I am skipping several trips to write this and will hopefully go back and fill in our Winter trip to Indiana and our big Christmas Adventure. However, for now, I thought we’d get a little more current on the blog.
This summer our big trip was to Indiana and New York City. Per usual, we drove, but this time we thought we’d change it up. We took my car rather than the 4Runner because it gets better gas mileage and would be smaller to drive around in the city. It was a lovely day for a drive and we had some great views of Pilot Mountain on our way out of town.
We drove all day to make it to Ryan’s sister’s house to meet up with his family, including his parents who had flown in that day. We spent a lovely afternoon and evening sitting around the fire pit.
The next morning, Ryan and I headed up to my parent’s house to see my sister, her husband, and my adorable nephew.
Unfortunately, it had started raining that night and rain was in the forecast for the whole weekend. But we braved the weather and went to downtown Valparaiso for some lunch. We ate at a lovely place called Olga’s which was getting ready to close their Valpo location. However, they were open and ready to serve lunch for us. We had intended to go to the restaurant next door but they whttps://www.hotels.com/ho129648/?q-check-out=2018-11-19&FPQ=3&q-check-in=2018-11-18&WOE=1&WOD=7&q-room-0-children=0&pa=43&tab=description&JHR=2&q-room-0-adults=2&YGF=14&MGT=1&ZSX=0&SYE=3ere jam packed. My mom was very disappointed because they had her favorite grilled octopus for the lunch special. My mom had a quick word with Olga, who gave her the ok, and she went next door to pick up some octopus to be an appetizer before our lunch at Olga’s. It was quite tasty.
After lunch, we headed across the street to a Cidery called Aftermath. Ryan and I shared a flight of their ciders. We were both really impressed with their lemon and chili infused cider and got a growler to go. It only made it until the next afternoon.
Our family really likes to plan around food so later that night we met some friends at Parea for dinner. We had gone to eat there during our first Christmas home together. We enjoyed the saganaki so much we wanted to go back.
The next morning it was still raining which was somewhat worrisome as we were about to have 30 people descend on the house for a wedding shower that was meant to be outside. Thankfully it quit raining early enough for the lawn to dry out so we could set up the tables and chairs. Everyone ran around getting ready for the party and it was nice and sunny by the time our first guests showed up.
We had a lovely shower full of people we care about. Lunch was great. My mom made Italian beef and a whole spread:
Follow this: My dad’s cousin’s husband’s daughter (got that?) made a cake for us. It was quite lovely. Then we found out that just two days before the party she got a call asking her to make a birthday cake for ELTON JOHN! She made a cake for 100 people in the shape of a piano. So our cake is one cake away from Elton John. That’s pretty cool!
Everyone was able to sit out on the lawn and enjoy a short break in the weather during lunch. It was great to see so many people gathered in the backyard. The last time we had a party like this was for my sister’s rehearsal dinner. As everyone finished their food, it started sprinkling again which sent everyone inside. That worked out well because it was time for cake and presents.
Everyone was so generous with their time, talents, and gifts. We got some really thoughtful gifts as well as some things we had asked for (like an awesome food processor so we can make lots of cauliflower pizzas!). My mom was super awesome and quilled our invitation for us. She used to do this for people when I was younger and really wanted her to do ours as well. It turned out great.
Other awesome gifts included a set of recipe cards that had belonged to my great-grandmother, a picnic basket full of dishes, and a krumkake iron so I can help carry on the family tradition of krumkake at Christmas.
We had a lovely afternoon with family and friends but soon it was time for us to hit the road again. We were headed to Chicago with Ryan’s family. His mother had never been to Chicago so we wanted to show her the sights, starting with deep dish pizza.
We decided to try Giordano’s this time since we went to Lou Malnati’s for Ryan’s birthday We put in our order and then hung out at the bar for a while chatting with Ted and Ryan’s mom. By the time we got seated, our food was ready. We decided we liked it better than Lous. What do you think? Do you have a favorite deep dish?
The next morning we had big plans to go on the Chicago Architecture Boat Tour. None of us had ever done it and Ryan’s mom had studied architecture and interior design in Norway when she was in college. It was raining as the day started but we had high hopes. We had made plans to have breakfast at a place called Yolk which was within walking distance of the pier. Pro tip: you can get in line on Yelp before you ever get there… I usually try open table but that was a no go. So with 7 people, they told us it would be an hour which put us really close to our tour time. Thankfully, Ted worked some magic and swiped someone’s table for us…
We had all decided what we were going to eat so we were able to get things moving pretty quickly. I had the most amazing chicken and waffles. If you go, have the chicken and waffles (there’s bacon in the waffles).
We finished up with enough time to walk down to the boat dock. It was still cloudy and a little misty, but no rain. We boarded the boat and got ready to see Chicago from a new perspective.
The tour was amazing and the rain held off. The clouds kept us from seeing the top of the Sears (Willis) Tower but we had wonderful views of everything else. I can’t even begin to share all the information so you’ll have to take the tour yourself.
After the tour, Ryan’s family had to head back to Indiana as they were adopting a dog on the way home. So Ryan and I walked up the river a little to the City Winery. I was hoping it was going to be local wines but it was a mix from all over. I had a glass of champagne since we were celebrating.
When the wine was gone, it was time for us to head back to Indiana as well. We were meeting my parents at their lake house. We had a busy couple of days planned so we were hoping really hard that the rain would go away. When we arrived, my parents were out on the lake having their evening ski. As we waited for them, I found the biggest snapping turtle hanging out in the boat well. I thought it was a dead fish but when I got closer I realized it was a tail. I touched him with a stick and he took off like a rocket.
When everyone came in off the lake, we found out that the neighbors had made ribs on their smoker because they had been talking to Ryan about it at dinner on Friday. They were quite delicious. Since it had cleared up a bit we decided to go out on a sunset cruise. It was the most beautiful color of the week.
The next morning we got up bright and early to go ski. My dad went first since he likes the glassy lake. I went second and got up on my second try. Ryan decided to try skiing for the first time and almost made it up. I made him sit in the lake for a while while I took photos of two ospreys that flew over carrying bark for their nest.
After a big breakfast, we decided to pack up the cars and go kayaking at Indian Village. It’s a chain of lakes starting with village lake and going east.
We saw lots of great wildlife including sandhill cranes, herons, a muskrat, and I even found a snake.
The next day was beautiful so we took my dad’s “new” boat for a ride. It is a 1938 Dunphy. It’s a little woody boat and made so much noise. But we were able to take it all the way up Grassy Creek through another chain of lakes to Little Barbee. To get up there you have to pass through a lock system. There was a family fishing and they were kind enough to run the crank for us. I was hoping Ryan would have the opportunity but we’ll have to go back. When we made it to the end of the line, we had lunch at Barbee Landing.
It was a lovely way to spend the day. We went out for one last sunset cruise before calling it a night. Ryan and I had to get up early to head up to NYC. So more on that next time!