Monday, May 30, 2011

And Summer begins

This Memorial Day weekend didn't turn out as bad as we thought it would. Sure, we were on a house lock-down from severe thunderstorms ALL weekend. But not today. Today was 91 degrees and sunny. Yes, sunny. It seemed that no matter what time it was it looked like 9PM for three days straight, so the thought of a hot and sunny day was perfect. 

To start our summer off right, we hit up a Chicago area beach. Bella and Mia were so excited. Since Chance was born smack dab in the middle of the summer last year they only went to the beach once. And I've felt bad about that ever since so I'm trying this summer to make it up to them. 

They played.... 

and played 

and played.

Running back and forth carrying teeny tiny little buckets of water. Come to think of it, I might want to splurge next time and buy them a decent size sand bucket not ones the size of urine cups. But hey, they didn't mind. Well, at least for the first hour.

Even Chance had a ball. This pic was taken about three seconds before he grabbed a handful of sand and ate it. 

Good times. Good times.

Speaking of good times, can you see the amount of sand covering Bella's skin? Every single sand particle that you see can currently be found on the floor of our car. 

Like I said, good times.

We capped off our afternoon with a Dora ice cream cone that melted before Mia even had a chance to say gracias.

FINALLY, summer is here!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Mia's Day

This year, Mia's birthday fell on Mother's Day and truthfully, I couldn't think of a better way to spend my day than celebrating 3 years of her precious life.

The kids woke up rather early so I stumbled into their room, snuggled under the covers in Mia's bed and watched as all three of them played happily. It started with a wardrobe change of course, then a game of "restaurant" where Mia was so proud of her cupcake idea.

Look- it's literally a cup cake, get it? It took me awhile too--I mean I was half asleep. Then the birthday girl demanded that Chance order her cupcake from the imaginary menu that she handed him. But he was too focused on his plastic toast at the time.

The next course was a vegetable soup, duh?!

I love watching them play. I wish I did it more often--actually watching instead of taking my eyes off of whatever I'm doing and glance-up to confirm that they're both alive and well. I thought about that as I laid in the bed that morning. This is their prime time--I've got to soak it up before it's too late. 

Our simple little play food set has seen so many memories over the past 5 years. What other toy has the ability to withstand DAILY play and still maintain interest after FIVE YEARS? 

We scored on that one.

But of course, "restaurant" got boring. So they moved on to the world's largest slinky. 

Which is a prized possession of theirs because their Dad "the hero" won it for them 
in a rest stop crane game. He's such a sucker for the crane game--and truthfully, has a pretty good track record with it. What gives?

I crawled out of Mia's bed, yawned and stretched and headed to the kitchen for some breakfast. A birthday wouldn't be a birthday without our famous pancakes. Which, btw here's my secret, add a bit of almond extract into your pancake batter--you'll love it!

Mia was so excited. Mark my words, a 3rd birthday is a big one. It really means something to them. Not that her 2nd bday didn't---but there's a difference here. A sense of self recognition and self confidence occurs. It's so sweet. It was the same with Bella too.

It took about three minutes after breakfast for Mia to get dressed up for her big day.

For her birthday menu Mia had 2 requests, ham and cheese sandwiches and churros. Not just any churros--Costco churros

How hilarious and random is that? 

Funny story there because we all thought for about 10 minutes that she wanted Cheerios. Costco cheerios. But I was thrown back since I have never bought Cheerios from Costco. She was so frustrated and then like a light in my head it dawned on me that she said CHURROS. You should have seen her excitement when she was understood. 

Just to be understood.

So Top Chef Eugene took her culinary requests as a challenge and proceeded to prepare 3 courses all of which had ham and cheese. First up, ham and gouda paninis. Second course was a tortellini with pancetta and cream. And finally, honey baked ham and potatoes au gratin. Yum, yum and more yum. Granted, a tad heavy for a 3 year old party but that's Eugene for ya.

Not surprisingly, she barely ate. Maybe it was the thought of her cake looming over her head. Mia made it very clear that she wanted a princess cake this year and since our resident cake boss Gabe was in Jamaica at the time, we relied on Walmart. 

And--omg---they make some AWESOME cakes. Just look at this!
The castle and figurines are non-edible which means she scored a little present too.

Look at shifty little Bella in the bottom left hand corner. Busted.

I couldn't light the darn thing fast enough--check out the amount of frosting on her face and grubby little fingers prior to blow-out. 

And not surprising Bella couldn't hold out much longer--she jumped in on the action too.

Oh my frosted-toothed little 3 year old. This is a framer. One to show your prom date for sure.

Mia opened her presents and loved the bicycle we got her. But really Uncle CW got the award for best gift since she spent the rest of her birthday flipping away the new hair from her Rapunzel wig. 

Dude, this wig sheds more than my dog!

After a long day, Eugene and I tucked in an exhausted little 3 year old with a hug, 
a kiss and an I love you. 

Happy 3rd Birthday, my sweet and sassy and smart little Mia!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Holy crap Chance is 10 months old

But this is not his 10 month anniversary picture--nope-- haven't taken those pics yet. I'm thinking I'll get to it somewhere around his first birthday, cuz I'm really organized like that.

This is his 9 month anniversary, on our first day in Paris. 

You guys, I know a lot of parents say this about their kid but I'm serious this little guy is an angel. A perfect angel--always has been. I know someday the tides are going to turn but for now 
I'm basking in all his glory. 

His sweet three toothed glory.

Holding this little guy feels so good. The moment I lift him up and put my arms around him I feel something change inside me--a feeling deep inside--pure endearment, I think.

Every single time. 

His smell. His skin. His hair. 

I'm so in love. 

Monday, May 23, 2011


For my sister Christine's wedding I was honored when she asked me to be her Maid of Honor. Technically, Matron of Honor because I'm married but that just sounded...oh I dunno...old! 
So instead, I settled on "MOH" for short. Ahh, much better.

What an exciting journey it's been, from the bachelorette party to the big day, I am filled with memories that I'll always cherish. I even think our friendship grew stronger and for that I'm so grateful. For the past year I've watched as you tirelessly organized your European wedding down to the last detail. You worked so hard to make sure that EVERY single person attending would feel special. And everyone did Christine! It's not easy planning an Italian wedding, but you did it effortlessly. 

Some of my unforgettable moments are....

Watching the royal wedding while we got ready for your royal wedding.

Laughing and mumbling curse words under our breaths as we smiled OVER and OVER again as Eugene took the pictures. We may look sweet in this picture but don't be fooled! 

Walking you through the rain to the church, trying to keep you as dry as possible and trying my damndest not to monopolize the umbrella.

Spending those last few precious moments with you.
You were so calm and looked so beautiful.

A perfect bride.

Thank you Christine for including me in your celebration and thank you for including my daughters.

They loved being a part of it.

Even Mia, despite her resistance. 

Your wedding was magical. But what stood out the most, was the honesty that you and Chris share.

I adore you both, and the love you have for each other is infectious!

 I foresee a lifetime of laughter and love in your future--the perfect combination. 

Christine, my loyalty to you doesn't end just because the wedding did. No, in fact, it's only just begun. Many new and challenging experiences lie ahead for your new family and 
I'll be there at your side every step. 

I can't wait to watch what's in store for you two. 

And please, never forget how truly blessed you are!

In lieu of giving a toast at the wedding I decided to go a different route, 
I created a little movie of their story. A puppet show of sorts. 

And here it is. I hope you enjoy but fyi-- it's an 8 minute commitment.

And if you've got a glass nearby, raise it up and let's all toast to the happy couple!

Congratulations Christine and Christopher Nolan

Monday, May 16, 2011

Joie de vivre!

We arrived in Paris (all six of us--including my sister) with a mixture of excitement, fatigue and an appetite for crepes. Once we made it to our teeny tiny hotel--we all stretched out (as much as we could) and finally let loose after a long plane ride.

Then Bella wanted crepes. And Mia wanted a grilled cheese. And Chance wanted another bottle. And Eugene wanted to explore and I wanted to somehow make the room stop spinning because for the third time in a row I have experienced vertigo after landing in Europe. What gives? According to my mom it's an inner ear thing. Anyway......we spared no time and packed up for a full day in Paris. Our first stop was the Eiffel Tower because the girls WERE SO EXCITED to see it. I mean like crazy excited. They started screaming when it came into view scaring the crap out of the quiet and highly restrained Parisians walking by.

Come to think of it, that actually happened a lot, my kids scaring the crap out of the locals. But I digress.

Through them, I recalled what it was like to see the Eiffel for the first time. It takes your breath away. So recognizable and so massive. I must say, it's quite a sight.

We huddled up for the first photo session of our trip. It's handy to have a husband who digs photography.

Note to Bella and Mia, payback will be a bitch. You just wait, as soon as Chance can honorably defend himself you two better start running! Poor little Chance.

For the life of me I wish I remembered what they were singing in this moment. But if the rest of our trip was any indication my bet would be that they're singing either Skip to my Lou, a random Christmas carol or Stuck Like Glue.

Bella and Mia wanted to go up to the top---but the wait was so long and my vertigo was still pretty nasty so we held off. Total buzzkill.

For the past three months Eugene had prepped the girls for the "secret" double decker carousel behind the Eiffel--the one that most people don't know about. It totally kicks our mall carousel's butt!

After the carousel we all devoured some Nutella and banana crepes. If you haven't ever tried a banana and nutella crepe----what are you waiting for? They are so damn good! Look, here's a really good recipe.
Make one today!

So on average, we would spend 12 hours a day out exploring Paris.

Taking in the sights.

Eating the food. 

The best fondue EVER!

Slippery little suckers

Now that's some french onion soup ya'll

We visited several famous masterpieces

Really France?

Now that's a masterpiece. Although, ironically Snooki kinda looks like Mona Lisa,
 just much more orange and covered in make-up!

Mia was entranced by all the paintings

This was what she was staring at. Oh, ya know,  just a random ceiling 
in a random room of the Louvre. 

Amazing, huh?

Fun with Bella

To witness Paris through my children's eyes was so unforgettable! My favorite moments were hearing the girls speak French-or attempt to at least. By the second day Bella was a pro with her, "merci beaucoup" and "s'il vous plait" and "excusez-moi." It was like the two of them were living some sort of Dora episode--except in French! 

But believe me, it wasn't all unicorns and cotton candy. Oh-no. 

We walked until our feet hurt. It was rough. There were meltdowns. Like the one day when we forgot to pack the stroller blankets. The warm and comfy stroller blankets like the one seen here the day before snuggling my child into a blissful state of euphoria.

Yeah, forgot those. In the hotel room. WAY across town.

And it got cold. Really cold. And the only thing I could think of (rather than buying a $40 blanket-dammit, where were you Walmart?) was to turn their sweatshirts into leggings. 

The result?

My children looked like complete and total idiots!

Like, real big, honkin' idiots. I know, I got the stares. Believe me there was no fooling Paris, the fashion mecca of the world.  But you know what? I-didn't-give-a-shit-cuz-the crying-stopped!!! Oh sweet lord, the crying stopped. 

And because they were warm. We trekked on. 

We stood outside stores like Louis Vuitton, drooling like fools, cuz I didn't have the guts to allow my subway stained Saucony's step foot in the store. So from afar, I watched the extravagance--in every storefront, in every garden, in every painting. 

Auntie Gabey and Eugene
It was magnificent and the perfect place to start our travels. Check out this little video of our "2 Days in Paris"

We'll miss you Paris. Until next time. 

Au revoir!


Related Posts with Thumbnails