Saturday, January 30, 2010

Off to a Great Start!

2010 started with a bang. We've been so busy having fun, I've barely had time to write about it all! Here are some highlights from the last month:

Dan's the Man
It all started with a visit from our hilarious friend, Dan Matarelli, who came down for a long weekend from Peoria. The first night he was here, we went out for sushi and then to Nashville's Music Row. We listened to live music at The Stage, which calls itself "Nashville's Most Rockin' Country Club." There were tourists, Vanderbilt students, young guys in cowboy hats and older folks line dancing with their sweethearts. It was fun to take it all in. Dan earned himself a fly-by butt pinch. The rest of the weekend was just as fun -- Rob and Dan visited a local brewery that recently opened in a civil war jail, and made a feast in Rob's smoker. Madeline adored Dan -- he's fluent in three-year-old humor. Even though we supposedly hosted him, we felt like he treated us the entire weekend. We're looking forward to his next visit already.

Farewell to Friends
Next, we celebrated our dear friends, Codie and Robert, with a small dinner party in their honor since they'll be moving to Florida soon. Codie and I met through our MOMS Club and Junior League; we were both Delta Gammas, both have husbands in finance, and our kids are nearly the same age. We will miss them so much!

Rockstar Friend and a House Full of Monkeys...
Last week, one of my best friends, Erin, drove nine hours by herself with her two adorable children all the way from Wilmette, IL to visit us. Talk about ambition, courage and friendship! I love Erin for such a generous gift - it meant more to me than she knows! She is also home full time and we thought it would be so fun to do our jobs together for a week! Cassidy is 2 1/2 and Gavin is only three weeks younger than Charlie, so the kids had a blast together, and Erin and I got to catch up from 6am (if we were lucky) until 10pm every day. The girls played with playdoh and dress ups, baked cookies and brownies, made cards to send in the mail to their daddies, and chased Maple around the house. The boys were totally inseparable and literally on top of each other like a couple of lion cubs. One evening, Erin and I snuck out for a late dinner after the kids were in bed, walking into a songwriters open mic night at Pucketts, which has delicious southern food. What an amazing visit! We can't wait for our next reunion in Brown County this April!

With the new year well under way, we feel especially blessed by all the incredible friendships that make our lives full, fun and meaningful. At breakfast the other morning, Madeline asked excitedly, "Mommy, now who's coming to see us?!" We're looking forward to Rob's family's visit in February. But first, Charlie and I head to Denver for a bridal weekend to celebrate Mollie!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Rob and I had plans to go to a New Year's Eve party last night, but when our babysitter canceled last minute, we decided to have a fabulous party of our very own! Madeline and I put on party dresses, Rob put on a tie, and Charlie...well, he put on a fresh diaper for the occasion. Since party supplies were picked over in the stores, we rang in the new year with Dora birthday party hats, princess blowers, mini neon sunglasses and pink balloons. We had a wild dance party, ordered in Domino's, and let Madeline have as much hot cocoa as she could drink (you may notice it all over her face). With both kids in bed by 7pm, Rob and I played the new Chutes and Ladders that Madeline got for Christmas. Then Rob taught me how to play Texas Hold 'Em and Five Card Draw, betting with Cheerios. I beat him silly! Beginner's luck. We made New Year's goals, DVRed the ball drop, and went to bed a little tipsy before midnight. It was a perfect.

It's so refreshing to look out on a brand new year -- a brand new decade! -- and imagine all the possibilities. And I love reflecting back and remembering how far we've come and all the fun we've had.

A decade ago, Rob and I were new college grads, moving to Chicago with friends -- starting jobs, figuring out how to pay taxes and feeling grown up. We became newlyweds, traveled throughout Europe, the States and the Caribbean, and had two beautiful babies. We turned 30, and went to our 10-year high school reunions. We learned with the passing of my mom how fragile life is. That everything and everyone must be celebrated and appreciated, and to never let a moment pass without telling people how special they are. It's hard to imagine ten years have passed so quickly; I feel like a (slightly) more mature version of my 22-year-old self. My sisters would probably say I still act like a 12-year-old sometimes, and they're absolutely right. But I'd take it a step further and say that Rob and I get to act like we're three, playing grocery store, pretending to be frogs and dressing up like pirates and princesses. Life playfully brings us back just as it moves us forward. I want to pinch people who complain about getting older. I'm highlighting premature grays and smearing wrinkle cream around my eyes, but each year is another chance to reinvent ourselves and try something new. What a privilege and blessing!

We're wishing you a happy, healthy and hopeful 2010!