Chicago, Part 2

The continuing saga…

Saturday–My mom invited my aunts and uncles and associated cousins to come by the house to hang out, meet Cooper, and have some food.  Oh, and ooh-and-awww at her kitchen that my uncle and aunt remodeled with the help of a home remodeling company.  Since I suck and didn’t actually get pics of the kitchen itself, you will have to look past my family stuffing their faces to see the new cabinets, stone tile backsplash, granite counters, fresh paint, lighting, and laminate floors.

Moms Kitchen 1 Moms Kitchen 2

My parents have been in this house for 15 years and the kitchen was out-of-date then.  Think dingy-blue commercial carpet, tacky and peeling wallpaper and border, white formica counters (that marked up even with opening a can of corn!), and dark dark dark obviously faux-walnut cabinets (they actually looked more like MDF covered in contact paper even darker than this).  My mom just finally replaced her microwave from 1986 (no friggin’ joke…it’s the one featured in the “trapped Cooper” photos) and put the new one above her stove to open up a bit more counterspace.  She also has a pull-out garbage can hidden in a cabinet drawer, which cleared up some floorspace for her to create a taller pantry-style cabinet so she can quit keeping half her food in the hall linen closet.  It’s gorgeous, long overdue, and I kinda wanted to sleep in there with the dog (If you live in the Chicagoland area and want to see more work that my aunt and uncle have done, click on the link above or the one on the side —–> for Gallery Designs & Remodeling LTD.  The project labled “Kitchen-MLH” is one from their previous home which is actually part of “General Contracting-LH”.  At least you know they are willing to live with their own designs and handiwork!  They actually have better pics of my mom’s kitchen but they’re just not up yet).

Okay, so um…off that tanget.   I got ready, and while drying my hair, my hair dryer decided make the lights in the bathroom dim a few times and then the motor on the hair dryer started shrieking like some sort of angry, possessed weed-wacker.  It was awful!  I turned it off, turned it back on, and still the shrieking.  Ran into the kitchen, set it on the table and informed my mom I needed her hair dryer.  My parents didn’t believe me that the dryer was shrieking, so I gave them a quick demo.  My stepdad immediately brought it out to the trash and I ran willy-nilly to go use mom’s dryer so that I didn’t have half my head styled and the other half all stringy and crunchy from product and no style.

So a few of my aunts and uncles and cousins came over for a few hours, and after impressing everyone with his Kabelis lungs (read: excruciating, mind-numbingly loud) and his Rummel temper (sorry, but he’s got Justin’s short short fuse), Cooper charmed them with his big smiles and dimples.  I also got to spend some time with my godchildren, Becca and Mitch (my cousin’s children) and got to demand to the baby-on-the-way to show up “very soon”, perferably while I was there.  As usual, the baby did not listen since my cousin is currently 39 weeks and 3 days along (and she has a vicious doctor that won’t just induce her already, even though this is baby #3).  I had a great time with my family and bravely endured all the “so when are you moving back” questions.  I even got to hear some really funny stories about my grandparents and my aunts’/uncle’s/mom’s childhood.

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Cooper, so excited about everyone and everything, thought he’d relive the fun and adventure and got up at 11pm, 12:30am, 1:30am (which is when I dragged him into bed with me), and then demanded food at 3:30am (can’t say I blame him, after I have a late night partying, I usually want food around 3am or so).

Sunday–My dad picked me and Cooper up in the morning and we drove up to his place on the west side to visit with him and my stepmom.  For lunch we ordered Portillo’s where I got a yummy Italian beef sandwich, which I can’t seem to get anywhere in DC.  Falafal, yes; Italian beef, no.  sigh  Just for the record, in case any of you care or even know what I’m talking about, I got a dry cheesy beef with gravy (au jou, really) on the side.  I can’t have a wet sandwich unless I’m eating it within 30 seconds after they pour on the gravy.  And just, yum.  We also talked about family stories on Dad’s side…like my great-grandparents I can barely remember, and sharing what info I found on ancestry.com, etc.

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While at Dad’s, we found out that, unlike Gavin*, Cooper is NOT afraid of Tickle Me Elmo, and in fact, LOVES Tickle Me Elmo.  Of course the pics and video don’t do it justice…but he was just laughing his head off at Elmo, chirping at him, trying to get Elmo to respond to him.  And yes, that is a vintage Elmo, circa 1998.  Guess I’ve got his birthday gift picked out!

please ignore my poor recording and edit skills where I rotated the camera while recording. I haven’t figured out how to rotate it in editing and um, well, yeah

We get back to Mom’s just in time to put Cooper to bed (and he did take a good 2.5-hour nap at Dad’s…so proud of him!), eat the rest of my leftovers from lunch and chat with my mom about my brother’s move into an apartment.  I go to bed and that little stinker gets up at 4-something demanding food.  Geez…guess our run of uninterupted sleep those first few nights are over!

Well, since this is getting long with pics and videos and links and such, stay tuned for our conclusion when I remember tomorrow.

*Gavin, when he was a lot younger, was quite afraid of TME, but as he got older, he was okay with TME…until I scared him senseless with his cousin’s Tickle Me Elmo X-treme (the one where he slaps his leg, falls down laughing, etc.).  We do have an Elmo Knows Your Name, which I love, but Cooper is not as impressed since he doesn’t want to hear songs about Gavin, he wants to hear Elmo laughing.

About the Author


This is a blog where I will share my adventures and mundane tasks as a work-out-of-home-mom. I now have 2 kids and my wonderful husband, so the juggling has gotten a little bit more tricky (man-on-man defense). We also have 2 dogs and 3 cats (we used to have 4) so as you can imagine, our household is pretty busy. Since I never feel like I'm being listened to, I figured I'll just start talking at the general Internet community and see what happens.


Madame Queen

Sounds like a great trip! I love just hanging out and visiting with family. I also love going to my favorite restaurants — I plan most of my trips around where we’re going to eat.

jen "the super-left liberal"

Wow, I can’t believe your cousin is about to have another one!


Sounds like a fantastic sandwich!

With my third child I had to sit in the doctor’s office and cry huge crocodile tears to make him induce me a few days after my due date. He said, “Oh, this will be your smallest baby – about eight pounds.” Yeah. Try 10lb 6oz. Tell her to sob and wail till the doc agrees.


I told my cousin her doctor was a sado-masochist because her blood pressure is starting to rise and she’s starting to get sick, like she did with her first two…she swore she would not have another Magnesium Sulfate delivery. I offered to call him, give him an offer he couldn’t refuse, but she just giggled at me…she has no idea that I would totally do it. 😉

Jen T.

Gah! Colleen I didn’t know ( or was too busy playing with my adorable cousin) or notice that you were taking pictures! I look horrible especially in the last one. I mean I wasn’t even smiling in it, believe me if I had noticed you were taking a picture I would have smiled. Anyway, aren’t you a bit miffed that Jill and Adam are keeping the sex of baby 3 a secret? I want to know what it is going to be! For Jill’s sake he/she needs to come out soon. Can’t wait for you and the whole family to get a chance to come out again. It was great seeing you and meeting Cooper for the first time! We love you all!


First off . . . “I had a great time with my family and bravely endured all the “so when are you moving back” questions.” I can so relate!

But, Portillos . . . you brought back some yummy memories. Our favorite place (we had one in our backyard and had no idea what we had until we left!).

Adorable pictures. I love Cooper’s laugh–and he went straight for Elmo’s eyes–which ended up in his mouth. So cute!!! How old is Cooper (forgive me if I asked this before–I have NO memory and need to start writing stuff down!).

Burgh Baby's Mom

When are you moving back? 🙂

We get that all the time, too, except that we have never actually lived where the in-laws live, so it comes across as just plain weird.


Jen T–you’re so sweet! We miss seeing you all at holidays and such, too. Just hard to find jobs out there right now.
LaskiGal, Cooper will be 9 months this week…I think he’s about 3 or 4 weeks younger than your J (7/12/07 is his b-day).
BBM–yeah, that IS weird…LOL!


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