Thursday, July 31, 2008

Random moments

I have come to accept that my idea of beauty has been redefined and refined by having kids. Some little person thought our tiny Mary garden would look much better with a car parked in the midst of it. I've accepted that the flashy red retro car does somehow coordinate with the bright pink roses.
And I'll revisit my obsession with kids sleeping. The next picture is one I shot of Gabe passed out again but this time on the couch. If you'll look closely he's actually clinging to a slotted spoon thing from the kitchen. If you're a conspiracy theorist like my cousin Jason, you'll assume that I wacked him with it to get him to sleep! Gabe went through a phase of needing to grasp any large kitchen utensil and bring it with him everywhere...I mean everywhere. To the point that when we took a weekend trip to the beach last Fall he sauntered down the boardwalk with a large stainless steel soup ladle dragging along the wooden panels. He certainly caused some heads to turn and many grins. But here in this shot it's Mommy who's grinning from behind the lense because my angel is napping. A real moment of beauty.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

In the spirit of Birthdays...

I never got around to posting this pic I snapped at John's birthday brunch we celebrated at the super snazzy place he works at. So think of this as a retroactive shout out birthday picture that should have accompanied his birthday post on June 8th. Love ya John!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Gram! 96!!!

This is a Happy Birthday tribute to Gram Pierce who turns 96 today! I know she won't be reading this, but I think it's worth writing anyway. I'll see if I can get lucky and catch her on her phone line today. Gram is quite a woman I don't know where to start in honoring her. The pics above are from my Wedding day- the first few I could find on file in my computer. I thought she looked absolutely lovely on that day in the bright red dress. And there she is hovering over Dad's shoulder as he tried to tie his shoes...And there is one with Mom and Grandma Barbara that's so nice. Gram has an incredible life story. One of my personal favorites is that of her Wedding before Grandad Jack went off to war...the way she raised little Uncle John on her own for awhile...I give her a ton of credit for giving birth to all boys! Later in life after Grandad's death she'd always break out into "This is the day that the Lord has made" and could always be found strumming her guitar, blowing a kazoo or other silly noisemaker instrument and attempting to play that little omnichord thing she had. She really finds joy in the simplest of things. I know now she's often the life of the party at Greensborough Manor.
Another highlight for me was asking her to be my Confirmation sponsor in 6th grade. I always felt lucky as a child that she gave me a lot of personal time and attention. I loved going to plays, concerts or anything she invited us kids to. And her apartment was always stocked with random kid toys. When I was learning to drive somehow I convinced her to allow me to practice in her car. She was a true sport when I ran her it into the side of the house and only asked me to cover the charge of her broken headlight. (The dent in the house wasn't fixed until the home renovations were done in 2004!) There's so much down memory lane I should just stop now.
Anyhow, I'm hoping that we can get down to NC VERY soon for a visit with her. We were totally bummed to miss the 4th of July opportunity due to our crazy virus (Luis still has gross scars all over his hands!). But we're waiting to see how much longer Sharon Isabella & Jaye will be out of town before we reschedule. Here's hoping that I can reach Gram on the phone today...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Childhood Bragging

Teresa brought up a wonderfully fun topic in her comment on a post below- bragging as a child. So I thought I'd open this up for all of us to spill out what we bragged about as a kid.
So first I'll speak for Luis. Actually Luis carried his bragging habit into adulthood. In the process of getting to know him, one of the things he bragged about was that his father was the food scientist that INVENTED Honey Nut Cheerios. Yes, he said "invented." Well, Honey Nut Cheerios happened to be my very favorite type of cereal growing up. So this was actually a mysteriously attractive quality that intrigued me about my prospective boyfriend.
After we had dated for awhile and I flew out to MN to meet the fam, I was fairly excited to confirm this wonderful truth with Mr. George Brown. Well, Mr. Brown set everything straight for me explaining that he had indeed helped in the process of getting Honey Nut Cheerios out safely in the grocery aisle but he had NOT been the original "inventor."
At this point I had found enough other attractive qualities about Luis to stay with him so there really was little harm done. Thankfully.
How's this for a provocative way to get mt husband to acknowledge my blog?
Luis- I invite you to defend your memory and your story.
Everyone else, I'd love to hear about what you all bragged about...

Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad Brown, Cath & Tom Berg

This week is a marathon of birthdays and anniversaries. Yesterday was the anniversary of my dear in laws AnaMaria & George Brown. A day late but heartfelt none the less!
And a Happy Anniversary shout out to Cath & Tom! A great day to share with the feast of Sts. Ann & Joachim- parents of Mary.
I could write pages about both couples and what they mean to us but I'll leave it at that for now...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Jack Berg & Lydia Heil!!!

One year ago today Jen & Matt welcomed their first little girl into the world. I'll never forget the phone call from Matt that Jen had gone into labor. I always say if there's a woman who was made to go into labor in heels and a nice black maternity dress it would be Jen. And she did! It's been a blessing to be in the same town for the first year of Lydia's life. She is a darling with a BIG personality. Gee- I wonder who she inherited it from??? Could it be her mother or father? Or both???
Two years ago today Cath & Tom welcomed Jack into the world. I remember being sooo happy for Freddy that his brother had come into the world. There's nothing like little boys wrestling, playing and being boyish. I must say Jack is such a handsome kid I joke that I have a crush on him! And his takes up 75% of his face like his mother's.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


This was taken sometime in the months immediately following Monica's birth. I was transitioning the boys out of an afternoon nap and they were, well, very tired come 4:30 pm. One day they both passed out mid-play when I was out of the room. I'm so glad I grabbed this shot. Why does a mother's heart swell a little more with love when her kids are ASLEEP?!!!

White House Gardens Tour

Hey everyone- The above header picture was taken a little while ago while we were enjoying a tour of the White House gardens. These tours run a few times a year. One of our good friends works at the White House and was kind enough to accompany us and give us more of a detailed description of the landscape (like which trees were planted by which president and the history of Jackie O's rose garden etc.) It was a wonderful experience despite the intense heat and the fact that we had waited an awfully long time to ride the metro as there had been some emergency situations that held up the whole systen. Above is a shot of the oval office I snapped when we passed it. Anyhow, thanks to Peter & Barbara for making sure we got a great tour!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Tribute to Jake

For those of you that don't know, Jake the dog died today. I may have acted cold hearted towards that creature sometimes, but I really want to express my sympathies for Mom, Dad, Cath (the original "owner") Greg & John. Jake was a form of companionship and unconditional love in his little slobbery way. Not to mention the fact that he offered good pet therapy for Dad ever since the accident. So my heartfelt love goes out to all who are letting go of Jake today.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A cheesy thank you to Angie

So anyone that has gone grocery shopping in the past week and cares to look at the tabloid headlines must have noticed that Brad & Angelina welcomed 2 more babies into their family. In my own little way, I'm consoled that there's a wildly famous woman out there finding great fulfillment in mothering...and to many children at that. Luis and I don't exactly share a common world view with Brad & Angelina. But for those of us who may be excited about having a larger family or adopting some day, I'm going to take a corny moment to say, "Thanks Angie!"

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Dad's comment on the Drama Queen post down below:

"dEAR Carolyn, You are so right.I used to see those drama queens every day, but it's slow for me right now unless it's a vacation.I get to se the grand kahuna right every day." Lov, Dad

Mom/Grand Kahuna- We love you!

Thank God we can all have a sense of humor about ourselves. Life would be really sad if we didn't see how crazy and silly we really are. Somehow it comes out more with family. At the beginning of the Beach Week, Cath and I were speculating that there would probably be some tensions- a totally inevitable reality when adult siblings live together under the same roof for more than 3 minutes.
My final thought is:
What is it about being with family that makes one act like a 10 to 13 year old and not an adult?!!! I'm sure some of my aunts could relate when they're at Sandy Cove.
I like remembering what John Paul's namesake said about the matter: "Family is the school of love." Sometimes I want to jump out the window and find a different "school" but isn't that just all part of the testing?

A Brief Moment

Our dinners usually consist of 2 entrees. One for us and one for the kids. We've just very much given in to the "kid food" mentality because frankly we like our "adult" dinners. It's hard to have a crossover dish available every night that pleases everybody. The other night Luis grilled BBQ chicken and corn. (BTW, if you've never grilled corn- do it! With olive oil AND basted in butter- I'll never boil corn again.) We all enjoyed it immensely. As Gabe was scarfing down his corn and chicken, he looked over at Luis with a satisfied stained face and said, "Daddy, thanks for making this. It's REALLY GOOD." It was one of those genuinely precious moments I wish I could bottle up and enjoy later on.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Too Many Drama Queens in One Place

Oops. Did I really just admit that?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Boardwalk Picture

Not bad!
PS- To see really nice pictures of the beach go to:

Jen rolls her eyes at our blogging addiction but just wait- she'll be hooked within a couple of months I know it!

The Truth Revealed

Yes, the below picture is of the grandchildren- John Paul, Gabe, Freddy, Jack, Monica and Lydia. The only ones missing are Gemma and Heil baby in utero.
So there you have it. The blackmail picture of the century. Poor Kids.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Oops- How did this happen?

How did this many small children fit into one bathtub? I mean, their mothers must have not been there- what a hazard! And if they were there, they surely would not have taken pictures of this scandal!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Hand/Foot/Mouth Disease

Dear Virus,
I do not like you. Now that you have been through all of us, I hope we never have to have you in our house again. Now that you've done your business with us, can we have our life back?!
An annoyed Mommy in Alexandria VA
PS- For all friends & family- if you've had flu-like symptoms, your hands and feet feel like they're perpetually falling asleep and you are getting rashes and sores in your mouth, hands and feet that resemble chicken pox, then you have met the friend I mentioned above. Don't worry, it goes away eventually.
PPS- Shout out to Sharon Isabella today. We're so sad to miss your party but we hope to get down to NC asap. Love to all of you!