Monday, October 24, 2011

Tagging the Good Stuff

A day or two after our grands got here, Jackson mentioned that he loves the sectional in our front room. I told him that is my favorite piece of furniture in the whole house and he asked if he could have it know. That led to a conversation with all three about the disposition of our possessions which somehow ended with me providing them with sticky notes they could put their name on and use to tag items they would like to have someday.

This is just one small vignette of many throughout our home. It was fascinating to see which items they tagged. And, as illustrated here, not many items were missed!

I was listening to a conversation between Dylan and Shelby about whether or not the flowers shown above are real or artificial. Even though she was certain they were real, after I confirmed that those flowers are artificial Shelby decided that she still wanted them...too cute!

Being with them makes me so happy! Have I mentioned lately how much I adore these kids?

Lovin' Life ~~ And Being Their Grandma

A Leisurely Lunch

On my calendar for the past few weeks, there was a note for today that said "Lunch w/Carol 11:30 - 1:30." We met at the lovely and delicious Volare in Oakbrook Terrace. We talked and had lunch and talked and had dessert and talked until 1:30 2:30 3:30 4:30! Yes, we sat there sharing, laughing, reminiscing, and catching up on our busy lives for five hours! We were both shocked when we saw what time it was as we got into our cars.

We worked together for nearly ten years and it is so rewarding to find that we have even more to chat about after leaving the office that brought us together. That's not always the case with workplace friends.

Lovin' Life ~~ And Leisurely Lunches

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Remembering ~~ Those Born on This Date

I am 62 years old and, for the first time in my life, there is no one with a birthday to celebrate with today. They are no longer with us in person, but we can certainly celebrate them here.

My dad, Everett Pogue, was born on October 22, 1916. My dear friend and my children's paternal grandmother, Pauline (Eymann) Watt, was born on October 22, 1912. My husband's mother, Sophie (Kott) Ulaszek, was born on October 22, 1906.

When looking back on the birthdays shared with these amazing and much loved members of our family, my favorite was in 1997. They were all visiting Rich and me; that was the only time that all three were together to celebrate that oh-so-special day.

I had baked a red velvet cake and set it on a milk-glass stand from Pauline that had been in her family for ages.

Rich's mom, Sophie, passed away on May 23, 1998.

My Pauline, as I often referred to her, passed away on January 2, 2011.

My dad, Everett, passed away on March 7, 2002.

I often tell the story of this 1997 celebration and cake. There were three other October birthdays that we celebrated that evening: Rich; his sister, Marianne; and our nephew, Chad. That meant there were photos of six people taken with that one "Happy Birthday" cake. When I mailed the photos to Sandee, who lived in California then, she got such a kick out of often is a birthday cake shared by six people, three of whom share the same birthday!?!
Lovin' Life ~~ Remembering Loved Ones

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rich's Old Neighborhood

Sunday, October 16, 2011

We stopped at two other special spots in his family's old neighborhood. The first was the three-flat his family owned and where he grew up. As we stopped in front, Dylan leaped out of our van to take a photo of Grandpa's house with his phone...hmmm...wonder where he got that idea???

After Mass we walked a couple of blocks to the candy store. Oles, now 84 years old, has owned this little store since 1948 and his sister still works there with him. Rich, Marianne, Helen, and even Ted Jr. all remember buying candy there when they were kids. Before they came, Dylan had asked if we could go to "Grandpa's candy store" this visit because he remembered Rich talking about it.

Helen, Marianne, Oles, Ted Jr., and Rich reminiscing about the old days in the neighborhood.

Marianne treated all of us to the candy of our choice. Not having seen any for years, I chose candy cigarettes.

[Confession: I should have given more thought to my choice of candy. Throughout the evening, one or another of my sweet little grands would ask, "Grandma, can I have one of your cigarettes?" It never lost its shock value!!!]

Jackson, Shelby, & Dylan in front of Oles with their candy.

Rich told them about opening the fire hydrants to play in the water on scorching hot days when they were kids.

Grandpa and our grands at 17th and Wood, the corner between his childhood home and Oles' candy store.

Lovin' Life ~~ Sharing Memories

St. Adelbert's Church

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The first time I saw it, I fell in love with the neighborhood church my husband and his family attended. It is inspiring in its glorious vastness and beauty. On Sunday, we finally had an opportunity to take our grands to Mass there.

This photo of its twin towers was taken from the parking lot at the side of the church. I neglected to take a photo of the front of the church though so it was copied from an online source.

We met Marianne, Helen, Ted Jr., and Marianne's friend, Judy, in front of the church.

St. Adalbert Church is a historic church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago. It is a prime example of the so-called 'Polish Cathedral style' of churches in both its opulence and grand scale. The church is located on 17th Street between Paulina Street and Ashland Ave in the Pilsen area of Chicago. St. Adalbert has served generations of Polish immigrants and their American-born children.

St. Adalbert's parish has seen many changes in the surrounding area since it was founded in 1874 to serve the needs of Chicago's Poles. This mother church of all the later Polish parishes on the West and South sides now serves the many Mexicans of the Pilsen neighborhood and has masses in Polish, English, and Spanish. The church itself is the gift of the Poles not just to the people of the surrounding area but to all of Chicago. It is truly a city treasure. If you are interested in more information, please go to's_in_Chicago

How could anyone enter a space this magnificent and not be humbled?

A closeup of the altar overseen by the white-marble statue of the church's patron, St. Adelbert.

After explaining to the grands that they could receive a blessing from the priest when others went forward for communion, the two younger ones elected to do so. Watching them solemnly walk down that aisle with their arms crossed and them snuggling up to me when they returned to our pew, left me with tears streaming down my face. The pride and love I have for these three is unlike any other.

Lovin' Life ~~ Wanting for Words

Marianne's 70th Birthday Party

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Marianne's 70th Birthday was celebrated at Home Run Inn Pizza with 26 family and friends. Our grands and her great-niece, Sophie, watch on as she thanks everyone for coming.

There were two very special guests, one of them was a complete surprise for Marianne. Her nephew, Ted Jr., had told her a few weeks earlier that he was coming this weekend.

Here is the surprise guest. We were all so excited that our sister-in-law, Helen, came with her son, Ted Jr.! It had been thirteen years since Rich and I had seen her. She was married to their brother, Ted Sr., who died in 1998.

Another reason for my excitement about this party was that our grands were here. They finally got to meet our great-nieces and great-nephews who live in this area. They all hit it off really well and were soon playing together after we all gathered at Marianne's house after lunch. Shelby's DS was of great interest for a few minutes.   l to r: Jackson, Zoe, Shelby, Nick, Sophie, & Oliver with Dylan in front.

Here are a few shots of the wrestling matches in which most of the kiddos joined the action. Nick, especially, had a blast wresting with the older boys.

There were desserts, of course. This was a pumpkin dessert that Rich and our grands had decorated; Marianne had just blown out her candles.

No gathering would be complete without some group photos...

Marianne with friends, both new and long-time.

Helen with her brother, Jimmy, and sister-in-law, Dorothy.

Joe's and Carol's sons: Dave, Rob, and Jonathan

Marianne with her brothers, Joe and Rich.

I think the best part of any gathering like this though, is the time spent visiting and catching up with everyone.

Lovin' Life ~~ And Special Celebrations

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Just Like That... the blink of an eye, the snap of your fingers, they have gone back home. They flew out of Midway early yesterday morning.

When I can find the time to finish uploading and selecting photos, there is much to share about their last two days here. Until then...

I bought this "bike" when Jackson was still too small to ride it. Since then all three of the kids have ridden it around and around throughout our house many, many times on each visit. Shelby asks her Grandpa to get it down from the attic when she talks to him on the phone before they come. Just like I usually do, their last night here I took photos of all three of them riding it. Shelby was last and then Jackson said he wanted to be the one to park it, after one more ride, because he doesn't think he'll be able to fit on it to ride when they visit us next. *sniff, sniff*

Jackson's final lap on the "bike."

For now, it remains where he parked it.

Lovin' Life ~~ In All It's Bittersweet Moments

Saturday, October 15, 2011

More Indoor Fun

Friday, October 14, 2011

The kids were so great [read tired!] and didn't complain much at all when we shopped for groceries and I baked for Saturday's party most of the day. As a reward for their patience, around 4:00 we decided to check out Jump!Zone since it is really close to where we live and the weather has turned windy and chilly making outdoor playgrounds Grandma anyway.

Jump!Zone is filled with massive inflatable play structures that have slides and obstacles and jump floors inside. Their favorite was a 22 foot slide that started up near the ceiling. Our kids agreed that they liked Xtreme Trampolines better, but you'd never know it by all the fun they had at Jump!Zone for the entire 2 1/2 hours we were there.

Since most of the fun takes place inside each inflatable structure, I couldn't get photos of very many of the activities. That's why I *gulp* gave Jackson my camera to take to the top of the giant slide. From there he took this photo of Rich and I, then shot a movie of Shelby, Dylan, and himself going down that slide.

Lovin' Life ~~ And Indoor Action

Trampoline Fun

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Talk about a fun day! My brother, Tom, and his son, Chad, joined us for a rainy afternoon at Xtreme Trampolines.

Dodge ball was a huge hit with all four of our jumpers. The movie below shows all of them in action...and Jackson won that game!

The Foam Pit was another favorite. Here all four of them are jumping in and the very quick movie that follows again has all four landing in the foam at the same time.

There are also three courts with several side-by-side rows of trampolines that are restricted to specific age ranges. Chad was on the Adult Court but all three of our grands were on the Medium Court. Following these photos of the kids jumping on their court, is a movie of them jumping there. By the time I took this movie they had been jumping for more than two hours!

Here they are on the dodge ball court later in the day after a couple hours of dodge ball, jumping into the foam pit, and jumping on their court.

Lovin' Life ~~ And Days Full of Activity