in the middle

We are back from two weeks in the Midwest, mostly spent in our home towns in Illinois, but with a few stops in Michigan and Indiana. Two beautiful weekends separated by sultry weekdays, but swimming kept us cool on some humid days. Looking back, I didn't have my camera out as much as I'd like, but I guess we were just a bit too busy for that. We spent most of our time visiting with family and friends, BBQs, and catching up on all that is new back home. I did manage to get quite a few shots, chasing around a curly-haired cutie. Settle in for a super-long two-week summary.


After our first couple days with family, we rented a car to drive up to Grand Rapids, Michigan for a wedding. It was wonderful to see our DeKalb family and celebrate such a special day for a beautiful friend and her gorgeous wife. The evening was perfect - every detail - right down to the weather. 

Congratulations Michele and Becky!

Next stop, Ann Arbor. The next morning we drove east to meet our friend Justin for brunch in his new town. I ate the best vegan club ever (with toasted coconut, aioli, tofurky, avocado, a side of sweet potato fries and cherry cider). If you go to Seva, please mail me another! After I quit raving about my sandwich, we spent the afternoon exploring the downtown, swanky eateries, searching for fairy doors, and soaking in some Bastille Day pride. The day passed too quickly and we had to hit the road again for one more stop, visiting my Grandma.

We arrived in Shipshewana, Indiana for a late dinner and an evening sitting on the back patio. After a visit with grandma, we made the final, exhausted drive back to Illinois...a lot of driving for one day, GR-AA-Shipshe-Shorewood, about two and a half hours each.

We made a trip to Beecher during the week and swam and visited with my three godparents and some cousins. My "little" cousins are adults, and when you're way for a while, it's fun to come back and meet new family- these two cuties.

We had a lovely visit with Grandma Strom, full of strength and insight at 94!

And we met Theodon (Teddy), a new nephew, and baby brother to our goddaughter Rika. He's a handsome, laid-back guy.

 Swimming, swimming in the swimming pool:

And then there's Rika.

Amber and Brandon had the family at their new house for a dinner and some time playing outside with the animals.

Rika loves the kitty, and the kitty takes it pretty well.

Tyler and his girlfriend have started an exciting venture growing organic vegetables on the farm and setting up a stand in Elburn. If you're nearby and want some delicious veggies check out Strom Family Farm to find out what's fresh.

I like to think we helped out while we were there, but I'm not sure eating what we pick really counts. We couldn't have planned our trip home much better- everything was ripening as we were there...but we missed sweet corn- should be ready in just another week.

Next stop, visiting the prairie - growing strong. We saw bluebirds nested again!

There's so much I missed in photos: a big family pool party, a BBQ and backyard games with college friends, and some splendid evenings sharing amazing dinners with more...and the best vegan-raw key lime pie that there ever could be!

Our last morning on the farm, we walked with Rika. Ate some tomatoes and snap peas, visited the prairie, and chased butterflies in the hoop house, before going out for an ice cream covered good-bye.

Thank you to our family and friends who shared lots of laughter, made us fantastic meals, let us crash their wedding, played trains and basketball and kubb and swam, opened moët to celebrate our being together, went for walks, gave us vegan goodies and hugs and rides and a place to sleep between adventures. Bisous!