It’s My Kinda Town…

When we saw friends Karen and Patrick in January, Patrick issued PW a put up or shut up on a visit to Chicago. Patrick has been living there for nearly the last decade and Peter is always saying we need to go. You can only make your wife cheer for the Cubs for so long before you actually have to take her to see a game. (side note: I’ve now been to two more major league baseball parks than Peter. Which kills him. )

So, we booked tickets, PMac and Karen’s guest room, and dropped the kiddos at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. The party started at the airport when we decided we had time for margaritas (plural) before our plane ride. Patrick and Karen had planned a full weekend of baseball, great meals, a little sight seeing and a lot of fun. It kind of went like this: arrive, drink, drink, eat, drink, sleep, eat, drink, drink, baseball, driiiiink, eat, drink, eaaaaaat, drink, drink, sleep, repeat. It was, in a word, fantastic.

Game #1, Cubs v Astros. Bleacher seats.

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photo 3 (13)We actually believed that it was going to miss us. We were wrong.

photo 4 (12)Three hour rain delay felt much shorter with the assistance of many many beer vendors. And a batting helmet full of nachos. No really. Like an actual sized batting helmet. With nachos.

 

photo 5 (6)How do I know our friends are professionals? They brought their own ponchos. $0.69 v $10.

 

photo 1 (14)Watching the mechanics of rolling back the tarp was so cool.

 

photo 2 (17)I love the ingenuity of the people that own the buildings across the street from Wrigley. They remodeled the rooftops with bleachers. Genius.

photo 4 (13)The ivy. Properly trimmed to keep jerks like me from picking it.

 

photo 3 (14)After the game, we headed home to change and then back out to The Loop for dinner at The Girl and the Goat. Reservations in June were booking for August…thank goodness Karen is a smart thinker and booked our reservations in February! It was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Tapas with amazing ambiance, good wine, great servers, no time to take pictures because we were too busy eating a drinking. But I did manage to snap a picture of the Chicago River from the cab – so pretty.

 

photo 5 (7)Saturday brought sunny skies and game #2 – or as PW called them “the really good seats”. We were in the 6th row behind home plate. I’ve rarely seen Peter as excited and happy as he was for the pregame, game and post game.

photo 1 (15)Panorama of our view

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photo 5 (8)Post game bar crawl. Happy camper.

photo 1 (16)Our last stop of the night was Red Ivy – an all encompassing Chicago sports bar. We caught game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals and it was a blast. Everyone in the bar was electrified – it would have been hard not to cheer for the Blackhawks.

Duh duh du duh duh du da da da duh duh!!

(Chealsea Dagger. Look it up)

photo 3 (16)Check out that mullet.

photo 2 (19)We went home tired, a little hung over but oddly well rested. It was the break from parenting that we very much needed whether we knew it or not. Getting to laugh with old friends, swear, sleep in, drink at will and have conversations that were only inturupted by more food, drinks or funny comments was amazing. Big hugs and thanks to Patrick and Karen for being the most amazing hosts! Can’t wait to see you in the desert in July and for the big day in 2014!!

 

 

 

Boys of Summer

We are a baseball family. We played baseball, watch baseball and hope that our kiddos like it as much as PW and I do. Peter stocked up on spring training tickets the first day they were available. We’ve been to I think 4 games already and have two more on the calendar. It is a lovely way to play hookie, get a tan and enjoy cold beer.

We decided to take just Baylor to a Rockies v Dodgers game and sit in the grass. We knew we wouldn’t see much of the game, but we wanted to have some big girl time with Bay. We got to Salt River Fields (my second favorite stadium) early, laid out a quilt and proceeded to eat until we were full. She got to get lemon aid from the vendor, hot dogs from the concession stands and Italian Ice in a baseball helmet. She and Peter scoured the stadium looking for Dinger, the Rockie’s mascot, and she had her glove ready to snag any foul ball that came our way. The weather was perfect. She was happy. It was a sun soaked memory in the making.

Dinger. She is in love.

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The crowd in the grass

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Italian Ice in a batting helmet

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T-Town Bound

We made a quick trip to Tucson this weekend and had a ball. Normally I am opposed to overnight trips – they’re just too much work. Packing up the kiddo’s stuff, bedding and “just in case” supplies is a pain in itself, but I have to find someone to check in on the BearMeister, pack myself and PW…it’s just a lot of work for 24 hours. Not to mention that this weekend we had stuff scheduled on both Saturday and Sunday so we were litterally zipping in and out of town. But to my big surprise, it all went very smooth and was a ton of fun!

We arrived with enough time before dinner to walk around campus. It was so much fun to see The Phi, Peter’s fraternity house (which is currently being occupied by another fraternity and caused PW to hold back a few swear words), buildings that we each attended classes in, our favorite resturants, our respective dorms…the list goes on. It was amazing to think back and realized how much life has changed in the last *cough* eight years since we graduated. The campus has changed so much, yet all the amazing memories are still there. It’s even more fun that PW and I were there together so it wasn’t me showing him, but rather getting to tell each other our favorite memories. At one point Baylor sighed and asked when we were going back to the “HO-teeeellll”. Apparently memory lane was not as exciting for her.

Ah The Phi. I lived in the window right above the “Alpha Phi”

Next we were off to dinner with the family I babysat for while at UofA. It’s scary to think that Madi is now graduating high school and headed off to college herself! Amazing how she’s grown and I haven’t aged a day…to say that it’s wonderful to catch up with the L family is an understatement. They are truly amazing people and even when we haven’t seen each other in years, it’s like we just talked yesterday. Dinner was at one of our collective favorites: Rosa’s. I had forgotten how amazing the refried beans are and I said a little prayer of thanks that the morning sickness has passed so I could enjoy every stinking last bite of my enchilada and tacos!

After dinner it was the UofA baseball game – PW’s reason for planning the trip. The team has moved off campus to Hi Corbett Field which turned out to be awesome. The stadium was packed, they served beer and there was a jump house, what more could you ask for? Oh yeah, a win! We got that too.

Pretty sunset

We had to teach Baylor not to cheer for the other team. She broke out her signature “dirty look” instead.

PW and BW

The Super Moon! The camera phone didn’t do it justice.

We headed back to the “ho-teelll” after it was looking promising that the Cats would pull off the win. We were impressed with The Lodge on the Desert. It was close to the hotel and campus, full remodeled and a nice price. Bay was excited to try out her new Pea Pod sleep tent and it went swimmingly. If you have any traveling to do with a toddler soon (especially one that sleeps in a crib but has out grown a pack and play) then I highly recommend the tent. It has an air mattress, is one piece that folds flat and doubles as a play area. It was perfect way to divide a room for her and us so we could do crazy stuff like brush our teeth and watch TV without waking her up!

We’re already talking about another slightly longer trip later this summer to one of the resorts. Sure there are two world famous resort just down the street, but there’s something about getting out of town, visiting places you haven’t been to in years and a long drive that make a trip even better.

 

It’s Coming…

Last night when I walked outside, I noticed something was….different. The air was cool, but not chilly. There was a hint of warmth in the breeze. And there was a scent of grass and tree blossoms and it was familiar. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but then it hit me – it’s time for baseball.

I remember the same sensation when I played softball as a tween. It seemed night practices were always cold and then suddenly when we had a game, it was warmer, balmy and comfortable. There was a breeze blowing through the palm trees and there was an energy that seemed to signal the end of winter and the beginnings of spring.

Obviously I’m not playing a lot of softball these days, but it’s still the same feeling. And there is a sense that something is blowing in the breeze, something coming. That something? Is spring training. The happiest season of the year where we will spend many an afternoon playing hookie from work, drinking ice-cold beers in the hot sun and watching our favorite teams from mere feet away. It is, in a word, awesome.

Pitchers and catchers report in 9 days according to mycountdown.org. But all you really need is a walk outside and take a deep breath to know that it’s time.

Scottsdale Stadium

I spent so many nights here as a kiddo watching Firebird’s games with my dad. And now we get to take Bay to see the Giants. Preferably playing the Cubs. And preferably the Cubs are winning.

Rules Based on Fiction

One of the many benefits of living in Scottsdale Arizona is spring training. That magical time of year when the boys of summer practice America’s Favorite Past Time less than a mile from our house. There are few things that I think are close to what heaven is like – but sitting in the sun, watching a game and drinking a beer is one of them.

I’ve noticed the following occurance before, but never asked why until this season. At most spring training stadiums when a beer, soda or water is purchased, the consessions employee removes the top and then hands the customer the bottle. If asked for the cap, the employee will refuse to give it to the customer.

This may not seem like a big deal, but if I buy a beer and a bottle of water, I really want the water for later and without the cap I risk knocking over the bottle and spilling the water. Which is a very likely scenario. So this makes the whole no cap business pretty annoying. And if it possibly involves possibly spilling my beer, down right scarry.

I asked a concession worker who looked to be about twelve years old why I couldn’t have the cap. He launched into a tirade about how they can’t give the caps because people fill the empty or nearly empty bottles with dirt, seal them with a cap and then launch the dirt bottles at the players. And before I could say “couldn’t they do that anyway without the cap?!” he anticipated my question by saying “and no, it wouldn’t work without the cap so that’s why we don’t give the caps”.

Peter and I promptly decided this was crap and proceeded to the next beer stand – for research of course – and got the same response. As we sipped our beers we were flooded with questions; where do you get the dirt to put in the bottle? If you made a mud mixture, you wouldn’t really need a cap, right? Even if the bottle didn’t have a cap, wouldn’t it still hurt to get hit with a partially filled bottle? Couldn’t you use something other than a cap? Like gum to seal the bottle? And on and on. We were obsessed. Who and where had this horrible atrocity occured thus ruining the containment of liquids for everyone? And was the damage so bad that the entire major leauge got together to make this a rule? Should they ban bottles of every kind? What about peanut bags filled with dirt? Or peanuts? What about hotdogs filled with dirt? The last few may have been the beer talking.

As we walked into the Cubs v Dodgers game on Sunday, we were solicited by a man selling frozen water bottles outside the stadium. His sign said that if you leave the bottle caps sealed, you can take them into the stadium and they were a third of the price than those sold in the stadium. So we bought and sure enough, the ticket takers were more interested in my bag than anything else. So we had done it. We had gotten bottles WITH CAPS into the stadium.

Now, to find some dirt.