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Tag Archives: Family

Friday Chi Faves: The Field Museum

My cousin Mike, his wife Candi, and their kids Cassidy, Dominick and Mason were visiting Chicago a couple weeks ago. I’m lucky to have a pretty flexible work schedule so I was able to spend a Friday afternoon with them at the Field Museum.

[The fam + Sue]

MAN was I impressed!! That place is cool. We literally spent the entire afternoon going from one exhibit to the next — from animals, to Africa, to Ancient Egypt … the Tsavo Lions, Underground Adventure and Extreme Animals — unending amazement. My favorite? Dinosaur Hall. When is the last time you saw dinosaur fossils? So impressive. We also took in The Story of Sue in 3-D “Waking the T. Rex“. And Sue! The largest, most extensive and best preserved T-rex specimen is quite a site. Overall I’m a huge fan. Great place to spend the day with family!



Open every day except Christmas. 9am – 5pm


Museum Campus: 1400 S Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605


Different admission levels, check it out here.

We did the All Access Pass — Adult $29, Kids 3-11 $20, Students & Seniors (65+) $24


Added bonus to any visit to Museum Campus? The view of the city. Post-Field Museum, we walked along the Lake and took in the view. Gorgeous!!



Mikayla Jean Reese

Born 6/12/2012 at 6:38am

Length: 20″   Weight: 7lb 5oz

Todd, Emily & Baby are doing great!

Call me Auntie Kate!

Ok let’s get real, have you ever seen a cuter baby?! I am so so so in love with her.

The due date was 6/6/2012. Of course my new baby cousin had to make an entrance! I was literally on the edge of my seat just waiting for a text/call from my cousin Todd. They live in California and to be honest, I’m not sure how long things like giving birth take so I knew I had to be patient, but I was just so dang excited.

I was at the Park Cafe in Millennium Park on Tuesday when I missed Todd’s call. Not kidding. I pulled out my phone, saw the missed call then saw the picture texts that I had a new cousin! Mikayla is seriously the most beautiful baby I’ve ever seen, not to mention she has the BEST parents — Todd and Emily. I love them all so much and am now counting the days until I meet her in August. Until then … I will live off the most adorable pictures texts like the one below I got yesterday:

 [Mikayla’s first hat]

Happy (early) 1st Father’s Day to my amazing cousin Todd!

I’m obsessed with … MY MOM

Confirmed: I’m obsessed with … MY MOM

[Cubs Game – Labor Day Weekend]

Growing up, she reminded me to clean my room, drove me from activity to activity to activity, helped with homework, planned forced family fun and would discipline me when necessary (shocking but I was not the perfect child).

What I didn’t realize was that through all the day-to-day tasks, my mom was giving me the foundation that has turned me into the independent, self-sufficient, and confident woman I am today.

[Yosemite National Park in California]

After graduating college, starting her career at John Deere, starting a family AND getting her MBA, my mom chose her path in educating America’s youth – teaching marketing and running the internship program at Augustana College.

Mom’s drive to establish unbelievable internship opportunities for her students around the globe (Australia, England, Spain, Russia and China!) is remarkable and inspiring. Ask students and alum about KP and you’ll hear great things. Tell them you’re KP’s daughter? I immediately graduate to legend status in their mind.

[Zoo Lights in Chicago]

I could go on and on about how bomb my mom is, but I guess if I had written my own Hallmark card to her it’d be something like this:

You are a great mom. Thank you for everything you’ve done, everything you do and everything you have yet to do. I cherish the time we spend together – just thinking of you puts a smile on my face. You are truly an inspiration and hero in my life and I cannot imagine a better role model. Every day I hope I make you proud. I love you.

[Zip-lining in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico]

I’m obsessed with … Grandpa Pete

Sticking with the theme of people I’m thankful for, meet Grandpa Pete:

[Grandpa Pete’s 85th Birthday — Grandpa + Grandkids]

My Dad’s Dad, Grandpa Pete has been a positive influence my entire life. Since my Grandma Pete passed away in 2008, Grandpa has been living in Rock Island and I absolutely love visiting him when I make it back to Iowa. Some of my earliest memories with Grandpa and Grandma Pete include playing in the basement at their house (including learning to play ping-pong!), sleepovers complete with Grandma’s Swedish pancakes in the morning, playing wiffle ball in their backyard, and picking tomatoes and raspberries from Grandpa’s garden.

[Grandma & Grandpa Petersen, March 2010]

My Grandpa is so remarkable. He’s always been a man of few words, showing his love through affection and action. I will never forget how he and Grandma made it to almost every single dance performance growing up. And he is always so eager to hear about life in the big city … over some Whitey’s Ice Cream, of course!

[Visiting Grandpa, November 2012]

Over the years, he’s taught me the importance of family, time spent together, appreciation and faith. Anything that has rubbed off from Grandpa Pete in my life, you can guarantee is a good thing. He is truly the best and I am one lucky granddaughter!

[Grandpa Pete’s 85th Birthday — Father + Kids]

Emily’s Baby Shower

I suppose this is the official announcement …


Say hello to Auntie Kate! Rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it??!

A little more clarity? My cousin Todd and his wife Emily are expecting their first child (A BABY GIRL!!!) this June.

Our family is over the moon excited and recently we were able to host a baby shower for Lil’ Peanut. With Mother Nature on our side, we had the most beautiful day for the shower, hosted at my Aunt Deb’s house in Hoffman Estates – a northwest suburb of Chicago. We kicked off the shower with a couple of games with prizes going to the victors. Retreated downstairs for lunch then followed it up with gifts. Todd and Emily live in California so the big gifts were shipped straight to their house (i.e. the crib, changing table, etc). The gifts we did see were priceless — baby’s first bikini, the cutest tu-tu, and an amazing diaper cake. Overall, it was a success and Baby Reese made out like a bandit! Cannot wait to meet her!!



The expanding Reese clan!

Friday Chi Faves: Glencoe & the Lesniak’s

I love Chi (obvi) but sometimes it’s nice to take a break from the city, take in the beauty of the suburbs … and visit family.

Rewind to 2008. I had just graduated from Drake University and decided I was moving to Chicago!! The two biggest road blocks? No job. No place to live. One solution = crashing with family. The plan was to stay with the Lesniak’s in Glencoe, a northern suburb of Chicago, for a week. Well one week ended up lasting more like three months and will forever be known in the Lesniak household as THE SUMMER OF KATE.

The Lesniak’s:

Circa 2008, from the left include Clay (Sept 6 birthday buddies!), Uncle Tom, Aunt Lisa, Caroline, and Jonathan. Five of the most generous, loving, coolest people I know. They’ve grown up a lot since this photo (Clay and Caroline now both give me a run for my money in the height department) but I love looking back at photos from our summer together when they took me in, not as a cousin, but as a sister.

My brother and I always make a point to visit the Lesniak’s for a night or weekend outside the traditional family get-togethers. It’s always a highlight on my calendar and lucky for me, it’s happening tonight!

Yes I’m foregoing the normal Friday happy hour to spend the evening in Glencoe. I could not be more excited for what is a night that always surpasses any expectations in both the food and company department. I can’t wait to hear how Clay is loving high school, Caroline’s newest hobby or play with Jonathan.


Here’s hoping you’re all as excited about your Friday night as I am for mine! XOXO.

Travel Addict: Costa Rica

Second travel post and already taking it international… love!

Costa Rica.

Located in Central America, the phrase that Costa Ricans most identify with is “Pura Vida” — which means pure life or good life and reflects the Costa Rican way of life. As soon as I heard that I was on board with this 2011 summer vacay.

It wasn’t a traditional Petersen Family  vacay, it was the extended fam … Mom, Dad, brother Matt, Gram, Aunt Gayle, Uncle Tom, cousins Brent, Shelley and Chris.

Costa Rica is a tropical climate with an average temperature of 80 degrees on the coasts, 70 degrees in the main cities and 50 degrees in the mountains. In other words … awesome. We stayed on the Pacific coast in Tamarindo, located in the Guanacaste province.

Tamarindo was gorgeous and there was so much to do. Some of my favorite adventures included our chartered snorkeling trip, playing in the ocean, howling with the Howler Monkeys, surfing, our day trip to Nicaragua (loved Masaya Volcano National Park!) and of course our full-on costume Murder Mystery dinner.


Passport: Required

When to Visit: late November until April

Capital City: San Jose

Population: 4,658,887

Average Annual Rainfall: 120 to 140 inches


Visit Costa Rica

Anywhere Costa Rica

U.S. Government Travel Site