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This is my lovely mother, sitting in Brent's sports car, with two plum trees- Totally normal
I hate that I'm writing this post so late but that's how I seem to roll sometimes. Anyways, I went home, several weeks ago, to my hometown to celebrate my Mother on Mother's Day. It was a short visit but a good one none-the-less. My mom isn't so easy to shop for but she has a lovely garden to which I wanted to contribute. So, we sauntered down to the local Lowe's to do some browsing and shopping. I don't think either one of us really thought we were going to come home with trees when we chose our little sports car over the 4-runner my step-dad drives. BUT I saw the plum trees and we both loved 'em so you just make it work! Oh yeah, and there were two rose bushes in the trunk... Brent would have died! Granted, we did have to drive 25-30 miles-per-hour on the drive home but it was an adventure and well worth it!
 
 
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Mike (Left), Jonathan (Center), Rachel (Right)
The day after our excellent dining experience at Charlie Trotter's, which I posted about here, we were treated, compliments of Chef Trotter, to a lunch at Trotter's To Go. We were beyond delighted to continue in our Chicago adventure and taste more of what Charlie's team had to offer. We were given an address and told what time to be there and we had no idea what to expect. I knew a little about Trotter's To Go and expected maybe a picnic lunch packed for us to take to the park... what a silly girl I am sometimes.
 
 
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A Chef, Brent, Laura, Charlie Trotter
I am no doubt the luckiest girl in the world.. at least in terms of the husband I ended up marrying. So, oh, about four years ago I read this book called Lessons in Service by Charlie Trotter. My GM at Eddie V's requested I read it since I was delving into a new career as a restaurant manager.  I started reading the book and simply became enthralled by it. I loved this man Charlie! I loved his concept on food, how he treated his employees, the importance of a great diner experience, and most importantly his desire to give back to his community. I simply can't capture all of my feelings about his concepts in words, you really just have to read the book. Whether you are a "foodie" or not, I highly recommend it. I would literally get off work at 3am and come home excited to read a few more chapters before dozing off.  It was amazing.
After reading his book I desperately wanted to go eat at Chef Trotter's restaurant and discussed with Brent my excitement and hopes, but oh, where to begin? In  learning about his restaurant, Charlie Trotter's, I knew I would have to plan out pretty far in advance to ever eat there, for two reasons: 1) It is expensive and 2) some people literally make their reservations years in advance. I truly desired to go but as with some goals in life, the memory faded as I was engulfed in my own fast-paced restaurant life.  I never totally forgot about that dream but in going back to work for the State, it wasn't exactly something my "public heath" feel good job could afford.
 
 
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Sadly, our vacation was coming to a close and this was our last night in Maryland.  Of course, this family couldn't just let it end with a quiet dinner and an early night, no way!  A small luxury bus was rented to corral all of us up and take us to dinner at Rosa Mexicano and then onward to see some of the beautiful monuments in D.C.

What I came to discover is that every night starts at the lounge in the lobby.  After a few drinks were served and we all had gathered we loaded

 
 
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Our second in night Maryland we went to Olazzo for Uncle Laurey's 90th Birthday! (I'll get to the food in a minute.) 90, that is a nine and a zero people, can anyone really fathom that? I can't.  I hope that on another visit, I can sit with Laurey and Faye and learn of their vast experiences as the world and their perspectives have surely changed, over so many years.

The birthday boy and his wife have been together for 60 something years, again, this is unfathomable from my point of view.  These two, besides just
 
 
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I was super excited because I had never been to D.C. before and Brent and I were able to go for such a special occasion, Brent's Great Uncle's 90th Birthday! After a long day of travel we were starving. We went to this little shopping/ eating area in downtown Bethesda, and roamed around until we found this hot spot, Mia's Pizzas.  You know the food should be good when it's the only place for blocks that is bursting at the seams.  Of course, it was going to be a 45 minute wait, but when there were two open bar seats it was a sign for us to stay, so we ordered some antipasto and a couple of beers and did a little people watching.