Margaret (Curtis) McDaniel + Curtis McDaniel = Curtis.Squared

June 24, 2016

My Kind of Town, Chicago

It's an honor and a joy to spend another year with my sweet, godly husband.  We celebrated our 8th anniversary in Chicago last week!  It's one of our favorite places to go and we enjoyed a little bit of time without our girls.  Actually, it was the first time I'd ever been away from Kate!  Since this is our third time spending an anniversary in Chicago, we decided to mix it up by doing some of our favorite things from previous trips and adding a few new things too.
On our way, we stopped at Portillo's and tried our first Chicago-style hotdog.  It was delicious!
We stayed in a residential condo and walked on the first day.  We went to Millennium Park and kissed in front of the bean. :)  Curtis is also enjoying some of his favorite coffee from Intelligentsia!  
We tried some thai food and then went to another favorite place of ours - the Signature Room in the John Hancock building.
The views from the 95th story were breathtaking!
It gave us a great view of the entire city!
You definitely pay for the view.  Here's our dessert - $10 for this little thing.  I felt like I should take a picture just to get my money's worth, haha!
We had the opportunity to watch the sun set while we were there.



All the lights came on!

We took a selfie, but it didn't turn out too great!

On our way back, we decided we'd check out the bean in the night sky.  It was a lot less crowded and a nice new experience to add to our Chicago collection. :)
I don't usually keep track of my steps, but I was able to see from my phone that we walked over 18,000 steps in just a few short hours.  We were exhausted!  
The next day, we decided to rent bikes so that we could get around faster and see more of the city.  It was the best idea!  I took this picture while I was biking near the Riverwalk.  That's Curtis ahead of me!
We splurged and went on our first architectural tour and speedboat ride! It was probably one of the highlights of our trip.
It was the perfect day to go!
Navy Pier
Here's a few of the highlights...
Trump tower


The Chicago Lighthouse

We spent some time shopping at the Magnificent Mile and took a nice nap before we explored more.  

 We spent some time checking out Grant Park with our bike rentals.
Buckingham Fountain
...and of course, we finished the day with our favorite pizza at Lou Malnati's! We had some dessert and drinks at a pretty cool place called Howell's and Hood before we headed back to our condo.  Unfortunately, Curtis sprained his ankle when we returned the bikes, which made for a bit of a sad ending.  We left the next day early to get back to our girls.  Anna and Kate were taken care of well by the babysitter and we were happy to reunite!  

June 21, 2016

The Rest of Our Trip

After SuCo, we decided to head the additional 5 hours to the Jacksonville area to visit my family.  My younger brother Ben had recently moved back to town so Kate was able to meet him for the first time.  Anna hadn't seen him since she was around 2 months old!  We headed to the Spring Park where we got big smiles from both of the girls on the swings.

The Spring Park has lots of fun memories for our family and it was nice to share it with Anna and Kate.  Here I am with Ben and Kate!
We also had the privilege of worshipping at Pinewood where I grew up attending and where Curtis and I were married.  One of my good friends, April Smith, even came to see me for the first time in a long time.  Maybe since our wedding!
Two of my uncles, an aunt and my cousin traveled from Melbourne to see us.  It was real treat to see all of them for the afternoon and they had never met Kate before!  It was especially cute to watch Anna play with Elle.  I think they were having a "pic-mic," at least that's what Anna calls it. ;)
The girls decided all the brothers (my dad and my uncles) needed to wear necklaces!
They had a pretty good sense of humor about it!
Kate also decided to participate!
We had a great time visiting lots of family in the area during our trip.  We spent some time with my grandparents at Penney Farms (pictured below).  We visited Grandpa and Sheila also, but I didn't get any pictures during our visit.
Then, we took the short trip to Gainesville to see some of our best friends.  I enjoyed my visit with Kaylen so much that I forgot to take any pictures of us together!  She was gracious in housing us for the night.  We also got to see Curtis' best friend, Ryan, his lovely wife, Emily, and his daughter, Penny (that we had never met in person).  Our girls seemed to get along just fine with her!
Penny was very happy to stop and smile for the camera (unlike another little girl I know).
When it was time to leave, Anna and Penny gave each other a kiss on the lips (not pictured).  Haha!  We're hoping our next visit with them will be sooner! :)
We also stopped by Faith Presbyterian and visited our RUF campus minister, Steve Lammers!  He was very influential in our time at the University of Florida for both me and Curtis; this is especially evident in the fact that Curtis is now an RUF campus minister at Purdue University.  Steve co-officiated our wedding (with Curtis' dad) and we are so grateful for his impact on our lives.
One more pretty spectacular thing happened!  I was reunited for the first time in 6.5 years with my entire immediate family (growing up).  My older brother Tim was in town for some training in the Navy Reserves, but Ben wasn't able to take time off while Tim and I were both in town at the same time.  So, we drove up to the Eagle Harbor Publix (where both Tim, Ben and I all worked at one time) and we spent a very short time so we could get a picture together!
And here it is!  I was so happy, it was like heaven on earth because it is so rare!  Hopefully it won't take as much time for all 5 of us to get together next time.  I wish we could have had Monica and Curtis and all our kids also, but I am happy with what we were able to get.  Perhaps next time we won't have to be in a grocery store! (But I do love and miss Publix.  I'm sorry, but Meijer and Payless just don't stack up to this store!)
Of course, we had to get a sibling shot.  I look like such a little person with my tall brothers!
Moving on from that touching moment, we went to Savannah to see some of our loved ones there!  Kate loved staying at the Arpins' beautiful home!
Rachel and Audrey came by to say hello.  We were very excited to see them!
Oh man.  I'm already at my last picture and yet there were so many things that I didn't take pictures of!  We worshipped at our previous church where Curtis served - Grace Church of the Islands.  We enjoyed fellowship with one of the shepherding groups that shared their potluck lunch with us.  It reminded us of the many meals we had there when we lived in Savannah.  Lots of good memories!! We went to Summer Breeze, a senior living facility that I used to visit weekly, where we visited the Tuttles, a sweet couple from our church.  We're very glad we made that stop because we just found out that Lynette went to be with Jesus on June 15th.  

We hung out with our sweet friends, Jen and Chris Roulo, which is where this lovely picture below happened: Kate and Emma.
Lastly, I got to chat with my good friend, Eve!  It was refreshing (as always) and so fun to see her children growing up!  Her oldest was in our youth group and he was driving and working.  It's pretty crazy how life keeps on going.  We finished our trip with a stay in Knoxville on the way back to West Lafayette.  We were happy to be back home even though we had a fun time throughout our entire 17 day trip!

June 20, 2016

SuCo

Last month, our family traveled to Panama City Beach, Florida for the national RUF summer conference (aka SuCo).  Curtis taught one of the seminars each morning; his was on perfectionism.  While Curtis would work, all of his girls would play!  Anna especially loved the beach.
Whenever I looked out, this is what I saw.  She always had that shovel in hand, playing in the water or the sand. (Side note: Anna really isn't a big fan of having her picture taken lately so you'll notice a lot more pictures of Kate since she was OK with it.)
Kate had been sick for several weeks (including part of this week) and I think the beach really helped her to improve.  She was very content, especially when she was with her daddy.


I thought this was adorable! Kate just decided she wanted to eat the table.
We also enjoyed the heated pool!  The weather was perfect after a long cold season in Indiana.
Here's a shot of our family with our RUF at Purdue group.  I think all the students had a great time!
One night, we went out to eat with our students.  Kate was really excited about putting on daddy's Purdue hat.  She would smile so big!

Anna also had her turn with the hat and played peek-a-boo with Peter.  I thought this was such a sweet picture!
I think our family had a lovely time at the beach together and with our students.  We look forward to going back next year!