Which Way is Up?

As most of you know, we began this blog for two reasons: 1) to expand the kids’ horizons, open their minds and introduce them to other foods and cultures, and 2) to chronicle pieces of our family life, so the kids will always have these stories and memories. So this post, will focus on the life side of things; and it might explain our hiatus.

As we know life is full of ups and downs. First the down – because it must be written, for the kids. 

When we returned home from our trip, the day we returned home, we lost Charlie, our 11-year old kitty to a stroke. Needless to say, it is not what we expected to come home to after two weeks of making glorious memories. We had Charlie before the kids were born and have so many wonderful memories with this little, crazy guy. He was quite a personality and always playful. He would even play fetch, complete with bringing the toy back to you. When the kids were babies he would snuggle up next to them and was often found sleeping in Mr. N’s bed. Most of all though, he was my baby and this was a tough loss. Unexpected. Sudden. And too soon. Not to mention after having traveled across an ocean and being awake for more than 24 hours, it was also difficult to process. happy kitty

But, like with anything, time heals. We are all well now – especially the kids. Kids by nature live more in the present moment than us adults, making life’s downs a bit easier to process. Miss A wrote a poem, Mr. N talked it out and we all laughed at our favorite Charlie memory – “Pork Chop Charlie.” This little story happened before the kids were born, but it’s one that they know very well. Charlie loved pork chops. Not fish. Not milk. Not cheese. Only pork. Whenever pork was on the menu, you could be sure Charlie was lingering somewhere nearby.

Anyway, some years ago, Mike and I lived in a small apartment in the city. I was making pork chops, which in and of itself was a big deal as I didn’t cook much back then. I went out of the kitchen for a few moments and left the chops to fry up on the stove. I was only gone for a matter of minutes, but when I returned there was one less pork chop on the skillet. I did a double take and took a quick cursory look around. I was baffled. I had no idea what had become of the chop and was almost questioning my sanity, when I heard nibbling. I glanced over to the corner of the kitchen and there was Charlie and what was left of the pork chop. The little guy, who at the time maybe weighed five pounds, had dragged the chop out of the pan, off of the counter and down to the floor, and across the entire kitchen. From that moment on, we were a lot more vigilant with our pork. So this one is for him: sliced pork

And this one: Portuguese Stuffed Pork Chops

Now for the upside of things. First and foremost, a hearty congrats to ChefDad. After several years at his university and many, many more years of study and research, he received tenure that very same week. It’s a big accomplishment and we couldn’t be more proud of him! We did manage to sneak in a celebratory dinner and had an aged bottle of wine ready to go for the occasion, but sadly, we forgot to take pictures of those. So here is the proud associate professor on our recent adventure. professor

As for Miss A, well, she is her usual little self. Dancing, singing and climbing. She’s getting ready for her gymnastics “Olympics” event and can’t wait. Only a few more weeks to go! climbing

And then there’s Mr. N. He is keeping us quite busy. His latest show is for a theater company in the city. He’s performing in a production of Medea where he will play one of Medea’s two sons. The rehearsal schedule is intense and we’re just now entering tech week. That means 4+ hours a night and an 11-hour day Saturday. (For mom and dad this means lots of travel and sitting quietly in the back of the theater.) I do have to say that this has been an amazing experience for him. He’s learning a great deal and is truly enjoying himself. You can just see how much he loves this. Only one more week until opening night and he’s getting ready…Here’s his before shot: before

And here he is now (and what he’ll look like for the next 6 weeks!): after

He has even made the play-bill. Needless to say, he’s very excited and this has been a lot of fun! Medea

As for me, well, you can imagine everything is keeping me quite busy, but I’ve been having fun going through our pictures. We’ll be back later in the week with the first of our vacation posts. Any guesses where we were (and no chiming in if you already know πŸ˜‰ )? First stop: first city

Second stop: city 2

And final stop: city 3

36 thoughts on “Which Way is Up?

  1. ...the Island Girl! says:

    So sorry to read about your kitty. Losing a pet can be difficult, at best, and the fact that it was so sudden makes it that much more difficult. Thanks for the light, unencumbered view of family life. We empty-nesters some times need a vicarious fix of that; especially when those that have flown the coop are so far away. I try to visit here often but have so much to do, I really have to work at it. Consider that a compliment to you!


  2. Charles says:

    I could have sworn I’d commented here already… perhaps I just read the post already and meant to come back because I definitely remember reading through already.

    So sorry you had to come back from such an amazing trip to that :(. Must have been just devastating. Hits me especially hard since little Charlie looked so much like my Sammy who we also had to put to sleep around the same time as you know… bad times :'(.

    I know where you’ve all been so I’ll pipe down, but good luck to Mr. N and looking forward to reading your upcoming posts!


  3. Bam's Kitchen says:

    Dear Kristy, I am sorry for the loss of your kitty. Your family has been very busy and all great things. First congrats to the hubby! Miss A is so far up. I afraid a tad of heights so this would be a bit uneasy for me. Your son is a little star and so are you for time commitment. Break a leg little guy and can’t wait to read more about the play. Take Care, BAM


  4. A_Boleyn says:

    I’m so sorry to hear that Charlie passed away. He reminded me of my first and only cat, Muffy.

    Congratulations on your husband getting tenure. It’s a very important achievement, I know.

    And finally, the best of luck to your son on his 6 week role. I’m sure he’ll do a wonderful job.


  5. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles says:

    I’m so sorry for your family’s loss Kristy and grateful that we had a chance to connect off-line about it. I cannot believe that Charlie managed to drag a pork chop out of the pan and onto the floor to eat it at a time when he himself weighed less than a chop! ;-). That’s truly impressive. I took the opportunity to have another look at your Portuguese stuffed pork — that pomegranate sauce is just dreamy and I love your photos in that sequence. Looking forward to seeing more holiday photos and stories!


  6. thecompletebook says:

    Oh Kristy, I am so sorry to hear about your Charlie. How very sad and quite young for a cat. Sending you all a warm healing hug.
    What wonderful news about ChefDad thooug, congratulations on a wonderful achievement!
    Miss A and Mr N are always on the up and up – how wonderful, you must be so incredibly proud.
    Have a beautiful day Kristy.
    πŸ™‚ Mandy xo


    • Kristy says:

      Thank you Mandy. He was quite young. I think that made it even harder. That said, he was never quite the same after we lost his much older brother the year before. That seemed to take some of his youth. They were very close. And yes, I’m very proud of the kids – but mostly just happy that they are doing what they love. πŸ™‚


  7. ChgoJohn says:

    So sorry to hear of Charlie’s passing, Kristy.It’s never easy losing a pet, especially one that you’ve shared so much of your lives with.
    Congratulations Chef Dad — or are you now “Professor” Dad? Either way, this is very good news and something to celebrate. To say you’ve worked hard for this is, I’m sure, an understatement.
    Mr N is ready for his close-up and Miss A is just about ready for Everest. Never a dull moment at your house. πŸ™‚


    • Kristy says:

      It’s definitely never easy. Fortunately our little Chipper (who we got last year) helps. It’s almost as though he knew to step in to fill certain voids. Good little guy. And you are right – Mike certainly put his time and efforts in for this. Very proud of him. And you’re right, never a dull moment. I wouldn’t have it any other way!


  8. Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about Charlie. My husband lost his cat before we got married, and had a difficult time back then, so he doesn’t want to have any pet despite the kids REALLY want a puppy. It’s always hard to say good bye to a dearest family member…

    Congratulations to Mike! Yay!!! What a wonderful achievement!

    Happy to see your kids being happy and wow they are growing fast! Mr. N is a star now, but I’m sure you guys are so busy with his schedule. Always love seeing your family – warm up my heart. πŸ™‚


    • Kristy says:

      I can totally relate to your husband’s feelings. I had a dog when I was growing up and if it wasn’t for Mike already having a cat, I don’t think I would have wanted another pet. I’m glad I got past that though. πŸ™‚


  9. Norma Chang says:

    I too am sorry to read about Charlie, cute story about the pork chops. Congrats to ChefDad! Your kids, especially Mr. N are surely keeping you busy. Looking forward to reading about your trip.


  10. Jessica Maher (@kbelleicious) says:

    girl I am right there with you! Life is up and down and all around! Never feel like you are leaving us behind but always know we love hearing from you! Yeah for the Mr! Yeah for your amazing little actor and go Miss A for all your adventures! I love it all!


  11. Karen says:

    Your life has indeed been filled with ups and downs. So sorry about your Charlie…I’m sure he is missed by all of you. Your life seems to be very busy but I’m happy about all the very good things happening with the family.


  12. hotlyspiced says:

    That’s so sad about Charlie and I’m so sorry to hear this news. Eleven isn’t that old for a cat so what a shock you must have had. I’m glad the children are healing well. And I’m glad that you had a lovely holiday and I can’t wait for your holiday posts. Congrats to your husband on a great achievement and I’m glad you had a night out to celebrate. Miss A looks very brave – that’s a long way up. My Alfie does indoor rock climbing too and he goes right to the top and across the roof – I can’t look! Mr N must be so dedicated and talented. What a terrific experience for him. I’m sure he’ll do very well but good luck to you with all those rehearsals and performances – you’re a very dedicated mum! xx


    • Kristy says:

      Thank you Charlie. Miss A is terribly brave. I believe if given the opportunity she too would climb across a roof. It’s no surprise my gray hair started after she began gymnastics! πŸ˜‰


  13. Dawn says:

    I am so sorry about Charlie – we also have a cat (Millie) that Rich got me for my 30th birthday before kids), and she is such a part of the family. I know she won’t live forever, and wasn’t a kitten when we got her – we just hope she hangs on. So sorry for your loss – but so happy for you about Mike’s tenure!! What amazing news!! And – I can’t wait to hear about the show – what a great opportunity for him! I might be heading to Chicago with Rich in the beginning of June – I will let you know :).


  14. sallybr says:

    Devastating news about Charlie, I can imagine the shock of it all, returning from a great time and going through so much sadness. Life indeed IS a roller coaster sometimes

    Congrats on tenure! I remember very well when Phil got his tenure, years and years ago, we were not even dating but we worked together and I witnessed the whole process. The toughest hurdle to face in academia, glad he passed with flying colors!

    I am amazed at your Princess’ courage at the rock climbing – I am a wimp. I feel like a wimp.

    As to Mr. N, I hope he knows I am waiting for that autograph…. Loved his before and after shot, and the board with Medea – cool picture!

    So glad to see this post, I know it’s sad to lose a great four legged friend, that’s their problem, too short of a life span, and too much sadness when they leave us….


    • Kristy says:

      Thank you Sally. It was definitely a shock – and I couldn’t agree more. They do have too short of life spans.

      And yes – tenure was a hurdle. Major weight off the shoulders – we couldn’t be happier. I will tell Mr. N that you would like an autograph. πŸ˜‰


  15. Eva Taylor says:

    I’m so sorry about Charlie, even though the timing was bad, I’m thinking it was good to say the final farewells.
    I’m so impressed with Mr. N, such an accomplishment at such a young age; break a leg Mr. N.
    Congrats to Mike too, it must be such a relief in these uncertain economic times.
    I can hardly wait to read about your trip…no, I won’t spill the beans…yet!;)


  16. Sinfully Tempting says:

    What a lovely post. I am so sorry to read about Charlie. I can tell by your writing that he meant a great deal to you and your family. I must tell you, he looks identical to my girl, Snitch. It’s like looking at a photo of her!

    Beautiful photos, as always. Can’t wait to see more vacation posts! πŸ™‚


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