101 in 1001 #85: See "Hamilton" again!

You guys, we had the best weekend in Chicago! So good that it's taken me until now to recover slash be able to write about it without instantly tearing up wanting to be back with my Schwegfam.

Papa Bear, Jodester and I took off mid-morning from MSP and were just a liiiiiittle bit excited for our trip and all the epic surprises we had in store!

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The plan was to rendezvous with Jonny D at the Palmer House...little did we know that he had a surprise of his own up his sleeve! We arrived for check-in and he was waiting at the bar with a bottle of champagne on ice and ready to pop. 

Well done, yiddle brudder! Pleased to say you've officially learned from the best. 

After check-in, it was off to kill some time at Goddess and the Baker, snacking on sweets and starting Jodester's birthday celebration a little early! 

Gotta give them props for the insane cuteness of their baked goods...and their life motto, which dovetails perfectly with my own. (Food, coffee, everything else.)

We met up with Em once her workday wound down and headed off to a very special happy hour...one of my mom's sorority sisters has a place in Chicago, and they started talking after one of our previous trips there. Having not seen each other in decades, the reunion was incredibly fun! Great to meet the Schmidts and see their gorgeous home...which happened to be very high up in Trump Tower, right in the heart of the Loop.

Yeah, the view was incredible. I salivated over it the entire time we were there...watching the sun set over the heart of downtown, with views all the way from Navy Pier and the Shedd Aquarium to the Willis Tower, was an experience to remember!

After we left the Schmidts' home, we headed back to Palmer House for a quick series of very special surprises! My dad gifted my mom her birthday surprise, a stunning pair of diamond earrings that we marveled at all weekend...and they in turn gifted US our Easter baskets! 

Containing...

"Hamilton" tickets! Fun story: I went down to Lakeville for a corned beef dinner on St. Patrick's Day, and we drank A LOT. Like, Manhattans, champagne, and wine a lot. My dad had been listening to "Hamilton" at the club every morning after we downloaded it to his new iPhone, and he was jonesing to see the show in a big way. Naturally, me being the terrible influence that I am, the next thing we knew I had scouted out five orchestra-level seats for us on Easter weekend. Dad, under the influence of Manhattans and wine, was ALL about it...so we pulled the trigger!

It was a nightmare trying to keep it a secret for a month - we were so excited to tell Em and Jon - and they did it in the cutest way. They made Easter baskets and filled them with fancy tea (Boston Tea Partayyy, duh), $10 bills (Hamilton, also duh), a bottle of the Federalist Wines's Visionary Zinfandel featuring Hamilton on the label (THIS IS A THING AND I WILL BE COLLECTING THEM ALL), and a t-shirt for each of us featuring perfectly-suited quotes from the musical. Em's: "When I meet Thomas Jefferson, I'ma compel him to include women in the sequel!" Jonathan's: "SIT DOWN, JOHN..." (you fat mother_____!) Mine: "I am inimitable, I am an original," which is my life mantra forever and always. My mom's: "What time is it?!..." (SHOWTIME!) And my dad's: 

He is in fact the General of our family, and of surprises, and of winning at life...in general. 

After way too much excitement over the surprises, and a fabulous dinner at Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba, we headed home, slept it all off, and reconvened Saturday morning at Melrose Diner, a BYOB breakfast joint that we did UP: 

Poppin' bottles for Jodester! 

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Functional and always appropriate.

Fortunately, the coconut-crusted French toast soaked up enough of the Chandon for me to (mostly) keep it together when we rolled up to the PrivateBank Theatre!!!!!

You guys, I was so excited I could hardly function. Seeing "Hamilton" last November was a top five day for sure, and seeing it with my whole Schwegfam was sure to be even better. We took full advantage of our extremely early arrival to appropriately document the experience. 

YUP I'm a grownup. Fun fact: several cast members of "Hamilton" Chicago liked ^that^ photo when I Insta'd it, which obviously means they're going to let me come be a general understudy any day now, right? 

What can I say? The experience was, I think, even better this time around, despite having an understudy instead of Karen Olivo for Angelica. So many of the actors/actresses had clearly grown into their roles since November, notably Miguel Cervantes as Hamilton and Ari Afsar as Eliza. I adored being on the orchestra level and seeing everything much closer up...it gave me such a greater appreciation for the insane choreography and impact of the staging. And watching Dad and Jonny react to the show after loving it for months was a heart-burstingly happy experience, too. 

The best Schwegfamilton imaginable! We rocketed off to dinner at Balena in Old Town, and found our next theatrical experience: 

HA! Best dinner, best wine, best company and best time dissecting every minute detail of the show. We've already started discussing a Schwegfamilton reunion as soon as the Eliza tour comes to Minneapolis in the 2018-19 season...my dad even said that it trumps "Phantom of the Opera" for him, and that is a HUGE statement. 

Sunday dawned absolutely beautiful for the resurrection of Jesus and, even more majorly, for JODESTER'S OFFICIAL BIRTHDAY! We scored a brunch reservation at Little Goat Diner...

...where we champagned, cocktailed, and toasted to the best of wives, best of women. Her surprise birthday dessert was also delish. 

From Little Goat, it was off to the Riverwalk to walk off brunch...and re-up with a cold glass of sauvignon blanc at City Winery...

...then across the river to clown around a bit...

...and then on to Wendella for a Chicago Architecture boat cruise! Em took one last fall, loved it, and knew we all would too. 

With perfect weather, the most charming guide, and our nerdy little fam getting way into it, it was the perfect way to spend a sunny Easter Sunday. 

I love these people SO FREAKING MUCH. Thank you to Mom and Dad for a weekend to remember forever - truly a Schwegfam top five of all time!