Our 4th of July weekend

Well, Happy 4th of July! I know, I’m late to the party, but I truly hope you all had a wonderful celebration of independence.

We had been wanting to go for a day at the beach, ever since it started getting warm. Well, at least I have been wanting to go; Mike is not much of a beach person. So on Friday, we planned to go to Loyola Beach (the closest Lake Michigan beach to us… it’s literally just a few blocks away, and it’s where we walk the dogs every other day) and spend some time in the sun.

Th weather was perfect. It had been raining earlier in the week, but on Friday it was around 70 degrees and sunny. Perfect! Not too hot, not too cold, just right!

This was our set up.

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The photos are deceiving, there were many more people there, but since we got there early (around 11am) we had premium sand real estate to choose from.

Later that morning, around noon, Meg and some of her friends joined us. I forgot to take photos, so I have no evidence of them, but they were there. And we had a great time.

On Saturday, our new couch was delivered. We had to disassemble the old sleeper couch, and carry it down to the basement of our building. I’m not sure we will end up actually keeping it there, or throwing it out, since we did do some damage to it while carrying it down the narrow staircase. Even taking out the back door to get it through was hardy enough space… it’s a big couch.

The new couch is slightly smaller. Or I should say, since it’s a sectional, it comes in pieces, which are easier to move around, carry, and fit through doors and staircases. Anyway, this is our new, very comfy, couch!

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And this is how it looks with the new cushions I went out and got on Sunday, while Mike and Meg played golf. If you are in the market for cushions, I got these at Pier 1, and they were all on sale.

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Everyone loves the new couch, the plush cushions, and the new soft throws. The dogs love it especially. Which is why we got some thick throws to cover the seats, thinking if the dogs stain those, we can always easily wash them, and also take them off when we have company.

Another pretty development of our weekend were these.

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They finally opened up and aren’t they the prettiest flowers you have ever seen. They are sitting on my nightstand, right next to my side of the bed, looking pretty and smelling delicious :)

So there you have it, some highlights of our 4th of July weekend. How was yours?

First Week

We survived our first week of co-habiting, or as Mike jokingly calls it “living in sin”. Well, we barely survived it. Things have happened this week. Lots. Of. Things.

Mike moved in on Saturday, dropping off his unwanted furniture anywhere they would take it: at his sister’s, at a church, and finally up in Wisconsin at his mom’s. He ended up getting back home, after retuning the truck, his keys, and picking up his car, around 10:30 pm, having started the day off at 8 am.

Sunday was an early rise to organize everything. The storage area was a mess; Mike had left everything out in the hall, in the hopes to save some time on Saturday. So we desperately needed to get all things settled in the storage room, and out of people’s way. We were at it for hours, but made it back home in time to watch the US game, while organizing kitchen stuff.

We now have SO. MUCH. STUFF.  I mean, literally, every surface has something on it, big or small. Every closet is filled, every drawer is packed, every cabinet has been used. If we ever get or buy anything else, we will have to get rid of something to be able to fit it in… or move to a bigger place… but let’s leave that up to the unforeseen future, shall we? For now, I really don’t want to think about moving again anytime soon.

Monday was the start of Mike’s first of two long commute weeks. He’s still working out in Channahon, until July 3rd. So the poor guy takes almost 2 hours to get there, and then similar time to drive back, every day. Not fun. But at least it’s not for long. But that first Monday, he came back home sneezing and in a haze. I gave him some Claritin and off to bed he went, only to wake up the next day with the flu. He had a full blown cold: runny nose, sneezes, headache, and a fever. He called in sick and spent all day in bed.

By Wednesday morning he was feeling better and went off to work. But by Wednesday night I was now starting to feel my throat itch in that not desirable way, and by the time Thursday rolled by I was sneezing like a pro and in a total haze. I had a packed agenda day on Thursday, with errands (how many times can a girl donate things to the Salvation Army? Apparently over a thousand!) and work meetings, so I headed out, but once I got back home around 8pm I was full blown sick. Thank you, Mike. We’re not sure where he got it from, but I sure do know where I did! (and, thank you for the flowers too, they are beautiful).

I had to cancel everything I had set for Friday and stayed in bed all day. Of course this was the only day of the week with no fútbol. Murphy, why do you always have to be right? But I slept and drank water, and took Advil and antihistamines, and went through boxes of tissues. Saturday looked pretty much like more of the same for me. I stayed in all day, changing from one set of PJs to the next, but not really getting too far from my bed. This time there was fútbol on TV, so that helped.

Mike was very industrious and spent some hours down in the storage unit labeling everything and reorganizing, to see if we could fit in some more lingering things that just couldn’t fit upstairs. While I rested and lounged around with the boys, who of course kept me company all through the duration of my cold. They are suckers for accompanied bed time.

On Sunday, I started feeling better. We had been invited for arepas brunch at some friends’, but had to canceled. I did not want to bring my germs and this nasty cold as a hostess gift to these guys. I was barely out of it, and knew how nasty it felt, and really didn’t want to give it to them. But I did feel better, and took advantage of that, so I went with the boys for a walk. It felt good to be out of the condo and to breathe clean air. It was nice to walk along the lake again. When we got back, I made breakfast at home. Mike was bummed we had missed out on arepas, so I made some for us to compensate.

We lounged around and then went out for lunch, some errand and to see Godzilla. Mike had been wanting to see it in the theater for ever, and we wanted to make sure we didn’t miss seeing it on the big screen. We came back and walked the boys again, and I was feeling much better. So much so, I decided to retire the Kleenex box to it’s original spot in the bathroom, and return leftover cough drops and Advil to the medicine cabinet.

I still have a cough, but I feel so much better. No fever in the last 24 hours or more, no runny nose, and no head cold. Just a cough, which I’m hoping will go away soon enough.

But… last night, it rained. No, it didn’t just rain, it thunderstormed. And we all know Charlie does not do well with those. At 3 am, we were all up. Trying to calm Charlie, and quiet Max. When it rains, Charlie turns into a wuss and Max into a bully. For some reason, Max can’t stand Charlie’s fear, and he lashed out at him, only making it worse. So you can just imagine how fun it is for us. Especially, at freaking-three in the morning!

So this morning when Mike got up to take the boys for a walk, I decided to stumble out of bed and help him get them ready. I figured we both had had a terrible night’s sleep, and he had to go into work, while I could go back to bed and sleep a little longer, before starting my day. Little did I know, this was not my hottest idea. As I held Charlie so Mike could put his harness on him (Charlie was still afraid of the rain at 6 am), Mike dropped the retractable leash on my foot, and it landed square on my right pinky toe. %^&*$#@!

It’s supposed to rain today, all day. I have a meeting close to my office, which I was planning to walk to, and now I’m not only limping, but it hurts if I wear enclosed shoes. My pinky toe is throbbing. Mike, dear, next time you drop something in my proximity, a heads up to move out of the way will be highly appreciated!

So yeah, first week? We survived. Barely. (cough, cough, limp, limp)

My book is out!

I heard from my publisher last week, and my book is out! Well, it is out in pre-sale; the hardcopy version is set to be available in July. The digital version is already available in Amazon, and you can find it here. If you are interested in ordering the hardcopy on pre-sale, the information is below.

 

Moving in

June is finally here! I have been waiting for June anxiously for several reasons. The first of which is summer. June is the beginning of the warmer weather around these parts, and even though I am not a fan of 80-90 degree weather, this winter was so brutal, I am very much looking forward to wearing dresses, sandals, and hanging out on the beach.

Another reason June is so awaited is because it is the end of the Spring term, and that means I usually have teaching-free time until September. So I can work and play on whatever I want, no distractions whatsoever.

But this year in particular, June is extra special because it is the month in which Mike and I move in together on a permanent basis. Yes, on June 21st, 3 short weeks from now, Mike will be moving in to live with me in the city. Bye-bye suburbia, hello metropolis! And hello cohabiting for the first time, at least for me.

Mike is divorced, so he has lived with someone before. But, I have never lived with anyone, and even though we have spent the past 3 years “living” together every weekend, there is something to be said about having everything you own combined with everything your significant other owns, in the same space.

I am excited to be starting a new chapter in our relationship, but also a little nervous as one tends to be when one does anything for the first time. Mike has slowly been bringing his things over and storing them in the storage unit downstairs, over these past weeks. Next weekend we are bringing over all of his plants (Mike has lots of plants), and the past weekend we bought a new sectional for the living room, as we are getting rid of both our old couches. So progress has been made, it won’t all happen on the 21st, we have been moving the moving-in pieces along already. Yet, it won’t feel official until it is. Like most things.

But as a starter we had the mailbox tag changed, from:

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To:

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Here we go. New beginnings, commence!

Friends in Chicago

My friends Andrea and Joan came to visit this weekend, with their little Greta, who is as cute as they come. They flew in from NYC late Friday night and were leaving for Indianapolis early Sunday morning, so we only had Saturday to spend together and do as much as possible.

We got a ton of talking and eating in, of course. But we also made it to Navy Pier and had deep dish pizza at Gino’s East.

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It was a great time spent with friends. Hopefully, we will get to spend some more time together next weekend, before they make their way back home.

Visits!

Look who came to visit this weekend:

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Greta Luna!!!

Summer already? What about Spring?

This weekend we celebrate Memorial Day, which traditionally is know as the weekend that launches the summer season in the US. Thus, technically summer begins right after next Monday. This means the beaches along the lakeside in Chicago will be open for business. Lifeguards will be back on duty and beach goers will be allowed to swim in the Lake’s waters (that is, if they want to risk hypothermia with those freezing temperatures). But I feel like we haven’t yet had true Spring. Do you feel the same?

Yes, I haven’t used my puff coat (my measure of when Winter truly ends) in over two weeks, there has been no need, and yes, the trees and flowers are blooming and there are buds everyone one looks, but it’s just been weird with all the cold, rain, and hail. I mean, it did snow last weekend in the suburbs.

I like Spring too much to have missed it completely this year. It seems like (as usual) we went from freezing Winter (the worse winter ever, for me, and the third worse winter ever in Chicago) to now sunny and hot Summer. It’s in the 60s so it’s not truly hot yet, but I can feel it, it’s coming, probably this weekend. And with the heat, boom! Summer is here and Spring? Well, Spring, never truly was.

My favorite thing about Spring are the flowers. The tulips that seem to spring out everywhere, as if they were weeds. The magnolia tress, with their beautiful shades of pink and white. And this year, Mike introduced me to Dogwoods. They are beautiful and seem to be everywhere in Rogers Park. I went a little camera happy on our walk the other day. But just take a look at the prettiness of these trees:

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Groomed

Charlie and Max and true boys, and as such are always getting into dirty stuff. They love going to the beach; Max can’t be close to the water without getting in. But inevitably it seems like they bring back with them all the sand, dirt and grime from the streets. This past weekend we took them to a new place to get groomed. They were overdue for a haircut, and since summer is around the corner, we thought we would ask for a little more than the usual trim.

We like how they look all long hair and scruffy, but sometimes one just needs to go short and clean. Truthfully, we didn’t ask for a short cut, we said clean up their faces, paws and skirts, but I guess they understood buzz everything, because that’s exactly what they did.

This is a before shot:

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And these are some after ones:

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Don’t they look so much younger? When I saw them, I said “It’s like we have puppies now!” They look adorable, and since the tangled, scruffy hair was cut off, they are as soft as silk; a dream to pet!

Summer, we are ready for you, now let it be hot!

Weekend Fun

This was a fun weekend. It started out with an outing for drinks with colleagues after work on Friday. Then Mike, who had a meeting in the city, met up with me and we went out for dinner at R Public House. We had the delicious meatza pizza, garlic fries, and a few drinks, and then ended the night walking the boys around the neighborhood.

On Saturday we woke up early, for our morning dog walk, as per usual. Did you know we never sleep in on weekends? Did you know this about dog owners? Once you get a dog and are responsible for it, you never, ever, sleep in again. So if you’re thinking of getting a dog, think about sleeping in, and if you are willing to give it up, for say 15 years or so. But on with the weekend recap.

After the walk, which I have learned to enjoy quite a bit, we had breakfast at home, and then left to run some errands. I voted on the Public Budget for our ward, and off we went to Target and Pier 1 for some needed supplies. We had lunch at Portillo’s, which is always satisfying, and went to Old Orchard Mall. I needed to stop by Sephora and Nordstrom and Mike wanted to take a look at some shoes. We ended the afternoon with a movie, and buttered popcorn, of course.

We went to see Heaven is for real. I dragged Mike, because this was actually not a movie on his to-see list. I had bought the book for my dad, some years back, and read it while visiting one summer, so I was curious about the movie. It’s a heartwarming story, and it highlights how faith is hard to foster, even for religious people. Have you seen it? It’s not a movie that will win any awards, but it will make you think about what you would do in that situation, and it will make you ponder what you believe in and why. Which, if you ask me, is always a good use of our time.

We made a stop by the groceries store after the movie, went home to walk the boys, and settled in to binge watch The Following. Do you watch The Following? It’s gruesome and very violent, which is why I can only watch it with Mike by my side, as I play The Sims or do something else to take the intensity off the TV screen. I’m thinking, after this season is over I’m going to call it quits. Why make myself watch something I can barely stomach? I’m thinking I won’t miss it anyway.

Sunday, offered us another early morning walk around the neighborhood with the boys, and more home made breakfast. I finally made gluten free brownies, which Mike had bought ages ago. They turned out ok, a little on the dry side. I think next time I’m adding sour cream to the recipe and not only butterscotch and walnuts.

I took a much needed nap after breakfast, while Mike watched sports and walked the dogs again. Did you know this other fact about dogs and walks? They need more than one a day, in fact if they are anything like our dogs, they need as many as you are willing to take them on. If Charlie could have his, way he would be permanently on a walk. Anyhow, for lunch we went to our favorite neighborhood Mexican restaurant Cuetzala Gro, and then walked over to the open house to the newly remodeled Emil Bach House, designed by Frank Lloyd Right back in 1915.

Take a look, isn’t it nice?

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It’s actually on the small side for today’s standards, but it has a very modern and clean designed, which the restorers did an amazing job at recreating, to return this house to it’s original glory, after years of remodeling by former owners. My favorite part was all the wood paneling inside, and some of the built in furniture in the bedrooms. If you get a chance go take a tour, it’s worth the visit. In the future they will open the house up as a vacation rental, so I guess that’s a possibility too, if you want to spend some time and sleep in a Frank Lloyd Right home.

After the open house tour, we went back home, and this time binge watched House of Cards. I had been wanting to see this show, and because it’s all about politics, I knew Mike would enjoy it. Have you watched it? it’s a great show, and it’s on Netflix, up for the viewing.

On Sunday night we took the boys for one last stroll and then Mike and them were off, headed to the suburbs for the week. It was a nice weekend, filled with a little bit of everything. Just the way we like it. How was your weekend?

Morning Walks

The weather has finally gotten better, although it snowed on Monday… again. But it has gotten so hot, it even reached 79 F last weekend. Right now it’s back to the 50s, and we are enjoying it.

Our morning walks are some of my favorite times together, when the four of us are out and about in the neighborhood. Some of us snif, pee, poop, and chase squirrels, while others of us talk and reminiscence while enjoying the cool, fresh air, and sometimes take photos to share with you.

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Aren’t mornings along Lake Michigan pretty? We tend to think so.