Saturday, May 31, 2008

Mother/Daughter, Father/Daughter

We've been making plans. BIG plans! This past September it was decided that it had been WAY too long since I had seen my childhood friend, Sue. Sue and I grew up together in Philadelphia. Right across the street from each other since I was about 4. My family moved to Maryland when I was 14, but we always kept in touch. We've managed a few visits in the passing years, but we wanted a REAL visit. So, I am packing up my oldest daughter and heading to Alaska. Sue and her husband, Steve, have retired in Alaska. Steve's last post in the Army was at Fort Wainwright - they both fell in love with Alaska and now it is their home.

Sue will meet Maddie and I in Anchorage on June 24th and we'll hit the road for an Alaskan adventure. We will spend 1 night in Anchorage, 2 nights in Seward, I night in Wasilla, 1 night in Denali and then finish up at Sue's house in the Fairbanks area. Sue made us brochures detailing our activities for the week, and Maddie and I are just so excited! Sue is a photographer, so I'm sure we will visit the most scenic areas of Alaska.

While we are away, Josie will be staying with her Grandmom & PopPop at the beach. James will be working during the week, but he will be at my parents house on the weekends while we are gone. I'm a bit sad at leaving Josie behind, but it's a great opportunity for Maddie and I to have some real Mother/Daughter time before she heads off to high school. Our lives have been so busy since Josie's arrival - and I have loved every minute of it. At the same time, I am longing for some adult time with my dear friend and having her meet Maddie for the first time... Yes, it's been THAT long since Sue and I have visited!

Today marks the end of Josie's piano lessons, which she has enjoyed since January. It's a special class for 3 & 4 year olds that she attends every Saturday morning with her Dad. James is a musician (violin) so it's only natural that the two of them spend that time together. They also share the time with our friend, Ed and his grandson, Joey. It gives Ed & James a chance to catch up on our social schedules, as all plans are made by Marty and I and communicated via the husbands!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend

We continued the tradition of visiting my parents at the beach for Memorial Day weekend. James & I celebrated our 8 year anniversary on the 26th - and this year for the first time, we had a dinner out by ourselves. But, the real fun was in our family activities. Strawberry picking is always at the top of the list for the girls. They just love it! Josie just eats as she picks while me, Maddie and Grandmom focus on the job at hand.

While Maddie and Grandmom whipped up a shortcake to have with the strawberries, Josie enjoyed her life of leisure at the shore.

Later, on Saturday evening, Josie finally got her wish to go fishin' with PopPop. She had been requesting that Pop find her a pink fishing rod with a pussycat on it (um, Okay...) Pop was unable to fulfill this wish for the baby princess, but she was still excited. At least, AT FIRST she was...

But, then came the hard part, WAITING for the fish to bite...

In the end, it was Pop who held the rod while Josie supervised.

Maddie also helped Josie with the fishing but neither caught a thing...I'm wondering when these girls are going to earn their keep! Hope you all had a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Weekend Getaway

This past weekend we were fortunate enough to visit our dear friends, Nick & Mary in Marshfield, Mass. Can you believe I forgot my camera?! What was I thinking? Anyway, all the photos are compliments of Mary - and I'm sure you can tell by the photo above that Josie is Aunt Mary's favorite subject!

We arrived on time Friday afternoon - no delays at the airport! Once in Marshfield we relaxed and caught up on all the news. We enjoyed dinner at Haddads, a local seafood restaurant. It was delicious. I remembered that they had excellent clam chowder from our visit last August - so I didn't even need to see a menu!

Saturday, we visited Plymouth and saw the Mayflower II and strolled around town. It was a bit chilly, so we stocked up on sweatshirts.

We returned home in time to visit with Nick's parents who were also visiting from Virginia. Mary's Mom & Dad arrrived later in the afternoon. It was wonderful to see them again - we hadn't seen them since Nick & Mary's wedding in '01.

On Saturday evening we enjoyed a Pops concert at Marshfield High School. Nick & Mary's son, Ryan, was playing saxophone.

Josie didn't last long at the concert. She doesn't like loud sounds, so James covered her ears and rocked her to sleep!

After the concert, we ended the evening watching a Red Sox game and having some birthday cake... It was Nick's Mom's birthday.

Sunday was a beautiful day. After waking early, we enjoyed a huge breakfast prepared by Mary and then followed it up with Bloody Mary's on the deck overlooking the ocean. It was warm and sunny. I honestly didn't want the day to end.

Bathing Beauties!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Confirmation Weekend

The photo above is of Maddie being confirmed by Bishop Louverde of Arlington. Needless to say, the lighting was terrible and that is the clearest shot I got of the event. Would have used a flash, but I was living in fear of the lady who coordinates the youth education program. Gives me a bit of chill just thinking about her. ANYWAY....

It was a lovely celebration and the Bishop gave a really good sermon. The mass lasted 2.5 hours. Afterward, we came back to the house and had a nice lunch. Suzanne was Maddie's sponsor and is also her Godmother. Sue and Liam took the train down from Philadelphia on Friday morning. Aunt Kim, Cousin Kate and PopPop met us at the church and Uncle Chalie and Cousin Jack arrived a bit later. We had a nice time.

Later on in the afternoon, James and my Dad, Liam, Maddie and Monica went to the Nationals game at their new stadium in DC. Suzanne and I stayed home with Josie. A nice quiet evening.

As I was downloading the photographs from Confirmation, I found a few taken on Thursday while Janina was getting packed up... This is what happens when the kids get a hold of your camera and there's a dog around...

Friday, May 9, 2008

Our Beautiful Janina/Nuestro hermoso Janina

Yesterday, Janina and the other exchange students made a presentation about Ecuador to the all the students of Maddie's school. Josie, me and a few of the other host Moms watched the show with the students. I learned quite a bit about Ecuador. The girls did a lovely job of showing the food, geographic regions and the different ethnic groups of Ecuador.

Janina speaks her part of the presentation./Janina su parte habla de la presentación.

Following the presentation the girls performed three traditional Ecuadorian dances. All of the students in the audience were clapping along with the music. Once the dances were done, the girls received a standing ovation!

Sister thanks the students and host families for their hospitality./Hermana gracias a los estudiantes y familias de acogida por su hospitalidad.

In addition to this wonderful presentation, the host families gathered on Wednesday night for a Farewell dinner for the girls. During the dinner, we had the opportunity to sing "Happy Birthday" to Janina, who will turn 15 years old on Sunday. It was a lovely evening filled with laughter and family togetherness.


Ayer, Janina y los otros estudiantes de intercambio hizo una presentación sobre el Ecuador a todos los estudiantes de la escuela de Maddie. Josie, yo y algunas de las otras madres de acogida visto el show con los estudiantes. He aprendido bastante acerca de Ecuador. Las chicas hicieron un hermoso trabajo de mostrar la comida, las regiones geográficas y los diferentes grupos étnicos de Ecuador.

Tras la presentación las chicas lograron tres bailes tradicionales ecuatorianos. Todos los estudiantes en la audiencia fueron aplaudiendo junto con la música. Una vez que los bailes se realizaron, las niñas recibió una gran ovación!

Además de esta maravillosa presentación, las familias de acogida se reunieron el miércoles por la noche para una cena de despedida para las niñas. Durante la cena, tuvimos la oportunidad de cantar "Feliz Cumpleaños" a Janina, que se convertirá de 15 años de edad el domingo. Se trata de una hermosa velada llena de risas y unión familiar.