i got joy joy joy in my soul tonight

What a week! Two births in one week! First, my friend Nadine and her husband Ian welcomed their first baby boy, Eric Alexander Finn. He was born on 10/29 and weighed in at 7lbs 11oz and was 20 1/2 inches long. He is perfect! Sara, Stef and I visited with them after they arrived home from the hospital and took turns holding the little sleeping baby.

Eric Alexander

I heart babies

The Finn Family

The second birth of the week was the birth (or rebirth) of a new era of American pride and hope with the election of Barack Obama!!! It was an awe-inspiring and pioneering campaign to the White House, and undoubtedly one of the most exciting moments I’ve lived through. Although I didn’t brave the crowds down in Grant Park, I felt their impact through my TV. The most emotional moment of the night was right after they announced Obama the winner and they showed the crowd’s reaction. I’m just glad I played a part by supporting Obama and voting for him that day. It’s a day I will never forget!

"a change is gonna come" - photo courtesy of davidwatts1978 via flickr

"a change is gonna come" - photo courtesy of davidwatts1978 via flickr

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i don’t do too much talking these days, these days

For the first time in 7 years, we decided to dress up for a Halloween costume party. Drew had the great idea of going as characters from one of our favorite movies, The Royal Tenenbaums. I was Margot and he was Richie. I think we pulled it off pretty well!

the real Richie and Margot


Kari and her friends were Olympic champions and mascots, and Brett was a taco. Check out the rest of my pictures from the Halloween party. We saw an Amy Winehouse, a Joe Six-pack, a couple of Dwight Schrutes, and a Geico gecko.

we’re out there having fun in the warm california sun

Our final day in Napa brought us to Mumm Napa – a small winery that specializes in sparkling wines and champagne. We sat outside and shared each other’s bubblies before heading in to peruse their Ansel Adams art gallery.

The next and final winery on our trip was a little vineyard in the hills off the beaten path. Joseph Phelps has an outdoor tasting area that offers a relaxing and scenic view. It was a memorable way to end our tour of California wine country. A toast to Barb and Steve for whom we planned this family trip – to celebrate Barb’s graduation and “big” birthday, and their 30th wedding anniversary!

We ate dinner that night in downtown Napa at Ristorante Allegria. In a blink of an eye, we were on the plane back to Chicago already wishing we could return to Napa—sooner rather than later. There was so much more to see and taste!

Check out the rest of my pictures from Day 3.