{7QuickTakes} Weekly mishmash: April and First Communion catch-up

Busy busy busy few weeks!  April was a beast, with karate tournaments and ballet recitals and confirmation sponsor responsibilities and visitors and Bellie’s First Communion.  Here are some details:

ONE.

My oldest turned 11.  I can still remember when he was a tiny little bundle and I was a nervous, inexperienced new mom.   How the times have changed!  Junior has always challenged me to be on my toes, but I am constantly delighted by the deep conversations I can now have with him as he gets older, also his interest in cooking, science, and wicked mountain biking.  Happy birthday, Junior!

TWO.

My mom came to visit.  This is only her second time out to Idaho (we’ve lived here 15 years) but she enjoyed it.  Highlights: my kids got lots of uninterrupted time with her, she and I watched “our show” Call the Midwife together, and my sister (also visiting) and I took my mom to the “sip and paint” place where we each completed an oil painting of the Eiffel Tower:

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Drinking wine and painting is how great masters are made.

THREE.

My mom bought a house.  Sorta near me.

This was part of the purpose of her trip.  She decided several years back that she wanted to spend her retirement in the West.  And since I live there, it only made sense she look for a property in Idaho.  I did not expect she would find what she was looking for in the 5 days she was visiting here from the Midwest.  But she did!  There will be lots of changes to get used to with this move; some good (like my kids getting to know her better because she is closer), and some more challenging (changing from a more passive role in dealing with my mom to a more active/caregiver role), but we’ll figure it out I guess.

 

FOUR.

Bellie made her First Communion.

My mom and sister were there which was really special.  I got tears in my eyes because my little girl seemed so grown-up when she went up for communion for the first time!

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FIVE

I’m still plugging away at my teaching certification.  The last few weeks’ craziness made it take a backseat for awhile, but this week (go me!) I have been getting back on track.  I just completed reading the first unit and am doing review for my first exam which I plan to take in about a month.  I am still enjoying everything and am really excited and positive about my decision to teach.

 

SIX.

Dandelion Wine.

We have a plethora of the lovely weeds in our yard (except for the ones my kids pick regularly to give me as tokens of their affection) and I remembered I had seen a recipe for dandelion wine in a book I have called Homesteading by Abigail Gehring.  It’s fairly easy and uses a butt-ton of the little yellow weeds.  The verdict?  Super-sweet but good.  It was sitting in a bowl in my bathtub for a week and by the time I bottled it, the wine was looking slightly like vomit, which was a little disconcerting.  But after straining it it looked much more appetizing and it smelled delicious.

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The beginning.

 

SEVEN.

Royal Wedding!!!!!

So I am unapologetic about my enthusiasm for European royalty.  (I sense a blog post about this in the future…)  I know, I know that social media is rife with complaints that there are so. many. other. things. to be thinking about now other than Meghan Markle becoming a princess.  And yeah, in the large scheme of things this wedding doesn’t really matter.  But hey, what’s wrong with having a little Cinderella fantasy play out with a pretty spectacle to have us forget, for a moment, all the woe in the world?

I’m excited to watch.  Not only because it will be entertaining, but also because I am excited to see England again (albeit on the small screen instead of in person).  I had a great time there last summer!

gray concrete castle with flag on top under blue sky

Windsor Castle, a.k.a. Royal Wedding Venue     Photo by Kris Schulze on Pexels.com

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Me at the gates of Meghan Markle’s new grandmother-in-law’s abode, Buckingham Palace, August 2017

What have all of you been up to?  Any fun summer plans?

Have a great week!

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Siblings Abroad: My wild European Adventure

I have been sort-of persona non here-a this summer, sorry about that!  But I have a lot to share!  I DID take my Mommy trip (sans family but avec my littlest brother) to Europe at the beginning of August.  And it. Was. Fabulous.  I plan to write a more detailed set of posts all about it soon, but here are a few highlights:

DUBLIN, IRELAND

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This is me and my brother outside the gates of the Guinness Brewery (or, as I like to think of it,  “Disneyland for ale-drinkers”)

THE HARBOR AT COBH, IRELAND

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Most likely, if you have Irish ancestry, your forbears left from this port.

COUNTY KERRY, IRELAND

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It was a dreary, wet, rainy day but Ireland was still magnificent.

LONDON, ENGLAND

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I didn’t realize it at the time, but when we heard Big Ben chime the hour it was one of the last times it would chime for the next couple of years!  They are going to be doing extensive repairs on it through 2019 and the bell (which is the actual “Big Ben”, not the clock) will be out of commission.  It was lovely to hear!

STRATFORD-UPON-AVON

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I love these Tudor windowpanes!  This is at Shakespeare’s Schoolroom/ former town Guildhall.

WARWICK CASTLE

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I’ve been slightly obsessed with Warwick Castle and “Warwick the Kingmaker” since I saw the Starz miniseries The White Queen.  Both my brother and I really thought seeing this fabulously maintained and imposing historical structure a highlight of our trip!

PARIS, FRANCE

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This was my second trip to Paris and it is still my favorite city in the whole world!  A lot has changed since 1999, but Paris still had all of its old charm in abundance.  Je t’aime, Paris!

THE LOIRE VALLEY, FRANCE

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Chateaux country!!!  I think I may retire here…there are so many chateaux to choose from, and a dilapidated one probably wouldn’t cost too much, right?  One of my favorite things about the Loire Valley are the gorgeous gardens and flowers everywhere.  (This is the Chateau du Langeais, isn’t it delightful?)

NORMANDY

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The World War II sites at Utah and Omaha Beaches were poignant reminders that we owe so much to those brave young men (and women) who gave their lives to stop Hitler.

BELLEAU-WOOD, FRANCE

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This World War I battle site and village were of special interest to my brother and me for two reasons: our great-uncle fought here and was permanently blinded by German mustard-gas; and US Marine Corps history was made here when those men held the line and kept the enemy from advancing toward Paris.  My brother (a former Marine) was honored to see where the men who came before him fought so bravely.

More soon!!