Category Archives: chicago

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

Total ReCap

Remember those books that people used in Middle School when they were doing reports and were too lazy to read the actual book, what were they called??  I can’t remember, I don’t think I ever used them, I am a sucker for reading books, even crappy ones, but you know what I mean.  Well, this post is going to be the blog post equivalent of those books.  
Man, this is driving me crazy that I can’t remember what they are called.
I have some great shots and stories to share from this summer and while together they make for a jumbled post, if you think of it as a “recap” it sort of holds together.
First, the bunk beds.  With a summer of traveling and leaving for London at Christmas time we felt it was important to move Mette to a big girl bed sooner rather than later so we didn’t have to think about cribs and where she would sleep etc…  Being in a post diaper, post crib, post stroller (almost) world makes traveling about a million times easier.  The kids still share a room and really seem to like it.  The plan is to keep them together for as long as they like which hopefully will be for a while.  They have a big room but bunk beds really seemed like a fun idea.  I found some online that I liked but were crazy expensive.  Luckily we have Grandpa and he was willing to make a version of them for us at cost. They of course are even cooler than the super cool ones I found online and the kids LOVE them.  Together with the furniture they already had and fun sheets the room looks fun and cheery.  It makes me smile every time I go in there.

 Eric installed lights under Otto’s bunk so at night we all pile into Mette’s bed and read stories.

The bunk beds arrived a few days before we headed to Chicago which was perfect because the kids sleep in bunk beds there.  So far Mette has been doing a great job of staying in her bed.  I even took off the side rails a few days ago and she has only fallen out of bed once.  I will count that as success!!

I mentioned briefly that while in Chicago after Ben and Shannon’s wedding eric and I celebrated 7 years of marriage.  We spoiled ourselves with and AMAZING four hour dinner at TRU in downtown Chicago.  If you follow the link they are still showing the menu we ordered from.  We did it all.  Eric got the chef’s tasting menu, the big one, and I did the pre fixe with additional items from the chef’s menu.  I couldn’t let him get 7 courses while I only had three!!  The only thing we didn’t do was the caviar staircase.  We thought about it though!  The service was perfect.  There only when you needed them, not stuffy, willing to talk and enjoy themselves, in a word, perfect. Normally I am not a fan of having my picture taken in restaurants or really anywhere where it looks touristy but this meal was so wonderful and the evening so perfect I didn’t even mind.

One of the main reasons I ordered the pre fixe menu was for this dish.  It was simply described as Rabbit with a melange of Spring.  How can you pass that up??  What is a melange of Spring?  Or any season for that matter.  It was fantastic.  Light, delicious and as you can see here, beautiful.  It was all amazing but the soup from the chef’s tasting menu that was the inside of an English Pea, that was out of this world.  There were crumbles of lavender scented homemade marshmallows scattered along a chilled soup bowl into which table side, they poured the greenest pure pea soup I have ever tasted.  The combination of the cold marshmallow with the warm pea soup was amazing.

 In addition the the courses we ordered there were many more that arrived which we did not order.  There were no less than three desserts, only one of which we picked.  Everything was wonderful.  When eric made the reservation he mentioned it was our anniversary (sly thing he is) and this….

 arrived to finish off the night.  It was lovely.  When we were seated our menus said Welcome Faden Party and Happy Anniversary and when we left they gave us a printed menu of everything we had that night which was also personalized.  The menu is now framed in the dining room, inspiration for dinner parties to come.

After Chicago we were home for about a week before we headed off again.  Eric was lecturing at a summer camp in Conn, at Choate High School.  Since it isn’t far from where my grandparents live and the beach the kids and I tagged along.  It was fun taking the kids to the beach where I clocked in many hours every summer growing up.

Otto living the good life got to eat lunch in a special cabinet left available for kids to play in.  There was even a lantern since he was pretending to be camping.

My grandfather managed to get a great shot of the four of us, a rarity to be sure!

Despite being crazy hot, later that week we went downtown to hear Averie (she was the house band at my restaurant for a while and sang at eric and I’s wedding) play.  The kids had a great time.  Mette was cutting the rug!!

We went to three birthday celebrations in one week.  Mette has mastered the art of eating cake while actually not eating the cake at all.  She just sucks off the icing.  It is the best way to get in all the sugar!

Mette, somehow managed to find time to decorate herself.  That is a butterfly she drew on her dress, in washable markers luckily!!!

We were also here for the sidewalk chalk festival which is always a lot of fun.  Our kids aren’t really old enough for it yet, but it is great fun walking around seeing what everyone else is doing.  It is one of the events downtown that really gets a bunch of people out.  Strolling market street on a friday night in a crowd is a special treat here!

There are many more pictures and some amazing videos that we are getting together.  The summer is winding down but I hope my blogging to pick up again!

more soon!

Cliff Notes, that is what they were called!!  I was just about to google it when it came to me.  Ah, I can rest now.

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Filed under chicago, grandpa, rowayton, summer vacation

Chicago Part 3 of 3

Here we go again.  More pictures from the trip.
Papou and I took a trip out to the Brookfield Zoo along with a million other school groups and the hot sun.  The kids were a bit hot and whinny, but who could blame them, but we had a good time anyway.  We did find this small children’s zoo in the middle of the regular zoo that was air conditioned and filled with cool exhibits.  Including this one where the kids got to pretend they were birds and sit on eggs.  They both really got into it.
Mette backing up to land on her egg. 
 Landed!

 Otto waiting patiently for his egg to hatch.
 Otto made a friend fast and they all got together to hatch eggs.
 Checking out some other nests.

 They had a room filled with plants and spray bottles for the kids to water the plants with.  Brilliant.  Otto would have been fine here for hours.

 Mette found a table with some natural blocks and started building.

 “Mommy take a picture of me with the Nunicorn”, that is mette speak for unicorn.
 “no, see, it’s a nunicorn, look at it’s horn”  Of course, silly me!
 They even had story time!
 Share misters with Mette at your own risk.
 Rhino sighting

 After the zoo daddy was retrieved from the airport after his trip to L.A..  We meet him at the sushi restaurant for dinner.  Otto did not disappoint.  That boy packs away the fish and roe like it is his job.  He is amazing!!

 Roe.
 On Saturday we went to the Botanical Gardens which are nearby and really beautiful.
 Mette, catching up with Otto.  I love how she still has the head down running technique.  Otto has mostly grown out of that already…

 This is the best picture of the four of us we have had in a while.

 On Sunday our trip was almost over.  My brother who has been living in Chicago for the last six years has decided to come back to PA to work on his portfolio and prepare for grad school.  Since we were there with a car and an extra seat we offered to bring him back with us.  On Sunday eric and I picked up a U-Haul trailer, headed downtown and loaded him all up.  Monday morning the five of us set out for home.  This was my view for 13 hours as we made the trek.  Eric driving, Racer and his long legs up front while I manned the computers, toys and snacks.  Mette slept for 25 minutes in the morning when we got going and Otto was up the entire 13 hours!!!  Otto was an angel, Mette had her moments but they both hung in there and were in good spirits when we rolled into home at 10:30 monday night.

 The view out the back.  
It was a wonderful trip, even if the road home was long.

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Filed under chicago, papou, sushi, uncle racer, vacation, yiayia, zoo

Chicago Part 2 of 3

Really, I have WAY too many photos from this last trip.  But when you are having fun it is hard to stop snapping away.  Since before I really only posted wedding photos, here are a few more of the whole trip, with more to come.  
First of all, on the way out we drove the trip in two days.  We spent the night in Toledo, OH at the Crowne Plaza which was a lovely hotel if you are ever in Toledo fyi.  We got the kids totally excited about Toledo by chanting TOLEDO, TOLEDO, TOLEDO with rock star fists pumping in the air.  Why, because they are two and four and if you tell them something is cool, they believe you.  And that kind of power totally rocks.  And truth be told, Toledo did rock.  As we pulled into our hotel we noticed it was located a few blocks from a minor league baseball stadium and the team was out warming up.  The valet told us there was a game starting at 7.  SCORE!  We hit up the hotel pool to burn off some car energy, found a local restaurant that served a strange Hungarian menu with hot dogs of sorts, dumplings which were like spaetzel and relishes then headed to the game.  As we got to the gate some woman offered us two free tickets.  It was meant to be.  We got some ice cream for the kids and sat down to watch a few innings in the lovely 100 degree weather.  It was a huge hit, especially when between innings some girls came out with big canon things and fired balls into the audience.  Otto LOVED that part!!

 We arrived in Chicago on Thursday and had dinner with YiaYia, Papou and Uncle Matt which was of course wonderful.

 Uncle Matt teaching Otto mad skills.
 There are a few more pictures from the rehearsal.  I just really like this photo of eric!
 Mette snuggling with YiaYia
 Here are the kids in their trial run down the aisle.
 This picture of Otto just before the wedding is so great.  
 Here are the kids with YiaYia and Papou before we left for the church.
 Otto with his love, Kristin.
 Getting coached by aunt Pitsa before walking down the aisle.
 Mette is one of the slowest walkers in the world, Otto was making her keep up 🙂

 Again, a great shot of eric, with brother Matt in the background.

 Another great attraction in Chicago is the children’s museum.  We had a blast here with the kids.

 We also hit up the Museum of Science and Industry which is always a great experience.

 I wish I had the camera at this point of the evening.  It was in eric’s pockets downstairs.  People were sitting down for dinner and the band was playing jazzy music, the dance floor was open.  Otto spent the entire time doing the worm and rolling all over dancing and jumping.  It was fantastic!

 On Sunday before heading out of the city, we took the kids to the Lincoln Park Zoo.  It is a really great zoo, I had never been there before.  We of course had to ride the “ponies that go up and down and play music”.

 Eric headed to L.A. for work on Tuesday while the kids and I were spoiled by grandparents.  We even had a fire in the backyard and roasted marshmallows.

 Papou took us to the Field Museum where we saw an amazing exhibit on whales and checked out all the dioramas 

 We also took a trip to see Papou’s new plane hanger and plane paint job.  It looks amazing!

 Otto was super excited to sit in the plane!
 Remember, there is no minimum age for a pilot’s license.

 Watching jets take off and land.
 Trying their flying skills at home.

I have more photos to post later, plus stories and updates but this will have to hold you for tonight.

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Filed under chicago, kristin, papou, 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.

Dancing

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.

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

my Mun-Key

During our recent trip to visit family in Chicago Mette fell in love, big time. It all started innocently enough, a small crush you might say. One day after waking up from her nap she looked up to the top of the bookcase in the room where we stay and saw a stuffed mama gorilla holding a baby gorilla. Mun-key, Mun-Key she shouted full of glee. It took me a while to see what she was looking at, but once I saw the stuffed animal I got it. While there are many things that are off limits to little person’s hands when visiting grandparent’s houses, a stuffed animal in the room where we stay seemed like it might be ok for her to play with. I got it down for her and she held on to it the whole way downstairs while proclaiming Mun-key!!! I checked with the powers that be, namely Yiayia and Papou and it was determined that the mun-key could stay with the girl. Good thing because it would have been a tearful break-up I’m afraid. Since that afternoon when she is getting tired or you speak of bed instead of just asking for Bibi (her word for her blankie which sounds an awful lot like baby, which means doll, which is very confusing) she also asks for Mun-Key. Every time we sit down to nurse before bed she holds her Bibi and now she needs Mun-Key as well. It is starting to get a bit crowded in the glider chair.

Really though, how can you resist something as cute as this?


Welcome to the family Mun-Key, I have a feeling you are here to stay.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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Filed under chicago, mette, mette sleep, weaning

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.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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