Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011

We arrived home today after a weekend celebrating Christmas with my family. The dogs are happy to be reunited with us and we have a lot of work ahead to unpack, catch up on laundry and catch up on other housework.

Cousin McKenzie and baby Jaspyr

Cousin-in-law Mallory, Kamdyn, Adyson and Cousin-in-law Wayne

Sister Cathy and niece Brylea

Brylea on Christmas with her two new purses

Adyson the budding photographer

Thursday, December 22, 2011

New ornaments

Tomorrow we leave for Missouri so today Joe and I opened our stockings. I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit that we are like small children at times and already opened our larger Christmas gifts to each other. Of course we justified opening the other gifts by saving our stockings until right before we left town. We both got each other some fun things including new ornaments.

I adore the movie Up so when I first saw this ornament in a picture my friend Laura posted I knew this was my must-have ornament of the year. I had actually thought about telling Joe to please buy it for me but then thought maybe that wasn't the most polite thing to do so I never mentioned it. What an awesome surprise to find it in my stocking!

If you know Joe, you know that he is obsessed with pizza. I'm sure he thinks it should be its own food group and the only thing one needs to eat on a regular basis. Obviously when I saw this slice of pizza ornament, I knew it would be perfect in our house and on our tree.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Flattering or annoying?

I have come to realize there is a fine line between being flattered and being annoyed. For me, it's my age. I have gotten a lot of comments recently from people thinking I'm much younger than I am. And maybe if I was 64 instead of 34 that would be flattering but, at this point, I just want to be treated like an adult in my 30s.

A week or two ago, I had the UPS guy bring a package to my door and as I was signing he asked very seriously if I was old enough to sign. "You need to be 21," he said.

Last week my church hosted a ladies' Christmas brunch. While at the brunch, I met a lot of people I didn't know. I am not exagerating when I say most everyone I met that day for the first time asked if I was a college student...and they didn't mean graduate school.

Today Joe and I went to a movie. He usually gets the tickets at the window but today I picked them up...and I got carded for an R-rated movie. Tell me that I at least look 17. (The movie, by the way, was Young Adult...ironic, no?)

All of this to say that the fine line between being flattered and being annoyed has been officially crossed. Afterall, I have gray hair and a mortgage!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Neighborhood Fun

Tonight we went to a dessert party hosted by our neighbors two-doors-down. While this might not seem like a blog worthy post, it was a huge deal for Joe and I to receive this hand-delivered invitation. You see for more than a decade I have been a renter and when you are a renter, typically, you're not very connected to your neighbors...more so when you live in apartment complexes. Unless, of course, someone you went to school with from kindergarten through high school moves in next door (true story) or you move into a new apartment complex and realize a work associate/friend lives in the building across from you (true story)...those were such fun days that I have missed so much...but mostly I have gone through long periods not knowing neighbors and feeling very disconnected from the people who live near by. And now we have neighbors we know by name who actually pick up our newspapers if we leave town and forget to cancel's wonderful!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

To the Market

Today Joe and I took the train downtown to go to the Christkindlmarket. This German Christmas market comes to Chicago for the month before Christmas. We went last year on Christmas Eve for the first time. It was so crowded we didn't look as much as I'd have liked but we did eat some really great German food.

Life-size nativity at the front of the market.
Joe enjoying his hot chocolate on this cold and drizzly day.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Welcome to the Family!

We have added a new member to the family just for the holiday season - our very own reindeer! Hmm...maybe we need to give this cutie a name. Any suggestions?

Unlike a real reindeer, this one smells really good.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thankful, Day Four

Our last day in DC, we made it to a few more memorials that we didn't see earlier. Among those still on our list were the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in which we took a 45-min audio tour, the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.

Martin Luther King Jr Memorial.

The first of many sculptures at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. This one depicts his early presidency.

This sculpture at the FDR memorial is that of a 1930s breadline.

This sculpture depicts FDR's famous Fireside Chats.

Eleanor Roosevelt.

FDR and his dog, Fala.
Me and Fala...definitely my favorite sculpture of all.

The entrance to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.
One last view of the Washington Monument.

Thankful, Day Three

Joe and I started our third day in DC by visiting the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. I vividly remember watching a news special on tv about the US Holocaust Memorial Museum before it opened to the public. Even though the museum opened in 1993 and eighteen years have passed since I watched that story about the museum, it has never left my mind. For obvious reasons, they don't allow photography in the museum but my experience there will never be forgotten. It's a place that everyone should visit if given the opportunity.

We then headed to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. I think since a lot of people were off work and kids were out of school, this museum was especially crowded...and there were screaming children everywhere. We didn't last too long before calling it a day but we did see a few things.

The Hope Diamond which is temporarily set in a gaudy Harry Winston setting to celebrate the anniversary of the donation to the Smithsonian.
African Elephant in the middle of the museum.

Thankful, Day Two

Before eating our turkey dinner, we visited the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. One of the main reasons for our trip was to visit Julia Child's kitchen.

My mother-in-law and me standing outside the exhibit of Julia Child's kitchen.

Loved the exhibit for Julia Child's kitchen and how they put everything exactly as it had been in her house and her own kitchen.

The ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz.

First Lady Michelle Obama's inaguration gown.

Characters from Jim Henson's Sam and Friends, including Kermit the Frog.

Thankful, Day One

Joe and I met his mom and stepdad in Washington, DC this past week to celebrate Thanksgiving. It had been over 20 years (gosh, I'm old!) since my last trip to DC. While many things had changed, much of it was still as I had remembered. Day one, Joe and I explored the city and many of its memorials before having an amazing Mexican dinner.

The White House.

World War II Memorial with the Washington Monument in the background.

A quote on one of the walls of the World War II Monument that I especially liked.

"Three Servicemen" part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

The Lincoln Memorial.

Korean War Veterans Memorial.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall.
Vietnam Women's Memorial.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

An interview...with me!

My sweet friend, Nichole is participating in NaBloPoMo. And she decided to interview yours truly for her blog. By the way, Nichole is a blogging extraordinaire so I consider myself to be kinda famous now. Read my interview here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


This might seem lame but I am tired of really good shows getting cancelled. First, Arrested Development. Last year it was Terriers on FX. Now one of my favorites, Community, has been pulled from the mid-season lineup and could be cancelled. Let me just say, there are other shows on NBC that are worthy of being cancelled but this show is actually really clever. And it's practically the only thing my husband and I agree on. So help a girl out, please. Sign the petition. Tweet. FB. Seriously, I'm desperate. Much thanks!


So I didn't get around to making any homemade treats but a store-bought birthday cake is better than no birthday cake, right? (And actually this store bought cake is probably better than something I would have made myself.) Happy birthday, Joe! I hope this is a wonderful year for you.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pre-birthday celebrating

The hubs birthday is Tuesday and, like usual, I will be in class. But not to worry, we have had a full weekend celebrating early. Here's the short list:

David Sedaris live
Lunch at one of our favorite restaurants
Birthday shopping
Video games (Okay, this one was all Joe.)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Here are my nieces in their Halloween costumes. They did some Trunk or Treating last night and then will be all set to go door-to-door tonight.


Pumpkin Brylea with her mom, Cathy.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


The Basilica of the Scared Heart on the campus of Notre Dame is deserving of its own post. What a beautiful and breath-taking church. It reminded me of some of the cathederals I visited in Italy and was so magnificient.


I have definitely watched more baseball in the last three weeks than I have in the last three years. It's been so much fun following the Cardinals and rooting them on to their World Series championship. My husband, I think, is grateful that it's over as he has wondered what's happened to his wife who is suddenly obsessed with baseball players instead of boy-band members and talks about game stats instead of recipes. Don't get me wrong, I have always had my favorite teams but typically watch sporadically at best and then always seem to get really into sports when they get exciting. But alas, this weekend hasn't just been about baseball...

Joe and I went to South Bend, IN to see the Notre Dame/Navy game. We bid on the tickets months ago at a charity event and Saturday was the big game. It's one of those historical places that I've heard about my entire life and seen in movies (Rudy, anyone?) and yet I never really figured I'd ever see the place. But now it's just a couple hours away.

We got there a few hours early to enjoy the campus, see the basilica and eat a steak sandwich in the Quad. Notre Dame clobbered Navy so it was another win for the team I was rooting for.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Blog slacker

I have been a blog slacker as of late. So what's new here? This sums up life: go to class, do homework, go to class again, do more homework, accompany Joe to a work event, volunteer, do more homework, clean the house, do laundry, do some more laundry but not before doing more homework.

Friday, October 07, 2011

All that jazz

Just got back from seeing Esperanza Spalding tonight in concert. The tickets were an early birthday present for Joe. He loves her but I didn't know much about her before tonight...only that she won the 2011 Grammy for Best New Artist beating Justin Bieber, Mumford & Sons and Florence + The Machine. Great mellow concert and perfect weather for a stroll in the city.

Sunday, October 02, 2011


My niece Adyson turned four today and I was able to watch her play socceer (kids that age are quite entertaining when "playing" sports) and then we had dinner at her house tonight.

Brylea is modeling the outfit I had bought for Adyson when she was Brylea's age.

Both nieces wanted to sit on Aunt Amy's lap. Adyson is modeling her new birthday clothes.

Adyson loving on her dog after her soccer game today.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My review

Since Joe and I love movies so much, we always look forward to Fridays when the movie section comes in our newspaper. We love living in a place where two of the most famous movie reviewers write for our newspaper and love having a big section of the paper devoted to movies and reviews. Well one of those movie reviewers (Richard Roeper) was hosting a special screening for Moneyball. After a couple days of trying to win tickets, I finally did. Joe and I got to attend the screening last night and it was so much fun. First of all, this isn't just a baseball movie, it's an Oscar-worthy baseball movie and it was fantastic. Secondly, the theatre was plush with leather seats, cocktails and gourmet food. We also were treated to a Q&A afterwards with our host. It was such a fun night. Lots of pictures were taken so I'm hoping to post pictures when I find out where we can get access to them.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Way

Alison and I went to a movie screening tonight for The Way. It was fantastic. I know I can be a bit emotional at times (understatement?) but rarely does a film make me both laugh and cry for two hours straight. It was really compelling and I loved everything about it. In fact, I can't wait to see it again when it officially comes out. After the movie, Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez did a Q&A with the audience and they are both so nice and gracious. What a great night and experience. Go. See. This. Movie.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


I had a fantastic birthday today. Joe and I played miniature golf (at two different courses - we're hardcore) and tonight went out for a great dinner - king crab legs. The kicker was our dessert. We ordered a piece of carrot cake to share. That piece of carrot cake turned out to be a 3 1/2 pound chunk of carrot cake. I'm not even sure these pictures do it justice. Needless to say, we took a LOT of food come home with us tonight!

Thursday, September 01, 2011

The Great American Road Trip, Part 3

Our last full day in South Dakota, we decided to take a road trip to Deadwood. Joe is a fan of the old HBO series so he was pretty excited to see the place. We were a little disappointed once we actually got there because there were far more bars/casinos and less things to actually do than we'd anticipated. We decided to take a tour which turned out to be a great idea.

After Deadwood, we headed back to Keystone to visit Crazy Horse during some beautiful weather. We were so glad we came back, too, because we got to see see some amazing Native American dancing.

In Deadwood we visited the grave of Wild Bill Hickok.

Also buried nearby was Calamity Jane.

One of the dancers we watched at the Crazy Horse museum site.
Joe with the Crazy Horse monument in the background.

I wonder if the monument will be finished in my lifetime? It's hard to believe it's been in progress since 1948.

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