Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A Final Letter to My Favorite Pen Pal

We laid my sweet grandmother, Elaine, to her final resting place Monday, August 29th in her hometown of Williamsburg, OH. It was a tearful final goodbye as we said an earthly fairwell to one of the sweetest ladies I have ever known. Several months ago when I went to visit her, I wrote her a letter and wanted to leave it here today to honor her. I love you grandma.


Grandma,

Ever since I was a little girl, you have always held a forever special place in my heart. Your creative, loving spirit had a way of making even the most normal situations magical. You were my first pen pal and that coupled with my dad's encouragement brought forth a love of writing, that later led me to my blog. I look back at all of these posts and can't help but become emotional thinking what a great gift this will be to leave for my children one day as a small glimpse into their life as a child. And so much of this was rooted in a small seed you planted and cultivated in me as a young child by teaching me to write and share. Again, magical.

Your zest for life and fun combined with our contagious laughter and mischievous spirit are qualities I greatly admire. My mom tells me I have inherited many of them and that thoughts makes me smile bright. You have always been one of my biggest cheerleaders and I knew without a shadow of a doubt when God gifted me a beautiful daughter of my own, one of the best gifts I could give her is the legacy of your name to proudly carry on. I promise for as long as she will allow me, I will place pearl barrettes in her hair in honor of you.  I will be sure to tell her they are creative gemstones that will help her imagination thrive and colors appear more vivid, to which only a true artist like yourself can appreciate.

Moreover, pig cookies will remain a staple in our home. I am currently in the process of typing your recipes and heir looming them for the entire family.  One of my favorites is obviously your pig cookie recipe that will always be in our kitchen to remember fondly and cherish. Many of my childhood memories in the kitchen involve you and I hold them near and dear to my heart. Another love of mine I credit from you. You always made sure to let me lick the spoon and feel included. And to a young girl, that is the best of all. My love for baking and cooking began with you.

I have the fondest memories of coming to stay at your house when I was young. You would always place a cool sheet on the floor and make a special picnic while I watched whatever new Disney movie Grandpa had purchased. (I'm fairly certain I often chose The Little Mermaid or Lady and The Tramp).

I was so blessed in having you as my grandmother. You have always been a bright north star guiding my life and my love for you is immeasurable. You have impacted my life in so many ways. And namely, in being a wonderful mother to my mom. You gave her the tools to raise me and my brothers and she and my dad have done a heck of a job in my opinion! She had a fabulous role model to show her how and I am forever grateful.

You are one of the strongest and most genuine women I have ever met, and you remain always and forever in my heart. A constant reminder to laugh with the good, hell even with the bad. Simple is often better and to remember to make the most of every situation. Because a picture can still be pretty, even if you color outside the lines!

I love you,
Katie Bugg

 photo signature2_zpsk2krzmg0.png

Monday, August 22, 2016

Mama + the Midwest ~ Part III

Good news, this is the last picture overload (from the vacation, not from life because we all know better than that) that I'll bombard you with. I"m here today with the final recap of our vacation with my mom to Chicago. If you haven't been following and want to catch up you can read Part I here and Part II here.

We woke up Thursday excited for another adventure, and headed to Navy Pier!
 The Ferris Wheel is always magical, no matter what age you are!
 GoGo was a nervous wreck, she hates heights. But Bennett kept her safe!
 And these gals were stoked!
 Such a pretty view!



 And once our feet were back on the ground we hit up the carousel.
 He was sad it was over.
 But quickly cheered up when he got to drive the boats.
And reallllyyyy cheered up when we headed inside to cool off and play in the Children's Museum.
 First stop, the Zoom Room - endless cars, endless tracks, ENDLESS fun.


 Then onto the Chicago Fire Department.

 With another stop at the building station, the water station, the trinket station, the digging for dinosaur station, the tiny station, the domino station, the camping station, ALL the stations. And a fun stop at tiny town.

 Lainey was getting restless, but Bennett was not anywhere close to being ready to leave.
 So he fished for a while.
 And I coaxed him out of the museum by bribing him with a hotdog.
 But when he realized we weren't going back, he walked with his head down the whole way back to the car. Bless his little heart. He had SO much fun.
 Both kids fell asleep in the car, so mom and I drove around the city and chatted about city life. Then we headed back to the hotel and got cleaned up for our final dinner. And look what little miss decided to do! Pulling up! Time to get ready!
 And another note on Lainey, this little one is already a shoe addict. Her daddy better be saving up to fund her shopping addiction, because if there are shoes in the room you better believe she will find them. She loves them.
 Once everyone was washed up we let momma choose our final dinner and she chose Dick's Last Resort. Always a hysterical adventure, and to hear my mother's laugh as frequently as I did never disappoints.

If you've never been to Dick's - the name is exactly what you'd imagine. It actually is terribly ironic that people pay to eat there. Because the food really isn't that good, and the whole theme of the restaurant is for the waiter to be rude to you. But it's funny and if you just get into the whole thing it's pretty fun. I ordered Bennett a special treat Sprite and our waitress brought it to him in this giant glass. She set it in front of him and said "don't spill it kid, I'm not cleaning it up" HA!
Lainey thought it was hysterical.
 We ordered some apps while we read everyone's dunce caps and laughed aloud.
 We were so busy laughing we were shocked when our's arrived! Bennett's "Today my mom taught me how to shoplift!" hahahahahaha. One point waitress.
 Mom's "Last time I got lucky, I yelled BINGO!" hahahaha two points waitress.
 Lainey's "Mommy's favorite mistake!" ohhh geese, three points waitress.
 Mine, "Instant cougar, just add liquor!" hmmm what?! Hold the phone - negative three points waitress! I am NOT NEARLY OLD ENOUGH TO BE A COUGAR!!!!!!
 BBooooooooo!
 Either way, we had a blast. Lots of laughs and too much fried food and apparently Lainey overate, again.
 We walked back to our hotel one last time and took in the views of the city. I snuggled with my favorite little dude and was so thankful for these memories with my mom and these kiddos.



 We woke up Friday, packed up our car and hit the road.

Until next time Chicago. Once again you stole my heart, and I promise to be back. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

 photo signature2_zpsk2krzmg0.png

Friday, August 19, 2016

Mama + The Midwest ~ Part II

I'm back today with another recap of our recent Chicago trip. If you missed Mama and The Midwest ~ Part I you can catch up on that here.

Monday morning we woke up bright and early to head to the Shedd Aquarium and I am so glad we did. I've read it gets super busy and you can wait in line for hours just to buy tickets, especially in the summer. We purchased a City Pass prior to going to Chicago, so we didn't have to worry about tickets. But when we were heading to leave it was exactly how everyone had described, JAM PACKED and lines out the door! So glad we were some of the first in line!

 We bought tickets for the Aquatic Show and watched Bennett be magically wide-eyed.




After the Aquarium we loaded up the kids in the car, they both took a little tight snooze (WAHHOOOO) and we met Shane's cousin Zach and his wife Kirsten at The Little Goat for lunch. Holy yum.
 And then we walked to their store, BLVDier. I am so proud of them. They opened up their shop and it is going so well, and it was so fun to see all of their stuff in action! If anyone is headed to Chicago and/or lives in the area and is looking for custom fit clothing - give Zach a call. You won't regret it.



After our late lunch and long visit, we walked around Rush Street for a little while, grabbed the kiddos a cupcake from Sprinkles; headed back to the hotel and took it easy for the rest of the night. Tuesday we woke up and headed to eat some yummy breakfast from Toni's Patisserie and Cafe. French Nutella crepes, amazing coffees and macaroons for the road, sign me right up!

 Lainey with the photobomb.
 A blue for Bennett and a pink for Lainey Bennett :)
 We ate our cookies while we walked across the street to Millennium Park and Bennett got a good look at "THE MAGIC BEAN!"




 GoGo was there too!

 Uhh guys, I'm embarrassed I'm still sharing photos of us in front of the bean. Get it together Katie, one is more than enough.
 Then we loaded up the stroller and headed across BP Bridge to check out Maggie Daley Park to let Bennett have a full day of running splashing and everything in between. Lainey played a little too, but she mostly just napped in the shade! Y'all that park is AWESOME. Chicago had my heart many moons ago, but that put another point for their team in my book.



 And once we'd had enough we walked back across the bridge only to decide we hadn't had enough and B was going to splash once more in Crown Fountain back in Millennium Park this time!

 If you follow me on snapchat, you watched the whole show as it unfolded. Unfortunately I got only video and no photos, but Bennett made the park his own giant slip and slide pad and it was hysterical. He was exhausted and on his 'I have so much energy because I'm overly tired' high and it was so funny. Needless to say, we had a good day.
 After splashing, running, swinging and sweating all day we were spent. It was time for the kiddos to rest, and time for mama and GoGo to get ready and have little toast to vacay!
 The littles finally woke up and joined the party and we headed to dinner at one of my dad's favorite Chicago steakhouses, Gibson's. Max, my younger brother, is dating Alison and she's living in the city for the summer so she met up with us for dinner (fail, no photo included)!
 Wednesday we woke up and trip exhaustion had finally settled in. We tried to combat it with sugar, but the kids were tired. So GoGo played the ultimate mom and grandma card and agree to keep the kiddos in the hotel room to give them a "city break" and let me have some alone time. They stayed in the hotel and had a low key day while I went shopping in the city all by myself.  *Do you hear the bells ringing?! Because it really was THAT magical!*

 Once I came home we got cleaned up and headed to dinner at one of my most favorite Chicago stops, Eataly. It's no where near the real thing, but for a few moments I can take in the flavors and be slightly transported back to one of the most magical times in my life, my semester abroad in Florence, Italy. And lets be real, it's a lot of good cheese, pasta, wine and pizza. So, it's good regardless of if it reminds me of Florence or not. And Alison met up with us again, so the company was great too!
 Bennett tried to lift the Parmesan like they were "bildin bwocks" and then was terribly disgusted that his hands were covered in grease. It's cheese kid, there is nothing disgusting about it. Deal.
 More cheese please!

 After Eataly, we packed up and headed back to the hotel for a little nighttime swim.
 I wish I could tell you I'm finished boring you with my play by play scrapbook of our daily timeline, but I have two more days to share with you. So, there will be a Mama + The Midwest Part III coming soon. Until then, stay fancy my friends.


 photo signature2_zpsk2krzmg0.png