lucas turns one

Can you believe it? This little guy turned ONE last year. 

A few weeks before his birthday, I met up with his parents at Lapham Peak for some pictures. Lucas had been walking around 10 months old, so he was on the move this whole session. 

He was quite excited at first but then the excitement died down a bit after a half hour. However, then his dad brought out his old tractor and Lucas' eyes lit up. Maybe I should also mention one of his first words [if not first] was tractor. He was so excited there was a tractor his size to sit on. 

A couple weeks later, close friends and family got together to celebrate this wonderful one year old. He was a little unsure about his smash cake at first, but soon dug in and proceeded to get frosting just about everywhere. 

After he was cleaned up, Lucas had help opening his gifts before joining his cousins running around and playing outdoors. It's safe to say this guy had a pretty good birthday! 

newborn william

Towards the end of summer last year, I went to the baby shower for my friends Amanda and JR. Amanda's sister did an amazing job planning the party which was held at the Paper Discovery Center.  There were so many desserts, we probably didn't even need real food [what am I saying, desserts ARE real food!]. But at the same time, the desserts were almost too pretty to eat! 

After the presents were opened and the desserts were mostly gone, I took a picture of Amanda and our friend Rachel who was due very soon. 

I also made Amanda stand in front of the huge world map because I thought it was awesome. She found the South Korea flag and prominently displayed it [her mom is from South Korea]. This is maybe a good time to remind Amanda's parents [if they are reading this] that they promised to buy us all tickets to go to the Olympics in South Korea. Don't forget your promise to us! Thanks! :)

Fast forward to September and little Willliam arrived! He came a little bit early but grew strong and a few weeks later he was home.

We first went to meet him after he had come home. We were greeted by William's dog cousins Macy + Mister [or is it Uncle? or Bronx? this dog has too many names...] who wanted nothing to do with me. 

William's dog sister Jam didn't really care for me either, but at least she posed nicely on the couch. And gave me the stink eye.

ANYWAY, let's talk about that baby!

William slept most of the time we were there, but woke up a few times to say hi. He was so sweet, snuggly and adorable. I can't wait to see him again, especially now that he's bigger than the dogs. [Watch out pups!]

grandma turns 89

It was my grandma's birthday earlier this week + today we got together to celebrate. It is hard to believe she is 89 years old! She's always on the go + I'm pretty sure most nights she stays up later than I do. 

I also snapped a few pictures of my cousin's baby since he's walking now. Huh. Feels like I can no longer call him a baby. 

[Unrelated - soon I will be posting more pictures from photo shoots this past summer! I know I'm behind, but stay tuned.]

polish + blue moon

This past July was the second annual Polish Moon Bike Ride in Milwaukee. There was also a blue moon! [Maybe they should have had some blue moon ice cream at the event...or we should have gone to Denny's afterwards for some Moons of My Hammy.]

Got sidetracked by moons there for a second. Back to the bike ride. 

Last year was the first event and since it was so great, I had to go back again. Unfortunately my friend Amber and I must have gotten there a bit later than last year and we missed the band. We still got there in plenty of time to grab a bite to eat though. I had amazing tacos from Wayward Kitchen Co. and a Weekend @ Louie's beer, while Amber had a Klement's sausage. Yum. 

Soon after we ate, everyone started to line up. It was such a difference from last year since last year it was SO. FOGGY. It was humid, gross and you could barely see anything. 

The ride started out a bit slow since there were so many people. But once everyone spread out, everything went smoothly. Our only goal this year was to actually hear the accordions. Oh, did I forget to tell you? There were a few guys playing accordions on the route! 

We caught up with two of them and it was everything we expected it to be. Traditional polka songs. TV theme songs. Songs we could all sing along with. 

Since it was a clear evening, we could actually see the Polish Moon [aka Rockwell Clock Tower or Allen-Bradley Clock Tower]! 

Another highlight of the event was riding by people walking down the street, sitting on their steps or looking out their windows. Most had no clue what was going on, but seeing a big group of cyclists put a smile on their face and they would wave. All of us riding would either wave back or ring our bells. 

Oh, I just realized Beth is in the picture above. Hi Beth! [She likes bikes + beer, so you should check out her blog.]

And below, there's Dave. Hi Dave! [He's one of the great people at the WI Bike Fed and takes great pictures.]

Not only because of the great weather did we see the Polish Moon, but also the blue moon. Bonus! 

After the ride we walked down to Purple Door Ice Cream and got some ice cream to bring back and eat while listening to some more polka music at Anodyne. A bunch of people stayed after the ride and most were up front polkaing along with the music. [Fun fact, polkaing is actually a word, even though it sounds made up.] 

It was another successful event. Thanks Bike Fed and all other sponsors! And thanks MKE police for helping keep us safe on the streets! 

kenley turns two

A couple weeks before Kenley turned two, I took a few pictures of her. You may have seen some of the valentine ones here, but these are some additional ones we took that same day. 

Onto her actual party. It was Peter Pan themed. Kenley loves Peter Pan, maybe because her parents read her the book every night before bed.

I know the basic Peter Pan storyline, but compared to Kenley, I know nothing! She knows all the character's names. She's basically a Peter Pan expert. 

Her party had pages from a book cut out for banners all around the living room. There was also Peter Pan's shadow, some treasure maps and awesome Peter Pan inspired foods such as Tic Toc Crocks, Pirate Swords, Gold Doubloons, Smee's Meatballs and Fairy Wands. 

Kenley had a lot of fun opening all her gifts. Although, she would have been content just reading the first book she got and leaving the rest of the gifts for later. 

She continued though, and as you will see was really excited to get a Hook doll from her grandparents! 

Thanks for the fun party, Kenley! Can't wait until next year! 

P.S. Playing the game Sequence has now become an official tradition at your party and I can't wait until you can join in the fun! 

thanksgiving at grandma's

I already posted about Thanksgiving earlier today, but I figured I'd finish up the day with one more post about it. This time a more personal post since it was my family's Thanksgiving. 

We always used to get together for Thanksgiving at my Grandma's house, but the last couple of years it has been held at various other relative's homes. It was nice to be back to the place where I remember having Thanksgiving when I was younger. 

Many, many years ago the kid's table was in the kitchen next to the adult table. This time, however, it was moved to the living room. And yes, after all these years I am still sitting at the kid's table. Along with my husband. And two of my cousins and their husbands. AND a newborn. 

Speaking of - new in attendance this year was my cousin's 15 day old baby Lucas. This was the first time a lot of my relatives got to meet him, so he was passed around quite a bit. He didn't seem to mind too much though. 

Here are a few pictures from our Thanksgiving 2014 [which are mostly of Lucas, to be honest]. 

thanksgiving with 7 sisters

Two weekends before Thanksgiving last year, I had the opportunity to crash another family's gathering. This included seven [yes, 7!] sisters and all of their families. The gathering was held at the Watertown Community Center as it was the best place to house a group of this size.

You may recognize little Henry in these pictures since I had photographed his birthday party about two months prior. Because I thoroughly enjoyed his party, I knew seeing this gang again would be great. And it was. Once again everyone was very inviting and insisted I stay for lunch.

The day included lots of catching up between family who may not see each other that often. It also included card games, passing around decorations to use as silly props, the reading of the Thanksgiving story and of course a delicious Thanksgiving meal. 

I'm thankful for my pre-Thanksgiving gathering with this fine group! 

angela + curt

Last summer a few friends from high school got together to catch up. On that day we asked our friend Angela if her and her fiancé had set a wedding date. She giggled and didn't answer right away, so we knew something was up. Turns out she was planning on getting married the following week! 

She and her fiancé Curt didn't want a huge ceremony, so they decided to get married and celebrate with the couple that had set them up. They then spent the following weekend up north. 

Soon after they were married, Angela asked me to help her with invites for the reception. I gladly obliged and created the following invites for their fall reception in Madison. 

The reception was held at The Bayou, a New Orleans inspired restaurant in Madison. It is one of Curt and Angela's favorite restaurants. I arrived early to help them set up some autumnal decorations which included vases filled with pumpkins and pinecones, leaves and awesome slabs of wood that Curt and his son Owen cut and finished. There were also little matchbook paper crafts that Angela had made, each which held a mint inside. 

The afternoon was filled with friends and family talking and drinking. Many of the kids hung out upstairs running and jumping around. 

Dinner was amazing. Eric and I got to choose different meals so we could try each other's. He got the chicken pasta in creole sauce while I got the crab stuffed salmon. 

After dinner the couple showed a slideshow which included pictures of both Angela and Curt over the years - both their individual lives growing up until the time they had spent together over the past couple of years. Unfortunately the slideshow kept going silent every now and then and since my husband Eric was sitting next to it, he was in charge to fix it. Every time the music would stop, you'd hear Angela and others yelling across the room "ERIC!" to remind him to get the music started again. 

After the slideshow, Angela's three brothers gave speeches. Each speech was very heartfelt, especially her youngest brother Jordan, who probably made everyone cry. 

I'm glad we were able to celebrate with this wonderful couple. Angela and Curt are perfect together. They are going to have so many fun adventures together! 

marianna turns 1

Last October little Marianna turned one. I was asked to take pictures of the celebration her parents threw for her. 

Because her birthday was so close to Halloween, the room was decorated with spooky spider rings, pumpkins, and an amazing cut-out haunted house Marianna's mom made herself! There were also games, like bean bag toss and mini golf for the kids [AND adults] to enjoy. 

It should also be mentioned that it was Marianna's father's birthday too! He turned 30, so he got to wear an Over the Hill party hat and a "30 Rocks!" button. He also received a replica World Cup trophy. 

The party was filled with plenty of food and tons of laughter - a great way to celebrate Marianna turning ONE!