Tuesday, September 12, 2017

First Days and First Impressions ~ September 2017

  Yesterday Caitlin started her Pre-Kindergarten year and with that everyone is off and running.


Caitlin had a good first day and was very excited about her Shimmer & Shine lunchbox and found it funny that there was nap time at school.


Early thoughts from Liam on first grade; "There is a lot more sitting at your desk than in Kindergarten!"








Elisabeth is a big fan of her teacher's beach/wave theme and is optimistic ~ which in turn makes me so happy and excited for all of them!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Open Book: September 2017




War and Turpentine a novel written by Stefan Hertmans based on his grandfather's journals and war memories.  While finding the transitions a bit clunky as the author switches from the grandson's memories to the first person voice as 'the grandfather' recounts his experience in WW1 I overall really enjoyed this book.  The grandfather lived from 1891 till 1981 and the author does a good job conveying how much change the grandfather witnesses in his life.  I originally was drawn to this book because it was about Belgium and would let me fulfill another MMD category but given all the WW1 centennials being observed I'm so glad I spent some time getting an eye witness of what it was to be in Flander Fields even if it was a fictionalized based on a soldier's war journals one.



Poems by C.S. Lewis; I am a little over halfway through and am intentionally taking my time reading only 3-4 poems a day so as to let them each have their moment before I move on.  I don't read enough poetry to speak critically about them but I really enjoying the book. Lewis writes on a wide variety of topics and his sarcasm and wit shines through.

As an aside I recently meet Jessica Ptomey at the annual CWBN (Catholic Women Blogger Network) Mid-Atlantic chapter meeting and was excited to discover she hosts a Catholic Book Challenge on her blog.  A book by C.S. Lewis is one of the categories so at least I made a showing this year and even better she plans to host another one next year!


Please head over to Carolyn's for more Open Book.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Quick Takes #236: Summers Wraps-up and I get a day away!



  1. Happy September! I can't believe how fast the summer went but I suppose that speaks to time flying while we were having fun.  School starts next week for the older two and Caitlin visits her classroom next Friday.
  2. Have been trying to strike the right balance this week of letting the kids enjoy the end of summer vacation but we have also been getting backpacks and school supplies ready.  The other reason to let screen limits slide a bit is Dr Daddy is on a rough rotation and everyone is feeling his absence.
  3. Last weekend I was able to attend the annual meeting of the CWBN (Catholic Women Blogger Network) Mid-Atlantic chapter and it was wonderful! Ana who hosted and and the other organizers did a great job. The speakers Kelly, Elizabeth, and Mary were amazing and provided so much food for thought that while I'm still digesting everything they shared I already feel my blogging muscles strengthen.
  4. Other and better recaps were posted by Ana and Lisa.
  5. We signed Liam up for the Cross Country Team and while school starts next week, practices started this week. So far he likes it but he is still learning that when you are aiming to run close to mile you don't start out at full speed.  He has earned his nickname of "Running Boy" so really hoping this proves to be a good fit.
  6. I'm so grateful that Harvey has moved on from Houston and the Gulf Coast, and that those who I know who live there are well.  That being said my heart goes out to all those who lost loved ones and homes.  Having lived there in the aftermath of Allison and realizing how much more catastrophic this storm was, urge everyone to help in whatever way you can.
  7. Wishing everyone a good weekend and all those kiddo's a great start to the school year!


Please head over to Kelly's for more 7QT's.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Vacation Thoughts ~ 2017



   As I sit down to write another vacation recap I am again very grateful that we were this year again blessed with largely good weather and am remembering all the delicious food I got to eat (Scoop Deck ice cream x 4) but am also wanting to reflect on what was new and distinct about this year's vacation.

    The most obvious difference being this year began with me heading over to New Hampshire to remember with my family and her friends my aunt's wonderful life and legacy. My uncle and cousins had intended it to be a celebration of a life well lived and they succeeded! While the day's events had that 'empty seat at the table' sense, it was overall a wonderful day of sharing stories and memories.  The day also gave me the chance to catch-up in person with my older brother and cousins from California.


 Of the week+ in Maine the memories I will most cherish are:

  • Elisabeth and my niece boogie boarding with great enthusiasm and improving skill.
  • Liam appearing to be impervious to the cold and he rushed in time and again to the ocean.
  • Caitlin's first time staying up late to make s'mores.
  • Everyone working hard despite the rain to build a rock wall border.
  • Shared Minecraft worlds for the BFFC's
  • Caitlin wanting me nearby but NOT holding her hand while she jumped waves.
  • Liam and Caitlin's first time playing mini-golf. BTW 18 holes is about 10 too many with a four year old.
  • The maturity Lisbeth showed when despite coming down with a painful ear inflection she rested on a bench and let the rest of us outlet shop for a bit.
  • Putting Moana on for the kids to watch and having the teenagers appear and stay.
  • Massive splash fights in pool between Dr Daddy and the big girls.
  • The kids setting up the yard for an eclipse watching party and then each drifting back into the house during until it was only the grown-ups watching.
  Familiar places and vacation traditions lend the structure but the kids changing interest and growing abilities gives each year it's distinct moments and memories.

S'more sampling
Eclipse Watching

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Open Book August 2017



Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson is a Newberry Award winner that I must have read at some point in my youth but felt brand new to me and is a delightful story with a very poignant end about how the right person believing in us is often all we need to unlock our true potential and show that same generosity of spirit to others.




Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen is the story of Catherine Moreland taken to Bath as a companion for a older childless couple from her village.  While in Bath she makes the acquaintance of several other young people including the Tilney's of Northanger Abbey. While published last; this is apparently is the first novel Austen writes which fits; Catherine is younger and more gullible then Austen's other heroines.  That being said I truly enjoyed this lighter but still wonderful visit to Austen's England.

Please head over to Carolyn's for more Open Book.

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Story of the Yellow Purse

  Once upon a time the Classroom Mom of Elisabeth's Kindergarten class hosted a bag party at her house.  As anyone who knows me will tell you, I'm not a big bag person but this mom had done a wonderful job for the kindergarten class. Also proceeds from the party would be going to support the Art program at our daughters' school so I went.
   
   There were tons of  bags of many types, colors, and sizes. I'm a big fan of the purse/wallet combination and was even more so back then when I was often carrying a diaper bag and so I was thrilled to find some there.  In particular one that seemed to have right amount of space and that space was organized with the type of compartments and card slots I liked.  And at a decent price, bonus!! There was just one problem it was yellow. I don't like yellow.  On my kids, maybe. For flowers, curtains, and summer squash, definitely! But as the expression goes yellow is not in my color wheel for clothes and so even as an accessory I was struggling. 
   
   Being the wonderful hostess she is; my friend had seen me pick-up the purse, put it down, walk away and circle back. So on one of my circling backs she struck up a conversation and upon hearing my concern said the most brilliant thing.  "What a great color for summer; and come the fall you can change if the color is still bothering you." 
   
   Needless to say it was fine; more than fine even with me receiving many a compliment on my bold choice and beautiful purse.  So it was with a sad heart (as the strap broke for the third time) I had to admit early this week that after three years of consistent use my lovely yellow purse was beyond repair and it was time to start looking for its replacement.


💛Good-bye dear purse; I'm so glad I brought you home with me 💛


Friday, July 21, 2017

Quick Takes #235: Happy Belgium Day!




In honor of Belgium National Day I decided to focus on that lovely little country today.
  1. About the size of Maryland, Belgium rest in western Europe above France and below the Netherlands. Luxembourg and Germany sits on the eastern border.
  2. My mom is just back from a visit and I.can't wait to see the pictures and catch up on the news of friends and family.  While I never lived there; having visited many times and knowing that it is the homeland of much of my family (my mother's whole family, she was the only one of her siblings to stay here permanently) it has always felt familiar and dear.
  3. The food is amazing with frites (french fries), chocolate, beer and waffles forming the four most commonly recognized cornerstones.  Other national favorites include mussels, rabbit, salad liegeoise, and tomato stuffed with shrimp salad.
  4. Officially bilingual with Flemish spoken mostly in the north and French spoke mostly in the south.  My mom grew up in the capital Brussels which is in the south and so my mom's primary language is french, though all of my cousins also learned flemish in school and their children also attend bilingual schools.
5. Bruge, a canal city often called the Venice of the North, and Antwerp are two other wonderful cities to visit.  I was luck enough to visit Bruge shortly before my wedding and pick-up some its famous lace to carry.
6. There is also forty miles of beautiful seacoast,  and the Ardenne (the hill country) in the east, plus the Waterloo Memorial as other wonderful options to check out.
7. Happy Belgian Day, to those celebrating and Good Weekend to the rest!!

Please visit Kelly's for more 7QT's.