Sunday, March 31, 2013

Christmas in Chicago--Days 7-9

We made the most of our last couple of days here in Chicago.  Our time with family was so much fun!  I'm not sure how it always seems to fly by so quickly!!!

Ben and Rachel made breakfast for us...

...biscuits and gravy--sure was yummy!

Mario practiced with his new air rifle

our family had some down time and snuggle time

while ma, rachel, and i ran to the mall for a quick shopping trip, mario took the kids outside to play in the snow

anthony working diligently on his snowball

"look, everyone!  our snowballs!"  
oops, lucas!  haha!

okay, there it is!  good job, baby!

miniature snowman!!!


nonno gets big hugs before night-night time

while ben and rachel have a date-night, we stay home and play dominos

our last full day here, mario picks up some doughnuts for breakfast

more relax time
(or should i call it electronics time?!?)
notice me in my favorite spot in front of the fire?  hehe

the boys had some down time too--
playing with trains and watching a trains veggie tales

nonna even snagged some time to play a little candyland with the boys.
it's one of their favorite games

big hugs for uncle benny before he leaves for the airport!
these two think he is so much fun!

later in the day, the boys try out lincoln logs, old-school style

hmmmm, looks like mario grew some attachments on his legs!

well, lucas discovered nonna's closet!!!

looks like lucas also discovered a comfy spot to watch some tv

nonna promised these two a special popcorn treat--
they loved watching it pop in the machine

oh yeah...
this is the good life!

BIIIIIIIIIIIIG hugs for nonno since we have to go home in the morning!

silly faces with nonna

oh, there are those handsome smiles!
they sure love their nonna!

EARLY the next morning, we put the kiddos in the car

it's tough getting that early start, but we never regret it on those long car rides home

bye ma and dad!
bye chicago!
hope we see you again really soon!

Thanks so much, Ma and Dad, for making our trip up so wonderful.  The long drive is totally worth it to be able to hang out with you guys for a week!  It made our holiday all the more special.  We love every opportunity we get to spend time with you.  Love you lots!  Now it's your turn to come see us!!!  ;)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Christmas in Chicago--Days 5-6

Day 5 in Chicago was a beautiful, cold day.  Nonno offered to take the boys for a ride in the miata (aka the "race car")!!!  And, yes, if you are wondering, this is the same little miata (used to be red) that Mario and I shared in the early years of our marriage--pre-kids!  Dad's put a lot of work into it since then--it looks like a completely different car!

all smiles from this bunch!
anthony goes first--
just a little spin around the neighborhood

lucas gives two (or four) "thumbs" up in his big gloves!  haha!
so exciting!

here's a good look at the car...
definitely won't be the last time these boys will beg for a ride!  :)

Nonno and Nonna treated us all do dinner at a little place called White Fence Farm--
a little restaurant Mario and Benny ate at occasionally growing up!

The place was all decked out for Christmas...
Mario said it hasn't changed a bit from the way he remembered it as a little boy!

The kids had a blast checking out all the decorations...
Anthony pets a little reindeer

Lucas liked this Charlie Brown display

and, of course, these two were lovely at dinner--
such good manners, boys!  wow!

our group shot...
benny, rachel, me, dad, anthony, ma, lucas, mario

one last picture in front of the gigantic chicken before we go!!!

The next morning started out as a relaxing day for the boys...
a little coloring...

...a little movie with a snack

and here they are on their way for an exciting adventure...

oh yes!  a real train ride!
(this may be where the idea for anthony's party was born!)

here they are on the train--so excited!

looking out the window

this boy is a daddy's boy lately!

keeping a tight hold of his ticket!

my baby boy--
not so much a baby anymore!

still intently watching outside...
eating a little snack that nonna packed

my darling husband--
i love our crazy life together!!!

finally mommy gets a sweet hug from this daddy's boy!!!
(i think i had to bribe him!  ha!)

pulling into the station where nonna is waiting for us!

here we are exiting the train
"wave to nonna!"

"show me your tickets!"
they had a blast!

a little family photo on the mammina front porch--
a tradition every time we come

nonna made a recipe for "cloud dust" 
i love this picture of anthony in his little apron
(which used to be his daddy's)

can you tell he thoroughly enjoyed it?!?

this boy loves special activities while little brother is napping

here's our group shot on the front porch--
can't leave this one out!

we stayed in and had a homemade pizza night

the boys enjoy some playtime with daddy

that's never complete without a little wrestling!!!

these two had fun in their bath playing with these foam disks for the swimming pool

and the best part about being all clean?
warming back up in front of the cozy fire!!!

after the kiddos went down, ben was kind enough to help me work on the invitations for lucas' party!
my goal is to get these out before Christmas since his birthday is on January 17th (but i rarely succeed amidst the holiday activities!).

Our trip isn't over yet!  Just a couple more days left to enjoy the north and our mammina family!!!