Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May Days And May Daze ~ And Babies Are Always A Blessing

May's calender was full:

We got back from our trip to Newport on May 1 and since then the month of May has flown by in a whirlwind (what exactly is a whirlwind? Well, I looked it up and found that it is a rapidly rotating vertical column of air, such as a dust devil, or waterspout, or tornado ~ yep, that word seems to fit my life right now).
There were lots of celebrations (Birthdays [Susie, Frankie, Erik, Lori, and Donald turns 60 today! Happy Birthday, Donald! ], Anniversaries [Erik & Lori ~ 9 years, Ray & myself ~ 38 years], and Holidays), and Jayden's school had a Plant Sale, and a Spring Show, and there was uniform measurement day, and a beautiful May Crowning Mass. And Ray and I have been busy, still purging, boxing things to donate, and one evening he loaded up my Aunt Florence's truck with lots of boxes full of 'stuff', and the following morning after dropping Jayden at school, Florence and I took the boxes to her Church which was having a White Elephant sale. All good.

Jayden's School had the May Crowning Mass out on the lawn:

This is an indoor statue that was brought outside for the crowning ceremony.

An altar was set up outside and lifted up onto a platform for easy viewing.

The lawn is behind the school and on the side of the church. The building on the far right in the picture below is the Rectory:
(One of the teachers was very smart and brought an umbrella for shade. She was also very sweet, I noticed later that she gave the umbrella to her students so they could get a little relief from the sun. My Aunt Florence and I were lucky, we took lawn chairs and set ourselves up under a tree.)

The procession included the 7th Graders who had just received the Sacrament of Confirmation last week...

...and it also included the 2nd Graders who had received the Sacrament of First Holy Communion on Mother's Day weekend.

The gifts:

The children of St. Luke's School bought this chalice and paton, which will be used at all the Masses the school children attend:

(Jayden's class)

All the bouquets under the statue of Mary were made from flowers that the students each brought in.

Usually it's a Confirmation girl and a Communion girl that crown Mary together, this year they did it a little differently, and I liked it very much. This year a Confirmation BOY crowned the indoor statue with a floral crown...

...and a little Communion girl put a wreath of flowers on the outdoor statue.

Jayden's school is celebrating it's 100th Anniversary this year, so the Spring Show was all about the songs and dances from the last hundred years. It was very cute and it was very entertaining!

My favorite routines were the Pre-K class singing "Yes Sir, That's My Baby" (1925 hit), the 2nd Grade singing "Ma, He's Makin' Eyes At Me" (1940 hit), and my most favorite was the first act when one of the 3rd Grade classes came out and sang and danced to "Alexander's Ragtime Band" (1911 hit):

I was surprised at how well all the children did with their dance moves.
Jayden's class sang and danced to "Jump" (1984) and they did it with great enthusiasm!
And when the song came to the 'jump' part, Jayden made sure his feet went straight out back and his knees never touched the floor, and if I can ever remember how to upload the video I'll post it for you.

At our son Erik's birthday celebration Mia had great fun teaching our daughter Katie how to do some dance moves of her own...

...and Katie had great fun learning!

And because I don't want to leave out our newest grandchild, here's a few Sophie photos:

Looking at big sister Mia

Getting some loving from her Daddy

Laughing at Grandpa

Very happy girl here with a very full belly!

Grandma gets to steal a few moments of pure joy!

Donald's wife Linda had a Birthday celebration for him this past weekend:

Mikael is in the Marine Reserves and he was just recently promoted to Sergeant. I think Donald is telling him a big fish story here. (Look how brown Donald is already!)

Here's Rudy (the pest) making a face as usual, and beautiful Jill holding one of Don & Linda's three cats. I think this cat looks just like a big old raccoon with his striped tail:

Linda works in an animal hospital and she adopted this abandoned black beauty:

Yesterday was Memorial Day and a BIG thank you goes to our military who sacrificed so much to keep us free and to keep us safe.
In the morning we went to the cemetery and put American Flags on the graves of my Dad and my Uncle Tom.

And then we went to the parade at noon:

Mayor Bloomberg marched in the parade again (yellow shirt):

After the parade we all walked up to our house for a barbeque.

Florence, Diane, and Steve

William is back from his school term in Scotland, and Andrew is still hobbling around with a torn tendon in his calf, but he made it here. It was good to see them both!

I got to spend some time with the newest addition to the family!

And I had lots of fun playing with these baby feet...

...and I even got Sophie to laugh!

And this month we were presented with some exciting news, which left me a little dazed. Our oldest son and his fiance stopped in to tell us that she is expecting and the baby will arrive in mid-January. They do not plan on moving up their wedding date (which will be in two years) ~ it's a different world I guess. And, so, we go with the flow.
And we're very happy to be welcoming a new baby into the family next year.

And then there was more news, which left me somewhat more dazed. Our oldest daughter (Jayden's Mom) has not been feeling well for months, she finally made an appointment with her doctor who sent her to a gastroenterologist, well, she found out that she wasn't in need of a gastroenterologist, but she is in need of an obstetrician, she too is expecting, and the baby will be here in mid-September (she's already been told that it's another boy). And my mind is in a whirlwind (there's that word again, it also means a tumultuous, confused rush ~ yep, that about sums up my feelings and my life), I'm busy thinking about all there is to do in a few short months, setting up a nursery, and getting Jayden's crib down from the attic, oh, and where did we store the playpen and the cradle? And I guess we'll have to get another car seat, and we gave away the stroller, so we'll need a new one. And for sure we'll have to put plans of moving down south on hold for awhile, and we'll have to take a break from cleaning out the attic and the basement while we prepare these next few months for a baby to be coming into our home once again.
And, so, again, we go with the flow.

And, while these might not be ideal circumstances for welcoming new babies ~ well, welcomed these babies will be no matter what the circumstances.
Welcomed, and loved, and cherished.
God Is The Author Of Life, and, again, all is good.

And as my sister Diane says, "Babies are always a Blessing".

Saturday, May 14, 2011

"Umma's World" Is Going Into Semi-Retirement

(I posted this a few days ago, but, of course it disappeared into the Blogger World, I heard Blogger was having lots of problems. Only the original draft was saved, so I'm not sure if these were my final thoughts on this subject but it will have to do.)

No, I'm not going to stop blogging altogether.
No, I'm not going to disappear.
Yes, I'll still be haunting the blog world.
But, I think it's time "Umma's World" took a little retreat.

I've been blogging "Umma's World" for over two years now, and I've done hundreds of posts, but many of my fellow bloggers and myself now only post sporadically, and some of the 'original' bloggers don't post at all anymore. I miss those that have stopped blogging altogether, but I realize that life gets in the way, and we all have to take a break or move on sometimes, myself included. I do miss that 'village' bond we all once had, but I'm so happy and grateful for that connection while it lasted. And I'm so grateful to have your friendship.

I still enjoy visiting blogs, but I've noticed lately that the posting has gotten to be more of a chore for me. And visiting some blogs is an impossibility as I keep getting error messages.

I have a few ideas for starting anew sometime in the distant future, maybe when/if we finally move.
But for now I will only be posting on Umma's World occasionally, just to keep up the scrapbook of my life, and to post about our family (mostly, of course, our grandchildren), which was really always the intention for this blog, sort of a self-indulgent diary. I have a few Birthdays, and Anniversaries, a Baptism, and a few other special occasions coming up in the next few weeks and months that I may be posting about. And my youngest son renewed ummasworld.com domain as a Mother's Day gift for me, so I'll still be hanging around Umma's World, just not as often anymore. I also want to give some attention again to my prayer blog, and I want to focus on starting a picture blog of New York and all my favorite bits and pieces of the city, as a sort of keepsake to always have when we do move, and I also want to concentrate on continued success in de-cluttering my surroundings which is very time-consuming.

I will continue to visit the blogs I'm able to access though.

I thank you all for visiting here over the past few years, and I appreciate your comments, and I thank you for your prayers, your support, and your friendship.
Thank you for sharing in my everyday moments, and for sharing in my sometimes 'not-so-everyday' moments. Thank you for sharing in my dreams, hopes, secrets, laughter, tears, fears, memories, and future plans. And thank you all for allowing me to share in all your moments too. You have enriched my life so much and you all mean a great deal to me and you will remain in my heart, my thoughts, and my prayers.

I'm not going to say good-bye...

... I'll just say that we'll soon pick up where we left off...


...until we meet again, friends...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day

I never really knew the origin of Mother's Day in the United States, for some reason I thought it was a son that came up with the idea as a way to honor his mother, so when I went in search of Mother's Day I was surprised to find that Julia Ward Howe wrote the Mother's Day Proclamation in 1870, and in the years following the Proclamation, Ann Jarvis founded five Mothers' Day Work Clubs to improve sanitary and health conditions. Both these women believed that women should be active in society and on the political scene.
In 1907 Anna Jarvis held a memorial service for her mother (Ann Jarvis had passed away two years earlier) in which she campaigned to make "Mother's Day" a recognized holiday in the United States.
In 1912 Anna Jarvis also trademarked the phrases "second Sunday in May" and "Mother's Day", and she created the Mother's Day International Association. She was specific about the location of the apostrophe, she wanted it to be a singular possessive, for each family to honor their own mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all mothers in the world.
By 1914 Anna Jarvis was successful in having Mother's Day declared a national holiday, but she was very disappointed with the commercialization of the holiday by the 1920's.

It seems to me that's the American way, we commercialize everything. And I don't think that's such a horrible thing, it's the sign of a free country. And we are free to reject any and all commercialization. It's up to us to decide how much we want to buy into or participate in the commercialization of any holiday or Holy Day. We can render holidays meant to honor our military into nothing more than an excuse to throw barbeques, we can remember St. Valentine only by buying candy hearts and bouquets of flowers, we can honor the Birth of Christ with nothing more than an exchange of gifts, and we can honor His Resurrection with nothing more than Easter bonnets and chocolate bunnies. It's really not the fault of the greeting card industry (or any industry) if we choose to honor any holiday in a commercial way. In my case, I like a bit of commercialization, I like to exchange cards and gifts, I like to throw barbeques, I like dressing in various outfits to celebrate holidays and Holy Days, but I realize that's not the whole of it. And I realize that if those commercial gestures didn't exist, the sentiments, the meaning, the important significance behind the holidays and Holy Days still live on.

One of my favorite holidays is Mother's Day, and I had a wonderful Mother's Day weekend. On Saturday morning Ray and I got up early, we did some food shopping, and then we went to the garden center and bought some plants for the cemetery. In the afternoon we went there with my Aunt Florence and we planted geraniums on the graves of my Uncle Tom and cousin Jimmy (Florence's husband and son), and on my grandparents grave, and my Aunt Margie & Uncle Bill, and we stopped by Uncle Paul's grave (we usually don't plant on his grave because his family takes care of that), and last stop was my parent's grave. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, there was a nice breeze, and I always love visiting the cemetery. It's quiet and peaceful, and almost park-like.
Later that evening Ray & I walked down the block to our favorite Greek restaurant for dinner.

Yesterday the kids came over, and also my Aunt Florence and my sister Diane (her son William is still in Scotland, and her husband Steve is away on business), and Ray barbequed hotdogs and hamburgers (first time this year) and it was delicious!
It's very rare that we remember to take pictures of all of us together but this time we remembered!

Lori holding Sophie, Erik holding Mia, Ray, myself, Brian with his fiancee Flora, Katie and down in front is Andrew, Jayden, and Ellie

Here's the new big sister:

('Love her pink shoes!)

Here's all the girls:

Flora with Diane behind her, Lori with Mia in front, myself holding Sophie, Ellie, Katie, Aunt Florence

And here's the boys ~ engrossed in their video game:

It was a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Visit To Newport, Rhode Island

Ray and I had a nice weekend away. He took the day off on Friday so we had an early start on the weekend.
First we stopped in to see the grandgirls on Thursday evening:

Oh, Sophie was not a happy girl!

That's much better, Grandma! Forget the lullabies, just bring on the food!

I wanted a picture of the girls together, but Mia was a girl of action and not much in the mood for sitting still and posing.

Okay, onto the weekend. We spent the weekend in Newport, Rhode Island, and we took so many pictures so I will break the weekend up into different posts. Today I'll show you the hotel we stayed at and St. Mary's Church in Newport:

The Viking Hotel was built in the 1920's by the citizens of Newport (mostly ultra rich and ultra elite), it was built to accommodate their guests and visitors because most of the hotels in Newport were very small and could only house a few guests. It's a beautifully restored hotel right in the heart of Newport so it was very convenient for us.
We parked the car in a lot across the street from the hotel and walked everywhere, there is not much parking on the street, and in most areas you need a town sticker to park on the street.
We were able to stay in this hotel with some 'reward points' Ray had on his credit card. We usually save those for plane fare for the family on our trip to Disney, but we enjoyed driving down to Florida last year so much that we decided we'll drive again in the Fall.

This is the lobby across from the front desk:

And as we walked down the hall to our room we saw that there were a few lounges and private rooms to sit and relax in:

I liked this hotel a lot. It reminded me of the 'Old World' charm that the Michelangelo in Manhattan used to have (the Michelangelo was my favorite place to stay in the city until they redecorated, now it's lost all charm and in my opinion the Michelangelo now looks like it was decorated to resemble a brothel, all dark, with red velvet upholstered furniture, and heavy drapery, just not appealing to me at all. I think the one in Italy kept the old decor though. Lucky Italians.).

Our room wasn't exceptionally big, but it was pretty and it was comfortable:

(These pictures look a little dark, but the room was actually bright and airy.)

I like it when they leave the bed made up this way, sort of half-made, instead of having the covers all drawn up over the bed pillows. I think it looks more comfortable and inviting like this:

I thought it was strange not to have the sink inside the bathroom, it was in a little nook opposite the closet area:

There was plenty of room to fit a sink in the bathroom right in between the toilet and the bathtub (next to that towel rack there was a big empty space), but then I thought that it might have been designed like this to accommodate a wheelchair, and to make it easier for a disabled person to transfer:

The best thing about the bathroom though was this:

(I thought this was a great idea, I'm surprised more hotels don't do this!)

I loved the restaurant in the hotel and the food was delicious! We had breakfast there twice (the hotel offered a buffet type breakfast, but we opted to order off the menu and I'm glad we did ~ it was much cheaper and we both loved the blueberry pancakes and we came back a second time to enjoy them!), and we had dinner there the first night. We both had crab cakes as an appetizer, and I tried mahi mahi for the first time (which was served with sauteed spinach), and Ray had frutti de mare, and everything was amazing! 'Sorry we forgot to take photos of the meals but I did get photos of the restaurant:

(Here's the breakfast buffet set up in the bar area. This photo I found online, but the set up was exactly the same when we were there.)

Dinner was served in this pretty dining room:
(Internet picture...
...our pictures are so dark because we didn't want the flash to disturb other guests trying to enjoy their dinner.)

And breakfast was in this back room:
(I loved this room with the light pouring in, even on an overcast morning.)

We were seated at a table for two next to a window the first morning:

And the second morning we were seated at a table for two along the brick wall opposite the patio doors which were opened to let in the beautiful Spring air:

It felt so refreshing!

It was such a beautiful morning that they had the patio all set up to serve and I was sorry we didn't request a table here:

On Saturday evening we went to Mass at St. Mary's Church which was just a short walk from the hotel:

This is the church that Jack and Jackie Kennedy were married in:

We got to church very early before Mass started because I wanted to snap a few pictures, and I don't like treating church as a tourist attraction and being a distraction while other people are trying to quietly pray.

After Mass this sweet woman that is being greeted by the priest came over to us and told us to make sure we got a picture of the organ in the loft...

...so we did! Thank you, sweet lady!

I like these old churches, and even though so many of them are small, they were erected much like the style of great cathedrals, with the same attention to detail:

(Sorry that so many of the pictures are blurry but we didn't want to use the flash in church.)

The wood carving behind the altar is so detailed and so beautiful:

I was happy to see that the original steeple cross was kept on the grounds of St. Mary's. It hurts my heart a little when these things are just discarded, it's like throwing away a piece of history, I guess that's why I have such a hard time letting go of my 'things'.

Our hotel had a photo displayed in one of the lounges, it was of the Kennedys exiting Sunday Mass at St. Mary's. Jackie's childhood home at Newport (Hammersmith) was used by the First Family during the summers so much that it was known as the 'Summer Whitehouse', and the Kennedys used to dine at the Viking hotel often:

(I was never really captivated by this couple, I just thought they were so self-centered and all show, but as I got older I grew to admire Jackie very much, I think she was a wonderful mother):

My next post I'll show you the photos we took of so many historic and beautiful homes we saw while walking around the neighborhood the first day, and later I'll post about our 'Cliff Walk' along the ocean, and I'll also post about the mansions and the tour we took of the Vanderbilt summer "cottage" The Breakers, and I'll also post about the stories some of their servants told at another time. We packed a lot into two and half days!