I am from a huge Italian family that takes sausage, cannolis and family reunions very….very….seriously.
Over 100 of us got together last weekend for the 80th annual reunion and spent the day PLAYING (and eating. but mostly playing)!
Here are some scenes from the picnic
It was a day of firsts for Haze. First reunion. First swing ride. First time winning an award- youngest* family member!
(*technically there is another baby younger than Hazel, but since my girl was the youngest in attendance, she got to take home the prize!)
This is me running the 3-legged race. I run a tight ship. Just call me camp counselor!
Henry hijacked the stroller (without the baby in it) and used it to conceal his water balloon bombs!
Papa A tried to explain to Hazel how we were related to all these people. I am not so sure she understood (come to think of it, I don’t even understand. Perhaps that’s why we all wear name tags to these things).
The family egg toss is the single most competitive event of my life. 2 years ago, I made it to the egg-toss finals…so I was feeling confident about my skills. Simon & I threw down a big-money wager with El & Dan on who could make it the furthest.
In a disappointing and anit-climactic turn of events, we both cracked our eggs in the semi-finals. Next year! Next year, I say.
The reunion was a rousing success….best one I can remember, actually.
But, man! It wore us out. What can I say, it’s not easy being Italian. :)
Turbulent Flights? Jumping head first off a high-dive? Bring it.
Little Critters and Big Spiders….they don’t even phase me.
I am a pretty tough cookie, but there are a few things that the mere thought of makes my heart race.
Buffet lines [serve yourself food stations make my palms sweat]
Walking down a steep incline in YSL Tribute Pumps
The moment before hitting send on an email going to a large group of recipients
Taking the stroller down stairs
Piranhas [mean little buggers]
Sugar on fruit [why oh why would you put sugar on fruit?!]
Leaving my iphone in the back of a cab
When Hazel sleeps past 7:30 am [don’t get me wrong…I LOVE when this happens, but I have to tiptoe into her room just to make sure she is still breathing]
Dropping my engagement ring down the drain
Tripping over the dishwasher [blame Garden State]
Buying toilet paper [the backstory here includes one of those 36 roll jumbo packs, a super hot guy behind me in the checkout line and an offhanded joke that even now 10 years later is still completely mortifying]
A faulty lid on my coffee cup [or more specifically, the mess that would ensue]
Losing my voice forever [my reoccuring nightmare]
Hitting a deer while driving at dusk [I am an urban dweller, so this is completely irrational, but still….]
Last night I joined some lovely ladies for a bachelorette dinner at Terzo Piano, the cafe on the roof of the modern art wing at the Art Institute.
Since I hate writing reviews, this is not a review….
What I will tell you is that the meal was incredible. incredible incredible. Chef Tony Mantuano’s menu is fresh, local and sustainable. And whoever is responsible for their cocktail list might just be my new best friend. I had a killer rum drink with house made strawberry puree, amaretto, POM juice, vanilla and lavender.
And also, a SECRET! Or maybe not a secret, but a little known fact: Terzo Piano is only open for lunch…however on Thursday nights they have dinner service. Enjoying this meal and breathtaking views of the skyline while the rest of the museum is closed makes for a pretty special night.
This summer’s installation on the Buhm Terrace is a technicolor dream piece by Pae White. So gorgeous and right up my alley!
I write this post so that this fall when I return to work or come winter while trudging through the snow, I can look back and borrow some sunshine from the first day of summer.
7:30 am Maybe because it’s so much quieter here than in the city or maybe we just wear my girl out, but whatever the reason Hazel sleeps-in whenever we are up at the lake house. It wasn’t until 7:30 this morning that she squawked for the first time.
I scooped her up and went down to the terrace to join mom & my grandparents for morning coffee.
9 am We headed into town for breakfast at Rosie’s, the local diner. Grandma B got blueberry pancakes. Mom and I enjoyed eggs + sliced tomatoes. Our toast remained untouched.
Mimi met us and ordered a cup of coffee. We sat a little longer and chit-chatted
10 am We stopped 3 stores down to check out the new kids boutique in town. It’s cute. A solid addition to the qaint row of New Buffalo shops.
Hazel got her first doll. And a new sun hat.
10:30am We strolled down Whitaker Street for a bit. Haze was getting heavy, so I took advantage of the Adirondack chairs for sale out front and plopped down for a few. Here she feel asleep for her morning nap.
12:30 pm We pushed the stroller over to the pool. Haze is such an aqua-baby…she can’t get enough of the water! We took turns swimming with her and keeping her company as she napped in the shade.
4:00 It was time to come up from the pool. Hazel was tired of her buggy, so instead of wheeling her home, I carried her for the 1/2 mile walk. I did little baby lifts while strolling in an attempt to get in some arm-work.
Once back at the house, we cleaned up a little….I mean, I didn’t blow dry my hair or anything (none of that when at the lake!) but I did rinse off and put on some blush just in time for Happy Hour on the deck.
5:30 Dad pulled in from a full day of cases and was game for an early dinner at a Hazel friendly location. Caseys.
We nabbed an outdoor table and I put the car-seat on an upside down highchair. First time I have ever tried that. I was thrilled by how handy it was, but she didn’t last in her seat long, so we alternated eating/baby-holding duties.
Despite not being able to talk, Hazel was a central part of our dinner conversation. You can’t help but include her when she is at the table….she’s too cute to ignore.
7pm: Hazel took her first trip to Oinks for Ice Cream. What a fun “first!”
We introduced her to the sights, sounds and tastes of our favorite ice cream parlor…she took it all in with wide eyes and (understanding?) smiles.
I can mark my childhood summers by my flavor of choice (‘92 Cookie Dough/ ‘95 Blue Moon/ ‘99 Black Cherry / ‘11 Pecan Praline) and have a feeling Haze will do the same.
8:00 Home. Facetime on the iPhone with Simon (who is home working). We miss him when we are away, but gave him a fill update on today’s activities. He sent us both virtual goodnight kisses.
Bath/Bottle/Bedtime for Hazel.
9:00 Soft clothes on! We lounged on the couch and downloaded photos from the day. All of us crowded around mom’s laptop to watch a slide-show of the pics snapped. “What a Day!” was the general consensus
Today was the longest day of the year, and I can’t think of a better one to have stretched on….
There really is something to this whole SUMMER thing.
The New Yorker Magazine did a great piece on Chicago providing an Urbanist’s Guide to the city which even the seasoned Chicagoian will find interesting.
“Yet Chicagoans are a resilient lot, and no fiscal debacle can obscure what they really love about their town: enthralling architecture, a restaurant scene awash in Michelin stars (not to mention ridiculously good Italian beef sandwiches), a crackling baseball rivalry, and a majestic-blue backyard that magically transforms into a beachfront paradise at the break of every summer.” - New Yorker Magazine.
This weekend our daughter was baptized into the catholic church (original sin be gone!)
It was wonderful. More wonderful than I could have imagined, actually. A milestone I won’t forget.
In some ways, the spirit of the day felt very familiar. Almost four years ago, Simon and I stood at that altar and recited our vows. On Sunday we were back, again celebrating a growing family.
The service was beautiful. Our priest splashed holy water on Hazel while her godparents stood by as witnesses….cheerleaders, just as they did when Simon and I said “I Do.” Her Godmother, El and all three Godfathers, Andrew & Kevin & Dan by our side, holding her up (literally and spiritually).
Father Pat asked Hazel’s parents, grandparents and great grandparents to trace the sign of the cross on her forehead to represent welcoming her into the religious community. Grandma B made two crosses. She is generous like that.
And one of my favorite parts of the day was when Father Pat blessed me as “Hazel’s Mother”….an epithet I have been waiting for my entire life.
Then again, I did a whole lot of that on Sunday.
[my dress: Nanette Lepore // El’s Dress: Aqua at Bloomies // Hazel’s dress: a Mama A. original]
Hazel just had her final fitting for the Baptism gown. Mama A. is making her dress and watching my mama transform yards of fabric into itsy-bitsy puffed sleeves and a dramatic wrap-around sash very nearly made my heart explode!
When I put on coconut oil before nursing Hazel, I can’t help but wonder if her meal tastes like a pina colada.
I went to see Company last night. (Beyond Fantastic!!! Patti Lupone is a dream!) There weren’t any previews before the movie started, but they did show a commercial…for Tiffany’s engagement rings. The crowd erupted into a full-on belly laugh. Not because it the ad was funny, but because it was so oddly targeted. I mean, c’mon, we were at the showing of a Sondheim musical…meaning approximately 90% of the ticket holders were gay men who were very much not in the market for Tiffany’s engagement rings. Know your audience.
Yesterday Mama, Haze and I drove down to visit Grandma. We hit up Hobby Lobby and finalized our tablescape (is that a word?) for the Christening party. Let’s just say we strapped a hazel-sized statue of Jesus into the stroller and brought that bad boy holy man home with us for the centerpiece!
While there, I also picked up some string to make friendship bracelets. After 10 years of summer camp, this sounds like a DIY project I could handle, but the likelihood of me winding up with a tangled mess of technicolor yarn instead of something that could pass for jewelry is very high. I’ll keep you posted.
Mom & Dad H, Uncle Andrew & Uncle Kevin are flying in this weekend. SO STINKIN’ EXCITED!
Target has cute bikinis. Who knew?
Hazel is down for the night and I am ready for a glass of Rose. So with that, I wish you all a happy evening and hit publish!