December 2017, Part II

Our holiday traditions all seem to have a distinct vibe, the first week is getting the house ready and our mindset right on into the holiday spirit, as well as driving to Stoughton to welcome the holidays. The second weekend we traditionally go to Chicago to see the trees at the Museum of Science and Industry.  So that’s what we’re covering today.

I’m really digging this Adidas L train.


We drove in and Linus stole my hat, a hat that I in turn had stolen from Scott so whatever I guess.


We decided to stop for lunchtime beverages at the OC Mousetrap, tucked in the streets full of big-box retail stores in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.


They call it the mousetrap in honor of the mouse that graces the artwork for all of their beers, and I have to say I like the small detail on a windowsill as we made our way to the door…


Did we hand our kids screens and pocky sticks to keep them occupied while we stretched, relaxed, and chatted over a beer?  Yep.  No shame.

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We kinda had to feed everyone, too.  The Mousetrap isn’t serving food (yet?) but they were great about making suggestions to order in so we went with a classic – pizza.  Enter: Pizzeria Bebu.  I liked them immediately, because (1) they are more than happy to do half-and-half pizzas, and (2) their online menu has pictures next to descriptions (OH YES YOU ORDER THROUGH GRUB HUB ONLY, YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE TO TALK TO ANYONE). I know saying pictures are clutch sounds kinda not important but oh!, oh no, my friends.  For some reason that really helped to solidify our choices.

Also they have some sweet Don’t Fret art on their pizza boxes.


We ordered a Large with the first half Pepperoni and Mozzarella, with a Calibrian-chile-honey drizzle; the second half we made their famous Bagel Smuggler: scrambled yolks all over that bubbly crust, no gross whites, oh no.  So we’re talking this yummy, rich, eggy pizza with smokey bacon and cheese and green onion, and then you have this treat of a crust rimmed in everything-bagel spice. And it really is EVERYTHING.  I loved that pizza, even though the boys turned their noses up at it WHATEVER MORE FOR ME YOU COMMONERS WITH UNDERDEVELOPED TASTE BUDS.

(it really was a fantastic pizza though really, all joking aside, try it if you ever get the chance.)


Linus was a brat about even eating PIZZA, OMG JUST NO.  Which I anticipated, so I also tossed in an order of meatballs with garlic bread. This was the best decision I made that day, because he gobbled those things up and therefore there were no screaming fits in the OC Mousetrap that day.



After we tossed the leftover pizza in the car (mostly Bagel Smuggler and YESSSSSS ALL FOR MEEEEEE) we headed over to the MSI to take in that holiday goodness.


The museum has held the Holiday Tree tradition since 1942, which means: 75th Anniversary this year, my friends.

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Linus had maybe a few more seconds-worth of attention span to see the trees?  I mean yeah, essentially no: he wanted to hang with the trains and planes and stuff. So Peter and I looked at them mostly, reading up on the history of each one, and then we met up with Scott and Linus to go through the rest of the museum.

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They were so happy to be reunited with their favorite museum again.  They spent their time yelling for us to look! Look! LOOK! and giggling and bouncing off the walls and I won’t lie: when they were both happily shrieking that they were stuck (in that picture below), I had a lovely moment where I fantasized running away while they were stuck, to a very quiet, calm place.

_DSC2050 Unfortunately they weren’t actually stuck.

We stayed at the museum until they closed, then headed back to Madison. Kinda.  By then it was dinnertime, so we stopped at a Portillos on the way and pigged out royally.




(Portillos announced recently that they are opening a restaurant in the Madison area so soon we won’t have to go quite so far to get our fix of Chicago dogs, Italian beef, cheese fries, and chocolate-cake shake.)

Anyway – Linus, sweet Linus.  He had HAD it with cooperating and Being Good, so he was kind of (ha! okay no kinda about it: he truly was) a mess at this point.  We walked on eggshells and dealt with his loud talking and fidgety jumping up and down and those random angry outbursts, and made it through the meal somehow. I think the only thing that got him through were the beautifully long crinkle fries he found in his fry box.


God bless you, Portillos.

Okay guys!  Next up the last of the holidays.  I promise.



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