Category Archives: aunt shannon

Birthday Video

For those looking for some recent video action, here is a little movie we made for Aunt Shannon’s birthday.


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Filed under aunt shannon, birthday, mette video, otto video

Penguin Suit No. 2

I am giving an advance warning, this is a photo heavy post.  I am still working though the mounds of photos from this last trip, color correcting, cropping etc…  but if I don’t get a post up tonight it will be a while before I do.  What follows are some highlights of last week’s adventures in Chicago.  The kids and I headed out on Tuesday to spend some time with Yiayia and Papou before Kristin’s wedding.  Despite Irene doing her best to stop him, eric made it out on Saturday for the big wedding and by the skin of our teeth we made it back to PA on Sunday.  18 hours after eric got to Chicago he was back at home.  It was a crazy but wonderful week.
Wednesday we spent most of the day at the Aquarium.  The kids (and me truth be told) had a wonderful time.

We did everything, we saw the Dolphin show, the 4D Dora/Diego show, Jellyfish, everything!

We of course hit up the local water fountain park for some fun in the sun!

Complete with neighbors grandchildren to play with we had a s’mores party in the back yard.

Mette loved the outdoor painting area at the local children’s museum.

She was also the master of the check-out aisle at the grocery store.

The big day approaches so we did a little size checking in preparation for this…

Otto carried the Stefana (Greek wedding crowns) on a big silver platter with total seriousness and control!!

Mette rocked her same dress from Ben and Shannon’s wedding, I just dyed it light purple/pink.  She loved it and looked adorable!

Dare I say it, this is a really nice photo of eric and I!

Working hard on picking up all the flower petals.

Here is the beautiful bride (eric’s cousin) and her groom leaving the church.  Notice Mette’s nice first shot with the rice!  Photo credit: Uncle Ben

Here’s the whole gang.  Dee (eric’s step-mother), her sister and brother and all their respective children and in the case of Otto and Mette, grandchildren.

As soon as the band fired up the kids ran to the floor.  They had been begging to dance from the moment we got it there!  They can really cut it up.

All our dance parties at home have paid off!

Letting loose!

Newlyweds Ben and Shannon taking Mette for a spin.

Ben was quite the dance partner.

Mette danced and danced until she could go no further.  At once she stopped and asked to be picked up. She promptly fell asleep on my shoulder.  It was time to make our rounds saying thank you and head home.  A great night was had by all.

I have a bunch more photos to share but I know there are some of you out there waiting to see these so I thought I should get in gear!

On a side note, Otto starts Pre-K next week!!!!  How did that happen??

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Filed under aunt shannon, chicago, dancing, kristin, papou, uncle ben, wedding, yiayia

Gratuitous Cuteness

This post is of course for everyone, but especially my mom and Rachel who have been asking for pictures of the kids in the wedding.  I have axp. a million pictures but will spare you all the gory details.  Below are some of my favorites along with a few of the man and woman of the day.
The kids did amazing.  They followed direction, walked down the aisle and thanks to the beauty of iPhone’s and iPads they stayed quiet for the ceremony.  The rehearsal dinner, ceremony and reception were all beautiful and wonderful.  Mette got a quick power nap in from 6 -7 pm which allowed her to stay up for the fireworks at 10:30.  Yeah, that was awesome, 🙂  At 10 she was still wide awake with the babysitter and crying to go to the party and dance.  So Eric went down to relieve the babysitter and I took Mette upstairs to the party.  It was midnight until she went to sleep.  Despite that, she was up at 6:28 wanting to go back and dance.  
Despite all of that, we had a wonderful time.
Here they are getting ready to get on the bus to the rehearsal.  I made their matching outfits.  Mette has a new seersucker dress and Otto has fully lined, flat front seersucker pants.  Cuter than cute.

The best picture I managed to snap while getting them to walk down the aisle.  It was a great practice run.

Otto macking it up with eric’s cousin Kristin (he is in her wedding this August).  He would follow her to the ends of the earth.  On thursday we are going to watch one of her baseball games and have dinner at her mom’s house.  He is pretty excited.

Here is where it gets good.  Mette all dressed up with hair curled (yes, I braved all my fears and took a curling iron to her hair) and in her party dress.

Getting on his penguin suit.

I love this photo.  It would be better if there wasn’t a huge light over eric’s head, but in a small hotel room you have to take what you can get!

Biding time….

Hey, Mette, what is in your hair?

Rarely do I do the whole posed photo thing, but this seemed like a good chance.  That’s me rocking my new dress I made for the wedding.  More pictures to come later of the dress….

Serious discussions about how flower girls act in a wedding.

Because I had to “catch” the kids as they came down the aisle I had a hard time getting action shots of them in the church but I will get more soon.  Here is the best I have.

Trying to hard to be quiet.

The lucky man as his soon to be bride walked in the door.

Here she comes!

In between the ceremony and reception I took the kids up to the hotel room and got them a room service dinner.  We had a picnic W style with hotdogs, french fries and a veggie platter.

This is pretty much what the kids looked like during the cocktail hour.


As I sit here at the table posting this YiaYia is working on narrowing pictures down to 200 to fit in an album so to say there are more photos would be an understatement.  As the week goes on I will add more along with other shots of the kids and grandparents on our adventures this week.

Last night eric and I celebrated seven years of marriage with an AMAZING dinner at TRU complete with personalized menus (good job eric!) and possibly the best meal I have ever had.  More on that to come as well.


Filed under aunt shannon, chicago, dress, handmade, papou, uncle ben, wedding, yiayia

Treks and Trains and Trees, oh my

A few weeks ago I mentioned that if it worked out I would really like to take the kids to NYC to see the big tree, lights and hustle and bustle of Christmas time excitement. As I am sure you all know, NY can be really cold in the winter and the idea of freezing little children and an insane amount of gloves, mittens and hats to loose did not really appeal to me. So, we decided to watch the weather and if a good weekend came up, great, if not, it will all be there next year. Well this past Saturday the high was predicted at 40 degrees which sounded balmy considering the snow we had all week leading up to it. A quick check with Ben and Shannon confirmed they would be home that weekend so we could visit with them for a little pre-Christmas festivities and we were packing bags. I love a last minute get away, almost more than one you plan for months for. Eric had meetings until mid-afternoon on Friday but once he walked in the door we loaded up and hit the road.

Despite driving to Hoboken at dinner time we made it there in good time, perfectly timed in fact for the kids to run around like crazy banchies for an hour, open presents and then go to bed exhausted only an hour late. Works for me.
We weren’t quite sure where everyone would sleep at Ben and Shannon’s but neither of us felt like carrying a pack-n-play up three flights of stairs so we decided to wing it once we got there. It was decided that Mette and I would sleep in the spare room upstairs and Otto and eric would sleep on the couch downstairs that converts to a bed. That was great except Otto needed to go to bed before the adults were ready. No worries, we put Mette to bed first, then once she was settled we took up Otto who was by then pretty sleepy. When we were ready to go to bed we carried Otto down to the bed downstairs where he slept with eric. Both our kids now can be transferred with fairly high success rates once they are sleeping which is possibly the greatest thing in the world and something I was sure would never happen!!!
When we went up to get Otto I snuck a quick picture of them because it possibly the cutest thing you have ever seen. This is how they were sleeping after being in the bed for a few hours by themselves.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you about the extreme level of cuteness you just witnessed!!
On Saturday the plan was to bum around the apartment, eat and hang out for the morning then take the train into the city for the afternoon. Aunt Shannon watched Christmas videos with the kids which were a big hit. Gotta love YouTube.
There was much tickling involved for Otto and Uncle Ben over the course of the whole weekend.
Being as it was a warm and lovely December day in NYC we were not the only ones who had the idea to go downtown. It was PACKED!!! But since we don’t usually have to deal with crowds (or ever) here is the ‘burg, it was a nice change of pace. For a little bit at least. Thanks to our kind hosts we even managed to get some pictures with all four of us. I think this one is even cute!
The tree was a big hit. We managed to get right up to the base.
Which was no small feat let me tell you.
Uncle Ben and Aunt Shannon braved the crowds and took Otto to see the skaters.
See the LEGO display in the background, yeah, so did Otto. We worked hard on convincing him that store was not open right now.

Our kind hosts!

I love this picture that Shannon took!

Both Mette and Otto took turns falling asleep in the stroller. Otto slept through stairs, crowds and lunch. Don’t you wish you could do that?

Again, adorable.

The Faden Boys.

Back at the ranch that evening, Mette decided to make herself at home. We have been telling Ben and Shannon funny stories of Mette and her undressing skills but nothing beats the real deal. Mid sentence she stopped and started this….
What comes next?? Why running around in circles of course.

On Sunday we said goodbye to Uncle Ben and Shannon and drove into the city in pouring rain. Our goal, the Natural History Museum and it’s underground parking facility. The museum was a HUGE hit with both kids. How could it not be? That has to be one of the greatest museums ever. The gift shop was also a winner. Otto who is really into space right now found this and I had to get a picture.
I saw many a potential birthday present there.

We did a tour of the dinosaurs and then headed down to the African Animals. Mette went crazy here. She was running from one diorama to the next. It was very exciting.

Taking kids to museums like this is so much fun. Everywhere you go there are amazing things to see and for weeks there are new topics to explore at home. We bought a membership and plan on many more trips.
They had a live butterfly exhibit which was really cool. There was a nice hot and humid room full of plants and amazingly beautiful butterflies everywhere you looked. Some even were landing on people’s clothes.
Otto holding out his finger in the hopes that a butterfly thinks it is a good resting spot.

“there’s one”

It was a great weekend. It was wonderful to have a mini-Christmas with Ben and Shannon and it was refreshing to just pick up and go somewhere without having to bring our entire house with us. If we didn’t need a million jackets and sweaters we really would have been packing light. There is hope, we will be able to go and do more and more stuff. They go to sleep at other people’s houses and they can hack long days of exciting adventures.

The holiday excitement continues to grow here. There are fewer and fewer doors to open on the advent calendar and I think Otto really understands how exciting is. I can be a bit of a scrooge over Christmas I realize, but this year is going to be awesome. Let’s just hope we don’t get a stomach bug like last year!!!


Filed under aunt shannon, christmas, mette, natural history museum, new york, otto, uncle ben

Uncle Benny and Aunt Shannon

Last weekend we had a wonderul, and long overdue visit from Uncle Ben and Aunt Shannon. The kids were so excited to see them!! They arrived at lunch time on Saturday and it is quite the testament to how much they ran around being chased and thrown in the air by Ben and Shannon that they took naps at all on Saturday. But nap they did, and when they woke up, Shannon was there to snuggle with them.

One of Otto’s favorite (and I think eric’s) parts about Ben visiting is waking him up in the morning. He gets to go into the guest room and crawl all over a sleepy Ben. Even though Sunday was the first day of daylight saving time Otto was nice and waited until 7:15 before waking him up 🙂
Sunday was a brisk fall day but we headed to the park anyway. Mette was showing off her train skills.

“All ABOARD!!”

I love the colors in this. It was a good choice of jacket I must say!

Otto spent most of the time at the park swinging. Some things never change.

Before they headed home on Sunday night I was determined to get some good photos of then with the kids. Otto of course only came as the STIG. It is next to impossible to get a family photo from these kids at the end of the day, but a few out of the hundred I took look pretty cute.
There is something about this one that I find very charming.
It IS impossible to get a photo of the four of us, when you try to do it after a photo shoot with Ben and Shannon. This is the only one I am willing to share.
It was a great weekend and something we have to try harder to do more often. I would really like to get the kids into NY to see all the Christmas lights this year if the weather is good for a weekend. Hopefully we can meet up with them for that!

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Filed under aunt shannon, ferrari outfit otto, otto, otto and mette, otto ferrari suit, uncle ben

The Party

The main reason for us traveling to Chicago this weekend, besides visiting family, was to celebrate uncle Ben’s engagement to Shannon. Yiayia and Papou held a wonderful party in their back yard for the occasion. It was quite a beautiful night. As an engagement gift to the couple I made the a banner to hang at the party and future events should they desire. Tentative colors for the wedding are navy and lime green with a hint of pink.

The happy couple on the left, Eric Mette and I on the right.

Mette in her party dress, thank you Nonna Jen!

Eric, Otto, Dee (yiayia), me, Mette, Rogers (papou)
Ben, Shannon

The whole Greek clan.

Summer parties are magical.

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Filed under aunt shannon, chicago, handmade, otto and mette, travel, uncle ben, vacation


After nap time we hit the cupcake store to get some sugar to burn off at the park. Yum!

Are you surprised my kids found the water?

The ever brave and fun aunt Shannon.

A very happy boy contemplating his next move.

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Filed under aunt shannon, otto, travel, uncle ben