Friday, May 01, 2015

Seven Quick Takes Friday

Sports and Ballet

The baseball season has been extended due to all the games that were rained out, which totaled about SIX! This week alone, Steven Joseph has four games scheduled! Thomas just has two. Steven's team is having a hard time after quite a winning streak at the beginning of the season. They don't do scores or outs for Thomas' age group, but he played first base for the first time this week and got TWO "outs!" The girls have their ballet exam on Friday, which is kind of a big deal, but I know they'll both do great and it'll be nice to not have Saturday exam classes to manage in the midst of baseball games and other events (lots of sacraments for family and friends this season!). We'll have a little break before the dance recital prep begins. Swim team practice has begun, but we haven't been able to make many of them due to weather, baseball, and sickness.

Adding a photo from before their ballet exam, since I'm still writing this post on Friday night! They did great today!

Sacraments and Church

We attended the beautiful baptism of a friend's new baby last weekend. It was a lovely afternoon in fellowship with many amazing families. I haven't shared much here about our parish change, but we've moved to a church that is part of the Anglican Ordinariate of the Catholic Church. It was created for former Anglicans who become Catholic and those who choose to worship in that tradition. Our pastor was formerly an Anglican priest and is also married with young children! There is definitely a different dynamic to the parish, a different style of worship (Old English wordage and some different prayers), and music that isn't quite as familiar to me. That said, it is still beautiful and reverent and a very prayerful, holy, and vibrant church. We felt the community life it offers is great for our family right now and we already knew quite a few families who are members.

Although it wasn't our reason for changing parishes, I do also like that this parish tends to be much more willing to confer the sacraments at younger ages (1st/2nd grade for First Holy Communion and middle school for Confirmation). This will allow our girls to receive confirmation in the next few years rather than in high school like the local parishes, and our boys to receive Holy Communion earlier if we so choose. There are several dioceses in the U.S. which are returning the Sacraments of Initiation to their original order of Baptism, Confirmation, and then First Holy Communion. The Bishop of Honolulu has just issued a letter that his diocese will return to this original order. He explains that, "Confirmation is often experienced more as a graduation from the Church than as a free gift of God’s grace." Sadly, I've felt like this is the attitude of many Catholic parishes these days, asking so many years of classes and retreats before one is "allowed" to receive these sacraments.

Some of my non-Catholic readers might wonder why this would be so important? What does it matter the age a person receives a Sacrament? As Catholics, we believe that the Sacraments are one of the primary means that we receive God's grace. Grace helps us to live as good Christians, follow God's laws, and hopefully help us reach Heaven (salvation only by God's grace through faith manifested in good works). This is why Sunday Mass and receiving Holy Communion are so important to us. Baptism for young babies (ours are usually 1-2 weeks old) is vital for us as we want them to be filled with grace, belong to Christ, be members of the Church, and be free from Original Sin as soon as possible. So as a parent, I want my children to have every opportunity to receive God's grace, to grow close to Him, and to live holy Christian lives. I believe that receiving these sacraments as early as the Church allows can help them to do so.

I love this antiphon that is sung during the Holy Water distribution at the beginning of mass during the Easter season: "I saw water coming forth from the temple, on the right side alleluia: and all those to whom this water came were saved, and shall say alleluia, alleluia."

Daddy and St. Joseph

Steven has been working so hard. He's often traveling or working very late 1-2 nights each week and is usually gone from about 7am-7pm on normal days. Our late evenings and weekends are treasured times as we soak in Daddy Time, especially the boys. A couple weeks ago, Steven was able to go on a little fishing excursion during one of his business trips where he had his best catch ever (besides me, he says!), a 29.5-inch speckled trout.

Today is the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, and I am just so grateful to St. Joseph for always leading Steven and our family. Steven got his first adult job on this feast 14 years ago, and we got engaged on that day. Steven's middle name was given to him as he was born on Labor Day, which apparently used to be St. Joseph the Worker day.  I'm so proud of our family's "St. Joseph" who has worked very hard day after day for so many years.  He has been blessed with an amazing job that he so deserves, and today we are especially reminded of how thankful we are for it.

Fun with Friends and Family

We don't see Daddy as much during the weekdays, but we are thankful that we get to see my parents once or twice a week for outings, and we also have wonderful neighbors and friends to hang out with. The T family two doors down often takes my boys once or twice during the week, and sometimes we play outside in the evenings when we don't have activities. The dad made this really cool giant bubble maker, and this week the mom had my boys over for a "mud fest" in the backyard! So fun! We've also been having park days with our homeschool friends, and we try to attend the new noon mass on Wednesdays at the local parish. Last week though, I had such a hard time with Thomas that I decided to let a friend take the oldest three this week while I stayed home with the two youngest. Thomas and I had a nice time playing together and although he "hates" mass right now, he wanted to "play" mass in the living room with me using the little mass kit I made.  It was nice to have our own little prayer time even though we weren't at church that day. I just feel so blessed to have these loving friends who are willing to make the extra effort to allow both the children and adults to share in these little opportunities of fellowship and joy!

Busy mama

I just can't seem to pull it together with my eating and exercise! I started the Couch to 5K program but didn't finish the second week last week and can't find the time to exercise this week. The baby was sick, the baseball games were many, the schoolwork must get done, the children must eat, the knee is really hurting, and the mama is just so tired. I can't even find the time to sit at the computer and blog but every week or so. I'm hoping I can get into a better routine this summer. Maybe I'll jump back into the C25K next week. We will see.  And's a serious problem that Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers is right down the street. We just haven't been home for very many family meals recently with all the evening activities and late work nights. A good goal for summertime! (Everything will be better in summer, right?)

Projects: Saint Pegs and Dog Grooming

Although I'm not exercising much, I do feel like I'm running my own little races all week long...holding the fort down, schooling, dealing with sick kids, shuttling to three sports, and then doing crafts like the saint peg dolls! We had an exchange last weekend, and I plan to do a whole blog post about it, but aren't these just adorable! I had so much fun painting these, and the girls were a big help with it too.

A little sneak peak of the saint table!

I even had another fun project this week of trying to groom the dog! That is not an easy task. He freaked out when I tried the clippers so I had to use scissors. Leo is enjoying the sunshine-y days like the rest of us! I really do love having a dog again. Once we curb his dashing-out-the-front-door, and his other puppy-type behaviors, he will be an even better dog! He's pretty cute, isn't he?

Other little moments.
My posts tend to be a mix of all the big things going on with us right now, and little snapshots into our daily life. Here are a few more of them...

Steven reading "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" to Katie

Sweet baby girl at the park last week.

Ellie's big birthday gift was this desk she had been wanting from IKEA. It was a labor of love assembled by Daddy, and she's now able to use it for crafts and schoolwork.

Those moments that make you so grateful for this incredible life. Three happy kids being silly in the bathtub. I hope these children will grow up to be friends and remain close long after I'm gone. 

Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend!
Read more quick takes over at Kelly's: This Ain't the Lyceum!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A decade for Ellie

 At 14mos (Katie's Age)

Our beautiful Elizabeth Ann Marie turns ten today! It's hard to believe we've already had a whole decade with this sweet girl. She is full of life and love...always daydreaming, always dancing, always willing to lend a hand.  

Her room tells her story. It is filled with all the treasures a girl could love...crafts, magazines, candy wrappers, and all kinds of little trinkets and memories. And now it holds the desk she's been wanting for months. Daddy agreed to a family trip to IKEA on Sunday (his "penance"), and spent almost three hours assembling the desk Monday night before he left on a business trip. Now she has a place to craft and draw, and maybe, just maybe, finish her schoolwork ;-)

We love you, Ellie Ann, and hope your second decade is even better than the first! We can't wait to share it with you. May God's hand always guide your every step, and His Mother's mantle cover you and your precious heart.  Happy Birthday!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

So Much Crazy

 (I wanted everyone to wear their Easter clothes so I could take a photo, but only 3/7 of us ended up in the same clothes this Sunday! At least I got one decent shot and a cute one with the grandparents!)

This season of spring sports and finishing school and having colds and a teething baby and a traveling daddy is a bit rough. We've all recovered from the crazy Easter weekend and the latest cold viruses. We got to enjoy this past weekend together, with a busy Saturday including two baseball games, a ballet practice, and a trip out to the farm for the others while the baby and I rested at home with my parents and later with my friend Beverly.

Sunday mass was a bit reminiscent of the Easter Vigil due to another standing-room-only crowd for a group First Holy Communion mass.  Neither Steven nor I got a seat. The big girls sat with friends and Steven Joseph sat with my parents who came to visit the church. The cry room was total insanity with shoes and colored pencils flying, lots of loud talking, and a mic system that wasn't keeping up with the noise level! We retreated to the vestibule, but couldn't hear in there either. Thomas pretty much throws a fit before church every Sunday, whines during it, and Katie Grace is now loud and active, so I think this is going to be our Sunday mass situation for awhile.  It's all about the grace though; thankfully we get to receive Holy Communion, whether we can follow the mass or not!

On Monday, Steven headed out of town on a work trip, and we were back to school. I was saved by "my Maria" the cleaning lady, otherwise I think I would be losing my mind. I also started back with the Couch to 5K program this week, so hopefully that will keep my mental and physical health in check. We were triple-booked for evening activities with swim team, baseball, and ballet. We skipped swim team (after an attempt to at least buy his gear, but the one-day "swim store" wasn't opened yet), dropped the girls at ballet, and arrived at baseball practice just as the youngest two kids fell asleep. I figured I'd just stay in the car since I had a decent view of the batting cages. But the ending time for his practice came and went, and his team was nowhere to be seen, and I still had a sleeping preschooler. I tried a frantic text to some other moms on the team who I don't really know, but ended up schlepping the cranky, fussing 4yr old and hungry baby around the ballpark to find them practicing on the k-ball field. We got home at 8pm, and thankfully the girls had a ride home from ballet.

We had a little scare that night when SJ got out of the shower and showed me the GIANT bug bites all over his legs. He had about eight, and they were huge, hard, red, and hot. I got some topical creams put on him and hoped for the best (no big reactions, so I think he's okay). After an evening nap, I knew Thomas wouldn't be able to fall asleep with the others, so I let him stay up and watch some Netflix shows. The only problem was that I fell asleep around 11pm before turning off the computer. SJ woke up crying about his itchy legs at 5am, so I got some more medicine on him and went to make sure Tommy was soundly asleep in the living room. WRONG! Yes, I do win Mother of the Year! My 4yr old watched TV until FIVE O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING. I think I probably shouldn't admit this, but oh well. He fell asleep immediately and slept until 10:30am.

Things could only go up from there, right? Tuesday wasn't too bad; I actually got a haircut! That is, I gave myself a haircut which had to be fixed by the 12yr old after she took a photo of it for me and I realized how bad it was. The haircut was done with dog scissors, because they're the newest and sharpest scissors in the house! We were about 10 minutes late to piano in the afternoon, but that was because I got a last-minute offer by a friend to keep Thomas and let MC come over to help. The teething baby would hardly nap all day, until right when I needed to take SJ to swim practice. I left the girls to watch her at home, and let the boys bike down the street while I walked. The lack of sleep started to hit Thomas while I was letting him ride his bike around parts of the pool parking lot (they're doing "dry land" practice). He wanted to bike around the parts of the parking lot where I thought there were too many moving cars, so he just cried and fussed for about 15 minutes and continued all the way home.

Tommy Boy had a dinner of strawberries while I baked a (frozen) lasagna for the rest of us. He fell asleep at 8pm, so hopefully he will catch up on sleep. Katie, on the other hand, would not go to sleep. I tried about three different times, tried the stroller, and tried letting her play. But it was after 11pm before she finally crashed.  Typical day-in-the-life, with maybe a little more crazy thrown in for good measure the past few days! We only have about a month left of school, so we are anxious to finish things up and have a nice summer break! Right now, though, there are quite a few things I need to get done, so here is my very-late-night checklist to refer to...

1. Two items to the tax guy
2. Locate math solutions manual and catch up on grading MC's math
3. Complete grading for last semester and mail the work items and report cards to the consultant
4. Make sure MC is caught up on current work that the grader needs
5. Three returns to Amazon
6. Two returns to local stores
7. Just noticed that I'm supposed to bring snacks to Wednesday game (if not canceled)!!!
8. Wednesday Noon Mass?
9. Friday 4-H and Park Day
10. Confession, Baseball, and Ballet on Saturday
11. Start making peg saints for the exchange!
12. Re-enroll with MODG for next year

And I'm finally posting this late Wednesday night/Thursday after about 24hrs of trying to get my computer to load the photos! It finally worked. We did make mass today, made it to the store for baseball team snacks, and Daddy made it home! Inching closer to the weekend and to summer break! Thanks for following along with my rambling.

And some snapshots from the past week...
Top row: watching another game as we left the ballpark, Katie loved the car at a friends', moms hanging out, and the Resurrection Tea we put together for their girls' club
2nd row: two photos of the lake at our friends', Katie enjoying some baby toys, and exploring nature outside the dance school
3rd row: Couch to 5K with Leo, mega bites on SJ's legs!, Tommy not happy during brother's swim practice, and Katie refusing to sleep
4th row: my trainer following me and encouraging me to run faster, MC's flower arrangements made it a week!, sleeping angel baby, and a selfie found of MC :)

Thursday, April 09, 2015


~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
Every Thursday, at Like Mother, Like Daughter!

Spring has sprung here in Texas, and we've been enjoying some outdoor adventures! 

A few Sundays ago we attended our old parish downtown for their 145th anniversary mass with the Cardinal. It was a beautiful mass and nice to visit this church again.

Afterwards we had brunch on the Waterway with some friends and had a little impromptu photo shoot. It was one of our first nice sunshiny days.


A gorgeous day at the park last week!

{funny} and {real}

It has been a crazy week so far, starting with the 4:30am bedtime for me after the Easter Vigil. We've had some kind of cough/allergy/virus, keeping adults and kids up at all hours of the night and are 1/3 of the way through our SIX baseball games of the week! I just got an email that swim team dry land practice starts on Monday for Steven Joseph, at the same time as his baseball and the girls' ballet class.  I am ready for a slow summer schedule! 

Some funny and real moments of the past few days...

When we finally started the front yard egg hunt on Sunday, Leo escaped down the street! Naughty doggy!

We also had a little scare when the kids left this in the backyard and the dog had some GI issues but was thankfully okay. No chocolate for doggies!

Tommy's first of three games this week

He finally earned the game ball this week!
Big brother was very proud. 

Someone fell asleep on the way to big brother's game last night.
He doesn't really fit in this stroller! 

Our house is pretty much falling apart, but hopefully we're getting closer to the possibility of renovating or moving. Just one example of the crazy things that happen in this house...

 Woke up this morning to this happy baby who was putting my necklace on and babbling away!

I've had to use couches to barricade the doorways so I'm not chasing down the baby all day long. The rest of us are having an interesting time getting around the house!

Happy Easter Week, friends!
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