Monday, January 26, 2009

Boca Raton

Our annual pilgrimage to Florida would not be complete without a stop in Boca Raton to visit Alex's grandparents, so we made our way south on 95 before heading back to Chicago.

We had a really nice visit and even enjoyed a beautiful walk along the beach (and the last bit of blue sky and sunshine Alex and I will probably see until June).

Really beautiful, even if there was evidence that lots of jellyfish and their equally evil cousins, the Portuguese man o' war(s, men o' war??) were swimming in the ocean. (Meaning, I went nowhere near the ocean. Totally afraid.)

Watch out! Stingers in the ocean!

Alex's grandmother, however, was fearless and swam in the ocean, while I cowered in the shade, afraid of burning and getting attacked by a jellyfish.


Happy and sting-free!
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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Dancing 2008 Away

I showed you the cute little ones with whom we celebrated the arrival of 2009, this post is about the adults. So as the title suggests, as we have done for the past 10 years, we danced the old year away and welcomed in the new one.

Trying to convey motion with a long shutter speed.
Do you get it? They're DANCING!

We welcomed 2009 with princess cake and sunburst (or was it sunshine? sunkist? sun-a-licious?) cake and hugged and smooched when the midnight struck (even if the TV didn't work and we had to rely on the internet to know when 12:00:00am 1/1/09 rolled around).

Princess cake and that other cake

And Alex and I had a fantastic time, as always.

Once the new year began, there was swimming in the ocean (not for me, I'm totally afraid of jellyfish) and sea kayaking.

And, of course, pong. The real kind - the Dartmouth kind. That's the only kind worth playing. In case anyone wanted my opinion...

I love Palm Beach for the New Year. Liam and Karen, thanks for letting Alex and me celebrate with you and your family.
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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Happy New Year! (Alternate Title: I'm only 21 days behind)

Finally! I'm editing photos that were taken this year instead of last year. :)

I've edited these pictures in two batches, so party pictures will come as soon as I get to them (maybe even this weekend!). For now, some pictures of the adorable little ones whose parents were kind enough to let me chase them around with my camera this year. But first, a little background.

Every year, for the past 10 years (!), my good friends Liam and Karen have invited friends (including me) to celebrate the new year with them and their family in Florida. I've never turned down the opportunity to go, because (1) they are some of my favorite people and (2) they invite some of my other favorite people to join us. It's a great reunion, especially now that we've gotten to the age where we don't have a lot of events like weddings to bring us together every year. (Also, Alex and I met (for the second time) and started dating after New Years in Florida, so add that extra layer of nostalgia to it all.)

There are small variations in the group each year, but the core hasn't changed much since we started. The most notable change to the group has been the addition of some new little faces. And they belong to the aforementioned little ones whom I chased with my camera. Like this one:

This is Eleni, Leni for short. She was so much fun to photograph - she couldn't get enough of looking at the screen on the back of my camera, pointing to the pictures I had taken and excitedly declaring, in a way that only a two-year-old can, "That's MEEEE!!!!"

And I couldn't get enough of showing her, because, hey, that's the kind of positive feedback I need! :)

Leni also got a big kick out of Alex, and the feeling was mutual. She took him on walks up the stairs to demonstrate her stair-climbing-prowess to him (he was impressed) and led him around the yard looking for aliens (he played along). She had some serious powers over Alex. I'll have to consult with her to figure out her secret! ;)

I was even able to get a couple cute shots of Leni with her mother, Ruth, and sister, Lily.

And this one, which I love, of Ruth and Lily on the beach (not that you can tell).

Of course, Lily had her moment to shine on her own too.

And then there was Jack. Jack is Liam and Karen's addition to the group. He was surrounded by grandparents and grandparents' friends most of the time, so he was tougher to track down, but that didn't stop me from trying!

Jack is a very serious young man.

I mean, he's already trying to walk! At four months! ;)

But he's also willing to relax and enjoy the lovely Florida weather.

As long as his mom is close by!

More on Florida is soon as I get to it!
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Monday, January 19, 2009

Christmas in Chicago

For those of you who are on "regular time," Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day! (For those of you who, like me, have to work today, Happy Monday!) For those of you still with me on "blog time," we last left off on Merry Christmas! :)

After returning from London, we hosted a post-Christmas celebration with my family in Chicago. Our tree was still up and looking just as Christmas-y as the day we decorated it, because it is a fake. (As an aside, I know a lot of people are totally anti-fake, and I love the look and smell of a real tree. BUT we were set to be out of town for two whole weeks over the holiday season, and the risks of serious mess and/or fire were risks we were not willing to take. PLUS the fake tree was got is beautiful with real-looking branches at the ends. AND it was pre-lit, which means my forearms and I are pretty much in love with it.)

See the real-looking curvature of the needles? I <3 our fake tree!

Everyone did a lovely job wrapping this year.

And most of all, we just enjoyed being together. Or at least I did.

It's possible Patrick enjoyed the cool new sunglasses that Chris got for him more than being together, though I'm sure he enjoyed the togetherness as well.

My mom definitely enjoyed the togetherness. And posing with her present (she's so good at it!). Though she's a little jealous of how totally awesome I am at wrapping gifts. Of course, she taught me everything I know...

Next time: we make some progress toward 2009 in Florida...
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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Christmas in London (Part 5)

We returned to London (possibly the only modern city in the world with working phone booths) in time to celebrate Christmas and do a little shopping.

If our phone booths were this cute, we probably would have kept them as well.

We tried to do a little shopping on the 24th, but apparently London shop-keepers didn't seem to care about selling stuff, notwithstanding the current economic conditions. Like this shop, whose keeper kicked us out when we tried to walk in, even though it was 1:50pm and the shop was set to close at 2:00.

We were able to stop by the wonderful book-binding store that Maggie had scoped out for me and pick up some beautiful bookcloth that I cannot wait to use. So it wasn't all a loss.

After shopping, we headed to Maggie's home for Christmas Eve dinner and some gift opening. The whole gang was there. Alex (who, incidentally, loves it when I post his picture on the blog):

(Ha ha. He actually hates it!)

Graham (who took a little nap and looked fabulous while doing so):

And Maggie:

The presents were beautifully wrapped.

And we had a wonderful dinner.

Followed by a very pretty trifle.

And me? I was there too, though I didn't get a picture of myself, until I took this distorted and fairly unattractive one while waiting for the tube back to where we were staying.

Before heading to bed, Alex and I went to the church across the street from where we were staying for midnight mass. It was beautiful.

And the tree was one of the only traditionally decorated (i.e. not covered in tinsel and other decor that should have been outlawed after the 1970s) trees we saw in London.

One of these days, I'll be caught up to current pictures, but as long as I'm not: Merry Christmas! ;)

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Six years ago today

I went out on my first date with this guy.

I'm so glad that happened, because we have had a lot of fun together...

...and I found my best friend.

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