Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cranley Christmas

This past weekend was a very relaxing and un weekend for us. We had Duke's family Christmas early this year and all got together at his brother Mike's house on Sunday. We had so much good food, watched the Bears game and the kids opened presents. It was so nice to see everyone. Even though we all live close to each other, it still seems like we don't see them enough. Here are few pics. There is one where our cute little nephew Jack is in the background falling on the nativity scene. it was too funny! If only we got it on video. Also, Duke wore his favorite ugly holiday ensamble. He looks like where's waldo in these pics.

Hope you are all enjoying the holidays.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thanksgiving in PGH

We had a great time in Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving. We were able to spend a lot of time with Grayson. He's getting so big! How cute is he as a pumpkin??!! There was a little snow, but it wasn't too cold so the guys deep fried the turkey next to a bonfire with some beers and some tunes from Duke's car. they had much more fun out there than they would have inside.

Mom made an amazing meal that we enjoyed with my Aunt Molly, her husband Vernon and my cousin Maddy and we then spent the afternoon by the fire playing Loaded Questions (thanks for letting us borrow the game Kathryn).

Duke, Adam, Kelly and I went out for some drinks at a new place my mom had been telling us about - Devine's. It was a nice little place in the neighborhood. It is supposed to have jazz singers at night and I would not call the guy with the guitar a jazz singer. He was more a 90s hits singer. This place needs some Keely Singer!!

We headed home on Sunday on what was a very long drive due to traffic and weather, but we're still excited to head back to PGH in a few weeks for Christmas. Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.

P.S. What do you think of Duke's beard?? I actually liked it, but it's gone now:(

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

We have so much to be thankful for this year, most important, our families and friends. We hope you all have a wonderful and safe holiday.

We had a really fun, hopefully annual, friends Thanskgiving with a few friends last weekend and it was a really great night. Lots of laughs! I haven't had time to post an pics yet, but Jenny was kind enough to put some on her blog. Can't wait until next year!

Happy Holidays
The Cranleys

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Historic Day

Regardless of our individual political beliefs, this is a historic day for America that we should all be proud of. Duke and I decided to attend the rally for Obama last night in Grant Park and it was truly amazing to stand among the more than 100,000 people from every background as the election results were announced. We are looking forward to someday sharing our experience at the rally with our children. here are a few pics we took last night although they do not come close to capturing the size of the event or the feelings shared by the crowd.

Halloween Weekend

We had a great weekend with the Oskay's in town. We went to a halloween party at the Gibson's and tailgating for the Bears game on Sunday. This visit was extra special becuse they brought the girls. Duke even hosted a dance party Sunday night for the girls in our living room. They are super cute and so much fun. We can't wait to see them again.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pucci Wedding Celebration

Our good friends Ben and Julia Pucci got married back in May in a beautiful small family ceremony in Florida on the beach. This past weekend they hosted a super fun party at the OnQ Club in Elgin to celebrate as newlyweds. We had a blast! It was fun to see some of my friends from college and to hang out with Ben and Julia since we had not seen them in a while. I also got to see my good friend Shannon and her husband Mike who live in Indy. We spent some good quality time on the dance floor! A fun time was had by all.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Batter Blaster

This is a totally random post, but I saw Batter Blaster recently on the blog Urban Grace and I happened to see it in the grocery store this weekend so I picked it up to give it a try. It's awesome!! So easy, the pancakes tasted great and it's organic. We might just have to host a pancake and waffle breakfast soon!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Congratulations Chicago Marathon Runners!

We wanted to send out a big congrats to our amazing friends who ran the Chicago Marathon yesterday. Way to go Nicole Wells, Spencer Singer, and Mace and Breah Ponce!!! All did very well and I'm sure they are busy recovering today. You should be very proud of this amazing accomplishment.

The Big 3 - 0!

I turned 30 last week and it was pretty fun and exciting thanks to my wonderful husband, family and friends. Duke made me feel so special and loved by planning a weekend full of surprises for my birthday. He started with a special dinner on my birthday and the big surprise came Friday night when my mom, dad, brother, sister-in-law and nephew showed up at our door around 8:30 PM from Pittsburgh. I had no idea they were coming and could not have been more excited!!!! Thank you to my family for making the long trip to celebrate with me. It really made the weekend.

It was beautiful and warm this weekend...highs in the 80s! So, we took my nephew Grayson to the Lincoln Park zoo Saturday which he loved. Saturday night was my joint bday party with our friend Wes Powell whose birthday was Saturday. Wes' wife (and one of my BFF's) Kathryn and Duke planned a party for us at Corosh and it was the perfect spot to celebrate. They had great food and cake complete with an embarrassing photo of me as a little girl dressed as Wonder Woman! Duke was DJ Duke and did such a good job that a friend from work kept saying she wanted him to DJ her birthday party! Duke might just have a second job in the works!

So many people came out to celebrate with us. Duke's sister Julie, brother Mike and sister-in-law Dawn came out...Thanks!! My BBFF (that's BEST Best Friend Forever for those of you wondering) Jorie came in from Indianapolis with her husband Jason for the party. You're the best Jorie!! Thanks to everyone who came out to wish us a happy bday! It was a great night and I had the headache the next morning to prove it.

We ended the weekend with a home cooked breakfast feast made by my Mom. She brought all the supplies with her from PGH! She's such an amazing cook and I hope that rubs off on me a little. My family headed on their way back home and Duke and I just relaxed for the afternoon.

The biggest thanks goes to my wonderful wonderful husband. He made turning 30 so much fun and I'm truly excited to be able to share my thirties with him. I love you so much!

Enjoy some pics below.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Happy 1st Birthday Grayson!

I went home to Pittsburgh this past weekend for my nephew's birthday party. Duke stayed here in Chicago for the annual Blainey Butler Golf Outing which was a big success again this year.

I can't believe how big Grayson is getting. He is so cute and has the sweetest little personality. He is on the move, walking everywhere, saying mama and dada, and singing songs with Grandpa Mowrey.

Kelly and Adam did a wonderful job with the party. It was at a park near my parent's house and the weather was great. Oh, mean Aunt Sarah and Grandma Sassy did play dress-up with Grayson one morning and got some pretty funny pics. He loved it!

I had such a good time at home and can't wait to see everyone again over the holidays.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Anna!

Today was Anna Gibson's first birthday party. She is such a happy little girl smiling all the time!! She's on the move now, walking everywhere. She loved opening her presents and she really loved her cake!! How cute are these pics?!

Congrats Mr. and Mrs. Faber!

This weekend our good friends Pete and Beth got married here in Chicago. The wedding was FABULOUS! You two did an amazing job planning this wedding! The ceremony was in Grandmother's Garden by Lincoln Park Zoo and the reception was at Prairie Productions. The reception cite was a very cool loft like space. The flowers were beautiful bright greens and pinks and I loved Beth's dress. We had the best time dancing and enjoying the very tasty food. Check out the pictures below.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I Heart NYC Part Two

We had an amazing trip this past weekend to NYC!! It was a bday present/surprise for Duke's bday. I surprised him with Yankee tickets and then surprised him again Saturday morning when he found out that our good friends the Powell's and the Beaumont's were going to NYC with us. We stayed in a great hotel, courtesy of Kathryn's Mom. Thanks so much for the wine Mrs. Powell!! It was right next to Bryant Park. we realized when we got there that is was Fashion Week! We saw all the tents and a few people who looked important, but no one we recognized.

I really love NY and can't wait to go back! We saw and did so much, the highlight being the Yankees game. Dad, thanks again SO MUCH for those tickets. Duke owes you some major chores around the house next time we are in PGH, so start making a list.

We had tickets 14 rows behind home plate. We enjoyed Nathan's Hot Dogs and some beers, and the got the biggest kick out of these two older women sitting behind us who have had season tickets since 1950...that's right, 1950! And, they knew everything there is to know about baseball and the Yankees. The only bad part was that the Yankees lost bigtime...sorry Duke!

Despite a rainy day on Friday, we still made it to several different neighborhoods on a bit of bar crawl with the Powell's friend Nitten who lives in NYC. Even though we had a local showing us around, we still stuck out as tourists in our fashionable bright yellow rain ponchos we got from the city tour bus. My favorite stop that day was Freeman's. Very cool! The Beaumont's had to head off to meet some friends from the wedding that they were attending in NYC that weekend, so unfortunately, we didn't get to spend any more time with Jenny and John.

We also has some amazing food. Friday night, we went to Spice Market in the meatpacking district. It was a recommendation from my friend Alison Hunt and it was amazing!!! We love it. Thanks Alison! Saturday was game day, and then we went to IL Pallazzo in Little Italy for dinner. That may have been my favorite experience because we got to pass through Chinatown and then once we got to Little Italy, the San Gennaro Festival was taking place. There were food booths lining the streets, games, tons of people, music. Our food was amazing and our waiter Tony kept things lively with several interesting stories about the area.

Sunday was a hot and sticky 90 degrees, but we headed out to Central Park anyway and took a carriage ride and walked around a bit. The Park is just gorgeous. We probably only saw a quarter of it, so I can't wait to go back and spend a whole day there.

We headed to the airport exhausted, but with tons of wonderful memories. Next time, we're doing a NYC shopping trip!! Below is a list of places we went for anyone looking for recommendations and a photo album.

Mercer Cafe
Room 18
Spice Market
IL Palazzo
Arthur's Pub

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Jack's 2nd Birthday Party

This weekend we celebrated our nephew Jack's 2nd birthday. We headed to Duke's parent's house in Palos Heights on Saturday morning for the party and we had a blast! The weather was beautiful and Duke's sister, Julie, put together an amazing party for Jack. The big jumping jack was a hit with the kids and with some of the adults (that would be Duke who took his turn in the jumping jack at about 11 pm). There was lots of fun, great food, laughs and good company. We planned on spending the night, so we just hung out in the backyard all day and into the night. Thanks for a great party Julie and Jeff!! Here are a few more pics of the party.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Last Weekend

This weekend we have absolutely nothing planned, but we made up for that last weekend. We had lots going on and it was a really fun weekend.

Our good friends Pete and Beth are getting married next month and last weekend was Pete's bachelor party weekend. The guys went to a casino in Indiana Friday night where I'm told no one one any money (or Duke just told me that so I didn't feel bad about the money he lost!!). Saturday, I dropped my husband off at 10:30 am and didn't see him again until 2:30 am! They went to the Cubs game, whirlyball and out to some bars. He said the whole weekend was a blast.

I took on a new role at work, so I headed into the office on Saturday and moved on up to a new office. Really, I just moved up one floor. Then I went to a baby shower for my friend Alison. The best part was...the baby was there! Alison delivered Ethan on the day of her actual baby shower and the even was postponed until this past weekend. It was so much fun and I loved holding Ethan. He's doing so good!

Duke and I went to brunch at Corosh on Milwaukee on Sunday. The brunch is very good and they have a nice outdoor patio. We pretty much relaxed the rest of the day.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

We Heart New York - Part 1

We just got back from NYC on Monday. I was there for one of my four annual conferences and Duke went with me this time. My parents also met us there for a few days and we all had a great trip. Lucky for us my meeting was at the Waldorf~Astoria, so we had some pretty nice accomodations! They had much more fun than I did though. I worked most of the time, but we did get away for two dinners and some fun music. Duke, my Mom & Dad saw and did everything possible with the exception of a show. Central Park, Ground Zero, Times Square, Tavern on the Green...the list goes on.

My ABA group had an amazing private event at Ellis Island one night and another private event at the United Nations Sunday night. We also went to dinner at a very cool place in a neighborhood called Nolita. Public is the name of the place and it is supposed to resemble public institutions like schools and libraries. The food and wine were very good.

Saturday night was Duke's birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY DUKE) and we went to Macelleria in the Meatpacking District (which we loved). It is an Italian steakhouse and my dad and Duke had the biggest steak I've ever seen. After dinner we headed to a great little blues club called Arthur's Pub in Greenwich Village...lots of fun there! But, the big news of the evening was Duke's bday surprise. With a BIG favor from my dad (Thanks Dad!)I was able to get two tickets to a Yankees game in September, so I surprised Duke with a trip back to NYC in a couple weeks. He is a big Yankees fan and desperately wanted to go to a game in Yankee stadium before they tear it down after this season. This is great for me too because I didn't get to see to much of NY while I was working. So, we're headed back for NYC Part Two!

Overall we had an amazing time and from what I've seen so far, I really like New York. I'm so glad my parents could make it...we have some great memories from our few days together in ONE hotel big happy family!! I've posted an album below.