Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Apples for Alli

I've always wanted to go apple picking in the fall. There's something very storybook about it. Well, this past weekend I finally had the opportunity.

(Heath would have come too, but he had 146 books to read. Yes, 146 is the correct number.)

But back to apple picking...

For our friend Alli's birthday, we wen to the All Season Orchard in Woodstock, IL. It was a great afternoon. Not only did I get to buy some tasty apple butter, but there was an apple canon, wagon ride, juggling (thanks, TK), and rows and rows of beautiful apple orchard.

I split a 1/2 bushel (trust me, a lot) with Hauna, TK and Sarah. They were excellent picking buddies and McIntosh, Gala, Cortland and Shensu were very tasty. I see a pie in our future...

For more beautiful photos, see Sarah's blog or the Daigle's blog.

Meet Nala

Lisa Cockrel's mom, Lois, sent Violet a new toy, a very cute lion we've chosen to name Nala.

Violet LOVES her.

How Heath Spends Most of His Time...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Thais' New Office

Advanstar, the company that owns my magazines, has wisely chosen to move our office from Northfield to Rosemont. While it doesn't match up to downtown digs, the commute is better and the office is much nicer.

Here are some pics of the old office after we'd packed everything up. My things fit neatly into four orange crates...

Here are some pics of our new offices (top: my office, bottom: Christine's office). Not pictured are our lovely new conference rooms, lounge, and kitchen...

Timed with our move, Fran—an editor who'd been with the magazine for over a decade—retired. Here's a shot of our group when we took her out to lunch on her last day...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

California Carters +1

Congratulations Ash and Courtney!

The proud parents are pregnant again and the adorable Miss Maddie is going to be a big sis. It's hard to believe there could be another Carter as cute as she...

Can you believe she's 1 already?

The BCFL Live Draft

Yes, it's that time of year again...time for fantasy football.

We had been home from Grand Rapids for all of an hour before the men and their lap tops appeared for the live draft. There were some technical difficulties, but players were chosen, teams were set, beer and pizza were consumed, and the season begins.

Root for Year of the Chiefs (Heath's team). They'll need the luck now that Tom Brady is out for the season!

Labor Day P.3 - Lisa's Birthday

Lisa Cockrel is known for amazing parties, but this birthday was more of an extended event.

The first "leg" of the birthday journey took us to Graydon's Crossing, a fantastic pub in Grand Rapids.

That night, we stayed at our/Lisa's friend Andy's beautiful home that he's been rehabbing himself—very impressive.

Sunday morning, a few of us went to church with Lisa at St. Phillip's, a very homey, very warm place to worship. We then met with the whole group at a coffee shop called The Sparrows and then headed to brunch at the GRAM (Grand Rapids Art Museum). It's a neat downtown view.

Sunday afternoon was spent at a smaller lake in GR. There was a picnic, bocce ball, good conversation and plenty of dog play (Andy had his dog, Dixie).

So, after naps for some, we moved to the crescendo of the weekend, the party itself. Heath hadn't been feeling well, so he napped for part of the evening, but he was up in time to catch the special performer: Michael Beauchamp. He played an intimate acoustic set for the birthday girl and her guests and even did several lovely duets with Dena. He has a great folksy sound, and you can listen to his stuff here.

After another brunch Monday morning, we headed back to Chicago...a little more tan, full and relaxed.

Labor Day P.2 - The Lake

Any time spent at the lakehouse is quality time. We feel very fortunate to have friends and the hospitality of the Le Peau fam that make such weekends possible.

Vio, Zoe and Stanley had a raucous time together on the porch. They had their own little crate community. Zoe has a tendency to actually get on Violet's back, which is too funny considering their sizes. Her other favorite move is to chomp on Violet's face. Dogs are strange. :-)

The next day, Susan and I went for a run in the morning and then joined everyone out on the water. Violet LOVED being on the speed boat. She was a little nervous when Heath and the guys were out on the tube, but for the most part, she just put her fluffy head in the wind and smiled her puppy smile.

Later on, there was reading, bag playing, duck hunting (on Violet's part) and lunch, followed by showers and the quick trip over to Grand Rapids.