Monday, August 27, 2007

A Tradition Continues...

Maddie is a lucky girl. Every year, on the first day of school, her Dad sends her roses. What a wonderful way to start the school year! To say that the flowers make her feel special would be an understatement. James is on a business trip so he missed seeing her off to school. We hope that these photos of his gift will warm his heart way up in Montana! I know that they warmed our Maddie's heart!

First Day of 8th Grade

Today begins Maddie's final year of Elementary/Middle School. Where has the time gone? I remember crying as I sent her off on the bus for 1st grade! It's going to be an exciting year for Maddie and we are so thrilled for her! Josie was caught by surprise this morning when she saw Maddie in her uniform. "Where's Maddie going, Mom?" was all I heard until we all walked her over to Miss Nora's house for her ride to school. Miss Nora teaches at Maddie's school and we're thankful that she gives Maddie a ride each day.

Here's one more of Maddie and Josie headed out to school:

And here's Miss Nora and son, Jason. Jason is starting 7th grade today!

We hope everyone has a wonderful school year!

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Our Long Awaited Visit to Nick & Mary's Beach House

We've spent the past 4 days in heaven. Little did we know it was just an hour plane ride away! We had an absolute, hands down, wicked awesome time in Massachusetts this past week. Nick & Mary were/are the ultimate hosts. The house is fabulous; the food - delicious & plentiful; the Hostess - a full on charmer with an easy laugh and warm heart; the Host - just plain mean at the grill... with beer and cigar in hand, there's nothing that Nick can't cook!!!

After a quick (on-time!) flight from Baltimore to Boston, Nick picked us up and we were at the "Irish Riviera" within 45 minutes. The weather was fantastic, so we dropped our bags, got into our swim suits and took the 2 minute stroll to the beach. We relaxed with drinks in hand until the incoming tide chased us back to the house. Nick & Mary prepared a wonderful dinner of grilled beef and chicken and we enjoyed catching up with everyone's news. It had been nearly 2 years since we had seen Nick, Mary and Ryan (Thanksgiving 2005).

Friday was another beautiful, perfect beach day. The girls went for a stroll on the beach in search of crabs while James & Nick held down the fort with a cooler full of beers. We had sandwiches on the beach and then Josie & I headed back for her afternoon nap. Mary joined us an hour later. By 3PM the tide had come in and the rest of gang made their way home. That evening we enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Haddad's. Everyone had fresh fish which was delicious. We left the restaurant just as a thunderstorm swept through...we managed to squeeze in a bit of shopping and made it home dry and happy.

The storm brought in cooler temperatures - it was 60 degrees on Saturday morning. We did a bit of shopping in the morning and then headed off to the Marshfield Fair. It was a windy afternoon, which made it really comfortable to go through the animal exhibits. Maddie & Ryan tried two or three of the carnival rides and decided to pass on the rest. Both were a bit 'green around the gills'!! After a relaxing afternoon, we enjoyed another awesome meal together and settled in to watch the Sox game.

The end of our visit came too soon - our flight left Logan at 9AM this morning. Just enough time to grab a cup of coffee; listen to Maddie beg to stay; load up the car and have Josie dole out her 'bunny kisses' to Aunt Mary and Uncle Nick. We had such a wonderful time, it really was hard to say goodbye. Nick & Mary have found the perfect spot. Marshfield is a town where everyone says hello and stops to chat. We just loved it. We also loved spending time with Nick, Mary and Ryan. We just can't thank them enough for such a warm welcome.

Here's a slide show of some of the fun we had in the past few days:

Monday, August 13, 2007

Good News and Bad News

First I thought I would get the 'morning cuteness' out of the way. Here's Josie modeling Mom's shades early this morning. She's a movie star!

Here's Josie calling Casey in from the yard. She insists on playing her 'flute' when Casey won't come in. She goes out on the deck and blows that darn thing until the dog makes her way up the steps and into the house!

In case you're shots of Maddie because she has taken to sleeping late (10 or 11) in the mornings! By that time, my day is already half over! She has become a creature of the night!

And, now for the GOOD NEWS!!

The lost bag was found and delivered to our house last night.
Everything was still in it!
The beautiful bowl I picked out in Turkey survived unharmed:

And the BAD NEWS:

The plates I bought in Turkey did not survive:

I know many of you are thinking "What the heck were those things doing in your luggage?" Well, we didn't really have an option - travelling with 3 kids and having to take the train from the ship back to Rome left us with 'not enough hands'. We had intended to have the items shipped, but to ship them from Turkey would have cost more (actually 2x) the amount of the actual items. We were stuck.

It took just about a month to get the bag back. Considering that James has flown over 2 million miles with American Airlines, and this was our first lost bag - well, let's just say that we're thankful to have even gotten the bag back. The bag never actually left Rome...the handle that had the baggage ticket with flight information on it broke, thus there was no routing information for the baggage handlers to follow. It was our luggage tags - 3 of them - that got the bag returned.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Fashion Show

In June, GungGung & MaMa took a trip to China. While there, they purchased this lovely outfit for Josie. We all received beautiful gifts and we are thankful to them for remembering us with such lovely items. James was able to visit his parents before leaving California last night. His bag was much heavier than when he left Virginia last Sunday!! Here's more of her Royal Hubei Highness...!!!!

Many thanks to GungGung & MaMa. Josie loves her outfit!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Initial Joy turns to Anguish

The saga of the missing bag continues...

After receiving the message from American Airlines that our lost bag had been found, we waited patiently for its delivery. Sunday came and went. Monday came and we contacted the Central Baggage department in Dallas. We asked that they contact the DC baggage office (no outside lines are given) and find out when our bag would be delivered. They sent 3 messages and all went unanswered. Not a good sign.

Yesterday, around noon, James went to the airport to get the bag. When he arrived he was told that the bag had been picked up. In order to 'pick up' a 'delayed' bag, you must have photo identification, the baggage claim check AND the file locator number. Obviously, someone had made a mistake. James spent an hour at the airport. He was told by the supervisor that the person who had made the entry that the bag had been claimed was off - they would be in tomorrow (today). We're still hoping that perhaps the bag was misplaced somewhere in DC or that the person who claimed our bag will be found.

It's getting harder to keep a positive outlook. Tune in later for an update....