Tag Archives: party

Wisconsin baby part-ay

I am long overdue in sharing about my weekend in Wisconsin with my sister Erica.

In part, because my extended family is so larger than life that it seems no words of mine could convey what it’s like to gather with them.

The wonder, the chaos, the ridiculousness, the fun.

The love, the generosity, the intensity.

So I’ve decided to take the pressure off myself and just share some of the fun images, and let you draw the conclusions that you will draw! It’s been well over a month now, and letting these images sit any longer would be a crime.

I absolutely must start with this picture of Big Jake.

What a grandfather. If my calculations are correct, he should be turning 90 this year.

He and Mama Kitty are the most interestingly eccentric people ever. For a fun tour of their chaotic, crazy, hidden-treasure-filled home, I refer you back to this post from last Christmas. Which (as you may recall) propelled me into a purging frenzy the moment I got home. Thank you, mannequins in the living room, for planting that Seed of Purging that ultimately made my house a better place to be.

Anyway, we love ’em.

The grandparents, that is . . . the mannequins we merely tolerate.

I also have to state that I love my cousins.

Cousin talk is the best!

Especially when it happens on a blow-up mattress in a nicely air-conditioned space.

And this is Aurora, with whom I spent a summer at 11 years old playing Barbies (who were alternately ice skaters in the Olympics, hard core campers in makeshift teepees, or maidens of the forest by the creek).

Aurora now has 4 precious kiddos of her own.

With a 5th on the way!

When did we grow up???

Aurora also represents my connection to the Slattery family, an amazing, large, multi-talented farming family which includes the lovely Kate and the beautiful Mary (two of Aurora’s sisters-in-law):

I have been following the blog these sisters co-write ever since they started it, and it’s one of my favorites. Kate is about to have another little one to join Olympia, and WOW does she carry that baby (both the baby in the womb as well as her toddler) with elegance!

Of course, as a dancer and harpist and also someone who is over 6 feet tall but rocks heels with a vengeance, I expected no less from her.

The party was for all the pregnant women–me, Aurora, Kate, and Rachel–as well as two of Aurora’s girls who had birthdays that week–and it was also a goodbye party for Erica, who is moving to Arizona. It may have been a party for more people too . . .

. . . but I forget. My family’s philosophy is: why do a party for one person when you can do a party for six or seven instead?

Why indeed.

The more the merrier!

The more chaos reigns, the more my family seems to thrive.

The ability to blossom and thrive in chaos was somehow not genetically passed on to yours truly, so I took many, many naps while there.

And no, you may not ask why the living room is plastered, coated, and indeed almost completely hidden by Christmas stuff.

But you may ask who this cutie is!

His name is Jason, and he was taking a walk with his grandpa, my Uncle Tom.

Anyway folks, I leave you with pictures of me and the pile of presents. Thanks to everyone for the lovely, lovely gifts, which I am working on unpacking into Alice’s room right now!

(by the way, that blanket I’m unwrapping is a GORGEOUS quilt handmade by my sister Erica, seamstress extraordinaire and previously dubbed Nimblefingers the Great)

(a little green outfit also made by Nimblefingers!)

I think I have the most generous family in the world. I love you all, you crazy, energetic, wonderful bunch!

Regency Ball, version 2012

Hey guys!

So a few weekends ago we were in Indiana with our friends Eric and Carrie, dancing our little feet off at the very last Regency Ball. Last year around this same time we had such a blast at the fancy Palais Royale in South Bend, so we couldn’t miss it this year! Especially knowing this was the final installment. The ball was Saturday afternoon, so we planned to make a weekend of it, staying at my Aunt Jacquie’s house Friday and Saturday nights, and heading back to Chicago Sunday afternoon.

Friday night we got a very late start out of Chicago, because Carrie was singing at a jazz concert.

Man was it good. I mean, I’m in a band with this girl and we sing at church together, so I hear her sing on a very regular basis–I flatter myself that I know her voice. But her performance on Friday still knocked my socks off. Her voice was probably at its most stellar. Backed up by a fabulous band of professional jazz musicians, Carrie just let loose and soared.

I’m so proud of that girl! I wish you all could have been there to hear her.

We drove out of Chicago around 11pm, and man were we tired. But we had beds waiting at Aunt Jacquie’s house, so we gritted our teeth and forged ahead down the dark roads, with a stop for French fries at McDonalds around 1:20am to keep us going. We rolled into Culver, Indiana around 2am, and then spent 5 minutes panicking because we couldn’t identify her house in the dark as easily as we thought we could. What if we never find it?? I wondered. The alternate plans rushing through my brain included: renting a floodlight from the nearest baseball stadium to illuminate the street; sleeping in the car and waking up with bodily aches so severe that we wouldn’t be able to move for 5 days; scrapping this whole plan and flying to Fiji; falling asleep and hoping someone else could figure it all out without my assistance.

Then we recognized the house, and my relief was immense. I could have crumpled into a heap on the gravel driveway out of gratitude . . . though how crumpling would express my thankfulness is a bit unclear.

We let ourselves into the house, found our beds as quickly as possible, and before I knew it I was alseep. Aaaaaah. You should know that Aunt Jacquie has THE softest and best sheets in the country.

In the morning, we woke up to the smell of coffee, which my loving husband had brewed for us.

It was soon time to get dressed, since we had an hour’s drive ahead of us. Carrie and I struggled with our hair (which would not curl correctly) and I loaded up my sash with safety pins to keep it correctly positioned. Then we headed out to the car, Carrie still working on her coffee.

Eric looks so natural in this garb that it’s . . . uncanny.

Where is my true home?

And does someone have a time machine I can borrow?

On a different note, my husband’s skills as a photographer are improving every time I shove that black box into his hands, I’m telling you.

As you may have noticed, we wore the exact same costumes as last year.

Thanks again Erica for sewing up these mahvellous gahments.

And then we drove off to the ball!

We entered the ballroom just as the promenade (or grand march? I can’t remember what it’s called for the life of me) was getting some steam. At this point, I started experimenting with a new lens . . . and didn’t figure it out quickly enough to produce any kind of a decent shot. But I’ll still show you what I got!

I’m not sure if there were less people this year, or if the lack of round tables made the space seem emptier.

Why aren’t the masses of America flocking to this fun, fun event?

Oh yeah . . . dressing up like you’re in a Jane Austen novel isn’t exactly . . . mainstream. One might even say we’re the dorks of society. But I’m okay with that. Because we get to wear period costumes and . . . prance.

And I ask you, Oh Cool Folk: do you get to prance in a floor-length empire waist gown?

I thought not.


We danced, we sweated, we laughed, we ate scones piled high with clotted cream.

The musicians were fabulous, the dance instructor clear and sedately energetic. Or energetically sedate–definitely one of the two. “Step to the right, step to the left, ringadoon ringadoon, hop, hop!” his smooth voice commanded. With a calm authority. Nothing can phase this man, I’m sure.

And before we knew it, it was all over. Our calves had received the workout of the century, as we would soon realize when climbing the stairs back at my aunt’s house.

I smiled and posed . . .

. . . but what I was really thinking was: it’s time to get this sweaty Regency body into a shower.

The amount of hairspray I used will probably clog up Aunt Jacquie’s drains for the next decade.