Monthly Archives: July 2013

What we did on our summer vacation — Days 5 and 6


After the busy weekend we took a bit of a break from activities on Monday. We were scheduled to get our photographs taken Monday evening by a professional photographer I’d gotten to know via his blog a few years ago, so we didn’t want to do too much during the day. We had lunch at Portillos where Jill* works because I’d heard that their Italian beef was better than Beef Villa. It was very good, but there is something about Beef Villa I prefer.

Then we drove to Sycamore to go to Farm and Fleet (a friend of ours once called it “Farmer’s Feet”, so that’s what we usually call it too). Bought some stuff we didn’t need (including a colorful pair of gardening clogs that I will wear the .001% of the time I actually garden).

We stopped by and said hi to my dad and grandparents on the way back to Elgin, then headed to the kitty farm** for our photo shoot.

Unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate that day and we had to reschedule the photo shoot for the next morning — early the next morning since we had plans to visit Chicago later that morning.


Bright and early Tuesday morning we headed back to the kitty farm and met up with James Jordan who made us look fabulous with an old barn as and equally fabulous backdrop. What you don’t see in the photos below are the occasional dead critters in the straw. Dean’s brothers (The Twins) stopped by for a visit and got in on the photography fun.

After the photo shoot we picked up my mom and Brandon and headed to Chicago where we first visited Millennium Park and photographed the “Bean”, then visited the Art Institute. Unfortunately a considerable amount of time was spent waiting to be seated for lunch in the Art Institute’s courtyard cafe, waiting to be waited upon, and waiting for our bill.

Oh yeah, it was Dean’s birthday.

Dean modeling his new t-shirt from his robot-making buddy, Tal.

That evening we celebrated June Birthdays in the Follmann family at Sue and Dennis’ house in Sycamore. Then we went home on Wednesday.

The end.


*Jill is my ex sister-in-law who lives with my mom
**The kitty farm is the farm where Dean spent his formative years and where his brother, Danny and his family lived for many years. They always had dozens of cats running around — and that is where we got Joe and Halloween.

What we did on our summer vacation — Day 4

I need to finish this before I blog about other things…

Sunday morning I went to church with Mom and afterward I enjoyed the wildflowers on the church property while Mom attended a meeting.

That afternoon we had a cookout with my brother and his family at my Mom’s house. Not knowing what to cook for dinner, Kevin, Brandon and I went to a local Italian grocery store for inspiration. We found it in the meat department in the form of amazing store-made sausages and the produce department in the form of vegetables to grill. And in the wine department where I saw the bottle of wine that I was hiding from Tony Soprano in my dream about him a week before the untimely death of the actor who portrayed him. We decided our meal would be a tribute to James Ganolfini and Tony Soprano.

We ate well that night thanks to Kevin’s skill with the grill. We also had fun with Preston.


What we did on our summer vacation: Day 3

Not mentioned in the previous post is that Clare was scheduled to arrive while we were at the rehearsal dinner. Mom and her friend Richard were scheduled to pick her up at 7:30 on Friday night. She called at 3 or so to tell us she’d missed her flight and would not fly in until around 5 am the following day. Dean, great dad that he is, volunteered to wake up before dawn to drive to the airport to pick up his daughter.

I was able to sleep until 7 or so when Clare, after eating a Dad-made breakfast, climbed into bed next to me. We chatted a while, but I knew she was sleepy so I left her to sleep while I started my day.

We (except for Dean) again lazed around the house until it was time to get ready for the wedding. No one was completely satisfied with what they’d brought to wear to the wedding (except for Dean — but I was not satisfied with what he brought) so some grumpiness ensued during the getting ready part of the day.

ready for the weddingFinally we were ready(ish) and we asked Jill (ex-sister-in-law who lives with my mom) to take our photo.

When we arrived at the church in Burlington we were dismayed to realize we were about a half-hour late. I’d forgotten to bring the invitation and we were given the wrong time (but we forgive you D.). We watched the end of the ceremony in the back room with Sheri and Jude, Dean’s nephew’s wife and son.

We had time to spare between the wedding and reception so drove around the countryside for a while. It always reminds me of Sunday afternoons in my youth when we’d drive my Grandma Patrick around and she’d exclaim at the state of a chicken coop or the new paint job of a barn on farms on which she used to live.

dean and donaThe reception was held at Randall Oaks Country Club. We sat with Diane, Dean’s sister, Mert, Dean’s cousin and her husband Tom. Also at our table were the pastor and the organist of the church where the wedding took place. The pastor had been pastor at the church we’d spent many Christmas Eves, so we had things to talk about.

Oh — I forgot to mention that the wedding was held on Dean and my 28th wedding anniversary. We were honored with our own dance — to the Anniversary Waltz.

My favorite part of the reception was watching the flower girls and their cousins dancing as you will see in the photos below.

Here are some photos from the evening.