Sunday, November 27, 2016

MMM Part 2 and Thanksgiving Homecoming

We spent most of the week on our trip in the Midwest, coming home on Thanksgiving Day. We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to reconnect with our friends in Detroit, and we look forward to future reunions. We also got to know Chicago a little bit and look forward to a return trip when the weather is more favorable.

The kids have taken full advantage of the variety of food the hotel serves for breakfast. . . .

Monday morning we went south of the border to Windsor, Canada. We took the bridge over and the tunnel back just to say we did. Since losing the weight, Hallie has dreamed of going to the Roots Canada Outlet to try on clothes that fit. She was not disappointed! This time Hallie, not the kids, got the goods. How excited she was to be able to buy a large sweatshirt and large sweatpants that even seem to be too big in the legs.

We also went to some favorite Canadian stores to stock up on goodies we have sorely missed. Good thing we packed light. Among the highlights: Kinder Surprise Eggs and advent calendar, Nanaimo bars, maple syrup and bacon flavored popcorn (think Chicago mix but not), chocolicious snack mix (think trail mix and then some), and poutine. Good thing we don’t make going to Canada a habit. They’d have to roll us back across the river. Much to our dismay, the local Costco has stopped selling Montreal smoked meat sandwiches. We had also forgotten that Canada had stopped using pennies and felt a bit funny when we tried to give the cashier some pennies. 

We couldn’t spend the whole day indulging our appetites, so we finally went back stateside, driving up Jefferson and stopping in Grosse Pointe.

We spent a little time at the Ewald Library on Maryland Street, drove by the old house and past Defer Elementary, and ended up at Starbuck’s in the Village, where we happened to run into our friend Sara while we waited to meet up with Bro. Banks from the branch and Diamond. 

We spent some time chatting with our friends before going up to the Taylors’ house for another visit. The boys and Eliza played while the grownups solved the world’s problems. Good times! We were grateful to be able to reconnect. Oh how we miss the days of sitting on the porches and being Grosse Pointe Hillbillies. Our chats were easy going, and it was a joy to see the kids so happy.

Our last stop for the day was back down at Sander’s in the Village, where we visited with Jen and Bryan Carney and Diamond over cream puff sundaes. If, you have never had a cream puff sundae then you are definitely missing out. Hallie was so excited to get a sundae. As soon as they were delivered the kids took over and Hallie received the melted ends. Again, another reason to go back to Detroit. As this was our last night in Detroit, we also bid teary-eyed farewells to Diamond and resolved to get back before another 2 years pass us by. Diamond has done so well for herself and we are so proud of her.  

Tuesday was a travel day back to Chicago. We set out at a leisurely pace and got there in the afternoon. We got a classic stuffed deep dish pizza from Giordano’s, and that along with our Zehnder’s leftovers set us up meal-wise for both Tuesday and Wednesday. Part of our trip followed a leg of Route 66 that we had not driven on our Christmas 2010 road trip. Each new hotel is an adventure for the kids, and this one was no exception.  

We went to Chicago on Wednesday. Rainy weather had come in, so we spent most of our time at the Navy Pier and at the Chicago Children’s Museum. The kids spent several hours exploring all the exhibits and activities. They especially enjoyed the Zoom Room, Dinosaur Exhibition, the Tinkering Lab, and the catapults in the Main Hall. Hallie had wanted to see Michigan Avenue but due to traffic we skipped that experience and left it until next time.

We spent the day in the air on Thanksgiving Thursday. The kids were very well behaved on the planes, and we can thank Grandpa and Grandma Owens for the Kindles that kept them very busy a majority of the time. 

Due to Thanksgiving, traffic was lighter than normal getting home. We grabbed Jack in the Box for dinner after abandoning Denny’s when the waitress failed to show up after we sat at the booth for several minutes. Upon our arrival at home and getting reacquainted with Fergus, it didn’t take long for a load of laundry and unpacking to begin. The daily grind has started back up again just like that. All too soon we transitioned from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

On Friday morning, Christmas decorations came out and other things got put away. This year Eliza really got into the magic. She got all excited about getting out the tree and setting it up and looking at all the decorations. We didn’t get very far (we haven’t yet hung up the ornaments on the tree, for instance), but we did the important stuff such as hanging stockings and setting the LEGO train under the tree. Except for the kids fighting over who gets to use it, we really have fun running the train around and around . . . and around and around . . . the tree in a neverending loop. We must like it because we bought another LEGO train to go with the winter village (which village, along with the garlands, may not go up this year).

Hallie and Landon and Mike and Eliza each ran separate sets of errands to restock the pantry in the afternoon. Part of running errands meant getting mail from the post office. Eliza received an invitation to join the Level 2 team in gymnastics. Congratulations!

In the evening, the kids were driving her nuts, so Hallie ran yet more errands. At Trader Joe’s, she found a pecan pie sample, much to her delight.

We had our real Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday with Grandma and Grandpa O. and Alie. To prepare, Mike and Eliza ran errands while Hallie watched Cru and Finnley while Sawyer was at a mom and tot gymnastics class at Monarchs and Landon worked out at Victory.

One of Mike’s errands involved replacing his ceramic mate gourd which somehow did not manage to make the trip back from Chicago. TSA inspected one of our bags, and it might have been in there. Or it might have fallen out of Landon’s backpack. Mike had packed the gourd in newspaper, and he thought he had packed it in Eliza’s bag, but it might have made it into Landon’s carry-on backpack. Hallie and Landon mentioned having seen and discarded a wad of paper while on the airplane. Anyway, the bottom line is that one of the two mate gourds we had bought while in Argentina in 2002 is now gone (the other is in Mike’s CLU office). Mike was really bummed out about it. He also needed a replacement. Turns out ceramic Asian tea cups fit the bill. Also turns out that Cost Plus World Market had ceramic tea cups on sale, and he found one that, while not the other cup, will do nicely.

Everyone beat the rain back home, and we arrived to a home cozy with heat from the turkey roasting in the oven. A little later, Gma, Gpa, and Alie came over, and we had our tasty fare.

We had our normal activities on Sunday, a quiet lead-in to what is sure to be a bumpy transition into the upcoming week’s activities. 

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