Thursday, October 31, 2013

Theme Thursday: Halloween

Linking up with Cari of Clan Donaldson for Theme Thursday: Halloween

Two school parades and some Trick or Treating later:

Happy Halloween!!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My mom uniform made a bit better.

   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.

Head over to This Felicitous Life for the rest of my guest post.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Day 26 & 27: Friends & Fans

Day 26: Family Friends

   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.

Linking up at Not in Jersey for these 31 days

Friday, October 25, 2013

Days 24 & 25

Day 24: Family Careers

   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.

Linking up at Not in Jersey for these 31 days

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Day 23 : Education

Day 23: School Days

    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.

Linking up with Not in Jersey for these 31 days

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Day 21 & 22: Extended Family

Day 21: Extended Family

    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.

Linking up with Not in Jersey for these 31 days.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Day 19: Siblings

Day 19: Siblings

Top of some cliff in VA 

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.
My mom, sisters and me with our kids summer '10

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Running (or playing) for the Little Flower

  This Saturday was filling with other commitments so yesterday after we picked up Lisbeth from school we headed out to Valley Forge Park and hit the trail.

It took us about an hour to do the 2.5 mile loop I found ~ taking time to shot the cannons and explore the barracks of course.

My thanks to Katie of Blessed with Full Hands for organizing the Walk/Run.
and Little Flower for their great good work.

Day 18: Family Foods

Day 18: Family Foods

   The tradition in my house growing up was spaghetti every Saturday night with my dad's homemade sauce and whoever found the bay leaf hidden in their dinner considered the lucky winner.  Other standards I remember loving are Curried Chicken with peaches and Moussaka.  Summer vacation meant a lobster and corn-on-the-cob dinner at least once.  Lenten friday observance meant Peanut butter & chocolate sandwiches.  My dad's standard weekend breakfast was pancakes but would on vacation make Eggs Benedict.
   My kids are young enough that they mostly still eat 'kids food' so time will tell what meals come to resonate with them to mean 'family'.  We tend to go out on Sunday night with other choir members of Charlie.  As I'm blessed to still be headed to New England most summers and so can still hope for a yummy lobster dinner most years.  And Ice Cream; always and forever good ice cream.

Linking up at Not in Jersey for these 31 days

Friday, October 18, 2013

Quick Takes #145

  1. It is early days yet but so far Operation Crib; aka moving Caitlin to the crib is going well.  Liam & she are going to sleep well at essentially the same time and he is not waking up when I get for her early morning feeding.
  2. Another family milestone this week; Lisbeth lost her first tooth.  Having been given tooth keepsake box she declined a visit from the Tooth Fairy for this first tooth saying that the Tooth Fairy can have the rest but this first one she wanted to keep.
  3. Marathon day Saturday with us attending a wedding during the morning, speaking at Pre-Cana in the afternoon and taking the kids to the Carnival at Lisbeth's school in the evening.  It was exhausting but good.  The kids did really well at the wedding and had fun at the reception and a BLAST at the carnival ~ echoing Jen's excellent point earlier this week "the days are hard, but these years are so, so blessed."
  4. Two shout-outs for Culture of Life; 1) not only were we encouraged to bring the kids to the wedding/reception, the older two kids were included in the seating arrangement and found goodie bags at their seats.  2) We brought Caitlin with us to Pre-Cana and another of the speaking couples also brought their daughter.  The engaged couples not only did not mind the disruption but actually thanked us for bringing them.
  5. Am starting to lose steam with posting everyday (actually missed yesterday) but hoping to catch-up the 31 days this weekend and maybe even finish strong.
  6. With Valley Forge Park open again (and a jammed pack Saturday) I with my little hikers will be headed there today to take part in the Little Flower Run.  Good luck to my fellow runners!
  7. Have a Good Weekend!
Head over to Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Day 16: Vacations

Day 16: Vacations

   Vacations were mostly in the summer growing up though we had a timeshare condo by Loon Mountain, NH in late April that we went to almost every year.  The other 'almost' every year events
were stopping at the Stone House for our first night.  A huge old stone house owned by two URI professors married at the time when they first sponsored my uncle and later my mom to come to the US.  My parents later married at the house and it was a special, magical place during my young childhood.  Daffodils by the hundreds in April, rooms full of older furniture and stories of the ancient and more recent past.

  Our beach time was at Galilee Beach followed by spending the rest of our vacation at a wonderful cabin in the White Mountains.  Hiking up to the Flume or Saberday Falls and swimming in Mirror Lake is how the week was often spend, as well as feeding the bears at Clark's Trading Post and visiting the Old Man of the Mountain.  During my teens I twice had the opportunity to spend a month with my mom's family in Belgium.

  Currently our vacation plans often have us heading to Maine for some beach and family time with my husband's family.  My sisters and their families often head to the Outer Banks of NC and we try and join the fun every 2~3 years.

Following Dara's lead for these 31 days

Five Favorites: Blogger Picks

This segment brought to you by the blog-o-sphere
aka; blogger recommended ~ me approved

  1. Trader Joe Chocolate covered Almonds recommended by our lovely hostess Hallie ~ Sweet & a little salty; Delicious!!
  2. Mocassin Wedges from Target recommended by Ana of Time Flies ~ Height & comfort; Stylish Perfection!
  3. Twice recommended by Grace of Camp Patton ~ High end clothes at budget friendly price; My closet and wallet thank you!
  4. Brother Francis products recommended by Karen's Adventures on Mommyland ... ~ A cartoon teaching Catholic doctrine and prayers  that I enjoy watching (or listening to in the car) too; Win!
  5. 3 minute retreat by Loyola Press by I honestly cannot remember but has been a wonderful blessing to me ~ because of course the craziest of days are often the ones most helped by a moment of quiet and contemplation.
Sorry no pictures ~ computer acting up
PLease head over the Moxie Wife for more Faves!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Day 15: What we do in fall and winter

Day 15: Fall and Winter traditions

   We are blessed to live near a wonderful pick-your-own farm with playground; we try and go a few times in the summer to pick strawberries or peaches and in the fall for the apple picking/pumpkin land as well as fall festivals at both of the kids schools.  We have 4-5 big trees around the house so there is of course leaves to rake and for the little people to jump in.  Personally I love autumn and so try and fit in as many hikes as I can.  Thanksgiving is often a chance to get together with extended family, particularly the part of the family we are not seeing at Christmas.
  Winter begins with Advent and the preparations for Christmas, and then celebrating Christmas and New Year.  Living in the Mid-Atlantic how much snow play occurs varies greatly year to year.  I'm hoping to take Lisbeth ice skating for the first time this coming winter, she is hoping we will have enough snow for snowman building.

Linking up with Not in Jersey.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Day 13 & 14: What we like to do ~ in spring and summer

Day 13: What we like to do

                      Yesterday's prompt asked about what we do together as a family on a daily or weekly basis.  Because of his long hours my husband is rarely home for dinner but as often as possible we wait bath time until he is home; it is his chance to reconnect with the kids and enjoy some shared silliness and bath play.  Afterwards bedtime almost often includes reading together in our bed before they brush teeth and are tucked-in in their beds ~ prayers before bed evolving over time as the kids are able recite them themselves.  Weekend breakfasts are also settling into a nice pattern with Daddy and kids (older two) making pancakes on Saturday morning and Sunday morning means a Dunkin run for egg sandwiches and doughnuts.

Day 14: Spring and Summer traditions

                   Today's prompt asked about Spring and Summer activities: Lisbeth's birthday at the beginning of March marks that Spring is on its way as does the end of Lent and Easter Celebrations.  Followed by our birthdays in May.  Summer means as much water play as possible with always one and potentially more beach trips.  Pool time and playgrounds with sprinklers round out the fun as does ice cream cones at teatime or even better Deck Deals, a special featured at a favorite restaurant in Maine near where my mother-in-law lives.

Linking up with Dara of Not in Jersey

Maine '09

Outer Banks, NC '11

Maine '12

Maine '13

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Day 12: Looks and Personalities

Day 12: Looks and Personalities

    I mostly resemble my dad though I have blue eyes like my mom.  My personality more resembles my mom; my father was a born salesman and while I enjoy teaching I'm definitely an introvert and find talking to a lot of strangers exhausting.  I also got my love for pictures and family stories from my mom; though though my dad was also a history buff and bookworm.  Actually love of reading is the one trait you will find in all three of my siblings and myself ~ otherwise we are very different.
   So far our oldest is mostly a mix of my husband and me in appearance with our son looking mostly like my husband and the baby like me ~ though time will tell if that holds.  Too soon to tell much about personalities except to say that our oldest has always been more outgoing than either of her parents and at 5 1/2 is already making up songs and 'filking' like her dad.

Linking up with Dara of Not in Jersey for these 31days

Friday, October 11, 2013

Day 11: Legends and lore

Day 11: Legends and lore

  No great legends on either side of my family that I know of, just sweet little tales of my parents or their parents childhood; when my dad was a boy he had a cat called Mouser and so when she had kittens he and his brother called them mice.  And some romantic stories like that of a great-uncle who offered his coat to his fiancĂ© only to later die of pneumonia ~ and she never married.
  Time will tell which stories our moms and sisters tell our kids about us and which stories about them become the ones repeated a family gatherings for years to come.

And playing catch-up

Day 10: Family Treasures:

   I already have some paintings from my mom's family, a great-grandmothers engagement ring, my dad's navy duffel and some of his books.  My husband along with his mom and sister were given the opportunity to personally go through his dad's lab/office after his death and we now have an old mortar  and pestle of his (he was a professor of pharmacology) as well as some balances.
  I imagine more treasures will come as our parents generation downsizes further and at some point things of ours will be declared treasures by our kids.

Caitlin ~ 9 month version

  • Basic Stats: Currently you are 18lbs 12 ozs and 28 inches ~ this has you besting your big sibs by 4-6 ounces though interestingly you all were about 28 inches at 9 months.
  • Eating: You love to eat; still happily and mostly nursing but also eating 2 meals of table food a day, usually finger food at lunch and yogurt or pureed fruit/grain or meat/veg for dinner.  Very interested in whatever is being eaten around you.  Also very interested in eating paper and amazingly proficient at finding some wherever you happen to be.  You now have 6 teeth, 4 on top and 2 on the bottom.
  • Sleeping: Reluctant to rock the boat since you have been sleeping so well in the cradle in our room we have just now moved you to the crib in now your's and Liam's room.  We will see how that goes.  Currently your pattern is to sleep from around 9 till 4:30-5a, and then after a feeding go back to sleep till around 8.
  • Moving: Have begun squirming more and more to reach something you want, you have yet to start getting up on your hands&knees.  You are also getting better and better about bearing weight on your legs if we stand you up; you are not yet interested in pulling up on your own.
  • Your main trick at the moment is waving and saying 'baba'; you are also starting to clap which is equally cute.  
  • You continue to be a fairly laid back, happy to go with the flow baby.  You definitely like to be held and part of the action but are getting better about entertaining yourself for brief periods of time in your piano/walker or on the floor playing with rings or keys or soft blocks.  Your older sibs continue to be for favorite form of entertainment though you do wish they would be a bit more gentle (me too).  You dislike the car at night and waiting to eat.

    40 weeks later ~ thanks for coming out and joining the family!!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Day 9: Those We Miss

Day 9: Those we miss

   First there are those I missed meeting like all my great-grandparents and my paternal grandmother.  My paternal grandfather died when I was 2 and so in a large sense I missed knowing him also.  I also missed knowing all of Charlie's grandparents except his maternal grandmother who I had the honor and pleasure of meeting and coming to know a bit.
   And then there are those I miss; my mom's parents both died when I was twenty, despite living an ocean away they both made a tremendous effort to love and build a good relationship with their American granddaughters visiting almost every year as long as their health allowed.  We would also go to Belgium every few years to visit them.  Another grandmother of sorts (my aunt-by-marriage's mother) who had always been very kind to me also passed away during my twenties.   My father's younger sister died when I was seven; my introduction to death on a personal level.

   Most significantly I miss my father and my father-in-law, the missing is different now nine years later but missing still and I imagine missing always.  Much of the missing now involves missing not being able to share my kids with them; and not being able to have my kids know their grandfathers in that intimate in the flesh manner I would wish them to.  Blessedly both my dad and Charlie's dad have siblings who are still living who I pray will continue to in addition to be wonderful great-uncles in their own right a wonderful link to stories from our dads childhood and adolescence.

More at Not in Jersey

WWRW Vol 6

Joining the reading party over at Jessica's

Seduction of the Crimson Rose: Am just starting this one, it is actually the four in the Pink Carnation series ~ I went to the library and checked out the earliest one in the series they carried since I'm not sure I'm interested enough to read the whole series after reading the Pink Carnation, if this one impresses me I'll seek out the other ones.  So far so good but I'm only about 20 pages in ~ I'll report back promise.

Orange Pear Apple Bear; a beautifully illustrated book based on those four words. Very pretty and simple enough that Lisbeth was able to sound out the words and get the wonderful 'I read it myself' feeling so prized right now.

What are you reading these days?
More wonderful reading options at Housewifespice

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Days 7&8: Religion and Customs

Day 7 & 8: Religion and Customs

     I was raised Catholic with a heavy dose of Unitarian; my mom was raised Catholic and my dad was baptized Baptist though they didn't attend much during his childhood, during college he discovered Unitarianism which what he practiced throughout his adult life.  When they married the agreement was that we kids would receive the Sacrament of Baptism and be raised Catholic but exposed to Unitarianism.  Largely we practiced according to American Catholic culture, though our observance of Patron Saint days and leaving our shoes out for St Nicholas spoke to my mom's Belgian culture.
    My husband was also raised Catholic though with a Polish-Irish spin.  Currently we are finding our way as to which traditions and observances to incorporate as we seek to raise our kids in the Church.
We will have them put out their shoes for St Nicholas both as a way to introduce the communion of Saints and de-emphasize Santa Claus etc.  We often spend Christmas Eve with my husband's family but even when we aren't we try and have the traditional Polish meal he grew up with including the oplatek.

Other traditions we hope to continue include:
  • Advent Calendar
  • Advent Wreath
  • Kings Cake
  • Crepes on Candlemas (my family)
  • Celebrate personal feast days
  • Easter welcome platter (husband's family)

Some non-relgious customs we are developing include:
  • birthday banners
  • cupcakes on actual birthday
  • Deck Deals 
  • strawberry and/or apple picking
Linking up at Not in Jersey during these 31 days     

Monday, October 7, 2013

Day 6: No place like home

Day 6: Homes

    We moved quite a bit when I was young; I came home to a home in MA which I don't remember living at but we visited years later; moved to a house in RI when I was 2 which I remember a bit since we lived there till I was 4 1/2 when we moved south.  My parents rented a house for a year while a house was being built in Maryland.  It is from that house I went to kindergarten, learned to ride a bike, roller skates and hosted sleep-overs.
   When I was 9 1/2 we moved to Northern VA and that is the house I lived in the rest of my time with my parents including when I attended graduate school.  An end-unit townhouse on large circle with a park in the front and a nature preserve in the back.

While my paternal grandfather was still living in a house that my father had spent some of his life in when I was born he died when I was two so I barely remember him and don't have any memories of the house.  My maternal grandparents were still living in the home my mom lived in as a teenager when I was young and that house I do have many memories of.

All three of our children have been brought home to this house that we bought as newlyweds, a 1950's built Cape Cod ~ we are outgrowing it and have started thinking of moving but will carry with us so many memories some of which I hope at least our oldest will share in.

Please visit Not in Jersey for other take on this prompt

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Day 5: Babies (31 days)

Day 5: Babies

   I don't know much about either of my parent's birth.  My paternal grandmother died before I was born and it somehow never came up with my dad that I can recall.  He too is gone now but his younger brother by about 18 months might have some details.  They (the older of four kids) were both born in the late 1920's so perhaps at home.  All I know about my mom's is that she was born in a hospital and was the biggest of my maternal grandmother's babies.  My mom was born in Belgium in April of 1945 and so somewhere there is a great picture of her at three weeks or so held by her older brother at a V-E celebration.

  I was also suppose to be born in April but for whatever reason labor did not start and even stranger my mother's doctor let her go a full month (never happen now) past.  So late on the 17th of May my mom was having irregular contractions at a prenatal appointment and licm ving a good distance away her doctor admitted her figuring she would be in good labor by the morning ~ luckily for me a nurse decided to put my mom on the monitor that night just to check how the baby (me) was doing with these early contractions (terribly) and even luckier a partner in the practice where my mom was going happened to be in the hospital ~ I was born by emergency c-section and was quite ill for awhile and was first in the hospital where I was born for a couple of weeks and then transferred to Boston Children's for another couple of weeks. So expected mid-April ~ came home mid-June.
Charlie's was on a Sunday morning and by report relatively low-stress and lovely.

I started this blog when Lisbeth was 9 months and have yet to write out her birth story (a goal for the month perhaps); the quick version is ~ a week overdue; 24-36 hours of prodromal earlier labor, appointment on Monday morning finds that I've dilated to 4 cm but there is essentially no fluid surrounding the baby so we augment my labor with Pitocin, a narcotic that makes me paranoid, an epidural that does not fully wear off for a day and a half but finally at 9:44 pm a sweet baby girl :).

Links to the other two:

Baby Elisabeth

Meeting Liam
Sisters together

Following Dara's lead for these 31 days

Friday, October 4, 2013

Day 4 ~ Family Beginnings

Day 4: Describe your family beginnings

   My parents met at a Cumberland Farms (small grocery) that my dad was managing.  It was near the hospital my mom was working at, she was out of milk and with the weather calling for a bad thunderstorm she went quickly there rather than the store closer to where she lived.  I believe both sets of grandparents met at parties though in my paternal grandparent case I think friends were intending to introduce them so perhaps in their case blind date/party.

  I actually wrote out Charlie and my backstory earlier this year, but summary version is we met at the Newman Center (Catholic Student Center) at the University of Pennsylvania where he was in graduate school and I was in nursing school.

Backstory Part 1
Backstory Part II
Backstory Wrap-up

Following the writing props of Dara of Not in Jersey
during these 31 days hosted by the Nester

Quick Takes # 144 ~ Brain Dump

  1. Dr Daddy is on-call all week and so far so good, though the service was so busy he actually worked last week in return for some back-up help this coming weekend.  The older two are asking after him a lot but seem to be dealing ok with the whole 'Daddy still at the hospital' at bedtime. 
  2. Government Shut-down: Annoyed but not really effected. Heart and prayers go out to those for whom this effects their health and wellbeing.
  3. Hoping it is all resolved before the Little Flower Run as I was planning on run/walking at Valley Forge Park ~ which is currently closed.  
  4. Weather: What the what??? The week started fine, 70's in October ~ ok I can wear a short sleeve shirt with my jeans and stick with iced Coffee with my pumpkin doughnut but 80's is just not right.
  5. Took the hint again from my fashion guru Ana and picked up a pair of these; and I agree quite the fall shoe find!!
  6. Took the kids to a local big garden when Lisbeth had a teacher workday off and for the first time they each took a real interest in the different flowers. We then headed off the children's corner of the garden where much fun was had in the pumpkin maze.
  7. If you are still reading these bizarre brain dump of a set of Takes ~ Thank you ~ Have a lovely weekend.

Please head over to Conversion Diary more Quick Takes.