Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas Vacation!!

Well, we're off! (Almost! :)) We're finishing up on our packing and planning on leaving in about three hours... our train should be pulling out of the station in just under seven hours. And twelve hours from now, we'll be THERE!

So, I hope you all have a very Merry and Blessed Christmas!!

I will be back. :)


Monday, December 18, 2006

Two Hundred!!


This is the 200th post on this blog!! Hard to believe...

And here's the current number of hits (that is, since the counter was 'installed' which wasn't until awhile after the blog was begun), just for kicks. :)

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Baby Photo Shoot

The baby girl (7 1/2 months) where I work is just TOO cute sometimes! In the last six weeks, her range of vocal, as well as facial, expressions has increased dramatically. (She has a belly-laugh-slash-baby-giggle that is adorable!) I sat her down the other evening and within a matter of minutes had snapped this series. Enjoy!

"You don't say!"

And the best one of them all...


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

(Another) Happy Feast Day

Happy Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe!!

This is usually a celebrated feast in my family... but right now, I feel about as far away from Mexican food, culture, and traditions as one can get!! Nonetheless, a very happy feast day to you all!

Friday, December 08, 2006

More Observations on the French Way of Living

(Manners Edition)

Please bear in mind that these are generalities that I have observed and are by no means to be taken as statistics out of an etiquette book! :)

* In France, it is bad manners not to have both hands on the table (in direct contradiction to the American version of table etiquette)! Children are constantly reminded, "Met tes mains sur la table."

* On the other hand, it is NOT bad manners to put your elbows on the table. This is preferable to having your hands beneath the table, in your lap.

* In France, it is bad manners to put your portion of bread on your plate. It must be placed on the table next to your plate, except on very special or formal occasions when it is placed on a little bread plate provided for just that purpose.

* This portion of bread (and YUMMY bread it is too!) must be torn into bite-size pieces before being eaten. To bite directly off the piece of bread is considered eating like animals. (They have a point...)

* In France, it is bad manners to push food onto your fork or spoon with your knife. Knives are for cutting and that seems to be their sole purpose. The aforementioned (and ever-present) bread - in bite-size pieces, mind you! - must be used for the task.

* In France, one does not take a drink of any sort with their soup (first course). This seems to be very wrong. In some cases, glasses are not even put on the table until the soup has been cleared away.

* And when it comes to restaurants, do not tip your waiter (should you happen to be in restaurant in France, that is). The tip is factored into the total before you're billed and an additional tip is not expected.

Donc, voilà!

It's incredible how much can differ between two "first world," western countries!!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Happy Feast Day

Happy Feast of St. Nicholas!!!!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Nearly Noel

20 days until my 21st Christmas! How the time does fly!

This year will be the first Christmas I've spent away from home... but, fortunately, I won't be entirely without family. Rose and I will be spending Christmas week in the Swiss Alps!! I bought the train tickets yesterday. We'll arrive there the evening of December 23rd. It'll be so nice to see snow again (it's been in the 50's around here). :)

I'm way behind on Christmas shopping (the little I'm able to do this year, what with very little time to go shopping and very little money to go shopping with) - as in, I've hardly started at all - but I have ideas! :)
And in the meantime, I'm trying to make a good Advent of it...

Hope your Advents are off to a good start! God bless!

~Until the next time~

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

What About You?

Considering there are nearly 300,000,000 people in the U.S., I AM pretty "unique" after all, LOL!!
LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I hope everybody (at least, everybody in the States :)) has a very good Thanksgiving Day tomorrow! Unfortunately, I won't be having Thanksgiving celebrations over here, but that doesn't mean I've forgotten about it. So y'all have an extra good one for me, ya hear?? :)


Signing off from France~

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I Got Flowers Today!!!

Yes, I did! I got flowers today!! From a

Nevermind that the boy was five years old and they were lego flowers.
...Hey! You weren't supposed to read the fine print!

Had you going for a minute there, didn't I??

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Few Observations on the French Way of Living

These are just some things that I've noticed about life over here in France and wanted to "jot down" so I could glance back at them later... they are observations I have made based on staying with a few, unrelated, very different French families. All of these are to be taken preceded by "IN GENERAL." ;)

* The French have towels to dry dishes and towels to dry your hands. The distinction is very important. (I've never seen this in the States, but maybe that's only because I haven't lived with very many American families besides my own! :))

* The French eat until they are not hungry anymore - not necessarily until they're full. (Either that or they have smaller stomachs than we Americans, lol!)

* The French always have something to finish the meal - we would consider it dessert, but it is lighter and usually not as sweet as our standard desserts. Sometimes it's natural yogurt; sometimes it's bread and cheese; sometimes it's fruit.

* The French have their sweetest food of the day at goûter (their afternoon snack)... oftentimes, they have bread, jam or honey, chocolate, and water with "sirop" in it. (I have never seen any of them eat anything chocolate after dinner... and only rarely after lunch.)

* The French (are you keeping in mind that phrase: "IN GENERAL" ?? :)) start their work day later than Americans and end it significantly later. It seems that it is not unusual for the father of the family to get home at 8:30 pm... and in some cases, that's early.

* The French (at home) work consistently through the lunch hour and then break for most of the afternoon, getting into gear again after goûter (i.e. about 5 or 5:30 pm). I think this is much like the Mexican siesta... and, in my opinion, is quite humane. :D

End of observations for the time being... I'm sure there are others that I've thought of, but they elude me at the moment.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Back Soon!!

Hello from Gap, France!! I've spent the past week in Gap - a small city in the French Alps (très jolie!) and the week before that in a 13th century château 30 minutes outside of Lyon... also very pretty!! So it's been a rather adventuresome two weeks and the next week foretells more adventures, but I don't have much time at the moment. I hope to be back to relate a few of the highlights in the near future.

Until then, tout de bon!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Visit from the Stork ;)

Cook and Mary Campbell welcomed their little bundle of joy yesterday... a baby girl!!

Congratulations to the new parents!!

Thursday, October 19, 2006


A couple of my friends got engaged on Sunday! I'm so happy for them!! Here's to them! ;)

Congratulations, John and Sarah!! Best wishes!!

Bonjour de France encore! ;)

Hello all!

I hope you are doing well. I'm surviving my return to France. ;) My return finds me "out of work" and looking for a new family for whom to nanny. I've got at least one prospective family, maybe two, but things aren't looking as bright as they could. Fortunately, the first family for whom I was working is being VERY nice about it all and they are allowing me to remain in my apartment (which they were leasing for me) until I find a new position. Unfortunately, no work means no income and things in Paris are very expensive, so I'm hoping that this will be resolved soon. Still, I want to make the right decision and do God's will, so I'd appreciate a prayer that I will know what the Divine Will is. Thank you so much!

All in all, though, I'm doing well. It's good to be immersed in French again, even though it takes a little adjustment! But I want to learn French and the way to do it is by immersion, so here I am! :D

I'll be in Lyon next week and perhaps the week after as well, so if I'm not back to the blog for a little bit, never fear! :) I'll let you know how it goes...

Over and out!

(taken at the airport on October 15, while I was waiting for my flight to Detroit)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Life Continues

Joe and Linds made it to their home in *mumble, mumble* last night! They will now be out of pocket for about a week. ;) In the meantime, Mom, Rose and I spent about 4 hours mopping the reception hall... we really, really could've used a zamboni (ay, ay, ay)... and cleaning up after the reception. And today, we spent 12 hours going to, driving around, and coming back from KC. *yawn* LONG DAY!! Especially considering Rose and I were up until 2 am getting her packed for France... except that now she's leaving on Sunday, as am I! Life continues...

Please stay tuned! :)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph DeLallo

This evening, we bid adieu to my sister and my (now-)brother-in-law. They're on their way to Minnesota! So happy for them!!!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Just Married!!!

Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Joseph DeLallo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I now have a brother-in-law. My parents have a son-in-law. My sister has a husband... and 10 sisters-in-law... and a niece! Amazing what a few words can do. :O
Except, it's more than just a few words. It's so much more. But quite frankly, it's too late for me to delve into that subject! So I leave you with the promise of pictures when they are available. :)

Today was a beautiful day. It went off wonderfully - as far as I could see, from my rather biased point of view. :) We had a LOT fewer hitches than I was anticipating, so that was great! :)

But I'm EXHAUSTED, so goodnight! More later... ;)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Life Change

MY SISTER'S WEDDING IS IN 14.5 HOURS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She'll be married - a "Mrs."

It kind of sunk in today at the rehearsal. (Yeah, I know - it's only been coming for what? 5 months? And it's just now sinking in? *lol* That's Monica for you! :D) It's such a beautiful thing to pledge one's self to another. Love is self-sacrifice and that's what marriage is about. I have no doubt that Joe and Lindsey will run into some hard times, but the sacrament provides them with the grace to get through the sketchy areas, and it is my sincere wish for them that the good times will out-shine the bad!

An entirely new stage in their lives starts tomorrow. Wow.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


It is 12:15 am on Thursday, October 5 and there are now fewer than 63 HOURS until Lindsey's wedding!!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A New Look!!

Yes, it's true!!! After 18 months (18 months tomorrow, to be exact) of white-on-black, I'm going to have mercy on the eyes of my faithful readers! :) As I reach the bench-mark of 4600 hits (at least, 4600 since I got the counter ;)), I've decided to change my template!

Goodbye to the old:

And hello to the new:

Whaddya think?? :D

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Happy Birthday, Linds!!

Twenty-two years ago today my older sister was born... of course, I wasn't around to know this fact, but it is a fact just the same. :D Today, on her twenty-second birthday, I am in Paris, our other sister is in Normandy, half the family is at home in St. Mary's and the birthday-girl herself is on retreat in Phoenix!! (What a good way to spend a birthday, eh? Sounds good to me!)

So, I just wanted to wish her a happy birthday!! Her last birthday as a "single girl." :O

I hope this is a good day for you, Linds!! Best wishes for the next 22 years!!!!! :D I love you. God bless you always.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

This Time Two Years Ago

September 9, 2004... ...Rose was starting 11th grade.

September 12, 2004... ...we were celebrating Lindsey's 20th birthday.

This Time Last Year

Wow!! Was this really only a year ago?!?! It seems soooo long ago and almost as far away. (A bit of history for the photo: I was just having fun doing a "photo shoot" - something I love doing :) - with my bro and sis... I think Joey was falling asleep on me! :))

(Picture taken September 14, 2005.)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Hello from France!!

Hello, everyone!!

I left the States two weeks ago yesterday and arrived in France two weeks ago today! It's been a good two weeks so far, for the most part. Rose left home yesterday and has probably been in France for an hour or so as I write... that is, if she didn't miss two flights like I inadvertently did!! ;) Welcome to France, Rosie!!!

I've just updated my year-in-France blog, so if you'd like to see pictures of Cluny and an old chateau in the south of France and stuff like that, head on over to An American in Paris! :D See you there! :)

Au 'voir!
Monique :P

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Five, four, three, two, one... blast-off!!

Five days until I leave for France. FIVE DAYS!!! Wow. It doesn't really seem like it. (Except for the fact that I'm already packed - lol! :D) When I think, "this time next week, I'll know what my room there looks like," it kind of hits me. Wish me luck!! I think I'm gonna need it - and all the prayers I can get too. After all, it's FRANCE I'm going to. ;) (I'm just joking for those of you who happen to be French. :))

Anyway, I just thought I'd let y'all know that I've started yet another blog... this time to chart various adventures I have in Europe, especially in Paris. :) Click on over to An American in Paris. :)

August 24, here we come! :) TTFN!!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Joey's Golden Birthday

It's my baby brother's 17th birthday today!!! Wow! He's taller than me, stronger than me (duh) and the best bubba anybody could ask for... right now, though, he's in Wyoming. So I just wanted to wish him a Happy Birthday here! :)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JOEY!!! I love you!! (Hope you're not embarrassed by me putting it here for everyone to see. ;)) God bless you on your birthday, in your coming year, and always.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

My Days are Numbered!

Well, all, it's been two weeks since I posted last. I'm now 20 years old... and have 9 days before I leave for France!! Sounds ominous, doesn't it? ;) It's actually pretty exciting. And scary. The past fortnight has been spent getting ready both for the year in France and for Lindsey's wedding. I'm happy to report that we're making progress on both counts.
Adam and Christa got married on August 5. It was soooooo hot!! But I think it was a very pretty wedding nonetheless. They're on their honeymoon this week. Best wishes to the newlyweds!
Mom, Rose and I went to Chicago from August 7 to August 10 and came away with our visas for France. We really enjoyed our two day stay in Chicago and hope to visit again someday.
Linds came in from KC this past weekend. Rose and I hosted a bridal shower for her on the 12th. It turned out nicely, if you ask me. :) (Of course, there's always the chance that I'd be prejudiced. ;)) I hadn't seen Linds since before we went to Canada in June, so it was very good to see her again! She came in again for the feast of the Assumption and to look at the reception hall for the wedding. Dad and Joey are in Wyoming currently, so it was the girls at home this weekend. :)

...9 days and counting. I'll definitely keep y'all updated as to my adventures abroad! :D Wish me luck!!

Happy Feast Day to everyone!! I leave you with a few recent pictures...

Adam and Christa...

Rosie, right on the bay of Lake Michigan in Chicago

And a picture from the bridal shower

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


We've been in an oven lately. Just baking. And we're cooked. The past four days have all exceeded 100F, averaging about 102 degrees. That's strictly the temperature. Take into consideration the humidity and the heat index (i.e. what the body feels) is closer to 115. *wilts*

Our poor yard is all dried out. The grass is brown and dead. As I write, there is a heat advisory in effect.

The heat wave seems to be affecting nearly all the states, though. One source says that there have been 18 heat-related deaths in seven states because of the heat.

BUT relief is on the horizon! The high tomorrow is "only" supposed to be 92!! And the day after that, we'll be all the way down to 88. (We won't mention the fact that after that the temperatures are forecast to go back up... *sigh*)

Summertime continues in the Midwest.

Home Again, Part III

More photos from our Canadian vacation! :)

On July 7, we took a day-trip to Montréal (many thanks to Bill for making that possible!). Our first stop was at St. Joseph's Shrine, where Brother André lived and worked.
This is Mom, Rose and I looking tiny in front of the church of St. Joseph.
The view from where we were standing in the above picture...
We visited the church of Notre Dame de Bon Secours...
...which houses the tomb of St. Marguerite Bourgeoys...
Then, it was on to Notre Dame (of Montréal)...
...which was GORGEOUS!!!!
Afterwards, we went up to a lookout over the city...

On the 8th, we went sailing again...
...and watched Evening Primroses open. They open in about 30 seconds shortly after the sun goes down. It's incredible to watch them bloom!

On the 10th, we set out for a little sight-seeing around Canada's capital.
This is a look down the locks of the canal.
Rose, standing in the middle of a lock
We even took a touristy boat tour on the canal. :P

On the 11th, we went to Champlain's Lookout in Gatineau National Park (I think that's the name of it)... although the sunset wasn't splendid, the view was very nice.

On the 12th, we saw a production of Shakespeare in the Park - All's Well that Ends Well. It was QUITE well done!!

On the 13th, Rose and I took a bike ride (made possible by our tour guide Gregory :)) to see Joe and Marcel's work site. Here we stopped on Bate Island, on our way across the Ottawa River...
One of their current projects...

On the 16th, our last full day in Canada, Margaret made her first Holy Communion and was enrolled in the brown scapular.
In the afternoon, we went sailing one last time.

And on July 17, we flew home! The Kansas heat hit us full in the face... it was 102F when we left the airport and headed for home. We were a little reluctant to return home after such a good trip, but it had to be done. :)

I've now been back 2 weeks and have a little over 3 weeks before I leave for France. Life is pretty crazy around here, as I juggle preparations for two weddings, try to complete projects I agreed to weeks and weeks ago, and attempt to prepare my life for the European experience! ;) This is it for now.... thank you for visiting my blog! :)