Saturday, February 28, 2009

Our First Lady's Official Photo

Yesterday, they released Michelle Obama's official first lady photo. After seeing how well she presented herself at all the inaguration events, it's no surprise that this picture is just as gorgeous. Apparently she is the first first lady to wear a sleeveless dress in the official photo. I say, if you have those arms, you have to rock them! I do love the double strand of pearls. I love pearls in all forms, but double strands just scream "ladylike" to me. What do you think of the "official" photo? Are you at all offended by the sleeveless dress? Do you think your grandmother is?

Garden Giveaway!

Did you see The Complete Prep's garden giveaway?? I've never used the Garden in a Bag, but I love the concept. It would be perfect for for all the basil B and I use during the summer months. Basil is on b's list of his favorite things, so any recipe that uses it always makes it into our summer rotation!!

Also, check out her amazing garden list. I can't wait for her to post pics of it as it must be huge! I come from some good gardening stock, and I do hope that one day I also have a great, sustainable garden that provides us with wholesome produce during the summer months. There is nothing like fresh lettuce and zucchini from the garden. YUM!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Wedding featured!

Darci at With This Ring featured our wedding today. There are 3 posts! It was great chatting with her over email while she was gathering information. I loved reading her posts on WeddingBee while I was planning and still have her in my google reader even though I've deleted most other wedding blogs.

One "fix" to the post. My mom didn't make the guys pants. We bought them at Land's End and then found the fabric seperately to make the table runners. My mom is good with the sewing machine, but she would never had sewed all those pants! Trust me! You can't see it in any of the pics, but the ties are the pink Classic Whale from Vineyard Vines.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Blogger drives me NUTS sometimes!

Okay, so the post of my mom's birthday????? Yes, that is supposed to be published on Sat. I went to post options, set the date and time for Sat at 7 a.m., and, yet, it still decides to post it now. GRRRR!!! This is not the first time this has happened to me, and I just can't figure it out. So, now you'll get three posts tonight and none on Sat! Sorry, peeps, apparently I'm not doing something right over here!!

Enjoy your night! This chicklet is off to bed.

Happy Birthday, Mom!!

I adore my mom, and I feel so incredibly lucky to be her daughter. She's one of the kindest, open hearted people I know. She's also an amazing baker ( cookies and homemade bread) and so devoted to anything she is involved in. She was a teacher for over 30 years and parents and kids alike thought she was amazing. I only hope that I can teach my future children how to be compassionate and kind like she is. I have to work so hard at that, and it comes so naturally to her.

The pics above are some of my favorite of my mom from my wedding. The first is her with B's mom, the second is right after her toast to us, and the third is her putting on the bracelet she had made for me for my wedding. My mom looked awesome that day, and she still talks about how much fun she had. I hope someday we can live closer to her, but for now, we'll just talk every day and get up north as much as we can!

Happy Birthday S!!

Today is the other bestie's birthday!! She turns 30 today! She and her husband came in to celebrate B's birthday with us this weekend, so we also got to celebrate her birthday as well. Even though she lives in the Chicago suburbs, we definitely don't see each other enough.

S and I have been best of friends since we met on the Bay View beach. I was three, she was two, and we've never looked back! Our cottages were kitty corner from each other, so we road our bikes to club, the beach, the rec, and anywhere else we could get to! Her parents were always the ones to host all the young teenagers on their porch for euchre nights (always with our Slurpee beverage of choice!). We lived together for two years when we moved to Chicago right after college, shared a bathroom, and a closet, and are STILL best friends! I know she will always tell me the truth and loves me wholeheartedly (faults and all!). Happy Birthday, S! I'm so glad we're friends!

**The two pics above are from S's wedding this past summer. She and I were both married up north 3 weeks apart! It was a crazy busy time, but SO much fun.**

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Praise all around!

On this first day of Lent, I couldn't believe more that prayers are answered. Today, baby Ben went home from the hospital and is doing really well. His parents are so happy, and his brother will be so excited to have him back! Also, Crew (who had open heart surgery on Monday) is doing much better than anyone expected. They had originally told the parents that they would be here for 7-10 days and it is looking like they may possibly go home on Friday or Saturday! His heart looks great, the surgery went off without a hitch, he is off all his medication drips, he's breathing on his own, and he's on just a touch of pain meds. He's even starting to eat again! His parents are thrilled and so am I. It's been wonderful to be here in order to help support them during this time. His mom and I are going to sneak a "girl's night out" dinner tomorrow since everything is going so well. Yea!!!


Today is Ash Wednesday, or the first day of Lent. While I miss the joyful praise songs during this church season, I do love the contemplation it brings. I won't be able to attend services today as I am at work until 8 p.m., I will head down to the hospital chapel for ashes. B and I have decided to give up sweets this year. It will be tough for both of us! I do not subscribe to the "Sundays off" philosophy where on each Sunday you are allowed to indulge in that which you have given up. I realize this makes Lent 5 days longer (because the Sundays are not included in the 40 day count), but to me it just feels like cheating. I also found a website that delivers a daily devotional to my email each day for the 40 days. I'm hoping this will help me take a few minutes during the middle of each day to quietly pray and remember why Lent is important to those who believe in the Christian faith.

Have any of you given anything up this year? Or are you adding something such as daily devotionals or Bible readings? I'd love to hear about it!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Birthday Celebration!!

B's birthday party on Sat night was a success! 7 of us went to dinner at a BYOB Lebanese restaurant at 7 p.m. I brought a bottle of champagne, some red and some white wine. The hummus at this restaurant is amazing!! After dinner we went to a bar in our neighborhood where we met up with 25 other friends. Blair loved having everyone there, and I loved seeing a few people we hadn't seen in awhile. Overall, the night was a great success and he was a happy 30 year old!!

This is of one of my best friends from college, her brother, and her husband. They were in town for the weekend (from MI) and were able to make it to the party. SO fun to catch up!

I ordered an ice cream cake for B. He'd never had one before, and it was all he wanted. All our friends were so excited because they hadn't had one in years either. Way to go DQ!!

S (bestie #2) and her husband at dinner.

B and I at dinner.

I decorated champagne glasses for everyone who went to dinner. On B's I wrote my birthday wish to him. They were a hit!

I got B a Garmin 305 for his marathon training. I also got him a book about marathoning that Some like it Hot posted about. She's been using it in her training, and I think B will be able to utilize it as well. He was thrilled with his gifts and can't wait to come back from TX and use the Garmin this weekend!! He thought about taking it down there but this is a crazy week for work, and he didn't think he'd have any time to run.

Hope you all had a great weekend!!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Prayer requests

My best friend's son was admitted to the ICU last night with pneumonia. He has been sick a lot this winter, as a result of being a preemie, and just couldn't make it at home anymore with his breathing treatments. He's on oxygen and is receiving IV antibiotics and steroids for his lungs. His parents are having a hard time right now as most would, so any prayers for little Ben to get better would be appreciated. He'll be fine in the long run, I know, but the ICU is always a scary place to be.

Also, the son of family friends is being admitted to the hospital I work at tomorrow for open heart surgery. He's young (9) and, because of a genetic condition he's had since birth, is not as likely to make it out of surgery as most who have this procedure done. He has been such a blessing to his family, and this is really scary. No one knows what to expect which is even scarier than the surgery itself. It'll be a very tense day for the immediate and extended family members.

Please, if you read this, say a small prayer for both Ben, Crew, and their families as they all have a long week ahead of them. I would really appreciate it. Thank you!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Big Weekend!

B comes home from Dallas this afternoon (yea!), and we have a big weekend ahead of us!! We're celebrating his birthday with a ton of friends, my best friend and her husband are coming to stay the night with us on Sat to attend dinner and the party, I have an amazing breakfast planned for Sunday morning, and Duke has a rematch with Wake on Sunday afternoon.

He leaves again Monday (his real birthday) for Dallas (again), so Sat night will be the only shindig for him. I'm sad I won't be able to make his actual birthday memorable, but I'm glad we can celebrate this weekend! I can't post yet about his gifts or any of the other plans, but I'll do a picture post on Monday.

Have a great weekend everyone!! Let's hope the snow tomorrow doesn't keep anyone from venturing out!! Lucky for B, Chicagoans are used to all this winter weather. I'm just not sure what I'm going to do for foot apparel as my outfit included adorable black heels that don't tolerate the snow well!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Good News!

My cousin and his wife got married in Labor Day weekend of 07. They have been wanting a baby for awhile now, and we found out in December that they are pregnant with twins! Today we found out that they are having a boy and a girl. The ultrasound showed that the babies' hearts are in good working order and that the pregnancy is going as smoothly as possible. I am so thankful for this! At times it is very difficult to be a pediatric nurse and not worry constantly about friend's and family's pregnancies. On a daily basis I see all the things that could possibly go wrong, and I have a hard time knowing that people who are close to me could go through these things. What I choose to think about instead is that since we are a major medical center, I see the sickest of the sick, and MOST children are completely healthy and happy. Also, to the moms out there, children are incredibly resilient and make it through things that they shouldn't ever make it through, so don't let this post stress you out!! It's really just supposed to be a praise that C&A will have the first great-grandbabies in our family and we'll all get to meet them at his sister's wedding in September. I'm so so so happy right now!

Great J Crew Outfit

Do any of you have FFM in your blog reads? I love the way she puts together outfits for all things J Crew. While my budget is no where big enough to buy much of what she posts, when I do buy things, I definitely go back through her posts to see what she puts with it. I also love that her polyvore sets have great accessories!!

She posted this earlier in the week, and I am in LOVE. Gray can look drab at times, but this set just screams "spring neutrals" to me. Go over and visit if you haven't! It's fun virtual shopping!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

25 Things About Me

I've seen a few people do this on their blogs, and I know it's all the rage over on FB, so I thought I'd do my version here.

1. Our first daughter will be named after my grandmother. There is nothing about my "gram" that I wouldn't want my daughter to emulate. She's an amazing woman, and I only hope I can raise a child to be like her.

2. My husband looks best in long-sleeved shirts with the sleeves rolled up, his lobster pants or any of his colored pants (lt blue, yellow, green, nantucket red, the list could go on), flip-flops, and a tan. This is his standard summer night attire, and he looks hot in it!

3. I love to bake. It's really been missing from my life lately due to other committments, and I can't wait to get back to it. Measuring cups make me happy! My favorite recipes are for an apple tart and a lemon quick bread.

4. I will only eat my food if it is hot or cold. I do not like anything at room temperature (okay, maybe some soft cheeses).

5. I have a full set of Christmas dishes. I received my first plates when I was a freshman in college (and couldn't use them!). When I was little, I used to make my mom walk past them in Marshall Fields during Christmas time "just to look." When I say little, I'm talking 8 or 9!

6. I can be very stubborn, and if I am upset about something, it can take awhile to cajole me into a good mood. I am definitely a passionate person with very strong opinions.

7. My favorite place in the world is Bay View, MI. My friends there are the closest I have. I'm amazed we all became so close spending only 8 weeks of the summer together. We spend much less time together now, and I miss them all so much when we aren't together. I think most of us (and our families and other families we know) consider it "home".

8. I could give up alcohol forever without difficulty. However, if someone asked me to give up sweets for the rest of my life, I would have to go to rehab.

9. I love, love, love antique jewelry.

10. I pray all the time that God will help me to be a good mother.

11. I crave red meat regularly. I think I have a Y chromosome floating around somewhere in my body that demands it!

12. I know 100% that I am in the right profession. I am so lucky that I truly love my job and the work I do.

13. I do not like my food to touch. If I could have found everyday plates that had dividers, I would have registered for them. Buffets are my worst nightmare.

14. I love church because it is the time during the week that I am forced to be still and just listen. It makes my week so much calmer.

15. My dream house is built in the early 1900s, has a huge porch, a back staircase, an unattached garage, floors that creak, and a back screen door that slams. It would also have a basement, a laundry chute, and stained or leaded glass above the front door. Yes, I'm also aware it will be drafty and not have enough closet space. That's a-okay.

16. I really love going to the gym but am far from thin (see #8). I prefer classes where the instructor is a drill sargeant!!

17. My favorite band is Indigo Girls. I've been to 13 concerts, a lot of them with Sara, but one I attended alone. I will never tire of their harmonies.

18. I have 17 cousins on my mom's side and none on my dad's. I adore having a large family and wish I could have 6 kids so that my kids and grandkids could also be blessed in this way.

19. I adore Champagne. Yum!

20. I am madly in love with my husband. He occasionally travels for work, and the day he comes home, I walk around all day with butterflies in my stomach.

21. I love gummi bears, but only the ones made by Haribo. They are the best!!

22. I hope I never have to live in a place that doesn't have 4 seasons. I love them for all their different properties, and I would hate to live somewhere that snow doesn't fall, that leaves don't change, or that summer days aren't long.

23. Of all the genres of books out there, I love spy novels the best. Daniel Silva is my favorite author in this arena, though Robert Ludlum is a very close second. I am just starting on WEB Griffin and am loving him as well. I have a deep wish to be a CIA agent!!

24. I would never, ever want to be famous.

25. My husband is afraid of the day that my grandmother dies. I can't even imagine what the days surrounding it will be like for my family. She's lived an amazing and wonderful life (she's still cross country skiing at 84), and, even though I know she'll be at peace and okay with going to heaven to be with my grandfather, my life without her will not be the same.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Just 3 more months.......

This is the view from the house we will be staying in for a part of our honeymoon. Amazing, huh? You can see the pool at the bottom of the pic. It's out of view from everyone as it is high on the hill, and I can't wait to lay by that pool for hours on end. I'll be reading, and B will be doing crosswords. More pics to come......

Monday, February 16, 2009

Gorgeous Beach Bedroom

Wow. Isn't this refreshing and lovely? Can't you just imagine the breeze and the white jacketed waiter bring you a mojito or pinot grigio on a white wood tray while you rest in bed with the latest magazines? I would probably whitewash the wood floors rather than put down the rug, but, other than that, it's just perfect for a beach getaway!! The ceiling color is fantastic. Would anyone like to join me here?

Picture from

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Happy Valentine's Day, B! I love you with all my heart and am so glad you chose me to spend your life with. You are my heart's content.

To those who are reading out there, I hope you have a great weekend with your Valentine(s)!! Especially those with sweet, little, new babies that make their parents hearts skip a beat when they look at them!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Felix Rey for Target

How cute is this bag? I love the toggles, the shell closure, and how beachy chic it is. This would be adorable on our honeymoon!! It would definitely be versatile enough. What do you think of it?

Felix Ray Bora Bora shell tote, $44.99 at Target starting March 29.

Valentine's Day Dinner

B and I have a tradition of making dinner at home for Valentine-versary. It just works better for us than trying to get reservations and beat the crowds. Plus, we have a killer pasta recipe that we love and wait all year for this weekend to come so that we can make it again. It's a very easy recipe, so even those who are beginner cooks should try it. I promise you won't be disappointed!

Penne and Vodka Sauce

1 16 oz box of penne (I also like the look of bow ties)

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 pound thinly sliced pancetta bacon, chopped
1/3 cup vodka
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (we use ff half and half)
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.

Meanwhile, melt butter or margarine in a large skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta, and saute until lightly browned. Add vodka and stir until it is reduced by half, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer uncovered for 10 to 12 minutes. Stir every few minutes.
Stir in pasta, and heat through. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

See...... easy peasy!!

Tomorrow night we are having it with a green salad and
this dressing

I have two dessert options on the table right now. Both involve chocolate. One is an old standard- chocolate lava cakes, and the other would be new to us. I'm not sure which we'll use. We'll have a cocktail while cooking and champagne with dinner. YUM! I can't wait for tomorrow night.

Are you going out or staying in? Do you have any fabulous "date night in" recipes that we should try?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Need a Red for Valentine's Day?

Last week From the Land of Cotton posted about wine. It sparked a decent discussion for those of us who are always looking for new wines to try. Here is my addition to that discussion.

Mmmmmmmmm.............. I tried this Pinot Noir before Christmas for the first time. B's cousin had it waiting for us when we went up to stay with them for the night. She prefers white but had really liked this red when she tried it at a cocktail party. I loved it that night and bought a few bottles for one of our family dinners over Christmas. Everyone really liked it. I've now had it with prime rib, appetizers, and spaghetti and meatballs. It was good with all three. From the back of the bottle "red and black cherry flavors abound with a note of spice from oak aging. Rich in texture with a lingering finish and versatile enough to compliment just about any cuisine." Try it this weekend and let me know what you think. It's around $9-13/bottle at any major grocery store or wine retailer.

I'd love to try any of your other suggestions! We're having champagne on Sat night that we picked up on our mini-moon. Review to come next week!

American Idol

B and I have watched AI together since season 3. We've always loved it, and, while we haven't always agreed with America or each other, it's one of the only reality shows we watch and love. We're sitting here together while I type watching last night's episode (thank goodness for DVR!), and I am making the statement out loud that I will not be watching this season. I cannot watch a show that would knowingly put the most annoying girl in the world (Tatiana) through and make us all suffer through watching her run around, constantly cry, and hear that annoying laugh. Eww. My husband is now under strict orders that he has to tape it and watch it while I do homework in the other room. I may consider watching again once she is off, but I refuse to subject myself to her. This is the reason that I think you should be able to vote people off rather than vote to keep them on!

I also think that kicking off Jamar in order to keep headband boy and Norman was an awful choice and this has also influenced my current decision to boycott. Feel free to leave me a venting comment if you are also annoyed- I'd love to know that I'm not alone!!!

I do think there are a few on this season that will go really far, so I hope I can watch again!

BTW- if you loved Melinda Doolittle from Season 6, her CD comes out this week. It got 3.5/4 stars in People this week. B and I adored her and thought she should have won. I can't wait to download it!!

Jersey Boys

It was GREAT!! B said he was surprised at how much he liked it; he sang the songs the whole way home! The guy who played Frankie Vally also played him on Broadway, and, wow, can he sing. Like B said, "not many people can do what he is doing." Especially 9 times a week for months on end. He was fantastic. I would highly recommend this musical to anyone. You'll know a lot of the songs (even if you don't think you will), and it's a really fun night. It would also make good birthday, anniversary, mother's/father's day presents for your parents or grandparents. They will love it, probably more than you do!!

I'm so glad we got to attend. See if it's coming to a city near you and book the tickets now!! It leaves Chicago in June, so Chicago girls, hurry!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Date Night Tonight!!

My husband is awesome!! A few weeks ago he bought us tickets to go see Jersey Boys as our Valentine-versary present. I've been dying to see this and am so excited to go!! It's a really busy day for me, so we're not sure if we'll also get to go out for dinner or not. Really, it doesn't matter as long as we're at the show on time. I'll let you all know tomorrow if it's a "must see". I"m sure it will be!!

PS- We call it Valentine-versary b/c we started dating 6 years ago this weekend. We have the same meal almost every year- I'll upload the recipe later this week. It's SO yummy!

PS2- Can you have two anniversaries once you are married? We don't buy gifts for Valentine-versary, we just make a great meal. So does that count?? Help me out, married girls!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

64 degrees??????????

I can't believe it's currently 64 degrees in Chicago!! I am out of clinic early today, so I'm heading out for a run------------outside!! There is no snow on the sidewalk anymore since it was also warm here over the weekend, so my favorite running route is calling my name. 3 miles, here I come. Hope the weather is equally beautiful where you are!!

Get out there and enjoy it, midwest girls. It won't last forever!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Braised short ribs

Last night B and I decided to make a hearty dinner in, and boy did we pick the right recipe. We've never made short ribs at home, though we've had them a few times when out to dinner. This recipe was excellent and would make a great Valentines dinner or dinner party meal. Most of it can be prepared up to 2 days in advance and then just heated up prior to eating. If you are searching for a recipe that will impress guests, family, or that special someone, this is it!!

Braised Beef Short Ribs with Coriander and Cardamom

1/4 c canola oil
4 lbs beef short ribs
4 lg carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 lg onion, chopped
1 lg leek (white and pale green parts only), chopped
1 whole head of garlic, halved crosswise
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cardamom
2 tbsps flour
1 bottle dry, fruity red wine (we used a Zinfandel)
2 c chicken broth

Preheat oven to 325. Heat canola oil in heavy, large ovenproof pot over high heat (used the Le Crueset). Sprinkle short ribs with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add ribs to pot and cook until brown on all sides, about 6 min per batch. Transfer ribs to large plate or bowl. Add carrots, onion, leek, and garlic to pot. Cook until vegetables are brown, stirring often (about 12 min). Add coriander and cardamom, then flour; stir to coat vegetables. Add wine and bring sauce to a boil. Return ribs and any accumulated juices from bowl to pot. Add chicken broth. Bring to boil, cover, and transfer pot to onion.

Braise ribs until tender, about 2 hrs. (if making ahead, take out after 2 hrs, cool slightly. Chill uncovered until cool, then cover and keep chilled). Transfer ribs to large platter. Spoon fat from surface of sauce in pot. Strain sauce into large saucepan, discarding the solids in the strainer. Bring the sauce to a boil (can add cornstarch to thicken). Pour sauce over ribs and serve.

A few additional notes:
1. I was really confused about adding a whole garlic head with the skins on. Don't worry. Since the solids get skimmed out in the last step, it doesn't matter if the paper cooks in their- it all comes out in the long run.
2. I bought short ribs with and without the bone to see if one was better. Honestly, both were good so buy whichever is cheaper. The ones off the bone may be a little leaner.
3. I served it with mashed potatoes, cooked carrots, and green beans. They say to discard the carrots that the roast is braised with. I tasted them, and they were yummy. You could easily spoon them out and serve with the meat.
4. It is time intesive in the beginning but then it ends up just making the house smell good for two hours. While it may take forethought, it really isn't a difficult recipe at all!

Recipe from Bon Appetit 4/2007

The Grammys

I happen to think that Taylor Swift is adorable. I think one of the reasons I like her so much is that she sings completely appropriate songs for her age and acts her age. I don't ever feel like she's 19 trying to be 25. From what I can tell, she's quite grounded and has good people around to keep her that way. I thought she and Miley Cyrus did a great job performing last night. B and I were quite disappointed at the CMAs b/c the sound was so off on a lot of the songs, and she sounded really bad. Tonight was much better!! B doesn't think she's as great as I do :( He thinks she's too "breathy". He'd prefer to stare at Carrie Underwood's legs all night. I have to say, I can't blame him!!

(In case you're wondering, my favorite song by Miss Swift is Our Song. It's way cute!)

Like a lot of America and the UK, I've really enjoyed Coldplay's rise in the music scene. I'm not a celebrity stalker, so I really know very little about Chris Martin. I could've passed him on the street without necessarily knowing who he was (except for all the paparazzi!). Last night, before the Grammys, he did an interview on 60 Minutes. It was so interesting. B and I were really surprised at how likeable, normal, and non-rockstarish he was. Coldplay takes their work very seriously, and it was great to see that they weren't just sitting around doing drugs and living an insane life. There are rules posted inside the studio that all must follow who enter. He also has very amazing blue eyes. I really enjoyed the song he did with Jay Z and thought Viva la Vida was just in good as person. I just wish he and Gwenyth had asked for the public's opinion before naming their kids. I'm still not over Apple!
Also, what was up with Kanye's hair??? Channeling a little Lionel Richie circa 1982?? Ick!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Happy Birthday, N!

I would like you all to meet one of my two best friends, N. N and I have know each other for 20 years now and were friends from the moment we met. We met up north, spent all our summers together, went to the same college, and rushed the same sorority. She is definitely my calm in the storm and my sanity. She's so level headed, she always has great advice, and she is an excellent listener. She's also a great shopper (she gets it from her mom) and a great gift giver. All in all, someone that everyone loves to be friends with.
N is with her husband in the first picture. They've been married for 7 years and this last year had identical twin boys! These baby boys were born at 27 and 1/7 weeks, and for anyone who knows anything about pregnancies or NICUs, this is very, very early. It was incredibly scary for them, their families, and all of us who are close to them. Through the grace of God, they are happy, healthy, and developmentally appropriate babies with no problems at all. It was a really long road to get to this point, but they are now standing on their own and babbling up a storm. B and I got to see them at Thanksgiving and probably won't see them again until the summer. N lives 5 hrs from Chicago, so our numerous phone calls have to tide us over between visits! It's hard, especially now that the boys are around. I hate missing out on so much.
N already received her gift in the mail and loved it! I got her adorable Lilly pjs- pink, green, and too cute! Happy birthday, N!! I miss you tremendously!!

I can't wait for tonight!

My husband gets home at 4 p.m. today. He's been gone for two weeks, and I can't wait to see him!! I'll get home around 8 for work and then we're going out for dinner. It'll be so nice to catch up in person and get a giant hug from him. Tomorrow he is busy with class all day and then a poker tourney, but Sunday we are going to spend all day together. We're going to church in the morning and then to our friends house to meet their new puppy, Bruce. Sunday night dinner should be fantastic since we've got most of the afternoon to cook.

I am so excited for 7:52 p.m. (my usual arrival time)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


I absolutely cannot wait to go on our honeymoon in May!! Doesn't this picture make you want to go on vacation too?
I'll post others pictures in the next few weeks and then give you a full honeymoon post in another month or so!!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Hanky Panky for Valentine's Day

Blue Eyed Bride is giving away a set of 2 pairs of Hanky Panky underwear in a Valentine's Day giveaway. Honestly, I've never worn them, but I've heard wonderful things about them. Maybe I'll win and get to try them out for myself!! I'm thinking with 226 entries (already!), my chances are slim, but someone must win right?
The leopard print box is adorable as well!!

Warm pjs on a cold night

My husband and best friends would say that I'm slightly obsessed with pajamas. They always have to match (no ratty t-shirts and yoga pants for me), and I get so excited when I find a great new set. This year, for Christmas my MIL got all her daughters-in-law pjs. They are the softest, comfiest, coziest pjs ever!! I have worn them almost every night since....... I've even washed them and put them right back on without alternating any others in (which is not my norm at all!). The pjs to the left are the ones we all received. If the idea of surrounding yourself in heavenly fleece (the softest fleece ever, seriously) while you sleep is entertaining, you must check these out. They're made by Pine Cone Hill, the company that also owns Dash and Albert rugs. If you live anywhere that gets cold in the winter, I would definitely check these out. I think you'll love them (and be able to lower your heating bill!).

I do have to say, these are totally unsexy, so do not order these for yourself for Valentines Day. Your husband/fiancee/boyfriend will not appreciate them like you do!!

*BTW, can anyone help me with putting the cute linkeys into my post? If I want you to be able to go to the web page just by clicking on the word, how do I do that? Thanks for your help!*

Monday, February 2, 2009

Chicago Marathon Runner!!

Okay, so I'm not really running the marathon this fall, but my husband, B, is!! He signed up yesterday and is so excited. He did 2 half marathons in 08 and 2 in 07, so he feels like this is the next thing he needs to "accomplish". He was never a runner growing up (soccer and hockey were his sports) and only became a runner when he decided to do his first 10K and then later his first 1/2. B is great at setting goals and really working towards them. I'm always so impressed with his dedication to his races and his ability to run continuously for lots and lots of miles. The longest I've ever run is 3.5 miles! He doesn't have to start training until 18 weeks prior to October 11th, so sometime in May, I think. He's running regularly now, so I'm not sure if he'll start doing some serious training prior to May or if he'll just give it all over to Hal Higgdon then. I cannot wait to cheer him on in October!!

Have any of you run marathons before? Any great advice that I should pass along? Are any of you running in Chicago this fall?? I'll cheer you on too if you are!!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Last weekend's adventures

Last weekend, B and I, along with his two cousins and his female cousin's husband, made the trek from the cold midwest down to Longboat Key just south of Sarasota. All three of them had bought our plane tickets as our wedding present so that we could continue the celebration together down in FL. It was a great weekend with daytime temps in the 70s and nighttime temps in the high 40s low 50s.

We flew in on Thurs night and went to the Tommy Bahama restaurant in St Armand's Circle. We all had a cocktail or two plus dinner. My cocktail was a basil grapefruit martini. I wasn't sure if I'd love it or not, but I do love basil, so I thought I'd try it. It was wonderful. B and I are going to try to recreate it this summer. If you ever see one on a menu, I would highly recommend. We all went back to the condo after dinner and crashed.

The next morning (Fri), J made breakfast and then we all went for a run together. It was about 3.2 miles and by the time we were home, the boys immediately went to jump in the pool. E and I showered, the boys came back to shower, and we all went back down to St. Armand's Circle for lunch at Cha Cha Coconuts. YUM! The food was great all around, drinks were flowing, and we were sitting in the sun where it was warm! We stopped in a few stores (including the Lilly store) and made our way home to relax by the pool for a few hours. That night we went to a local stone crab restaurant which couldn't have been more delicious. We then went to Euphema Hay for dessert (best key lime pie I have ever had- ever!) and then to Club 51 in St. Armand's for a cocktail. We didn't know it was Latin night when we walked in, but we soon realized that watching the dancing was going to be the highlight of our weekend. I have never seen anything like it. There were a few professionals there, but most were just there to dance. We all danced a bit (terribly!) and had a ball. I loved it and hope someday to take salsa lessons. B is a really good dancer, so he'd totally go along with me!

Saturday we went for a long walk along the beach, had lunch down at The Colony, and layed by the pool. J went fishing off the pier for awhile but didn't catch anything. Before the sun went down, we cracked a bottle of champagne and went to the beach for pics. We all love champagne, so it was a great way to enjoy the perfect sunset. We then went to The Columbia for dinner and sangria. Again, nothing but delicious food. We all ate so well!! We came home that night after dinner (around 11 or so), had a nightcap, and went to bed. In the morning we got up, were lazy, and then flew out around 1 p.m. It was an amazing, amazing weekend and we were so thankful they decided to do that for our wedding gift. We spend a lot of time with B's cousins, even though only A lives in Chicago with us, and love them dearly, so it was nice to get away with them to a warmer climate for a long weekend!!

Here are some pics from Saturday night :

A pelican in really good lighting!

J looking handsome
J and E (E is B's cousin)

B and I

A and E (brother and sister)

E and I

The group before sunset