Thursday, July 31, 2014

Fanning the Flames!

 Last night we treated four of our French friends to an outing to a Chicago Fire soccer match.  We sit in Section 8 among the die-hard fire fans so the environment is festive and loud. Our merry band of 12 chanted and cheered our way through the evening despite the fact the game ended in a tie.  It was such a fun night!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Moment on Mott...

Sharing New York with my favorite girl was a pure joy!  Is it just me or does she look perfectly comfortable enjoying a espresso macchiato on the streets of New York?  I have a feeling she'll be back!

Monday, July 28, 2014



Sally and Molly...

 For me, visiting New York is almost always about walking until my legs feel like they are going to fall off, enjoying a bowl full of asian noodles, and taking in the city by night.  I love to disappear into the vastness of the city and enjoy how small and insignificant the city makes me feel.  This trip, however, took me down memory lane!  Emma and I were able to spend the day with Sally on Friday...
 Considering I used to tuck her in for her naps, it is hard to imagine Sally recently finished college and moved to New York to peruse her writing and theatrical endeavors.  Sure seeing her so grown up and giving my daughter college advice over a latte made me feel a wee bit old, but knowing Sally has blossomed into such a confident and courageous young woman is seriously cool.  I predict she will take NYC by storm!
And just when I thought things couldn't get any better, I learned that Sally's middle sister  was going to be in town that very evening.  Like her both of her sisters,  Molly, has always held a special place in my heart.  She popped over to our hotel and we grabbed a bit of dinner before settling in on the balcony with a bottle of wine (or two)  for hours of conversation.  To say I am proud of this young woman is a huge understatement.  She is admirable in the truest sense of the word and I am honored to know her.
Spending some time with two of my all-time favorite ladies made me happy beyond words!  

Ephrata Cloister

Emma and I joined the caravan of French students heading for New York last week!  Although the trip overall was a little stressful, we enjoyed our honest-to-goodness road trip adventure.  Our time away started in Pennsylvania where we toured the Ephrata Cloister.  Established by German immigrants in 1732 the religious community is well known for its unique architecture and preserved as national historic landmark as a result.   By today's standards Ephrata Cloister would be viewed as a cult, but at the height of its popularity more than 300 members lived and worshiped on the vast and tranquil property. The rules of the faith were very strict and included eating oly one meal vegetarian per day, getting very limited sleep, living a celibate life and praying for hours each day.  In exchange believers, including women, received an education and shelter for life.  It was a fascinating stop on our trip. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Boys...

Recently, Leif and his best friends gathered to celebrate the life of a great man.  
While the circumstances were somber it is always incredible to see these boys together.
Thanks for sharing this perfect picture BP.
 RIP Pa Schwebel 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Exploring Chicago...

This afternoon we treated our guests to a frenetic tour of Chicago.  We joined up with the Frigs, Tillotsons, Pfour, and the Willms before riding the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier...
 and posing for a few group pictures at the end of the pier...

 We traveled by foot through the heart of the city...
...and hopped on  a water taxi bound for Chinatown...

 where a cold beer and dim sum extravaganza more than hit the spot!

Somehow we ended up with nine orders of sticky rice and way too many shrimp noodles, but we put a serious hurt on some massive amounts of dumplings!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Jiffy Pop Love...

And yes, in addition to Jiffy Pop, we also have sugared cereal in the house.  The wheels are coming off the nutrition wagon, but it is all in the name of fun!  How could we resist?

In the Garden...

We enjoyed a lovely night listening to music in the garden to support the Oak Park Art League. Camille gave a big thumbs up to Ella Gill's version of Ne Me Quitte Pas.  Bliss.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Burger Time...

 Lovely Camille did her sisterly duty and sat through not one, but two soccer games this evening before getting the all-american burger she's been craving.  I have been anxious to get to Grange Hall Burger Bar for quite some time and what better excuse could we have than exposing our guest to a hip corner of Chicago and getting her burger fix. Of course, I got the French Burger...complete with brie, Dijon and mixed berry compote.  Highly recommend!
 Family time is rarely is this delicious!

Grange Hall Burger Bar
844 West Randolph Street
Chicago, 60607

Chicago Views...

 Yesterday evening we visited Chris at work to enjoy birthday cake and a stunning view before all the ladies headed out to do a little shopping at Water Tower Place and indulge in a little fine fare at the Signature Room.  I've lived in Chicago for nearly 20 years and I never had been to the 95th floor of the Hancock building for dinner.
 The views were breath-taking and as night fell over the city fireworks erupted over Navy Pier; it was hard not be impressed by all the twinkling lights!  

Chicago really is a spectacular place and this was certainly a wonderful way to appreciate the vastness of our great city.  Lucky us!

Representing Illinois...

After completing several of days of soccer camp at Northwestern, Finn made a quick change and headed to Rockford with Leif  for the Olympic Development  Region II combine.  He was chosen to represent Illinois at the state combine last month and being considered for placement on the regional team was a huge honor.  348 players from 11 states competed tournament style to vie for 48 slots in the camp pool used to select the regional team of 20.  Finn was not surprised he did not advance in this high stakes tournament, but 7 players from his team did!  Finn had never made it this far in the ODP experience before and was honored to participate.  He is already looking forward to taking another swing at it next year.  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Around the Family Table...

 Camille spent the day touring Chicago with her travel companions while I prepared a little dinner party another host family and their French student,  Malo.  With Leif and Finn tucked away at a soccer tournament in Rockford it was such a treat to fill our table with French students, friends and family style fare!
Cheers to making memories around the table!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Welcome Camille!

 Emma made a sign and it totally worked!
 We've been anticipating this welcome for many months and we are delighted our French exchange student has become an adorable reality!
 From the airport we headed home with Camille and her darling travel companion Caroline.  We were joined by the Frigs and their exchange student Fanny for an impromptu hot dog roast. 

 We blasted music and pumped our jet lagged French friends full of s'mores to keep them awake just long enough to get on CST.  We tumbled Camille into bed at exactly 10pm so she should be ready to rock tomorrow!  It was an easy start to what is sure to be a memorable few weeks!

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