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April 2013

At Boston College ~ Admitted Eagles Day

I'm afraid there will be no MM this morning - I was out like a light very early last night! And that was because we spent most of our Sunday touring Boston College, taking part in "Admitted Eagles Day." It was an absolutely lovely spring day - typical of April in these parts. I thought you might like to see some of the pictures I took ...

Bc visit 1

(I didn't actually take this one - a BC student took it for us.)

This is me, Bookworm, Bill (holding my backpack, lol) and Crackerjack, standing in front of St. Inagtius of Loyola Catholic Church.

Bc 3

The B.C. Eagle.

Bc 4

Note Crackerjack's hood ~ the air was a might chilly early in the morning!

Bc 1

This is Fulton Hall, where Bill and Bookworm learned about B.C.'s math program (math is his intended major) and to which BW and I later returned for the computer science presentation (his potential minor).

Bc 8

(For what it's worth, CJ was advised to wear something warmer than a hoodie but he assured us he'd be "fine.")

Bc 9

This is a cool spot inside Fulton Hall - a glass cathedral ceiling and huge hanging tin lanterns.

Bc 6

The campus architecture is stunning - most of the buildings look quite medieval.

Bc 19

Bc 13

Bc 15

School motto engraved on this feature: Ever to Excel

Bc 14

 Bc 11

Bc 20

An impressive statue of St. Ignatius of Loyola, who founded the Jesuit order (Boston College is one of the country's oldest Jesuit universities).


So we have come down to two schools - Boston College and Gordon College - both wonderful opportunities for Bookworm, and both fit him well in different ways. We have much to talk about, think about and pray over this week, as a decision (and deposit) is expected very soon. May I ask for your prayers towards our discernment?

While I'm here I wanted to also let you know that my blogging will we be brief for the next several weeks. We have lots going on, and I'm really slowing down as I near my due date. (I'm at 35 weeks today.) I will still pop in now and again, but I didn't want anyone to worry if I'm quiet for days at a stretch. We will, of course, be announcing our big news here just as soon as we're able!

Blessings to you all on this beautiful spring Monday ~ see you here again sometime soon!


An unreal morning here in Boston ...

We woke to the news that there is a manhunt underway in the Boston area. Overnight, the two marathon bombing suspects were found - after they shot and killed an MIT police officer, carjacked someone (who was thankfully released unharmed) and then engaged area police in a gunfight which left one suspect dead. The other suspect is on the loose (apparently with weapons and bombing materials in his possession) and the entire city of Boston is shut down today - as well as several neighboring towns. People have been told to stay indoors and lock their doors. Public transportation is shut down and many colleges have been closed for the day, urging their students to stay inside.

More details here.

It's just unreal ... I fear for what is unfolding in our community. I am praying for the MIT officer who lost his life as well as our Boston community, and hoping this resolves quickly, with no further loss of life.

My friends, please keep Boston in your prayers today ... and wherever you are, be safe and well.

I'll check in again later today.


Masterpiece Monday: Call the Midwife (season 2, ep. 3)

Call the midwife

Good Thursday morning (afternoon?), my friends! I hope your week's going well. :)

How did you all like last Sunday's episode? I finally caught up last night and here are my brief thoughts ...

Another tough one to watch - Maeve Carter had a very scary experience birthing her daughters. What a strange situation that was - am I to understand they were both married to Mr. Carter, but only Maeve conceived? Or is she the true Mrs. Carter? And how old were those women supposed to be? I think Maeve was referred to as "elderly?"

Meg was very hard to take - I was really incensed by her nasty attitude and behavior. But I was glad all ended well for Maeve and her children - though it got pretty harrowing (and graphic) there for a bit. Bill had to run out to pick up Bookworm so I was watching that scene alone ... not a good idea!!

And poor Jenny - and Jimmy, to a degree. I hope he'll find happiness not just in doing the right thing but in his marriage itself. Francine's certainly no Jenny, though, and I do think he honestly loves Jenny. But what about Jenny's feelings? Do you think she loves Jimmy (romantically) or is it just hard for her to let go? I think she did the right thing, knowing Jimmy's feelings and desire for her - that could only lead to trouble. But still, a sad ending to their friendship.

And what do we think about Sister Bernadette and the Doctor? Are there some feelings there, too? I've long suspected she has a crush and that perhaps her vows are a struggle in some ways for her. I wonder if something will happen here ...

The new nursing assistant, Jane ... wonder what's her story. She's certainly a meek one. I wonder how she'll fit in? She's nice enough (or at least, acquiescent) but I'm missing Chummy something awful.

Oh, and before I go - I must mention how much I just LOVE Jenny's clothes! She wears the most darling outfits and the sunny colors are so perfect for her. So lovely.

Ok, I think I touched on the main points of the show ... I'd love to know what you all are thinking!

If you have a moment, please leave me a comment below ... and enjoy the rest of your Thursday!


A Baby Shower for our Baby O!

Baby shower 5

Hello, my friends! I'm a bit behind on posting because it's been a busy (and somber) few days, but I wanted to tell you all about the lovely weekend I had. Because thanks to these two amazing ladies ...

Baby shower 1

*Mum on the left and Aunt Marcia on the right*

... Baby-O and I were treated to an absolutely beautiful baby shower! It was a spring afternoon shower, and there was a delicious array of fruit, finger foods and assorted savories ...

Baby shower 12

As well as a wonderfully refreshing BLUE punch:

Baby shower 10
 (Non-alcoholic of course, even if Crackerjack does look a little droopy-eyed in this pic!)

All this was followed (after presents) by coffee and tea ...

Baby shower 11

Blue was the theme of the day, natch. ;)

And for dessert - fruit & cream pastries, pecan turtle cookies, fruit salad (with a vanilla-orange zest syrup) and THE most adorable cupcakes!

Shower 11

My aunt ordered these beauties - chocolate, vanilla, red velvet and carrot - from a local bakery. All of them topped with soft, whipped frosting made up like little booties!

The day was just perfect for April ~ a mixture of clouds and sun, a bit cool in the high 50s. And inside everything looked so cozy and cute!

Shower 15

 How adorable are these window stickers?!

Baby shower 13

Balloons, banners, etc.

Shower 12

Shower favors: blue Hershey kisses and "It's a Boy!" pencils. :)

And there were, of course, presents!

Baby shower 14

I love wrapping paper and pretty bags, don't you? Every gift was so beautifully wrapped and so thoughtfully chosen ... Bill and I felt so treated! We joked that waiting 12 years to have another baby really paid off, lol!

And look at this gorgeous package ...

Shower 13

This was hand-painted by our dear friend Vicki ... and I only wish I had snapped the other sides of the box - they were just as pretty!

Here I am with Vicki's two daughters, Kristel and Tiffany ...

Showe 19

Dear childhood friends ... it honestly doesn't seem that long ago we were running around in bathing suits, making crafts and riding bikes ... with our moms close by, keeping watch. And here we are now, all mothers ourselves, doing the same thing with our own kids!

And though I was certainly surrounded by presents, more importantly I was surrounded by many loved ones ... what a happy day.

Shower 19

The main event was held in my parents' family room.

Baby shower 9

Mum, me, Marcia and my Aunt Pat in pink.

Shower 22

While Marcia kept a record of gifts, Mum kept the cards organized.

Shower 21

Bill's mom (aka Grandma Barbara) and Aunt Anne, as well as his sister Ami.

Shower 17

My godmother, Kathy, with her daughter Barbara and granddaughter Allison.

Shower 18

Ami and Eric - such a cute couple!

Baby shower 17

My cousin Kate (who will be Baby O's godmother) and her boyfriend, Paul, alongside my cousin Kara (Earlybird's godmother) and my Uncle Karl. In front is my cousin Mark's daughter, Anna.

My older boys were there, too ...

Baby shower 15

As well as our Earlybird ...

Baby shower 2

And let's not forget the little "man" of the hour ... Baby O himself!

Baby bump 34 weeks

34 Weeks ~ just a few more to go!

(By the way, I would like to say thank you to my Bill and Bill's Dad (aka Grandpa Bill) for the pictures they took - very few of these photos were taken by me.)

And oh my, we received so many cute things for Baby O!

Shower 23

Baby shower 16

Baby shower 18

 Shower 20

Shower 24

And many necessities, too! Such as wipes (seen above), diapers, onesies, washcloths and receiving blankets ... as well as a baby tub, changing pad, bouncer seat, car seat/stroller system and a play-pen equipped with a bassinette and changing top ...

This is one lucky laddie, I tell you!

(We're the lucky ones, though - lucky, blessed, and so very, very grateful.)


Well, my friends, I thank you ~ for indulging me in this very long post and sharing in our joy. While I'm here today, I would also like to express my very best wishes to my friend Nissa, who delivered a beautiful baby boy of her own this very morning! So happy for Nissa and her whole family ... Welcome, little George Christophe!

So I'll wrap up for now, but I also wanted to mention that though I have not had a chance to watch the most recent episode of Call the Midwife, I'm hoping to do so tonight. So my Masterpiece Monday is looking more like a Masterpiece Thursday this week. ;)

I hope to have the post up early tomorrow morning ...

Have yourselves a good evening, everyone ... see you here again sometime soon!


Please pray for Boston ...

Boston 2
The Boston skyline, viewed from a north shore beach.

Waking with a heavy heart this morning, realizing there are so many layers to this tragedy ...

The tragedy of those killed, like the 8 year old boy who was waiting at the finish line for his dad, a marathon runner. (God bless him and keep him.) His mother and sister were also seriously injured. How does this family go on?

And the tragedy of the 140+ injured, some critically, by the blasts - like the two brothers, both laid-off roofers who were there to cheer on a friend. They each lost a leg.

As well as the tragedy of all who were there at the scene and will be forever impacted by the horror they witnessed on what was supposed to be a proud and historic day.

And then of course, there's the Marathon itself which will forever be tainted by this tragedy.

There are so many levels of grief it seems impossible to grasp ... I guess all we can do is lend our support in whatever way we can.

And so please join me in praying for all those affected by the tragedy, and for the beautiful city of Boston. In the midst of all this, I watch in pride and awe at how the community is responding ... local and worldwide ... coming together in strength and support.

There is so much light being infused into the darkness ... and the Light is always stronger than the dark.

We are safe here ...

Dear friends, thank you for your concern. We are all safe and sound here, although shocked and deeply saddened by the tragedy unfolding in Boston. Bill was actually not at work today (we toured a campus with Bookworm) and we learned of the situation shortly after returning home. It all still seems unreal. 

We are saying our prayers for all those injured by the explosions today ... and thank you all for your prayers for our community.


Friday Felines: Happy Birthday, Archie and Ollie!

Our two little fellas have turned two!

Kitties january 2013

Their birthday was yesterday (April 11th), which also happens to be National Pet Day (how neat) ... so of course I have to post a picture or two.


Hard to believe they were once this small ...

Archie and ollie first day

(August 13, 2011)

We also celebrate their adoption day which is in August, but according to their records, they were born - in a back alley, part of a litter of nine - on April 11th. Their mother was missing and the whole litter was taken in, fostered and put up for adoption through a local feline rescue operation. We're very grateful to have found them ...

And we just love these two so much!

Now, if you are cat lovers like us, here is a link to the numerous posts I've done on our Archie (Archibald Fred, left) and Ollie (Oliver James, right):

>> My Kitties archive. <<

Do you have any pets? Of the furred, feathered, or scaled kind? Would you call yourself a cat person or a dog person? Maybe neither or both?

Well, enjoy your Friday, my friends ... and here's to a happy weekend!


Brothers Big & Small

Matt and me
Yesterday was National Siblings Day, so I posted this picture on Facebook for my "little" brother, Matt. I think we were maybe 6 and 3 here? "Here," being the lamppost outside my grandparents' house.

(Remember this song? This was my lamppost. )

(And by the way, Crackerjack took a look at this picture and first marveled that Uncle Matt was once so much smaller than me and then asked, "Is that really what girls wore back then?" Lol.)

And here we are today - or really, last Christmas - but at this age, who's counting?

Matt and me 2

Matt and I had *a wonderful* childhood, and I'd say we had a pretty typical "big sister-little brother" kind of relationship. Though I've also heard it said I was a little more like a "second mother" to Matt from the get-go. Today he's a great uncle to my boys as well as Crackerjack's godfather.

So I grew up with one younger brother and now I'm raising three (soon to be four) brothers. I guess all that "mothering" was good practice. :)

And in the spirit of the holiday, I'd also like to say that I am very proud of my boys and the brothers - and friends - they are to each other.

Boys on martinmas

They are genuinely kind to, and caring of, each other and I hope that carries on throughout their entire lives. And I can't wait to see how Baby-O fits into all of this ...

Bill and I were just saying this morning that Baby-O was always meant to be ... he just had to wait for the right time to sneak into the lineup!


Do you have any siblings? Where do you fall in the family lineup?


Thanks for stopping by today! Have a great Thursday, my friends!

How many tabs do YOU have open?

Woman's mind

I saw this (where else?) on the Internet and I thought it was pretty funny - and quite true! Just had to share it with you all.


Do you find you have a whole lot of "tabs" open in your mind at one time? What would those tabs be? What preoccupies your thoughts on any given day?

The kids ... the house ... the husband ... the meals ... the money ... the to-do's ...


And do your tabs, like mine, stay open all night? It's hard to "shut down" and "power off" isn't it? How do you "log off" before bed?

Just some things rattling around in my brain this morning - yet another open tab in my browser!


Have yourselves a lovely Tuesday, my friends! 

Masterpiece Monday: Call the Midwife (season 2, ep. 2)


Good morning, my friends! How did you like last night's show?

(Spoilers ahead!)

It was a tough one - lots of emotional stuff, and even heartbreak, too. I really had to turn off my mind (and turn away from the screen) in the beginning when the Kelly's suffered their loss. Very difficult to watch that scene ... for any parent, but perhaps particularly so if you're pregnant yourself.

You know, I'm always impressed with how well this show balances sadness with sweetness and even silliness. But that's life isn't it? It's never all one way or the other. It feels good to be reminded of the lighter things when our hearts are heavy with loss ...

I felt so badly for Cynthia and all she endured, and what a terrific job done by that actress. Cynthia was so in control and professional, and yet you could see how shaken she was. And then she just slowly lost it - her composure and trust in herself. Thankfully the findings cleared her of any responsiblity in the death of little Thomas. (Anytime there's something awful that happens on tv - to a mom or a newborn - I remind myself that today they have much better prenatal care and testing. Just as they would have caught a mother's preclampsia, they would have hopefully caught, such as in the case of Thomas, a newborn's undeveloped lungs.)

Now, on to Jenny and Jimmy - holy crow, that was a shocker! And of course, disappointing. I was sure he had a girl from the beginning because of course, Jenny had seemingly changed her mind regarding her feelings for him. I just knew that would not go too smoothly - and yet, you could tell he was still smitten with Jenny and probably would have dropped everything (even Francine) for another chance. But his life is now bound to another (two others, actually) and Jenny has promised friendship but nothing else. I guess they're just not meant to be. (And the previews for next week look scary for Jimmy, don't they?)

As for Chummy and Peter - are they really gone for six months? Will this be the least we see of these characters this season? Or maybe we'll see them in Africa? I thought the sendoff by the Cubs was adorable. 

Oh, and Sister Monica Joan! What a dear lady - I was glad we got to revisit her character - it's been a while. :)


So I'm curious to know how you enjoyed last night's show and what your thoughts are on the plot and character development. If you have a moment, please leave me a comment below!

Have yourselves a good Monday, everyone ... see you here again sometime soon!


For those of us with autistic children ...

Autism is not a parenting fail

I saw this on the internet, and these words are such a balm to my heart right now ... I thought I'd share them with my readers who are also parenting an autistic child. I hope this little blurb makes you smile and brings you some encouragement this morning. Goodness knows we need it, don't we?

"What you'll need to find is the right fuel, the right environment and the right supports. With those your child has great potential."

How I love this "prescription" for success!

Have yourselves a wonderful weekend, my friends ...


Baby Days Ahead ...


Well, it may be hard to believe (I know it is for me!) but, as of this posting, I am 32 weeks pregnant ...

Time sure is a-tickin' away!

And it's been nearly 12 years since we last had a baby in this house, so needless to say we're a bit out of practice! So I'm trying to formulate a "plan" for those first weeks home with our little one ... what he'll need as a newborn, what I'll need as a "new" mom, and what we'll need as a family (re)adjusting to life with a baby in the house.

So far I've written out a layette list and I'm working on streamlining our household since I'll probably be out of commission for a little while. But I'd love your suggestions ...

What helped you most in those first postpartum weeks?

What did you do to prepare your nest (feathers and family) for a new baby?

Here are my notes so far ...

The Layette List:

diapers • onesies (ls/ss) • newborn caps • sun hat • wee socks • receiving blankets/swaddling blankets • light sleepers • bunting/sleepsack • undershirts • light cotton pants • burp cloths • bassinet & bedding • nursing pillow • washable nursing pads •  nursing bras/pajamas • breast pump & accessories • nursing shawl • changing pad & cover • diaper wipes • small washcloths • baby bathtub • natural baby wash & lotion • hooded towel • natural diaper cream • baby nail clippers • pacifiers • thermometer • infant acetaminophen & anti-gas medicine • rocking chair • play mat/floor blankets • board books • soothing music • baby announcements & stamps • baby sling/wrap • infant car seat • stroller

(Some things we have already, some things we're borrowing, and some things we still need to pick up.)

Other "Babymoon" Ideas:

household "how to" binder for helpers • posted family schedule with rides arranged • lesson plans through June • list of easy meal ideas • meals prepared ahead • a well-stocked pantry • favorite plants in before end of May • spring/summer clothes sorted • comfy/easy spring bedding

I'd love to hear your thoughts, advice - brand name suggestons? - on this subject. If you have a moment, please drop me a note below.

And have a great Thursday, my friends!


Light It Up Blue!

Blue light

Do you Light It Up Blue on April 2nd, aka World Autism Awareness Day?

We do!

(Of course, it's "Autism Awareness Day," every day in this family!)

A few words from a post I did last year ...

"If you know someone who has an autistic child, please pray for them today ... maybe take a moment to learn something new about autism or think about how you can help. And if you are blessed to know an autistic child yourself, please let that child know how much you love him ... but also, how much you LIKE him for who he is. It will mean the world to him, and his parents."

Happy Tuesday, my friends!


Tons of Easter Pictures & a 32-Week Bump Shot!

Happy Easter, everyone! I hope you all had a lovely holiday ... our weekend was wonderful, and the weather was perfect. Just like early spring in New England should be ... sunny and 50 degrees. I have about a bajillion pictures to share with you, so I'd best get on with it!


Easter crocus

Bookworm took the picture of the crocus above. A beautiful sign of life on this most blessed day.

Easter 1

On the Easter Vigil, a plate of hard-boiled eggs ready to color ...

Easter 3

Bill helping Earlybird with egg-dipping. I had really hoped to do "natural" egg dyes this year (all the rage right now, but more importantly, a great idea for chemical-sensitive kids like EB) but I just couldn't pull it together. A project for next year perhaps? I'm sure things will quiet down once we have an infant in the house. ;)

Easter 2

Easter eggs always remind me a bit of Christmas lights ... two bright ends of the same circle. :)

Easter 5

Eggs drying ...

Easter 4

And baskets ready to fill ...

A few hours later, veeerrry early Easter morning ...

Easter 6

(Some of us were more awake than others.)

Easter 7

The boys and their baskets ~ time to start the day!

Easter 9

Four baskets this year, including one for Baby-O on the far right.

Easter 31

We've had this silk forsythia wreath for a few years now, and to me it has become such a symbol of spring. I love hanging it where it can catch the sun.

Easter 30

Cut flowers soaking up the morning sun, waiting to be arranged into vases.

Easter 8

My mum made 20 of these beautiful felt napkin rings ... in addition to the colors above, she also made white, lavender and deep purple flowers.

Easter 11

A sunny bay window filled with Easter treats for our guests ...

Easter 14

Earlybird receiving a special Easter gift from his Nana and Papa ...

Easter 13

A gorgeous wooden tree house handmade in Vermont!

Easter 15

The dessert station filling up ...

(Penny, these next two photos are especially for you. :))

Easter 16

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake made by my Uncle Karl.

Easter 17

A sweetly sprinkled and frosted chocolate cake made by my Mum.

Easter 18

Mixed candies ...

Easter 34

I love using old family dishes for parties like this ...

The above "asparagus" dish belonged to my grandmother - perfect for Easter or any spring gathering.

Easter 32

The dining room table set for eight with blue dishes (some mine, some mum's).

Easter 33

And the family room tables set for 12 with old family linens and our wedding china.

Easter 22

Just before dinner ~ it was time to look for those eggs! 

Easter 23

This is Connor, one of our cousins from New York. He worked so hard helping EB find all those eggs!

Easter 24

My dad and my brother, Matt.

Easter 25

My lovely Aunt Marcia with my one of my cousin's dogs ~ this is either Sophie or Lily, I'm not sure. 

Easter 35

A bit of a fuzzy shot, but this is my cousin Kara and her boyfriend, Manuel.

Connor's little brother, Finn ~ just two years old and the sweetest little boy.

Easter 27

Bookworm and my cousin Kate who kindly agreed to be Baby-O's godparents!

And speaking of Baby-O ...

Easter 28

32 Weeks today! (I felt like a giant Easter egg, lol.)


Whew, that was a whole lot of pictures! If you're still with me, I thank you for your patience, and for sharing in our day ... one of the things I love most about blogging is having this convenient place to store family pictures and memories. It's fun to look back at how we did things, who was with us, and how things have changed (or not) through the years.


Have yourselves a good night, my friends ... see you here again sometime soon!

Masterpiece Monday: Call the Midwife (season 2, ep. 1)


Alleluia, my friends! Happy April! Rabbit, rabbit!

I hope you all had a nice weekend, celebrating Easter or otherwise enjoying your home, family and friends. :)

So Call the Midwife has returned, and it was just as lovely as I remembered. Miraculously, I was able to stay awake last night to watch the show in its entirety, but my mind is a bit muddled this morning to form a readable reaction. I will join you all in the comments a bit later today ... the boys have a busy morning and I have a house to put back together after the big Easter shindig yestereday. (Wonderful fun, pictures to come!)

Overall I can say I enjoyed the episode very much - especially Trixie's storyline (nice to see her character develop). I was appalled at both the captain's daughter's situation as well as Molly's marriage ... how very sad (for the women) and shameful (of those men). I haven't read the CtM novel myself, but I'm assuming these situations are based on real life according to Nurse Jenny's memoir ...

And speaking of television, we recorded Mr. Selfridges, the new Masterpiece Classic as well as Game of Thrones on HBO. I have no idea when we'll catch up with those shows, but hopefully sometime this week!

So Happy Easter Monday, everyone ... please leave a comment if you'd like and I will "see" you in the comments a bit later today.