Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey

This post was inspired by Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey written by The Countess of Carnarvon. Learn more about the family who lived in Highclere Castle, where the popular British series Downton Abbey is filmed. Join From Left to Write on December 17 we discuss Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

The winter time is my absolute favorite time to read books. A fire in the fireplace, the lights on the Christmas Tree twinkling, a blanket and a good book. Sounds pretty perfect to me. December’s book for From Left to Write is one that I am sure many of you would love to read, history buff or not.

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I’ll be the first to admit, I haven’t seen a single episode or moment of Downton Abbey, I would love to, but honestly I just don’t have time to watch any other shows. I do love history and will jump at any chance to read a book with some sort of historical significance. Since I can’t relate the book and the show I decided to pull from a part of the book I can relate too. Catherine was by no means poor or anti-social, but the changes to her life once she married Porchey were incredible.

I grew up in what I call a very “American” life. My parents backgrounds were pretty normal, spanish, italian and irish. We had a modest house and cars. I grew up in Vermont, but my relatives were all pretty much in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and California.

Then I met Nick, who is very Greek with many relatives still in Greece. Many of his family members speak only Greek, and the have many different traditions that I never even knew about.

I am still learning, even after 5+ years of marriage, on etiquette, the different food specialities, and I can barely speak the language, let alone understand it. But I wouldn’t change a thing.

There are some traditions in his family that I love. For Christmas, all the stocking items are from Santa, this includes some small and large items. All the presents under the tree are from friends and family. Santa was something I have struggled with since having B. This is the first year that he really understands what is going on. I want him to believe in the magic, but I also want him to know that Santa isn’t the be all end all magical man who gives you what you ask for no matter what. I also want him to know that family and friends love him and care about him enough to pick out a gift that he will love.

In my family almost all presents were from Santa, and I will say it was confusing when even the gifts at my grandmother’s house were also from Santa.

In my family, two Christmas traditions I love are Christmas Pj’s opened and worn on Christmas eve. And every year we would all get ornaments that were all similar but individualized. I love these special touches, and who doesn’t love new comfy pi’s?

I love the way we have blended our families traditions, and I am sure as B gets older other things will have to be blended and changed, but Nick and I respect each other’s traditions and we will always make it work.

What are your family holiday traditions? How did they change when you got married?

What makes a family?

This was not a post I was quite ready to share, but recent events have left me feeling like I wasn’t being honest with myself, or with you.

I know a lot of blog lurkers readers take issue with the fact that some bloggers make things seem happy and cheery all the time, even though we know they aren’t. I think that some things are inherently private, like your relationship with your significant other, your job or your children. Some items are just meant to be talked about with just that person, and some things are just too difficult to put on paper the computer.

I am falling into the latter when it comes to the subject of my family.  Every time I meet a blend in real life they are usually shocked when they find out I have 3 sisters, not 1. My two oldest sisters are my half-sisters as we have different fathers, my dad adopted them before my biological sister and I were born.

A lot of my upbringing was tumultuous and I don’t usually like sharing, so I am not going to share much here. Just know that my relationship with my two eldest sisters, is strained, at best. Recent nasty text messages that I received regarding my parenting have really got me thinking. What is family?

Everyone just keeps asking that I continue to be the bigger person and let it go, but when you have kids that all goes out the window. My immediate family is the most important thing to me, and I will do anything to keep them safe, and keep them from knowing people like this.

To me family are those that support you and love you. They can give you criticism and you can give it to them. No one is keeping score, it is a relationship where no one minds who is giving or who is taking in that moment.

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These guys are my family.

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These are who I call my brothers and sisters

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One day, he will be a brother too :)


These are my parents


This is a small sector of my wonderful friends

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I would be remiss to not include people I have met through social media & blogging. While I haven’t met you all in person, having your friendship and support is amazing.

Family to me is not blood. I think sometimes we let that cloud our happiness. If someone makes you unhappy, it shouldn’t matter that you were born into the same household. The only person you owe anything to is yourself.

Sorry for the heavy post today. Back to my antics tomorrow!