Chicago, Detroit and Philadelphia. Leonora’s tour de Amérique continues

Our time in Chicago is flying by! We are having a blast and enjoying the summer weather, long walks through the city streets or along Lake Michigan, sunny street festivals and art fairs, yummy dinners at cool new restaurants and lots of family time.

I’ve made some lovely friends through Mommy and Me classes so have been spending my time exploring the city with them and working out lots. I also started a new ‘mommy blog’ about transitioning to life as a new mommy. I’ll also feature some yoga on it as well. Check it out here: (www.pranamommy.com) and follow me on instagram @jbuch113 :-)

Detroit:

Vikkee drove up from Detroit one weekend to see us and the following weekend we drove down to visit her. Vikkee and Mike have a great apartment in an area called Royal Oak – right on the main drag so in the action. It really reminded us of our St. Leonard’s place as it is walking distance to all the bars and restaurants in the area and right by the train. We arrived late on the Friday night and partook in their tradition of a Friday night scotch on their balcony watching all the world go by down below at all the bars. It was good fun.

The next morning Vikkee and I hit the pavement for a long run while the men watched Leo…was quite the site leaving Mike and Ben with Leo and the fuchsia pink diaper bag! We all had brunch together and then hopped in the car to tour Detroit. We cruised around downtown, checked out Gross Pointe and then went to the big flea/farmers market. It was so crowed we decided to make moves and grab lunch at American for Coney Island Dogs – not to be confused with Lafayette! :-) We cruised back to the apartment for some much needed relaxation before taking Leo (and Ben and I!) for our first Tigers game at Comerica Park. Mike even got us all Tigers baseball caps to sport as welcome pressies. It was probably one of the most fun games we’ve been to with lots of hits and runs….I guess the company was pretty good too :-)

Sunday morning we ventured into Birmingham for lattes and brunch, checked out Mike’s school Cranbrook which was gorgeous and spent a bit of time with his Mom Kathie. It was a relaxed day before making our way back to Chicago that afternoon. Luckily for us, Leo slept most of the way home (rather than crying like she did on the way to Detroit!). Vikkee and Mike will pop over to Chicago again in August so we see them once more before we head back to Sydney. We’re looking forward to it.

Philly – city of brotherly love and murals and the Colliers

We spent last weekend with the Colliers in Philadelphia. The Browns also came to town so it was an excellent mini reunion for some of our old biz school crew. We arrived late on Thursday night and stayed until late Sunday night. Friday Ben, Andrew and Amanda all worked from home while I took Leo sightseeing in Philly (and picked up delicious cheeses and cured meats from Reading Terminal for our dinner that night!). We actually discovered a cheese called Queso Leonora which was seriously one of the most delicious cheeses we’ve ever tasted. It is a goat based cheese done in a Brie style. Fan-freaking-tas-tic. The Browns arrived that afternoon as CB and Andrew were participating in the Philly Triathlon on Saturday morning. That night we started with cocktail hour on the Collier’s deck – they have this HUGE apartment in the Northern Liberties with a great outdoor space on their third level…yep…third level…followed by dinner at home with all of us and Andrew’s brother and his wife.

Ben and Andrew Working from Home

Ben and Andrew Working from Home

Saturday morning was the race where Andrew had the edge over CB in the swim which led to victory by the narrowest of margins! We all then walked over to pick up fried chicken and donuts…the perfect way to celebrate completing a triathlon…even for those of us who didn’t race! Once thing we noticed on this trip is there is no shortage of bad-for-you-but-oh-so-good food in Philadelphia. After a ridiculous amount of grease, we decided to wash it all down with some beers and a bit of a pub crawl through their neighborhood. For dinner we grabbed a quintessential Philly treat – the cheesesteak. The boys went out after dinner while we headed back to hit the hay. Someone has to be responsible with the little lady around :-)

Beers at the local German Biergarten

Beers at the local German Biergarten

Sunday morning we walked into Old Town for brunch at High Street – another fantastic stop on our food tour of Philly. We meandered back via a Morgan’s Pier where we stopped for farewell beers before JT had to catch her flight back to SF. We watched the US World Cup game, had dinner and headed to the airport for our late night flight back to Chicago.

All the blondes :-)

All the blondes :-)

It was such a fun weekend and so awesome to be together again – it’s as if no time passes between us and we all just pick up where we started…the boys egging each other on…us girls polishing off bottles of wine and covering every topic under the sun until the wee hours of the morning (well some more than others..darn breastfeeding! ;-). It was fun to see where Andrew and Amanda live and introduce Leo to her storm parents CB and JTB! It was sad to leave everyone…something about being together again makes you miss the people you’re apart from even more…overall an awesome weekend with some of our favorite people.

LA:

Yesterday Leonora and I flew out to LA where we will be for the month of July. Ben will commute Thursday to Sunday here and have the weeks at work in Chicago. It was hard to leave him as we’ve been having such great family time together. This weekend we’re heading down to Coronado for the Fourth of July! We’re looking forward to seeing all of our family and friends down there. We’ll be sure to write again soon!

xoxoxo
Jacs, Ben and Leo

California here we come!

I can’t believe how time is flying by, and on Saturday I leave for California for a 2 week holiday. Jacs, Leo and Bonnie (who has been visiting) flew over on Friday so that Jacs can spend a bit more time over there than I can with work. It worked out really well that Bonnie and her could fly together so that she didn’t have to handle the first flight with Leo alone! This week Jacs is relaxing with her family, then when I arrive on Saturday we have Jess and Michael’s wedding in La Jolla which will be awesome (Jacs is a bridesmaid!), then a quick visit up to the Bay Area, before having a week in LA with Jacs’ family, as well as Keiren and Will who are flying over from New York and Vik and Mike who are coming from Detroit.

Saying goodbye to Jacs and Leo at the airport

Saying goodbye to Jacs and Leo at the airport

Bonnie has been in Sydney for the past 2 weeks, and it was so great to have her around, as there has been lots going on. I’ve been travelling during the week with work, and we moved in to our new apartment 2 weeks ago, so it was amazing to have Bon around to help with that too – we really put her to work ;-)…and by we I mean Jacs as I was away with work! We’re loving the new apartment which is now just a 5 minute walk from mum and dad’s in Mosman so we can see them lots (and take advantage of some baby sitting…), and Jacs and Leo can go for strolls down to the beach. It is a 2 bedroom place in a 1920s building with high ceilings, and we have a beautiful view over middle harbour.

The view from our new apartment!

The view from our new apartment!

Our new building!

Our new building!

While Bonnie was in town, we also tried to have some fun so we don’t scare her away completely from visiting again! We tried to take advantage of some beautiful weather for strolls down to Balmoral and Chinaman’s beach, some surfing, and we even did the 12km Spit to Manly walk. For Easter we decided have my family (and our great friend and neighbour Jacek) over for an Easter brunch in our new apartment which was great fun!

Beautiful Chinaman's Beach

Beautiful Chinaman’s Beach

Taking in the view on the Spit to Manly walk

Taking in the view on the Spit to Manly walk

I assume this is just to scare away tourists?

I assume this is just to scare away tourists?

Looking pretty at Easter Brunch

Looking pretty at Easter Brunch

Since Bon and Jacs left on Friday, it was the Anzac Day long weekend which commemorates Anzacs who have died in wars, and in particular the Gallipoli landing in 1915. It also involves a day out having fun with friends and playing some two-up, a traditional gambling game. Given that, after taking them to the airport, I met TK, some of his friends, and some of my friends in the Rocks for a great day of beer and two-up!

Two-up in the street at the Australian

Two-up in the street at the Australian

The following morning I was not particularly impressed when my alarm went off to get up, but I was excited as it was time for TedX at the Opera House. TedX is a day centred around short TED talks, where people share ideas on interesting topics. I had a great day and learned lots… including but not limited to how to make a clarinet from a carrot ;-) (You can watch it here in Linsey Pollak’s section)

Time for TedX at the Opera House

Time for TedX at the Opera House

Just 5 days until I head to the US, so I’m sure you’ll here more from us soon about the trip.

- Ben

Welcome to the world baby girl

Welcome to the World…

Leonora Grace

Leonora Grace Buchanan

Our dear family and friends,

At 2:35 a.m on January 16th, we enthusiastically welcomed our baby girl to our family. We are totally head over heels in love with her! She has her mother’s sweet temperament and her father’s eyes.

She has already melted our hearts. Both Jacs and Leo are healthy, albeit a bit exhausted, and recovering well.

We will be in touch with more photos and information once we’ve had time to settle into our new roles as Daddy and Mummy.

Lots of Love
Ben and Jacqueline

Leonora Grace Buchanan
16 January 2014
7 lb, 7 oz / 3.37 kg
19.7 inches / 50 cm

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Merry Christmas

Looking back on 2013, it has been a great year for us filled with adventures, great friends, and big changes with our move back to Sydney. 2014 is shaping up to be one of the most exciting years yet with Baby B only a couple weeks away. Right now we’re enjoying a staycation in Sydney. Jacs is finished with work and on maternity leave and I’m all done with traveling. I have 2 weeks off work, and we’re house sitting for mum and dad so are loving being near the beach and having the pool. For Christmas Day (can’t believe that is tomorrow), we’re doing a brunch just the two of us, and are then spending the afternoon with the Latham’s (Sarah’s family) who have kindly invited us to join their Christmas.

We want to wish all of our friends and family across the world a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year. We’re so grateful to have you all in our lives.

You’ll be hearing from us again soon, with a new addition to our family!

xx
Ben and Jacs

Blood, Sweat and Beers

It’s already been 2 weeks since TK, Mark (TK’s friend) and I did the Tough Mudder in Sydney, so it is about time I posted about it.

Team Blood, Sweat and Beers - Start Together, Finish Together!

Team Blood, Sweat and Beers – Start Together, Finish Together!

For those that don’t know, Tough Mudder is a 20km challenge (completing is the main thing – not getting a specific time!) with obstacles along the way. We had a great time, and ended up finishing in just over 1.5 hours, coming in 6th in our group! We were super impressed with that!

Getting muddy

Most of the obstacles were great fun – crawling through mud, climbing over walls etc – however I think the ‘electric eel’ was my least favourite. It involved crawling through mud while getting electric shocked by dangling wires … in the face!!!

Anyway, that’s all from me for now. Check out the photos below :-)

Andy and Josie’s wedding

It has been more than a month since our last post, and the fact that we haven’t posted as frequently as we have been the past few years is evidence enough that we’re back in the real world of having jobs and not traveling every week or two and hanging out with friends most days. That said, life in Sydney is going really well. My work is going well – I’m already finishing up my second project (which seems crazy!), and recently moved offices (we still have a view which I’m happy about – It was great watching the Fleet Review out on the harbour last week!). Jacs’ work has been incredibly busy with a project that finishes up on Friday, so she has been working really long hours. Hopefully that calms down on Friday, and she just has 2 more months of work to go.

Baby B is growing quickly, but is healthy and her and Jacs are both well. Here is a pic for you :-)

Jacs Belly

Time is flying by, with Jacs already at almost 26 weeks! We’ve even been going to look at prams and everything which is kind of daunting ;-) Other than that, we’ve just been enjoying some wonderful spring weather, getting to the beach as much as possible (I’ve been doing lots of surfing) and hanging out with our friends here. It was also just TK’s 22nd birthday which he celebrated with a BBQ in mosman

Manly

Last weekend was a long weekend, and was also my cousin (from England) Andrew’s wedding to Josie down in Melbourne, so the whole family made a trip down there. In addition to the wedding, it was also a chance to celebrate that both Pasquale and Paski and Wendy and Ray got engaged since our last visit. Jacs and my weekend started with a little hiccup when our flight was cancelled until Saturday morning. We did make Virgin Australia get us a hotel room at the airport and buy us dinner because I was not impressed at missing a night in Melbourne. Saturday morning though we made it down after a bright an early start on the 7am flight. After a quick stop for breakfast with mum at the Fedele’s, we popped in to their Jewelry Store to say hi to Auntie Sheila and Uncle Frank, before going for lunch with Stuart and Mai at a cool place called Huxtable in Fitzroy where we indulged in lots of delicious tapas (a lot of which was fried!) and a beer. If that wasn’t enough, we then continued across the road to Monsieur Truffe for a hot chocolate to finish an extremely decadent meal :-)

After lunch, we had a quick wander around the city, and by the time we got home, there was just enough time for a quick nap before getting ready for dinner with the Fedele’s and the Hocknells (including Andrew) for a massive Korean BBQ feast rehearsal dinner. We had a great evening – it was so fun catching up with all of our cousins and having a few drinks with them to celebrate everything.

Sunday morning was fairly slow after all of the Saturday night drinks, but we had a delicious bacon and egg fry up for breakfast (so much eating!) before getting all dressed up to hop on the bus to the wedding which was about an hour away at Yarra Ranges Estate. Mum was the celebrant so it was really a family wedding. It was a gorgeous ceremony, and Josie looked beautiful. After the ceremony there were delicious cookies and cake that Josie’s friend made, and a Chinese tea ceremony as a traditional wedding ritual. We had a really lovely time! Congratulations to Andrew and Josie!

Andy and Josie's Wedding

After a relaxing morning monday, we had a final lunch with Wendy and Ray at Ray’s restaurant (Hooked) on Brunswick st, before heading to the airport for our flight home. It was such a fun weekend – and is also nice to just have a 4 day week this week.

Hope that you’re all well. Let us know what you’ve been up to.
xx
Ben and Jacs