Entries in Family (19)


Happy Birthday, Derby!

Since Derby is a rescue/shelter dog, we don't know her exact birth date.  We've decided to make her adoption day her birthday, since it was estimated that she was 12 months old when we adopted her.  Happy 2nd Birthday, Derby!

I have friends that do these cute posts with their kids, so I thought I'd copy the questions (with some modifications) for our "kid".  We have officially been Derby's parents for one year (we fostered her for a couple of weeks as well)!  

Nicknames: Derby Girl, Derbs, Snoop Derby Derbs, Pretty, Pretty Girl, Waggy, Waggy Tail, Freak-o, Whiny (all said in a loving voice, of course!)
Temperament/Things You Do: You are an absolute nut who runs around like a wild woman.  You also can sleep for 20 hours/day if we let you.  You don't like water or getting your paws wet & will leap over every puddle we encounter.  You want a belly rub more than anything else.  You are very happy when you are laying in the sun or on the back cushions (on your favorite blanket - sorry sis!) of the couch, keeping an eye on the neighborhood :)
Things I Could Do Without: The fact that you follow us around everywhere, even to the bathroom!  That you shed all day, every day - no blowing your coat twice a year, you do it every single day.
Item/Toy We/You Love The Most:  Kong, Loofa Dogs / Anything with a squeaker
Item/Toy You Love The Most But Shouldn't:  Plastic Cups, Books, Remotes!  Bad dog :)
Things I’m Loving Most Right Now: That you are *finally* trained and have calmed down a bit after your 2 weeks of board & train with Dynamic Dogs
Things You’re Loving Most Right Now: That it's finally nice enough to go to the dog park!

Sounds/Words: Well since you can't talk, I'll modify this to "Sounds/Words You Understand": Sit, Down, Stay, Off, Leave It, Drop It, NO!

Foods you like: Cheese, eggs, any kind of treat, peanut butter, bagels (as a matter of fact, you can eat an entire Costco sized package in one sitting) :/

My absolute favorite picture of you :)

The day after we started fostering Veruca. You quickly became Derby.

Favorite Blanket!

You are also quite the artiste! This is an art installation you did one night while we were gone. We now keep the food on the back deck.

This picture perfectly describes you.

Your first Christmas!

You love going to Wisconsin in the summer AND winter!  Initially, you weren't sure about the ice. However, you overcame your fear & loved it!

Belly rubs are your favorite thing in the world & you immediately roll onto your back if someone is petting you.

Lincoln Park is safe because of your watchful eye!

Here's to many, many more birthdays!



Brain Dump!

Due to my absolute lack of blogging lately, I have a lot of things to share.  These are all things that I originally planned to dedicate an entire post to, but that just is not going to happen.  So, here are the Cliffs Notes!

My mom, sister Nen & friend were in town the weekend before we went on vacation.  We typically shop, eat & drink sangria when they are here, so it was a treat to do something different this time!  Million Dollar Quartet has been calling my name for some time & we all went to the Apollo Theater (where my amazing friend is the GM) to see it.  It was so much fun - everyone gets involved and sings, claps & even dances around.  It's a pretty incredible story about the night of 12.4.56 when Jerry Lee Lewis (my favorite in the show!) Johnny Cash, Elvis Pressley & Carl Perkins got together for an impromptu recording session & the awesomeness that ensued.  Go see it! 

Next Up: OPRAH!

Finally!  My mom & I have been wanting to go to Oprah for YEARS! It finally worked out & I was able to surprise her with tickets!  She was having a bad day & said that this definitely cheered her right up :)  My mom & Petey Quiche came to Chicago at the tail end of our vacation, so when we got back I was able to hang out with my mom again!  Yay.  & so soon after their last visit (see above).  The taping was a classic Oprah show - updates from past memorable guests.  Some were sad, all ended up happy.  I am surprised that I didn't cry considering the tears were falling yesterday while I was watching from my sofa!  When Stephen Paletta, the winner of Oprah's Big Give, came on the audience was surprised with $1,000 Visa cards to start our own foundations via  Now I WILL write a separate post about that.

I need to take a screen shot of my mom & I together in the audience.  This is one that a friend posted on FB.  The girls that sat next to us in the THIRD row (hello bright yellow & pink!) were really sweet.

Okay, moving on to concerts...

A few days after the Lady Gaga concert, we were back at the United Center to see BON JOVI!  Livin' on a Prayer (and Pour Some Sugar on Me by Def Leppard) is one of my first favorite songs that I remember & that wasn't something we sang in music class.  My friend Micki & I would listen to it over and over...  Bon Jovi is hot & so was this concert.  So glad I was able to check him off of my concert list!

So far for this spring/summer we have tickets to see: William Fitzsimmons (go see him. seriously), Ray LaMontagne, Maroon5, Carrie Underwood, some 80s bands (ask my husband, I can't remember!), Zac Brown Band & Kenny Chesney.  To name a few ;)

And finally (because this post is getting waaaay too long), St. Patrick's Day!

The Chicago River is dyed bright green every year on the weekend of the St. Patrick's Day parade downtown.  You can see the difference in the middle row - the beginning of the dye & after (love me some Shamrock Shake!).  It was my first time going to this parade (the South Side Irish Parade was an entirely different experience..) & we had front row spots.  It was freezing, but we huddled together & really enjoyed it!

There! I have set a goal & schedule to help me blog more regularly, so thanks for hanging in there!


Valentine's Brunch!

Our annual Valentine's Day Brunch is a favorite party each year.  Ted and I spend days preparing the house (me) and food (Ted) for 30 or so friends to gather on the Sunday closest to Valentine's Day.  It isn't a couples party by any means, just a day (& night) for us to eat great food and hang with friends.  This year was no different!

There is so much prep work to be done.  We like to chose dishes that can or have to sit overnight so that we can get them all together on Saturday & pop them in the oven on Sunday.  That way, we really only have to get appetizers &  more perishable things ready the day of.

The menu featured numerous quiche (shocking!)/egg casseroles, baked french toast with strawberries and bananas, hash brown ridiculousness casserole, bagels & lox, cream cheese, capers, fruit skewers (pictures of those below!), cheese & crackers, and lots of desserts.

I found these adorable heart picks at the dollar store.  I wasn't sure of their food-safeness, so I skewered the fruit right before everyone got there ;)  They were so cute!

A mimosa and bloody mary bar awaits the guests as they walk in.  It is always a big hit!

We had around 35 people this year.  When we first started out 6 years ago, we served sit-down brunch complete with strategically placed name cards for friends to get to know one another better (yep, hooking people up).  This year we had 2 toddlers and 2 babies join us - my how things have changed!

I sewed table runners last year when I couldn't find any that I liked - I love them!

With 2 of my favorite girls - Nicole & Anu.

As the clock started ticking towards 7 o'clock PM ("brunch" lasted until 10 p.m. this year!), the guitars came out, cowboy hats were donned and an eventual Dance Party USA ensued!

We have quite a group of talented musicians & there is nothing I love more than ending the night singing and playing with friends.  

This is truly one of the favorite events of the year & one we all look forward to!


Wedding Time!

My sister's wedding is tomorrow!  I feel so lucky that I'm able to spend a full 6 days here in Ohio helping out.  I love spending time with my family, and we have had such a great week!  Lots of last minute crafts like assembling coloring books for the kiddos, wrapping ribbon around countless blue vintage Ball canning jars (my favorite!), manicures, pedicures and a special project that I can't wait to share with you next week!

So, pardon my absence this week.  I have a really great excuse - I'm getting a new brother-in-law!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend.  I'll close with a picture of my sisters, mom and I from my wedding 2 years ago.  Can't wait to see my sister walk down the aisle!


It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday.  Getting together with friends and family, the tree, decorations & twinkling lights, food and presents (giving and receiving!).  We had a busy December, which is just the way we like it!  We kicked off the holiday season by hosting a dinner party with our friends Stephanie & Rob.  Delicious food and an entertaining white elephant made for a great night with friends.

 We then hosted our friends Andrea & Charlie and Lisa & Alan.  Ted made Coq au Vin & pasta, I made my favorite salad (baby greens with pomegranate seeds, walnuts and goat cheese).  We love having this gang over, not only because they are two of my best friends, but the guys all bring their guitars and play the night away.  The girls gather round and sing - it sounds cheesy, but it is so much fun!  The guys are all so talented and it's fun to hear them all play together.  Favorite songs include Wonderwall, Nicaragua (a Charlie McClusky original!) and Patience. 

Two nights later, we hosted another gang of friends (we love entertaining!).  A Turducken was eaten (not by me).  It was a huge hit.  Seriously, this thing was a beast and there were only scraps leftover...

Before we knew it, it was Christmas Eve!  We headed off to a friends party, where Santa made an appearance and brought gifts for all of the kids before heading out around the world! 

The next morning, we were up BRIGHT & EARLY (thank, kids!) and the kids headed for the loot.  Santa brought Harry Potter stuffed animals and stockings full of goodies.

Derby wasn't exactly thrilled with all of the excitement and chose to spend most of the time behind the chaise, staring at everything from a distance.

Until her reindeer loofa was brought out! :)

Then we packed up the car for the 5 1/2 hour drive to Ohio!  The roads were pretty clear and we made great time, thankfully!  Christmas at my mom's is my favorite.  Every year she claims that she is "cutting back this year" and we say that it is fine.  Well, somehow it always ends up looking like Santa bombarded our living room!

You know there are kids in the family when a dinosaur ends up in the nativity at the birth of Jesus.  The question is, which kid did it?  One of the little kids or big (i.e. adult) kids??

Derby's grandma treated her to her own ornament.  I am going to personalize it with her name and date.  She was very excited.  I think her cousin Lucy wanted one, too!

My sister brought Shut the Box, a gift that was for her son.  Poor kid, he wasn't allowed to play with it since we all became ridiculously obsessed about winning the game!  And super competitive.  Alas, after hours of playing, I never won.  I didn't even want to break for our famous sister pic!

Shew!  This is only a brief look into our Christmas.  We were EXHAUSTED by the time we got back to Chicago a few days later!

I am already looking forward to next year!