Take Two to the Zoo

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If you’ve been reading my blog for a little while, then it’s no surprise how much Jordan and I love the Lincoln Park Zoo (herehere, & here). The zoo offers a little oasis in the middle of a bustling city. Besides the plethora of animals to observe, the Lincoln Park Zoo has a great (FREE) green space and if I lived closer, you would find me walking the path regularly. Earlier this month, on my nieces’ last day of their visit, we spent the morning here. We told the girls about the zoo a few days before and they became really excited for our little journey. For being six and four, they are quite the seasoned travelers. We knew they would enjoy looking forward to an adventure.

The drive went quickly as we listened to the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack and discussed which Disney Princess was our favorite (Holly: Ariel, Laura: Snow White, Jordan: Belle). You know, all the important things in life.

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I love being an aunt. It’s all the fun and games with no real responsibility. haha.  These girls are at a fun stage where we can have deep conversations and I see them processing new information. Over the weekend, we watched Babe and it was awesome to hear them discuss and explain why they thought the characters were acting a certain way. I remember a lot from the ages of 4-7 and I hope these girls remember that we love them and think they are fun, precious, and so valued.

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^ I think they had a good time 🙂

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^ She’s starting first grade?! What?!

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^ My mom grew up on a dairy farm and she loved showing the girls the farm animals and explaining how Papa would have to milk his cows everyday; rain, blizzard, or shine!

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^ Laura came up with that pose on her own.

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An Anniversary Weekend

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A few months ago we found out our friend, Tony Rabit, was going to have his art featured at Rotofugi Gallery. The opening turned out to be the night before our anniversary so we decided to stay downtown for the night and make a weekend out of it! Tony’s work is so whimsical and fun. We can’t wait to add the piece we bought to one of our wall galleries.

The weather was perfect on Saturday. I wore my Saltwater Sandals (being hopeful that it would stay warm) and by the afternoon we were stripping off our light jackets.

My only request to Jordan for our weekend was to eat brunch together. I love breakfast food but since I’m usually working early mornings, we don’t enjoy this meal together often. We chose The Gold Coast location of the Original Pancake House (we ate there on our one year anniversary 🙂 ) and landed a table outside on their patio! My 30 day dairy-free trial run ended on Friday, just in time to enjoy diner coffee with cream…but it’s looking like I’ll be eliminating it again. My acne flared up pretty bad almost immediately!

We wanted to enjoy being outside, so we kept on walking and found ourselves in Lincoln Park (plus the walk helped burn off those pancakes). I thought we had seen everything at the zoo from our visits last summer, but we somehow had never gone inside the Lincoln Park Conservatory, which sits on the same property. It is so beautiful and lush; just the foliage we needed to experience after this long winter.

Most of all I just appreciated this time together: talking about the past, present and our future without the usual distractions. Thanks for another great anniversary, babe!

p.s. We played tennis on Sunday for the first time this year and oh my abs! Swinging the racquet is quite the workout. While I love practicing yoga there is nothing quite like working up a sweat outside.

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^ The colors throughout the conservatory were amazing.

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^ They had these little, prehistoric plastic animals all over. what a fun idea!

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Tour Guides

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Jordan and I had the pleasure of hosting out-of-town guests over the weekend. They drove down from Canada to attend our friend’s wedding and we were glad they decided to extend their stay. Jordan and Mike toured together in their band days, oh maybe eight years ago, but as couples we hadn’t spent much time with one another.

For the next few days, Jordan and I played the role of tour guide. We brought Mike and Keira all around our little town: including our favorite neighborhoods to take walks through, and of course many of our favorite restaurants. We ordered in Aurelio’s (the original location is local, but there are other locations in the suburbs) one night and chose our go-to, cheese and sausage. Chicago is known for deep dish pizza, but we generally save that for visitors and eat thin crust pizza that is cut into little squares. Jordan is the ice cream king in our house (if we don’t have at least two different kinds available, panic starts to set in), so we had to take them to Dairy Queen. The DQ in town is only open seasonally, so we were happy to get one more Blizzard in before they close up shop for the year.

On Tuesday we spent most of the day in Chicago. Our main objectives were to visit The Lincoln Park Zoo and the beach. Thankfully, the weather was ideal for our plans! Jordan and I visited the LP Zoo earlier in the summer and while we really had a great time, the animals were much more abundant this trip.

We’re looking forward to visiting them in Canada. And I may have already looked at ticket prices 🙂

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^ The closest I’ll ever get to a lion, despite my desire as a little girl to have one as a pet. Apparently, I was really influenced by The Chronicles of Narnia and didn’t watch enough Animal Planet to realize how that my dream couldn’t become a reality.

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^ This guy was my favorite. In fact, all of the monkey’s in the monkey house were so fun to observe. They generally were hanging out in their family groups.

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Essential Chicago | Lincoln Park Zoo

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This summer  has been particularly special. Not because of any grand event, but mainly a bunch of small wonderful ones. Playing tennis in the afternoons, walks to the library (stopping at Dairy Queen perhaps) and lots of visits with friends and family. After experiencing a long work commute for a few years, I wanted to regain lost time and it is finally starting to come back.

Many have asked me if I was scared when Jordan began working for himself, but honestly I was more excited for the possibilities. This is the first summer in years that my work scheduled has leaned in my favor with very little coaxing. Having a few Saturdays off in a row has been amazing! Jordan and I have taken full advantage by turning off the computers, leaving the office (our house) and exploring outside. A few weekends ago we decided to brave the crazy July heat and spend time at the Lincoln Park Zoo. The LPK zoo is one of the few free attractions in the city. The zoo is lush (almost tropical) and displays amazing views of the Chicago skyline. The animals were lazily taking naps in the shade and overall unimpressed with us humans. My favorites were the kangaroos and camels!

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Before we left in the morning, Jordan decided last-minute to throw towels in the trunk of our car. It was a good call. After walking the zoo (and enjoying the surrounding neighborhood) we journeyed to the beach and enjoyed the lake breeze. Lake Michigan is really quite beautiful. We can’t wait to go back!

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