The winter trip to Wisconsin was great! We snuck out of PDX just at the very beginning of the storm. Which ended up being one the biggest snow storms Portland has had in forever, so we were super lucky to avoid it entirely.
There were 10 inches expected in Madison too, but we blew into town before that storm hit too. We got to see most of our friends, and meet Max (Phil and Cat’s son) and Natalia (Marcio and Abby’s daughter) which I really looked forward to meeting. We ate dinner at the Weary Traveler (of course), drank some Lake Louie ABA, and got hot chips at Harmony Bar.
We headed to the Brass Ring for a few hours and left to a blanket of snow. Not many people on the road then, thankfully. The next morning we woke up to 15 inches of snow! So we hung out until the afternoon to give the snow plows some time to clear things out.
Carrie and I walked her huskies a block through it, and now that I don’t have to live in it for six months per year, it was fun to wander in the snow, especially with dogs.
Brian’s dad’s birthday was fun. He brought his Wii to B’s brother’s house, so there were many games of bowling. I also taught B’s niece how to knit, and it was crazy how quickly she picked it up!
We drove to visit my cousins, and I have to say that they have a terribly cute and well-mannered family, which can’t be easy to achieve with four kids and puppy. It was so good to see them, and I’m always sorry I don’t get more time with them. My aunt was there too, and she identified all the people in the slides I’ve been scanning that I didn’t know, which makes me really really happy.
The next day we made cookies to frost for Santa, a corn-flake wreath for snacking and just generally hung out.
After that, we went to Chicago! The roads were completely terrible for driving, I was very impressed with Gretchen’s driving skills. An hour and 20 min journey took over three, so good thing we had planned to walk up and down Michigan Avenue (we didn’t due to time constraints).
We did get to look at Macy’s windows in the Marshall Field building and bleah, not impressed even a little. Not that I thought they’d get it right, but c’mon! I still want a Fuck Macy’s t-shirt. I miss Meier and Franks and Marshall Fields. It was fun walking through Chicago as it snowed, and felt super Christmas-y.
Brian and I miss Chicago very, very much. As soon as I’m working again, we want to plan a Chicago-only visit because we definitely didn’t take enough advantage of how close we were.
We all walked down to the Palmer House, where my niece and nephew got cocoa and the grown-ups got coffee and beer, and then walked to the Italian Village for dinner. Italian Village has been around for 80 years, and it’s where my mom went on dates when she was in high school.
Gretchen and I have been there many times over the years, and the food is always great. We had a good bottle of Sangiovese with dinner (Saint Christina or something similar to that). I introduced my niece to tiramisu! I feel so proud.
After that we went to see Wicked. I am glad I got to see it before it closed. The set was spectacular, I was so impressed. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a set as incredible as this one, and the lighting was inspired.
I am super impressed at how well my niece and nephew do in at a show – I’d be disappointed if they didn’t know how to behave (I see kids at shows all the time misbehaving) so I’m glad Gretchen takes them to lots of shows, just like we did when we were young.
After Wicked, we wanted to go to the Signature room, but it was already 10:30 and the roads were super bad so we decided to go next time (hopefully soon)?
Christmas itself was wonderful, it’s always so cozy and fun to watch kids open presents on Christmas morning. I think we all got things we liked, which made me happy, and B’s dad loved the blanket I made for him, yay!
Carrie and Todd are coming tonight, I can’t wait to get them at the airport. I haven’t quite decided where we are going to take them for dinner, but I know it’ll be good. It’s so good to be back in Portland – we were surprised this year by how much we missed. If Carrie and Todd weren’t coming here, I think we’d still be running around doing all of our favorite Portland things because we really missed being here as much as we liked seeing friends and family back in Wisconsin.