Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Of Love

I hadn't been back to Chicago to visit Mom since April and Jack and I decided this would be a good weekend to go. Ok, I decided it would be a good weekend to go! It's also my son Craig's birthday and he and his family were visiting his wife's sister, who also lives in Chicago. So we decided to have a birthday celebration on Saturday afternoon. But before I get into all that, I had to snap a shot of the lovely dinner my Sister prepared for us after we arrived on Friday. It was lamb (of course, we're Greek aren't we?) a beautiful salad,(I provided the tomatoes from our garden), and this yummy chicken number that combines chicken, feta cheese, Parmesan cheese, spices, all wrapped in was awesome!
On Saturday we got ready for a nice crowd that was coming around 3pm. We had Mom's yard all ready...the chairs, tables and deck were looking good..and the rain clouds were coming in fast. I wasn't complaining about the cloud cover because the day was hot and humid and it took the edge off..the breezes picked up too. The rain did hold off until after dinner...we ate birthday cake inside!
Since it was Craig's birthday we let him decide on the menu..all he cared about were the ribs and a special chocolate cake..well, we filled in the blanks with burgers, brats, salads and other goodies. Did you have any doubt?
The grownup cousins got a chance to talk over life, mothering, and just plain "catching up"...This is Katie (my niece on the left) and my daughter-in-law Amy.
Sophie was happy with a chip...
Katie and Jack took care of the grilling..
The cousins..Jack (my daughter-in-law's nephew) and my grandkiddo Taylor called dibs on the swing!
Brooke (my niece's daughter) showed me her cast..she broke her leg and was wearing a full length cast but just had a new shorter one put on..just in time for school..She's a trooper!
My Grandkiddos and my niece's daughter had a fun time together. I was glad they were able to get to know each other better.
When the rain came it was time to head indoors for cake, candles, icecream and singing...Way to blow out candles Craig!
Happy Birthday Craig!
Sunday morning we got A final goodbye from Craig and Amy as they headed back to Michigan.
We had so much fun on Saturday celebrating Craig's birthday we decided to continue with the family get-togethers. My brother Greg invited us on a boat ride down this lovely river..the Illinois river, on Sunday. The weather was perfect..very cool and sunny. Such a change from the hot and humid day before!
The gang was all Brother Greg (driving), Jack, my niece Amy and her hubby Eric,(not in this shot) my Sis-in-law, Deidra (holding new baby Ella), and me of course (behind the camera..where I like it)..
The passengers also included these two crazy Sis, Midge, and my Mom.
Even this little monkey..Ella..enjoyed the day. Her first boat ride! She slept through most of it, only waking to kinda girl!
After cruising down the Illinois river we spotted a nice spot to stop and get off and enjoy a picnic.
The boat was secured nice and tight and we sat on the beach and enjoyed a delish lunch that my Sis had prepared. Food always tastes better in the fresh outdoor air doesn't it?
Eric and Jack thought we might need a little more shade. The beach was very shady and nice so we nixed the umbrella. (But it made a nice pic!)
Thanks "Capt." Greg for a wonderful afternoon of boating, sun and fun..
We left for home today and made it safe and sound. The temps have cooled down to about a high of 65, a little cool for some people, but not us!...Now back to the working world tomorrow. It was good to visit with Mom and Midge and all my family and spending time with Craig on his birthday was the best...I guess having a kiddo on Labor day is a "Labor of love" when you can share it with so many great people that I'm proud to call "FAMILY".


Kim said...

Your weekend sounds perfect. That food looks amazing. I wish I had been there to taste it all.
Kim :)

Hope said...

that sounds like a wonderful time! thank you for sharing your story and your photo's. your food looks so yummy! I think I'll go and eat my dinner

have a wonderful rest of the day yaya!

Stacy Crawford said...

I'm glad you had so much fun! I am SOOO glad the heat broke. It was ridiculous hot Friday at work and football games. Today was refreshing. I actually got to wear a sweatshirt for a bit! LOVE IT.

Sue said...

You had some really quality family time there! And your mom looks great.

So did that lamb dinner! My mouth is watering over it.


Darlene said...

I love that you were able to have so many of your family together to celebrate Craig's birthday. That guy is so darned handsome!! It sounds like a perfectly wonderful celebration. It is so fun when you can get so many of the family together.

That boat ride sounds really neat too. The boat looks like so much fun and it holds so many people.

The thing I liked the best is how you posted the pictures and wrote the whole story along with the pics. My daughter Sue does that on her blog a lot of times, as you well know. I want so much to learn how to do that and Dick has promised me that he will show me how to do it tomorrow afternoon.
Hopefully I will be able to do it.
It looks so complicated.

I loved that you posted a picture of your mom. I can certainly see the family resemblance with you, your sister and your mom. How I would love to meet that woman.

Mrs Catch said...

What a great weekend with family. The food looks so delicious. A day on the water always makes me extra hungry!

Wander to the Wayside said...

You have the best family gatherings of anyone I know (or read)! I have a very small family, so I enjoy living vicariously thru yours and all those get-togethers WITH ALL THAT GOOD LOOKING FOOD!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Yaya .. gosh your homecoming sounds just great - Greek food - emmmm I love it! The phyllo chicken dish looks delicious .. I regularly do spanokopita .. which I adore.

The food looks glorious, as do all the family and the trip .. glad Craig got the choice though .. what are 'brats'?!

I can't see the photos from here - so I'll have to go back and have another look .. but it's lovely to see the family and everyone so happy.

Expect your mother was delighted to see you .. then the boat trip .. what a way to go ... no wonder you're proud to call them FAMILY!

Hope the work is too much of a come down .. but glad you're safe and sound .. cheers Hilary

Bonnie said...

Your family must be huge because you are always talking about celebrating birthdays! I love it. Big families are the best.
Your life is so active. I hate being bored, so I think I would fit in just fine. Want to adopt me? :)
Twitter: @GlamKitten88

Sandi said...

You really know how to have a great weekend! It just went on and on, (I was a little tired, just thinking about all that activity and people!)

It's so wonderful that your family is close, and obviously loves to spend time together. Perfect plans for a nice long weekend!

Donna said...

You always have the best FOOD pics!!! You had better picnics than we did here...rained out and ended up being a very quiet weekend....babysitting...ha! Our Mike had a great wekend there too. Bailey called on the way home tonight saying "we will get home so late and sleep in our own beds!" lol
Nice pic of Craig, Mom. He's too handsome to do that to!
You fam just gets better and beter looking...all of them! You bros boat is too yellow. wecome back to reality!

Donna said...

ohhhh, gosh. Sometime I will learn to edit my own writing...spelling, sorry!!

Jilda said...

what a wonderful weekend, fun, food and family! Treasure those moments!

rosaria said...

Very lovely time, indeed! That Chicken in phylo looks great. Any chance you'd share the recipe?

rosaria said...

Very lovely time, indeed! That Chicken in phylo looks great. Any chance you'd share the recipe?

rosaria said...

Very lovely time, indeed! That Chicken in phylo looks great. Any chance you'd share the recipe?

Karen Whittal said...

That sounds like my kind of weekend, family, family, family........ guess what I AM GOING TO BE A GRANNY....... at last

Kerri said...

What a great way to spend your holiday weekend! I can't imgaine the day when I might not get to celebrate my son's birthday with him b/c he is with his family or not in the area....oh that makes me sad. I guess that's part of life and letting the kids grow up. So glad you were able to see your son on his birthday. I love being out on a boat...what a fun time!

Munir said...

Happy Birhtday to Craig.
Sophie, Brook, Ella and all of the kids are so cute. I hope that Brook's leg gets better, as colder season is about to come.
I envy you for knowing Greek Lamb dishes. Every thing on that table looks soooo delicious. I am happy that you had a good weekend:)

Sush said...

How celebrations and lovely travels! Sounds like you all had a wonderful visit with wonderful family love abounding!

Great pictures, thanks for sharing!

Sandi said...

Thanks for your comments, Yaya! It's good to hear from someone who has had to wait for their child to come home!

By the way, my knee is doing well! I'm walking almost normal now!

Life 101 said...

Very nice. I thought at first Craig was about to eat his cake the way I like to eat chocolate cake -- without hands -- just dive in and eat my way out :)
I love the way you document your gatherings.

Wsprsweetly Of Cottages said...

What a great family outing! The food, the family all of it. It sounds like your weather has been fantastic. We should have a bit of cool down in the next couple of days..but knowing California it will give us at least one more good scorching before Summer comes to an end..and even then...the heat could continue. I hope it doesn't.
Beautiful family photo's. :) The baby is just so adorable..and TINY!
Goodness! I forget how tiny they are!

Grandma Yellow Hair said...

Honey you really know how to celebrate! What a fun fun weekend.
Glad the rain held out for the meal.
It seems so strange hearing about rain...we are in serious trouble hear because of the no rain.
If it weren't for the wildfires I wouldn't be so worried but now it is scary too many of them and real close to the North Forty.
Hope you have another great weekend