Category Archives: yiayia

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

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. 

 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!!

 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 ūüôā

 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, ūüôā  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

Wait, where were we…

I don’t even know to be honest.

Things have been a bit crazy here and I am tired so bare with me. Let’s see, where to begin. Perhaps a list to start.
1. We had a great visit at the end of last week and again at the beginning of this week from YiaYia and Papou to and from their way to New Jersey.
2. Mette gave her beloved Pink to the Pink Fairy for which she received a My Little Pony per her request. Rainbow Dash now escorts us most places.
3. Mette stopped taking naps. Done, no sign of going back.
4. I don’t remember what 4 was going to be. See #3
5. Eric has had a guest speaker visiting for the last two days, today he did an info session on the London trip and he is filming with students until late tomorrow night.
6. I got food poisoning.
7. A dear friend under went a mastectomy yesterday and while she is home and doing well, the scariness of it all still is shaking me to the core.
8. Otto has a sinus infection because it will NEVER be spring here!!
So, yeah, I am feeling a bit scatter brained. I have been trying my best to keep us full of fun projects and trying to keep the kids from being too bored. I would like to say our days are filled with fun educational games fun frolicking, but that might be going a bit far. We are all eating good homemade food, the house is as clean as it usually is, the laundry is clean and in the case of the kids, put away and I even made Otto some light saber pants the other day. These are normal jammie pants that have a long pocket on the side for him to put his light saber. I made them out of some robot material he picked out a while ago. Our heads are above water and once the sun starts shining I will have a much more positive spin on all of this.
Well, the sun needs to start shining and I need to come up with something to do with the kids that in some way shape or form resembles the glorious quiet time Otto has perfected while Mette napped. Because the free for all that has been the past three days will wear me down real quick.
So, let’s move on to some pictures shall we. Lighten it up a bit.
Here is Mette at playgroup last week in a sea of pink. I wonder where she gets her pink obsession and then I think about Lindsey’s house. Mette LOVES Lindsey who is Otto’s age, largely I think because she actually plays with Mette and is very sweet to her. But she has the greatest pink room you have ever seen. Complete with bins of dresses to try on, and shoes, tiaras, and fairy wands. Really, why do I wonder why she likes pink??
I only managed to get pictures of the grandparents and the kids with my phone and ideally there would have been more light, but still these are some cute shots. We have finally gotten to the point where having visitors is totally exciting for the kids, but they don’t loose control. They keep their cool, have a fantastic time and really get to enjoy the extra attention.
This summer we are heading out to Chicago for the BIG WEDDING and afterwards we are staying to hang out for a while. I am really looking forward to it. We will be museum hopping and just hanging out with family we don’t get to see as much. Otto hasn’t stopped talking about the box of Legos, Matchbox cars and STAR WARS toys that YiaYia said she found in the basement.
Remember how I said I am trying to keep the kids occupied and somewhat engaged? Well we made homemade pretzels on Monday. I think it was Monday, might have been tuesday. I can’t tell anymore. Not only were they a ton of fun to make with the kids, they are really yummy. Otto helped measure out all the ingredients and they both helped roll out the “dough worms”. I let Otto help sprinkle sea salt on them which I was really scared was going to turn out bad. He was great. He carefully sprinkled just enough on each one. I was foolishly not anticipating Mette getting a fist full of salt and helping. Good thing it can just run off!

As I mentioned before, this is the summer of weddings. First in June Uncle Ben is getting married. Mette is to be the flower girl and Otto the ring bearer. Otto has already been fitted for his tux so he is good to go. I had planned on making Mette’s dress along with mine but not anymore. Yesterday I found a dress, tights, shrug and headband all for about the same price as I would have spent of the materials. It fits perfectly and she LOVES it. I won’t ruin the surprise but I couldn’t help post this photo. I am a bit nervous about having the kids behave in a big church, it is a catholic wedding, but seeing her in the dress made me realize, it doesn’t matter what she does, she will be too darn cute for anyone to care!
As if all of this wasn’t excitement enough, Otto has a new passion. Photography. Wonder where he gets that?? His dad, my dad, my step father…. who knows ūüôā
I got a new camera for my birthday so we decided to give Otto my old one. He, no lie, takes about 100 photos a day. A lot are of nothing, but way more than you would expect are great. I am getting a post together with some highlights of what he is taking. Because he is showing such an interest, eric brought home his big camera to show Otto.
He took to it immediately. He doesn’t want anyone else touching him and right away was moving it around lining up a shot he wanted to take. He is more interested in being behind the camera then in front of it which is a huge change for him.

Of course, anything Otto does, Mette has to try.

Speaking of Mette, let’s go back to the whole Pink and napping thing. I have been thinking for a while that maybe it was time to be done with Pink, but I wasn’t sure how to do it. Then this weekend happened. On Saturday night Mette was up until 10 p.m. (bedtime is 7:15 in these parts) screaming and pulling a full on two year old power struggle. It was awesome. Ugh. At some point she bit a hole in a new Pink. I was really frustrated with her for not going to sleep but when I realized we had to take Pink away I actually felt really sorry for her. I explained that she couldn’t have a Pink if she was going to bite holes in them, it was too dangerous. I explained that we could box up the Pinks and leave them for the Pink Fairy and she would come and leave her a present. She knows about this concept because we have talked about the Nuk Fairy who came for Otto. Right away she told me she wanted a pony. Luckily I knew what she meant. When we go to CVS to pick up prescriptions, which lately is all the time, the kids play in the little toy aisle while I wait for the meds. They have a few My Little Pony’s there and Mette always wants them. She looks at the ponies and the PINK phone while Otto looks at the light sabers, TRANSFORMERS, and cars. It keeps them entertained so I don’t have a problem with it. A little pony seemed like a fair trade for her Pinks so I said I would let the Pink Fairy know. She was still up for almost another two hours, however she never once asked for Pink. It has been amazing. The first few times I put her in bed she would say “where is Pinkie” but when I told her she didn’t have Pink anymore there was no crying or even sad face. She just snuggles up with Bibi and is fine. The day after she gave up Pink when she woke up from her nap there was a present waiting for her from the Pink Fairy. She was so excited and still is. Rainbow Dash is her new best friend.

It is a little strange how well she has handled it, but in a good way. It makes me feel good that this was the right time to do it.
That being said, I would have been really happy if she had decided to keep napping for another year or so. I have been saying for a while now that next fall when Otto goes to p.m. preschool Mette would stop napping, just to spite me. Well, she beat me to it. Granted she was starting to be a total bear to get to sleep at night so this will hopefully be for the best, but still it is hard on me. I count on quiet time each day. It is my chance to get stuff done, or do nothing at all. Both of which make me feel better about things in general and in turn helps me to be a more patient mom. Because she is so young it is going to be hard to make quiet time work the way it did with Otto but I have to come up with something. Bedtime has been getting a bit better. I am hoping that in a few more days her body will fall into a new routine. Like giving up pink though it is going far more smoothly than it should. When Otto gave up naps it was a long and difficult transition. He would some days, wouldn’t other days. The days he did nap he would stay up late, the days he didn’t he would crash in the evening and be a total pill. Eric can’t even tell if she has had a nap or not from her behavior. Sunday she wouldn’t go to sleep so I brought her downstairs and she hasn’t look back since.
Think kind thoughts for me. It is only wednesday and it has already been a LONG week.

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Filed under mette no naps, papou, pink fairy, yiayia

the latest in cuteness

Yia-Yia and Papou came to visit us this week.  Unfortunatly despite our bleaching the kitchen and bathrooms and washing everything in hot water, they managed to get the dreaded stomach flu as well.  That makes up 7 for 7 with getting everyone sick.  Otto, me, Ken, Hope, Eric, Rogers and Dee.  Good times.  They spent two days in isolation getting better with gatorade and ginger ale.  Luckily they were here for a week so they still got in some good Otto and Mette time.  I have more pictures from their visit which I will post later but here are some highlights of the past few days.
Otto has continued to be incredibly good about having a new sister. ¬†He seems quite content. ¬†I am aware that could change at any time, but for now it is quite nice. ¬†Mette is also doing wonderfully. ¬†She has had a bit of confusion with day and night, but for the past few days I have been waking her up to eat during the day and trying to establish some routine feeding times and it seems to be helping. ¬†She is even having some longer stretches of being awake during the day which is fun. ¬†She is also doing some three hour stretches of sleep at night which is most wonderful. ¬†By that I mean she is getting up every ¬†three hours to eat. ¬†Since she is kind of a slow eater it takes close to 45 minutes to feed and change her and get her back to sleep but still I am getting in two hour stretches of sleep which is quite nice. ¬†I still feel human in fact. ¬†I am sure that will change. ¬†She is also sleeping almost all of those stints in the co-sleeper and not on me which is a nice start. ¬†If we can keep that up I will be totally psyched! ¬†Right now she is crashed out asleep on my shoulder… ¬†but it is too snuggly to put her down.

Otto quite excited that Mette has “eyes open”
We went for out first stroller outing to lunch with Yia-Yia and Papou this week.  The new stroller is wonderful.  Mette screamed out to the alley and half a block later was totally asleep.  She slept all through lunch, the walk home and then was still.  Just for reference, Otto was at least 4 months old before he liked the stroller and he never cried then fell asleep, ever.

Otto and I made oatmeal raisin cookies for a fun treat yesterday. ¬†He loves helping. ¬†This time I let him lick the paddle attachment for the mixer. ¬†He was in heaven. ¬†It actually works out quite well because it really keeps him busy, but there isn’t very much batter on the paddle and he actually eats very little of it. ¬†Most of it goes on his face. ¬†
One funny OttoMette story. ¬†When Dee and Rogers were leaving we were all saying good-byes. ¬†Dee was holding Mette and saying good bye to Otto. ¬†He waved and said “good bye yia-yia, good bye Mette”. ¬†Just like that, ready to ship off Mette. ¬†We all had a good laugh over that one.

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Filed under cookies, mette, otto, papou, stroller, yiayia