Friday, June 28, 2019

I'm officially over a year behind...

We finished the school year 2018-2019 in mid-May (grades 3, 5, 8, and 10), and I started this post 6 weeks ago! My previous blog post is chronicling Mary Clare's trip to Hawaii last May! Since then we had a fun-filled summer 2018 and welcomed toddler sisters into our home. We cared for them for about 4.5 months before they moved back with family. It was a defining experience for our family in so many ways. During that time we dealt with various illnesses and took a trip to San Antonio, navigated the world of CPS, started a new year of school, baseball, and ballet, celebrated some birthdays and prepared for the holiday season. The little girls moved back with their family right before Thanksgiving, and the whole thing felt fully orchestrated by God. We are still in contact with their family and have had them over to visit a few times since then. We are grateful to have been a little bridge to help their family through a trying time.


Over Christmas break, we traveled to Colorado for our first skiing adventure in Durango/Purgatory! We once again faced illness during our vacation (stomach bug for the two youngest in a rental condo in the mountains was no fun), but we had an incredible time and look forward to another snow trip in the future. The big girls went back to Washington DC in January for the March for Life with their youth group. They also joined the junior company at their ballet school, and have gotten to dance at outreach events and even in downtown Houston. Katie is always singing and dancing, and she enjoyed her second year of ballet with Ellie assisting her class. (She's also about to lose her first tooth any day!) All three girls performed in their annual production in early June, "Awaken," from the Book of Revelation. Mary Clare is now 16 and has her driver's license, which is a welcome new step for our family as my driving duties as evening chauffeur are eased a little bit.


The boys have continued to do well on their baseball teams, with Steven on a select team with friends this year and Thomas playing on the Little League and All Star teams again. Peter turned two in November and loves his plastic bat and tee, firetrucks, farms, and enjoys riding his little "Piki Piki" motorcycle he got for Christmas. I took all three boys to an Aggie baseball game and spring football game one Friday night, where they got autographs from various baseball and football players and basically had the best night ever. I got some major mom brownie points for that! Steven Joseph got to take a big business trip with Steven to Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming last August. Both big boys have also been able to altar serve at our new parish, which is such a blessing!


My parents moved to a newer home around the corner last spring, and we sold our old house at the end of last summer. It closed the door on a beautiful season of life, remembering when we bought the house from dear friends in 2007 when we only had two little girls, and sold it in 2018 when we had six children! We lived in the house 5 years, had tenants when we lived in Corpus Christi for 3 years, moved back for a year, and then my parents spent two years there after we moved one neighborhood over. That house holds many precious memories that will always be with us.


I took a trip to California in October with Ellie and Peter to visit my brother's family in San Diego and attend a Catholic women's conference in L.A. I also hosted a beach weekend for homeschool mom friends in February. In May, I went to another women's conference, the Fullness of Truth Genius Conference at the Hyatt Lost Pines in Bastrop with three girlfriends. I had a lovely time at each of these getaways, being refreshed and renewed throughout my 11th year of homeschooling. My brother returned from a deployment, and his family visited in April for the first time in over 3 years, and it was a true gift to have them here with us for a few days. Steven and I took a two-night getaway to Granbury as an early anniversary trip in late June where we went antiquing, ate at local restaurants, and enjoyed our lakeside B&B. There were lots of fun little getaways the past year! And we're planning for a couple short trips to the coast this summer. 


The past year has brought about some challenges too: a broken hand for Steven Joseph, forehead stitches for Peter, some medical tests and concerns for Steven and me, at least 3 stomach viruses, cases of mono, strep and the flu, various skin infections, and as seems to be the case every year, the losses and illness of various friends and family. It seems like we attend several funerals a year and pray for a few new cancer sufferers each year. I continue to be inspired in my motherhood by the loss of my friends Kelly and Beverly. Even on days when I'm spent from the demands of life, I can look to them and remember how much they desired to watch their children grow up and what a great privilege it is. I am so grateful to have those heavenly friends as well as many earthly friends to surround me. We meet to do things like watercolor painting and cookbook supper clubs, and I love each of them so much!

In February we helped found a new Catholic Church in our area. We've been attending the Cathedral parish of the Ordinariate (Anglican-use), driving across town for about 4 years. So we were thrilled when Bishop Lopes assigned a brand new priest to start a mission parish with masses in a room at a local parish close to our house. It has been a huge undertaking with lots of behind the scenes work being done by many people. We have two Sunday Masses in the room at the church, one Thursday weeknight Mass in different parishioners' homes, plus a First Friday Mass at the local park for the homeschoolers during the school year. The church is under-contract to buy 23 acres of land north of here, where there is a metal building which will act as our church, and a house that will be used for classrooms and offices. We've been working on preparations to transform the building and to start all 3 levels of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program for Sunday school this fall when we're at the new property. It's been an exciting time for our community as we dream about the future and many of us think about eventually moving near the church.

Steven is still working hard for the same small oil company, usually traveling a few times a month. He and the boys have a renewed interest in fishing the local ponds, and the boys are getting old enough to go and fish on their own when he's at work. They're looking forward to a big Colorado elk hunting adventure in September. I'm amazed at the generous heart of my husband as he serves our new parish; bringing the church trailer back and forth from our house, setting up the church building every Saturday evening, often attending two masses to help as an usher, and just serving our pastor with whatever he needs. We just had mass in our home for the second time last night!


With the growth of Instagram and decrease of blogging, I'm not sure that I'll ever catch up on this blog. I do want to print out the years of blogging memories (since 2006!), but am grateful for the Chatbooks that print out my current memories and reflections from Instagram. I miss sharing the plethora of photos and reflections here, so maybe I'll keep this blog for that. One thing for sure, it has been a great way to chronicle 13 years of family life and get to know other women on similar journeys around the globe! In October I stayed with an old blogging friend (who is now a Facebook photography friend), and I continue to make connections with friends I've met online over the years. When homemaking and homeschooling can sometimes feel very isolating, it's nice to be able to open my computer or apps on my phone and share my life adventures with other moms. Nothing compares to my real life friends and family though, and it's a constant challenge to put the electronics down and be present to those around us.

Thanks to any of you who've been blogging friends over the years. I still have a blog list that I check on once or twice a week. I hope you will connect on Facebook and/or Instagram (@blairsblessings), and hopefully I'll continue to pop in here when I can. God bless you from Blair and each of my Blessings!

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