Sunday, September 4Brats on the grill is how we celebrated Labor Day a day early. Enjoyed the evening with Kyle, Tina and the kids. Simon was quite proud of his prowess on his trike. He'd hop on, take a trip around the driveway, and hop off:
Wednesday, September 7In Chicago we discovered Uber! So much easier to get around and not have to worry about finding (or paying) for a parking space.
Have to share this über cute studio photo of Betsy! That face!
Thursday, September 8We went to Chicago for a five-day training course with the new business (HP Home Rescue). The training took place at the Hyatt Place in South Chicago. I thought this art installation was really cool, comprised of around 10,000 tiny kitschy souvenirs.
Friday, September 9
HAPPY 30th BIRTHDAY TO TINA!!!Cannot believe my baby is three decades old :) They celebrated by going to the Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky.
Saturday, September 10The weather was (mostly) beautiful during our stay in Chicago, but we only got to see the sunlight during breaks. During lunch Ivan ventured up to the roof to take some pictures. I really liked this one:
Over to the other side and this was his view:
In the evening there was a meet-and-greet event and we had our picture taken with Than Merrill, one of the co-owners of the real estate investing educational company doing the training. Some of you may remember him from Flip This House (his team was featured on the show from 2007-2009).
Sunday, September 11Sort of felt like shouting "School's out! School's out!" when our training ended :) Here's the sidewalk outside the conference center. In the midst of large, tall buildings and concrete everywhere, it was refreshing to see a bit of green.
Monday, September 12We stayed in Chicago an extra couple of days, but switched hotels to be closer to Midway Airport. It didn't take us long to realize there was an IKEA nearby. A little bit of online research indicated IKEA now carries some GF options, including some vegan meatballs that were introduced last year.
Honestly, the whole Chicago eating experience was sad. Mostly because of the area where we were; there just weren't any good options for dining out. Our first night we went to a restaurant I shall not name, but which supposedly had GF options. But then I noticed tiny print at the bottom of the menu that said, "Gluten free ingredients but not a gluten free environment." What does that even mean? Well, in the case of this particular place it meant they cooked the GF pasta IN THE SAME WATER as regular pasta. What?!?! How can they claim it's gluten free when they do that?! After some online searching, we learned about a GF store/restaurant (they had a few stools and a microwave to heat up what you bought) that wasn't too far away. After two days of salad, salad and more salad, I was starving! So we took an Uber there, ate, liked it, and I bought several ready-to-eat meals to take for the next few days' lunches. And on Friday we went to the closest Whole Foods and stocked up for the weekend. Next time we go to Chicago, I hope we can stay in the area where there are better options for eating out!
Tuesday, September 13The reason we stayed in Chicago was so we could pick up our former co-worker at the airport. Tito brought some things for us from Argentina, so it worked out well to get those things from him, and be able to spend some time together catching up. First we went to a pizzeria near the airport -- turned out the owner is Argentine! (Yes, I ate salad again but boy, did that deep dish look and smell amazing!)
Wednesday, September 14What's wrong with this picture?
Thursday, September 15Kyle was out of town for a big RV show in Pennsylvania, so I spent a few days with Tina and the kids. Simon was thrilled to show me his new train tent:
Tina had a photo shoot in the morning but as soon as she was done, we were out the door and on our way to Costco. The kids enjoyed having lunch there. Betsy was lovin' the hot dog!
Friday, September 16I'd taken a Sonoma GF flatbread (my favorite frozen GF food so far) and Tina made a lovely caprese salad to go with it for lunch. Yum!
Thursday, September 22Work progresses on the house near Chapman Lake:
Totally stealing this from Jon's Facebook timeline. I just love it!
Friday, September 23And this one (which I also stole). Adalyn loves the beach as much as her parents do, so she's always happy when they get to go.
I'd forgotten what a big deal Homecoming is in the Midwest. We're not too far from the high school and the parade went right by the house in the evening.
Saturday, September 24Ivan and I got to spent the afternoon and evening with Simon and Betsy while Kyle and Tina went out to dinner. On our way to their house we went to South Bend and had lunch at the Fiddler's Hearth.
We always have so much fun with these two!
Monday, September 26Received a book I'd ordered from amazon, but whoever packed it didn't seal the box. The book slid down and the spine stuck tight against the adhesive strip on the box. Could not get it off!
Wednesday, September 28Another stolen photo; this one from Tina. Simon really loved bowling, and he got such a kick out of the mechanism that moved the balls back up the return lane!
Thursday, September 29Couldn't resist sharing this studio shot Tina took of the kids. Photographer's kids know how to ham it up for the camera :)
Friday, September 30Jon, Nat and Adalyn were all sick and after days of being cooped up, they were desperate to get out of the house. This is what going out to lunch when you're still feeling ill looks like :)
~~~~~~~~~~So I "borrowed" almost a fourth of the photos in this post. I have seriously lost my photo-taking mojo. All year I've been hoping I'd get it back, but it just doesn't seem to be happening. This year has been such a roller-coaster with moving back to the U.S. and struggling physically and emotionally with that decision. But I'm choosing to show myself grace through this transition and just do the best I can. As I've said so often in the past, and will probably continue to say: Es lo que hay!