Our Little Walker!
Katie (13mos) was taking a few steps around her birthday but the past couple weeks has really taken off! Now I'm chasing her all day and everywhere we go. Mass has gotten very challenging and even places like the baseball field become difficult as we follow her and make sure she doesn't tip over or eat something off the ground! She tends to have a constant bruise on her forehead, just like her siblings did in their early walking months. She's not really talking yet, just her favorite word, "Oh!" She's a very happy girl, except for the few days this year that she's had a fever or cold, which usually coincide with the breaking through of new teeth. She's cutting her third molar right now, poor baby!
Baseball and Ballet
We are keeping very busy with their activities after a couple weeks off for school Spring break (our own Spring break was this past week). In fact, I think both boys have three games this week! So that's six games in the next six days! I'm so glad Steven isn't traveling this week. Thomas is losing interest in baseball a little bit. He gets too tired standing "baseball ready." His K-Ball doesn't do scores or outs and they just run to one base during each play. So it gets a little boring while Steven Joseph's games are just starting to get exciting! Steven is still a focused and aggressive player. He plays short-stop but often tries to run all over the field playing whatever position someone isn't doing to his liking! The girls are preparing for ballet exams in a few weeks, so they now have practices each Saturday along with their other classes twice weekly. The recital will be in early June, so they still have awhile before intense preparations for that performance. Ellie and Steven have continued with weekly piano lessons, although Steven's interest is waning. He will start swim team as baseball winds down. I need to get some more photos of Steven Joseph and of the girls at ballet this week, but the above ones are pretty cute of Tommy's team!
Lent and Holy Week
seeing Cinderella after Confession
Moms supporting moms
Doing some schoolwork with the K kids while they were over
Dinner with the K kids
Playing egg hunt with friends whose mom just had a baby
The Great B Family Shoe Census of Good Friday
I always end Lent feeling like we could have done more. But we did make several weekday masses, we tried to work on our daily prayer, we worked on a bean jar of sacrifices, and we supported our friends in need of help during this season. We fasted and abstained from meat on the required days, which is very hard for our family. We started what we hope will be a monthly tradition of going to Saturday morning confession with friends, followed by a fun outing. This time we went to breakfast at Chickfila and then to see the movie Cinderella. We loved it! This past week we cleaned out the garage, several closets, my car, and had a big shoe census! We donated about 6 trash bags of clothing and shoes. I think that should be a Holy Week tradition. We're down to twice monthly with our cleaning lady, so we have to step things up a bit with our own chores around the house. The girls had their regular girls' club with their Lenten tea, and have also started their own little sewing club with some other friends. I've really enjoyed a few Mom's Nights Out, as we've been able to encourage each other so much during this hard time for our group. On Friday we attended the Good Friday Veneration of the Cross at our new parish, which was a beautiful service, although I was wrangling the two smallest ones. We're getting used to two hour Sunday masses, so this wasn't all that different, but just at a different time and on a day of fasting and abstinence which made it a bit harder. Steven's family held a Fish Fry on Friday night so that was our time to visit with his family. It has been a fruitful Lent for so many reasons, but we are so glad that it's Easter Time now!!!
He is Risen Indeed!
We decided to attempt the Easter Vigil Mass this year. For those blog readers who aren't familiar with it, the Easter Vigil is the longest Mass of the year, starting after sundown, and in our case lasting about 3 1/2 hours. It includes things like the lighting of the paschal candle and from it candles held by all those worshiping, 7 long readings from the Old Testament, many other readings, special prayers, and hymns, and the Baptisms, Confirmations, and First Holy Communions of new members of the congregation. It is a beautiful mass rich in the Traditions of the Church and one we haven't attended since having children. Our new parish also hosts a "St. Lawrence Grill" or a BBQ party afterwards, so we were there until 2:00am.
We knew this would be difficult, but we definitely underestimated just how difficult it would be. Katie and Steven slept for about the last half hour, but other than that the children were all awake and the youngest two were quite challenging. Our day had started with two baseball games, so we were outside from noon until about 4:30, a few of us getting sunburned, and then I ran a few errands and came home to quickly get everyone showered and dressed. We also had to stop at the grocery store on the way to church for some items for the party. We arrived 25 minutes early to the 8:30pm mass, but the church was already packed, so Steven sat with two of the older kids (and sometimes Thomas) near some friends in a pew. Mary Clare was in a folding chair at the back, and I was in the cry room with Katie and later Thomas. The church starts in darkness so we arrived to a dark church and shrieking baby while trying to find seats. The cry room babies seemed to be testing just who could shriek the loudest and attempt to wake the other children asleep in strollers or on the floor.
I spent some of my time in the vestibule, a few minutes in the back of the church with Katie in the Moby wrap, a lot of time with her outside in the piazza area, some time pushing her in a stroller, most of it in the cry room trying to keep her calm, and about half an hour in the pew as a headrest and drool spot for a sleeping Steven Joseph. At one point I took Katie into the bathroom with me. She found a paper cup and tried to drink out of it, knocked over the trash can, and tried to stick her hands in the toilet. At another point an older toddler tried to hug her (in the dark cry room), but instead tackled her straight to the floor which made her cry hysterically. Thomas did well overall with a few bribes of candy and a lot of Easter excitement. Katie was given a water bottle, cheerios, yogurt melts, and lots of nursing. I have always refrained from snacks in church until this child. With five kids, all my previous rules have flown out the window, especially during a long mass like this!
Needless to say, it was a very long and arduous mass. We also had runny noses and coughing kids, which didn't help. I'm not sure I really heard much of anything, except for that half hour in the pew. And we were too worn out to really enjoy the party afterwards, although we were grateful for a few minutes to visit with a family we hadn't met before. We had a very hard time recovering this morning! We are all still coughing and tired, but are so glad we could spend the day resting at home. And I'm glad we tried the Vigil mass so that now we know it's probably not the best idea for our family. I hope some of the beauty and rich Traditions will be remembered by the older kids, and we certainly had some special intentions to offer up as we faced those little challenges.
The quote of the night by Thomas:
About halfway through the Mass, "Daddy I think Mass is almost over because I already counted to 9000!"
I tried to no avail to get photos, so I will have to dress everyone up again next weekend!
And here a few photos of Easter day. We had my parents over and went out to a nice dinner. It was a lovely restful day, celebrating life, love, and family and the great gift of Our Resurrected Lord!
Happy Easter from our silly family!