Back in Raleigh, I made the most of my two days left until school started. I headed to dinner with my friends, where the girls surprised me and celebrated my birthday, yet again! And then we headed to the North Hills Beach Music Festival to see the live music and dance.
My fortune at dinner. I didn't hate it.
It was a perfect last night out, and for good reason - the next morning we all headed back to work. School is now in session!
On Saturday, I headed to Stacey's to meet up with my aunt and uncle, who were in town. My parents also met us there. We played tourists for the day!!
Stacey and I.
The All-American Girl Store was a must. For real, my cousin had to stop by to make reservations for when her niece came into town the following week. But I do have to say, little girls these days, have it made.
Then we headed to Navy Pier to see the Tall Ships.
And then it was time for the water taxi!
After that, we headed out to the 'burbs for some relaxing and a bonfire!!
The perfect end, to a perfect day.
And then I got old...
I think she was worried someone would forget to say this... But it wouldn't be a birthday (or any holiday, for that matter) without it. I love my family! Thanks Cath!
On my actual birthday I got to spend the whole day with my mom. We shopped and we hung out on the back porch and read. I couldn't have planned a better day.
Birthday dinner with my cousin Maggie and my Aunt and Uncle.
I don't think I could have asked for a better trip home!! I want to go back.
After the night at the Shedd, I headed to Paula and Matt's to see my favorite nephew!! I was so excited to see him that I almost woke him up when I got back, at 11:00. Paula urged me not too and I obliged because I knew that if I could only wait until morning, we could have a whole day together - just the two of us! It was so fun to get some quality time with the little guy. Paula kept Ben home from the nanny and I got to be nanny for the day!!
First we hung out on the couch and clapped and sang while I got to enjoy my coffee.
When Ben got sick of my singing and I let him dance to his real favorite tunes.
After that I got him dressed in a super cute outfit and we hung around for the condo for a bit, playing with super interesting things like luggage.
But when he started to torment Chief we headed outside and hit the pavement.
Ben, Chief, and myself.
Taking a dog and a baby for a walk is more work than it looks!
Had to do a walk-by of one of my favorite places :) Wrigley Field.
After the walk, Ben decided we needed a selfie (or two), so we hung out on the porch to warm up from the igloo and took some amazing pictures. What can I say? We are pretty photogenic :)
I'm going to see how many posts I can make this one trip... Just. You. Watch.
After a few great day in the burbs, I headed downtown Chicago! The first night I met up with my friends Colleen and Rob. Colleen and I swam together at Illinois and it was so good to see her and catch up.
We headed to "Jazzin' at the Shedd". The Shedd is the aquarium in Chicago and during the summer, on Wednesday nights, they offer later hours. During the late hours they provide live jazz music and cocktails! It was so much fun! It was actually cheaper than a normal trip to the Shedd because we just paid for the evening pass instead of the full day pass (who woulda thought?!). To make up for the money we saved, however, we paid a little extra to be able to touch the stingrays!!
I headed to Chicago two weeks ago for 9 whole days! What a treat! The first few days there I hung out with my parents in the suburbs.
I relaxed, I slept in, I ran a bit, and I got to spend some quality time with the parental units. It was so nice to relax and chat with them. We got to enjoy dinner on the deck and one night I tried a new recipe!!
The recipe includes watermelon, avacado, goat cheese, fresh basil, and balsamic vinaigrette. It was so good! I can't take credit for it, I was just trying to recreate the salad we had tried at Poole's Diner.
It was pretty good! Not exact, but a winner for sure.