Saturday, June 30, 2012

Erin! Erin!

I can't tell you how happy it made me to take Sonia to meet a long-lost friend of mine earlier this month....  Erin Dunning and I didn't go to the same high school, but when our mutual clarinet teacher introduced us and we started meeting up in honor & community bands, we became fast friends.  During my junior and senior years in high school, Erin and I, along with another area clarinettist named Alex, ran around the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas together, having ridiculous amounts of fun.  We dorkily dubbed ourselves the Foothill Clarinets and counted the days until we could hang out again.  As we trickled off to college (I was the oldest, Alex was a year behind me, and Erin was a year behind him), we met up when we could, but then we eventually lost touch.  Thanks to Facebook, however, Erin and I have reconnected and I got the chance to see her when she visited her friend, Carla, who happens to live in a nearby western suburb.  As usual, Sonia took a few minutes to warm up to Erin, but then they became good buddies.

We met Erin, Carla, and Carla's 12-week-old son (Charlie) at the arboretum.  Erin had read my blog posts about practically living at the arboretum, and Carla is relatively new to the area, so they were curious to visit the arboretum for the first time.  Sonia and I took them to a special place-- the first spot that she and I ever picnicked together (with the Murrays, of course).  Sonia took it upon herself to be a clown and walk around with one foot in a purse and one foot in her camera case (custom-made for her by Auntie Niki out of Richard Scarry's Busytown fabric!!).

Charlie is a handsome little dude!  He has a hilarious hairdo at the moment and looks a bit cranky in this picture (but the crankiness is due to my bad photography timing because he was completely adorable and pleasant for the entire outing!).

Erins!!!!!!!!!!!  We used to call each other "Erin 1" and "Erin 2".  I was #1 because I was older, of course.

Sonia did her fair share of acting like a total and complete wackadoodle.  Here she is singing some made-up songs at Zach's tree.

Carla and Charlie seemed to like the arboretum a lot, and I hope they will be frequent visitors in the future!

It was so great to see you, Erin!!  You are just as wonderful as I remembered you to be.  I hope we don't go another 15 years before we see each other again.  Lovely to meet you & Charlie, too, Carla!

Monday, June 18, 2012

All cleaned up

Earlier this month, Andrew and I got all gussied up and headed downtown to attend the 25th Anniversary UnMasked Ball benefiting the Chicago Sinfonietta.  We were unfamiliar with the Sinfonietta before that evening, but once we saw them perform after dinner, we are two of their newest fans.  If you live in the Chicagoland area, you should check them out!

It was so nice to be out with Andrew after dark....  Yes, we have a reliable and affordable babysitter (although she's deathly afraid of our cats and we have to lock them up in the basement while she's at our house), but we still tend to be homebodies for the most part.  We definitely need to climb out of our rut more often because we felt so emotionally refreshed after this adults-only outing.  Hooray for babysitters!

Speaking of babysitters, ours took these two pictures before we left:

The masquerade ball was actually more of a cocktail party, dinner, auction, and Sinfonietta performance.  It also had an awesome photo booth in which we took these pictures (completely sober, by the way!!!):

Yes, we were deliberately being really dorky.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

And still more from Shutterbug Sosini

Lucky Sonia received an awesome kid camera for her birthday from my parents: the Vtech Kidizoom Plus.  I was SO relieved-- now Sonia can take pictures without me constantly worrying that she's going to break my camera.  The quality of pictures taken with Sonia's kid camera is nowhere near as good as with my point-and-shoot, but she doesn't seem to care!  In fact, every time I try to sit her down at the computer to look at the pictures she has taken, she gets bored and asks to watch Simon's Cat videos.  Anyway, here are some of the cool pictures she has taken on her peacock blue camera.

Very first picture with the new camera: an unshowered mommy

The camera comes with some funny graphics that you can add to the pictures:

Outdoor pictures look pretty darn awesome....  Sosini took this picture of Max driving his beloved gator:

I LOVE this picture that Sosi took of her great-grandfather!

American Gothic?

I love this picture of my grandfather and me!

I found one picture that Sonia took during Ali's birthday celebration...  This was one ridiculously awesome chocolate birthday cake!

Ikey was the subject of many pictures she took on the way to the Museum of Science & Industry.

Sonia's bestest little buddy, Aanya, took these next two pictures.

Sonia took this one at the arboretum the other day.  I love that you can see her camera reflected in the lens of mine!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Happy birthday to MEEEEEEE!

This past week, I've been having a great time playing with two of my birthday presents.

Scooter!  I have now officially been inducted into the neighborhood scooter gang.

Andrew's parents got me a mini pie maker!  I've made two batches of teeny-weeny cherry pies, and MAN are they tasty!  So much fun to bake, too.

Thank you so much for my pie maker, Dick and Jenni!  I can't wait to keep experimenting with it.  Andrew has requested mini-quiches next....

Sonia and Andrew helped me celebrate my birthday with a yummy angel food cake (which is the traditional birthday cake my sister and I always have).  We got lazy and bought it at Jewel, but that's because the Jewel angel food cakes are so good!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Museum of Science and Industry

On my birthday, Emma & I schlepped Ike and Sonia all the way downtown to the Museum of Science and Industry.  We had SUCH a blast....  Yes, most of the exhibits are figuratively and literally over the kids' heads, but they absolutely loved everything. 

BAD PHOTOGRAPHY WARNING: I was too lazy to drag the digital SLR all over the museum, so I used our little point-and-shoot camera, which had no love for the dim museum lighting.  Sorry in advance about the poor picture quality.

The Pioneer Zephyr reminded the kids of one of the engines from the Thomas universe (Spencer), so they lost their minds when they saw it.

The whole trains and plains section was a huge hit with the kids, and we hit it several times during the 4.5 hours we were at the museum.

Baby chicks!  Ikey and Sosini loved watching these little peepers hopping around.

The Mythbusters exhibit was so much fun!  Here, Sonia was trying to see how fast she could get dressed into a superhero costume in a telephone booth.  Super Sillious!

Ike, would you like to try dodging a bullet?

Whoa-- my camera actually snapped the picture fast enough to capture Sonia's smile!  Stupid museum lighting.


We absolutely loved the U-505 submarine....  It was breathtaking to walk into the room and suddenly be nose-to-nose with an actual German submarine (the only one in the whole United States!).  I wish the kids were old enough and patient enough to take the 30 minute tour....  Ever since my brother served on a submarine in the US Navy, I have had a special place in my heart for those amazing boats.

Flying somewhere?  Nope, just hanging out on the full-sized United Airlines airplane that thrilled the kids to no end.  We had to go back several times during our visit!

Thanks for helping me celebrate my birthday, Sosini, Emma, and Ikey!  We had a great time....

Monday, June 11, 2012


The day before my birthday, Andrew, Sonia, and I all trekked to the Brookfield Zoo to check out their new temporary exhibit, Xtreme Bugs!  Sosi thought it was pretty funny....  I loved being able to see details on bugs that you normally can't see when they are their real tiny sizes.  This lady bug is my favorite!

Someone had a really fun time making amusing "street signs".

Sonia was being silly in this picture, pretending that the yellow jacket was going to steal her snacks.


I'm annoyed this picture is out of focus, because the look on her face is SO typical for our wacko Sosini....

Right as we were leaving the zoo, we ran into this scene....  I swear, this peacock knew he was creating a photo op by posing next to these beautiful flowers!