The always busy time of year was made a bit busier by Dr Daddy covering extra call so some collegues could attend a conference + unexpected (but welcome) snow days + Me having to do all the pre-employment stuff to return to my teaching job = neglected blog.
Yes, after taking last academic year off I will be working again as a clinical instructor this coming spring semester. I had to attend a couple of faculty meetings planning for the coming semester this past week; and happy to report that both Caitlin and I survived. As I've written before I am of two minds about working but am as always grateful for the opportunity and for those who care for my kids in my absence. The fact that it was a dear friend of mine definitely made leaving for the first time a bit easier.
Last weekend we went a bit crazy and decided to go into New York with Charlie's mom and sister and her family. Despite some occasional blowing snow/sleet in our faces everyone had a great time and managed to visit the Public Library to see the lions with the festive wreaths, Grand Central Station at the request of my train-crazy nephew, Rockefeller Center and Saint Patricks.
Yes, I can cross that one off my bucket list except ~ we arrived just in time for Mass (yay) and so no time to look around (boo) and at the moment most of the interior is covered with scaffolds and cloths. Mass was lovely and the kids did great but I still hope to return someday when the scaffolds are down and I have the time to wander.
After Mass we hurried for the Subway back down to Port Authority to catch our bus home. We made our bus (yay) but learned that due to the weather they were no longer going to bus stops in my uncle-in-laws town but would dropped off at the edge of town. During the TWO MILE walk home all of the big kids were amazing hiker and while Liam and Caitlin were pretty miserable their crying probably kept them warm and alleviated the hypothermia worry that mared an otherwise lovely winter hike.
During both the bus rides into and out of the city Elisabeth and her twin cousin (only 9 days difference in age) sereranaded us with renditions of "The Wheels on the Bus" and "We are Riding on the Bus". Hope the other passengers didn't mind :)
Some of the fun heard around here recently:
Elisabeth upon noticing that someone had addressed a Christmas tag 'Lisbeth' told a friend of ours that "My name is always spelled E.l.i.s.a.b.e.t.h., just sometime the first E is silent"
Daddy: say that again
Liam: Watch and learn!
About an hour south of us is an amazing garden and their Christmas tree and light display truly makes them a year round destination. These pictures are from last year but definitely planning a visit soon.
Linking up with Jessica of Housewifespice for a special Advent/Christmas edition of WWRW.
Here are two of my favorites, sure to get re-read overall the years.
Winter Solstice by Rosamund Pilcher is primarily the story of how 5 people all come to be staying in a house in northern Scotland in the days leading up to Christmas. Having read many of her books, this one is a favorite. The events and misadventures to bring all of the main characters together are interesting and believable but not so predictable that it does not hold your attention. Her description of the landscapes of Scotland and Cornwall are amazing, and add so much to the metaphors about darkness and the return of light.
Star Bright by Fr. Andrew Greeley is a sweet story of a American (Roman) Catholic and a Russian (Orthodox) Catholic falling in love during a fall semester culminating with them celebrating Christmas in Chicago with his family. Greeley does a wonderful job of showing two young people sharing their faith and talking about the different traditions important to them as they fall in love.
I do start listening to Christmas Carols as soon as Advent begins but I also give lots of playtime to favorites such as Advent Suite and The Final Word by Michael Card and Cherry Tree Carol (trad.) and Breath of Heaven by Amy Grant for example.
2. Season of Expectation:
As the external pressures of preparing for Christmas; shopping, cooking, decorating, etc seem more intense each year. I so appreciate the reminder at every Mass and elsewhere that part of preparing for Christmas is making room on our hearts and minds for Christ and his great love and wisdom to come in and make himself at home.
3. Gaudete Sunday:
Have already posted about this before but I love how in the midst of the penitent season we lighten the purple with Christmas white and rejoice at the awesome gift given in Bethlehem long ago.
Please head over and read more to love about Advent at Michaela's and
Tough week on several fronts but here are 7 things that made me smile recently
Looking up from locking up the house and helping Lisbeth put her helmet on to find Liam pedaling his tricycle down the block ALL BY HIMSELF!
Christmas cards are ordered!!
Lisbeth swallowed the most recent 'loose tooth', the Tooth Fairy came anyway. I have been asked to not pack granola bars in her lunch when she has a very loose tooth.
Can't imagine what he will be eating as a teenager as Liam is already eating leftover pizza COLD.
Liam's new favorite show is Transformer Rescue Bots, and his favorite character is of course Heat Wave the fire truck. And I am now supposed to, when prompted, give the action call. So washing the dishes, or feeding Caitlin I may be called upon to call "Rescue Bots Roll to the Rescue!"
So I was raking leaves and Liam was jumping in leaves and then Lisbeth came out and requested that I make a pile at the bottom of their slide: Genuis!! And much fun was had by all.
Tweed flats from Payless: In my search for the leopard print flats that seem to be everywhere this fall I found these, cute and comfortable!! And very much more me than animal prints once I get honest with myself.
Chobani yogurt bites ~ yummy flavors like raspberry with chocolate and pineapple with caramel in perfect snack-size portions, just right for a late afternoon pick-me-up and since it is Greek also just tart enough that the kids are happy with just ONE taste.
Robeez: Once again we have a child that resists mightily having anything on her feet; so far so great ~ warm feet and so cute to boot!
Crockpot ~ a question actually: We use ours every week, sometimes a couple of times in a week and our crockpot is now hitting the end of its road and so I'm looking for recommendations. Any favorite crockpots?
Now please head over to Hallie's and read all about the fun she is planning.
Not officially mobile ~ but with rolling and stretch squirming can get where she wants to go to reach what she wants to reach.
Sleeping well in her crib, while she is still occasionally up once in the night overall I am very pleased with how the transition went ~ and Liam is thrilled to be sharing his room.
Happy to try any food offered; we are increasing texture and so far it is going well. Transitioning to table food is fun for her and means less work for me; win ~ win.
Still nursing well and despite now having 6 teeth almost never nips; except a couple of times when one of her siblings startled her.
So verbal/interactive now; she waves and claps; laughs and tries to imitate different sounds she hears.
Singing to her is a good a fallback option when she is fussy and nursing is not an option. ABC and Baa baa black sheep topping the chart parade.
An absolute master at getting whatever is on her feet off; keeping her feet warm this winter may prove a bit difficult.
Continues to be a good 'tag-along', happy to hang-out in the front carrier or stroller as we let the big kids bike or scooter off some energy.
As we head into the Thanksgiving/Advent/Christmas Season ~ I know that the last couple months of her first year are going to race by, but it will be a fun ride watching her take it all in for the first time.
The Seduction of the Crimson Rose by Laura Willig; Book 4 of the Pink Carnation series (American doctoral student Eloise researching in England to complete her dissertation on the spies of the Napoleonic War) tells the story of Mary Allsworthy and Lord Vaughn as they try and flesh out the Black Tulip a French spy supposedly with plans to invade England ~ falling in love along the way.
I enjoyed this one as much if not more than The Secret of the Pink Carnation, the dialogue is good, the pacing decent and Willig develops a plot with enough twists to keep it interesting but consistent enough that I never felt lost or that she pulled a rabbit from a hat. I don't want to give the end away but it was surprising enough I did a bit of Goggling to better understand the actual events which inspired the ending, which in itself speaks well for a piece of historical fiction. That said I'm not planning on going back immediately to find and read books 2 & 3; I feel 'caught up' on the contemporary love story of Eloise and Colin (descendant of The Pink Carnation) and so will likely go forward in the series when I come back to it.
However currently I'm enjoying Pope Awesome; others including our host have said it much better but let me add: Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!! Cari Donaldson's story of her and her family's coming to know God's love and allowing it to be transformative is a funny, touching, soul-warming read.
1. Happy November! Blessed All Saints!! We had a good October but since it included some call time and a paper to submit for Dr Daddy and so a good bit of solo parenting with the added twist of kids in different schools and a semi-mobile baby who likes to find paper of all kind to put in her mouth it did feel like a race to the finish.
2. Didn't manage to post everyday but am happy with my count of 27 and am very grateful to The Nester for hosting and Dara of Not in Jersey for her writing prompt series.
3. Halloween happened and fun was had by all both at School and around the neighborhood.
Fire Chief Liam
5. Caitlin dressed in the same costume we used for Lisbeth for her first Halloween did accompany the Trick or Treaters and even got a taste of chocolate to round out the evening.
6. RED SOX! World Champions! Winning at home for the first time since 1918, Boston Strong!!
7. During the past week this showed up in my mailbox and this on my Kindle; will be reading as much as life and little people allow this weekend.
It is an often-repeated adage that you should not only dress for the job you have, but also the one you want; at the moment they are one and the same ~ I want to be a stay at home mom and live out that vocation in such a way that reflects to my daughters and the world around me the pride and enjoyment I have in using my charism for caring primarily to care for my family. (I teach part-time at a local university one semester a year.) And how I dress helps with that.
In my family godparents were given the honorable title of aunt or uncle as did their spouses. We also used that title for the two URI professors whose home my parents married at. I don't recall my husband mentioning anyone other than the professor that his dad co-taught with for years.
We've continue the same tradition regarding our kids god-parents (at least this far). In addition there are a few other friends that kids refer to as aunt/uncle.
Day 27: Free choice
As I will be watching a lot of baseball this week I thought I would I write a bit about favorite teams. My dad was a Red Sox fan and raised me to be too. It continues to be a bit bittersweet to me that my dad missed seeing the Sox 'reverse the curse' by just a couple of months in 2004. We were Patriot fans, though living in Northern VA we would root for the Redskins (provided they were not playing the Patriots).
My husband is a Giants & Mets fan, also since childhood. Neither of us are die-hards and have even had some fun during the recent couple of Super Bowls where the pairing has been Patriots-Giants. I did not grow-up watching hockey; Charlie did so we root for the Devils.
My paternal grandfather was an accountant for a jeweler, his hours were reduced during the Great Depression but never totally went away. My maternal grandfather wanted to be a doctor but having contracted tuberculosis in his twenties he was deemed not strong enough for medical school and he had a long and successful career in banking. My grandmother was a realtor once my mom and her siblings were grown.
My dad worked mostly in the insurance business though later in his life he managed a Radio Shack and worked as a courier. My mom's training was in Physical Therapy and worked as a therapist initially when she moved to the US, but given her Belgian degree she had difficulty finding work again after she had taken a break while my sisters and I were small. Instead she taught french at a local elementary school and worked in the accounting department of a local lumber yard.
My training is in nursing and midwifery; and I've worked as a nurse, midwife, clinical educator and most recently as a clinical instructor for nursing students. My husband is pediatrician specialized in hematology/oncology.
Day 25: Family Pets
Both my husband and I grew up with dogs but there was one particular dog that was 'my' dog. In my case she (Brandy) was a collie/shepard mix. We got her when I was ten and she was with us until my junior year of college. In my husband's case Tinka was also a mutt, mostly terrier with a few other breeds mixed in. Ironically she also died while Charlie was away at college. We don't currently have any pets but I'm sure as the kids get older one will join us.
I attended public school through high school and then University of Pennsylvania for my BSN and Georgetown for my Master's of Nursing. I believe my dad attended public school through high school and then University of Rhode Island for a business degree. My mom attended catholic schools in Belgium and I don't remember which university she attended for her degree in Physical Therapy. Her brother came to the US for his doctorate in economics at ~ URI.
Charlie attended Catholic Schools including the same high school as his dad; a magnet Jesuit school in Manhattan in NY. He then attended Washington University for undergrad and U. Penn for graduate/medical school where we met. Both of his parents attended Rutgers for some of their graduate work and his dad was a Professor of Pharmacology for much of the time Charlie was growing-up.
I have 6 cousins on my dad's side all much older than me and 4 on my mom's all of whom live in Belgium. So I grew up with the interesting experience of the cousins closest in age lived the furthest away ~ and vice versa. Though having older cousins had its advantages; one of my favorite memories is of a special day with one of my 'big' cousins; he first took me to the aquarium in Boston and then Orchard House the home of Louisa May Alcott where she wrote Little Women.
My husband has two cousins on both sides of his family. For much of his childhood he and his sister spent summers with his maternal grandparents and with the cousins who lived next door. Our kids have 2 cousins on their dad's side and 5 on mine.
Day 22: Famous Members
Today's prompt was about famous members of your family; one of my cousins plays in a Jazz group well known in his area, the son of another cousin is gaining national recognition in collegiate cross country biking. My husband's area of research is bio-informatics and as electronic medical records become more common he has been invited to speak at various hospitals. My sister's 5th book is about to be released, her fourth reached the best-seller list in USA today.
I have 3 siblings; 2 younger sisters and a much older half brother. My half-brother is almost 17 years older than me and so has been a wonderful if sporadic presence in my life. Most recently he thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail the summer of 2010 and 2011, and both times came off the trail by me in Pennsylvania to make use of our shower, washer & dryer and catch-up on life.
My sisters and I have had the usual ~ fought our way thru childhood, become good friends in adulthood relationship. They both live in VA within a miles of each other and have 2 and 3 kids respectively. Charlie has one sister with whom I also have a good relationship. She and her husband have two kids, one of whom is only 9 days younger than Lisbeth; they live in MA but the sister/cousins have a blast whenever we are able to all get together.