There have been quite a few events that I haven't had the time to post about (not to mention the fact that I still have one last day of our Sweden trip to share), but I wanted to post some pictures of our Saturday last weekend.
David and I drove out to Rockford, where he grew up and where his parents still live, to spend the afternoon and evening with them. We have seen them a few times over the summer, but never in a setting conducive to relaxation and conversation. Always good times; we just didn't have the chance to really talk.
After a nice lunch out on his parents' sunporch, we took a drive through Rockford, a town full of beautiful old Victorian homes and waterfront parks along the Rock River, to the Klehm Arboretum and Botanic Garden. We have been there together once before, but on a pretty day like last Saturday, it was an ideal setting for strolling and chatting.
We arrived on the tail end of one wedding and saw the beginnings of another, and enjoyed the sunshine and vibrant colors of the flowers. For David's mom, who is extremely knowledgeable about plant and floral life, this is always a chance to see what's new on the grounds.
It was cool in the shade (hence, David's mother, Marty, in her fleece), but when the sun came out, it was very comfortable. We had such a nice time relaxing together, and we had some good laughs, too:
After our walk through the arboretum, we stopped in at the gift shop, which is across the hall from the banquet room. It was set up beautifully for a wedding reception, and some of the bridesmaids were milling about. Three little flower girls, donned in silk dresses with silk flowers circling the hems and floral wreaths in their hair, came running into the gift shop. Marty saw them and said, "What pretty flower girls you are!" Not really giving much attention to her comment, two of them headed straight to the gardening tools, and we heard one exclaim, "Oohh! Hammers!"
Back at the house, we showed them a brief DVD we made of our trip to Sweden (we still haven't gotten around to printing out actual photos to put in the lovely album my parents gave us for our anniversary), after which the men took a catnap on the couch while Marty and I continued to chitchat. It was so nice not to have an agenda, other than our 7:30 dinner reservations in town.
Dinner was an experience for all of us. David discovered a swanky little place called Brio, which serves food in smaller portions, a la tapas, but the cuisine is widely varied. Marty and I each ordered a spinach salad with raspberries and fried brie to start, while David and Peter ordered a mixed-greens salad with walnuts, gorgonzola cheese, and slices of apple. Our entrees ranged from blackened scallops (me) to lamb (Peter) to beef medallions (Marty) to duck (David). And, for good measure, we ordered a serving of elk to share, just so we could all say we've tried it. Everything was delicious, and the smaller portions were perfect for Marty and me, who so often find ourselves leaving restaurants with to-go containers.
The Van Duzer Pinot Gris we shared was a perfect addition to the meal. And the label was so pretty, our server, Dan, had the bartender re-cork the empty bottle so we could take it home with us. (It now sits on the beautiful high-standing desk [similar to this one] that was given to us by David's sister and brother-in-law, Heidi and Brad, with a wicked ceramic cork; all it needs is some lamp oil.)
The atmosphere of the place was so relaxed, we took our time eating. In fact, we didn't leave until 10:40. I didn't take any photos because the place was dark enough that I feared my flash would annoy our fellow patrons.
Though David and I didn't get home until after midnight, it was a day well spent. Since we rarely see his parents (especially in comparison to the numerous times a week we see mine), it made it all the more special.
Happy weekends to all!