Labor Day Weekend 2019

Y’all I’m so behind and I leave for San Antonio for my job later this week, and I happen to be doing some photo work at this year’s annual meeting in addition to all my meetings and staffing stuff, so. SO. Rather than get even MORE behind on this old thing and in the spirit of having to re-format all of my memory cards, I give you some blog updates in quick succession.

Also pray for me while I’m in San Antonio my first working day alone is 17 hours YES SEVENTEEN HOURS AND NO DINNER BREAK WTF HALP.

Anyway! First things first folks, let’s enjoy the sunny, warm days from of the last of summer. Labor Day weekend. I booked this weekender in Chicago months before, and didn’t realize until mid-August that our family road trip would end and the following weekend we’d be right back out the door to Chicago. Ope!

Thankfully we weren’t too tired of driving and compared to our road trip days, 2.5 hours was a breeze. So off we went.


Gotta admire this car’s decal job.


Stopped in Logan Square for some Landbirds. This spot was talked up by some Chicago chefs I follow and it’s pretty casual (counter service, cheap eats, BYOB) so definitely was a good fit for us. Before we left home I shoved two beers into koozies and stashed them in the car in anticipation of this lunchtime goodness. Then I was so excited to get that food that I forgot the beers in the car. Whoops! Treats for us adults later at the airbnb instead.


Pretty straightforward menu: Korean wings and rice. You can also grab honey-butter chips and sodas at the counter. That’s it.



We got all of it. The kids hated the honey-butter chips that are a cult favorite, because kids have no taste. They did gobble up their wings – twice fried and crispy, and drizzled in a gingery sauce that’s sweet and STICKY (they give you disposable gloves for eating them and lordy, make sure you use them even if you look dumb in them).

All wings are served with standard rice on the side, but we also ordered the musubi rice: spam, kimchi, and some of the wing sauce, other goodies. SO GOOD. The order was huge and could have been a meal on its own. We split it between all of us.


After stuffing ourselves silly, we hit up our favorite museum. Favorite for now anyway. They recently announced they are changing the museum name to that of a big donor who is also a GOP-loving a-hole. Sooooo, yeah.

Enjoying it now before that happens, anyway. Hopefully the name change is the only change…









And that’s that. Having museum memberships is awesome because if you’re in and out without seeing everything no biggie, there’s always the next time.


Back to Logan Square! And this is where things got slightly hairy.



So I booked this airbnb. Reviews said the place was kinda run down and you never see the actual host (he’ll have random family meet you) and some were worried about the neighborhood (but it’s fine, trust) so I booked anyway. Those were the only negative reviews, the rest said it’s fine for a good sleep. I am a seasoned airbnb-renting professional and weird hosts don’t faze me; bring it on!

And then the host stopped answering texts/messages. A few weeks before our trip he gave me the number of some random lady who would let us in the airbnb, except: that day, turns out she wasn’t answering texts/calls, either. Err. Now what? What do we do with nowhere to go? I mean, what can you do really. We figured we’d grab dinner and sort it out from there. And then it started raining, and every new-to-us restaurant we wanted to try had long waits.

By that point, I was starting to get worried. Because really but NOW WHAT FOR REAL THO. We decided we’d go to a neighborhood favorite spot we hit up at least once a year, Rev Brew. Rev Brew has been a standard for us for many years now and has never let us down, it is our Free State Style home away from home. And it didn’t this day, either. We found decent parking nearby. The rain stopped, and we wandered on down to Rev Brew to find immediate seating. Huzzah.

And the boys found fun murals along the way. Bonus.




I didn’t take any pictures during dinner but I continued to text and call and nothing. Nothing at all. We really didn’t want to try to dig up a hotel at that late point in time so we decided: if we got done with dinner and still no response, we’d just head back to Madison and call it a bust. First failure via airbnb, womp womp.

We relaxed (thank you, good beer), filled up on good food, then paid the bill and hit the streets back to our car. On the walk I gave the random lady’s number one last try. AND SHE ANSWERED THE PHONE. She sounded really irritated all WHO IS THIS WHY ARE YOU CALLING ME but thankfully I was just as irritated and full of no-BS AOC style by that point so she cut the shit real quick and said she’d be waiting outside for us when we arrived. AIRBNB SUCCESS YET AGAIN, BOOM.


Good timing, too: we got there, met her and got into the airbnb, and it started pouring. So we nestled in for the night.


The place was just a random apartment, small and no frills. that’s okay, we’re just unwinding a bit and sleeping then off in the morning. It was clean, that’s all that mattered.



The boys had no problem spreading out.


Here’s the view from my room! The wifi never worked and the channels on the TV were spotty so I just peeped on the comings/goings of neighbors like a creep all evening, ha.


And then it was morning! We packed up and took off. Time to find some donuts.


We found a Dunkin not too far away so got a box of munchkins and some iced coffees. I got the pumpkin spice because it was officially Labor Day and tis the season.

Unfortunately it was pretty gross and not even Linus would drink it. Womp, womp.





(Sneakin’ munchkins all the way.)


Today we decided we were going to try the Adler again. Last time was a disaster, Pete was interested but Linus was impatient and running around like a maniac and we finally kinda called it a day early.


This time, I checked the Adler site first and they mentioned a kids’ play area. WHY DIDN’T WE GO THERE THE FIRST TIME GAWD. So this was the day to give that a whirl.




You guys, we spent like 2 hours just in the little kids play area. They had a pretend camping area!


And mission control! And a space station!


And you could explore a distant planet’s surface!



And you could tunnel underneath and be surprised by rovers!



And you could go back to the mission control area and actually control the rovers!


Into the space station, packs in place…


Of course Pete turned it into some kind of mission in need of a gun because BOYS.


Using the space toilet…



Using the sleep station…


So fun. After the kiddo section we ran amok in the rest of the museum, with kids that were 100% more attentive now that they ran off all the excess energy.




I for real can’t wait to give this hand-dial thing a try in real life.


Ancient astronomists!



Then the kids ran outside onto the terrace and Linus stayed on the level while Pete ran off like a crazy dude. And so anyway Moose got to try out telescopes.



Pete ran down to the lake like a crazy person.


At first I thought he was just embracing the lake in the picture below. Or maybe the geese? But then I noticed the helicopter in the skyline so probably 100% that was the real reason.


Back inside! Playing mission control again, trying to save the Apollo 13 mission.




The one thing they both remembered from our last trip a few years ago was this random air vent on the floor that blows a pretty substantial airflow upwards. They both played with this for way too long and why, oh why do I take my kids to a museum and the most noteworthy thing is a floor vent?



Anyway. We were done museum-ing for the day, so we walked out to spend some time with our favorite lake.


The water was really high on that trip. We walked the shore for a bit but couldn’t walk down the set of steps as one would usually do.










We were gonna maybe spend some quality time swimming but that just wasn’t in the cards this trip. Next summer, Lake Michigan. We’re coming back for ya.

We decided to round things out with some time in the West Loop. Found awesome parking, wandered around a bit, decided on some BBQ for our late lunch.



OH. And I don’t know if you remember, but: on our roadtrip, we acquired 2 painted rocks, from 2 separate stops (once in Minnesota ON OUR FIRST DAY, the other somewhere in South Dakota). I stashed them in the glove compartment to hide away on our trip and then promptly forgot they existed. But. BUT! I remembered when we hit this area, and so we went to hide them.

Pete hid the first under his favorite mural in the West Loop, some Bear Champ goodness.



Moose was in charge of hiding the second and couldn’t make up his mind, but finally decided on a random railing in a hidden courtyard near the BBQ restaurant.



Back to the BBQ. The place was busy, so in our usual teamwork fashion Scottie and I split up. He took our orders and stood in line to order the Goods, while I found the boys a table and set them up with snacks and screens. Then (because the food line was LOOONG) I hit up the bar and got Scottie and I some beers while waiting for him to finish up.




Soon enough he came bearing gifts: brisket, chicken, ribs, sausage, and elote corn, pickles, and a giant pretzel for our sides. DIG IN.


Earned it.


YUM. Chicago, you do BBQ good (much better than anything I’ve had in Wisconsin thus far, that’s for sure). After filling up, we headed on our way again.




West Loop is one of my favorite places in the city, that’s a fact.



After walking off some calories we headed back to the car and hit the road. Next stop: IKEA.


I wanted to check out the plant situation and pick up some groceries. We dropped the kids at Smaland for the first and likely the last time ever – both us and the staff marveled at the fact that Peter’s height was Just Perfectly A Hair Below The Cut Off Line and away both our kids scampered into the depths of Smaland. And off we ran for 60 minutes of child-free shopping, HEAVEN.

I took the picture below because I liked… something? About that tablescape? Can’t recognize it now, must have been been important, obviously. Anyway! Got some kitchen goods, some plants, stuffed animal snakes for the kids because I am nothing less than a SUCKER, and stocked up on meatballs and Swedish gravy and Lingonberry sauce. Oh, and Lingonberry juice boxes for my coworker Kelsey because she’s obsessed.


Then we collected our wild children and packed everything into the car and away we went, because storm clouds were a’brewing.


That’s all, yo. Then we essentially went from summer right on to winter, no fall for us, WHY GOD WHY. But more on that to come later.

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