he grew up near my favorite place in the world (Prague!!), so I might be a bit biased, but I truly love his music!
The Orchestra played in a huge shell and many people had tickets to watch them from there. Outside of the shell, there were people everywhere with picnics set out on the lawn. Everywhere I looked, if there wasn’t a building or a path, people were sitting on a blanket or lawn chair. We got there about an hour early and found a little lawn space under a tree very close to the shell.
My view from my honey's lap :)
We had such a great time relaxing to the sound of cicadas and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

On Sunday, my good friend Claire came to visit! After church and brunch, we spent the rest of the afternoon swimming and sunbathing at the beach while hubby played golf with his friends. Could there be a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon in the summer? I didn’t realize just how much I enjoy the beach until Sunday. I am certainly going to make a point of spending more time there, especially now that the water is so warm.

Summer always meant gardening, canning, and restoration work with my Mom. I love doing all of those things but a summer spent at beaches, at outdoor concerts, and traveling, all with my hubby, is something I can definitely get used to. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Today may very well be the first day of the summer that I have no plans. I have off today and, although I have plenty I would like to do, there is nothing I really need to do or even have planned to do! What an incredible feeling! I am so blessed to have this day to tend to our home, to myself, and to spend some time in the kitchen. The day started with coffee and cereal with hubby, strumming a bit on the guitar, and putting my feet up to write. Lovely.

I am very thankful not to have had more days like this though! Our summer has been jam-packed with fun – traveling, visiting with friends, and exploring the city - and I wouldn't dream of trading it! I would have loved to write about every fun day we had, but there was simply no time!

This past weekend started out bittersweet. After work we helped my friend Sarah pack up to move back to Wisconsin. It really didn’t strike me that I might not see her again for months until we closed her door and started walking down her stairs. I spent a few minutes sitting outside her apartment crying in hubby’s arms until I could see clearly again. We are certainly looking forward to a life spent traveling and making our home in many parts of the world, but I’m afraid I’ll never be okay with having to say goodbye to friends so often. I have been blessed with truly, inexplicably wonderful friends over the past few years, and I can’t bare the thought of letting any of them slip away from me. On the bright side, we’ll never be without an excuse to travel! Sarah, please call, write, and visit often! Any time you want to spend an entire day knitting in a coffee shop, you know whom to call!

Sunday was a very fun, very long day. Church in the morning, then to work, then a quick dinner and a concert! Hubby got tickets to see Mates of State, a husband-wife band that we just love! They have a very keyboard-heavy sound and great harmonies and pieced-together melodies. Jason (the husband) is always watching his beautiful wife Kori while they play. Very sweet! I had listened to them occasionally before and I liked them, but after seeing them live we have a whole new love for them! Saturday morning I was up by 3:30am and Sunday night we were up until 2am – Monday morning I suppose – and then to work again by 9am! It’s been that kind of summer :) 

I’ll try to recap at least some of our summer in photos, starting at the beginning.

Lelu came to visit after courageously finishing a year of teaching in the Mississippi Delta region. Margerita spent a day with us downtown too!
The perfect lunch on a summer day in Chicago
Margerita gave lessons on how to prepare the perfect Chicago-style hot dog
Aren't they beautiful?!
In June, we escaped to Northern Wisconsin to celebrate Father's Day and our niece's birthday! Heartwood is a family tradition for Christmas, but we were blessed with the opportunity to stay there in the summer! We shared a cozy cabin with my parents-in-law, complete with fireplace, outdoor grill, pier, and rowboat! After quite the fiasco trying to find transportation to get there, the peaceful change of pace was more than welcome. 
I look a lot more relaxed than I was. Fish were nibbling at my hinder!! Eek!
Are we in Venice? Si per favore! 
A yummy birthday cake with homemade pink cherry frosting! Happy Birthday Sweetheart!
Even Theseus enjoyed the peace and quiet!
More snippets of the summer...
Chicago style pizza!! It's no joke. 
A visit to the Field Museum
The installation "Agora" near the Field Museum with Margerita

Beautiful downtown gardens
Adventures with a squirrel and a cookie
Hungry squirrel...
...found Margerita's cookie...
...and Margerita found a friend :)

Buckingham Fountain
A quiet moment in the city
Hubby and I went to see the Grant Park Music Festival, an ongoing concert series in Millennium Park at Pritzker Pavilion
The Spread
The View 
And of course, we went to see fireworks on a beach downtown for Independence Day. The buses were running late so we ended up seeing fireworks from the bus, but the beach was beautiful even after the fireworks.

We have more friends visiting this weekend and we have a trip planned to Ravinia Park to see the Chicago Symphony Orchestra! I have every intention of having pictures and a recap of that, but it all depends on how much fun we have! Have a great weekend my dear friends and family!

XO Natalie