Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Open Book: December '17

The Summer before the War by Helen Simonson is wonderful and her characters were so fully developed that plot twists stayed with me for weeks after I'd finished the book.  This story captures beautifully a family, and town in the English countryside in their final moments of summer warmth and innocence and as the chill of war begins to be felt.  

Call the Nurse; Memoir of the Scotish Highlands by Mary MacLeod was a fun read where MacLeod found a good balance between sharing her cases as a Visiting Nurse and the everyday life experiences of living in the Hiberian isles.  Early in the 1970's MacLeod and her husband moved with their two youngest to the top and Scotland and sought a different life with what appears to be great success. There is a sequel which I will seek out at some point in the future.

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

Friday, November 17, 2017

Quick Takes #250: Challenges and giving thanks

  1. How is November treating you so far?  Here is some of what's been happening around the Baileys.
  2. I have now experienced my first tire blow-out! And adding to the experience I had all three kids with me so my language had a stay clean and my attitude can-do despite the rain.  Blessedly in addition to Liam  someone else offered to help me put the spare on the car ~ and the next day at the tire store the warranty was honored without an argument. 
  3. I'm so glad that despite the crazy warm weather in October the leaves are actually changing colors before falling.  I find the experience of raking so much more pleasing when the leaves are not all brown. And I'm told by the jumpers in the house that colored leaves are softer to leap into!!
  4. Will be celebrating Saint Elisabeth of Hungary's feast today with cupcakes for everyone and roses for Lisbeth. I'm liking this approach for acknowledging feast days ~ just need to figure out what the 'flower' equivalent is for Liam?
  5. I'm hoping to at some point give this take it's own post but in the meantime... I completed the MMD reading challenge earlier this month. Yay!!! Having now done a reading challenge the last couple of years I can honestly say reading books and stretching myself to attempt long and otherwise challenging books has done so much for my mental health and overall attitude.
  6. While still somewhat in shock that Thanksgiving is next week; plans are coming together.  One of my favorite holidays and am so excited to get in some quality family time. 
  7. While I'm giving thanks I definitely want to give thanks for you my lovely readers! Thank you for coming, reading and commenting!!
Please head over to Kelly's for more 7QT's

Friday, November 3, 2017

Quick Takes #249: Happy November!

  1. It was a busy, but fun week with such much to celebrate and enjoy.  I think this October will go down in the books as one of crazy swings in weather but overall a good month.
  2. Halloween went well with me pulling off the great parenting feat of attending nearly simultaneous costume parades at my kids two schools. The weather was chilly but the costumes were great and everyone had a good time. Trick or treating had Elisabeth heading off with friends for the first time and Liam & Caitlin working well together reaping a decent candy haul.
  3. All Saints Day was largely a recovery day. We attended Mass, and Liam enjoyed a birthday lunch with G-ma but otherwise a nice down day after the business of Halloween.  Feast of All Souls had the kids back in school and us for the first time speaking more explicitly with the big 2 about praying for deceased family members.
  4. We had fun watching the World Series this week despite the late night's especially since my MIL was visiting.  We lived in Houston during Charlie's residency and have many friends who still lived there so were thrilled with the ultimate champions but also the series of great games getting there.
  5. Given the bad weather last weekend Liam's Cross Country Champ meet was moved to this coming weekend. Hoping for good weather and wrapping up this season with a good race!
  6. This weekend will also include a hike with Liam's cub scout pack. 
  7. Photo Feature;

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

Friday, October 27, 2017

Quick Takes #238: Late October Life

  1. So how was your October? Good here; but feeling like having found a good rhythm with school got leveled up with scouts starting for the big kids and other fall activities.
  2. Elisabeth is headed to her first Halloween party tonight. We were browsing a costume store and she announced that she wanted to be an archer (Robin Hood not Merida) and we had a lot fun putting all the pieces together.  Liam is Charizard which is not his favorite Pokemon but he thought the costume was fun ~ and I thought he would easily be warm enough.  Caitlin is dressing as Minnie Mouse this year; which I'm happy for memory sake since of the kids she has definitely been the bigger Mickey/Minnie fan.
  3. Reason #228 why I love my kids school: having to been trying for a family rosary all month this week I got to attend as their school organized a living rosary. Elisabeth as a member of the children's choir performed the opening and closing hymn and all the 7th graders acted as the individual beads.
  4. Am really excited for the return of Fixer Upper and The Crown in about a month. In the meantime favorite new show of the season The Brave.  Any other new shows I should check out?
  5. Liam's Cross Country season ends this weekend.  He did not enjoy it as much as I thought he would but did say he would like to join the team again next fall ~ and could he please try Karate now!
  6. After temps all over the map for most of the month it seems like fall is settling in. Hope the crazy weather doesn't curtail leaves changing colors too much.
  7. Pumpkin picking and Liam's last cross country race this weekend. Whatever your's holds ~ have a good one!!
Please head over to Kelly's for more 7QT's!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The 40 Book Bookcase

So I read this book which began with the idea of reading only from the books the author already owned for a year and ended with her making a list of perfect bookcase containing 40 books ~ and so I thought I'd make mine too; so in no particular order except #1 on her list gets top billing on mine too.

  1. The Bible
  2. Amazing Grace by K. Norris
  3. Cloister Walk by K. Norris
  4. Look to the Mountain by L. Cannon
  5. Pride and Prejudice by J. Austen
  6. Persuasion by J. Austen
  7. Memory by L.M. Bujold
  8. A Civil Campaign by L.M. Bujold
  9. Paladin of Souls by L.M. Bujold
  10. A Civil Contract by G. Heyer
  11. These Old Shades by G. Heyer
  12. The Grand Sophy by G. Heyer
  13. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  14. Anne's House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery
  15. The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
  16. The Little Prince by A. Saint-Exupery
  17. To the Lighthouse by V. Woolf
  18. Mrs Dalloway by V. Woolf
  19. Interior Castle by Saint Theresa Avila
  20. Circle of Quiet by M. L'Engle
  21. Two Part Invention by M. L'Engle
  22. Wrinkle in Time by M. L'Engle
  23. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  24. The Wind in the Willows by K. Grahame
  25. Younger than Springtime by A. Greeley
  26. A Christmas Wedding by A. Greeley
  27. Star Bright by A. Greeley
  28. September by R. Pilcher
  29. Winter Solstice by R. Pilcher 
  30. Leaves of Grass by W. Whitman
  31. Ragamuffin Gospel by B. Manning
  32. Innocents Abroad by M. Twain
  33. A Room with a View by E.M Forester
  34. Only Love by E Lowell
  35. Jade Island by E. Lowell
  36. We Two by Gillian Gill
  37. The Wives of Henry VIII by A. Fraser
  38. Woman Warrior by M. Kingston
  39. God is An Englishman by R.F. Delderfield
  40. In Search of Our Mother's Gardens by A. Walker
What would be on yours?
Linking up with Bobbi of Revolution of Love for Weekly Writing in October.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Open Book ~ October '17

In the past month I finished Poems and read

 In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden which is a lovely story about a group of Benedictine nuns living in the English countryside.  The story begins as Philippa Talbot a successful businesswoman leaves her London life and enters the cloister.  While she is how we gain entrance to the community the book is really the story of House and varied rhythms of the liturgical year and the many gains and losses of the women who live in community
  It is a long read but one I really enjoyed; there are enough characters to keep me interested but not so many that I felt lost.  While there is not really a plot, the changes and growths in the various characters are well explored and fun to follow.

Next up The Summer before the War.

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

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Where I'm From

Have noticed a few new followers (welcome) and thought I would repost this piece from 2011.

Where I'm From

I am from metal swing sets, from Tupperware cups and Kool-aid to drink.
I am from the best driveway to roller skate down, watching for deers out the back window, European elegance and American Craftsmanship.
I am from the Christmas cactus growing inside, and  tomatoes and lily of the valley growing outside
I am from leaving my shoe out for St. Nicholas and talking at the table after dinner, from Milou  and Pierre, Roland and Hazel.
I am from bring a stack of books home from the library, pancakes on the weekend and jumping into the leave pile.
From 'get your hair out of your face' and "What are We Men!".
I am from Amazing Grace, One Bread One Body, from sacraments of grace, and men of good will seeking tolerance and understanding
I’m from Providence, Galilee Beach, and Loon Mountain by way of Belgium, from lobsters, clam cakes, and fighting for the piece of chocolate with the elephant.
From the Bon Papa who wanted grandchildren, the Apple Girl, and the URI graduate.
I am from many, many albums kept in the dresser, color pictures under clear plastic covers and black & white held by the corners. from slide shows late at night, from stories told and re-told, cherished and honored.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Quick Takes #237: Life and Liam

  1. Liam enjoyed his busy, fun weekend; having a blast at his party at Charles Edward Cheese and then running well in his first cross country meet.  As I looked back at my 'just turned 6 post' for him I realized all of those things still largely hold true.  His favorite shows include Ben 10 and Voltron in addition to Teen Titan Go; and he has moved to first readers...but mostly he is still my running foodie who thinks Dad hung the moon and I'm pretty cool too.
  2. He also did well on his first spelling test; only missing one.  This was a tough back to reality school week with homework every night and several quizzes to study for.  More after school activities has me to trying to figure when/how to schedule homework time so that the kids get some down time but we are not rushing to finish up at bedtime.
  3. We have been back up in the 80's all week but posts like Rosie's have me thinking about go-to outfits when the weather cools down for good.
  4. All of the kids have picked what they want to be for Halloween which has me excited to get organized early ~ and really hoping no one changes their mind
  5. My dad would have been 90 today!! While it breaks my heart a bit to be reminded that my kids will never know him in this life; I'm enjoying their recent interest and questions as it lets me share some of my favorite memories and make real for them the grandfather they never met.
  6. Praying for the people of Puerto Rico, Mexico, and the Virgin Island ~ and really hoping that Mother Nature calm way down!
  7. Photo Dump:  

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

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.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Reading Challenge at the halfway point

Happy July! Hope your summer is going well.  Mine has been made substantially better by the addition of some rockers on our front porch and the fact the weather so far has been warm but not too humid and often with a breeze.  Reading is absolutely one of the best methods of self care for me and hopefully has me modeling a love of books to my kids.  I also appreciate how the different categories in the MMD challenge provides direction and the push I need to read outside my comfort zone.

At the midway point from the reading for fun path (the one I'm focusing on) I've completed 6 categories:

a book set somewhere I'm interested in but never been:
A Year of Living Danishly

a juicy memoir:
Talking as Fast as I Can

a book about books or reading:
Howards End is on the Landing

a book in a genre I usually avoid:
Becoming and Belonging

a book you don't want to admit you're dying to read ( I modified this one to a book I'm embarrassed I've never read): 84, Charing Cross Road

a book I was excited to buy but had not read yet:
Winter Garden

I've only completed one category of the reading to grow path but do hope to complete a couple more while largely focused on the "oomph path"

Anyone else attempting this year's challenge?
What are you reading?

Friday, June 30, 2017

Quick Takes #234 June thoughts

  1. June was every bit as crazy as I had anticipated.  That being said we celebrated school ending, summer starting, Father's Day and for the most part had a lot of fun this month.
  2. This month also marked the 20th  Anniversary of the Harry Potter series. If memory serves I was slightly late to join the reading party but only slightly as I remember reading the first couple while living in Houston which puts it about 18 years ago.  Haley of Carrots for Michaelmas has written many wonderful posts on the series; and here are two of my favorites.
  3. Speaking of anniversaries we are marking 3 years in the house; not very long but long enough that I feel as I'm learning it moods in different seasons.  The addition of porch furniture has been wonderful as I love reading outside and the weather has been very cooperative.
  4. At the risk of jinxing it; I'm quietly impressed with how well the older kids are embracing their summer work. For both kids the first of four books are read and the book reports are done. I have a couple of workbooks for Caitie but thanks to her east facing room she has been getting up early most mornings and that combined with camp has her napping again.
  5. Was sad to learn of the death of Michael Bond this week; I remember reading Paddington Bear as a child and have in the past couple of years enjoyed introducing his books to my kids. What a wonderful legacy. May he rest in peace!
  6. Currently enjoying "Supergirl" on Netflix in the evenings.  Any other recommendations for a fun summer series?
  7. Excited to attend a friend's son's baptism this weekend and then some local fun for Independence Day!  
Please head over to Kelly's for more 7QT's.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

First Day ~ Last Day: 2016 ~ 2017

Another school year done:

Elisabeth ~ 3rd Grade

Liam ~ Kindergarten

Caitlin ~ Preschool