Monday, March 27, 2017

Photo Recap - Summer

Dudes. It happened again. It's now a whopping (almost) six months since my last post. Can't say I'm not surprised, although I am a bit disappointed. I have a feeling this "balance" thing is going to be a constant work in progress. Like until I'm 80.

Even though I wasn't posting consistently throughout the last few seasons, I was still saving all kinds of shitty quality photos to my Google photos for your enjoyment. I'd love to do seasonal photo dump recaps accompanied by my classic rambly captions if only so my lazily saving method isn't wasted ;) 

The biggest reason I blog (like most of us) is so I can document different stages of life. Looking back on when I started over two years ago, I'm amazed that I feel like I've already been through a few stages and am coming up to another big one. Even though these next few posts will be less than thrilling for most, I'd like to have them to look back on. So when I'm in a far different season of life, I can remember how good I've always had it. 


This guy graduated from the Wisconsin State Trooper Academy and became a state-wide Trooper for (what we thought would be for) the foreseeable future. Our plan was that he would work as a Trooper until he was able to secure a job back in Illinois and we'd do the long distance thing for however long that took. His department was about three hours north of us, so he would come home every few weeks or so when he had a few days off. 

As a note, I fully realize our "long distance" is a complete joke compared to some distances other couples have to deal with, so I cringe using that term in the first place in trying to be respectful to those relationships. We were apart for all four years of college, so we were kind of used to it as well. It's never easy to be away from the ones you love, but I know many have to deal with more difficult circumstances. 


His friends and I planned a surprise party for him the weekend of his graduation, and to say he was surprised was an understatement. 


He has some of the best friends around and I'm pretty honored to call them my friends as well. One of our good friends hosted at her apartment downtown and we celebrated with cake and bar hopping.

I went to several BBQs this summer where I successfully grossed everyone out with my fake meat burgers and how many carbs I can eat.


Went on several foodie outings with my favorite guy - my dad.


There were some cousins' nights downtown where we tried new restaurants and happened upon some very cool views (all thanks to my cousins who are far cooler than me). 


We celebrated my wonderful momma's birthday with some Peruvian food. 

At work, we welcomed a new season's catalog. 

My dad and I spent the end of July working at the county fair (next county over from us to be exact) in the food division. #Classic. I was able to break out my super dorky vintage cookbook collection and use a few as "decor" in our booth. 

These two guys when Sammy would come down on the weekends he was off duty <3


At the beginning of the month, we celebrated my grandmother's 83rd birthday. Eighty. Three. Isn't she beautiful?! One of the strongest women I know. 


A day later, we left on our road trip vacation to the Grand Canyon. Sammy was lucky enough to get off work and able to come with us which was so fun. Our first stop was in St. Louis to do a little eating on The Hill and a little custarding at Ted Drew's. 

We hit up Hank's in Tulsa. If you ever find yourself near Hank's, please stop. They're sweet owners who were about to close but stayed open late for us because we had been in the car all day and starving and must have sounded desperate. The place is divey and small, but right up my family's alley and the owners exude that regional charm. 

We also stopped at the Rock Cafe in Oklahoma where I got the southwestern inspired spaetzel and was loving my life. SO good. Highly recommend going there if you're passing through or are in the area. My dad wants to plan a trip back to OK simply to go there again. In addition to the food, I loved how diverse the crowd was. I expected it to be all locals, but aside from us, there were other travelers as well including a couple from Germany. 

Since clearly all we did was eat as we drove West toward AZ, we stopped from some BBQ in northern Texas. 

We spent a night in Albuquerque and we wished we had much more time there. The history is rich and the good. I finally got authentic huevos rancheros at Barelas and I know nothing will compare. Do yourself a favor and go if you can. We had to wait for about an hour, but it was worth it. 


Us in the backseat of the minivan as we drove through New Mexico to Arizona.


Some quick snaps on the train up to the Grand Canyon. 

Bar none, one of the most gorgeous sites to bear witness to. Words and pictures do not do it justice. It has to be a must-see on everyone's list of places to go.


That handsome guy who had to hike the canyon with me, a girl who purchases boots, zip-off pants, and a canteen (AN ACTUAL CANTEEN) specifically for this trip. I'm a lot of fun, obv.

As a quick reference (although I know I mentioned it in a post before), my divorced parents planned this trip together for all of us. I'd be lying if I said they didn't give us the greatest childhood of all time and then put us through some tough shit when we were teenagers, but they have more than made up for it in the last few years. We spend holidays, birthdays, and now vacations together, and I couldn't be more grateful for how this great change in life has been turning out.


We ate at some sweet restaurants near our hotel (Grand Canyon Railway Hotel). 


Stopped at every Route 66 site we could (we drove West on Route 66 as often as possible) and kept right on eating. 


Awesome Cajan gumbo and corn bread at Satchmo's in Flagstaff with some cool patio vibes. This might have been our favorite place throughout the whole vacation. Crazy good.

We spent a day in Sedona, AZ which quickly became one of my favorite places I've ever been (arguably more gorgeous than the Grand Canyon...actually for me, it definitely was). I had a spiritual experience there which I'm sure sounds kind of dramatic, but it's true. I felt an inner peace I've never felt before and I absolutely believe all the articles I read prior to going about it's magical energy. Those red rocks have my heart forever.


I dragged everyone into a cute little book store near our hotel and my dad dragged everyone into the 19th dive restaurant of the trip.

We drove to a historic strip of Route 66 that has seemingly been left untouched since the 60's which was kitschy and cool.


My family and I decided to go cave "climbing" which is not super high up on my list of things to do when the "climbing" is hundreds of feet below ground, pitch black, wet, and so cavernous that you hit your head in certain areas because space is that tight. My claustrophobia quickly set in and my dad and said "screw this" and came back out of the hole. My sister and mom followed suit about twenty minutes later, and because my brother and Sammy are show offs (and best friends which is my favorite thing ever) they made it back up over an hour later as they hiked the whole way. Although that tree view is one of my very, very favorite views ever. I wanted to camp there so badly.


Some of our last views in town before flying back to Chicago. 


There were several family picnics toward the end of August. 


And my aunt (who is my momma's best friend) came to visit from Boston. We went crystal shopping and did Rune and Animal Medicine card readings and all kinds of yogi things with her (she's a world renowned yogi). 

(WHAT A GREAT PHOTO) of me seeing John Fogerty at Ravinia with my dad. Such a chill awesome night.

Sammy and I headed to a pre-season Bears game with some friends where I wore the Walter Payton jersey I've had since 3rd grade (primarily because I can't name one current Bears player if you asked me). The fact that I fit into this jersey had me riding all kinds of bloated self-esteem rides for weeks. 


We did some more downtown eating. 

There were more puppy cuddles. I mean...that face though.

Toward the end of the summer, Sammy was offered another position at a suburban department thirty minutes from where we grew up. And just like that, this Trooper became an Officer.

 I know leaving his fellow troopers was very difficult for him, but he knew this opportunity was too good to pass up. I'll always be grateful to our new department for extending this position to him as it's essentially given us a new future, one we didn't necessarily think we'd have or at least gotten to this quickly. 


Once he moved back home, there were some sleepovers which always include dog snuggles and animal-shaped pancakes the next morning (because I'm 7-years-old and my lovely boyfriend indulges it)


There was some berry picking after a day of checking out our future town. This ended up being one of my favorite days of the summer.

Summer '16 was a good one. But as I learn every year, summers always are.

1 comment:

  1. Looks and sounds like you had an amazing summer ♥