a 60th birthday celebration for mom

friday, february 20th marked my mom's birthday. this year it wasn't just any birthday, it was her 60th celebration of her birth into this world. and my family wasn't letting it pass by without doing something to celebrate!

now my mom is a special lady all-around. she is an amazing wife, mother, grandmother, and friend. a person that always puts others before herself, incredibly generous with her time & money, and loves living her life for the Lord. simply she is someone i aspire to be like, in those ways, and am super lucky to be able to call her my mom. its hard to think that anything is good enough for what she deserves, but because my mom is who she is, she finds joy in everything others do for her. one other characteristic of my mom, is she is SUPER easy to pull a surprise on, and that is where her 60th birthday story begins.

along with 23 other family members and friends, i gathered at the Old Stone Inn Restaurant in Simpsonville, KY, awaiting the 6:30 arrival of my dad and mom at dinner. upon arrival they were escorted to the room where everyone was waiting to yell, "Happy Birthday." they were greeted with that sentiment and serenaded with the lyrics of the famous birthday song. needless to say my mom was taken aback and overwhelmed surprise. i think she described it by saying she was, "weak in the knees."our dinner was tasty and topped off with the three cakes that i made: carrot, apple, and devil's food. mom did a fabulous job blowing out her candles with the help of my niece lily grace.the night is one that i feel like she will remember for quite some time. here is a shot of my parents and some of their closest friends. unfortunately i was unable to get a picture of my mom & her brother, sister in law, her niece, melissa, and melissa's family before they had to travel back home two hours or so.this is a picture from the night that i couldn't pass up posting. it is my hunk of a husband posing for the camera. doesn't he just make you smile or possibly he makes you wonder just what he is thinking.anyway, happy 60th birthday mom! you are loved more than you'll ever know.


a valentine's celebration in chicago, and some visiting

the boys and i returned home sunday from a visit to chicago. we hadn't made it back to our old home city since august so we thought it was time to pay it a visit. from wednesday to sunday we enjoyed the greater chicagoland area (mainly geneva & west chicago) by spending time with great friends and indulging in regional foods.

our first half of the trip was spent with frank and lyndsey nicodem. they are our dear friends from christ community church in IL. i feel horrible, but i have no pictures of them to show. especially since lyndsey is expecting their first child this summer and her belly is expanding. i'm sure that we will have pictures in the future to share of them and the precious baby!

while in geneva i was able to catch up with some girlfriends from our old neighborhood. we all use to do a playgroup together with our ever expanding gang of children. it was nice to have a momma's night out to a movie and for drinks.

wilhelm and i also met up with another mom & son combo, our friends elisabeth and simon. its always a delight to see them, even if it is for a short time. unfortunately they will more than likely not be around for our next visit since they are preparing to move to little rock, arkansas. so sad for us, but excited for them and their new journey. (i took a few pictures of the boys, but none of them were good enough to post.)
our last few days were spent with the riconosciuto family: joe, jen, jack & nick. as usual the boys had a enjoyable time playing with each other and it was so wonderful to catch up with joe & jen. on friday night we went out for a dinner at one of our favorite eateries in geneva, FoxFire, and joe's sister robyn watched the boys. we celebrated valentines day by having a family fun night with two other couples & their children. it was delightful, with delicious food and 7 boys under the age of 4 there for the evening.a fabulous time for five days. hopefully the next time we visit the weather is a bit warmer!
****apologizes for the sideways pictures. for some reason blogger put them in this way.****


a weekend in k-town

our clan went south this weekend for a trip to visit the TN eargles, at least a few of them, and meet up with others in knoxville (k-town). we had a sensational time, as always, and hated to leave such fun. the weekend was planned so cousins drew & amy, along with us, and pappy (alan's dad) could go to a University of Tennessee basketball game. cousin ann marie (auntie ann to wilhelm), once again, planned a great weekend for us all. the game was victorious for the VOLS against Florida (its good to see Billy Donovan loose-- FL coach for those of you not in sports) and we had perfect seats to view it all. Actually ESPN college game day was there and we had front row seats to watch (check out the picture below, which includes one super awesome Bob Knight).

in addition to a great game it was prelude by a babysitter for wilhelm a trip to one of our favorite sushi restaurants, and a trip to the game in our own private bus (see below). BTW we aren't the type of family that feels the need to coordinate our outfits, like a special family reunion shirt, but instead were taking part in the Coaches vs. Cancer weekend with our OUT LIVE shirts.

we are already looking forward to our next trip down south to visit family!


every year when groundhog day (GHD) rolls around i find myself with a smile. i think it's that i'm reminded fondly of the years i spent in grade school and the grand GHD parade/events that we would celebrate on this day. it was wonderful! there were floats made by each grade level where the GHD day prince & princess would ride, the band would play, sixth graders did a special groundhog hop dance around the gym (basically the bunny hop, but a HUGE right of passage once you arrived at that grade level) and most importantly it was an assembly so you missed class. what a great time, what great memories.

i also recall on this day a very funny Bill Murray classic, Groundhog Day. its my mission each GHD to find it playing on basic cable and watch it. still laughing, after all these years, at the same stuff!

enjoy your GHD 2009!