Donohue Family News

An update from the clan Donohue …

Brian’s semester ended mid-May and he started working a summer internship doing ontology engineering (he can explain what that is when we visit). Some days Ellie and I drive him to work, which is only a couple miles down the road, so we can have the car and go shopping (usually at Target; I’m addicted). Actually, yesterday we went to Michael’s just for fun and then Petsmart so Ellie could see the fish and hamsters (but not the snakes because EEEK).

We’re enjoying the spring weather to the fullest and looking forward to the Best Summer Ever (officially dubbed thus by me). The Farmer’s Market is open every Saturday in the park across the street, and Ellie and I enjoy getting farm-fresh chicken and other goods. We’re outdoors all the time and both getting nice and golden-brown.

We’ve befriended an Orthodox family who live down the street from us. He’s a young Orthodox priest, actually, and he and his wife Katie have two little boys. The younger one, Gregory, is only two months older than Ellie.

I’ve been keeping busy planning my history class for this fall. I already have over half a dozen students enrolled and anticipate more. European history is so much fun – I scurry away to my work desk as soon as I put Ellie down for a nap or at bedtime. Most weeknights, Brian and I will work on our respective projects for an hour or two, then relax with a mixed drink (Fuzzy Navels being my usual choice, of course) or wine. Weekends, we’ll watch a Netflix or Redbox movie together.

I’ve been jogging roughly every other day since late April. At first, I did a combination of jogging and walking in small spurts, but now I’m comfortably jogging for 20 minutes (2 miles) and this week, I’m bumping myself up to 2.5 miles. I’m running a 5k with my friend Heather on June 26, so by then 3.1 miles should be more than doable (I might even be able to improve my pace!)

Brian and I are very excited to be visiting Nani and Papa next week! We’re driving down Sunday and staying for most of the week. It will be Ellie’s first visit to the farm and she’s looking forward to seeing Nani and Papa, Uncle Luke and Aunt Missy again, AND Aunt Julie, Uncle Drew and her cousins William and Teddy! On Tuesday, she gets to hang out with Nani and Papa because Brian and I are going to see Florence + the Machine at the Merriweather-Post pavilion. Brian surprised me with tickets as an early 2nd anniversary present 🙂 Then I told him the last time I was there, it was to see Nsync in ’97. (I like to make myself sound mature and sophisticated, but in actuality, I was only 7 at the time … and the loud noise made me cry …)

Tune in next month for more shenanigans!

Advertisements

Date Nights

Married couples need regular date nights, ya’ll.

It isn’t hard to schedule dates when you’ve a big network of family/close friends living nearby, or if hiring a babysitter is in the budget.

Our family here consists of one brother and his lovely girlfriend. They’ve helped us several times, watching Ellie so we could go out. But, they are both very busy med students, so asking them isn’t always an option.

And … the rest of our relatives are far, far away.

Enter Heather and Sean, our awesome friends. Not only are they a great Catholic couple with six kiddos of their own – they came up with the neat idea of “swapping” babysitting and date nights. Because really, paying $$ for babysitters when you’re already paying for the date … is no bueno. Then, there’s the trust issue. Anyways …

We were quick to take them up on it 🙂 Which is how, two weeks ago on the eve of Mother’s Day, my guy and I went to see the Avengers and got ice cream at Coldstone afterwards (well, Brian got ice cream. I got ice cream surrounded by a fence of churros and topped with caramel sauce, to be specific).

IMG_20150509_200843067

I’m not sure why, but this was the most fun we’ve had on our own in a long time. We both felt like we were dating again. Yes, I’m writing a high-fructose corn syrup, lovey-dovey post. Don’t even care.

The fact is, when you’re typical daily reality is being bogged down with a ton of work (Brian), or constantly having a little person needing you for everything (me) – then going out somewhere together, just the two of you, is priceless. We’ve been really bad at making this a priority, and this date was a reminder of just how important it is.

Can’t wait to do it again.

Three Days of May

The month of May came, and so did spring weather, rather suddenly. April 30th had been chilly, then BAM, May happened, and it was 70 degrees and sunny. So naturally, Ellie and I emerged from our winter hibernation.

birthdayoutfit1

Ellie on May 1st

Ellie and I spent the first perfect three days of May out in the park across the street. Now that I’ve been through the long Buffalo winter, I don’t think I’ll ever take a sunny day for granted again, or let it pass by without going outside to enjoy it.

birthdayoutfit2

Ellie on May 2nd. She tried to eat the dandelion.

As for Ellie, she took her first steps in the grass (not walking by herself yet, but holding onto me). She also played in the grass for the first time, and it was marvelous to watch her experience nature in such a tactile way.

birthdayoutfit3

Ellie on May 3rd

Evangeline’s Birthday

11130289_535225729952121_323705036472023707_n

Evangeline “Ellie” Sophia Donohue turned 1 on April 12th (the Sunday before last).

My sweet baby girl appears to have had a great time … her little kingdom (ie our apartment) was transformed into a Frozen wonderland, her friends and family came, she got presents, and best of all, got to eat her very first cupcake (factoid: it turned her poop blue).

11039699_538366732971354_4862791286656803008_o

 

frozenfood

Oaken’s Ice Cold Lemonade, Hans’ Frozen Hearts, and Troll’s Tossed Salad

frozenfood2

Olaf Cupcakes, the Do You Wanna Build a Snowman Station, and Ellie’s First Birthday Cake!

Kristoff's Swedish Meatballs, Sandwiches, Sven's Carrots, Yellow Snow! and Chocolate!

Kristoff’s Swedish Meatballs, Sandwiches, Sven’s Carrots, Yellow Snow! and Chocolate!

 

I threw a rather big birthday party, by my standards. The effects were:

1. Ellie got a magical celebration based on her favorite movie;

2. We had a GREAT time with family and friends, and

3. I discovered that I quite enjoy party planning.

This last part surprised me. As I’ve mentioned before, hosting parties is a source of anxiety. But this time, my “mom self”, who was intent on making it a perfect day for Ellie, took over entirely. You can get a lot accomplished when you let your mom self take over, people. For two weeks, I was on the birthday plan attack. First I Pinterest-ed, then I shopped, and then I designed and collected all the printables, and then I got all the foodstuffs, and then we drove to Ohio for my brother’s wedding the day before (crazy, right?), and then the night before and morning of her big day, I baked/decorated, cut out snowflakes, and basically threw it all together.

Two crises arose that brought out my choleric bossy side. As I mentioned, my brother’s wedding happened the same weekend. So our calendar looked like this:

Thursday – buy all party food, etc.

Friday – drive to Steubenville, Ohio. Hang out with friends, attend rehearsal dinner.

Saturday – attend brother’s wedding and reception. Drive back to Buffalo. Bake cake.

Sunday – decorate cake, go to Mass, get last-minute things at Wegmans, make ALL THE FOODS, decorate the park gazebo. Party starts at noon.

^ That is actually what my Sunday morning looked like. Except that my debit card got declined at Wegmans so I had to leave my cart there and send Brian back for it with his card. Whew. Oh, also, it was waaaaay too windy outside to have the party at the park, which we discovered half an hour before the guests were set to arrive. Needless to say, I was a stress ball.

But … thanks to my wonderful hubby and Ma-in-law, we re-located the party to our apartment, threw up the decorations, and the party was practically perfect. It was crowded, but so much fun! As evidenced in the above pictures, there was Frozen-themed food aplenty, activities for the kiddos, and presents for my baby girl.

The party itself is already solid gold in my memory. But the planning part, too, fills me with a happy feeling every time I think about it, despite the craziness. Whenever I come across my “Ellie’s First Birthday” Pinterest board or computer file, it makes me want to plan another party … so it’s a good thing Brian and I want a big family. There will hopefully be LOTS of kids’ birthday parties in our future!

 

Workin’ Girl

In a surprising twist, stay-at-home mom and aspiring teacher Hannah got a part-time job: teaching a class online!

Okay, referring to yourself in the third person is lame. But sometimes you feel the need to narrate a little, am I right?

This is seriously a blessing in so many ways. Like,

  • I work from home, so I’m still a caring for Ellie full-time
  • I’m doing what I love to do,
  • I worked hard for a degree AND license for this and …
  • I’m helping support my family!

That, ladies and gents, is a win-win, squared. It’s also good that I’m only teaching one course. This way, I won’t get overwhelmed – and if I were teaching a full load, it wouldn’t matter if it was online or not, I would be too busy to care for Ellie.

So now I know what my summer plans are, besides beach week with my family: lesson planning! Lots and lots of lesson planning …

Disney’s Cinderella (2015): The Return of the Classic

Cinderella-Widescreen-Wallpaper-cinderella-2015-37820077-1920-1200

My wonderful hubby took me out to see Disney’s new live-action Cinderella this weekend. The film was delightful for me (not too surprising, that) and my movie-critic husband. The best part about this movie, however, was that it stayed true to the original tale.

Some of the most popular fairy tales have undergone some major makeovers from the page to the screen. The trend of the past few years has been to re-tell the fairy tale, to “fracture” it, from Snow White and the Huntsman, to ABC’s Once Upon a Time series, to Disney’s Maleficent. Honestly, it got old really fast, in part because most of these movies/shows were never well-written to begin with, but mainly because the revised versions are never as good as the originals. Really, these stories have been around for centuries for a reason. Why tamper with a classic?

Enter Kenneth Brannagh’s Cinderella. It’s the story we all know, given new life with sumptuous production (the look of the film is stunning), fine performances, and a well-written script. By keeping the story true to Disney’s original, which never deviated hugely from Grimm, he did something that felt more new and refreshing than any re-imagined version. It’s not a modern portrayal of Cinderella. It’s simply Cinderella, in all it’s classic glory.

The Baby Who Slept Through the Night

… that is how Evangeline will forever be known in Donohue family lore.

I can count on one hand the times I’ve gotten out of bed during the night to walk my crying baby around.

My typical, every-night experience is a long, restful night of sleep. Like, we’re talking 8+ hours.

Because Evangeline has essentially slept through the night since she was born. On the 4th or fifth night home from the hospital, it’s like tiny newborn Evangeline just figured things out:

Nice use of your reasoning skills, newborn Ellie ;)

Nice use of your reasoning skills, newborn Ellie 😉

It helps that we bed-share. I might wake halfway, say, once or twice to nurse her for a few minutes before we both slip back into peaceful slumber.

I don’t know why my baby is unlike most other babies in this regard.

But I do know that I am one lucky ‘lil mama. And also that I’m in for a rude awakening (literally) when Donohue Baby no. 2 comes around.