Saturday, December 19, 2015

Philly Thanksgiving

Pardon the tardy post! For our second Thanksgiving we hit the road for Philadelphia. Time in the car together is precious because it's normally the most uninterrupted time Jim & I have to talk. We had been waffling on a girl's name (well, mostly I had been waffling) and we chose one on the drive. We'll see if it's the one! ;)

When we arrived at Erin & Russ' house, the whole family was there to greet us. This sweet little girl had grown so much since we saw her in July, at one month old. It was wonderful to see her and spend time with her! 
She's a very sweet,  content baby and Ian had been talking about getting to spend time with her for weeks.
What a joyful cousin photo!! Gramee was thrilled to have both grandchildren together.
Thanks for a few of these photos, Erin!! I especially love this one :)
On Saturday we had our big Thanksgiving feast and spent the day together. Some left for a little sale hunting for Christmas gifts while a few of us stayed back. It was nice to have some one-on-one chat time with Erin :)

The next day was Seraphina's baptism and the whole family was in attendance. Here she is, all dressed up and ready for her big event. What a cutie!!!

Christine, pictured below, is a fantastic aunt. She makes the trek to see us in Blacksburg often throughout the year and she stops by and visits Seraphina quite often. She reads, sings, and plays with them and encourages, & loves them so well. Thank you, Christine!!!
 I didn't snap any pictures during the baptism but she was baptized by Grandpa in her home church in Philly. We were so glad to be there.

 Russ' family attends the same church, so we took an extended family photo, as well.
Many things to be thankful for this season.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Thanksgiving in Paris

This year we celebrated Thanksgiving with Mom, Dad, & Willem. Phoebe & James were in Kentucky with his family and we missed them, but we look forward to spending Christmas with them in a couple of weeks!

My favorite meal of the year is BY FAR this feast. Okay, with Christmas Eve's roast beast a close second. I've never taken photos of the food before, I don't think. And, at the point of this feast, I was still feeling fairly well, so I snapped a fair amount of pictures. Unfortunately, I was hit by an unfortunate bug during the Thanksgiving holidays and travels.

We spent the morning visiting with some of my mom's cousins, whom I hadn't seen for years. And then it was soon time for us to feast on a magazine-worthy meal.

 My mouth waters looking at these stuffed mushrooms, sweet potato & apple scallops. mashed potatoes, green beans and almonds, kale salad, turkey, homemade stuffing, gravy, cornbread, cranberry sauce.... so savory.

 Ian took this meal seriously. Who wouldn't? Jim's obviously equally intent ;)
 To make room for pie, we headed outside for our annual hike up to the Paris View. We didn't make it all of the way there due to the limited daylight and how I was feeling, but we made room for pies. Yes, PIES. Pecan and pumpkin and a berry pie (a new addition this year).
 28 Weeks pregnant at this point, I believe.

 Ian hopped up each rock and recently found his pockets, which made his walk look quite proper.
 It's such a joy to watch these two interact. Love them.
 Äma always pulls out a bunch of books, from my childhood, to read and Ian soaks in the new literature.
 Grumps spent the last morning we were there making pretzels. We were thrilled to eat them as our snack on the drive to our second Thanksgiving with the Barlows in Philly. Thanks, Dad!!

Sweet picture. Thanks for a wonderful Thanksgiving, Mom & Dad & Willem!! Won't be long until we are all together again :)

Monday, December 7, 2015

"How 'Bout Dis One?"


Today was a rare and wonderful day. We had a relaxing morning with a breakfast fit for kings. We went and chose our Christmas tree, walking through almost the whole patch before finding the perfect one. Ian ran up and down the paths, eager and excited. He even got to ride on the gator with Papa and the gentleman who helped to prepare the tree to be put up on our roof.

Full of food I'd packed and relaxed, he fell asleep on the car ride home.  I took a shower while Jim worked in the yard around Ian sleeping in the car. When I got out of the shower, I glimpsed a very content duo holding one of the rabbits we recently acquired. Ian beamed from ear to ear, when it was his turn to hold the bunny. Jim said he didn't even look down at the bunny in his arms, Ian was staring forward with a look of amazement and joy.

We then brought the tree into our living room and rearranged the whole thing. We had to move things to make room for the tree, but it's also left us so refreshed and content since they've been moved. Sometimes you just have to move the furniture around to put an extra spring in your step!

I made quiche with Ian while Jim did more yard work. After the quiche was in the oven, we did a puzzle and played.

After dinner we listened to Christmas music and put the decorations on our tree. Last year we weren't living at home for the whole month of December, as we stayed with some friends in Richmond for a rotation. Since it had been almost two years since we've put up our decorations and ornaments, I had forgotten about some of them and was reminded of a few different people and memories. Familiar comforts.

The best part of the day was putting the ornaments on the tree with Ian. HE LOVED IT. He enjoyed each part... the unwrapping of the ornaments, the detangling of the hooks, and then the placement on the tree. Jim and I felt so much joy watching him today.

Jim laid out the hooks for us and Ian would walk over and get one each time we needed a new ornament. I loved his exclamation of "How 'bout dis one?", after he would choose which hook he wanted to use for that particular ornament. All of the hooks look exactly the same, but his choice of words just kept us in stitches.

We finished the night with Love Actually, a movie we watch once a year. It was great.


Would you believe it? Today was equally as wonderful. 

I took Ian to PMO and returned to the car to find six missed calls from Jim & a text. Before I could even read the text, he was calling again. The power was out at his clinic and he didn't have to be back at work until 1 PM!!!! 

WHAT?? And I happened to be free without Ian? Many a time I have thought about how nice it would be for us to have a small date in the beginning of the day, while Ian's at PMO. I never thought that it would actually come to fruition. And I happened to be completely ill-prepared for what I would do during my free time anyway (something quite unlike me). 

So, we met at Our Daily Bread, the best bakery in town for a yummy croissant and coffee date. He helped me run a few errands and we even had some spare time to walk on the Huckleberry. Pure sweetness! 

Lastly, for the first time ever, Jim got to see Ian in action at PMO... how content and focused he is with the centers. He got to meet his wonderful teachers and see their love for Ian permeate their smiles and interactions. And then Ian got to show him his sand box, truck, and spoon at the playground.

In a perfect world, this is how we'd start every Monday.

This life in the medical training field is very unpredictable. Family time is limited and sometimes even when he's home, he's typing up medical notes on patients or taking phone calls at any and all times of the day. Seizing and savoring these full days of time together or surprise morning dates are what keep us going. And they remind us of how life can be again in the future.

Added Note: It's 9 PM & Jim just walked in the door as was finishing this post. He immediately had to run downstairs to his office to call in a prescription for a patient. Catch my drift?

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

With Thanks

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year. It's certainly my favorite meal of the year. There are certain dishes that we only eat on Thanksgiving. The turkey, obviously, homemade stuffing, apple and sweet potato scallops, stuffed mushrooms, and more. My mouth is watering, so I should probably stop. Tomorrow's the day!!

I've always loved taking some time to be thankful during this time of the year (and really anytime of the year). The harvest is done, there's a warmth to be found within our abodes, there are loved ones to see & hug. I always have the urge to be cliche and ask everyone at the table to share what they are thankful for. The few times I've done it at my family gatherings it's met some eye-rolling and I get it.

In the last couple of months, during the time Ian's been at PMO, I've tried to be really purposeful with my hours alone. I've done more exercising, reading, journaling, and taken more time to just be quiet. It's been a blessing and a gift that I haven't taken lightly.

In two a half months, give or take a few weeks, life will be changing again. We'll be welcoming a precious baby into our family and life will move from somewhat predictable & routine to dynamic, full, and new. I find the time that I have now to regroup, focus, pour in, and savor the moments with only Ian as incredibly significant and I want to cherish and soak in as much as humanly possible.

I am so thankful that this breathing time is available in the here and now. It's led me to be much more content and much more present for Ian & Jim. Being a mama is all I've ever wanted and it brings me so much joy. I am so grateful for this purpose and opportunity to love our children daily and enrich their lives through activities and just giving them my time and energy.

This season I have recognized that during my "off" times, like naps and PMO, it's okay to take this time to replenish and thrive in my own way. I'm more productive and available in all faculties if I've taken some time for me. All other things will get done and DO get done faster.

This may sound obvious, but it's a lesson I've had to learn and relearn in the last months. I am so grateful for it.

While I am writing about being grateful, here's my 2015 list (in no special order!):

  • A warm house with all of the comforts we need (and some we don't!), with a glorious backyard, and a playground down the street. It's a toddler paradise and, for now, it appeases the urges Jim has to "homestead" (that term is used very lightly!). A garden, chickens, and very soon rabbits will be added to the mix.
  • My husband who works so hard for our family, our life,  and our dreams. For a man who daily walks into difficult medical situations and loves & cares for each patient with his humble, thoughtful, and knowledgeable skills. For an involved and passionate father who helps whenever he can, currently takes all of the nighttime sleep interruption shifts, and runs around the house in circles fifty plus times a night after hearing a simple, "C'mon Papa, run!" And for a man who just organized a weekend away for us as a couple to enjoy, pamper ourselves, and savor time together before life changes again (for the better).
  • For a toddler who seeks every opportunity to explore, learn, and create. As long as he's included, no adventure is too big for his little legs and heart. His love for music, singing, and being sung to, is a delight for us to behold. His language skills soar more and more each day, leading every day to be a gift of surprises and excitement. He brings more laughter, joy, and love into each day than we ever thought possible!
  • Our sweet baby, growing hearty and strong within my womb. Snuggling with me and reminding me of his/her presence throughout each day, making his/her way into our hearts and home. "Moosey" is so loved. As the season changes to cold, dry, and crisp, my heart only grows warmer thinking about the birth that is to come in the middle of winter, just before spring blooms around us. What a time to come into this world... just before all that's grey turns green and vibrant with an unlimited color palate.
  • Our families. Both sides don't live super close, but they make efforts to visit us when they can and we are grateful for the times we jet up to spend time with each of them. They love Ian so unconditionally and, in turn, fill our hearts as well. Thank you for being so supportive and encouraging through this residency & parenting journey!
  • The area where we live. Never would I have thought that we'd grow so attached to this location. Medical school brought us here six years ago and we've grown quite fond of it. There are many reasons... it's beautiful, full of outdoor adventure possibilities, is a multi-college hub, it has great cultural charm set in the Appalachian mountains, and great & healthy food and foodies abound. We have no idea how long we'll be here, but we love it and it will always be the first place that was really "home" to our life together.
  • Our community here is pretty stellar! We've made some wonderful, sure-to-be lifelong friends. For the first time since we've been married, we feel connected and embedded in a great group of people. Between potlucks, dinner dates, birthday parties, walks, play dates, craft groups, and rugby games, we hardly want for social opportunities. It's something we've expressed to each other time and time again this year... we are thankful for community and solid friendships.
We're about to hit the road for our Thanksgiving plans. I am sure there are many more things I should add to this list (and I probably will add them) but here it is for now.

Ian's first Thanksgiving craft.
He is so proud of this piece. Everyone who comes into our house
gets to see his "Turkey!" with "red, orange, green & yellow."
Made at PMO.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!

Monday, November 16, 2015

"Good Night, Sweet Dreams, I Love You"

My family always said the words above before going to bed. In that order. It's a tradition.

I've been saying it to Ian each night, too. Tonight I added one more sentence while hugging him. See the exchange below.

Me: I love you so much, Ian.
Ian: I lob (love) you too much, Mama.


This whole parenthood thing is pretty amazing.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Family Hike!!

I was making breakfast and couldn't resist snapping
this photo of the two guys chatting away.
All this fall I have been wanting to go on a hike as a family. It's been a battle to find the time between Jim's work schedule, rugby, and our own social engagements. It's also been a battle to have the get-up and go on days when we know it's our only day together and at home.

BUT, not today!! Even though Jim was away Friday night and Saturday in Virginia Beach for a rugby game, he was still up for a day's hike. Today we seized the bull by the horns and got out the door. We are so glad that we did. What a fantastic day it was.

The leaves had fallen and the weather was quite cold this morning, but we still found beauty and warmth throughout the day.

Our little forrester did not disappoint. He hiked almost all of the two miles up and the two miles down. We are so proud of this boy.

 The two miles weren't all flat like this bridge. Most of it includes stairs, like the ones pictured in the photos below. Yup, he's a beast.
 Ian squatted to show me something and Jim snapped this picture. He was fascinated by everything; owned trees, the creek, moss, you name it.

The boys in matching blues.
27 weeks pregnant today.
 Two years ago and some change, I sat on the same rock while pregnant with Ian. I think I was about two-three weeks out from having Ian at this time. It's no wonder he loves this trail :)

 Ian's outfit brought us so much joy today. Look that those adorable Argyle leg-warmers. We called him our little Swiss boy.
Our Little Swiss Boy

So grateful for this family time today. 

And so grateful for a little boy who's so willing and able to participate in our adventures!!!