Friday, December 31, 2010

7 Quick Takes--Highlights of 2010

2010 has been a great year!

Birthdays. Mary Clare turned 7 and celebrated with a fashion show, Ellie turned 5 and got to visit the American Girl store, We welcomed our sweet Thomas William, and Steven Joseph turned 3! Of course Daddy and Mommy had birthdays too! We got to celebrate birthdays, Communions, and other fun events with family and friends. Hopefully 2011 will have just as fun celebrations!


Technology. I am now an iPhone addict and am also happy with my Nikon DSLR camera (now that it's fixed!). Hopefully I'll learn to use the camera even more this year!


Travel. We were blessed with the ability to travel to visit my brother and family in California this summer. What a gift! We also went to New Braunfels with my parents, and had the weekend trip to Dallas for Ellie's birthday. Mother's Day at the beach was also a highlight! We don't have any big travel plans for 2011, but hopefully we'll spend a little more time at the beach this summer!


Talent. The girls continue to excel at ballet and also enjoyed swim team. We got a piano this year and they've enjoyed learning to play a little. Hopefully we'll be able to have them take some kind of piano lessons this year, if only just for the summer when they're out of ballet. Steven had some fun fishing and hunting outings, and I did a bit of sewing and crafting and wrote a few published articles...aside from our biggest talents of taking care of 4 children!

Homeschooling. We almost finished our Alphabet Path program last year, but since I had such a difficult pregnancy this time, we really scaled back and then decided to go with Mother of Divine Grace for Mary Clare's curriculum this year. That's been going well overall, and Ellie is enjoying a laid-back Kindergarten year! A big goal this spring is to get through our lesson plans by early May, and start the new school year during the summer again, to give us some flexibility in taking more breaks throughout the year.


House. I feel like I'm starting to get a grip on the house. This is partly because I've had the on-and-off help of our housekeeper Maria. She definitely helped me survive the pregnant summer! Now she's only coming every other month or so. She came this Monday and I felt the exact sentiment of Suzanne from Blessed Among Men. It's such a blessing to have some help with the house! I also had the help of Bop-Bop (Steven's dad) a few weeks this year, and have purged enough to make things seem manageable. I'm also getting closer to finishing my Mom Cave! Winning that contest was definitely a highlight and finishing the room should be one of my first accomplishments of 2011!

I took some photos the other night to remind me of how great it feels to have a clean house...

The playroom isn't fully clean, but it's starting to get more organized...

Faith. In our family's spiritual life, we've welcomed Thomas William into the church, as well as our godson Santiago. Mary Clare had her First Confession and prepares for her First Communion, which our niece Emily celebrated in the spring. We did some special activities for feast days and church seasons. I hope we can work on family prayer a little more this year, attend daily mass more often, and work on our individual prayer lives. We're also in the midst of possibly changing parishes, so I pray this will aid in our spiritual life as well!


Okay, that took me way too long, and I must get to sleep. I hope that everyone has a wonderful New Year's celebration and that 2011 brings you all the blessings and joy that you hope for!

Read more Quick Takes at Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Mary, Joseph, donkey, and baby Jesus last night!

i just finished a day of total exhaustion after suffering through the stomach virus in the early morning hours right after steven left for work. it's such an overwhelming and hopeless feeling to face an entire day with 4 children who you can't really take care of adequately, including a nursing infant. thanks be to god i'm much better now, just tired and weak.

i made it through. thomas slept much of the day or was content sitting in the bed. we had gotten some videos at the library on monday so it was an all-day movie fest for the kids. my dad brought lunch, snacks, and gatorade and left them at the door (this virus has hit at least 8 adults in steven's family since christmas, so we didn't want to take any chances!). i can't even describe the relief that came as steven walked in the door after having to work late this evening, with dinner for him and the kids, whisking thomas away and letting me sleep. the smoothie i had been craving all day wasn't to be (jamba juice was closed!), but i was just thankful.

tonight, i just finished watching a slide show of photos from a blogger mom who lost everything in a house fire last week. my best friend from high school is saying goodbye to her father at the funeral tomorrow. my parents' closest neighbors lost their 19 year-old son the week before christmas. a friend on facebook is suffering through this stomach virus with a husband across the country. so much tragedy.

i noticed at least 3 people crying during christmas mass. it's a time of joy and yet a time of pain for many people. i pray that all those who have faced loss, tragedy, and illness this season will come to find a season of hope as we approach this new year. that god might comfort them in their afflictions and help us to all be more mindful of the gifts he has given us, especially the gift of his newborn son, jesus. thank you, father, for that reminder today. and thank you for giving me the grace to make it through.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Day 2010

Some Christmas Day memories for the albums...
The kids woke up at about 7:15 ready to go see if Santa came!
Opening their stockings and checking out the gifts from Santa...

Cowboy hat!

Trying out the new guitar

Rockstar girl!

After opening presents at home, we got dressed, got some donuts, and rushed over to my parents' house, only to arrive just as my brother's family was leaving. Bummer! But we still enjoyed Christmas morning with NeNe and PaPa and Aunt Kathy. The kids got some special gifts which I somehow didn't get any photos of, except this one shot of SJ with his new suitcase! The girls got bunk beds and a new double stroller for their dolls!

Edited to add these photos from NeNe:
girls with their stocking gifts

and the twins' double stroller :)

After a relaxing morning/afternoon at my parents' house where I even got in a nap, we were off to Steven's parents' house for Christmas evening!

Trying to bribe the kids to eat before opening presents

My boys.

We finally get the kids settled for the game exchange

And then began the attempts to get a cousin picture...

These last 3 were somewhat decent...

Not sure about all this excitement!

All they wanted for Christmas were their two front teeth!
(actually one of them lost a tooth that night!)

And Thomas ends the evening with lotsa lovin' from his aunts!

Another long and fun day! It's taking us several days to recover from the weekend. Poor Steven came down with a stomach bug yesterday (as did at least 6 other family members). I've been waiting for someone else in our family to fall victim...but so far, so good! Hopefully we'll stay healthy for New Year's and Mary Clare's Birthday this weekend!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Eve

We spent most of Christmas Eve having a quiet day at home, until the time rolled around to get ready for 4pm mass. We were running very late and arrived after it started. My poor family got all sorts of dirty looks for holding spots for us, most of which we didn't use because we were chasing a toddler and walking a fussy baby around in the narthex. Still it was a beautiful mass and homily in the parish where I grew up, so we saw lots of familiar faces and loved seeing the beautiful almost life-sized nativity!

It started pouring rain as mass was ending. Steven realized that one of the special Christmas gifts was in the bed of his truck since we had no idea that rain was in the forecast. So he and I with the now napping boys drove back home to dry it off, making a quick stop at Walmart on the way back to my parents' house for dinner and a fun evening of visiting and games. Whoa, what an adventure! And the evening was just beginning (I think I was up until after 3am) !

My 3 big kids with cousin Addison. SJ kept trying to run away; I can't believe I actually got a photo with him at least looking at the camera!

Thomas was a bit fussy after all that driving back and forth, so he spent some time being rocked and comforted by PaPa.

The girls love watching TV at NeNe and PaPa's (since we don't have TV at home). We found a special Santa Tracker station which totally fascinated Mary Clare as she watched the news program showing the cities where Santa was visiting, including one where her best friend is on vacation!

We got home around 11pm and all 4 kids went to sleep in Mommy and Daddy's bed. We usually let them sleep in our room Christmas Eve so they don't sneak out and find the presents early!
"The children were nestled all snug in OUR bed, while visions of sugarplums danced in their heads..."

And while they were sleeping, Santa came! American Girl dolls and a Bow and Arrow were the Santa requests this year and he came through! Thomas even got a Little People Nativity and Christmas board book. Poor guy didn't get a stocking though; Mama failed on that plan for stocking-making during Advent!

A picture of the fireplace for good measure, since it didn't get fully decorated until Christmas Eve! I still haven't been able to light it since the outlet is now behind the piano!

Mommy and Daddy also came through with some great (used) finds! It was going to be a fun Christmas morning...

To be continued...

Thomas 3 months

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