Friday, June 23, 2017

East Coast Escapade Travelogue

Well, I know you have all been anxiously awaiting on the edge of your seats for a little recap of our trip. We took a kind of last-minute trip to the East Coast to visit our friends and be godparents in their baby's baptism and also for my husband to go to a meeting for his work. Here are a few of our adventures, even though I try to be brief with pictures and even summaries.
We flew into New York because it was cheaper and also my husband had never been to New York. I had packed all shorts/dresses and sandals and just one light sweater per person and of course it was raining when we got there. So all my travel plans (which involved walking and outdoors) went out the window. By the way, I really liked's restaurant and travel recommendations for New York. Even though we didn't end up using them! So our day in New York was spent pushing them around in the stroller in the rain (luckily no one caught pneumonia!), and trying to use the subway and realizing what a nightmare it is with a stroller. We went to mass at St. Patrick's and spent the day at the American Museum of Natural History.
The next day we rented a car to drive to our friends' house in Virginia, which was supposed take four hours and actually took eleven. This was because of poor planning and picking up the car near LaGuardia, which is on the opposite side of Manhattan in relation to Virginia, and following the GPS blindly which led us through Manhattan at 3 o'clock on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend. We ate at a restaurant in New York State called Jackson Hole (picture above) which was our favorite restaurant of the whole trip.
In Virginia, we had the extreme honor of becoming godparents. It was a beautiful baptism and a beautiful party. The picture above is of my husband lighting the candle, the godfather's grand task in the ceremony, but grander yet is the responsiblity we now have of helping our goddaughter keep her light of faith alive.
We hung out with our friends, went to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, spent Memorial Day in Washington DC (see pics above), which was actually perfect because they had a beautiful parade. We also went on a five-minute hike at Great Falls Park (see pic above), which started out great (me taking pictures of butterflies, thinking "it's so hot, I'm glad I didn't bring our sweaters"). I say five minutes because after taking this last picture I heard thunder and looked up at the sky perplexed. Then thunder again and it started pouring down rain before I could yell "ruuuun!" to Addie. We waited under cover and friendly park rangers helped us call a taxi back (which took an hour to get there... but otherwise all turned out ok)  
Next stop: Chicago, which we surprisingly loved. I was a little sad to leave actually, especially to go back to kid-hating New York. :/ My husband went to his meeting during the day and we had lunch, took naps in the hotel (me included!), went to Maggie Daley Park twice (where I lost Addie and thought for sure she was kidnapped... long story), went to another park near the Shedd Aquarium, went to Navy Pier (see picture of Adelaide on tongue "slide") and had delicious deep-dish pizza at Giordano's for dinner. My favorite restaurant there, though, was called Spanglish and had good Mexican food and Jarritos (hooray!). That's the picture above. Also, Addie got a fever the day we left, but luckily she took some medicine (and rested, and drank liquids) and it never came back. Ah, travel with kids... it will keep you on your toes.  
 Yo babies of New York... whasuuuup?!
When we finally got to our hotel in Chinatown at eleven pm (took hours to get from airport to hotel because we went from one place to another, trying to use uber, then finally getting a taxi), we were pleasantly surprised at how much we loved being in Chinatown and how much friendlier they were there (crazy New Yorkers!). We had delicious breakfast at the hotel (I always book the cheapest hotel on as long as it has breakfast included). Then we were finally able to go to Central Park (see pic), although we didn't have too much time to explore. We asked a random Chinese man on the street if he could recommend a restaurant for lunch and after much gesturing (apparently his English was not so great), we went down the street to the most delicious chinese food I've ever eaten (see pic above). After naps and such, we crossed the Williamsburg bridge by foot (really nice!) to have dinner at my husband's childhood friend's house. He lives in Brooklyn, which was really hip and trendy and had lots of delicious-looking restaurants, artsy shops and hopping bars. See pic of me and Addie looking cool in Brooklyn. The next day we went to mass and at leftover Chinese food before facing the nightmare of New York traffic to get to the airport.

It was a trip with lots of ups and downs and difficulties (my husband's grandfather passed away while we were there), but a very good trip nonetheless. We really feel it changed us, united us as a family, had really fun moments and we learned a lot.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Sandals, sweat and outdoors

(Happy June, month of the Sacred Heart)

Hello there. There has been a rather long hiatus in these blogging parts, I know. We took a two-week trip to the East Coast USofA (a liiiiittle last minute, it's how we roll I guess). It was craaaaaaazy but really good, too. I will definitely write some posts on that soon.

It involved some also last-minute planning, packing, indecision on whether to go or not (!), doing taxes we had forgotten about the day before... things that take up time you could otherwise we blogging with. And today marks a week we've been back, but it has taken a week to adjust to the jet lag and somewhat clean my house.

Even though we had only slept three or possibly four hours our first night here (adorable kids woke up at midnight and had so much energy I thought for sure they had taken Redbull shots!), we went to the beach the next morning to make sure they would know when morning was and get lots of sun (in hopes they would soon figure out when night was...). And we've been trying to get out during the day since. We finally got two peaceful nights back to back.

We got some rain and chilly weather on our trip so it was nice to come back to summer heat. I like winter when it comes, but I am so ready for sandals, for sweat and for outdoors.

Happy weekend to you!

Friday, May 12, 2017

100th anniversary of the apparitions at Fatima

Today the Pope will be arriving in Portugal for the 100th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions. We won't be going, although I have this twinge of remorse, and kind of wish we were. But it really seemed impossible with two tiny children, our upcoming travel plans, and the 8 million people that are estimated to be there. I hope we can watch a bit of it on TV.

Meanwhile, here is a conference by Christopher West, given in Fatima and about Fatima, that my husband and I were privileged enough to have been present at the month before we got married.

I am astounded by how little people actually know about the message of Fatima. But I guess that's how God works, in small and hidden ways. I also recommend reading Blessed Lucia of Fatima's four books written by her.

"As I shared with the pilgrims, digging deeper, the precise link, I believe, between John Paul II’s TOB and Fatima lies in Mary’s mysterious words about the “errors of Russia” and the promised triumph of her Immaculate Heart. John Paul II’s TOB is like weed-killer sprayed on the deepest roots of the “errors of Russia.” As such, I believe the TOB plays a critical role in preparing our hearts for her triumph." -From here

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Flowers for Mary

Only when I saw this post by Auntie Leila did I remember I had a little vase for our prayer corner for flowers for Mary in May. Otherwise I would've forgotten. That's the thing about minimalism: it helps you appreciate and use what you have more. I don't consider myself much of a minimalist, but I'm always striving to be more and more.
I feel like I live in a reasonably clean house which is pretty organized, but if you ask my mother she would tell you I live in a pigsty with subminimum living conditions. ( ;) ;) wink wink mom)
Minimalism is a constant task, especially if you have to deal with kids clothes and toys. Yikes. This past weekend I was able to switch cold clothes for warm clothes in our closets and tidy the office a little bit and it instantly improved how I felt about our house. I tried explaining to my husband that staying inside and organizing was more therapeutic for me than going outsider for a walk but he just can't understand it.

Monday, May 08, 2017

5 things I *try* to do with my older baby

Davy in the North.

Part two of this post.

Again, these are things that I do, work for us, and bring us peace and joy. This is not meant to be parenting advice, because if there is anything that should be subjective, it's how you parent. Plus, I know a few babies who seem happier, less demanding and sleep better than my baby so for the most part I have no idea what I'm doing.

1. Continue to have him sleep on Gina Ford's schedules. Again, loosely. There are good days, there are bad days. And I follow the sleep schedules and nothing else in that book. These schedules for us mean: About an hour and a half after he wakes up (usually seven) I put him in his baby carrier while I'm cooking and he falls asleep for about 30-40 minutes. I don't wake babies up, like Gina Ford recommends. I only have him sleep in his baby carrier, so that I don't have to go through the work and take the time to help him fall asleep and can do other things. Also, I don't have to worry about his older sister making noise or going in his room and waking him up (yes, it used to happen!). Then, about two hours after he wakes up, he sleeps a longer lunchtime nap in his room with his sister. Then he goes to bed at seven or eight, depending on how tired he is and how well he slept his lunchtime nap.

2. Help him fall asleep in his bed and not in my lap, nursing, etc. This for us means holding him down so he doesn't turn over and get up, giving him a pacifier and sometimes kissing him to sleep. If he wakes up at night, see if he falls asleep without nursing, but if not, nurse him. Until he's one year old. (I learned this from my husband's cousin up North: until one year nurse at night, after that, they don't need it... milk is not their main nutritional source.).

3. Read a story before nap and bedtime from about four months on.

4. Spend as much time crawling, on the floor, as possible.

5. Teach social games of clapping, peekaboo and waving when possible.

Anything you consider essential for babies?