Hot Summer Days...

 This summer has been a crazy one, and very HOT, so our awesome group of friends has been figuring out how to stay close and cool together with so many fun times!

We've had some crazy storms, including one that brought a lightning strike that took out our new hot tub, but this night, we actually lost power in the middle of dinner together and it lasted over 16 hours! It didn't stop us from hanging out though!


We've had a few shopping trips together to keep cool, and as always, Emily can read a mean book to us on the stage at Barnes and Noble!




Our neighbors FINALLY got their shuffleboard table, and we've had many tournaments already! I just have to say that I'm not surprised, but Mackenzie and I won the first one together as a team!



Mr. Nick planned an epic "ham night" a month in advance since he was so excited to have his Grandma's ham loaf recipe, and try my Grandma's famous ham spaghetti!


Taylor even made some special drawings to let us know where the party was!



 


 

Everything was awesome!


Mackenzie's half birthday happened to fall on National French Fry Day, so we figured it was as good a time as any to have dinner together in the middle of the week!

  

And Audrey celebrated her half birthday mid week with grilled cheese sandwiches, and a smore's charcuterie board for National Smore's Day!




Miss Kari somehow bought too many bagels and needed to use them up, so we've been having egg sandwiches for dinner several times now on Sunday nights!


Emily's new passion these days is ice skating, as she's continuing on in her lessons, and she wanted to enjoy a free skate day with friends, so we all headed out to support her! She is definitely the strongest skater in our bunch, but we all had fun keeping cool!



I'm the only one who fell, and of course I was able to snap a picture from the ground, just in time to see Kari holding on the side and laughing hysterically at me!




 



We also enjoyed an awesome warm night with beautiful skies out at our local ballpark! The game was awful, but the company was great!




We always have impromptu nights of fun together!


 



The kids have been enjoying some awesome sleepovers too, and Abby's "glamping night", was a 2-day event filled with reading, writing, shopping & fun with her friend! We're going to miss these awesome summer days!

Quick trip to Chicago

Brian had a quick business trip in Chicago, so with only a few days left of summer vacation, we each packed a backpack and set out on an adventure with him! 




There was a lot of time spent traveling for such a short trip, but it was fun to fly again!





After arriving at O'hare, we hopped on the El train and took it to our hotel downtown...



Dad's work put us up in the Palmer House, and we got a nice big room on the top floor- we even got to take the Executive elevator!


The view from our room was beautiful, and we even had two bathrooms!


Uncle Ryan was working downtown the day we arrived, so he came and met us for dinner, and then Aunt Kristie took a trip so we could all spend the evening together!


The highlight of Ben's trip, as always, was seeing his buddy, Uncle Ryan!

 




We went to Flat Top for dinner, where you make your own stir-fry, and everyone tried it... even EMILY!




The weather for our whole trip was absolutely beautiful and we had a lot of opportunities for some fun pictures!




While Brian went to his meetings, I took the kids to the Shedd Aquarium for the morning, and we all had so much fun. It was just as I had remembered it from when I was a kid!



The kids have always loved aquariums, and it's fun to compare pictures and see how much they've grown!

We made it in time to see the dolphin show, which is always one of my favorites!





Ben didn't love the stingray touch tank, but he enjoyed watching them!



The baby beluga whale was showing off and playing with his blanket for us!





I think I could seriously sit and watch the jellyfish ALL day... they are mesmerizing!





While we waited for our Uber to pick us up to bring us back to the hotel, we enjoyed the beautiful views from the museum campus. It was such a beautiful day!






 

After getting back to the hotel, we picked up Brian and headed out for some Chicago deep dish pizza at Gino's East...




When his work day was over, Brian couldn't wait to take us to the Amazon go store!



Krispy Creme donuts and water were the hot items we walked out with!



We decided to enjoy the beautiful night with a stroll down the Chicago Riverwalk. We stopped in a few places for some apps and drinks, and loved all the views of the river and the city!




We ended up with the obligatory trip to Millennium Park to see The Bean and the splash pad...





 




Our last stop of the night was for 7-11 slurpees... the kids haven't had them in years, so it was a fun treat!


 


Goodnight Chicago! Thank you for the memories!