Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012 Recap: Black Friday

On Black Friday, Ian came over in the morning to see us all while we were home.  We had brunch together, and then Scott and I hit the road with my brother Joe.  We were taking him to catch a train in Chicago which would take him back to Milwaukee.  (He works a crazy demanding job so he needed to be back in time to get some work done).

We swooped back out to the suburbs to visit another part of our family, my aunt and uncle and three awesome cousinfriends.  (This is the part of the family who literally took me in to their home when I first moved to Chicagoland).  I was excited to see all of them, but especially excited to meet my cousin Laura's little boy, William.  He was only two months old and cute as a button.

Scott and I each held him and got some great photos during our snuggle sessions.  (I got some crazy cute ones of Scott and Will which I'll post later this week).   It didn't hurt that William was dressed adorably in a teeny little flannel shirt.  Too cute.

Then we feasted on an unbelievable spread.  It was so good to see my cousins and awesome aunt/uncle.  Christine was in from Los Angeles, Jenifer from the Quad Cities and Laura/William from Dubuque.  It was amazing to see them.

Christine's birthday was Thanksgiving day, so we celebrated that a bit with a delicious angel food cake and fresh berries.  Yum.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012 Recap: Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day was ushered in by a late wake up time - we stayed at Steve & Joni's until 2am after all!  After waking up, I went downstairs and peeled some potatoes.  :)  Growing up, peeling the potatoes was always my job, so I had to continue the tradition.

My grandparents arrived around 11:30am, and Steve and Joni arrived shortly there after... along with Megan and Ryan and their adorable five month old son, Grant.

Grant was the event VIP, no doubt about it.  He was immediately attended to by his great-aunt and great-grandparents (my mom and grandparents).   He is such a cute baby with a great disposition and fun personality.  I admit I was a total baby-hog - I couldn't get enough of him.

My parents were the Thanksgiving hosts, but my grandma is the official gravy-maker every year, so I watched her make it a little bit.  And then all of us sat down and ate Thanksgiving dinner.  Everyone agreed it was the best Thanksgiving meal yet - and that is something significant because this exact same group has been celebrating together for over 20 years!  Pretty crazy to think about, and I felt so grateful to be there.

After dinner, we did our traditional "what are you thankful for this year" question, and we all went around the table to say what we're thankful for.  My answer was that I'm thankful for the two people that were at our Thanksgiving table in 2012 that weren't in 2011 - my future sister, Kelly and the baby Grant.

In a totally surprising (and lovely) answer, Kelly said that she was thankful for her groom, and that she was thankful for ME.  It melted my heart (and I'll admit to tearing up pretty significantly).  It was definitely a highlight for me.

After enjoying a trio of pies, we spread out a little bit.  My grandparents got on the road, some people were watching football, and the four girls (plus Grant) put on our walking shoes and went for our traditional walk.  Our walk last year was one of the most special parts of Thanksgiving 2011, so it will probably always have a special spot in my heart.

After everyone had left, and it was just the Staloney family sitting around our living room, we turned on an old family video, and laughed our heads off about how funny we all were in 2001.  It was hysterical.

After an hour or so of this, Kelly said she had something to drop off for me, and came over.  She handed me an envelope, and asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding!

There was so much more to it, that I think this deserves a separate post.  Suffice it to say that I cried happy tears over Kelly (for the second time in a day - ha) and was overjoyed to accept.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday for a reason, and Thanksgiving 2012 was extra special.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012 Recap: Black Wednesday

Thanksgiving 2012 was an especially great 48 hours.  Scott and I arrived in Iowa late evening, and went almost immediately over to Steve & Joni's house (my aunt and uncle).  They have a full size bar (19 bar stools!) in their basement, and the party was hopping.

There was tons of baby talk, because there were two new(ish) moms there, and I'm like a sponge soaking  up as much information as I can get my hands on.  My cousin Megan is a great resource to me because she is so well educated on being a new mom, and because she's both informative and non-judgmental.  I can see myself keeping her on speed dial when my time comes.

There was also lots of wedding talk, because Matt and Kelly are in full-wedding planning mode (more on that later).  Kelly is probably the most gracious bride ever - she seems to genuinely want other opinions and feedback.  It was very fun talking weddings with her and the other girls gathered around.  Megan and Joni even had champagne for a special toast to the bride and groom.

We celebrated Ryan's (my cousin Megan's husband) birthday a couple days early. 

We played hilarious games - like one where you try to blow a golf ball between two shot glasses.  We drank too many Bud Light's and reminisced and took photos.  It was a great night and a perfect way to spend "Black Wednesday" 

I love my family.

PS: Notice that some of the photos are edited kind of differently?  I'm just getting in to Instagram but I looove it.  Find me there, I am MaloneySpecial

Friday, November 23, 2012

Baby William

Sweet baby Will.

Baby Grant

Sweet baby Grant.  

Sweet Home Chicago

Back in sweet home Chicago after an extra special Thanksgiving home.  I saw over 20 family members, including two sweet baby boys, my grandparents, and a bunch of other Ranks.

I am so thankful to be part of this family.

A full recap (and a couple photo-heavy mini-posts featuring the two newest loves of my life) coming this weekend, but in the meantime a few iPhone shots of our mid-afternoon arrival in sweet home Chicago.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

thankful for Christine

It's so fitting that her birthday falls on Thanksgiving day, because I count her among the things I am most thankful for.

Christine has been the closest thing I've had to a sister since we were born three months apart, 28 years ago.  Trips to Florida, California, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Connecticut, Michigan and Illinois.  Gin Gimlets and Vodka Tonics.  G-chats and AIM and texts.  Christine is still one of my most trusted confidants and I'm so lucky to call her my family.

I was looking through photos of us through the years and could not narrow it down... after the jump is an ode to 28 years of family and friendship.

Happy 28th birthday Christine.  I say it every year, but everyone should have a Christine in their life.  xoxo

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Quote of the Day: Charity Edition

"Charity isn't about pity, it is about love." - Mother Teresa

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Photos of the Day: Live Music Edition

As I mentioned on Sunday, Scott played at Ryan's 21st birthday party, and was a huge hit.  He played songs like "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Margaritaville" as well as a bunch of others.  I know I'm biased... but he's just so good.  I love live music, and it's even better when the live music comes from someone you love so much.

Scott set up shop in the corner of the party room at the bar where we were, and was joined periodically by other members of the crew - his brother, an aunt, a uncle, etc.