Friday, June 26, 2015

Happy Father's Day

Poking in here after two weeks; I think it's the first time I've sat at the computer all week! I'm exhausted from doing the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Training this week (Mon-Fri 9am-4pm across town) and still recovering from the month of madness and my illness in May. Hopefully July will be a little slower...maybe?

Regardless, I wanted to take a minute to acknowledge my amazing husband who holds things together when I feel like I'm falling apart! He is the rock I need, and I miss him so much when he's traveling. This life just gets crazier and crazier with all these beautiful little people, but I'm so grateful that God has given me a faithful partner to lead us through! He has worked so hard to provide a comfortable life for us, and we are so proud of his accomplishments.

On Father's Day this past weekend we celebrated with a fun breakfast, Holy Mass, a visit to my parents' house, and takeout fajitas! After Mass, Steven gave blood...a true example of what it means to give of yourself. Then he willingly took this photo with the kids. What a great guy for putting up with my picture-taking!

And a Happy Father's Day to my dad! He always gave us an example of hard work and provision for our wants and needs. Whenever I'm in a bind, my dad will be there right away to help. I'm so glad we live near them again and can share these holidays and the special times with the children.

On Father's Day Weekend, Steven also got to do one of his favorite things, beekeeping! They re-queened the hive at the farm and the next day went back for a honey harvest!

And a few days before that was the Daddy Daughter Dance for the homeschool girls' club. I have a few more photos of this to share, but here were the smashing attendees!

We also wish Steven's Dad, our BopBop, a Happy Father's Day and hope that we can visit him soon after our failed attempts the past two weekends. He's an example of strong faith and a witness to God's love and mercy.

Hope all the amazing dads in our life had a wonderful Father's Day and have recognized the gift that Fatherhood is to the world. These men are earthly examples of God the Father. Their love represents God's love to us, and we are truly blessed to have such loving fathers in our lives!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Ballet Year 2014-2015 and Videos

The girls have had a wonderful time back at the Christian ballet academy where they started dancing at ages 4 and 3. After almost three years away where they danced at two other ballet schools that offered a different approach to ballet technique, the girls have had to work hard to prepare for their ABT (American Ballet Theater) Grade 4 Exam. They both danced beautifully, and both received a Highly Commended for technique on their exams, with Mary Clare also earning Honors for expression. Next year they will move up to the Level 5/6 class, which means 5 1/2 hours of ballet each week, plus any other classes we decide to enroll them in (modern, conditioning, tap), and probably pointe for Mary Clare at some point during the year. This may be our last year of two days a week at the studio, so I will enjoy it while I can. It's definitely convenient for me that they are in the same class!

The photos below are from their in-class dress rehearsal, but I couldn't make it to Mary Clare's modern one due to baseball. Ellie's modern class had a "Caribbean" theme, their ballet was "Vienna" and Mary Clare's modern was "African." The production was an Around the World theme, based on the Book of Revelation.

Last week was an intense week of rehearsals and shows. On Thursday and Friday they were at the theatre from around 3-9pm and then from about 11am-10pm on Saturday with shows at 2pm and 7pm! We were all worn out! It didn't stop us from joining a bunch of ballet buddies at a restaurant until midnight though!

Katie was a trooper spending many of those hours up at the theatre with the girls and me!

Grampatti, Cousin Emily, Aunt Jill, NeNe and PaPa came to the 2pm show, along with several friends!

Cousin Emily has been a loyal fan!

I was able to sneak a few photos before the evening performance!

(cCan you tell which child doesn't mind posing for pictures?) 

After the night show, which Steven, the boys, and I all watched...

Mary Clare can't wait to have Mrs. Jenni again next year! 2009 and 2015 :)

Mrs. Rebecca has been their ballet and modern teacher this year

And Ms. Sonja also taught one of their ballet classes. She is the director of the studio and we are so grateful for her vision and mission of sharing the Gospel through dance.

And now for a three week break (well, now 2) before summer classes start! I've had so much fun watching these ballerinas, and am so proud of all their hard work! Finally, here are the videos of their three dances for the production this year, taken during the dress rehearsal. Please excuse the shaky camera while I was wrangling Katie!

Mary Clare and Ellie's Vienna ballet dance

Ellie's Caribbean modern dance

Mary Clare's African modern dance

Monday, June 08, 2015

Sweets Birthday Party, Ellie is 10!

Ellie wanted to have a birthday party with a few friends that would be all focused on SWEETS! So a few weekends ago (about a month after her real birthday) she invited 4 girls over for Ellie's Sweet Shoppe 10th Birthday! We went to Party City and Michael's a few days before for some decorations and paper goods, and my mom made the favors and labels to match the decor! It turned out cute, simple, and fun! The girls planned almost everything themselves, and did the decorating too, since I was still not feeling so great with my shingles.

We started at lunchtime with some popcorn, fruit salad, and our favorite Raising Cane's chicken fingers! Oh and they made punch with lime sherbet and Sprite, and each girl got a mason jar with straw that they could take home.

The first game was Pin the Cherry on the Ice Cream Sundae. The girls painted this themselves and we bought red pompoms for the cherries.

Then there was a cake-drawing contest. The girls each drew their own cake creation with markers.

Our little party animal!

My mom was the judge!

The girls with their creations

After the judging we read this one which was precious.
"10 years you have been LOVED!" 
It made me cry.

Before the party we baked some large-sized cupcakes (I think it was a "king-sized muffin pan" I found at Michael's), and then the girls had a timed contest to decorate their cakes with candies, icing, and fondant. 

The birthday girl won this contest!

 Finally it was time to sing and eat the cupcakes and some ice cream!

And then the girls got to visit and play for awhile, while I went to put a little somebody down for a nap. You can tell she was a little tired at this point! (One of the boys was at a party and the other with Daddy at the neighbors' house.) The parents all came in to visit for a bit, and it was nice to socialize after a quiet party!

Usually we have such big parties that things can become overwhelming. In this case, it was hard to limit it to just a few girls, but in the end it was just what we needed to do during a very busy season for our family. It was a fun celebration of Ellie and all the bright, colorful, and sweet things she is! Happy 10th Birthday to our Ellie-girl!
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