Sunday, September 30, 2012

Even Mom is Back to School!

In mid-September I had the opportunity to attend a seminar in Boston, sponsored by the New England Historic Genealogical Society.  The class presented topics that include writing in genealogical format, working with images, and adding narrative to a genealogy.  It was very informative and just the kick in the pants I needed to finally finish up my research and get my long awaited book published.  I wanted the product of four years of research to be more than a scrapbook.  This class taught how to properly cite information and how to address the information that just isn't available.  I'm hoping that once it is published one of our younger family members will pick-up where it leaves off, or that the book at least stirs an interest in one who before had none.
I had the chance to walk around Copley Square on Friday afternoon and was thrilled to come upon the Farmers Market.  It was a beautiful afternoon and it seemed that all of Boston was out enjoying the great weather.  Here are some shots I took at the market:

While I was in Boston, I had an opportunity to have dinner with our dear friends, Nick and Mary.  It was their anniversary weekend, and before leaving for a celebratory get-away, they drove from the Cape up to the city.  How lucky am I to have such wonderful friends?!  While in Boston I also connected with my Maddie's BFF Maddy F.  Maddy F. is attending Boston University.  I figured that being so far from home, she would appreciate an evening out with a familiar face (mine!) and a nice meal.  Maddy met me at my hotel and Nick & Mary picked us up from there.  We shared an awesome meal in the North End Italian section and then hit up a Boston landmark for dessert:

Nick, Mary and Maddy enjoying the Italian feast!

Mike's Pastry - a Boston legend!

Cannollis in every imaginable flavor

My Girlz: Mary and Maddy

While we were all sharing dinner in Boston, I received a text from my Maddie.  Turns out that while I was looking after 'one-of-our-own', someone was returning the favor in Philadelphia...  My grade school friend, Terry, was watching her niece Katy play in a women's rugby game at St. Joseph's University.  My Maddie and a few of her suite-mates were at the same game, (and having recognized her from the many photos I post here and on Facebook) Terry yelled out for her.  Imagine my surprise when I received the following photo:

Maddie and Terry at SJU

I hope Terry doesn't want to kill me when she sees that I posted the photo, but I just had to thank her for being such a great 'Mom' and reaching out to our girl.  I forwarded this photo to James with the comment, "How blessed are we to have such wonderful folks looking out for our daughter?!"  And, its true.  Maddie has so many family and friends waiting in the wings, looking out for her best interest... It makes having her so far away a bit easier to bear.

Back here at home, we were able to cross one more item of home improvement off our list.  Our outdated oak baluster staircase was replaced with a custom stained, solid maple and iron baluster work of art!  This was the item that I wanted done the most.  It certainly has a more refined appearance and really complements the wood floors on both levels of the house.  I'm really pleased with the way it turned out.

 I'm finishing this post with a word of thanks to all my friends who have sent birthday wishes; my parents who sang 'Happy Birthday' to me this morning; my sister Suzanne who sent a beautiful bouquet  of Fall flowers; Israel, who stopped by with beautiful flowers and a lovely card last night; My sister Claudine who gave me the biggest laugh I've had in a long time; My in-laws Kim, Mom & Dad, Rich and Ken (and families) who never forget to send a card; and my husband and daughters - who give me the gifts of love and patience everyday!!  I'm grateful to have each and every one of you in my life as I enter my 50's (!gulp!).  I'm hoping to age gracefully... but if I don't - I'll just put it out there - I have no problem with achieving that goal artificially! LOL!  Have a great week ahead, and thanks again to everyone for a wonderful Birthday!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Summer's End

Ahh, the first day of school... Fantastico!  I'm doing the 'happy dance' and running around the house naked!  It has been an eventful and unforgettable summer, but I am so thrilled to be getting back to my quiet, boring, normal.

Josie started 2nd grade this morning.  She was up early and ready to go on time - Josie is fanatic about being late.  Worse. Thing. In. The. World.  Really.  We walked to school with BFF Katie - which will be our new routine (the walking) at least for the first few weeks of school.  The school parking/traffic situation is terrible, so we enjoyed the 15 minute walk and avoided all the craziness.  I was talking to the crossing guard while waiting for the girls to be dismissed, and the stories she told me nearly turned my hair grey!  She personally has been full-on hit by cars twice in the past 3 years!  She also shared that she had been 'tapped' by cars more times than she could count!!  Unbelievable!  So, all of you reading this: SLOW DOWN!  Give the nice crossing guard lady a friendly wave.  The drive (or walk) to and from school is the funniest and most informative time of day - at least for me it is!!!

Here's a few more photos from our first day of school:

Katie (4th Grade) and her proud Mom, Jenny

Josie and Katie - First Day of 2012-13 School Year

Abigail, Italy, Charlie and Josie - Hey, They're getting the band back together!

We saved our vacation days until mid-August, heading back to the East Coast to have some beach time with my parents.  It was a relaxing week at the Delaware shore.  The girls and I each got to do our favorite things:  Josie had her Grandmom's undivided attention - so they played cards, played with Grandmom's jewelry, cooked together and just had a ball 'hangin' out'!  Maddie hung out with new friends in Dewey Beach, played Bingo with Grandmom, me and all the ladies at the clubhouse, and even found time to hit the outlets in Rehobeth.  The highlight of my week was getting back on my old riding mower and taking care of the lawn for my Dad.  I really miss that mower!

We left the shore and headed up to Pennsylvania for a long overdue visit with our former neighbors in Exeter Township (Reading, PA).  I hadn't seen my dear friends DeeDee and Odette for 8 years!  Obviously, all the kids have grown - but how wonderful to see that they all turned out to be NICE kids who still got along famously.  My girlfriends did a great job raising them!  And while I'm discussing the girls, I'll just give a congratulatory shout-out to Odette for getting her 2nd (!) Master's Degree and for starting her new journey up at Penn State getting her Doctorate!  DeeDee is also doing great in her job at Reading Hospital.  Even though both the ladies are quite accomplished, when we got together it was all laughs and giggles as the years melted away!

L-R: Maddie, Karlie, Odette, DeeDee and Josie

We left Reading and made a short drive toward Philadelphia to have lunch with my Uncle Phil and Aunt Mary.  Suzanne and Liam joined us and we all had a really lovely time.  It had also been quite a while since Maddie and I saw Uncle Phil and Mary.  Fun part was introducing them to Josie - who is still scratching her head over the fact that Uncle Phil is her PopPop's brother!  Uncle Phil is a retired Philadelphia Police Officer, who was on duty during some of the city's most turbulent years.  Both he and Mary look just fantastic and it was great to spend the afternoon with them.

That's Liam standing behind Josie and Uncle Phil, Suzanne and me behind Aunt Mary and Maddie

We continued on to Philadelphia where James was waiting for us, having flown into PHL after a business trip to Portland, OR.  There was no way he was going to miss moving his daughter into her dorm for her Freshman year of college!  After picking James up downtown, we headed back to Suzanne's house for a dinner of cheesesteaks and hoagies.  Heaven.  Plain and Simple.   It took us about 10 minutes, at the end of the evening, to pack all of Maddie's dorm contents into Suzanne's mini-van.  Move-In was between 12-2 PM on Saturday.

I wish I could say that moving-in day was fun.  But, it wasn't.  Way too overwhelming.  Maddie's roommate and parents were already in the very, very, small dorm room once we arrived.  There was little room for us to unpack Maddie's belongings so did the best we could and then made ourselves scarce.  Not how I envisioned things going, but I took a lesson in 'letting go' and let Maddie make her own way into her new environment.  Only got one photo: below is the view from Mad's dorm room window...

We picked Maddie up later in the afternoon and brought her to Suzanne's house to share a celebratory dinner with the rest of us... Suzanne prepared an awesome dinner, followed by birthday cake, for me and my sister Claudine.  This month Claudine and I are marking Milestone Birthdays - She turned 40 yesterday and I turn 50 at the end of the month :-(  We both have a lot to be thankful for at our advance (ing) ages.  So happy to have the celebration with my sisters, my brother-in-law, my nephews, my daughters and my wonderful husband.  More happy years ahead, I'm sure!

James, Josie and I left Philadelphia on Sunday and headed to Maryland.  My final visit during our vacation was to get together with Auntie Karen and my friend, Julie to discuss plans for a multi-year HS reunion that we were all involved with.  Julie and I were bridesmaids for each other in both our first  marriages. (ahem, we won't go there!)  So, it had been 24 years since I had seen her smiling face... and I had the opportunity to meet her husband and three of her incredible kids.  Wow! Wow! Wow!  Just about covers how wonderful an afternoon it was.  Looking forward to more fun times in the months to come!

Looking good at nearly 50!  Me, Karen and Julie after a running dash in the rain!

That's the wrap-up of "What I Did on My Summer Vacation".  I have a number of trips planned to the East Coast in the next few months. I'm hoping to spend less time running and more time enjoying my loved ones in the weeks ahead.  Hope to see everyone again real soon! xoxoxox