Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Dynamite Weekend in Chicago

Frank couldn't look more Italian if he tried.

On Saturday Frank and I drove to Chicago to move him into my parents' house. Our drive was filled with delicious rest-stop cuisine, lots of very engaging scenery,

and of course, good conversations.

Lucky Frank gets the biggest bedroom, which formerly housed three of us kids and has its own bathroom/shower. Now that us oldest four have moved out, there's plenty of room in the house for another person. My mom can't stop talking about how excited she is to have Frank around to eat all of her cooking—only surpassed by how excited Frank is for her home-cooked meals.

This weekend was, no joke, one of the best visits home of my adult life. It got me so excited for my upcoming move. Rather than try to explain it, I'll let the pictures and quotes do the talking.

On Saturday evening, Dad took Frank, Joseph and me to a Bulls game. One of his partners at work scores him tickets from time to time—as Dad said, "I only go to professional sports games when I get free tickets." These were quite some tickets.

Angela called me after the game. She recently got her own email account (at 8?! What is this brave new world?) and like Joseph is a tad obsessed.

"Hi Theresa. I have a question," she said. "What's up, Ang?" "Can you send emails from your phone?" Technically I can, but... "No." "Hmm... Can you send emails from Frank's phone?" "No." "What about Dad's phone?" ... "Yes." "Ok, good. Can you send me an email? I haven't gotten one in a while."

Angela was full of fantastic quotes all weekend. Like when she leaned over to me during Mass, right after the priest giving the homily mentioned the pope, and stage-whispered, "What pope do we have?"

She and Joseph are more than a little obsessed with Frank. Joseph, the only boy out of seven kids, is especially thrilled to have another man in the house. For the first time in family history, our home will have an equal number of guys and girls. Several times he ran up to Frank, threw his arms around him, hugged him and declared, "I finally have a brother!" It was the cutest thing. He also begged my mom to have his friends over after school "so they can meet my new brother!" He wants to tell the kids at school that his parents adopted Frank as a big brother for him to play with. Ha.

 Trying on Frank's hat/glasses is Angela and Joseph's new favorite hobby:

One of the funniest moments of the weekend was when I checked Camp Patton with my mom and siblings around, and introduced them to my favorite mommy blog. My mom was confused at first ("is Simace her husband or one of her children?") but once she got the hang of it, she thought it was hilarious.

Joseph and Angela, meanwhile, were captivated by the Mass behavior grades that Grace gives her kids every week. I have no idea why. Maybe they think all parents secretly grade their kids' Mass behavior? They insisted on reading every single WIWS post to see what grades Bash and Julia got that week (and completely ignored everything in the posts except the grades and the pictures). Their absolute favorite was this one because of the picture of Julia wearing her mom's glasses upside down. To them there is nothing funnier than the antics of kids even littler than they are. Oh, and they loved Theo. Looks like I'm not the only one in the family with a little bit of baby fever. ;)

On Sunday afternoon we all went to the Shedd and had a great time at the aquatic show, which featured the most adorable beluga whales you ever did see. Now I want a beluga whale. We also met Caroline's boyfriend, who tagged along for the day. Frank adored the Shedd and we're planning to take his family there when they visit Chicago next month (can't wait!).

Sunday brunch and accidental matching

I have a strange obsession with gift shops—the cheesier, the better. I limited myself to only taking one picture this time.

On Monday, we had an extremely successful day of wedding planning. We booked our photographer, removing what was the largest source of stress in my life for the past two months. The story of how we found this photographer is a long one, but let's just say I wanted quality and my parents wanted low prices—and they were paying—and I was overly worried about it until Frank stepped in and found the cheapest wedding photographer in Illinois who also offers fantastic, award-winning images. Everyone was satisfied and it's all thanks to Frank. I swear, I don't know how girls plan weddings without involved grooms. I would be ten times more stressed if he didn't jump in to help all the time.

We also made progress on buying the invitations. I found gorgeous ones online from a fancy stationery company, but they were way out of our price range, so instead we took them and a few similar styles to a printer my mom works with, and he promised to create something similar for a fraction of the cost. Score! By the end of the day, I felt like the queen of budget wedding planning. :)

After getting drinks with my friends Anna and John (who just got engaged!), Frank and I drove to the airport Monday night for my flight home. Except DC doesn't really feel like home anymore, now that Frank lives in Chicago. At least we are only saying goodbye for a little while—he's coming to DC on Friday for the March for Life and to wrap up a law school project.

After I got through security, I called my dad to tell him I was at the gate and to thank him. "Thank you for letting Frank stay at the house. It makes things so much easier and it means so much to us," I said. Dad laughed and said, "Don't thank me yet! For all you know, after staying with us, he might change his mind about marrying you in May!" Yeah right—if anything, he'll have so much fun he won't want to move out.

And finally, my favorite moment of the weekend. We were waiting in the car and Angela asked to try on Frank's glasses. He obligingly handed them over and she started to put them on the right way, then stopped and did this:

while saying, "What was that blog called again?"

While I cried with laughter, Frank said, "That one's making the blog." And so it is.


  1. It has been awhile since I commented on your blog. You write "happy" and sound happy. Twenty five years from now remember why you love him and why he loves you. Don't let those attributes become an irritation. Stay friends and always be willing to give up your wants in order to fulfill the others needs. I sound like a preacher, but I am not, I'm just a guy who has been married to the same Catholic woman for 52 years. On New Years day we attended our Granddaughters wedding in the Catholic church. I looked at my wife, remembered the day of our vows, and realized that our love for one another is wonderfully transferred to the family God helped us create. May God bless you and your Frank

    From the Other Frank

    1. Dear Frank, thank you so much for your sweet comment. It's always a pleasure to hear from you and to share your comments with my Frank.

      It's so clear from everything you say that you and your wife have such a beautiful relationship, and have really learned how to love each other. Thank you for sharing what you've learned with us! We hope to have a strong marriage like yours someday, and to look back with happiness on 52 good years.

      Congratulations on your granddaughter's wedding! That must have been such a beautiful occasion for you and your family. What a lucky girl your granddaughter is to have her grandparents there to share their lifetime of love with her on that day.

      God bless you, and thank you again for writing!

    2. You are welcome...

  2. Frank looks so much like Mario in that picture, ha ha! I'm kinda obsessed with the plate arrangement behind you guys in the brunch picture. The wheels are turning!

    1. Doesn't he? It slays me! And it gets the wheels turning for next Halloween - potential Mario costume??

      Isn't that wall awesome? It's at a restaurant in downtown Chicago called Elly's. My family absolutely adores that place, and their plate wall is incredible - it stretches from one end of the restaurant to the other, and each plate is a work of art! I secretly dream of creating my own little replica in my first kitchen. Let me know if you make one too and we can share pictures with each other!

  3. Sounds like a very fun week! My family just went to Chicago in September, and we saw Shedd and the aquatic show too. It was amazing! I love the expression belugas have permanently on their faces.

    1. That's fantastic - I hope you had a great time there! Isn't the Shedd incredible? Definitely one of the coolest museums I've seen. And the aquatic show - after seeing it, I couldn't stop daydreaming about a new career as a penguin/dolphin/beluga whale trainer. Missed calling, obviously. :)

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