Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Years

As Bob Dylan once said; Oh the time's they are a changin'.

Happy New Years Eve everyone. As many of you know, John and Ashleigh have been known to enjoy a cocktail or two, and perhaps even a bottle of champagne or three on New Years Eve. This year is a bit different, there are still many, many bottles involved, but, well.....

New Years Eve 2009
New Years Eve 2010

Baby Belly - 39 Weeks

And Then There Was One.
According to the Doctor this week; no change. Boooooo.
If you look closely you can see Jude giving me the thumbs up that he's ready to go....
And......a little sadness from AB that Baby JB did not make it into 2010.  We'll see you in 2011 !!!!!!!

Comfy Christmas in the Condo

Well, one week to go until Jude's due date, and still no indication that he's going to come early. Which is a bit unfortunate for us, because aside from running errands, we're pretty much just hanging out, hoping Ash's water breaks (seriously, our mattress is covered in plastic sheeting and she's not allowed on the couch.....just kidding).

All in all it was a fantastic weekend. There was a lot of eating, A LOT of laughing, and a lot of hoping for Baby JB's arrival. We played Catchphrase and some Wii Bowling and Rock Band in the evenings. One afternoon we headed downtown to the German Village in Daley Plaza (try the apple rings..mmmmmm), and ordered in some Gino's East pizza for dinner. We also got to check out Marshall Fields (now Macy's) decorated for the holidays, spectacular as always. Finally, we checked out the Lincoln Park Zoo and their Zoo Lights feature, a first for us and a pretty cool Chicago tradition.

In the end, we sent everyone home with cars full of gifts, but still waiting for the ultimate gift; a new Grandbaby. All we can say is; nobody wants him here more than us,  but it would appear that the first thing he'll inherit is his mommy's stubbornness! We hope everyone had a great Christmas, and have a wonderful and safe New Year's Eve tonight!

Now, here are a bunch of picture highlighting our weekend, and at the end a funny video of the musical folks in this group:

Downtown Christmas Eve Fun
The Great Christmas Tree at the Daley Center
it was a wet, snowy day but we got to check out the German Christmas Village. Hot cider, fried apple rings and lots of overpriced goodies!
The three generations (Kim, Ash and Lee Ann)
Grandpa Richard

Checked out Macy's, where Richard snagged a last minute gift, and the rest of us warmed up
State Street
Christmas Morning!
Ash getting in on a picture of Nanny Nessa (Vanessa, John's sister and our nanny-to-be)
The combination of fun, excitement, Christmas spirit and exhaustion had Ash in a state of disarray midway through the present opening....she powered through and opened the rest of her goodies though :)
Sporting the new hat and scarf (blue and orang of course) that Teresa made. Pretty sharp!
This is one of those books where you can read it aloud and record your voice. Kim recorded her voice reading Frosty for Jude so that he'll be able to have his Grandma read him a book anytime of the year. Very cool.
Books, books and more books!
Kim stayed cozy during this comfy condo Christmas.  I think Tim Allen is checking her out here, too...
Jude will be stylin' and profilin'
Definitely didn't do it on purpose, but I'm starting to think we subconciously named Max after the dog on the Grinch.
Game Time
Wii Bowling. Rumor has it Kim bought a Wii about 11 minutes after they left our place. 
Catchphrase! Notice Max really living the rough life when Kim is around..
Lincoln Park Zoo Lights
The Lincoln Park Zoo is always free to check out, but during the Holidays they go crazy with decorations and lights. It was a great way to wind down the Holiday. Seeing 900lb gorillas pick their nose and eat it over a hot cup of cocoa really screams Christmas Cheer!

Best Tree Ever
Lee Ann, Ashleigh and Kim
John and Mom

And finally, a video of the Beatles Rockband fun. A little bit of a surprise ending to this song for some of the band members!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

for jude (a poem from daddy)

Great things have happened, and I have not cried,
but describing the feelings you’ve created inside,
impossible till now, miraculous some how,
surely there is something greater than pride.

But as your mom laid our future into my hand,
honest concerns challenged me as a man,
to shape an existence, challenge resistance,
and test the responsibility our lives can withstand.

Questions arise and doubts fill my mind,
I can be a good father, but can I be one in time?
with so much to teach, and your hand within reach,
is there no perfect childhood that I can design?

I’ve had time to think about the life I have lead,
it’s easy to look back at “what I should have done instead…”
dreams will come true, but failures will too,
and none of it should ever go to your head.

Mistakes can be made, if lessons are learned,
in life you’re bound to burn and get burned,
keep the highs below the sky, let the lows pass on by,
you’ll find you deserve the things that you’ve earned.

I can’t wait to see the risks that you take,
my bad habits you inherit and the knees that you scrape,
whatever you’ll be, is just fine with me,
remember happiness comes from the decisions we make.

So with all of the doubt I may have let in,
comes the truth; I can’t wait for your life to begin,
with you as my son, my life has begun,
and my face aches from this nine month grin.

Your mom and I will give you life, and a world for you to see,
you’ll learn the values we instill, and the love of family,
I promise as your dad; the good will outweigh bad
not the greatest of all men, but the greatest I can be

Love, Dad

Friday, December 24, 2010

Baby Belly - 38 Weeks

Two. Weeks. To. Go.

Jude says; "get me from my good side..."
Behold; the belly

Have a Very Merry MaX-mas

From John, Ashleigh, Jude and Max, Merry Christmas, from the Bennet's. 

The Menks Get Elf'd

Those that know Grandma and Grandpa Menk, know they don't mind having a few cocktails and dancing the night away from time to time  Thanks to Grandma Teresa (John's Mom) for "Elfing" Jude's Great Grandparents. These just keep getting better...

Great Grandma and Grandpa Menk get Elf'd

And here's one that gets Uncle Jeff into the mix too, country style:
Grandma, Grandpa and Uncle Jeff Christmas Ho-Down

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Twas the Night Before Christmas (in the West Loop of Chicago)

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the condo,
Not a creature was stirring, not even our neighbor, Yolando.
The stockings were hung on the fireplace with care,
In hopes that Baby Jude, soon would be there,

The Bennets were nestled all snug in their bed,
While visions of early labor, danced in their heads,
And mamma in her sweatpants, and I in my Bears cap,
Had just settled our brains, for a 3rd trimester's nap.

When out on the street, there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters, scared the hell out of Ash.

The snowman with breasts made of new-fallen snow,
That some drunk guys just built, was 6 floors below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a rickshaw full of fans, wearing all Blackhawks gear,

With a young, bearded driver, so lively and fast,
He jolted past the Homeless men hailing cabs as they passed,
More rapid than eagles the Homeless they came,
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name!

Now Leon! Now Ronnie! Now Lenny and Jamal!
On, Ringo! On, Georgie! On John and on Paul!
To the corner of Belmont! To the corner of Halsted!
Now dash away! Dash away! To Boystown with you all!

As dry leaves that before a Chicago thunderstorm fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount up to the sky.
But into the Loop, the rickshaw it flew,
with cab full of drunks, and some homeless guys too,

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the street,
The prancing and pawing, of the cab hailers’ feet,
As I tilted my head and was still looking down,
Here stumbled a young woman, on Madison, east bound,

She was dressed all in fur, from her head to her shoes,
And her clothes were designer; from Dior to Jimmy Choo.
A giant Louis V she had flung on her back,
And she looked like a cougar, straying from her pack.

Her eyes how they twinkled! Her waist was so teeny,
Her cheeks were like roses, from too many martini's.
Then I spotted a young man, strutting below,
His Spencer Pratt beard was as white as the snow.

The stump of a joint he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad with him, and she had a round belly,
She shook and she screamed with obscenities yelling,

She was chubby and plump, about as tall as an elf,
And I laughed when I saw her, throw into traffic; his cell
A twitch of his eye and tilt in his head,
Soon gave me to know that jail was ahead.

He spoke not a word, but went straight for her hair,
And tried to pull hard, while onlookers stared.
Then it ended quite quickly, with a middle finger in the air,
He ran into the Billygoat, like he was never there!

She jumped into a rickshaw, and to her girlfriends gave a yell,
And away they all flew like drunken bats out of hell,
But I heard her exclaim, as they pedaled out of sight,
“Off to WestEnd! We’re getting hammered tonight!”

Friday, December 17, 2010

Baby Belly - 37 Weeks

Heeeeeeeere's Ashleigh! 37 Weeks, which technically is full term. Jude can come today, tomorrow or the day after, we're ready. As Ashleigh put it; this is a three-way deal between Ashleigh, Jude and her Uterus. Ash is ready, she's pretty sure that Jude is ready, she just needs to get her uterus on board and we'll be good to go!
37 Weeks Beautiful
"Clearly Not a Secret"

Thursday, December 16, 2010

This Is Going to be.....Awkward

So, the internet is an amazing thing. You can watch a mouse ride on the back of a cat, you can connect with friends you haven't seen in decades, you can watch television shows and movies, you can pay your bills and do your taxes.....and if you look hard enough, you can find the most ridiculous and morally offensive maternity photos ever to be taken. I give you; Awkward Pregnancy Photos.

I call this one the Cellophane Baptism
"Hey baby, you stand there, I'm going to flex my tattoo, and when I say "THUNDERCATS ARE GO", I want you to jam that beach ball between my hand and face."
(photographer) "Tom I need you to move back. No, farther....yeah a little farther.....that's good. Now crouch down and look creepy.....PERFECT!
"If you don't tell me who stole the top of my jeans, I will blow your freaking head off..."
Tina hoped for a girl, with brown curly hair and cute dimples. Brett hoped for a boy, and silently wondered whether his tanning salon offered a discount to newborns.
Merry Christmas, from the couple you'll never be able to look in the eye, ever again.
Out of these two, who would have thought that HIS shirt would be the one to bust open?
Don't even know what to say here. That is a very naked, very pregnant woman looking at a dude who is leaning on a tire.  Sometimes the truth is funnier than anything you can make up...
The saddest part about this picture is I doubt that watermelon did anything to deserve this

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Nursery is DONE

Glory Glory Hallelujah, the horizontal stripes are painted, the art has been hung, the diapers stuffed into the drawers and the dots have been positioned strategically around the room for maximum impact (right Ashleigh!).
Everything came together great! The blue and orange theme is consistent throughout, the Brian Andreas prints look great and the Baby Beatles painting hangs nicely right over Jude's changing table.  We ordered some vinyl lettering special for some song lyrics we wanted on the walls, and a nice big sticker with his name to go right over the crib. After all the hard work and planning, we present, Baby JBB's new nursery...
"You were only waiting, for this moment to arise..."
"You may say that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one"
Here's what we'll see when we walk through the door at 3a.m. to change a dirty diaper. Can't wait!
The Prince's Throne
We all live in a yellow submarine.....yellow submarine.....

A Very Wrigley Christmas

It was a rainy and cold last night in Chicago, but inside the Field Museum you'd never know it! Last night Wrigley had their annual Christmas Party for associates. This year they rented the entire Field Museum for the occasion. They decked it out with Wrigley colors, brands and products and put on an amazing event for everyone. This was our first time attending, as we've always been out of town or had other things going on, but not this year!
We carpooled to the event with our friends/neighbors/co-worker Neil and Sidney. It was a great night to introduce Ashleigh to many of the Wrigley folks she only hears me talk about, not to mention a great opportunity to check out the amazing Field Museum for free! And as usual, we never miss an opportunity to take some great pictures (lots of them). Enjoy...
the Posh side of Pregnancy. Wowza, mamma!
Sneaky Ash getting in on a picture of Neil
The Great Hall; live band playing off to the left, Elephants and T-Rex enjoying the action in the background.
John and Neil
Ash showing some "Flare" for the decorations after a little bite to eat
Ashleigh and Sidney enjoying the party
Question: What's better than a cookie? Answer: A cookie lollipop. 
Sue the T-Rex. She's pretty cool, but you get a few drinks in her and she'll talk your ear off.
Who wouldn't want their picture taken with a guy dressed as a toy soldier on stilts?
Ashleigh, JB and Sue
Not sure what Ashleigh was going for here. It's part Barker's Beauty, part Maternity Supermodel, part Wrigley spokeswoman. Whatever it is, I love it.
this picture needs no caption
still no explanation necessary.
And, the last picture of the night on the grand staircase. What a great way to spend a Saturday night!