Thursday, December 18, 2014

Recent Visitors- Holidays 2014

Since we live on Long Island, we're not terribly convenient to our New York friends, which is why I appreciate it even more when our friends hike out here to see us. And even more lately because Miranda has been really difficult since late October and I am barely hanging on.

Sarah and Lukas came by before Thanksgiving, and though I failed to get a picture of them, let me share the "worth a thousand words" one they posted online. We are so excited for them!

Lukas and Sarah- Winter 2014
Lukas and Sarah

Jon came by to visit after Thanksgiving and we ate lots of Greek food. Yum!

November 2014
Jon and James practicing writing words

Jaime was here last week for a couple days. We looked at open houses in my neighborhood and I made her my now famous West African peanut soup. I am obsessed with it, and Kevin and James like it too because it tastes like peanut butter.

December 2014
James and Jaime on her iPad

Monday, December 15, 2014

Grandma Catherine Passed Away 2014

Grandma Catherine passed away last week just shy of 95 years old. She was married for 66 years, and she had four children, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. In the end, I knew her for 29 years, and I had more years with her than with my dad.

Shute - Curtis Wedding 1942
Wedding Day 1942

1957 05 11 Easter 665
1957- I don't have one with Maura or with Richard not hiding

I have lost a lot of important people in my life. That's in part the consequence of the blessing of having a lot of important people in my life in the first place. All that death has taught me to appreciate people while they're still here. My heart rests easy this time, because I visited Grandma Catherine frequently and always treated her with respect.

1985 04 14 Shute Wedding new 344
1985- Grandpa Jim, mom (28), dad (35- and exactly my age now), Grandma Catherine (65)

Grandma Catherine was my dad's mother, and I met her for the first time probably when I was six. I think at that time, she might have had some vague idea that I was Mexican. (I am not.) I spoke English, but my Spanish accent was thick, and my vocabulary was extremely limited. Suffice to say, it took a while to get to know each other. But she and Grandpa Jim still lived in Ridgewood, NJ back then, so occasionally she'd pick me up from school and bring me back to her place. I'd chase around Max their dachshund (fabled to eat rocks). And sometimes I'd sleep in Aunt Maura's old bedroom-- I remember I loved the wallpaper in that room because it seemed so girly. I still love wallpaper in general. 

Back then, Thanksgiving was new because my Cuban family never celebrated the holiday. So every Thanksgiving meant dad's family and Grandma Catherine's cooking. She'd meticulously plan each meal, and when she sat down at Thanksgiving dinner, she'd immediately start talking about what we'd have for breakfast the next morning (inevitably French toast). And we'd look forward to the next day's turkey sandwiches. I still have happy memories of the Thanksgiving that Uncle Richard and Uncle Nick (Bob) smooshed together all their sides mostly gross out my mom and delight me.

Thanksgiving 1986
Thanksgiving, it was always tough to get Grandma Catherine to sit

Since the whole family got together at Thanksgiving we did Christmas presents then too, and since there were so many people we did secret Santa. Uncle Kevin used to get me the best books even when he didn't draw our family. I still remember the illustrated children's Encyclopedia I pored over for years. (Who knows how much I owe to him and that one gift?)

1987 11 26 Thanksgiving 896
Christmas in November

Here's one of my favorite pictures of Grandma Catherine- she looks amazing and happy. It's Richard and Elaine's family engagement party (I think) and my mom took her to buy that outfit. You can tell she knows she looks good.

1988-1989 Richard and Elaine Engagement 246 (2)
 Richard and Elaine's Engagement Party, 1989

1990 07 04 Disney Fifth Grade802b
Grandma Catherine met us in Disney in 1990

After Grandma Catherine and Grandpa Jim moved from New Jersey to Cape Cod, and after Graham was was born, Thanksgivings moved to the Cape. She was overjoyed when her other three grandkids were born.

Graham is Born 1990
Graham born!

1993 11 Thanksgiving Cape Cod 878
Grandma C, Bob, me, and Graham, Thanksgiving 1993

1993 11 Thanksgiving Cape Cod 884
Mom and Rachel, Thanksgiving 1993

Grandma Catherine and Grandpa Jim were at my 8th grade, high school, and college graduations.

High School Graduation 1997
Day of my high school graduation 1997

GW Graduation 2001
After my college graduation 2001

After college, I started going to the Cape more regularly with my parents- once in the summer and once at Thanksgiving. She also met a couple of my boyfriends during this time and wasn't too impressed.

2000 05 Griffin 287
Grandma C reading to Griffin 2000

Thanksgiving 2003
Grandma C and Griffin, Thanksgiving 2003

Thanksgiving 2004
Thanksgiving 2004

Then Kevin and I started dating and he had family in the Cape too, so we started going even more frequently. Grandma Catherine instantly liked him when she met him. She had good taste. This is also around the time she started talking to me like an adult and I discovered she had - in Massachusetts parlance- a wicked sense of humor.

Christmas Week 2007
Visiting with Kevin during Christmas Week 2007

Bridal Shower 2009
Surprise Cape Cod family bridal shower 2009

Bridal Shower 2009
Our Irish grandmas- Ruth and Catherine 2009

Grandma Catherine had a blast at my wedding. There are pictures and video to prove it.

Clouther Wedding 2009- Shute Wedding
Shute family at cocktail hour- missing Maura but she's two pictures below

Dancing like crazy during the reception at 89 years old

Shute Family 2009
Almost the whole family- set up the timer 2009

My dad looked a lot like Catherine, and after he passed away I searched for him in her face. Unlike my dad, Grandma Catherine was able to meet both the kids. She met Miranda in June, and we saw her again a few weeks ago after Thanksgiving. There was really nothing else I could have asked for, except for Graham, Rachel, and Griffin to have her a little longer.

Cape Cod- May 2011
Feeding James at 2 months old 2011

Cape Cod- November 2011
Thanksgiving 2011

Visiting Grandma Catherine 2012
With Kevin and James in 2012

Cape Cod- June 2014
Meeting Miranda 2014

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Look Back - December 2014

Oh December! So many wonderful holiday memories!

Five Years Ago in 2009
Kevin and I had been married for 6 months and were living in Brooklyn. I cut a foot of my hair off and donated it. Kevin made fun of me for relying on him to tell me to go to bed (TMWCA #9). We went to New York Public Library Christmas Party to celebrate our engagement on the steps two years previously. Kevin wrote Things My Wife Complains About: #10 Eating Fortune Cookies. We went to see the opera Elektra.

I went by myself to visit Brooke in Los Angeles. Chrissy and Jason had their first baby Owen! Nick and Emily came to New York to visit, and got engaged!

Kevin and I celebrated our first married Christmas with my parents.  Briggs and Andrew came to visit us in Brooklyn.

Christmas Eve 2009
My parents, Christmas 2009

Christmas Eve 2009
Our first married Christmas at my parents in 2009

Ten Years Ago in 2004
I lived alone in Virginia, but I lived near many close friends. Three years out of college, and a few months out of grad school and I still had a dead-end job so I was pursuing law school. I came home to Ramsey for Christmas.

Parents' Christmas Party 2004
My parents looking cute at their Christmas party

Christmas Eve 2004
Ash came to visit and we went for drinks on Christmas Eve and talked about boys.

Christmas Eve 2004
Christmas Eve dinner at Rick and Yogi's- with kids, Madison and Brian

Christmas 2004
We opened presents on Christmas Eve because we're grown ups that's why.
(Seen here kissing my first iPod.)

Christmas 2004
Visiting my brother (and grandma Daisy) on Christmas

Holidays 2004
With my NJ/NY buddies on 12/26: Soraya, Ash, and sexy Chrissy

New Years Eve 2004 --> 2005
New Year's Eve party at Chrissy's apartment. So many romantic complications!

Fifteen Years Ago in 1999
I was on break from college, and I don't appear to have Christmas pictures from that year. Totally random, but Janice, our boyfriends, and Wendy went to New Orleans for New Years Eve and a few more days. 

1999 12 31 New Orleans 812b
New Orleans! Me, Wendy, and Janice

Twenty Years Ago in 1994
I was in high school, and our enrichment teacher took us to DC and Baltimore to see museums and things. It was my first trip to DC! That Christmas we went to Maine to visit Aunt Maura, Uncle Nick, and kids Graham and Rachel.

1994 12 high school 036
With Congressional page Jeff, showing us around the Capitol

1994 12 12 Christmas 283
Graham and Rachel- itty bitty!

1994 12 Maine
Graham and Rachel meet my dog Linda.

1994 12 24 Christmas 210
My parents at Christmas Eve dinner at Rick and Yogi's
(James just asked if this is me and Kevin. Hmmm.)

1994 12 25 Christmas 208
Christmas dinner with my parents (this is the year mom gave dad a ski trip)

Thirty Years Ago 1984
I lived with my grandmother in WNY, NJ. She was really involved in my kindergarten class, and probably because she made half the costumes for the Christmas pageant, they made me Mary. I was mad they didn't let me pick up the REAL baby we used as the baby Jesus. Haha.

1984 12 Christmas Pageant new 497d
Baby Jesus and me

Christmas Pagent 1984
I am a perfect little Mary

Kevin and his family still lived in Massachusetts. Kevin was 4, his brother was 1, his cousin Katie was 5, and his cousin Chris was 3. They were the cutest kids ever.

1984 12 Rogers Christmas- dated 395
Andrew, Katie, Kevin, and Chris at Christmas

1984 12 Christmas new 545b 
Kevin in his jammies. We still have his stocking here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Cape Cod- November 2014

We were actually in Cape Cod for a few days, so here are more pictures of how we spent the time there.

Cape Cod- Nov 2014
Wednesday- Miranda reacquainting herself with Grandma

Cape Cod- Nov 2014
James gets "jello"

Cape Cod- Nov 2014
We got some solo time with Miranda while James slept-over Grandma's

Thanksgiving 2014
James spent a lot of quality time with Dolores's three youngest granddaughters: 
Ellen (7), Lillian (5-almost-6), and Beatrice (2-almost-3)

Cape Cod- Nov 2014
Miranda is chill with Dolores

Cape Cod- Nov 2014
If you don't let them have swords, they just make their owns!

Cape Cod- Nov 2014
Second round of the tournament

On Friday, Casey and his kids came to visit and stayed through Saturday afternoon.

Cape Cod- Nov 2014
James (3.5), Oliver (4), Miranda (.5), and Laurel (6.5)

Cape Cod- Nov 2014
Friday night dinner at Dolores and Dave's with Kevin A and Monica's family

Cape Cod- Nov 2014
Dave, Granda, Kevin, and Miranda 

Cape Cod- Nov 2014
Cute and yummy turkey cupcakes!

Cape Cod- Nov 2014
This is like 1985 all over again

Cape Cod- Nov 2014
Saturday morning chaos with 6 kids (bonus: Ellen and Lillian) and a dog Toby 

Then on Saturday before we left, we took the kids to visit my grandmother Catherine in Brewster, and Miranda met my Aunt Elaine, Uncle Richard, and cousin Griffin.

Cape Cod- Nov 2014
Miranda and Aunt Elaine meeting

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