Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

As in years past, today I am reminded that I have so much to be thankful for. 

I am thankful for my amazing, ridiculously crazy husband, who is the best life partner ever. 

I am thankful to be an aunt to so many awesome kids. I'm thankful my oldest nephew and niece are spending Thanksgiving with us and that they are old enough to do random favors for me and young enough not to say no when I ask. I'm thankful to have spent so much more time this year than ever before with our middle three nephews and niece. I'm thankful for my two littlest nieces, my sisters' girls, who have added a whole new level of happiness to our family. 

I am thankful for my sisters and the fact that they have great husbands in their lives. I am thankful for my parents and for their health. I am thankful to have in-laws that rock.

I am thankful to have a challenging and stable job. And I'm thankful Rob has the same. 

I'm thankful that I've gotten a wee bit stronger and can now rock out an 11 minute mile pace in a 5K... 10 minute mile, here I come!

I am thankful that I count the most fantastic people among my closest friends. Even though most of you aren't local (grumble, grumble), I am thankful that geographical distance is the only distance between us. 

I am thankful to have read some new books this year. 

I am thankful to have started the New Year on a different continent!

I am thankful to have rocked out wedding after wedding of fabulous people this year and thankful for the weddings of fabulous people already lined up for next year. 

Life is good, people. And it's due in large part to all of you!!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

We're back!

I'm sorry we've been missing so long. There is lots to catch up on. Trips to San Antonio, Michigan, London, Atlanta, Vegas, Cleveland and Wisconsin, to name a few. Fortunately some of the trips have included lots of time with our nieces and nephews. Yea! We also had some friends show up in Chicago to visit us as well. Way cool. 

Some catch up pics below. More soon!

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Must Read

We should be back to blogging in just a couple more weeks. In the mean time, a great read about a great judge.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Baby nieces definitely know how to make you smile!

Could our littlest nieces be any cuter? Whenever I'm feeling stressed, I track down pictures of my nieces and nephews. Never fails to cheer me up!

Tess looking up at her dad, I think.

Rhone settled in for her first road trip -- to Indy.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Yet another cute niece wearing Hawks gear

Tess was wearing Hawks gear for the gold medal game too. Here she is with Grandpa.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

USA Settles for Silver

Major bummer to see the US lose the gold medal match. Resa put Rhone in hockey gear right before the US tied the game to head to OT. Sadly, it was not enough to get the victory. But if the US had to lose, at least Rhone got to see three Blackhawks earn gold medals.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Maaaaaaaaan, I am tired

So much for being a better blogger in 2010!


I am working too much per usual. It's pretty rough.

But there are some silver linings:

1. We spent a recent weekend in Boston. The impetus for the weekend was a Penn Law Wives Club reunion ... aka three Penn Law alums (me, Ali, Sophia) and our "wives" (Rob, Eddie, Fritz) gathered in Boston where Ali and Eddie live. We chilled out (with Sophia, Eddie and I squeezing in way more work than we should have over the weekend too). But wow. I needed that. The chill part anyway. Good friends make life so much better.

2. Since we were in Boston, we snuck over to Bill & Claire's to catch up and meet their 18-month-old daughter Maggie. So wonderful to finally meet her in person!!

3. And we snuck over to Deborah & Josh's to see them for the first time in years and meet their little guy Ephraim, who is destined to be the funniest kid ever given his parents comedic talents.

More to come on Chile and the rest of our lives. For now just know we're hanging in there. We love you all for checking in.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Go Colts!

Our second youngest niece Tess has great taste in football teams....

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Welcome to the world our new niece Rhone!

Yesterday (Saturday), our newest niece was born at 8:03pm. Her name is Rhone Parker (last name not included because she doesn't need an internet presence just yet, but it's Nick's last name for the curious).

Resa went into labor on Friday, probably in the morning some time. Her water broke around 2:30pm on Friday. She went to hospital at 8pm. And then... the marathon really began, culminating in a three hours pushing session before Rhone arrived into the world. We were sooooo happy to see her.

Resa was beyond amazing through such a long and hard labor. She was so strong and so fierce, I was just in awe. And I was so happy to be with her and Nick for the experience. It was very special to see the moment Resa and Nick first met their baby girl.

When all was said and done, the adrenaline began fading. Rob and I left the hospital a little after 10pm and I logged a solid 11 hours sleep last night. Definitely needed it. Rob was also a rock star -- essentially running non-stop errands for me, Resa and Nick the whole time we were at the hospital.

Without further adieu, here's little Rhone!

Uncle Rob and Rhone. She's about 1 hour old. Naturally Rob is wearing his Blackhawks hat.

And here's Aunt Kathy with little Rhone. She looks so much like her mom in this picture. I can't believe how happy I look in this picture given my sleepless and unshowered state!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Chile - part 1

I am having some serious annoyances uploading pictures on this blog lately. Booo. So for today's post about our first leg in Chile, the pictures are in reverse order. Naturally.

We left for the airport in Chicago early in the afternoon on the 22nd. We landed in Miami a few hours later. We were infuriated by LAN Airlines' check-in system for our flight to Santiago -- which basically involved not checking anyone in for an hour. Our plane left a little late, but our 10-hour LAN flight wasn't too terrible as far as 10-hour flights in coach go. (Not that I've ever experienced a 10-hour flight anywhere but coach.)

Finally we arrived in Chile on the 23rd around 9am... which is 6am Chicago time, I believe. We picked up a rental car and hit the road for Colchagua Valley, one of Chile's wine regions. Just a couple hours later we arrived at Casa Silva. We had a lovely lunch - including our first tastes of Chilean wine in Chile! - while we waited for our room to be ready. We ate in a gorgeous courtyard in perfect weather. It was a fantastic beginning to our vacation!

We grabbed a quick nap after lunch and then raced out the door to Lolol, which we thought was about 30 minutes away but which was in fact 60 minutes away. We were meeting Andres, the man who runs our friend Erica's vineyard. Our miscalculation and some other misadventures (including our inability to find a phone - there is a single public phone in the small town of Lolol - and our inability to figure out how to use that phone) got us to Andres much belatedly. But he took us to Erica's vines and showed us some gorgeous views of one of Chile's many wine valleys. (Picture below.)

We left him around 7pm but still had to kill an hour before anything would be open for dinner. Most Chilean restaurants begin dinner service at 8 or 9pm. We landed at Pan Pan Vino Vino for dinner right as their doors opened at 8pm, where we got our next delicious sips of Chilean wine and laughed at the friendly dog wandering around the restaurant.

On the 24th we visited two fantastic wineries. We started at Montes where we got a private tour of their vineyards and winemaking facilities and then had a wine tasting of some of their best wines. (A picture of us in front of the vineyards is below.)

Then we went a couple doors down the road to Clos Apalta, which is the high end part of the larger Lapostolle. We were joined on our tour by a very friendly American couple who had just come from Patagonia, our next leg in Chile. They gave us the helpful hint of buying ski caps for our hiking in Patagona. I'm so glad we did!

We didn't think wine facilities could top Montes, but Clos Apalta did. We got to see a giant wall of granite across from the barrel room, which is the granite they blasted through to build their facility. They left some of the granite untouched and exposed to serve as a natural, temperature-regulating wall. We also got to feel a wine barrel made from 500-year-old French oak. No word on when the wine cooking in there is coming out.

Our wine tasting at Clos Apalta was on top of a giant stone table in their small barrel room. And, surprise, the table actually opens up and you can descend a staircase into a hidden, gigantic wine cellar - the personal wine cellar of the owner! Alas, the table didn't open for us, we only got to look through the table top into the cellar below us. We left Clos Apalta with a bottle of their Borobo, since it's unavailable in the US. We tasted their 2009 Clos Apalta as well, which we loved. The 2005 Clos Apalta won Wine Spectator's wine of the year award. Not a surprise given how great the wines were that we tasted. We picked up a bottle of their 2007 upon our return to the States! (A picture of the gorgeous Clos Apalta facilities is below.)

As it was Christmas Eve, everything was shutting down after we finished our tour at Clos Apalta. We made our way to our next hotel, Hotel Santa Cruz. We did a quick wander through the town of Santa Cruz, one of the larger towns in Colchagua Valley, but still not very large at all. We found a small restaurant where we had a gigantic pile of grilled meats for lunch. We tried to go to the town museum, but it was already closed for the day. So we relaxed until dinner time at the hotel.

We splurged on the Christmas Eve special dinner and it was excellent! At the end of the meal we ordered tea... and our waitress brought a gigantic vase of herbs to our table. She had to explain to us that we needed to pluck a variety of herbs, throw them into our tea cups, and then pour hot water over them. The tea was delicious! (You can see the herbs and us in our summery Christmas eve attire in a picture below.)

Christmas Day was for sleeping in. The hotel gave us a small stocking full of candy. Awwww. Then we made our way to Vina Santa Cruz - the only place open that day. We were joined by the same American couple we met at Clos Apalta. They were also staying at Hotel Santa Cruz. Small world. The vineyard has a cable car that takes you to the top of their hills where we had gorgeous views of the land. (A picture of the views is below.) Also hilltop were a few model buildings based on different Chilean cultures, so we got a nice history lesson as part of the tour. While the wines we tasted at Clos Apalta were the most exquisite of our trip, the wines at Santa Cruz were the best everyday drinking wines. Sadly, they're not available in the US, but we've already informed our local wine store that they need to make this Chilean connection for us!

We took the long way back to Santiago after our tour. We wound our way up the coast, stopping in a small village for some empanadas and then stopping just outside the beach town of Pichilemu to take in some gorgeous ocean views. (A picture of the windy clifftop near Pichilemu is below.) We loved winding through valleys and catching glimpses of the ocean and small rivers. Eventually we made it to the highway leading into Santiago, where the Andes greeted us from the horizon. We stayed at the airport that night to make it easier to catch our 8am flight to Patagonia. I'll blog the Patagonia leg next!

Pichilemu is in the background behind me and the Pacific waves.

The views from the top of the hills at Vina Santa Cruz -- one of our favorite views in Colchagua Valley.

At the end of our Christmas Eve dinner at Hotel Santa Cruz. Note the vase of tea herbs to my right. And note our summery clothes courtesy of Christmas in South America.

The top of the Clos Apalta winemaking facility peeks out of the hilltop... but it actually extends four stories deeper into the ground. The granite they had to blast through now composes walls, stairs and other features in the building.

In front of the vineyards at Montes. We got to ride up the hill behind us as part of our tour.

The view at Erica's farm. Her grape vines are at the bottom of the hill in the center.
Next up: Patagonia!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Our Chile blogging will begin this weekend. We had an amazing time!!!

For today, happy anniversary to us!

This year -- unlike last year -- we are in the same city. Yea! But we've postponed our celebratory plans because of a stomach bug that's been bugging me the last couple days. Boo!

Still, there's much to celebrate today. We are a sickeningly happy twosome. We are two peas in a pod. We are best friends. We laugh all the time, even through stomach bugs. Our marriage is grand and we can't wait for more of it!