Saturday, December 22, 2012

Catching Up

It's nearing the end of December, which seems like a good time for an update and a renewed effort to chronicle our family life via this blog. We've made a couple of cross-country moves in less than 5 years, so the blog serves the double-purpose of keeping in touch with far away family and friends and being a scrapbook, of sorts, for our family. The girls enjoy looking back through the posts and reminiscing. We haven't posted here since August, so there is a bit of catching up to do.

We left the Rocky Mountain West in August and made the L O N G drive to the East Coast. The drive wasn't unbearable, however. Our kids are at good ages for surviving long stretches in the car. Mark and I probably had the worst time since both of us were driving and couldn't take a break. The girls usually switched cars after every gas or meal stop, so that kept things interesting for them. Mark's car had the cat (Mr. Bingley) for entertainment, while my car mostly had books on CD. Aileen, Norah and I got through most of The Chronicles of Narnia. We also made room in our schedule for stops in the midwest. Conveniently, both sets of our parents live right along the route. We enjoyed visiting with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and old friends along the way.

Somewhere in Iowa... still smiling!

swimming with some of the cousins at Grandma and Grandpa's house

Our first few days as East Coast dwellers were spent at a house that was "loaned" to us by a friend from back West. It's kind of a long story, but it was a wonderful place to live while we waited for the moving truck. There are so many things that can go wrong during a cross-country move, but we were fortunate and have no horror stories at all. The moving truck was a day later than we expected, but that really was a non-issue. We are in a rental house for the time being... it just seemed too daunting to choose a house to buy without having lived in the area for a while. Knowing that we will move again soon made the unpacking go quickly -- only necessary items came out of their boxes. The result is a somewhat bare-looking house, but that's OK.

BEFORE the movers arrived

We enrolled #1 at a diocesan grade school that is run by Dominican Sisters. She is in 7th grade this year and it seemed like a good time for her to return to school. We chose this particular school in large part because of the presence of the sisters and also because there is a Dominican high school close by. We don't know exactly what we will do for high school, however, as there are a couple other Catholic schools within reasonable distance. We are in the a very faithful diocese and the parishes and schools here are wonderful. #1 has made a smooth transition. Her personality is good for being "the new kid". We have found, however, that this area tends to have a lot of new families every year because we are so close to many military/government institutions.

First day of 7th grade

#2 and #3 are in 1st and 2nd grade this year. We chose to continue home schooling them. This area has so many opportunities and resources for home schooling families. We joined our local Catholic home school group as soon as we arrived. Our first activity with is a production of Beauty and the Beast. They have enjoyed making friends at their weekly rehearsals. We also enrolled them in a program which meets in a classroom-setting one day per week. They wear uniforms and pack their lunch to go, which is a really big deal for them.

First day - 1st and 2nd grade

Mark and I have settled in as well. I shouldn't speak too much for Mark about work, but he loves what he's doing and is honored to be affiliated with another well-known Catholic institution. I imagine he'd agree that the biggest adjustments have been the commute and the fact that his employer is on a different continent. In both the West and Illinois, traffic was a non-issue. Anyone who is familiar with this part of the country knows that traffic is most certainly a very big issue. Mark has always been an early-riser, however, so most days he gets into work while many of the other residents are still sleeping. 

As a family we've made an effort to take advantage of all area has to offer. When we arrived in late summer, we started off exploring outdoor things like parks and bike trails, but in the last few weeks we've switched to indoor options. We are visiting the museums one at a time, which will keep us busy all winter and beyond. But perhaps our favorite place in D.C. is the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. We have been there enough times now that it feels very comfortable and we all have our favorite parts. It is an awesome place and we'd love to show you around next time you visit Washington D.C.!
visiting George Washington's estate, Mount Vernon

the gemstone exhibit at the Smithsonian Natural History museum

1 comment:

  1. I hope things continue to go well for you, Colleen!