Time for Spring and Celebrations!

FINALLY! Some gorgeous weather! My spirits are always lifted when there are blue skies and we see the sun. April and May are big birthday months for my family/inner circle, so there was a ton of fun family time!

We celebrated my mom’s 54th birthday and my cousin’s 18th birthday on the same day–I made the cake (Texas sheet cake of course) and dinner for the family:

Mom.Lauren.Birthday Cake 2016

Mom.Lauren.Birthday Dinner 2016

Dinner was a bacon bomb, inspired by Paddy Long’s bacon bomb and twice baked cauliflower which both turned out awesome.

Here they are getting sung to–we sing a different family version of Happy Birthday (involving a few more verses). Matt finally knows the words!

Mom Lauren Birthday 4.2016 How cute they are:

Sarah 25th Birthday  5.2016.2

One last shot of mom forcing a harness on the kitten:

Sarah.Mom.Snickers 4.2016

Sarah and I made brunch for my mom at my place for a birthday extravaganza!

Mom Birthday Brunch 2016

And then we went on a fun architectural boat tour AND we kept it a surprise until we were pulling up. I would definitely recommend seeing Chicago from that vantage point at one point or another:

Architectural Boat Tour 4.2016.5

Two birthdays in April, one in May for the Blowers/Ferencik crew. The May birthday was my sister’s. We celebrated with cake, of course:

Sarah 25th Birthday  5.2016

White cake with strawberry filling and whipped cream frosting. Delicious! We sang to Sarah:

Sarah 25th Birthday  5.2016.1

And spent a night on the town bowling with the family and Sarah’s friend Sarah:

Sarah 25th Birthday  5.2016.3

Next was Matt’s birthday, which celebrated in a few ways! First we went to Carol’s to celebrate Matt and Alec’s birthdays with live country music, cheap beer, and dancing:

IMG_0701

Then Matt and I took a day off of work and made our own brewery crawl! This was such a blast! I LOVE living in Chicago. We went to Corridor Brewery first, which ended up being my favorite place of the lot.

Matt Birthday Brewery Tour 4.2016

My favorite beer was the “She Kills Monsters”, a watermelon hibiscus farmhouse beer that was super refreshing and not as sweet as it sounds. Would be perfect for summer–we are going to have to go back and get a few 32 oz cans of it! Next, we went to Uncommon Ground to check out Greenstar Brewing. Interesting brewery since they identify as the first certified organic brewery in Illinois. The beer was good, we will have to come back and eat there since they grow a significant portion of their food on the roof!

Uncommon Ground

We went to Breakroom Brewery next. The beer was tasty, but the bar snacks were out of this world. The best thing was the pretzel dipped in beer cheese soup. Yup, just as awesome as it sounds. Cool interior too, as you can see into the brewery from the tap room.

breakroom.jpg

We ended up going to Begyle Brewing next. Probably my least favorite of the bunch–small space and mediocre beer. Might be better when it’s less busy.

Matt Birthday Brewery Tour 4.2016.1

We ended the day at a brewery that is close to home, but that Matt had somehow never been to–Half Acre. A few of their beers are readily available in the Chicago area, but Matt nor I cared for them that much. That being said, we had a couple of delicious beers there that day! I would go back.

Matt and I also impulsively bought tickets to see the White Sox take on the Rangers. We had awesome seats for cheap (thanks Gold Coast Tickets):

White Sox Game 4.2016.1

We had a fun, sunburn filled day:

White Sox Game 4.2016

We also celebrated six years of being together by eating all you can eat sushi, watching movies, and drinking wine. How sweet it is. 🙂

Our friends John and Wendy visited from Connecticut. We played board games (Dixit is shown below) and ordered Venezuelan sandwiches which were amazing (from BienMeSabe):

Board Games with John and Wendy 4.2016

My supervisor has moved on to bigger, better, territorial TSA things and will be amazing in her new position. This means things at work have been shifting and I have new but great opportunities! Here is my work family at my supervisor’s going away thing at BellyQ:

Work Family.jpg

The first weekend in May was all about the charities! For the past few months, I have been raising money for the Multiple Sclerosis Walk. As you might know, my mom has MS so we decided to do the walk and raise funds for research purposes. It was freaking freezing, but Dellwood Park was gorgeous so we had a nice 5k walk:

MS Walk 5.2016 Collage

Later that day, Matt and I went to support his freaking awesome 10 y/o niece, Jill, who decided to shave her head to fight childhood cancer (through St. Baldrick’s Foundation). Matt’s brother, Kerry, also decided to raise money and shave his head. The day of, Matt and his dad decided to join in and support the family and the research!

St. Baldrick's Collage 5.2016.jpg

So proud of that family, what good people!

Another reason to celebrate came last night–one of my oldest and dearest friend had her first born baby! Welcome to the world Margaret (Maggie) Katherine-Smith Newton!

Maggie Birth 5.6.2016

 

So many reasons to celebrate. I am truly lucky to be involved in the lives of so many awesome individuals through my family, friends, and the work that I do. Cheers to spending more time outside and to slowing down during the warmer months!

Amanda

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