Tag Archives: Wisconsin

Midwest Tour

Our last big trip of the summer is now behind us. We just returned home from a whirlwind 12-day trip to the Midwest {and Mexico for Alex!}. We covered a lot of ground, including my hometown and family cabin, Alex’s family’s lake home, his parents home and Chicago. It was really nice to spend time with our families and for Ben to get to hang out with his grandparents, aunt, uncles and cousin, as well as quite a few of our friends.

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The trip started on a Thursday – Alex flew to San Diego as a staging area to head to Mexico the following day while Ben and I headed to Minnesota just 15 minutes ahead of Alex. Alex spent a long weekend down in Ensenada, Mexico, which is in Baja, to attend the wedding of our friends Justin and Tania. He said it was absolutely gorgeous!

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Our flight was a piece of cake, with the exception of a very rude Delta flight attendant {this was a good reminder of why we fly Alaska!}, and Ben was a rock star. He slept for about half of the flight and the other half he was completely content with snacking and doing some activities.

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For most of our time in Minnesota we stayed with my mom. Ben loved her “kitty cat” and the pool in her backyard, naturally. We spent a lot of time checking out different playgrounds, experiencing the farmers market and going to the beach. Ben and I enjoyed a nice dinner on the deck of my brother’s new house – it was really nice to get to see his new place and spend time with John and his girlfriend, Becky.

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I had some of my friends from high school and their families come over for an afternoon in the pool one day. It’s so fun to see all the kids together – between six of us we have 9 kids altogether with another on the way!

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Another highlight of our time in Minnesota was our trip up to my dad’s family cabin. The cabin has been in his family since the 1930s and holds a lot of memories! It was so fun taking Ben up there and watching him cruise around, explore and play with my brother’s old Tonka trucks. He even got to go for a dip in the lake and take a couple of paddle boat rides with me.

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After a really fun time in Mexico, Alex came and met us in Minnesota late Monday night, five days into our trip. We spent our last day in Minnesota together with my family before hitting the road for the 5-hour drive to Alex’s parents lake home in southern Wisconsin.

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It was so relaxing being at the lake – Ben loved some fun new toys that Grammy and Grandpa had for him to play with, and he loved seeing his cousin Nico, who is 6 months younger than he is. We went for boat rides, Ben played in the kiddie pool and we all enjoyed our time together. To top it off, it was absolutely perfect summer lake weather.

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Throughout the trip Ben continued to impress me with his ability to adapt to new situations and new people. While he didn’t sleep very well the whole trip {who can blame him!?}, he continued to remain his normal sweet, friendly self during the day and loved spending more time with his extended family. While we were on the trip his first molar started to poke through and he got a cold. Despite the recipe for disaster he managed to hold it together and was such a happy camper the whole trip.

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On Friday afternoon Alex and I headed to Chicago, leaving Ben in Wisconsin with Alex’s parents. We had a wedding in the city to attend, where Alex was a groomsman. We stayed right downtown in the Loop in a great location and a beautiful hotel and had a really nice time catching up with many of Alex’s friends from high school.

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Alex was occupied on Saturday with wedding stuff, so I met up with Alina and Nico for a leisurely stroll through Restoration Hardware, followed by a wonderful lunch in their courtyard restaurant. We took a nice walk through part of the city before I headed to the wedding.

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On Sunday morning Alex and I had a little time together to take a walk to Millennium Park and be tourists for a few minutes. Then we headed to his parents home to spend the afternoon with Alex’s family before we had to leave to get back to Seattle the next day. We got to see Nana, Alex’s grandma {and our only surviving grandparent}, and spend more time with his parents, Alina, Alberto and Nico, as well as Alex’s uncle Mike.

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All in all, our trip was really, really nice. We loved seeing our families and getting to spend so much time with them. It’s so fun watching Ben in new spaces and getting to know his grandparents and other family members. It’s such a fun time right now and it was so special sharing that with our family and friends.

Midwest Summer Trip

Alex and I just returned from a ten day jaunt around the Midwest. We bounced around from place to place in Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota and ultimately ended up staying in six cities across the three states. The primary purpose of our trip was to attend a wedding in Illinois one weekend and a wedding in Minnesota the following. We decided to turn it into a ten day trip to squeeze in some time with some family and friends during the week between the weddings.

{picturesque view in Minnesota}

{picturesque view in Minnesota}

The trip began in Illinois where we were attending Alex’s high school friend “AK” {Adam}’s wedding very close to the town where Alex’s parents live. We had a fun day with Alex’s parents before heading north to Alex’s hometown of DeKalb where the rehearsal dinner was taking place on Friday evening. It was really nice to get a chance to re-connect with several of Alex’s friends from high school.

{Alex and AK in front of AK's sporty car}

{Alex and AK in front of AK’s sporty car}

The wedding took place on Saturday at Fisherman’s Inn in Elburn, Illinois. It was a beautiful venue and a gorgeous day for a wedding, albeit a bit muggy! The wedding was quite large, I think there were more than 300 people there to celebrate Adam and Katherine, but the venue did a great job accommodating all of the guests. Alex got a chance to spend some quality time with a bunch of friends from high school. I had met his friends before but this trip reminded me just how nice they all are. He really has a great group of friends back in Illinois.

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{the grounds at Fisherman's Inn}

{the grounds at Fisherman’s Inn}

{the wedding goers! Alex sure made a handsome groomsman if I do say so myself! :)}

{the wedding goers! Alex sure made a handsome groomsman if I do say so myself! :)}

 

After stopping at AK and Katherine’s post-wedding brunch and visiting Nana {Alex’s grandma} for tea on Sunday morning we headed up to “the lake” for a few days. Alex’s parents have a lake home in southern Wisconsin and it had our name on it!

{Lake Delavan, Wisconsin}

{Lake Delavan, Wisconsin}

{loving the time out on the boat - we took several boat rides and got to test out the new waverunner!}

{loving the time out on the boat – we took several boat rides and got to test out the new waverunner!}

{me and my beautiful mother in-law!}

{me and my beautiful mother in-law!}

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{we saved our water ski day for the last morning and all four of us took turns water skiing.}

{we saved our water ski day for the last morning and all four of us took turns water skiing.}

Our time in Illinois came to a close quite quickly. We spent our last night in Chicago with Alina and Alberto and got to stay in their new apartment! It was the most relaxing part of our trip because of the time at the lake, and it was also really, really enjoyable to spend such meaningful time with Alex’s high school friends. They are such genuine, considerate people and they’re great friends, too!

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We landed in Minnesota on Wednesday afternoon and headed to the cabinet showroom. Yep. That was our first stop. My brother is remodeling our bathroom this fall and he wanted us to check out some cabinet options so we checked that off the list right away. The rest of the day was spent with my dad.

{we had a really nice walk around Lake Harriett in Minneapolis}

{we had a really nice walk around Lake Harriett in Minneapolis}

{after our walk we headed over to Loring Park where Alex and I got to meet my dad's partner, Fred (yes, they have the same name), and enjoy a really nice dinner at Loring Street Kitchen}

{after our walk we headed over to Loring Park where Alex and I got to meet my dad’s partner and enjoy a really nice dinner at Loring Kitchen & Bar}

Thursday was my mom’s day. It got a bit ridiculous when I started scheduling everything out to make sure I fit in time with my parents, so my mom got one whole day and my dad got two half days. That’s the way it has to be sometimes!

{We headed to Taylor's Falls, about 30-45 minutes outside the Twin Cities, which is on the St Croix River, for a hike}

{We headed to Taylor’s Falls, about 30-45 minutes outside the Twin Cities, which is on the St Croix River, for a hike}

{we were going to kayak down part of the river but one of us got a little too sunburned on the boat in Wisconsin...}

{we were going to kayak down part of the river but one of us got a little too sunburned on the boat in Wisconsin…}

{After our hike we came back to my mom's house for some time in the pool! It was just what we needed - a nice cooldown and relaxation time. My friend Kelsey and her boyfriend Franc joined us later on for dinner.}

{After our hike we came back to my mom’s house for some time in the pool! It was just what we needed – a nice cooldown and relaxation time. My friend Kelsey and her boyfriend Franc joined us later on for dinner.}

{I also got to enjoy my brother's company that night, too!}

{I also got to enjoy my brother’s company that night, too!}

For the second part of my dad’s day we went out to breakfast, stopped by my friend Cammy’s new fixer-upper {I cannot wait to see the finished product!!} and then took a stroll through the White Bear Lake Farmer’s Market. It was a nice leisurely day before we had to head out to Lake Minnetonka for the rehearsal dinner for Sammy and Amy’s wedding.

{the rehearsal dinner took place on a boat called Lady of the Lake, which was chartered for a 3-hour cruise around Lake Minnetonka. Alex had never been on the lake before, and I hadn't been since I was a kid. It was super nostalgic for me, and it was fun to see how much Alex enjoyed it too!}

{the rehearsal dinner took place on a boat called Lady of the Lake, which was chartered for a 3-hour cruise around Lake Minnetonka. Alex had never been on the lake before, and I hadn’t been since I was a kid. It was super nostalgic for me, and it was fun to see how much Alex enjoyed it too!}

{Sammy, whose real name is John, and Alex were nextdoor neighbors our sophomore year of college. Sammy's roommate was a high school classmate of mine. It goes without saying that because of their similar senses of humor, the three guys became great friends very quickly! We are so happy for Sammy and Amy and it was a pleasure to go back and attend their wedding.}

{Sammy, whose name is actually John, and Alex were nextdoor neighbors our sophomore year of college. Sammy’s roommate, Phil, was a high school classmate of mine. It goes without saying that because of their similar senses of humor, the three guys became great friends very quickly! We are so happy for Sammy and Amy and it was a pleasure to go back and attend their wedding.}

Saturday was hands-down the most crazy day of our trip. It was a really fun day filled with seeing old friends, but we bounced around from the northwest corner of the Twin Cities to the northeast corner and then back down to the southwest corner for the wedding before heading to the airport at 5:15 a.m. on Sunday morning. Ay caramba!

{Steph and Molly came over to Sarah's house for brunch with their kids on Saturday morning. Sarah and Mike live near where we were on Lake Minnetonka the night before, so they graciously drove us to and from the rehearsal and we spent the night at their beautiful home. I hadn't met Steph's seven month-old son yet, so this was a perfect chance to do so!}

{Steph and Molly came over to Sarah’s house for brunch with their kids on Saturday morning. Sarah and Mike live near where we were on Lake Minnetonka the night before, so they graciously drove us to and from the rehearsal and we spent the night at their beautiful home. I hadn’t met Steph’s seven month-old son yet, so this was a perfect chance to do so!}

{After brunch we trekked across town back to Mahtomedi, where I grew up, for my friend Kailey's son's first birthday party. I am really glad we squeezed this in. It was a perfect lake setting and I loved catching up with my girlfriends!}

{After brunch we trekked across town back to Mahtomedi, where I grew up, for my friend Kailey’s son’s first birthday party. I am really glad we squeezed this in. It was a perfect lake setting and I loved catching up with my girlfriends!}

{this was the most relaxing first birthday party I've ever been to!}

{this was the most relaxing first birthday party I’ve ever been to!}

{we ended our evening at Sammy and Amy's wedding in Chaska. We got to catch up with Phil and Anja, two of my high school classmates, and Phil was Sammy's roommate when they lived next door to Alex. It was really great to get a chance to spend time with them.  Yes, we had a little fun in the photo booth!}

{we ended our evening at Sammy and Amy’s wedding in Chaska. We got to catch up with Phil and Anja, two of my high school classmates, and Phil was Sammy’s roommate when they lived next door to Alex. It was really great to get a chance to spend time with them. Yes, we had a little fun in the photo booth!}

The trip overall was fantastic and crazy. It’s never very relaxing when we go back to the Midwest, but I feel like we did manage to squeeze in a few days where we didn’t have a ton going on. I am so unbelievably grateful for the friends we got to see while we were back. It’s truly incredible and makes my eyes water a bit just thinking about how many wonderful life-long friends we both have and how easy it is for us to go a year {or several!} without seeing each other and pick things up like we saw them yesterday. I especially enjoyed spending time with Alex’s high school friends – it’s really rare and I so, so, so enjoyed them. I only wish we could have seen all of our friends and family members, but it’s next to impossible to make it work when we’re back for such a short time.

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Thanks to our friends and family for a wonderful time! We hope to see you all soon {come visit us!} 🙂

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Bryan + Sarah’s Lake Geneva Wedding

Last weekend Alex and I jetted off to Wisconsin to attend Bryan and Sarah’s wonderful Lake Geneva wedding. Bryan is Alex’s cousin and we both went to Iowa State University with Bryan, Alex even roomed with him during our senior year.

I have to start this post with a few throwbacks to our college days… I was searching for some good ones and you better believe I found some gems…

{Cousins @ VEISHEA}

{Cousins @ VEISHEA – I am certain there was water in those Solo cups…}

{Bryan and Alex cheering on the always losing Cyclones}

{Bryan and Alex cheering on the always losing Cyclones}

{Halloween 2007}

{Halloween 2007}

{Bryan and me at 2007 VEISHEA}

{Bryan and me at 2007 VEISHEA}

{Me with Bryan and Alex at my 22nd birthday... man those boys had long hair!}

{Me with Bryan and Alex at my 22nd birthday… man those boys had long hair!}

 

Given their history and friendship, it was no surprise to hear that Bryan asked Alex to be his best man. I know Alex was honored to serve out that role. They all had an awesome time celebrating Bryan becoming a husband at his bachelor party in Chicago the weekend before. Alex had a great time planning the big hurrah and found a perfect bachelor pad next to Wrigley Field that came complete with a bar, urinals and a pool table.

{Alex and his cousins Jordan and Josh}

{Alex and his cousins Jordan and Josh}

On to the wedding! The vows took place at the Grand Geneva Resort right next to the pool {their event drew a crowd of lookie lous!} but overlooking the lake and golf course. It was a beautiful setting.

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The bridesmaids were absolutely adorable. Every last one of them was so darn cute! I loved the light peach colored dresses and they looked great next to the guys’ gray tuxedos.

{it was a beautiful day for an outdoor wedding}

{it was a beautiful day for an outdoor wedding}

Wanting a really personalized wedding ceremony, Bryan and Sarah asked one of their friends to officiate. It was Matt’s first wedding to preside over, and he nailed it! He kept it sweet, to the point and was well-rehearsed. You could clearly tell he was a genuine person and friend to the happy couple.

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After the ceremony we took the adorable trolleys to the “Mountain Top” which is a Wisconsin ski hill {emphasis on hill – if I could say “bump” I would…} on the property of the Grand Geneva Resort.

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The reception took place inside the ski chalet. Bryan and Sarah decorated the space with some rustic touches, like twigs and candles in mason jars, as well as romantic gestures through lighted draping over the dance floor.

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Pinterest was definitely involved in this wedding! Sarah executed on a number of adorable little details that made the day extra special, like the “Love is Sweet” candy bar, and the welcome bags that were in each room at the resort.

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Both the maid of honor and best man’s speeches were really heartfelt and mustered up a few laughs from the guests.

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We had a really nice time visiting with Alex’s family members during the cocktail hour and dinner.

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We so seldom see them that it’s always nice to get to catch up with his extended family, and I enjoyed connecting with his cousin Stacy, whom I had only met once before.

{Alina, Alex and Alberto}

{Alina, Alex and Alberto}

The evening went off without a hitch and it’s safe to say everyone had a great time!

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Finally, I really want to share their same-day wedding video. Seriously, watch this. Their videographer was AWESOME. They had a drone filming and the videographer edited this video and showed it at the wedding. Truly impressive!

Congratulations Bryan and Sarah!!

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Stan the Man

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin was last weekend’s destination. We attended the wedding of Alex’s cousin Bryan and his now wife, Sarah, where Alex was honored to stand up as Bryan’s best man. After a very early flight on Friday morning and a quick layover in Chicago we landed in Milwaukee just before 2:00 in the afternoon, which gave us just enough time to check in to our hotel, get changed and for Alex to head to the rehearsal.

The groom {center}, his best man {Alex} and one of his groomsmen

The groom {center}, his best man {Alex} and one of his groomsmen on the boat for the rehearsal dinner

The wedding took place at the Grand Geneva Resort, which, fun fact, was built as a Playboy Club by Hugh Hefner in the 1960s. Now it’s a family-friendly resort, complete with a ski “mountain” and a nightclub that also hosts random Playboy events and rockstars, such as Def Leppard, as it did this weekend. The resort was great – we really enjoyed our stay there.

Once we got settled Alex headed down to the rehearsal while I met up with Alex’s family. It was so nice to get caught up with his extended and immediate family. Shortly thereafter we all piled into a few adorable trolleys that had been commissioned as our transportation for the evening down to the town of Lake Geneva. We were hopping on a boat cruise for the rehearsal dinner.

{The bride did an awesome job of mastering the art of the little details throughout the wedding weekend}

{The bride did an awesome job of mastering the art of the little details throughout the wedding weekend}

We set sail for a mid-evening sunset cruise on one of Lake Geneva’s famous mail delivery boats. Bryan and Sarah arranged a bar, of course, and Gino’s East pizza. If you’ve ever been to Chicago you understand the importance of deep-dish pizza. Gino’s makes some darn good deep-dish! It had been a while since I had indulged, but it was worth the wait.

Since Alex’s parents have a lake home on Lake Delavan, which is right next to Lake Geneva, I have spent quite a bit of time in the area and had been to Lake Geneva recently, but never out on the lake. There’s an adorable downtown with restaurants and shops that is right along the water’s edge. The lake itself is huge. I don’t know accurate statistics, so “huge” is going to have to do it. It’s not like a great lake, just a really big lake. The homes, mostly vacation homes, are incredibly beautiful and tasteful and include the Wrigley family estate {think Wrigley Field}, among other notable Chicago families. I had a great time just looking at all of the homes, not to mention meeting some of Bryan and Sarah’s friends and catching up with Alex’s family.

{Stan the Man and Alex}

{Stan the Man and Alex}

Friday came and went. Then the wedding day was here! With Alex being the best man I knew he would have a lot of responsibilities that day so I planned accordingly and was content to go park myself in a chair by the pool. Alex and I ordered room service for breakfast so that he could work on a computer project for Bryan and put his best man speech together. Gotta love last minute preparations!

Once he was all done it was time for him to get into his tux and head down to take pictures with the rest of the groomsmen. I took that as my cue to head to the pool! I thoroughly enjoyed a couple hours to myself with my Kindle {I was reading Unbroken by Laura Hildebrant, which I later finished and loved!}, umbrella drink and gigantic salad.

Fast forward a few hours and it was wedding time! The weather had been partly cloudy all day and depending on which weather forecast you looked at it was calling for a chance of rain or storms. Neither of which was good for an outdoor wedding… Thankfully the weather held off and actually was quite gorgeous, albeit a bit warm, and the outdoor wedding went off without a hitch! We had an awesome time celebrating the marriage of Bryan and Sarah and are so thankful that they’re in our lives. Stay tuned for a special post just about the wedding!

{it was a beautiful day for an outdoor wedding}

{it was a beautiful day for an outdoor wedding}

It’s always amazing how quickly weddings are just over. There is so much planning and anticipation and then the day comes and ends before you can hardly bat an eye. I remember that feeling from my own wedding, but this one seemed to come and go extra fast! We had a great time but were also looking forward to some down time with Alex’s family at their lake home the next day. We were able to make it over there around 11:00 and spent the rest of the day eating, hanging out, playing bags, going for a boat ride/out on the waverunner and doing more eating and drinking.

{Alina and Alberto taking a spin on the waverunner}

{Alina and Alberto taking a spin on the waverunner}

Mid-afternoon my college roommate Julie and her fiancee, Ryan, stopped over from their home in Madison. I hadn’t seen Julie since last fall and it had been since our wedding since I saw {and met} Ryan, so it was so good to catch up with them. Julie and I studied abroad together in Spain, which is how we became such good friends, then we lived together in an apartment our senior year. Now Julie is working on her PhD at the University of Madison while planning her 2015 wedding.

{Ryan and Julie}

{Ryan and Julie}

We had such a great day in Lake Delavan and loved catching up with everyone, including Alex’s parents, his sister and our brother in-law. I just hope we can see Julie and Ryan again before their wedding next fall!

{Time for a dip!}

{Time for a dip!}

The next day Alina and Alberto left very early to head into Chicago. They both just moved to Illinois from New York after spending close to two months in Italy/Europe this summer after their wedding. Alberto stayed in Italy with his family for an extra two weeks while Alina came back early to start her new job. It will be SO nice to have them in Illinois. We rarely saw Alina and Alberto when they were living in New York because it is really hard to do a coast to coast trip. We’re looking forward to the close proximity of the two of them, and also we are happy for Stan and Donna that they’re closeby.

{Alex and me with Julie and Ryan}

{Alex and me with Julie and Ryan}

Monday was another great day of R&R. We took the waverunner out and sat by the pool. It was quite nice if I do say so myself!

Our flight back to Seattle was scheduled through Milwaukee because it’s closer to Lake Geneva and Lake Delavan, so we thought it would be easier than flying into Chicago, even though we selected a flight that had a layover in Chicago. Once we landed at O’Hare on the way to the wedding we realized how dumb it was to fly into Milwaukee and fly through O’Hare. It was literally a 15 minute flight from O’Hare to Milwaukee. Our layover between flights was longer than the time we were on the plane. It took longer for us to board the plane than it did for us to fly between airports. Oye. So, mid-afternoon on Monday, Stan drove us an hour east to the Milwaukee airport for our 6:30 flight.

The flight was on-time. Until it wasn’t. Once we arrived and settled in at the gate we were informed that the flight had been filled with too much fuel in Chicago, where it was coming from, and they would have to burn it off before they could fly it to Milwaukee. Long story short, the plane was an hour and a half late and we missed our connecting flight in Chicago to Seattle. That meant that Stan came to O’Hare to pick us up at 9:15 p.m. and took us back to their home in Batavia. And yes, it also meant that he got to wake up at 5:00 a.m. to take us back to O’Hare the next morning for our 8:20 flight.

To put this in perspective, Stan drove us one hour east to Milwaukee, then at least two hours southwest {probably more like three hours, given that it was during Chicago and Milwaukee’s rushhour}, passing O’Hare to Batavia. He unpacked from his weekend at the lake then turned around and drove 45 minutes east to O’Hare, picked us up and drove 45 minutes west to Batavia. Stan really is the man!!

Oh the joys of flying! We’re home now and couldn’t be happier….

Trip to Illinois & Wisconsin

Our last stops on our Midwest Tour were in Illinois and Wisconsin, ultimately to attend Alex’s good friend Kari’s wedding on October 5th. We arrived in Illinois early Wednesday morning after our superfast flight from Minneapolis. Since we had been bouncing all over Minnesota for almost a week Alex and I wanted to just plant our feet in one place for a few days, so instead of staying at his parents house for a night, we just stopped there to have brunch and see some renovations they did on the house and then we headed north to their lake home in Wisconsin.

The Allen's condo complex in the sunset.

The Allen’s condo complex in the sunset.

We knew that the weather was probably going to be the nicest on our first day, so we changed into our shorts and tee shirts and sat out on the deck and drank Donna’s newly famous {and delicious!} Sangria for most of the afternoon.

Boat Ride!

Boat Ride!

One of the best parts of being up at the lake is not having an agenda. We spent most of our days relaxing, catching up and just hanging out. There is always a new puzzle waiting to be put together whenever we go back to Illinois or Wisconsin so that kept us occupied for a bit too. It’s always a highlight to be able to take a boat ride around the lake – especially at sunset!

Me and my MIL

Me and my MIL

Boat cruise

Boat cruise

I had somehow never been to Lake Geneva before, which is right next to Lake Delavan, where the Allen’s lake home is. Lake Geneva is a pretty famous summer vacation spot in southern Wisconsin and is home to some local celebrities and really, really nice houses. We spent the better half of one afternoon popping into some of the shops and we enjoyed a nice lunch at Scuttlebutt’s.

 

The Allens in Wisconsin.

The Allens in Wisconsin.

On Friday Alex’s sister flew in from New York. It was so nice to see her! It had been since last Thanksgiving since we had the chance to see her. The day she arrived we went back to Lake Geneva for lunch to a really fun place called Pier 290. After lunch Donna, Alina and I split up and did a little wedding shopping – I got to see Alina’s wedding dress {!!!!} and Donna tried on a few mother-of-the-bride dresses. So fun!

Hanging out with Alina was so much fun.

Hanging out with Alina was so much fun.

We had a mini Iowa State reunion on Friday evening when Bryan, Alex’s cousin, drove up from Chicago to spend the evening with Alex and catch up. It was really nice for the two of them to spend some time together! We’re hoping that Bryan and his girlfriend will pay us a visit in Seattle this year {hint, hint!}.

Alex & Bryan

Alex & Bryan

Saturday morning we headed back to Illinois pretty early because Donna had booked hair appointments for the girls! Alina wanted to get her haircut, so Donna scheduled a blowout for herself and an up-do for me for the wedding on Saturday evening. I love that my mother in-law makes having nice hair such a priority!

Can't really see much of my hair, but it looked cool in back!

Can’t really see much of my hair, but it looked cool in back!

Alex and I left mid-afternoon for Kari and Mike’s wedding at the Morton Arboretum. It ended up pouring just a bit before their wedding, so their original plan of having an outdoor ceremony was out the window. Alex’s friend Nick, who lived next door to Kari growing up, was their officiant and did a fantastic job of making an extremely personal service for them. It was really fun! The wedding was beautiful and it was nice to catch up with some of Alex’s friends from high school. I ended up getting sick mid-way through dinner {no, not from drinking, I had a virus} so I went back to the hotel and then sent Alex back to the wedding so he didn’t miss any time with his friends. He reported the next morning that the rest of the wedding was great and that he enjoyed catching up with his friends who he seldom sees.

Alex all dressed up.

Alex all dressed up.

The next morning we decided to order room service in our hotel room, and conveniently the movie Bridesmaids was on TV at the same time, so that’s how we spent an hour or two Sunday morning before heading back to his parents house for a family brunch.

Family photo!

Family photo!

Once we got back to Batavia, where Alex’s parents live, we got a chance to see Alex’s nana, his aunt Chris and two uncles named Mike, along with Vince and Nora, two family friends of the Allens. It is always nice to get to visit with everyone.

Alina and I with Nana.

Alina and I with Nana.

Before we knew it it was time to head to O’Hare to fly back to Seattle!

Midwest Tour

Oofta! Alex and I just returned from a whirl wind trip back to the Midwest. The purpose of our trip was to attend two weddings, one in Minnesota on September 28th and the other in Illinois on October 5th. Because the weddings were so close in time and proximity we just decided to make a long trip and stay the week in between instead of coming back to Seattle in the middle. I’ll break our trip down into smaller posts, but here’s a good compilation of our trip. Boy did we make the most of our 11 days!

Enjoying the great outdoors in Wisconsin on our tour of the Midwest.

Enjoying the great outdoors in Wisconsin on our tour of the Midwest.

Our trip started on Thursday the 26th when we flew out of Seattle to arrive in Minnesota just in time to have dinner at my mom’s with John and my good friend from high school, Kelsey, and her boyfriend, Franc. We had ribs and Kelsey’s homegrown tomatoes for dinner, along with Kelsey’s first apple pie, which was a great success. After dinner we headed two blocks away to stay at my dad’s house for the evening.

Local fun at Zorbaz

Local fun at Zorbaz

Bright and early on Friday morning we made the 2 1/2 hour drive up to Brainerd, Minnesota to Grandview Lodge, the location of Sarah and Mike’s wedding. We arrived with just enough time to grab a quick lunch before I had a spa appointment with the bridal party and Alex was left to fend for himself until we met up again for the rehearsal dinner.

Getting our nails did :)

Getting our nails did :)

Saturday was Sarah’s wedding day! I got to spend the whole day with the beautiful bride. The weather in the morning and early afternoon was terrible – it was absolutely pouring until about 2 hours from the wedding time, then the sun started to peak out. Thankfully the rain held off for the wedding so we could hold the ceremony outside.

Sarah and me with our hairdos... all ready for the ceremony.

Sarah and me with our hairdos… all ready for the ceremony.

The wedding was beautiful, as was the reception! Sarah had a classy rustic theme for the decor and the bridesmaids all looked beautiful in navy and magenta. Everything went off without a hitch and the DJ kept a lot of us dancing until 1 a.m.!

Here comes the bride!

Here comes the bride!

Sunday Alex and I headed to my dad’s family’s cabin for the afternoon just to have some R & R and have a chance to spend some time with my dad. It was so relaxing and we loved taking a walk through the property. We ended the night with a wonderful bon fire and made s’mores.

The cabin.

The cabin.

Knowing we didn’t have much time to ourselves during the trip, Alex and I snuck away on Monday and Tuesday and went on a little road trip adventure. We headed east to Minnesota’s North Shore, along Lake Superior, and drove up just a bit past Two Harbors to admire the scenery, {barely} changing colors and stop to take in some sights.

Gooseberry Falls - our first stop on the North Shore.

Gooseberry Falls – our first stop on the North Shore.

Once we returned from our drive we squeezed in a meet-up with my longtime friend Esther. We met her and her two {and a half} kiddos for a little play date and got a chance to catch up. It had been over two years since I had last seen her – her youngest was just a few weeks old and now she’s a walking, talking two year old, soon-to-be big sister!

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After our shopping extravaganza we breezed through my grandma’s house and got a quick chance to catch up before meeting my mom and John at Rudy’s Rooftop for a nice dinner. We ended our evening and Minnesota stay back at my dad’s before taking off for Illinois on Wednesday morning.

The Allens in Wisconsin.

The Allens in Wisconsin.

Our first day in Illinois was the best weather of our whole trip there – it was sunny and warm. Once we got to Alex’s parents house we had brunch and then headed up to his family’s lake home in southern Wisconsin. Alex and I wanted to go up to the lake to have a few days in one place since we had been bouncing all over and living out of a suitcase. It was so nice to have a home base for three days!

Weather gorgeous enough to take the boat out one evening.

Weather gorgeous enough to take the boat out one evening.

Finally on Saturday it was time for our last big event, the main reason we were in Illinois in the first place. Kari and Mike’s wedding was at Morton Arboretum, which is about 20 minutes away from Alex’s parents home. The day of the wedding was kind of funky weather, and unfortunately, it did not hold out for their event. The wedding had to be held inside, but thankfully there was a beautiful backdrop overlooking the arboretum. Alex’s good friend Nick, who grew up next door to Kari, was the officiant of the wedding. Nick is quite the charmer and did a fantastic job of making the ceremony just perfect for Kari and Mike.

Alex sure cleans up well!

Alex sure cleans up well!

Mid-way through dinner at the wedding I ended up getting sick and went back to our hotel room. After a bit I started feeling a little better so I sent Alex back to the wedding. It was great that Alex got a chance to catch up with so many old friends, but I was disappointed not to have gotten a chance to chat with them on the rare occasion. Needless to say, I hardly have any photos from the wedding.

My wedding get up.

My wedding get up.

The last day of our trip was spent in Illinois at Alex’s parents house. Alex’s mom put on a little brunch for some family members so that we had a chance to see Alex’s grandma, aunt and two uncles, along with some family friends of the Allens.

Time with Nana.

Time with Nana.

We arrived back to Seattle safe and sound, and due to our crazy cab driver, we made it back home from the airport in record time. Henry and Jackson were very excited to see us, as we were them, and we’re working into a new routine this week.