Dec 26 2009

Christmas 2009

As I write this, the boys are up trying to figure out which presents are theirs, and Gracie is having a bottle with mommy, who is desperately trying to sleep. (I would have giving Gracie the bottle, but she wanted mommy.) It’s Christmas morning in the Cerniglia house, and it’s been quite a year. We lost papa, we bought a house, Jude started kindergarten, I got promoted, we went to Disney World, and Gracie started to talk. So much good, and a little bit of sad.

Jude has adjusted well to kindergarten. He enjoys his new friends, so much so that sometimes he ends up talking to them during class, which can be a problem. He has begun to learn how to read, working on both “site words” and phonics. School seems to wear him out a lot more than pre-school. There’s no nap, and sometimes I think he could still use one. Often times, he gets plain ridiculous at around 7 pm, and it’s all we can do to get to bedtime. Jude’s very perceptive, sometimes surprisingly so, and he asks a lot of questions (this is a good thing), and has a big heart.

The fact that Noah now goes to pre-school himself, and that he’s in the older of the two groups has contributed to his becoming a bit more independent and confident. He certainly loves being at school. I think it’s safe to say that he brings home more creations than any other student. Sometimes, these are not even items that he has created, rather ones that he has begged one of the teachers to make for him. He’s very quick, picking up on things at times when he appears to not be paying attention. He likes to jump and play, and he can be very dramatic, especially when there is something that he wants.

The boys get along very well. The fact that they are now separated for the majority of the day has been good for both of them, but their closeness is apparent when they come home. They play together a lot, often times concocting some sort of fantastical situation for which they must create the characters, plot and (of course) the sound effects. They had their first experience with outdoor soccer this year, as we moved Fredericksburg soccer (what we had always called it, anyway) up to the high school. They had a great time. A typical performance might include Jude critiquing players technique and Noah diving to covering up the ball when he was unable to retrieve it in the traditional way.

Gracie has become exceptionally verbal. I don’t know if it’s me, or because she’s my kid and my perception is skewed, but she can talk. The babysitter has started to teach her (informally) some dutch. I don’t know if this is a contributing factor, but I think her ability to communicate is top notch. She actually told Angie, while in the doctor’s office that she “whats to go home” (she’s no dummy). This was at 16 months. She gets around real good as well. Stairs are not an issue, other than for mommy and daddy who still are not comfortable with her motoring up and down them “for fun”. Her favorite things? Horses, bags, and babies, and small electronic devices. The most amazing thing, for me, about Gracie is how often she wants “daddy”. Yes, that makes me feel good…

Angie has had a good year as well. Work is work, some days are better than others, and the hours are long. She enjoys spending time with the kids and likes finally having a house. Some nights we even get to have dinner together. The fact that we are expecting our fourth child in June means that she’s tired a lot. This doesn’t stop her from sometimes turning off the light after the midnight hour due to her desire to “just finish this chapter” in some book that she’s reading on her Kindle. As an aside, that Kindle is definitely the best gift that she almost returned, but that I made her try (if you can follow that).

My year was dominated by house renovations and a new job. We tore out all of the flooring in the house after we completed the sale, and I spent the summer putting in bamboo and tile floors. I had a lot of help from a couple of former soccer players, and a classmate from high school. As it stands right now, we’re probably 95% of the way done. There are still some loose ends, but I plan on getting to ‘em sometime this winter. I’ve put the Ph.D. program on hold ‘till the summer, as I still need to do exams and the dissertation. I’ve started working on an alternative Principal certification through Hamilton County (Cincinnati area) Educational Service Center. I’ve also been moved from the Dean of Students, as position that I held for just over a year, to a supervisory role. This means that I have longer hours and my contract is for 240 days rather than the 180 or so typical of a teacher’s salary.

Angie and I are blessed in so many ways, most notably by the love and support of our extended family. Both of our parents help whenever needed. With both of us working and three (soon to be four) kids, our lives as we know them would not be possible without their help. Dad picks Jude up every day from school, and takes him around half the time. Mom watched the boys at school sometimes during soccer season. Dorothy and Joe make room for the kids whenever we ask. Our siblings, Charles and Laurie, Dave and Kristi, help as well. We are indebted to Josh and Laryssa, who were kind enough to take our entire family to Disney World with them. What a trip. We are blessed with healthy children, who are naturally curious and like to learn. We have a house in the woods and are able to pay our bills. We hope all of you feel as blessed and full of love as we do this Holiday season.

Peace.


Jan 2 2009

Christmas 2008

Christmas Eve 2008

Well, Angie and I didn’t get Christmas cards out this year. You might want to get used to that…My sense is that we’re not going to be very good about that sort of thing, although, you never know. We very much enjoyed the cards that we received, especially those that included images of everyone’s families.

We had a good Christmas break. The boys were showered with gifts, including one XO laptop each (from Santa). Our family spent the majority of time either at my parents or at Angie’s parents. Angie had to work a lot, so she saw everyone a little less than last year.

The family went to the five o’ clock mass on Christmas Eve. We arrived around 45 minutes early, then struggled to save seats for Mom, Dad, Lawrence, and Will (Lawrence’s friend from COW). The showed up about five minutes before mass began, just as Father Steve came out as asked Jude and Noah to participate in the processional. Noah carried the ceramic baby Jesus around the parameter of the church and up to the alter. He then handed it to Jude who placed the figurine into the manger. Father Steve then mentioned the boys during his homily, indicating that I has sort of threatened them, essentially saying that if they dropped the baby Jesus, they would ruin everyone’s evening. After mass, Lawrence and Will came back to the Lackman’s with us. It ended up being a real nice evening.

Christmas went well. The boys woke up around 8:30 and we opened gifts soon after. The big evening at mom and dad’s was later in the week, on the 27th. The kids got together and bought them a new set of flatware, which I think mom really liked. We used it later in the week. Each of the families with kids (Angie and I, Charles and Laurie, and Anthony and Ellen) also exchanged gifts for each other’s children.

Christmas and Larry and Jeanne's

New Years Eve was spent at Lackman’s as well, up until around 11:00 PM, at which point Angie, Grace, the boys and I returned home. Midnight arrived as Angie worked through reading her latest novel (on her Kindle) and I spent time examining software on the web (typical evening). We had a real nice time New Years Day at mom and dad’s. Charles, Laurie and Charlotte came over as well and we all made and ate pizza while the boys mostly watched the Cartoon Network.

I spent a lot of break trying to get started on putting together a team of contractors who might be able to work together to build our house, which we hope to start around the first of June. I’ve made good progress, but we won’t know anything until the bids start coming in and we see if we can afford what we’d like to do. And now we are getting ready to get back into the rhythm of things, probably later than most of you who’ve already started working this new year. To be fair Angie has already done so, it’s Jude, Noah, and I who’ve been taking it easy and now have to adjust rather quickly to waking up and getting out of the house early again.