how i wonder what you are

For the first time since I moved to Austin, I headed back to Chicago for a quick weekend to attend my friend Sara’s baby shower. It was great to see her and her growing belly (I can’t believe how much bigger it was 3 months later!) and my other girlfriends who attended. Of course, I also got to hang out with my mom and brother who are still in the area. It was weird to be chauffeured from the airport by my mom – I was always the airport chauffeur for family that came to Chicago. I was never in Chicago without my own car. I would have liked to spend more time, drive by our condo to see how it’s holding up, stop by my former place of employment and see people, but it was a very quick weekend. I hope to be back at the holidays!

Sara and her husband Brady are not finding out the gender of their baby ahead of time. So the girls who threw the shower did a great job by choosing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” as the theme. The decor and gifts complimented the theme perfectly. They even had star balloons tied to the mailbox!

They strung a line of onesies across the fireplace where the gifts were placed.

Sara's Baby Shower

My friend Michelle made an ADORABLE diaper cake. I told her she should totally sell these on Etsy.

Sara's Baby Shower

Diapers circled little vases of flowers on the tables and stars hung from the chandelier.

Sara's Baby Shower

The food spread was nice and summery – fruits, cheeses, salad, chicken salad sandwiches, veggie pizza, and an apple tart pastry that my friend Jill made.

Sara's Baby Shower

The cake was so adorable!

Sara's Baby Shower

The mom-to-be was glowing and looked great!

Sara's Baby Shower

Everyone was invited to decorate a onesie for the baby.

Sara's Baby Shower

I kept mine simple with an iron-on elephant.

Sara's Baby Shower

Sara's Baby Shower

Michelle got a little more creative and made hers a Chicago Bears onesie with the butt saying “Packers Stink”. I doubt the daddy will allow it to be worn, being a die-hard Packers fan!

Sara's Baby Shower

Everyone brought a book to give the baby. Naturally, I called up my sister and told her to send me some!

Sara's Baby Shower

Sara got lots of awesome gifts. Just the gifts alone made me totally wish I had a reason to shop in the baby aisle – never mind that I can’t even look at a onesie without squealing. And don’t get me started on baby socks. I melt!

Sara's Baby Shower

Sara's Baby Shower

As if all the baby stuff was enough – there was also an actual baby in attendance! Sara’s friend Jamie recently had her second daughter. She was very well behaved the whole time.

Sara's Baby Shower

Sara's Baby Shower

After gifts, we took some pictures in the backyard. It was a HOT day in Chicago, but I’m used to the heat. Just kidding – I think it’s going to be a LONG time until I’m used to this kind of heat.

Sara's Baby Shower

It’s so exciting that not only Sara is having a baby, but my other good friend Jill is ALSO expecting a baby!! Sara is due near the end of August and Jill is due in early December.

Sara's Baby Shower

Sara had another friend there who is pregnant too – due any day now!!

Sara's Baby Shower

Sara's Baby Shower

Before we left, we all had to make a prediction for the sex of the baby, the birthdate, and weight and length. I guessed that she’ll be having a girl on her due date around 6 lbs 10 oz and 21 inches long. We’ll see if I’m right!

Sara's Baby Shower

Can’t wait to get word of the birth – just a few weeks left!!! I’m hopeful I get to meet the baby at the holidays – along with Jill’s newborn!!

she’s leaving home, bye bye

Yes, I’m leaving Chicago, my home for the past 7 years. In fact, I’m leaving Illinois, my home for twenty-some years. We are packing up and moving to Austin. As in Texas. As in a completely different state. In the south. Where they speak with southern accents and have warm winters. I will miss Chicago and my friends, family, and coworkers here. But, I can honestly say I won’t miss Chicago winters.

What prompted our move was that Drew accepted a job transfer with his company, KPMG. We discussed it and it sounded like a great opportunity and an exciting adventure to pick up and move. That meant I was on the job hunt.

I’m leaving my beloved Discover after 7 years. I’ll miss the work and the people and the culture of Discover. I really enjoyed what I did there. I still remember that fateful day in college when I took a quick walk through the job fair and saw that Discover was hiring web developer interns. I had already found an internship in Seattle, but I thought I’d take one last look. So glad I did – I was invited to headquarters for interviews, was offered the internship, and went on to have the best summer ever. It didn’t even feel like work.

I hoped that I could find another job that I liked as much. Leaving is harder than I imagined, but I’m taking with me a lot of memories, some awesome ninja web skills, and lots of friendships. You never know when you’ll run into people again. Since I’ll be living in a tech hub, I’m bound to run into someone at a conference or festival.

I’m leaving behind a lot of family and friends, but that just means I have plenty of reasons to come back to Chi-town to visit. And now they all have somewhere to visit during those harsh winters!

Drew’s been in Austin since early March and already started his new job. He moved into our apartment with just an air mattress and a few other things. I told him he couldn’t do anything fun until I got there. So I’m left to pack up the condo, which I’ve spent the last few weeks doing. The moving company comes in on Saturday, then I’m outta here. It’s a 2-day drive down and luckily I have family conveniently located halfway down in Memphis, so I can crash at my uncle’s house. Then I’ll be hightailing it to Austin to finally see my hubby after a month!

After I settle in, I’ll start my new job at Dell and start becoming a Texan. Which should be easy because I’ve seen a lot of Friday Night Lights episodes. I’ll let you know if I run into Sandra Bullock or Lance Armstrong. I suppose I need to get me some cowboy boots?

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “She’s Leaving Home” by The Beatles

i’m coming home via chicago

Chi-town. It’s our home, yes, but there’s so much to do here that we’ve never done. We had been putting off some of this fun for years. So we decided to spend a night downtown and see how it felt to truly be a Chicagoan. I’m glad we chose a weekend that was scorching hot. But lots of fun was had nonetheless.

We started Friday morning at Rock Bottom watching the World Cup with my B.I.L. and S.I.L. U.S. vs. Slovenia was a pretty exciting game – I wouldn’t have missed it. Screaming, clapping, falling off chairs from excitement, and toss in a momosa, a bloody mary, and some beers.

Yes, we were totally robbed that last goal. That was hard to watch. But we’re happy with a tie. And the day must go on.

After the game, we headed up to the Lincoln Park Zoo. It was so hot and sunny that day. The poor animals didn’t move too much.

Although, there was this one meerkat who loved to pose for the camera!

“All right Mr. De Mille, I’m ready for my close-up.”

After we headed back to the hotel to relax, a big storm headed into Chicago. We watched it swoop in from the 28th floor of the Sheraton. It was nasty – it even took out a window of the Willis Tower! After the storm quickly passed through, we met up with my S.I.L. and her fiance and our friends Sara and Brady for dinner at The Publican. They’re known for their seafood and pork from local farms served family style. It was delicious!

Then we headed up to Fado’s for some drinks.

The next morning we headed to Navy Pier to ride the ferris wheel.

And then we boarded a boat for an architecture tour along the river and Lake Michigan. We learned so much about the architecture and history of Chicago. Plus, we got an incredible view of the skyline.

The sun was pretty hot out there, and it got in the way of a lot of my pictures.

There’s the Sheraton – where we stayed for a night!

After the boat tour and lunch we headed to the Art Institute to check out the new modern wing.

Don’t look too closely at a Seurat, or you’ll go nuts like Cameron did in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks” is one of Drew’s favorites.

After the art museum, we spent the rest of the afternoon in Millenium Park.

Taking pictures of “the Bean” was pretty fun. Although, that thing is covered in fingerprints. Someone needs to shine her up!

After all that walking, I was more than happy to sit and stick my feet in some cool water. Apparently, so was everyone else.

After grabbing some pizza, we headed home to chill out. We always need a little break after vacation to – you know – rest up. Whew – vacation takes it all outta ya.

See the rest of my pictures from the weekend on Flickr.

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “Via Chicago” by Wilco

take a walk when autumn comes to town

We enjoyed an unusually warm couple of November days last weekend in Chicago, but due to recent wind/rain, most of the fall leaves have already fallen. Luckily, I took advantage of an equally nice October afternoon a few weeks ago and took a few pictures of the leaves in their just-turned-yellow state. I live right across the street from this forest preserve along the Des Plaines river and had never spent time in it before (except to drive through it to get to work). Glad to know it’s a nice quiet place to take a stroll, just steps from my place.

Fall Leaves

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “Autumn Song” by Van Morrison

in an ocean of noise

Yesterday my mom and I took the train downtown to Shedd Aquarium on a lovely July Saturday (finally!) Of course the nice weather brought out the crowds (plus Chicago was prepping for Venetian Night later that night.) Shedd Aquarium on a summer Saturday is chock full of kids and strollers! But it’s cute to see kids squeal when the dolphins swim by the window.

Because I had visited Shedd Aquarium back in December and saw all of the indoor exhibits, we just checked out the newly renovated Oceanarium. While they were renovating, they relocated their Beluga whales to Connecticut for 9 months. We watched the dolphins and Beluga whales practice for their upcoming show Fantasea. Very well trained animals! It’s always impressive to see dolphins jump in unison, and we got to watch the show from above and below the water.

Here are a few highlights from the day:

These little guys weren’t part of Shedd Aquarium, but they were hanging around outside hoping for a fish to get loose.

Check out the rest of the pictures from the day on Flickr.

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “Ocean Of Noise” by The Arcade Fire

together, forever, that’s how it should be

The 3rd of July marked two special occasions. First, my husband’s birthday. I took him to breakfast that morning and then we played tennis (and he let me beat him in one game.) Then we headed to Wheaton for our friends Stefanie and Adam’s wedding rehearsal.

I was her Bride’s Assistant. I was put in charge of corralling the ring bearer and flower girl and handing out all the boutonnieres and corsages. Plus I got to skip around and snap photos, which I would have done anyways. Except for the skipping part. Drew hates when I skip. (Inside joke…)

We rehearsed at the Klein Golf Club for a planned outdoor ceremony, weather permitting.

The bride and her bridesmaids

After working up an appetite, we went to Gino’s East for the rehearsal dinner.

The bride’s assistant and the bride

Well, the weather did not permit. It rained on her wedding day. But that’s good luck right? (Personally, I just think that’s something made up to make the bride feel better.) The morning of the wedding, they decided to move the ceremony inside the tent where the reception was set up. Most guests sat at their dinner tables, but the VIP’s sat in chairs on the dance floor. I think it turned out beautifully and I must say, the bride handled the change of plans superbly.

The wedding was a success. And I think their marriage will be too.

I can just tell these things.

Who needs fireworks on the 4th of July when you get to spend the evening watching sparks fly for two dear friends on their wedding day?

See the rest of my pictures from the rehearsal and wedding day.

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “I Say A Little Prayer For You” by Dionne Warwick

take a deep breath and blow ’em all away

This past weekend we celebrated my sister-in-law’s birthday with dinner at Wildfire! After wading through the river overflowing Chicago, the whole fam made it to our favorite steakhouse. I won’t say how old she turned, cuz I’m a lady. I do ladies things.

AND… we get to cat sit Nanaa for 2 weeks!! She has made herself welcome on our ottoman, our kitchen table, our couch, behind our couch, and on every window sill in the place. And occasionally on my lap for a brief 10 seconds (as long as I don’t touch her.) Very low maintenance pet – just the way I like ’em!

“mmm i smell noms cookin”

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “Birthday Gal” by The Replacements

here comes the future

June 10th, 2009 marked my last day of grad school! I’m an official graduate of DePaul’s Kellstadt Graduate School of Business! I can hardly believe it myself. I started in September 2007, so I finished in under two years. (Yep – I really just wanted to get done as fast as possible.)

As part of my MBA coursework, I concentrated in E-Business, which is a good extension to my technical background as a web developer and a good fit for my current role at Discover. I also took a capstone class where I became a Certified Business Architect. Business Architecture is a relatively new concept within business, and Chicago professors, along with other members of the Business Architects Association, are working to spread the word around Chicago. I think a lot of the high level concepts gave me a good perspective and were a good way to wrap up the MBA program.

CBA Certificate

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Discover for covering the majority of my tuition – couldn’t have done it without you! And thanks to my husband for all his patience!

I’m most excited to just be finished with school and get back to life – just in time for summer! The morning after my last final, we took off for a long weekend in Arizona to visit my Dad for his birthday. I figured that would be a tad more fun than sitting through a lengthy commencement ceremony. Took tons of pictures – stay tuned!

everything around her is a silver pool of light

Lots of martini’s, 9 girls in black dresses, and 1 glowing bride-to-be made for a great bachelorette party for Stefanie! My friend for 17 some years, she is marrying her college sweetheart Adam on the 4th of July. So we had to send her off in style.

We met at Hotel Sax downtown for cocktails and gifts and headed to Buca di Beppo for dinner. Then it was off to a show at Second City.

Yeah, we’re pretty innocent girls, we kept it clean.

Of course, we made her wear the fluffy party veil that all us girls have worn for our bachelorette parties!

Lucky us, we got the “Pope” room at Buca di Beppo – a giant table with a lazy susan in the middle that rotated a bust of the Pope, and lots of Pope memoribilia on the walls. Pretty appropriate for the occasion I thought. We kept turning the Pope around to give Stef the stink eye for drinking all that Sangria.

See more pictures from the night on Flickr.

when the sun gives way to april showers

This past weekend was pretty filled with showers – both the rain and life-event-celebration variety. My cousin-in-law Annie had her bridal shower in Missouri and my friend Stefanie had her bridal shower in Chicago. But I missed them both because I had long-standing tickets to see Mary Poppins with my mom. So my mom came in and we took the train (it was raining, you see) and dashed into the Cadillac Palace theatre for the matinee. One of my favorite Disney movies. It was a cute show. Lots of squirming loud kids, but that was to be expected. The girl who played Mary Poppins (Ashley Brown) was straight off of Broadway and sounded very much like Julie Andrews* (my favorite lady ever.) At the end, Mary Poppins flew up into the air and over the audience. My mom and I oohed and ahhed like little girls.

*By the way, did you know I met Julie Andrews a couple years ago? At a book signing. So, yes, I have her children’s book with her signature – she signs her books Julie Andrews Edwards. It’s has a special spot on our bookshelf next to all of our other autographed books. I didn’t just get her autograph, but I actually talked to her! She asked how I was and I said “I’m well thanks.” I was too nervous to say anything else, but I definitely think I made an impression…

After the matinee we scurried over to Trattoria No. 10 for dinner and then headed back to the ‘burbs. The next morning, I did make it to another shower. We drove to Rockton for our friends Mark and April’s baby shower. So my blog post title does have a double meaning, eh? April had her shower. In April. During a rain shower. April’s shower had April showers.

Mark and April got lots of goodies and are busy putting their nursery together no doubt. Their little girl is due in June.