Thursday, December 23, 2010

The eve of the eve...

Annual Cookie Exchange with Erica =)

Ella got in on the action.

Ella picking out nail polish. I wanted to throw this in just b/c it shows what an absolute girl she is!
She could spend hours looking at colors and dutifully putting them back...

Ella and Mommy at the cookie exchange.


All of the girls in front of the tree.


More Decor...

Halloween with our bee, Olivia-stein, Ariel and Sebastian Vajda.
Buzzing bee on the go. I wish I had a better shot of her gold/glittered mary janes.

Precious picture of E-Pa, Ella and Gram taken on the lake in Glencoe.

It's officially the eve of Christmas Eve of 2o10. Wow. This year went by faster than the last...this time last year, we were surviving the work/life balance of working parentdom and raising a 6 month old. This year, I feel like we really hit our stride. I am in continued awe of my daughter and husband; our team work is stellar! I just couldn't do it without Scott. Oh, how he puts up with my crafting, my random ideas, my hobbies, my hot mess self.

Here we are, with an 18 month old little lady. She is just hilarious. She is now saying SO many things, running like the wind, trying her best to use the bath tab as a slip-n-slide, telling the dogs to go "AWAY" and asking for things she should not be but asking in the sweetest voice, with the "pleases" growing more and more loud until I cave. Sigh. She also nods her heads when she says "please" which comes out a "peas". I love it. These little things make my heart burst at the seams with happiness and love for my little doll. She is quite the sass, too, but I'm kinda proud of that too because I believe she will have the passion and integrity to stand up for what is right and to voice her opinion when the situation calls for it. I fear, however, that she will inherit her mother's inability to pick her battles which can negate this quality at times. She is a constant reminder to me of the woman I want to be and with her help, I think I am getting there.....

There have been so many things that I haven't posted about! Let's see...what did I miss?

Halloween? Yes, pictures above.....we did our annual walk the neighborhood with the Vajdas. Ella is still a little too little too understand the full situation that is Halloween. Hopefully by next year, she will be marching up the front steps to get her own snickers.

We have had parents in town, parties we have gone to, parties we have hosted and here we are at Christmas! We are staying in Chicago for Christmas again. While I get a bit wistful on days like today, when I think about my family on the east and west coast, I then remember that we have our own little family here in Chicago and I get really excited about sharing this time with just Scott and Ella. Starting our own traditions. It is a small and intimate Christmas, but I can't wait. Uninterrupted days of Scott and Ella time are headed my way and I cannot wait...
We will be going over to celebrate Christmas Eve with the Vajdas and will also head to the Walnut Room at Macy's to have a little lunch. This tradition was started the first Christmas we all spent together, when I was pregnant with Ella. It was so pretty and such a fun memory...

On Christmas, we will wake up, unwrap presents, I will make gorilla bread (thanks, Paula Dean!), and get ready for church. I will make a ridiculous amount of food for dinner and then work it off while taking in the lights of the north shore hoods. Ella will hopefully stay awake this time!

I wish all of my sweet readers the best Christmas. I am so thankful to have some of the sweetest and most thoughtful people in my life. Here's to a fabulous 2011!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Completely Delinquent. What else is new?!

Erica's shower girls...

Erica and Ryan- first dance!

Ella and Auntie Beth.

Custom Monogrammed Cupcake toppers

Yay. Erica and Ryan banner over the goods.

Spread with fun Amy Butler fabric napkins. Love AB fabric. Love.

Every guest got a mug with their initial along with a collection of teas and sugar rock candy stir stick (pink, of course).

Custom drink stirrers.

More artistic shot- thanks, Susan!

Family shot at Erica and Ryan's reception!

Beautiful bride walking down the aisle with her daddy. You can see her tearing up!

Ella couldn't contain her excitement!


Tired dancing queen.

She made some friends.
I have not been able to get to the blog lately. No excuses. Just the usual. Busy, time commitments, travel, family, you know. Please don't remove me from your blogger dashboard just yet!
It's already almost Thanksgiving. This is, hands down, my favorite time of the year. I still believe in the spirit of Santa and to see families come together to give thanks for one another and to celebrate the birth of our savior, all within a month of each other, is pretty neat.
Before I go on my what I am thankful rant (which would include so many things, God is so good to us!), I will touch on the beautiful wedding of Erica and Ryan! They have been married for over a month now- wow- and I haven't posted pictures!
The weekend started out a little rough for me and I ended up in the ER in transit to MI for the weekend- long story!- but it ended up being such a fun and full weekend; you could really feel the love from everyone there....I always come away from weddings renewed in my own commitment to Scott. I always say those vows to myself again and think of the amazing commitment that two people make to each other. No matter what, we be broke or in high cotton, we are going to stick it out and do the best we can by one another. Pretty amazing. It reminds me of the reason I married my best friend and I get all full of love and sentiment. Well, this witnessing of my dear friend repeating those vows wasn't lost on me. I was welling up and dabbing at my eyes, thinking that they looked so happy and in love! I was so honored to be apart of their special day!
Before the wedding, Susan, Sam, Ella and I ventured out to explore Grand Rapids; what a fun surprise! There was a lot going on as Art Prize was going on- it's an art contest, sorry, that was pretty apparent, I guess- and we just wandered around and shopped. It was really fun! A little girl time is always welcomed.
And then, the wedding! What a beautiful wedding and reception. It was elegant and beautiful, just like the bride! We had a great time and I think Ella entertained most of the guests on the dance floor. I have to say, I am pretty proud of her moves and her brazen display of putting herself out there! She really brought it. A couple of other kiddos joined in and it was a hoot! Ella continues to keep us on our toes and laughing along the way. She is just so fun and easy to be around. I am so proud of her! She was so good during the wedding reception and on the ride home.... We had such a fun time. The weekend went by too quickly...
What a fun weekend honoring such sweet friends.
I also posted pictures of Erica's shower which was so beautiful. I hosted along with her bridesmaids and it was so much fun! I hope y'all enjoy my pics as I reminisce about the past couple of months.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A must read.

I need to pick up a copy for myself, and suggest all of y'all do the same, but I just love the following pieces of advice from the blog turned book,

Happy Friday muffins.

#264 People can change, but you can’t change them.

#263 Accept chivalry.When your father and I started dating, I was shocked by the way he held every door for me and grasped my hand when I stepped off a low curb. Despite being secretly smitten by these gestures, in my self-righteous youth, I responded with ridiculous assertions that I could do it myself. I kept up this charade until the day he bluntly told me to lay off. He knew I was perfectly capable of the simple task of opening a door; he just wanted to do it for me! Then and now, I revel in your father’s dedication to old-fashioned chivalry: He still walks to the passenger side of the car to open the door for me; he refuses to allow me to carry heavy things; and he insists that I wrap myself in his coat, even though I knew it would be a cold night and left my warm jacket at home because it didn’t coordinate with my dress. This is what’s known as gallantry. Know that you aren’t entitled to it, and you can’t expect it, but in those rare cases when you find it beating down your door, embrace it! Also, thank your father for showing you how it’s done. 
#238 Where there's smoke there's fire.When there are facts that you don’t want to face, it’s tempting to rationalize them away and avoid the truth. This type of self-deception only mires you deeper in the muck. Trust your instincts: Things are usually exactly what they seem to be.
#231 Come home.Don’t stay away from home for too long, if only because my heart breaks a little every week we spend apart.
#228 When your tax bill goes up, revel in all the libraries, schools, and roads you are helping to maintain.And really, a higher tax bill means you’ve made more money. Take pride in that and in your contribution to the civil services those taxes pay for.
#225 You will get good at anything you practice.
#220 If you are passionate about a craft, invest in the best equipment you can afford.Whether in photography, making music, woodworking, or cooking, the right equipment makes a difference in the finished quality of your work. What is money for if not to feed your passions? Invest in your talent.
#203 Return your shopping cart.Abandoning your shopping cart in the middle of the parking lot implies a sense of entitlement. Someone has to put it away, that someone should be you.
#181 Be where you are.Try not to think about where you need to go next or wherever you just came from. This is more difficult than it sounds, but work at it. It’s important for your head to be present in the place where your body is. 
#179 Talk to strangers.Teaching you to fear strangers would be cynical. The generosity of unknown people will ease your burden on many occasions. Instead, I want you to learn to gauge people’s intentions by listening to your gut instincts and recognizing subtle cues. Confidence in this skill will allow you to avoid the aberrant persons you encounter and embrace something much more common – the kindness of strangers.
#176 A wrap dress is universally flattering.
#170 If you marry your first love you will miss out on the exquisite pain of a broken heart.
#161 Live alone for a period of time.I love living with you and your father; I also cherish the years I spent living alone. You shouldn't go from being someone's daughter to someone's wife to someone's mother without first being someone yourself. Living alone will allow you to discover who you are when no one is watching, what you need to get through a day, and ultimately that you are a capable, independent woman.
#160 Indulge.Live a rich life textured with little extravagances. Eat the hot fudge brownie, buy the handmade dhurrie rug, lie in your flannel sheets all Sunday afternoon. Just remember that indulgence by definition is temporary gratification of a whim. Do it more than once in a while and you're just a hedonist.
#152 Men as a rule are not good mind readers.Articulate your thoughts to them clearly if you want to be sure that you will be understood. Imagine writing on a 3X5 card; short and to the point.
#145 The order that people should enter and exit an elevator is: The elderly, then persons with disabilities, then children, and finally able-bodied adults.
#141 See the beauty everywhere.
#125 You are an American.Whether or not love of country is a passion point for you, please don't take it for granted that you are a citizen of the United States. There are some vital things to be proud of, not the least of which is your right to feel however you want to about it.
#116 At the close of each day, fill your head with thoughts of how lucky you are.It's counting your blessings; saying your thanks. No matter what kind of day you have had, you are a fortunate girl in one way or another. Your father and I talk to each other every night before sleep about what a magical joy you are and what a lovely life we have together. It's important to bring these thoughts to the front of your brain; it cements the little things that make life happy into one cohesive positive outlook. 
#115 It's not a good idea to weld while wearing tights because the sparks will burn holes in your stockings and legs. 
#100 I love you.Your grandmother, my mother, wished that I share this with you here above all of her other gems. I can guarantee you daughter, looking back on the relationship that she and I have shared, that there will be times you just don't believe it. But it is, and always will be, an absolute unwavering certainty that I Love You. 
#94 When attending a party, open the door with one hand and bring a gift in the other.
#80 Not everyone is going to like you, and that's just fine.
#72 Have one good karaoke song in your back pocket.If you happen to have inherited your parent's inability to sing very well, that's okay you should still sing all the time! Singing in the car or the shower or just humming to yourself while you walk is fun! Pick one song and learn to sing it really well. Then you can whip it out at karaoke night or some other occasion when singing seems like the thing to do.
#66 Throw parties!!
#41 Maintain good credit at all costs.This is a lesson for the ages. There is much more to this that I will have to do my best to teach you, but you can start by keeping a written budget and developing a sense of responsibility towards your future self.
#34 Good lighting is the key to decorating a cozy home. 
#26 Tend to your friendships, especially those with women.
#21 Pay attention to politics.
#13 You have a garden.If you ever get sad that you don't have a garden of your own, remember that you have hundreds of beautiful gardens all over the city and all over the world. Try to erase the language of "want" from your head. You have everything that you need.
#7 Always make time for the art museum in every city you visit. You learn much about a city and yourself when you see its art collection. A good museum will fill your chest up until it feels as though your heart could explode.
#4 When given the opportunity, wear a costume. 
#1 Always send a thank you note.This has served your mother and grandmothers well for generations and seems a fitting place to start.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ella's 16 month pictures....

I just love Laura Couture. She is a doll and takes the best pictures! Check out her blog with a preview of the pictures she took of Ella. I want all of them....

Who does Ella look like? What do y'all think?!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Many Fun Things

Ella likes to wear momma's underoos as necklaces.

Ella thought it prudent to dive head first, fully clothed, into a bath.

Ella at the pumpkin patch pointing out the giant Dora. They don't take long, folks, to figure out Dora and/or Elmo.

Ella and a sea of pumpkins at the pumpkin patch!

Ella is clapping for the pumpkins.

We tried for a long while to get everyone to look in one direction.

Ella refuses to look in our direction!

The patch had tigers?

And an owl....he DOES look so smart, right?!

And giraffes. LOVE these guys.

The girls posing.

Ella trying her hand at riding. She looks frightened!

Feeding the goats. Turns out, goats aren't so friendly.

Ella posing on a fake pony.

Ella touching the baby pig. Can we please take one home, daddy?!

Standard Goebbert Farm Picture!

Last warm day in Chicago =( My pretty little lady!

Daddy's Birthday! Enjoying some cake...

Couldn't wait....


Me and Tiff at DMB!

on the swan boats on the pond in Boston Commons...

My wonderful in laws!

Ella and Daddy enjoying the boat ride.

Chatham Bars Inn. We will see you next time!

The pier in Chatham...

Daddy checking out the fisherman..

Manatees were giving us quite a show!

The beach in pretty!

Houses in Chatham...not a bad place to summer.

The B&B we stayed at- Carriage House Inn.

DELICIOUS dinner at the Wequassett. Already planning a return trip!

Best Cheesecake. Ever.

Ella taking in the sights in Martha's Vineyard.

Momma and Ella at the Black Dog.

Ella and Daddy on a morning walk along the beach in Scituate.

Scituate Beach.

Ella on the couch. Worn Out!

Boston made her sleepy. Clearly.

Momma in Boston.

Daddy in Boston.


We got to hang out with the Hays'. I miss Karen so much. I didn't cry when we left each other this time, though. I was close, however!

Silly little ham bone.

Ella is a ham. And I love her. Deperately!

We have been on the move and our blog has been neglected....again. So sorry!

To start, we ventured to Scituate, Martha's Vineyard and Cape Cod a little over 3 weeks ago and we had a blast! We will begin making this a yearly Francis rendezvous. We met up with my wonderful in-laws, Meghan, Tom and Alex in Scituate (where Scott grew up) for a really great family trip. We had a blast. We never get to spend much time with family for days on end and it was so nice. It really makes us sad that we don't live super close to anyone but we are so thankful for our little family unit and that we get to visit family coast-to-coast.

We celebrated Daddy's birthday a little early when I surprised him with a night out on the Cape! We had couples massages at Chatham Bars Inn. Fabbo. We walked around Chatham and had chowda and bloodys. We rested at our B&B, the Carriage House Inn, we went to the most AMAZING dinner at Atlantic 28 at the Wequasset. When I say it was amazing, I mean, seriously, one of the best dinners I have had in years. I cannot wait to go back to the Wequasset. I wish I were the kind of girl who could make summer be a verb, but alas, we will just go back for a long weekend or week long trip. We are not "summering" type of people but boy, if I was, The Wequassett would be my summer destination. Check it out_--->

We got back from our trip and went directly to the Dave Matthews concert! We had a blast, felt old, waxed nostalgic and were in bed by 12 am. Yep, we are old. How'd we get so old?! It seemed like only yesterday I was picking up Under the Table and Dreaming DMB CD at Disc-Go-Round and playing it NON STOP in my childhood room in Rex, Ga. My life has already gone by too quickly and taking the time to slow down and listen to music that marked a big part of late adolescence/early adulthood was surreal. We had a great time!

We headed up both the Francis and Vajda families to make the trek to Goebbert's farm. It was a drive but worth it! The kids had a blast, even if Ella looked tee'd off. For the life of me, she would not look at the camera.

Finally, we celebrated Daddy's bday with a cake from...Sweet Mandy B's. I have GOT to find a new place but even if I did, what's the point?! SMBs has the best butter cream frosting in the city.

We are still unwinding from our trip to Grand Rapids, MI for Erica and Ryan's wedding. We had the best time. It was quite the trip; it involved road tripping with friends, to me ending up in the ER, to an allergic reaction to said medication given in the ER, detour to South Haven, MI (which is awesome, btw. Chicagoans, when the weather warms, you must make the trip to South Haven), to touring Grand Rapids, to attending the most beautiful wedding of one of my most dear friends. We ended up having the BEST time this weekend; it's not where you are but who you are with that matters. Yes, shameless line from a DMB song, but so true. I am so lucky and blessed to have some really neat people in my life.

I will post pics from this weekend tomorrow night (fingers crossed!).