Thursday, December 30, 2010

When in Rome...

Our first adventure "off the island" as a family of five. Here are the highlights:

DAY 1:

We had to spend some time figuring out the layout of the city and the most efficient (or rather the least painful!) way to travel with our mini-muskateers...a rainy start didn't make things any easier, but at least we were planning to spend most of the day indoors.

* Went to the National Museum of Rome which has the largest collection in the world of ancient Greek/Roman statues. Made kind of a rapid run through the museum since our little crew is not really prime museum material. Yes, we did find Elise standing on top of one of Julius Caesar's statues and though it was a pretty unique photo-op...we were too busy instantly transporting her to time-out to snap the shot!

* The kids loved looking at the old money the most. It was really cool to see Caesar's head on coins that may have been the same ones that Jesus once saw.

* Baths of Diocletian - once the great "YMCA" of Rome, a place where citizens would come to bathe, exercise, and socialize - just one hall of the ancient facility was 8 stories high and the size of a football field. WoW!

DAY 2:

My favorite day in Rome - the weather was beautiful and kids did much better with all the open space where they could run and explore. A downside was that Josh's wallet was stolen on the metro on our way to the Colosseum, but we rebounded quite well and ended up with a great day.

* The Colosseum - completed in AD 80, when Rome was at its grandest, and the home to thousands of deadly gladiator battles. It could hold over 50,000 spectators - the Romans pioneered the use of concrete and the rounded arch, allowing them to build on such a tremendous scale. Now only about 1/3 of the original structure remains. (and even that is amazing!)

* The Roman Forum - "Main Street" Ancient Rome - the birthplace and center of political, commercial and judicial life in the ancient city. Talk about making your history books come alive. It's amazing to walk through all the old ruins and think about what a magnificent sight this must have been in it's prime.

* Palatine Hill 90210 - "Best Address" in Ancient Rome - home to the emperors and elite of the day. You would think that you could only look at old crumbling buildings for so long, but it really is amazing and captivating to stand in the ruins of places you've only heard and read about.

* Piazza Navona's Christmas Market - Originally a racetrack built by the emperor Domitian - this piazza still retains it's oblong shape - home to the Four Rivers statue by Bernini and one of Rome's most interesting nighttime scenes. There is a Christmas market here from early December until Epiphany.

Yes, we really did spend almost 10 consecutive hours on our feet touring around the city. We ended here with panini for dinner, sugared donuts for dessert, and a wonderful carousel ride for the kids!

DAY 3:

We were definitely blessed to end up in the right places at the right times during our trip. This day was super rainy, so we were glad to spend the day in the Vatican Museum. Still can't figure out how we got in so easily on Christmas Eve as everything we read about said that we should plan way ahead and/or expect to wait in line for several hours to get in. Guess it could have been the two embassies in Rome being bombed the day before...or the deluge of rain...whatever the cause, we were all too happy to walk right in the door and enjoy the amazing and extravagant collections of art.

* Vatican City - the smallest independent country in the world (we sent our families letters from the post office here...guess it's kind of "the thing to do!")

* Vatican Museum - Once the palatial homes of the Renaissance popes, now it houses one of the worlds most stunning collections of art - over 4 miles of displays!

* Sistine Chapel - Personal chapel of the Pope and the place where new popes are elected. Contains Michelangelo's ceiling (Think: "The Creation of Adam" along with the history of the world from it's beginning until the birth of Jesus) and "Last Judgment" paintings. Unfortunately, you can not take any pictures, but we really could have sat in there for hours reading about and locating all the Biblical stories and characters that appear on the walls. When we asked Elise how long she thought it took Michelangelo to paint all the beautiful pictures her answer was "Probably about 5 minutes - that's a really long time." CORRECT ANSWER: 4 years - She was just a little off!
* St. Peter's Square - an enormous piazza welcoming the world into St. Peter's Basilica, designed by Bernini - They had a huge Christmas tree and a beautiful nativity set up in the middle of the square. The church closed early due to preparations for the Pope's Midnight Mass, so we just enjoyed the festive atmosphere of the piazza and quickly headed home to dry out.


Had a nice Christmas morning breakfast then set out for our day's adventure. With the holiday and the light drizzle the city was pretty quiet - so we wandered back to Piazza Navona to enjoy another carousel ride and indulge in some traditional Italian treats - roasted castagna (chestnuts) and torrone (nougat candy) Next we took a taxi to see St. Peter's Basilica and a grab a surprise lunch date with...

* Pope Benedict - when we got dropped off by the taxi we noticed that everyone around us was pouring into St Peter's Square, but we weren't quite sure why. As we got closer to the Basilica we realized that the pomp and circumstance must have something to do with the Pope. Sure enough at twelve o'clock sharp Pope Benedict came out to the balcony to give his Christmas day greeting. It was all in Latin and Italian, so we didn't catch much - but it was still a very special thing to experience. After he said Merry Christmas in several European languages, the crowd let out a huge cheer, the bands began to play, the church bells rang out and the Pope quietly disappeared behind the red curtains.

* St. Peter's Basilica - probably the greatest/grandest church in Christendom, was built on the grave of the apostle Peter after Constantine legalized Christianity in 313 AD. The church fell into disrepair during the Renaissance and was rebuilt in 1506 (well, they started the project then and completed it 120 years later!)

To give you a sense of it's size, when you walk into the massive front doors the stained glass windows on the far side of the church are two football fields away. The church covers 6 acres of land. Every word spoken from Jesus to Peter is written in Latin around the inside border of the church - the letters themselves are 7 feet tall. There is a bronze canopy over the alter that is as tall as a 7 story building - imagine how tall the dome is! The church is colossal, extravagant, and beautiful. I am awestruck again just writing this all down - it really is amazing!

Probably one of the most memorable things about our visit to St. Peter's was watching Elise be totally captivated by Michelangelo's Pieta statue. It is an exquisitely done marble statue of Mary holding Jesus' dead body after the crucifixion. This Christmas season Elise was really intrigued by the nativity scene and especially by Mary. She wanted us to explain the statue over and over and then just sat and looked at it for about fifteen minutes. (remember how she thought 5 minutes was a really long time?!?!)

After so many very full days of exploring we decided it would be best to have an early and quiet night, so we headed home in the late afternoon. It was nice to read some Christmas books with the kids, play a little and head to bed. What a great day!

DAY 5:

Our flight home was in the late afternoon which left a little time for venturing out in the morning. We got packed up (in record time!!) and headed out under blue skies for one last walk around the Eternal City. Stopped at a patisserie near the Spanish Steps and got some delicious chocolate filled pastries and then headed on to the Piazza Poppolo.

* 100 Presepi - In this square was a church that had 100 Nativity scenes on display. They were from all over the world and made from all kinds of materials. Elise loved finding baby Jesus in each scene and Caleb enjoyed a good nap in the backpack!

* Borghese Gardens - Our last stop and a nice way to enjoy a beautiful afternoon. This 3 square mile park in the center of Rome (think NYC's Central Park!) has some beautiful lookout points that allow you to look over the whole city. We had to wind up a serpentine road for almost 30 minutes just to reach the entrance. It was fun to watch all of the Italian children trying out their new Christmas skateboards, bikes, and rollerblades! (and a little dangerous, too!) We enjoyed lunch at a little cafe inside the park, found another carousel for the kids to ride, and then headed back to collect our things and leave for the airport.

All in all it was a wonderful vacation. Not the relaxing kind we still remember from our early days of marriage, but a special and memorable one just the same!

We did a pretty good job of "learning" as we went along, but I would definitely recommend reading up on your ancient history if you're planning a trip to Rome. Rome is like one very, very large museum and there's a lot to miss if your nose is stuck in a guide book!

Family Updates case you're checking in after receiving our Christmas's the unabridged version of our family updates!

ELISE is a very sweet and thoughtful big sister. She loves to sing and dance and play dress up and make believe. Elise goes to pre-school twice a week and really loves it. (though it took a few months to settle in!) Her personality is quite the mix of Josh and I - Bossy/Caring Big Sister meets Funny/Inquisitive/Know-it-all Big Brother! She and Caleb play beautifully together and we enjoy listening to their silly conversations and watching them have fun.

CALEB brings a smile to everyone's face with his charming (and goofy) smile and fun-loving personality. He is very chatty and we all love his cheery banter. He likes to pretend to go to work and is in love with all things mobile - cars, planes, trucks, construction vehicles, etc...
He takes very good care of "chubby Lucas" as he affectionately calls his little brother and likes to check in and give him kisses and make sure he's "healthy" throughout the day.

LUCAS is ten weeks old already and seems to like being a part of this wild crew. He gives us big smiles and is just starting to be "talkative" when we play with him. He really is "chubby, bigger" as Caleb says - weighing in at around 12 pounds and gaining an additional chin every week!

Everyone seems to be settled in and content with life here in Sicily. Elise and Caleb are learning some Italian and are getting more used to being swept up and kissed by strangers everywhere we go. Our neighbors take really good care of us and we're enjoying making new friends and getting to know our way around this lovely island.

Introducing: Lucas Emmanuel Arthur

* October 12, 2010 * 7:53pm * 6 lbs. 11 oz. *
* Between 15 & 25 inches (we'll check on that!) * 39 wks + 2 days *

Here's the story:

We had finally come to terms with being admitted to the hospital on the morning of the 13th (this morning) to coax our little one into the world. After much anxiety and prayer, we decided to have a slightly early induction so that Josh would be here for the delivery rather than on his way to Pennsylvania. Thankfully, God (and Lucas) had other plans!

By about 1 pm yesterday (the 12th), Rebecca suspected that she might be having contractions; they were fairly mild and coming every 10 minutes. Around 3 hours later, her contractions started to become more painful and frequent (~4 min apart). Knowing that Rebecca generally delivers within 12 hours of starting contractions, she and Josh packed their bags (which they hadn't really planned to do until later in the evening) and headed to the hospital around 5:30 pm. At 6 pm, Rebecca was 8 cm dilated, complete and 0 station (up from 3 cm/75/high that morning at her OB appt - just that morning, the OB said that he thought she could go until next week before delivering!

Our friends Adam and Lucia came by to pick up Elise and Caleb around 6:30 to spend the night at their house (sleepover party with their kids Noah (7) and Camille (4) - Caleb and Elise's best friends in Italy!). We were hoping that Rebecca would be able to hold off for a few hours to avoid a 48 hour hospital stay (you can ask Dr. Google about "GBS protocol" if you want an explanation), but unfortunately (or fortunately) there was no stopping the relentless uterus. Rebecca was grateful that she had her epidural in by 7 pm and thought it was even better than her last one (which she also liked). By 7:45, she was 10 cm/complete/complete with a bulging bag and was ready to deliver. The OB broke Rebecca's water and about 3 minutes later, Lucas entered the world with a wail and decent head of hair. He got some blood drawn and vitals taken about 40 times and Rebecca had the normal post-partum procedures done; by midnight, we had settled down for the night. He was quite awake until around 3 am and fed about hourly; now he's asleep and we're awake - great.

Anyway, everything has gone smoothly. We are so grateful for your support and prayers - especially with all of the angst of deciding whether to induce and Josh leaving the country for 5 days on Saturday. Rebecca's mom will be here on Friday (perfect timing, we will just have gotten home) - about 12 hours before Josh leaves.

We liked Lucas because we were looking for a name that meant "healer" and the Apostle Luke was a physician - Lucas is the Latin form of Luke (as you may remember Elise and Caleb have middle names that mean "peace" and "blessing or joyful"). Emmanuel means "God with us" and is of course the title of our favorite Christmas carol - although Lucas isn't quite a Christmas baby. Arthur is just an awesome name. By the way, thanks for all of the name suggestions; special kudos to people who picked some variation of Lucas (Joy, Ben/Libby, Sam A, Robin/Ola). No one picked the middle name though - including us until about 24 hours before he was born!

Give us 48 hours and then you are welcome to come visit - our door is open!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Please Pray!

Just wanted to ask for your thoughts and prayers as we head into countdown mode for our little boy's arrival. With my due date 10 days away we're prayerfully considering all of the options for his birth "day." (with just a few minor timing complications thrown in the mix!!)

First, I've started to fret a bit (okay, I cried a LOT yesterday!) about child care for Elise and Caleb since there are so many unknowns and factors out of our control and since we only know a few people who we'd feel comfortable calling at a moment's notice. Please pray that we will be able to have a few willing volunteers lined up and that Elise and Caleb will be in good hands whenever we need to head to the hospital.

Secondly, most of you know that Josh will be heading back to PA next Saturday, Oct. 16th and returning here to Italy on Wednesday, the 20th. He will fly much of Saturday, be the best man in Aric and Cindy's wedding on Sunday, take his pediatric board exam on Monday, and fly back on Tuesday (overnight into Wednesday). We would obviously really like for him to be HERE when the baby is born.... I have a doctor's appt. tomorrow and we're hoping to have some "info" as to whether or not things are "progressing" towards the baby's birth - there are a few things we can do to help "encourage" him to arrive (mainly having me induced), but we don't want to rush him out or end in a "failed induction" (c-section).... so it's hard to know exactly what to do. (Sorry that's all a little vague - I don't want to scare you with all the gory details!!) Please pray that we'll have some clear data from my appt. that will point us in the right direction for how to proceed in the week ahead.

Lastly, we're having a 3rd baby and I'm pretty overwhelmed lately by the two little ones we already have. I know a lot of it is still the stress of adjusting to life here in Italy and getting settled....still sometimes I wonder if I will ever be able to leave the house again with 3 bambinos at my side!! Would appreciate your prayers for my mental/emotional state will ALL the changes and adjustments in our family life over the past few months and in the days/weeks ahead. THANK YOU!!!

In other news, my mom will arrive here on Friday, October 15th (Happy Birthday Em!) and stay for two weeks - which will be wonderful!!! We're looking forward to having her visit and showing her just a little taste of our new home and life in Sicily (and we will hopefully be unpacked by then too!)

So... hope that doesn't make me sound like I'm totally losing it...but really, we would thoroughly appreciate your thoughts and prayers for all the above mentioned requests.

P.S. I should mention that we are incredibly thankful and feel so blessed that Baby Boy Arthur is healthy and doing well and that I've had a very "easy" (ha, ha!!) pregnancy....we really just need him to make his debut before next Saturday - or after Wednesday the 20th!!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Photo update...

Sorry for the delay with adding pictures - we don't have internet readily accessible at the moment, so I'll add photos as soon as I have more time on-line! Check back soon!

A day out in Noto

This past Saturday we joined our friends, the Sapersteins, on a day trip to the beautiful and historic city of Noto - on the southeast coast of the island. The original city of Noto was destroyed by a devastating earthquake in 1693 and then completely rebuilt in the baroque style of architecture in the years that followed. The "new" city was built 15 km away from the sight of the original city with great attention to detail and some very impressive civil engineering. Now in 2010, we were also able to enjoy the fruits of the massive renovations that have taken place over the last 10 years to restore much of the original splendor to the city's cathedrals, gov't buildings, and other attractions.

Noto is also home to two very famous gelato shops (Lonely Planet calls them the two best ice cream shops in the world!), so we made sure to stop in and have a treat during our walk around the town. Our family went for one traditional flavor (strawberry) and one more unusual flavor (chocolate with cinnamon and orange peel). To quote Josh on the taste of the second choice "How can we come to the best gelato shop in the world and choose a flavor this terrible." (Gelato is not quite as straight forward as ice cream when it comes to choosing flavors - when faced with the choices of basil, various cheeses, and other herbs in your icy cold treat it seems like some more information/education is more on that later!) Oh well, that left more for me to eat!

After some more roaming around in Noto we decided to head for the beach - since it was the last true weekend of summer. We went to Avola - a quaint little town on the Ionian Sea - and enjoyed the late afternoon sun while the kids played in the sand and splashed in the water (though the breeze made us all surprisingly chilly). This was followed by a delicious pizza dinner at a trattoria in town and then the hour long drive back home. It was a wonderful day for our first big outing on the island of Sicilia.

Destination: Sicily

So, we've been talking about this adventure and planning and packing and preparing for months and at last the moment has arrived. It's bittersweet for sure, but ready or's finally time to go.

We departed Philly and set out for Detroit, followed by Rome, and eventually Catania. (the second largest city in Sicily and the nearest one to the Sigonella Naval Air Station where we'll be spending the next several years) We were in the air for a total of 13 hours and the entire trip took about 20 hours from start to finish. The kids slept for almost the entire leg from Detroit to Rome (an overnight flight), so that was huge blessing. I ended up being able to snatch up two seats next to each other in the aisle beside Josh and the kids (which I gladly received as my prize for moving oversees at 33 weeks pregnant.)

All in all the flight was uncomplicated and we were very glad to meet up with our wonderful sponsors, Adam and Lucia, upon our arrival to the airport in Catania. They've been helping us prepare for the move for months (suggestions, advice, answers to our endless lists of questions, etc..) and they were most gracious to have many details already taken care of when we landed. (most kindly a hotel room stocked with milk, treats, food, etc.. for our tired and hungry crowd!) Now...on with the adventures!!

Summer in the Keystone State: And Other Neighboring States As Well

So we packed up our Norfolk home the first week in July and said farewell to the lovely Commonwealth of Virginia. I think goodbyes are my very least favorite part of military life and we were so sad to leave the wonderful friends and neighbors that we'd made during our time in Norfolk.

It seemed like a good idea to get our household goods on their way to Italy and for us to spend some time with family and friends in PA/DE before our big departure at the end of August. Additionally, Josh was scheduled to be in DC for a one month tropical medicine course and then in Ghana for two weeks following that (and he'd already been to Kenya for most of June), so I was in need of some t.l.c., company, and help with the kids!

What a treat it was to spend time with our parents and almost all of our siblings (we missed you Em!!) during our time at home. It was wonderful to see the kids growing in their relationships with our family and a joy for us to see everyone enjoying the kids so much. A few highlights included: weekend overnights at Grandma and Grandpa Arthur's house, a visit from Ben and Libby who live in Colorado, several ventures to the Delaware Children's Museum and Philadelphia Please Touch Museum, time for Elise to feed and care for chickens and horses with Lydia, a week in lovely Vermont with the extended Woodworth crew, a pool party and several play dates with my college girl friends, visits with Elise and Caleb and my 91 year old grandmother, and a lot of time spent just enjoying life with family and friends that we don't get to see nearly enough. We're so thankful for that special time and continue to treasure the memories of our summer with all of you! (Now hurry up and come to Italy!!!!!)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Our sweet little duo!

Caleb - 15 months old - our handsome little man and soon to be big brother!!

Can't believe our first baby is almost three!!!

Outer Banks, North Carolina - Memorial Day Weekend

There's nothing quite as nice as a four day weekend to unwind, relax, and enjoy some quality family time. That being said, we've quickly learned that "vacationing" with small children is rarely relaxing, but we still have to try - and of course we loved being together nonetheless!

It's just two hours from Norfolk to the Outer Banks and we're quite sorry that we didn't pick up on that earlier. The beaches are beautiful and there is a lot to see and do. We rented a little cottage in Manteo - on Roanoke Island - which was a perfect jumping off point for short day trips as well as a quaint little coastal town on its own.
On Saturday we traveled down through the National Seashore to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. We enjoyed a picnic on the beach and the kids played in the sand and splashed in their buckets (still a little unsure of the ocean at this point) to their hearts' content. The kids weren't quite big enough to climb the lighthouse (nor were they all that interested in it), so we just walked around the park and enjoyed the view. The occasional lizard or snake sighting added to their interest for sure!

Sunday we went to a little church in town and then came home for lunch and naps. In the evening we went to the Elizabethan Gardens (strangely disappointing when you're spoiled by wonderful botanical gardens at home) and then out to family friendly diner for dinner.

Monday was one of our favorite beach days of all time. We got all packed and loaded in the car and then headed back to the Cape Hatteras seashore to a huge sprawling stretch of beach with very calm water. After we convinced the kids that the dolphins and pelicans playing in the water were NOT going to attack us, we had a really fun time collecting shells, playing in the sand and actually splashing in the ocean. We stayed just long enough for Elise and Caleb to get perfectly tuckered out so we could all enjoy a quiet ride back home to Norfolk!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A new "toy" for mom

Housecleaning has become a bit of a nightmare for me lately as the crumbs, spills, and general clutter seem to always have the upper hand. I've finally come to terms with the fact that is it unreasonable to replace our sofa once a year, so we've decided to purchase a steam cleaner. We had come fairly close to reaching a point where neither I nor Josh wanted to sit upon the milk spots, juice stains, dirty foot prints, and other questionable marks of discoloration on our couch - let alone wanting to offer it as a place for guests to have a seat. Now, after a serious wash/steam session - the sofa has returned to it's previous pre-children-in-the-house glory. Next up...carpets, car upholstery, and I'm pretty sure Josh would like to steam clean the kids instead of giving them a bath (if there was a setting for that!)

We actually did also purchase a dustbuster to attend to the crumb issue, so now all I need to purchase is a house de-clutterer and I will be set!!! Let me know if you have an idea where I can find one!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Updates, Etc...

Yes, it's true we're expecting our 3rd little bundle this fall...and yes, it's also true that our oldest will turn three in July and that we will now have resided on three different continents within the last three years.

Here it is the beginning of May and life seems to be in fast forward mode as we approach our summer move to Italy. We took the plunge and purchased a mini-van to cart our soon to be family of five on adventures around Europe. Elise and her friends think it's the coolest thing ever and have even had several mini-van play dates just to climb around and check out all the great features (at least someone thinks it's cool!)

We're enjoying the cool(ish) spring days here in Virginia and packing our days full with work and play. There is a lot to do to get ready for our move, so much of our time in the evening is spent making lists and trying desperately to check at least a few things off those lists. Luckily we have some great sponsors in Italy who have been super helpful and informative to us as we plan and prepare for what's ahead!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spring happenings.

Well, spring is here at last and boy are we happy about that. Both of the kids would probably live outside and be barefoot at all times if I would allow it, so we are quite glad that warmer weather is upon us. We've recently enjoyed trips to all of our favorite fair weather hangouts - the zoo, the botanical gardens, our favorite neighborhood playgrounds, etc... Caleb is doing a good bit of walking on his own now, but will most likely wear out the knees in all of his pants before the spring is over. (I'm trying to have a good attitude about this!) Elise is ever the adventurer - climbing, jumping, and swinging on everything she finds. We've picked bouquets of dandelions, splashed in puddles, and counted robins and worms around the neighborhood. Spring sure is a busy time!

This past weekend we had the chance to enjoy 3 days with Josh home from work so we headed back to Sperryville for one last adventure in Shenandoah Nat'l Park. We started off by meeting my Aunt Gail for dinner in Charlottesville. That was a fun and last minute plan, so we were very glad that she could join us. (soooo Woodworth!) On Saturday we hitched up the bike trailer (which fits both kids) and went for a lovely scenic (and rather hilly) ride along RR 600. I think we saw one car the whole time we were out there. The rolling country hills, farmland, and mountain backdrop were really beautiful. Next we headed back to our house in town to get some lunch and take naps. After we all woke up we drove up to the Skyline Drive to enjoy the scenery and have a short hike in the late afternoon. Caleb rode in style on Josh's back and Elise walked along happily for almost 2 miles. She was quite chatty and kept us entertained by saying things like "Elisey is a good mountain climber." "Be careful Mommy, this place is bumpy." and "When you see a rock, say 'Salta(jump)'." (thanks to Dora for that one) We had the special treat of coming back to our car and finding a mother and baby deer eating grass just a few feet away from us. We had a quick dinner in the park and then headed home after a big day of fresh air and exercise. Sunday morning we took it pretty slow and since the weather wasn't very nice we didn't really feel the need to do much. We made our way back to Norfolk in the late afternoon to get ready for the week ahead.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Caleb is one!!!

We had a very fun time celebrating our sweet little Caleb's first birthday. He loved the balloons and singing and thought the cupcakes were really great (though he promptly emptied the contents of his mouth whenever we tried to give him a bite). Still, he had a great time mashing the cupcake into little bits and throwing them all around.

Caleb continues to be our happy, sociable, sweet little man. He's crawling like a maniac and likes walking around with our help...I'm sure he'll be running laps around us in no time!

We had the Smileys and Drydens over for dinner and cupcakes and Caleb really enjoyed all the festivities.

Monday, February 1, 2010

February 2010


Today we took a long awaited adventure to the Japanese grocery store and the Kyushu Sushi Restaurant in Va. Beach and it was fun, fun, fun! Our main objective for J Mart was to obtain our very favorite toasted sesame salad dressing (the ONLY way I can get Josh to eat salad!) At $7.75 a pop, I’m sorry to say that Josh will no longer be bathing his lettuce in dressing, but it’s definitely a yummy splurge to help him get down something green. We also managed to find a few yummy candy treats and thoroughly enjoyed seeing all the familiar edibles from lovely Japan.

Next it was off to Kyushu to enjoy some sushi, yakisoba, and tempura – yum! Elise couldn’t get enough sushi and continued to say “more sushi please” and “oishi des everybody” (oishi = delicious) while she stuffed her little cheeks with noodles and cucumber rolls. Caleb did a pretty good job slurping down yakisoba noodles as well!

If you didn’t know this already, I’m a pretty sentimental girl so the trip down memory lane was good for my heart.


Elise confidently declared "I love baby food" during lunch yesterday and preceded to help herself to a rather large spoonful of Caleb's "herbed chicken and pasta" jar of baby food. This, of course, was quickly followed by a gag and some spitting and sputtering as she then "removed" all of the baby food from her mouth and announced "I don't like baby food."


Caleb is quickly approaching his first birthday and we are looking forward to celebrating with him. He's gotten quite vocal lately and likes to "tell" us all kinds of things! He's also started to repeat sounds that we make and be very playful in his interactions with us. He sings "sh, sh, sh" when we get to the part of "The Wheels on the Bus" when the parents are saying "sh" to the crying baby - he like to bark at dogs when they bark at him and he also enjoys copying "ma-ma-ma,"da,da,da" and "ba, ba, ba" (banana!) Elise and I are working on some simple signs to help him communicate, but so far he prefers using the "screech" when he wants something we have or says "aaaaahhhh" when he wants more food. I guess we should be happy that he's trying to tell us things, but it makes for a very noisy dinner!

February has been a busy month for visitors here in VA. We started the month with a visit from my parents, Lydia, and Phoebe (my parents' dog). We did our traditional breakfast run to the Donut Dinnette (yum!) and enjoyed a lovely day inside while it snowed. On Sunday we had a nice church morning and then got ready for our Super Bowl party with the Smileys. Next came a visit from Aunt Hannah over Valentine's weekend. She escaped from snowy Pennsylvania to hang out with us. We enjoyed an outing to our local library (with a fabulous kids area) and lunch out at Ten Top (a great new find for cute and delicious dining!) Of course, we got in lots of quality sister time while Josh was on-call and watched plenty of Olympics as they were just getting underway. This weekend we're looking forward to a visit from Josh's mom and dad and that will complete our full month of guests from the north!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

January 2010


This year we got to ring in the new year in Traverse City, Michigan! The Woodworth-crew-at-large traveled way up there to celebrate my brother Ben's wedding. He and Libby are a lovely couple and we had a wonderful time preparing for and participating in their special day. We rented a big house (enough room for mom, dad, 7 kids, 2 spouses, and 2 grandchildren!) in the historic part of the city and enjoyed 5 days of continuous snow and wedding events. Elise was a lovely little flower girl (despite not throwing even a single petal when she walked down the aisle for the actual ceremony), Josh and my rendition of Jason Mraz and Colbie Callait's "Lucky" went quite well, and Caleb was his usual smiley, happy self (and decked out in a 4 piece suit, he was especially adorable!)

So welcome to the family, Libby and happy new year to all of you!


Every once in a while life slows down just long enough to catch your breath and pause for a moment or two. We were given that opportunity this weekend by the 6+ inches of snow that swirled around us here in Norfolk. Our little corner of the world in southeast Virginia is not accustomed to, nor equipped for, such events. We found ourselves rather "snowed in" this weekend with all activities canceled and a rare pair of days to just relax and "be." Granted with two small children, life can only be so quiet and relaxed - still we've thoroughly enjoyed the deep breath and the chance to play and sit and play some more without so many tasks crowding in around us.

Yesterday we met Tatum, Carter, and their families outside and rolled around in the snow for as long as Elise's little fingers and toes would allow it. Just before the toddlers started to turn into popsicles we all piled inside to enjoy some hot chocolate and graham crackers and thaw out a bit. Other highlights of the weekend have included: making lemon bars with Elise, Josh getting the chance to work on recording, me having the time to work on the kids' pictures and baby books, taking an early morning walk in the snow to our new local diner for breakfast, and of course building a snowman! (and a snow turtle as well!)

Even at the age of 31, there's still something rather wonderful about a snow day!!

December 2009

November 2009