Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I do still exist

I'm substitute teaching at Sammy's school for September and can't seem to find a minute to myself. I don't even know where my camera is, and my biggest goal for the day seems to be trying to figure out something to feed my family on a semi-regular basis! So, that's why I haven't posted lately.

We're SUPPOSED to close on the "new house" next week (I know I've said that before, but it's supposed to be true this time) so hopefully I'll have more interesting things to say pretty soon.

For now, my mornings are circle time and helping with rain boots and making snack and all that great stuff.

More later.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Glen Ellyn and the Handy fam

Friday I met my college buddy Julia in Glen Ellyn. She lives in the far west suburbs with her husband and three boys, so sometimes we try to meet somewhere in the middle. This time we chose Glen Ellyn, which is the suburb next to Wheaton...where we went to college together.
I love the suburbs in the fall. The trees are beautiful. The park we met at is Lake Ellyn park. Matt and I used to walk around this park back when we were young lovebirds.
Sometimes I would fantasize about living there, in Glen Ellyn, in a beautiful home by the park with Matt and my future children. Way back in the day, that is, in say, 2000.  Back then, the fancy homes looked like this one above.
Now Glen Ellyn has giant sprawling homes like these. They're huge!
After the park we went to a little restaurant called 2 Toots. It has a tiny train with baskets on it that deliver your food. The kids loved it, of course.
The whole inside is decorated with everything from vintage trains to Thomas stuff. And of course, a horse you can ride for a quarter.
Julia's oldest son is Josh. He and Claire are 7 months apart and they have already decided that they are gettting married when they grow up. Claire will tell anyone that she's marrying Josh. Of course, she also says that she is going to be a farmer, a mom, and a zookeeper, and that Josh is going to have to stay home with the kids. I think Josh has dreams of being an animal rescuer, so they'll have to work that out later.
They'd be a sweet blue-eyed-animal-loving family though!
This is baby Samuel. My Sam really likes that there is a baby with his same name. We will probably call him "baby Samuel" until he's a teenager though.
Our table was right by where the train comes out of the kitchen. Of course, Julia and I spent most of our time yelling things like "don't touch other people's food!" so we didn't get to have the deepest conversations, but actually, we got to chat quite a bit for having 5 children between us.
Her middle son, Peter, is a riot. He's very into sports and being goofy, so he and my Sam are good buds.

My favorite part though, was how my kids decided to recreate the whole experience in miniature when we got home! Claire set up her bunny family, and Sam drove the train around them delivering bunny food to the table! If Sammy had taken a nap that day, this would have gone on for hours, but unfortunately tears were shed pretty quickly and the whole thing dissolved. Oh well, it was a good day anyway. Except that on the way home Claire did ask me why we have a tiny yard in a cramped-up city when the people in Glen Ellyn have "nice big yards".  I wanted to go into detail about the culture she's getting in the city and the diversity, but I knew she wouldn't appreciate that so I just said something about how it's nice to visit there sometimes. She was okay with that....she's going to be a farmer some day anyway!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Joe Spro

Before we went to the church we go to now, we went to a church called Park Community Church in Lincoln Park which is on the north side of Chicago. When we got into a small group of "young married couples" at Park, I was 8 months pregnant. No one else was pregnant or had previously had any children. We were young...happy....youthful. Then I had Claire, and she became the little angel of the small group. Everyone loved her. Shortly after that, another lady got pregnant, and then another, and then another. And then we had our second round, and then some had their thirds. And then Matt and I switched churches.
Joe Sprovieri was our "single guy". Well, we called him that because he wasn't married yet, but when he dated it was always very serious. Joe is a very serious guy. I mean, he's a ton of fun, but he does not mess around. He's a spreadsheet guy, a planner, a to-do list kind of man. So when he does something you know it's well thought out. So after falling in love with Katie and then dating her for several years, he decided to marry her. She's lovely.
We were invited to their wedding which took place at the chapel at Loyola University. It's a beautiful chapel that looks out onto Lake Michigan.
We were running late and I was panicking because of all the weddings in the world to ever be late to, I did not want to be late to Joe's, (remember how he's a spreadsheet kind of guy?). He would have remembered. For a long time. But luckily, we were right on time (maybe 2 minutes late) and we got to sit by friends from our old small group.
It was a beautiful wedding. Did I mention the bride is a triplet?! Lucky Joe, right! Of course we had to make many jokes about them trading places and Joe having to figure out who was who.
We met up with Abby and PJ, from our old small group. As we were sitting together at the wedding, PJ dropped the news that they are about to have their 4th child. 4th! This beautiful lady weighs less than she did when she started having children! And for that, I will always be jealous of her. Unfortunately, she is very gracious and thoughtful and fabulous, so you can't hate her.
The reception was in the suburbs, and we had a little time before the cocktail hour started so we headed to Woodfield Mall. I haven't been to a mall in so long! It was fun. Matt bought me a Schoolhouse Rocks t-shirt for being a homeschooling mom.
Did I mention that they are triplets? I couldn't get a good picture though.
The best man was hilarious. He's known Joe for years and years so he kinda roasted him in his speech. He brought up all the classic Joe obsessive-compulsive stuff. Like how he ironed his boxer shorts in college, and how he wouldn't let one of his dates bring her take-home box of steak in his car because he thought it would make it smell. Pretty funny stuff.
Here we are with a lot of our old small group. Of course, we're missing Dan and Robin, Cara and Joe, Jason and Nicole, and Jen and Ryan...but it was fun to see the Chicagoland crew.

Friday, September 4, 2009

End of summer '09

It's been cool here lately, which always bumbs me out. I love fall, don't get me wrong, but Chicago summers are so short and the winters are so long that I always feel a little panicky when the 90 degree weather starts to go away. You can't swim in Lake Michigan when it's 70 degrees, that's for sure. But we're trying to do fun end-of-the-summer things before we get out our jackets. Wednesday morning, we headed to 31st street beach to have a little snack picnic.
We didn't even go down to the sand, but the picnic was a big hit.
The kids played on their favorite park, and Sammy met a little friend who was happy to play firemen-rescuing-people-from-burning-playground-equipment with him.
There were attempts to climb trees.
And Sam brought his bike and baseball stuff. An unfortunate incident occured when he hit his wiffle ball so far that it ended up in the lake.
That night, after Cecilia had gone, we had a back-to-school dinner to celebrate Claire starting her first year of home school and Sammy starting back at City Garden.
We cut out pictures of things that the kids liked from magazines and made crowns for each of them. Claire really picked out most of the pictures. She's going to do gymnastics this year, which explains the gymast picture on her crown.
For Sam's, she basically cut out every sport picture she could find. He loved it.
Claire picked the menu. Her favorite food it take-out chinese chicken. I felt thirsty for about 3 days after this meal. I swear the main ingredient in this stuff is salt. But I didn't mind not having to cook dinner!
Here she is...the big 6 year old.
Haha! The crowns were so tall.
Make-your-own banana splits were for dessert. The kids picked out all the toppings: caramel, fudge, sprinkles, and whipped cream. Sammy and I were a little sick after this (lactose!) but it was totally worth it.
Claire had a sleep-over last night with a friend, and Sammy was lonely, so we let him have a marshmallow roast on the stove with his friends. I think it's official...summer is over. But that's okay. Fall is really my favorite season...it's just so short!