A quick view of the happenings and adventures at the Alexander house in the OP

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Eye on the prize

When it all seems overwhelming I try to keep my eye on the prize -
Eating s'mores with my favorite little guys in the rocky mountains.
Moving the lives of 4 people across the country is way harder than I would have imagined.
I am going to make one awesomely sticky s'more when I can finally sit down and watch the sun go down over those mountains.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

The Times They Are A Changin'

Reading comments can be so inspiring!!  Someone said I was an 'original blogger' since my first posts were in 2006.  That made me glad I started to write again.
Yesterday, I titled my post Reawakening because I hadn't blogged since 2009.
Once I published it, I realized that the blog from 2009 was also called reawakening because prior to 2009 I hadn't blogged since 2006.
Blogging once every 3 years is not recommended.

Earlier posts were about getting engaged and buying a house.
I can't believe how quick our lives changed.
Our 2 boys are now 6 and 2 years old and we are moving to Denver in June 2016.
We used to have 3 cats, now we have 1 sweet dog and there was a fully functioning aquarium somewhere in the last 3 years.

I hope I can write to convey the excitement and stress we will experience as we prepare to start our next adventure-
moving to Denver, Co!

Thinking of this Ferris Bueller Quote: "Life Moves pretty fast.  if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

I am going to try to stop and look, more often

Wednesday, March 02, 2016


I am so excited to take part in this blogging challenge.
My blog has been dormant for way way too long and I have so much to blog about.
I write to relieve stress, sort out my thoughts and to keeop track of all that happens in my crazy life.
Why do you blog?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Slowly but surely, trying to get our act together. Last post was Pre-Honeymoon!!!
(quick note - everyone should put Arenal Observatory Lodge at the top of their travel list. Truly one of my favorite places on the planet.) I have to post a few pics.

OK - we got married 9/2/07. The wedding was more than I could have very dreamed for; Family, Friends, Sunshine, a raging river, beautiful flowers and details, and most of all - "The One" What did I do to get so lucky?

We have since uprooted and moved to Oak Park. We love our new lifestyle: amazing neighbors, block parties, pig roasts, a large library, and a quaint downtown. The house is a work in progress and we are always painting something.

The Blog Title has changed and so hopefully this will spur more activity.
Stay Tuned.........................................


Thursday, August 23, 2007


Ok, we know we are jumping the gun, but after 8,000 days in a row of rain, we are ready for some tropical sunshine. We have told most everyone we are going to Costa Rica for our honeymoon. We will spend 5 nights at the Arenal Observatory Lodge. Arenal is an active volcano, but the lodge is not in the lava path. Hiking, canoeing, maybe even a cave adventure await. Then 6 nights at The Ocotal Resort, on the Pacific, for some relaxing beach-time, interesting dining, and maybe even another jungle excursion. Enjoy pictures and links...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


The front of our house used to look like an abandoned lot somewhere near Bad Bad Leroy Brown's house. When I moved in, there was a mysterious rhododendron in the middle of the yard, scraggly grass, a flower bed that was mostly weeds that protruded from the house way out in the middle of the yard (four feet futher than anyone else's flower bed), and the most god awful evergreen that looked like it was having a bad hair day.

Right away, I put down some grass seed and pulled up the rhododendron. That was a modest improvement. Victoria also gave me a custom made window flower box. But that still left the protruding flower bed and the ugly evergreen. You can see a glimpse of what the yard looked like pre-2007-Spring above.

This spring we spent 4 Sunday's laboring. One Sunday sawing up the ugly evergreen. One Sunday digging a three foot in diameter and eighteen inch deep hole and chopping the evergreen roots with an axe to uproot the 40 pound stumps. One Sunday planting boxwoods, rose of sharon, and hydrangea. And one Sunday reseeding the protruding garden with grass seed and moving tulip bulbs to the relandscaped front of the house. I think it makes quite a difference.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Gifts and Registry

As September approaches, many people have begun to ask where we have registered. We have selected several items at Macy's and Crate & Barrel to provide us with memories of the joy you shared with us.

However, we also recognize that we both have been blessed and we would like to share our love with those less fortunate. In lieu of a gift, we would be honored if you would make a donation in our names to one of the following organizations:

1. Trickle Up (Trickle Up's mission is to help the lowest income people worldwide take the first steps up out of poverty by providing conditional seed capital, business training, and relevant support ).

2. Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices).

3. Women for Women International (Women for Women International helps women in war-torn regions by providing: financial and emotional support, job skills training, rights awareness, small business assistance).

4. Human Rights First (Human Rights First believes that building respect for human rights and the rule of law will help ensure the dignity to which every individual is entitled and will stem tyranny, extremism, intolerance, and violence).

Thanks for reading our blog. More to come after we return from our camping adventure!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Wedding Plans and Updates

We are excitedly planning the wedding, and hope to share with you occasional updates here.

For those of you we haven't told, the Ceremony and Reception will be at The Herrington Inn in Geneva. You can visit their website at to see pictures and get a feel for the Inn. We have a small block of rooms reserved there for out of town guests. If you are planning on staying there on either the 1st or the 2nd (or both) please make your reservation as soon as possible so that we can add additional rooms to the block if needed. Their phone number is 630-208-7433.

We also have a block of rooms at a nearby Fairfield Inn.
Their phone is 630-845-5500.

Check back for updates as we continue to plan.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

St. Patty's Day


This is a Flickr badge showing photos in a set called LPBC. Make your own badge

Today I paddled with LPBC (Lincoln Park Boat Club) down to the Michigan Avenue Bridge to watch them dying the CHicago River Green. After putting on layers and layers of hear we headed out. The weather was great and there wasn't too much wind.

Lower Wacker Dirve and the bridges were lined with people.
We had to wait about 25 minutes for the boats to drop the Dye. It looked red but turned the river bright green. It was windy and you could taste the dye in the air. Due to wind they ran short of the dye and had to "run out" for some more.

It was a great day and we had tremendous turn out.

Luck O' the Irish to you

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Idaho Ski Trip

We just visited Patrick's dad in Pocatello. What a great trip! Our rental car was a purple HRH - similiar to a PT Cruiser. Did ZZ Top reserve this car? Did I say it was purple??
We skiied everyday and really enjoyed the snow. We caught an Idaho State Men's Basketball game which was so much fun! It is a small town so there were a ton of local people who really love the team. The arena was smaller so we could see really well.
We were able to rent cheap skis from Idaho State Outdoor club since Dave is on the Faculty there. We cross country skied on the first afternoon in the Mink Creek Wilderness. The views were breathtaking, the hills steap and the air cold. The next day we drove north to the Craters of the Moon National Monument. It was amazingly different - landscape: fields of pumice stone, lava flows with scattered islands of cinder cones and sagebrush. It was nice and flat and a sunny day. We hiked to the top of a cinder cone and there are photos or a tree at the top.
The last day we did some downhill skiing at Pebble Creek, which just a few short miles from Dave's house. We had a great time and as you can tell from the photos we had the place to ourselves. (It was a Monday)
Dave's house is on the hill and has a spectacular view in every direction. We can't wait to go back!

 Posted by Picasa


This is a Flickr badge showing photos in a set called 2007. Make your own badge

We had a great time at the party. It was so nice to spend time with family friends kids and animals. Thanks to all who made the drive to share in the celebration Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Twins at the Zoo

originally uploaded by vreckman.
Your eyes are not seeing double. The girls have a set of friends that are twins too - They now think everyone has a twin. The boys are adorable and sweet as can be. It was a great day to go on a walk, holding hands while trick or treating at the zoo. 2 faces - 4 kids - all adorable!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Kitty Integration

You would never think that these nice cats would do so much hissing and growling. Look how cute they are! Patrick has compared Mr. Bynx's howling to a fire truck and Haimona's to a police car. Haimona doesn't seem bothered by Mr. Bynx's howling and growling and slowly walks past to where he wants to go. Sometimes Bynx howls so long he starts to get tired and will watch Haimona while teetering on the edge of sleep. Really funny. The weekends are great because the cats are free to roam around the house, if they are feeling brave, and we are home to supervise.
Patrick will watch DVDs or relax in the basement and I made a veggie soup today in the kitchen. It is a long time for them to stay mad, so eventually they let their guard down a bit and can both hang out in the kitchen or living room. I look forward to the day when Miles and Bynx cuddle up on the fuzzy red blanket that they both love. Wish us luck!

Friday, September 15, 2006

The End of Civilization

The end is near, I fear. On the way back to the office from lunch today, a woman walked by sporting a t-shirt that read "Your just jealous." Now, I admit I have stressed to my students in the past that brevity is a virtue, but not at the expense of proper punctuation. It's one thing for a student to carelessly omit an apostrophe and an "e." But 'tis quite another for a clothing manufacturer, presumably one that employs college graduates somewhere in its corporate mass, to make such an egregious error.

The end of the world is near. Soon we will revert to throwing rocks at each other because we can't communicate. In fact, I believe George Bush has already jumped the gun.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Things Overhead

Last weekend, Victoria and I had some much needed down time. We kicked off the weekend going to Bennigans to suck down some tasty beverages from the alcohol family of beverages and to chomp on food of the fried, crispy, artery-clogging variety. Then we headed across the street to the Art Institute. The Art Institute has a tremendous summer program. Thursday and Friday evenings are FREE from 5-9. Look, I'm not in college anymore, but I still can definitely appreciate a freeday at a Chicago museum. So, in we went. After perusing the pottery, some of which was 4,000 old and still seemingly in perfect shape (talk about a family heirloom), we headed up to the Impressionist wing. Even though we have both seen it many, many times, the exhibit can't be beat. Especially Caillebote's Rainy Day in Paris and Seurat's Saturday in the Park, both of which would cover more than an entire wall at the Cullom abode.

But the highlight of the day was the crazy things we overhead. In particular, Victoria heard one fellow commenting on the 16th Century European paintings. The man told his family that the painting was done in 1550. Then he marvelled, "Where did they get their paint," as if questioning the authenticity of the date on the painting. Yes, it is sad but true: there were no Home Depots present in Renaissance Europe, but methinks paint had been around for quite some time (after all, we had just seen 4,000 year old pottery with paint on it).

Gardens Galore

One of the best things about living outside of the city is the amount of “Soil” you have to work with.
Patrick and I have had a great time growing tomatoes, sweet red peppers, green beans and yummy spices.
We have been eating some great salads with the peppers and tomatoes.
We planted moss roses which open up each day full of color then close at night. The best thing is that they re-seed themselves and will come up next year.
My old neighbor had a thick bed of flowers so they also remind me of my old neighborhood in Lincoln Square.
As a moving in gift I had a Flower Box made for the front of the house. Al Hill made the flower box by hand, out of cedar and it fits the cement ledges perfectly. It is great to know it is well made and will last for years but also a nice reminder of Al and Karen. Currently it is full of orange and red mums and Japanese lanterns. We will add some pumpkins in October. Then we get into the really fun Christmas decorations.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Packing & Reunions

We spent our evenings apart much of last week. Too much packing!!! Thursday and Friday evenings were spent ferrying loads of boxes and miscellaneous items that don't fit well in boxes over to the Cullom stronghold. T-minus 5 days and counting. We were going to treat ourselves to a movie in the park (Kicking & Screaming) at nearby Chopin Park, but it was raining, so we declined and watched an X-Files on DVD instead. Yes, this is the exciting life of the Cullom household. Packing and watching DVDs at home. Victoria did get her first mail at the new address. Woohoo...Winner of the prize is: Anna from Portland.

But as the week came to a close, we prepared for the onslaught of the Eckman-Stone family reunion. Yours truly was caught a bit off guard by the sheer numbers in attendance at Aunt Micky's West Chicago abode. Remember, I have just 3 uncles, 3 aunts, and 2 cousins. And that's both sides! Needless to say, when we arrived and Victoria began by saying "I don't know who half these people are," I wondered what I had got myself into. But of course, everyone was super nice. We had great conversations with Grandma Eckman about her travels around the world and with Aunt Micky about her collection of Native American pottery. And of course, cream puffs and rocky road for desert. I stopped counting the cream puffs after my 5th, but I think 10 would be a safe bet. Family photo is attached. After the photo, we released balloons and made a wish. Victoria & I shared a balloon (and, who knows, maybe a wish ;-).

After leaving we headed to TyMo's place where we would stay the night. All four of us crashed in the living room by 10:30 until someone piped up and said "Why don't we go to sleep." Now, if you don't know TyMo, they like to get up early and get things done. And if you don't know V & me, we likes to sleep until the cats are so loud that we have to get up. After finding a happy medium and rising around 8:45, we went on a shopping trip and picked up a guidebook to Spain. That was fun. Shopping was followed by lounging and staying out of the way as Tyler & Monica prepared for the birthday bash, or the Eckman-Stone reunion, part deux. Sunday night left us tired. With one week to go, there are still things to do at both places.

We are gonna have a big rest once the move is done.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Madison Mayhem

Much fun was had by all last weekend. Friday we loaded Victoria's Subaru with odds and ends that don't fit well in boxes. Ooh, the excitement. There are now three Kitchen Aid mixers at the Cullom basecamp. Saturday we got up early --- for us, at least (no comments from the peanut gallery, Tyler & Monica) --- and headed to the Naperville Polo Grounds for my Summer League Ultimate Tournament. Alas, my team went 1-1 in the B-pool, but at least Victoria captured a masterful play by yours truly.

After the tourney, we chowed down greasy burgers and brats and headed to the fields outside of Madison to visit Victoria's Portland-based roommate, Sarah. A pit-stop at Ty's & Mo's and some weird traffic outside of Madison turned a 2.5-hour trip into a 5-hour trip. We were spent when we got there, but the good company rejuvenated us. After a good night's sleep, we had pankcakes and eggs at a local eatery and then swam in Sarah's parents' pool with Sara and her cutie-pie 4-year-old Riley, who particularly liked Doree the Fish and also being splashed so long as she didn't get too wet.

After the swim, we sampled super yummy custard from the original Culver's. A trip to a local winery capped the day, and we headed home around 5, only to be caught in weekend traffic and another accident, that turned the 2.5 hour trip into a 4-hour trip. Uggh. We even missed the first 10 minutes of Flavor of Love. Now we are in the throes of the move. A little stressed, but we will pull through. Stay tuned for pictures of boxes.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Open for Business

The Cullom Column is officially open for business. August is going to be super fun, super busy and end with a bang as we decide to cohabitate. It's great to be alive!