Monday, December 17, 2007

Info from Wedding Venue

My Dad picked up a pamphlet from the Park House that we got married in, and I've been wanting to type in the information to share.....finally, here it is!

Berger Park
Cultural Center
6205 N Sheridan

Come on in!

We're the Berger Park Cultural Center at the corner of Granville and Sheridan, right off the beach just before you reach Loyola Campus. You can't miss our beautiful landmark mansion. Perhaps you've driven by or got off the 151 or 147 Sheridan bus and wondered what does on in there. Well come on inside and take a look at our building and our Creative Arts Program Schedule.

Downey History

Downey mansion was build by M.T. Powers in 1906 at the cost of $20,000 for Mr. Joseph Downey who came to Chicago from Ireland in 1856. Mr. Downey was on the Board of Education, the Com. of Buildings and the Com. of Public Works during Mayor Swift's administration. The architect was W.C. Zimmerman. The mansion is two and one half stories of gray roman brick with a large overhanging hipped roof in the prairie style. The coach house is constructed with the same brick and overhanging roof and is two stories in height. The house originally was constructed with "Imperial Spanish" roofing tile. Both the mansion and coach house has had interior and exterior changes over the years due to modernization and tenant use. The original floor plans and pictures of the interior are available for viewing by request. The Downey House is significant historically as one of the few remaining examples of the lake-side mansions that once lined Chicago's lakefront from Lincoln Park to Evanston.

Mr. Downey passed away in Florida in 1925. His widow Lena Downey opened the mansion to community service as a "Home for the Destitute", "House of Good Shepherd", and "Chicago Home for Incurables". When Mrs. Downey passed on in 1934 she left the property to the Kliens who donated it to the Clerics of St. Viator in 1944. In 1973 Developers acquired a lien on the 3.5 acres and in 1979 proposed a high rise condominium complex development for the property. The Edgewater Community Council and many other local community groups joined in a lobbying effort which induced the Viatorian Fathers to accept a reduced amount for the sale of the property to the Chicago Park District in March of 1981.

The acquisition was one of the last sizable pieces of lakefront property in Chicago and provided the neighborhoods of Edgewater and Rogers Park with a public resource for the community recreation. The land, including 450 feet of lakefront and the 1906 Downey and 1909 Gunder mansions, was named Berger Park. The two mansions and their coach houses are located at 6205 and 6219 N. Sheridan Road.

Downey Mansion has since been restored using architectural drawings and photos of the interior and exterior of the building. The building is currently being used as classrooms for the Berger Park Cultural Center featuring pottery, music, painting, drawing, lapidary and creative writing.


WHEW - my fingers are tired! Not sure if any of you, dear readers, are interested in reading that whole thing, but at least now its documented in my blog, so I'll have the knowledge for years to come :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

30 - treinta - the big three oh

I've been thinking about this post most of the day. I must say I've run through the gammut of emotions today, and as the day closes, I realize I'm in a very very good place :)

I woke up today kind of angry I guess. I never thought 30 would bother me very much, at least until I woke up. And then I realized it did! I really am not sure why - I don't necessarily feel old - I don't necessarily feel like I'm having a mid-life crisis.....its just, well, I'm officially out of my 20's.

My mood quickly improved as I opened happy birthday wishes in my inbox and greeted people over the phone. It really felt nice to be remembered and loved! It was also quite a treat to get a special birthday song from Larkin.....its always hilarious and sweet to hear little kids sing songs!

Things got even better when I opened a card not just from Patrick, but also one with a very sweet title written on the front - "Mommy". One can only assume, since Liam can't write neigh talk yet, that the sentiments in the card were picked out by Pat, but it was extra super sweet just the same. I also got SUPER sweet new Wii game - Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games :) Other presents include a fantastic Swarovski Crystal Snowflake Ornament, the Planet Earth Collection on Blu-Ray (the BBC version, not the US version!! AWESOME! And yes, I am a HUGE nerd), a Target gift card (Thanks Heidi!) and my first official pair of cool pants sewn by my mother-in-law Lorraine (they even have my name sewn in the tag!). Oh yeah, and a great dinner and fabulous cake, made my my amazing husband!

So that all had me feeling pretty good - and then came the comments. 30 is the new 20. The end of an era, and the beginning of a new one! After reading those, I really started feeling pretty awesome! I get to start a new decade of my life in an exciting new chapter. I am in a fantastic new marriage with a precious new little baby....I really couldn't ask for anything more!!! I am in such an amazing place in my life - I am so incredibly happy, so incredibly lucky, and so incredibly grateful for all the people and love I have in my life. Thank you God, for blessing me so much, and thank you all for sharing in such a special day with me!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Pout Watch 2007

I ALMOST had his pout caught on camera.....ALMOST This is as close as I got today. Don't worry, no babies were harmed in the capturing these photos...

The second pic is soooo close.....the only thing missing is the bottom lip sticking out. I MUST capture this on camera because it is quite possibly the cutest thing in the universe! It must be because he only does it when he's going to start crying, and not a "something is wrong and I need immediate attention" kind of cry....but more of a "I'm a Pouty Pants and I'm not happy" kind of cry. *sigh* So the watch continues....

Working together

Pat & I have worked for the same company for over 7 years now (7.5 for me - 9 in January for him), and even though we didn't work in the same group, I've always held him in pretty high esteem and very much respected him as a colleague - not just for his knowledge of cement and concrete, but for his personality and his ability to connect and relate to customers. For its one thing to have a lot of knowledge, but its quite another to be able to communicate that knowledge effectively to various groups of people. I shouldn't speak for him, but I will, and I'm pretty sure those feelings are mutual.

People may have thought it strange when I moved to Chicago and knowingly starting working with Pat in the same sales group. There's not many wife/husband teams that can do that successfully! Its not like we work together every single day, but there are days when we spend a lot of time together - during the day when working from home or in the office, and then in the evenings at industry functions. You know what? It really works for us. In fact, I think it probably has made our relationship stronger, especially after the birth of Liam - and definitely since my return to work. For one, working together gives us a way to connect outside of our procreation activities :) And I think that's very healthy! For another - sometime during the exchange of discussion of new testing equiptment, a holiday party, or proctoring for a certification exam, being able to admire him from afar, in his natural element, reminds me of why I love him so much to begin with. His warm personality, interaction with people, wittiness, charm, oh, and in the words of Simone while describing "Abe Froman, the Sausage King of Chicago" the fact that he's "Devistatingly Handsome".

*sigh* I married a real, live, dreamboat. I couldn't be luckier!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Happy Christmas time

Haven't blogged much because frankly, every time I get a free minute to spend on the computer, I typically am scrapping, or at least surfing the websites for scrappy stuff :) There are a few holiday presents I'm finishing up, and although fun, its definitely time consuming. I've given up on the placeholder post....I'm just not going to go back and fill in. Stuff happens.

On top of that, I've been rather crabby lately, and when I'm crabby I don't feel much like (typing) writing. I'm seeing a therapist (have been since October-ish) but I still haven't worked out this random anger. Anger is a strong word....its not that strong of a feeling.....I appear to be mourning my freedom (i.e. pre-baby days) and I can't seem to quite let it go yet. Or maybe its not that - maybe its more dealing with guilt that he's in daycare and I'm working - or guilt that I enjoy the break from him while he's at daycare? I dunno. Like I said, I'm trying to work it out. Last session I felt really good about life and where I am right now, so I'm making progress. Pat's doing great dealing with me while I'm trying to deal with these emotions and does a lot for the baby/housework areas, so that definitely helps. On top of that, I started my period last week, so those hormones certainly didn't help anything either.

*sigh* I suppose this is all part of the transition into parenthood? I hope it goes away.....having those kinds of feelings hanging over my head certainly makes being a parent not fun for me. In all honesty, days are mostly good - but some days - like today - its just hard. And its not because Liam is difficult at all - on the contrary, he's a great baby. Sleeps pretty well, he's happy and smiley and talkative - he's so easy to love!

I started Weight Watchers last week. Pat's doing it unofficially as well. We've been doing pretty well - definitely stepped up the veggie and fruit intake! That's always my downfall. I just don't like the green stuff. My first weigh in was 5.4 pounds down - whooo hoo! I've got about 30 more to go, so it will be a slow and steady process. I would like for this time the weight to stay more of this up and down crapola. Enough already with that - the past 10 years has been up & down, up & down. We're gonna take it down this time, and keep it there. I want to be an AFTER - not a before!

In Lions news.......its so depressing! They played well today and should have won, but alas the dumb ol' Cowboys prevailed with a stellar drive. Boo. Oh well, at least I got a pic of my boys in their gear!
And, here's a pic of Liam after the game....*sigh* I don't blame you buddy, I don't blame you one bit. I wanted them to win too.

Funny note - Liam's becoming much more aware of his surroundings, being scared by loud noises and such. Hence, throughout the game, when greeted with an over enthusiastic shout of grief/disbelief/happiness/cheer from Pat - Liam promptly stuck out his bottom lip and started to cry. It's pretty cute actually. That little pout gets me every time!

Sunday, December 02, 2007


I'm not sure why, but that phrase is in my head. I suppose that is what baptism is.......washing away original sin, right? We had Liam's ceremony today, and it went really well, despite the super craptastic weather. Everyone made it into town safely - before the ceremony we went to breakfast brunch at the Fireside - it was very yummy!

It wasn't an official Mass - they do baptisms the first Sunday of every month. There was only one other little baby - little Madeline. Her grandmother brought water from the River Jordan, which was poured into the font and used for both babies - I thought that was a pretty cool touch!

Here are a couple pics from the day, courtesy of Karli - our photographer :) I took the one of just him in his gown. Just a note about Liam's baptism gown (I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before). He's number 47 in his family to be christened in it....including his daddy & his grandma.....It was made in 1917 by hand by Salomea Mach Luczak Neimcal, who is Liam's great-great-great-grandmother. Its comprised of two cotton petticoats, and one embroidered linen overlay, which is lined in either pink or blue ribbon, depending on the sex of the baby. Its pretty fragile now, but still very pretty! It was an honor to have him wear it!