Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Chicago Pre Christmas 2006

December 15th, 2006
Kyle, Sarah, Steve, Jean and myself flew on American Airlines flight 597 to Chicago O'Hare. We rented a National Dodge Grand Caravan and drove to the Maney's house in Naperville. Here is a photo of their beautiful tree and one of my favorite ornaments. We were very tired and went to sleep.
December 16th, 2006
We traveled to Wisconsin to visit my grandfather at the Mueller's house in Delevan. Sarah got acclimated to the family. Aunt Jo created a feast for our before Christmas dinner. Here's Jean sipping on Egg Nog made with white chocolate. Callie, Jo's daughter, came sporting a Santa hat with a Packer's emblem. Alicia was brading on Dale. Dale is Callie's husband. Jacob and Ian were watching TV. Some pictures Aunt Jo took are of Joey, Jo's son and Mary Brusa, my grandfathers cousin; Jacob, Callie's son, Alicia and Ian, Joey's children; Dale, Jo and Ralph, Jo's husband; Joey, Alicia and Mary; Aaron, Cathy's son, Steve, Sarah, Kyle and Grandpa; Alicia and the Mueller's tree. Uncle Ralph can really decorate for Christmas. Here's a left view, a right view, and a dark of night view of the exterior luminations. We went back to the Maney's. Sarah, Jean, Cathy and I watched "It's a Wonderful Life" while Steve, Kyle, Aaron and Ryan went to challange each other at billiards.
December 17th, 2006
Jean, Kyle, Sarah, Jean, myself met Russel, my friend, for breakfast at Grandma Sally's in Naperville. Since Steve and Kyle missed a chance to visit with their Aunt Lydia and Uncle Fernando they decided to spend some time with their Grandpa Benner. On they way there we made a stop in Elmhurst. To my surprise and what seemed so whack? Mr. and Mrs. Claus pulled up in a gold Cadilliac. So I grabbed my camera, jumped out of the van and said, "May I take one of you both, if I can"? Santa said, "Sure!" and I took it as soon as I could, then I asked if Mrs. Claus to take one of me with Santa, if she would. Then Santa gave me his card that read "Keep on being good". Ho, Ho, Ho. We droped off Sarah, Kyle and Steve by their Grandpa. Jean and I had the van washed and went shopping at the 5 Star Flea Market. It was really, really hispanic and that's how we liked it. We picked up everyone. Went to Sym's and then drove through Portillo's. Then we headed to Tinley Park to the home of Jack and Betty Cory. We went on a tour of their home, Jack's wonderful nostalgic bar and celebrated in the recreation room. Betty created a feast for us, Cathy, Marian, Jim and Donna. Here is Betty, Steve, Jack and Kyle version I and version II, Sarah and Kyle, and all of us. Betty also makes handbags, and Jean got one as a gift. Kyle, Steve and myself received warmers. Jean and Connie, Betty's sisters, and Tom, Connies husband, arrived. We planned a trip to the city and talked for some time.
December 18th, 2006
I found my Dad in the kitchen working a crossword. Betty put together breakfast and after we ate we prepared to go downtown. Dad dropped us at the Metra and we rode to the Lasalle Street Station where we met up with Callie. Next to the Chicago Board of Trade. Here's a shot of Sarah, Steve, Jean, Kyle and Callie. The CTA bus brought us to the Field Museum of Natural History.
Entrance and Statue. Suzy, Suzy II and Suzy III. Elephants I and Elephants II. Totems, Totem I and Totem II. Terradactyl I and Terradactyl II. Native American model home, Jean and I inside one and some artwork. Jean with a Stegasoras, Steve with a Raptor, and Steve getting his head bit off. Callie and me. Was I the only one on the trolley who remembered the words to the 12 days of Christmas? We got off at Bennigans, had lunch and Callie parted us. We walked over to Millenium Park.
Cloud Gate I, Cloud Gate II, Cloud Gate III, Cloud Gate IV, Cloud Gate V, Cloud Gate VI, Cloud Gate VII and Cloud Gate VIII. Ice Rink I, Ice Rink II, Ice Rink III, Ice Rink IV and Ice Rink V. Crown Fountain.
From there we went up to State Street and went into Macy's (formerly Marshall Fields) to see Macy's Christmas tree. The view of the Daley Plaza from inside Macy's required us to tour. The Daley Plaza Christmas tree up close and stepping back. Lighted City I, Lighted City II and Lighted City III.

December 19th, 2006
We drove to El Paso, Illinois to visit with my cousin Tom, Mary Margaret and Tom O'Brien the III, the newest and cutest addition to the Tom and Teresa O'Brien family. Also, of noteable mention is their a beautiful home, garage, staircase and patio that Tom created. Wow.
We had lunch with the O'Brien's and traveled to the home of David and Lou Zajieck in Naperville. Auntie was very happy to see Kyle and Steve. They decided to vent a little anxeity by having a group therapy session. My aunt Lou is an awesome cook. She made an excellent dinner and Jean, Steve, Auntie, Kyle, Sarah, and I retreated to the front room. We were really tired.

December 20th, 2006
Auntie made a souffle for breakfast. We went to the Naperville Riverwalk. Then we visited points of interest for the modernizing of Naperville. We drove to Mount Prospect and had Applebees. Then we visited with Dave, Chris, Cathy and met Jason at 303 Transportation. Last stop was O'Hare to head back to Raleigh.