BBB of Suzy’s Wedding Shower Weekend in Chicago

28 May

Caitlin and I made our third trip to Chicago this weekend so she could finally meet my sister Suzy (and several more aunts and cousins) for Suzy’s wedding shower. The neon lights in the moving walkway at O’Hare Airport (above) are always the first thing that makes me feel like I’m at home in Chicago. Even if Austin is home now, going back to Wilmette and spending the weekend on Hill Lane, where my grandparents raised my dad and aunts and where my dad now lives with our childhood cat I couldn’t feel more at home. We packed a lot into three days, with a beach trip, a night in Chicago with friends, a lot of family meals and never enough playground time with Baby Ellie. The Teibloom family likes to give reports of trips with a BBB (blow by blow*) account, so here’s the BBB from Chicago. *One of the best things from the weekend was, I got to pick up on a lot of Teibloom lingo. This family has their own entire language — a system of nicknames, references and shorthand that only the initiated are in on. I love learning it bits and pieces at a time.

At 6:50 in the morning, our pre-arranged cab hadn’t arrived. When I called to check on it, they told me it must not have gone through. How come I had a confirmation number then? Sigh. Anyway, the cab came quickly and even though we were the last two on the plane, we had time to buy a terrible muffin and edible-ish bagel. The first thing we did upon landing in Chicago late Friday morning, was go to the beach. OK, the real first thing we did was go to a diner with my dad for challah french toast and a cheese danish blintz*, but the next stop was Gilson beach in Wilmette. Going to the beach is always the one thing Caitlin insists we do when we’re in Chicago. The water wasn’t too terribly chilly, but this is as deep as we went in the water. We mostly just walked up and down the shoreline with my dad and chatted, while Caitlin dug her feet into the sand and was loving life**.

*In my head, when I ordered a cheese blintz, I envisioned a delicious pastry with that sweet, creamy cheese center. That, of course, is a danish. So when a roll of eggy crepe was brought out in front of me, I was a little disappointed. Luckily it was still totally delicious.

**I seriously am a fish. I’m kind of terrible at swimming, but I’ve always loved being in the water — we grew up with a pool in our backyard, and basically lived there every single summer. I went from 2008 to 2010 without swimming, so I’m glad we’re back in the regular habit now.

The Baha’i Temple is just down the street from the beach, and is one of only a few in the world. We walked around and read a bit about the history of it, as I told the more interesting history about how Rainn Wilson’s family moved to Wilmette so they could work at the Baha’i. After showering the beach off of us, we changed and headed to Old Orchard mall to kill a couple hours before dinner. Caitlin seemed to really enjoy helping me pick out shirts, and her insisting I try on ones that didn’t seem like my style really helped.  I walked away with four new shirts we both really liked for under $100, and I got a new pair of New Balance sneakers*.

*Zack was such a good sport, trying on shirts that he really didn’t necessarily want to. I’m glad he trusts me to help pick things for him — it makes me feel closer to him, and makes it all more fun for me.

We finished getting Caitlin a jacket just in time to meet my dad, his girlfriend and my Aunt Tabby and Uncle A.J. at Maggiano’s for our 7:30 reservations. I’d never met my dad’s girlfriend before, and it was Caitlin’s first time meeting her as well as Tabby and A.J. We all got along famously and had a lovely dinner. Delicious crab cakes and spinach and artichoke dip for appetizers and then an eggplant parmesan for Caitlin* and every seafood you can imagine with linguine for me. It went surprisingly well with a Bloody Mary. At the end of the meal, they brought out cookies for my dad to blow out, since we were celebrating a milestone birthday for him that weekend as well.

Also, we found out Caitlin and A.J. are food soul mates (they have the tastes of a child), but children we love**. After dinner, we took the car downtown to meet up with some college buddies. My good friend Jordy and his girlfriend Jill just moved in together and got a lovely new apartment with two decks and a spare bedroom and all sorts of room to spread out in. Jeff, Blake and Josh came out to hang and we all caught up and had a few drinks and had a great time. I really miss those guys, and Caitlin only knew Jeff and Jordy, so it was nice to share new friends with her, and half of them brought their girlfriends or fiances, so it was a nice split of guys and girls. I was sad to duck out  at 12:15, but we had early morning plans and had already been up since 6:00 that morning to catch our flight***.

*The eggplant parmesan was SO delicious. I was sad I never got to eat the heaping leftovers that they sent home with us — I even tried for a moment to think of a way to take it on the plane. It was hands down my favorite meal of the weekend.

**It’s true! We were totally food soul mates. At all of the dinners together, I’d peek down the table and see A.J. drinking a coke, just like me, as all the “adults” had various alcoholic beverages.

***It was a fantastic evening and we were both sad to leave so early into the night. The conversation flowed easily and the folks were absolutely lovely. I’m excited to visit Jordy and Jill again soon, and hope that Blake and Sam visit us down in Austin.

The next morning, we went to the park to meet up my little cousin Ellie. She’s my first cousin Torrey’s baby girl, and her blog is probably me and Caitlin’s most frequently visited website in all of The Internets*. We got some quality swinging time in before it started to rain. This picture of my dad swinging next to Ellie was the highlight of the morning, but seeing El toddle around the park melts us every time. After leaving the park, my dad dropped us at my cousin Judy’s house. We spent the afternoon talking with her and her husband Larry about their recent trip to Jazzfest and showed Judy how to upload pictures to Facebook. My cousin Daniel followed us around everywhere, constantly insisting we play trampoline basketball with him or help him sell snow cones or trying to get cool birthday presents**.

Daniel: So, you work at Apple. You know you’ve never gotten me a birthday present…

Me: Well, you’ve never gotten me a birthday present either…

Daniel: I’m 10!

There are no pictures of this portion of the day, mostly because Daniel was using my iPhone the entire time to play games and tell us to be quiet so he could say “I liiiiiike tacooooos” to see if Siri could understand him. We played cards with his brother Jonathan and his friend, checked out Larry’s massive music collection (unbelievable amounts of Grateful Dead***) and hung around until Suzy and my cousin Amy arrived from the airport. We took a quick trip to the mall to get cards for my dad and Suzy, walked around and got ready for a big family dinner.

*Truth.

**Daniel clearly adores Zack, which is basically the cutest thing of all time. Most of the time we spent with him, he was hanging off of Zack’s arm, begging him to play or watch or buy a snocone from his friends and him.

***And I thought I was ever a fan of anything. I own literally nothing in the amount that Larry owns Grateful Dead memorabilia. 

The 8 direct descendants from my dad’s side of the family. On the top row is my dad with his eyes closed, me, my cousin Jon. In the front row, my dad’s sisters Linda (Bokkie*) and Helene (Tabby), my cousin Torrey, my sister Suzy and my cousin Amy. It’s rare that all of us are together, so it was especially nice to all be at one table. We went to The Skokie Club, a restaurant my grandpa (grampy) used to take us to when we were little. They even marked my height on the wall when I was a little kid. Suzy and I used to split the “Butt Steak” and didn’t get what it was. I don’t know how we didn’t crack that code. Anyway, it’s a totally random restaurant full of old people eating early bird specials**, but it was nice to be back there, even though it was a new location. We were instantly reminded of when a dozen years earlier, my cousin Jon offered me $5 to eat a big spoon of chopped liver when they brought the chopped liver plate out again Saturday night. I declined this time.  

*Or Linny. I’m telling you. People have like 8 nicknames in this family.

**The women’s bathroom was insane. There were old fancy hats, creepy dolls and tons of little sparkly purses EVERYWHERE.

Caitlin and I at dinner. I’m wearing another new shirt from shopping the day before. she looks adorable with the flower in her hair. After dinner we headed back to Judy’s to hang out for an hour, and all five grandchildren jumped on the trampoline together before we headed back to my dad’s house*.

*I had tried to jump earlier in the day but never quite got ahold of my sea legs on the trampoline. Daniel, Zack’s young cousin, said to me, “Quit being such a baby and just jump! Like a woman!!”

On Sunday morning it was back to the park for more swing time with baby Ellie. She totally knows to pose for the camera, and I guess I do too. Caitlin was loving playing with Ellie and helped her up to the swings for even more swinging (watch the video here). It’s the only thing she says yes to every time when you ask her a question*. My family picked Caitlin up at the park and took her to the bridal shower. It was ladies only, so Caitlin will have to tell you about it here. The best tidbit I heard was from Torrey’s Facebook status: “Today my 75 year old aunt told me that she had to look up on the Internet how to make a mimosa. What’s weirder, that in 75 years she didn’t know what a mimosa was made of or that she decided to search for the answer on the Internet?”**

*I had a serious conversation with Torrey, Ellie’s mom/Zack’s cousin, at the bridal shower about my fear that Zack and my own child would never be as cute as El, and that Zack might not love our kid as much. Ellie is a force of cuteness to be reckoned with.

**In fairness to the ladies at the shower and keeping with the theme of intimacy there, I won’t say anything too revealing about the shower. I’ll merely say that it was a lovely way to honor Suzy, as all of us went around and said how long we’d known her, and she was then given advice by the women who had advice to give about marriage and life. I felt instantly welcomed by everyone there, both relatives and friends of Suzy and Zack’s mom, who were in attendance and immediately asked about Zack. Zack and Suzy are kind of celebrities among the community.

After the shower, we all headed back to my dad’s house for a Memorial Day BBQ. We mostly stayed inside due to the 95 degree heat, though we did go outside for a 5-man H-O-R-S-E game, which I may have won. We ate food and enjoyed each other’s company one last time for the weekend. As always, everyone wanted to be around Ellie*, and her petting Cosmo couldn’t have been cuter. It was sad to have to be one of the first ones to leave for the airport, but we couldn’t have had a better time. We got to have quality time with all of my family and friends who were in town and it was a great weekend for me and Caitlin together. On four separate occasions, my family members came up to me to tell me how much they loved her and how well she fit in our family. I’ve never felt more close to her and happy to take her home with me. She may not have passed Grampy’s three tests for a partner (Jewish, Jewish and Jewish) but all of his direct descendants welcomed her with open arms and made her feel right at home, so that’s all that matters to me. We can’t wait to see everyone again soon in August for the wedding.**

*I spent my afternoon watching Ellie swim around a little kiddie pool that the Russian neighbors had out, listening to their little daughter Emily switch from English to Russian, and be a great adopted big sister to Ell in the pool. Ellie’s original diaper swelled with water (but didn’t drip or wring out! Would have been a great diaper commercial) so I helped Dave, her dad, swap that one out for a new, swim-ready diaper. I loved helping with Ellie any chance I got.

**Truly, I couldn’t have had a better weekend. Everyone was so kind, loving, funny, and open, and I heard great stories and feel closer to Gene, Zack’s dad, all the time. It was hard to come back to “real life” today, although I’m sure getting our Scooby back from the kennel tomorrow will help ease the transition. Still, I cannot wait to see everyone again in August for Suzy’s wedding, and I am so happy to have found the love of my life and his wonderful, wonderful family.

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2 Responses to “BBB of Suzy’s Wedding Shower Weekend in Chicago”

  1. Suzy May 29, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

    Awwww!! Very sweet post! Quite the recap! It’s totally true: us Teiblooms absolutely adore Caitlin! Wish I had more time with you two! Lots of love 🙂

  2. Torrey May 29, 2012 at 11:20 pm #

    What a fun recap! Ellie had a blast with yo guys and will be thrilled to reunite with you in August. Miss you already. 🙂

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