Happy Birthday JT!

For the first time in more than a year, all four of us were home at the same time. In the much-too-short weekend we managed to squeeze in a wedding, a birthday party, two brunches, Chicago-style hot dogs, a hipster shop, a beach trip and a street fair. Ain’t too shabby for less than 48 hours in Sweet Home Chicago.

The adventure started Friday morning with a 10 a.m. flight out of NYC. Katie, who has been bravely conquering her fear of flying, can get through the 1.5 hr flight with just 1 “Our Father” and 2 “Hail Mary”s. This is a substantial reduction from an entire flight of prayer. Oh, an empty stomach and a rum & coke (or sprite & vodka) mid-flight supplements divine intervention.

IMG_8988As we walked off the plane to arrivals, we wandered “ya think they’ll have a sign?” Yes, they had a sign! I presume Sean’s girlfriend, the lovely Laura, was the brains (and hand) behind our welcome home greeting.


This is Sean’s favorite pose for the next six weeks as his wrist heals. The guy who knots his shoelaces 8 times, stepped on his shoelace last week while jogging and broke his styloid process of ulna.
IMG_8991Being a one-armed fourth year medical student may be tricky, but at least he can still drive us around Chicago. Our first stop was for an afternoon snack at this hipster little shop. Since everyone loves combo shops (pizza hut/taco bell anyone?) this boasts a photography studio, bikes, accessories and a coffee counter with milk and cookies.  
IMG_8993 We were hoping for milk on tap (apparently the maintenance and cleaning is too expensive), but were equally happy with a selection of eight different milks. We chose strawberry, vanilla, chocolate, and almond. IMG_8995 Surprisingly, for a milk and cookie shop they only had four different flavors, so we got two of each. They were pretty decent, but not anything mind-blowing. However, it was fun to eat our milk and cookies at our tiny table and chairs designed for children. The owners even came to take pictures of us enjoying our treats. IMG_8997

Still hungry, we headed right next door for a classic Chicago-style hot dog and onion rings. Some protested a bit that we should save room for dinner, but Anna was determined to try Muskie’s. IMG_8990And thank goodness she’s stubborn because the onion rings were perfection. Apparently the hot dogs (with relish and no ketchup!) are delicious as well.
IMG_9004 When we finally made it home our street never looked so beautiful. In New York City you forget about green lawns and sidewalks blanketed in trees. To us, it might as well have been a tropical rain forest. IMG_9006 Dad greeted all his babies home on the front porch. IMG_9012This family doesn’t believe in personal space. Especially not when pouring through baby pictures of Sean.
IMG_9013Katie was all business decorating Dad’s birthday cake. A lemon cake with cream cheese frosting made completely from scratch by Laura and Sean.
IMG_9016This is dad’s too-much-birthday-fun face. We may have forced dad to wear a t-shirt we made him about 15 years ago. For such an old shirt it looks surprisingly new … hmmm. Suspicious. IMG_9036Dad chose to order Columbian food from one of his favorite neighborhood restaurants: rice, beef, chicken, plantain, beans, and salad. IMG_9039Dad got to use the traditional birthday plate and fancy wine glass. That plate of food actually looks slightly sad (some would call beans & rice “prison food”), however it was a delicious. IMG_9040Everything tastes even better when enjoyed on our back deck among the flowers. IMG_9029IMG_9046IMG_9050It’s important to start rehabilitating the wrist quickly, so we had Sean carry out the cake. It was risky, but he didn’t drop it!IMG_9055IMG_9058Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you!IMG_9060Happy Birthday dear John/Dad!IMG_9061Happy Birthday to you!IMG_9063Often store-bought cake tastes just as good as homemade, but this cake was amazing. There was tons of real lemon in it and it wasn’t too sweet. As Kathleen said, it had the illusion of lightness.
IMG_9065Ice cream, blueberries and two plates of brownies topped it off. IMG_9067As dessert ended we had a surprise guest, Aunt Maureen!IMG_9072She had been at the rehearsal dinner so she practiced her reading with us.

IMG_1993IMG_9076We lingered around the dinner table, under the Christmas lights and citronella candles, till we succumbed to sleepiness. We were jet-legged after all! Plus we needed our beauty sleep for the big wedding day. IMG_9077Sean, always ready with his “goodbye” arm.

Happy Birthday dad!

This entry was published on August 7, 2014 at 7:58 am. It’s filed under Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

7 thoughts on “Happy Birthday JT!

  1. Diana Blitzer on said:

    Lovely, as always. This friend of your dear Aunt Maureen enjoys every word and picture you post!

  2. Diana Blitzer on said:

    P.S. Belated Happy Birthday to Papa John and swift recovery to Sean!

  3. Laura on said:

    Another wonderful post, and I appreciate it even more having been present as the events unfolded. Excellent story-telling!

  4. Thanks for the kind words guys! Glad you enjoy them

  5. Oh TRIPS has become the highlight of my online life! Sean, what a perfect opportunity to go for that second career as a crossing guard. You have the advantage with your arm already in place for action!

  6. Really good job writing on the cake, Laura (presumably)! I have trained many many bakers to write on cakes and some never do it that well after years of practice. If you ever get tired of doctoring head over to my bakery!

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