Friday, June 29, 2012

7 Quick Takes

 A last reflection on VBS last week.   
Actually it was deemed "Summer Religious Education Camp" since it's no "vacation" and more than "bible school."  The kids had a great week with their friends and it was fun to be out and about each day.  Working in the nursery with the toddlers was enjoyable but tiring; visiting with the moms in there was great.

Here's Thomas at the outside water table.

A S.O.L.T. priest came to talk with the kids on Friday.  He seemed very dynamic and a great teacher.  Steven Joseph even made it through the long talk!
What a gift this was for the children of our parish, especially as they lost a fellow camper and friend this week.  And a gift for Avery too, as God must have been preparing his heart for Heaven. (obituary link here)

A few images from our FULL Saturday.
SJ with his morning donut at the swim meet
I have a lot of swimming videos of the girls that hopefully I'll upload soon.  Or I may wait until next week when I'll hopefully have really good quality video!

Thomas and Cheetos at the beach

And a few more favorites adjusted by Instagram...

After reflecting on the tragic passing of our sweet friend Avery, I'm reminded of the blessing that brotherhood is.  My boys are starting to play together more, and I hope that I'm helping to encourage the friendships of all of my children.

A few brotherly photos...
Looking for PJs after dumping out all the laundry baskets (I actually got to this this week! Even though I never did my Monday Motivation post, we did accomplish quite a bit.)

brothers at the beach

brothers napping

Brothers chasing after a roach!  This has become a frequent morning activity, unfortunately.

and brothers watching the rain

Country roads.
Steven Joseph naps with a mini beach ball in his mouth while we brave the country roads checking out our neighboring towns last weekend.

I think they were harvesting the maize?  Steven wanted me to get a photo of this farm equipment because it was impressive to him for doing two different jobs.  He's the Ag major, I'm the ignorant gal from suburbia.

Toddler entertainment.
 Last night was a long evening at a Memorial Mass for little Avery.  Thomas was really tired, and started playing with the watermelon.  I gave him a knife and he was cutting this watermelon for over 20 minutes.  Steven remarked that it's too bad we couldn't bring something like this into Mass!  I'm surprised he didn't fall asleep on the table!

Date night with my girls!
After asking for ideas of rewards for doing chores in my last post, a friend mentioned yogurt.  We've only been to one of these places one other time about a year ago, so the girls were absolutely thrilled to have a little date with mommy tonight, visiting the frozen yogurt bar, Academy, and Half Price Books!

Special delivery!
My delivery is coming on Monday.  But the safety gear has started to arrive.  Can you guess what I'm getting?  My late Mother's Day present!  Hopefully the next few holidays will not require the purchase of a similar item.  Oh I can't wait to get my hands, and eyes, on this!!!

Have a blessed weekend, friends.  We'll be laying low with some family time and maybe a drive out to the beach.  Sunday evening begins the services for little Avery.  Please continue to hold his family in prayer.  The huge amount of love and prayers from my Facebook friends is so heartwarming and I know the family appreciates all the support they are getting.

And now, I must post since in 5 minutes it won't be Friday anymore!  More Quick Takes at Conversion Diary!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

+Avery Jude+

Friends from our parish here have experienced a horrible tragedy in their home.  While furniture was being rearranged, their 6yr old son, Avery, jumped off the couch, grabbing and pulling the marble mantel down on top of himself.  His best friend and older brother witnessed the accident and said he "saw Avery's soul leave his body."

They are a family of great faith, but after watching several friends walk this road, we know it is not an easy one.  May Our Lady cover them in her mantle of peace, may God the Father give them the strength to face each new day, may Jesus Christ hold them close to his Sacred Heart, and may the Holy Spirit continue to give them signs that Avery is experiencing the eternal JOY of Heaven.

Requiescat in pace, Avery Jude.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Utter Exhaustion

I keep thinking it's almost the weekend because the last few days have held enough activity and drama for a week or more.

After a week of VBS, we literally dove into the weekend with a swim meet, then the beach, then some time at the pool on Saturday. Then, instead of a quiet Sunday at home, we spent several hours driving around looking at neighboring towns and local subdivisions. That's been our fun weekend activity of late, to feel out where we might want to buy a house. We drove until I was seriously feeling carsick and my husband was asleep.

On Monday morning, we hosted a book club here with 6 moms and 23 children in all! Crazy! Just as the lunchtime chaos was finishing up, I left my older kids at home with the friends still here, and rushed off to my first dental cleaning in 2 1/2 years. With Thomas. (Yes, that was a bad idea, but I had a plan that included a sleeping baby in a stroller I couldn't find.)

The best part of the visit: the kind receptionist who was encouraging those of us in the waiting room that we'd never regret having another baby. She was sharing about how much she loved growing up in a big family and how close she is with her siblings.

The good news of the visit: my track record of healthy teeth continues! I really thought my luck was going to have run out. But I've got to get to an orthodontist to get my permanent bottom retainer wire put back on. My fancy electric toothbrush loosened it more and more until it fell out.

The worst part of the visit: Thomas waking up in his stroller in the middle of my cleaning. He was hysterically crying and scared of all the equipment and people wearing masks! No stickers, Oreos, nursing or holding him would help, so they finished my cleaning while he sobbed in my lap.

I came home to a zoo of a house with my kind friends trying to help clean up. But 23 kids=a huge mess! Somehow I threw together quesadillas for dinner before collapsing into bed before anyone else in the family. Only to be woken up maybe 10 times in the night with kids who were thirsty or crying.

So what better way to continue my week than to take all four kids to the dentist Tuesday morning? At 8:00am. Instead of the 1:00pm for which we were actually scheduled. They graciously offered to squeeze in two of them. I misplaced the paperwork they'd mailed, so I spent half an hour filling that out while my kids had one of their first experiences with video games in the waiting room. They were so loud yelling at each other and the games, I could hardly think straight. I'm guessing at least one of the kids was given the wrong birthdate or phone number on the forms!

The kind office staff once again went out of their way and were able to fit the boys in after the girls had been seen. It took two hours in all, and Thomas wanted nothing to do with the evil mask-wearing, teeth-checking people, and was screaming hysterically again. I had to bribe Steven Joseph with a toy.

So let's continue the adventure and take the crew to Academy for the pool toy for SJ and Puddle Jumper floaties for Thomas! Why not? Let's throw in a beach ball, too. Maybe I'll survive the afternoon swim outing after all.

The kids were whining of hunger when we got back in the car, so a stop for a healthy (haha) snack at Sonic might help. Wrong. I got our grease and sugar and was ready to pull out and rush home before the much awaited swim lesson and pool playdate. But the car wouldn't shift out of park and some dash lights came on.

Daddy came to the rescue and after some time, he was finally able to disengage the dash lights and get the car to move. We drove it over to the dealership and are still awaiting diagnostics.

So as to not ruin our lunchtime plans, Daddy rushed us over to the pool where more kind people had mercy on me. The swim teacher gave SJ his first swim lesson even though we were over an hour late, and we all wore ourselves out in the sun! My ever-generous neighbor friend who I'll never repay drove us home so I didn't have to walk in the 100 degree heat. So thankful for that. I think SJ actually ended up with some heat exhaustion and spent the evening and entire night with fever and/or crying. Another great night's sleep for mom!

So now we're stuck at home without a car and I couldn't be happier. I'm hoping the rest of the week is much less eventful. We started the day off with poop in the tub, so it can only get better from here, right? I'm thinking of creating some great bribe to get the kids to do some chores, or at least pick up the wet swimwear and towels that are all over the house. Any ideas for rewards?

If you've made it this far, you are a true blog devotee and I thank you for humoring me with your readership. And now I must finish this post typed with my thumbs on my phone that I started last night. I think the animals might need to be fed. There will be a reward at the end of this week for all of you, but especially for me. It has something to do with my camera conundrum I've been whining about for months! Oh I can't wait! Hope your week is going better than mine!

Friday, June 22, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday

I'm still here.
Hey look!  It's me!  It's been a whirlwind week with no time for blogging!  We've had lots of whirlwind weekends, but this week we've continued our busyness and I'm looking forward to things settling down in the coming days!

Just posting their portraits here, in case they get lost.  Blog memories forever!  So glad we got these done this year.  They've never had professional portraits taken for ballet, and these turned out beautifully!

Swim team.
The girls are enjoying swim team!  Last weekend was their first meet.  It was SOOOO different than the ones back home.  Very low-key.  We didn't have to be there until 8am, and they were finished in about 2.5 hours!  The teams are so small; the girls got to swim all kinds of events and even got 2 ribbons each.

posing with their sharpie-d numbers on their forearms

the pool was at a beautiful park!

Grampatti and BopBop were here!
We had a wonderful visit, but a quick one.  They stayed downtown for their 50th wedding anniversary, but we got to share some lovely adventures visiting at home, out to eat, at the swim meet, the hotel pool, and the...

USS Lexington!
Steven took his dad to see the aircraft carrier.  He left his mom and I with the 4 kids at the indoor-outdoor hotel pool and accidentally took my phone, and didn't tell me they were leaving!  They had a great time.  And as soon as I got the kids out of the pool, up to the hotel room, dressed, dragged the crying one to the car, loaded up, and got home for a nap...we survived, too!  Really, I'm glad they got a nice father/son outing the day before Father's Day, especially since I had no energy for anything special for Father's Day.

Anniversary dinner.
Steven grilled steak and chicken for his parents.  We had a very nice dinner!  The kids and I made cake balls and candy-covered pretzels and bought them a big Esperanza plant and they made some homemade cards. 

Happy 50th to a wonderful couple!  We are so blessed!  Aren't they great?

After dinner was the typical evening of girls dancing, and boys throwing a baseball across the room!

Tomorrow (today) is the last day of VBS.  I'm working the nursery, which has housed between 10 and 16 toddlers at a time, with usually one crying, one stinky, and one hitting.  Quite a riot!  I was supposed to teach a lesson to the older kids today but had a serious confusion that ended up in a big headache for the other volunteers because of my mistake.  And I made someone mad because we showed a movie to the toddlers.  But I survived the day, and almost the week.  Ready for weekend, please!

Thomas concentrating hard on his watercolor painting of a Mary image.

Lots of kids having lots of fun at VBS this week!

Yay, summertime!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday Motivation

Let's see...looks like I succeeded at 4.5 goals!  Actually I had at least one dinner fail night on the day that Thomas was puking again.  We also ate out a couple times this weekend, so maybe my meals should've only counted for .5 too!  Two evening meetings, plus grandparents coming into town for the weekend, and first swim meet gave us a busy but fun week!  Now we've started VBS today and will have another fun-filled week :-)
Monday Motivation Review
10 Goals for June 11-17
 Prayer and Community
1. Send email about new book club for homeschool moms
2. Pick a scripture for the week, and pray a rosary decade with the children
3. Schedule a visit with the Carmelite Sisters
4. Attend one fitness class
5. Get to bed before midnight and wake at 7 when Steven and the girls leave
6. Plan weekly meals
Mon-frozen pizza, Tues-pork loin, Weds-baked chicken, Thurs-enchiladas, Fri-calabaza con pollo, Sat-grill, Sun-leftovers

Home Management and Homeschool
7.  Call summer piano teacher
8.  Start new school year planning and decide on curricula for a few subjects
9.  Schedule dental appt
10. Schedule check-ups/find doctor


Monday Motivation
10 Goals for June 18-24
 Prayer and Community
1. Start reading book club book
2. Pick a scripture for the week, and pray a rosary decade with the children
3. Schedule a visit with the Carmelite Sisters
4. Attend one fitness class
5. Get to bed before midnight
6. Plan weekly meals
Mon-leftovers and salad, Tues-spaghetti, Weds-pasta bake, Thurs-enchiladas, Fri-baked chicken and rice, Sat-grill, Sun-leftovers

Home Management and Homeschool
7.  Call summer piano teacher to reschedule our appt
8.  Start new school year planning and decide on curricula for a few subjects
9.  Make list of summer boredom activities for the kids!
10. Schedule check-ups/find doctor

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Long weekend in Houston

Maybe one day I'll start writing again, for now it's just pictures since this is our one and only family "album!"  Here are photos from our long weekend in Houston.  We had a great time seeing family and friends!

We made a little stop at The Woodlands Mall, before visiting 3 friends that first evening.  One was a last-minute stop at our friends' the O's new house and the other was dinner over with the K family, before we finally settled for the night at the N's and spent the next morning there for Pickwick.  It was so great to get to visit with so many of our homeschooling friends and be back in our old stomping grounds for a bit!

 They all enjoyed the Lego store!

This is supposed to be Uncle Brice and Aunt Allison, love it!

While the girls were at their girls' club, I took Thomas and Steven and Steven's friend J to two different parks!

Oh how I miss me some Woodlands parks...

On Friday afternoon, we went to my parents' house where T got right down to business in the car here.

Many a Bailey baby has been bathed in this big bathtub!  The boys played in here forever!

We spent the next two nights out at Little Way Farm.  Here's T enjoying some swinging...

And loving their tiny sweet Annie Dog, a teacup Yorkie.  SO cute!

 Lots of time for biking

And I'll have to upload the video of him making baby sounds for little Miriam.  It was the cutest thing EVER!  He would brrrr his lips and she would cooo at him :)

Saturday night was the ballet show from their old studio.  The girls did NOT want to miss this performance.  They were so excited to see their old friends and pass out pink roses to their classmates and teachers. It was a wonderful show about Creation and the Savior.  I admit that the ballet numbers they would have been in were beautiful and brought tears to my eyes!

Oh how we miss all of our sweet homeschooling friends, such precious girls!

We made it to 7:45am Mass on Sunday (love that German painted church), and then out for breakfast.  The kids then went straight out to the henhouse to collect the eggs!

Thomas did some writing...

And then we were off for another quick visit with NeNe and PaPa, with a stop at the pool.  We didn't get to see Steven's side of the family, but his parents arrive here tomorrow to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary!  We'll be back to visit very soon when my brother is back from his deployment and we finally get to meet his babygirl in early July.  Can't wait!

Still, it was nice to get home and sleep in our own beds.  The trips are still hard and still make me homesick, but each one gets a little easier.  We're getting lots of visitors this summer and are keeping busy with our summer activities.  We're starting to look at different areas here to consider possibly buying a house later this year.  I was hoping we'd just rent for awhile and then move back home, but I'm slowly coming around to the possibility that God may have other plans for our family here for a bit longer than that.  We'll see what He has in store.  Houston will always be "home," I think, because it's filled with family and friends that warm our hearts.  But our little family is enjoying the fun and the sun here at the beach!!!
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