Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Cousins in Chicago

Up until two years ago, Grandma was the center of our family social calendar. We generally gathered within an easy day's drive of the Fremont area, because that way Grandma could join us and still be back at Fountain View on time for her shot. There were two major family holidays - Thanksgiving in the Fall, and Grandma's Birthday in the Spring. And so one of the major concerns some of us had as we adjusted to life without Grandma's physical presence was whether we would continue to gather as an extended family without her as a draw.
We got together the first Thanksgiving after her passing in a somewhat militant fashion, making sure to attend in part because Grandma wasn't there. But the following spring felt pretty blank to me, and I'm sure to others. We had Bill's graduation party in Fremont in June, and I am still in awe of how many made the journey from Michigan to attend our anniversary party last September. Thanksgiving was almost as well attended last year, and Julie G hosted a Huisjen Holiday party in January. Somewhere along the way, some of us "girl cousins" decided we should make a specific effort to get together every three months or so. And so the Cousins in Chicago Spring trip was born.
I've been through Chicago hundreds of times, spent a weekend there doing the museum thing, visited the cows on parade and taken the kids and my sister up to the top of the Sears Tower at different times. But this was my first time with a group of just adults, each of us paying our own way and doing stuff that appealed to us. And it was a blast.

  • LOVED the piano bar, even though the group of Asian guys next to us thought we were crazy for singing along at the tops of our lungs.

  • This concept of martinis bears closer investigation.

  • Not everything on the Miracle Mile is priced outrageously.

  • The stained glass museum at the Navy Pier is just stunning.

  • Kate's preference for sleeping with the TV on nicely masks my tendency to snore.

  • The Cheesecake Factory also serves actual food and drinks - good ones!

  • With thanks to Christy's roommate for the tip, the view from the 96th floor women's bathroom at Hancock Tower is, in deed, stunning.

Most importantly, it was wonderful to spend the weekend doing silly things with Mary, Kate and Christy, and we've pledged to do it again next year. Maybe Julie will take a break from pregnancy and lactation to join us? Heidi, any chance you can come? I promise, a good time will be had by all.

Meanwhile, the next event will be Luc's graduation gathering in late June, possibly followed by a "girl cousin" trip down the St. Joe winery trail. (We're trying to get Tasha to come along as chauffeur, although she's not sounding enthusiastic so far.) And we'll always have Thanksgiving.

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