Thursday, September 3, 2009

Grandpa's 80th Birthday Party

I haven't made that much time on blogger as I used to, which has caused me to slack on my 'everyday posts'. Things like what i do over the weekend or a funny thing my nephew says always seem to be forgotten by the time i finish reading all the blogs I keep up with. SO, before I let life get in the way again, I just have to tell you what I got to do last weekend. :)
About 2 or 3 weeks ago Barry's Dad offered us (out of the blue) some money for a vacation. I was so grateful, but said I'd rather take the money and pay down some bills. Then I remembered that my Grandpa's 80th birthday party was right around the corner, and that I REALLY wanted to go, so we told Barry's Dad that we would take him up on his offer if he enjoyed the time with us. He agreed and the quick planning went underway. In a few days, I had to shop for the best deals, and then get 3 airline tickets, a rental car, and sleeping accommodations squared up. (I not so secretly love doing that stuff.) So a week before our trip we were settled to go.

We flew from Jax to Chicago's Midway airport and arrived about 9am Thursday morning. We decided to spend the day in Chicago, since, in the 76 years of Morty's (Barry's Dad) life, he's never been to Chicago. Our first stop, of course, was Chinatown for a yummy dim sum breakfast. Then we decided to drive around downtown a bit and check out "the Bean" (one of my favorite spots in Chi-town), then go down Lake Shore Drive to the Field Museum (Chicago's Natural History Museum). We were there from about 11-5 and only got through the top floor of the Field's 3 floors of exhibits. They had an AMAZING exhibit on the history of the earth (from 4.5 BILLION years ago to today) that took up most of the day, but that's because Barry's a earth-science freak and had to read EVERY. SINGLE. THING. I walked ahead and sat a lot. ;) From there it was rush hour and I didn't feel like driving in Chicago's traffic, so we headed BACK to Chinatown for a YUMMY dinner at our favorite noodle house.

Some pics from the museum:

The Field Museum

Mandi Pirate. ARRRRR!

Me, Capt PegLeg, and Barry

Nice Bone!
We got to my Grandpa's about 7 or 8 and got to spend some time with family before it was bedtime for them. For some reason, Barry, Morty, and I stayed up until midnight playing Thirteen Wild, which is the resident card game in the Hart Family (kind of like rummy). We had to teach Morty if he was going to be able to hang. :) By 11:30, we had been up for WAY too long (about 20 hours) so we started to get the sillies and knew it was time for bed.

Before I go on, most people who read this blog know how much I LOVE my Grandpa. My Grandpa is probably my favorite person on this planet. (and yes, I'm including Barry). He's the kindest, gentlest man in the world who has more love in his heart for family than anyone I've ever met. Anyone that's met him can attest to this as well. :) If I could, I'd make sure that everyone I loved had the chance to meet him and experience his huge leprechaun smile.

Back to the weekend: Friday we had to get everything ready for the party. My Aunt was expecting about 100 people, both friends and family, from across the country, so there was a lot to be done. (there was even a port-a-potty delivered!) The tents were set up, the Cornhole games set out (and what my Uncle Buzz calls Testicle Toss), and the beer and liquor were put out and on ice. The morning went by way too fast, and it was time to drive to Milwaukee to pick up my Dad from the airport. Before doing that, we stopped by the Milwaukee Museum of Art and got some cool pictures of my favorite building in Milwaukee:

My attempt at an 'artsy' shot. :)

Across the bridge, looking back

Inside, looking up.

Everyday, at noon and 5:00pm, the "sails" of the museum open and close. This is a mid-way shot.

After the museum closed, we had dinner at a great German place called Maders, and then picked up my dad and headed back to my Grandpa's house.

On to the Big Day! Grandpa's ACTUAL birthday was Monday, the 31st, but we celebrated on Saturday. People started trickling in about 10:45am and staying until about midnight. There was fun, games, lots of laughter, and LOTS of beer. It also ended up being one of the coldest days in the month of August for the area. I don't think it hit close to 70 the whole day. So, by 5 or so, the bonfire was lit and the bags of marshmallows were ravaged. :) I didn't get as many pictures as I probably should have, but here's a few:

The Cake (Courtesy of Lovin' Oven Cakery)

The Backyard (AKA Party Central)

The Booze (no, I did not partake)

My Dad, Cousin Stephanie ("Stevie") and Father In Law, Morty

The Bonfire (after it's died down quite a bit)

Mama Irene and Dad (Mama was my Grandma's best friend since like the '40s)

Aunt Karene (Grandpa's youngest) and The Man Himself

Cousin Robbie and his niece Neveah (and she's a DOLL!)

Uncle Harry, making his grand entrance, riding an Ice Cream truck down the driveway. It's becoming a tradition for him to hi-jack one each year :)

It was a great trip that went by way too quickly. Happy Birthday, Grandpa!


Alix said...

Leprechaun Smile!!!!

Now I love Grandpa as much as you, Mandi girl. Thank you for the wonderful post. I loved joining you in Chicago and seeing the sites with you. And might I say... the photo of you snunggling up with GP was not only heartwarming, but you look so pretty!

I hear the North had a very disappointing almost non-summer this summer and your celebration kind of put the punctuation on that. Still... as a pregnant Florida girl, you must have appreciated the cool air (something had to compensate for the empty glass, right?).

Anyway... thank you so much for sharing. I loved all the hi-brow museum photos. Especially the one of Barry's ginormous bone. Lucky girl!

Love ya!

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