Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Thomas is Five, and an Afternoon at the Zoo!

Thomas William turned 5 years old yesterday! He wanted to go to the zoo for his birthday, so after Mass on Sunday, we hit our favorite Italian restaurant with lunch buffet (his favorite...pizza!) and went on to spend a few hours at the zoo! He's been to the zoo a few times, but he was too young to remember. And now he is our resident animal lover, so he was in his element!!!

The Komodo dragon is his favorite! He still can't stop talking about it. And he was so excited that Daddy let him make a penny coin keepsake with the Komodo dragon on it!

So happy I was able to get a photo of this sweet brother moment.

We decided to have a birthday breakfast before Daddy left for work, so Thomas could open his presents! His best buddy Andrew was able to come over too!

Thomas got a microscope, a remote control jeep, a shark lego set, and a laser game and reptile book from Andrew! Plus Ellie made him some really fun craft things, like a disk shooter made from cardboard and rainbow loom bands, and an egg with playdough inside and a hidden dinosaur. So sweet.

They had fun playing with his toys all day, and the girls even made him a science lab in the closet! He went to his co-op class with Andrew, but wanted to come home and play instead of going on a field trip.

After the girls came home from ballet, and Daddy grilled some chicken (and dove) to go with our pasta, we finally got out his cake, which he decorated with the new legos! It melted a little sitting out the night before.

It is so fun watching you learn about the world and God's creatures. You are like a sponge that soaks up facts and enjoys sharing them with everyone! You are focused and determined, and are doing very well with schoolwork and piano. You are so excited to start working in the Atrium on Sunday mornings again. May God speak to your heart in those precious moments and the times we spend together in His presence. May you always know His abundant love and mercy!

(P.S. Baby sister loved the cake and wore her sea creature romper in his honor!)

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Lord is kind and merciful, Fullness of Truth 2015

The Lord is kind and merciful. Slow to anger, rich in kindness. The Lord is kind and merciful.

This past weekend we attended the Fullness of Truth Catholic Family Conference for the 2nd year. We had a wonderful time sharing the weekend with so many friends and were encouraged in our vocation to family life and our call in the Church. I am truly reminded of God's lovingkindness when I experience weekends like this. It's like a little slice of Heaven.

It doesn't matter what the speaker is sharing about, which songs are sung at Mass, or which of the dozens of friends I'm visiting with at any given moment. What matters is that we are all on this journey together. We're all striving to live out our call to holiness. It is such a blessing to look around and see hundreds of families like yours, while also getting to spend a weekend relaxing at a beautiful resort. I just had to keep reminding myself to take a deep breath and let it all sink in.

It's taken me about 5 days to get back to finish this, so I guess it's time to add the photos and move along! We're in the middle of home renovations, while trying to stay on top of homeschooling, and preparing for our move next week! But I'm so grateful for this little respite we had last weekend to help us prepare for the busy season ahead!

Out for "linner" at Chuy's right before we arrived 

Love this pool!

A playground right outside our room

Fun indoors during some light rain the first night

A bear waffle for breakfast at probably the best breakfast buffet ever!

Fr Leo's talk (the cooking priest!). His was the only one I (mostly) got to hear. Baby was asleep and I even got to slip into confession when I first walked in. His points were some that I know I needed to hear, about the importance of family meals, cooking together, and how much that relates to our Catholic faith. Some of the points I wrote: God wants to give you a love that is "wasteful" like the Prodigal Father. God doesn't work like "fast food," he uses a crockpot not a microwave! Teach children how to feed others, not how to be fed (no spoiled brats!). Lots of good things to "chew" on...

The lazy river

Sunrise over the pool

Katie right before we left town, getting nice and messy with her pizza!

A peaceful moment before leaving

Such beautiful trees in the hill country!

A sweet weekend of God's mercy and grace!

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Summer Lovin'

It's funny because I look back at these photos and feel like these events all happened just yesterday. But these actually go back to early July and mark special events and daily moments of our summer. Now Labor Day has just ended, and like a thief in the night someone ran away with my summer! We'll still enjoy the sunshine and heat for awhile here in Texas, and will even enjoy a few days away at a resort for a conference. But now we are back to schedules and school, and fall is in the air!

I'm printing out my Instagram photos as little "Chatbooks," but I still worry that those will get lost and my journal/scrapbook here on the blog is hopefully what will remain for my children and grandchildren one day! I do need to have it printed too, but now with eight years of memories chronicled here, printing it out seems very daunting. One day!

So here are snapshots of our summer, ending today...

Top row: huge lunch party at a Thai restaurant after mass, a photo shoot of my dear friend and her family, kids playing games together one summer morning, and girls in the baby pool
2nd row: Mom's Night Out, LaMadeleine for lunch with my kiddos, Chickfila Cow Appreciation Day, and our new doors and siding (before paint).
3rd row: sleeping angel, Ellie's tiny clay creation, another game day, and Katie loving playing outside with a basketball
4th row: The park finally opens!, book baby, splash pad baby, and our anniversary steakhouse date

Top row: MC's new haircut, K's first carrousel ride, sweet girls at the home of an old family friend, and VBS fun
2nd row: a little throwback to baby ballerina Blair, the mall with my girls, an evening at the park, and SJ picking out baseball books at the library
3rd row: watercolors one morning, my morning glory with a book, cream puffs made by the girls, and cousins playing chess
4th row: a dance for part of a scavenger hunt at Grampatti's birthday, visiting a model home street, beach week begins, morning baby at the beach

Top row: Beach baby, chess boy, spaghetti-lover, and sweet sisters
2nd row: braiding the pianist's hair, some of the girls' peg creations, and sisters after dinner 
3rd row: playing by the waterway, running up stairs, bloomers and babies, and brothers
4th row: in the new house!, sunset at a baseball field, reading to her babies in the garage, and one messy kitchen!

Top row: BBQ at the park, a mom's night for a friend's birthday, Katie at the Lego store, and kids playing Just Dance at the mall 
2nd row: an afternoon at the lake, baby by the lake, boys starting their new math books early, and baby at the splash pad
3rd row: these two always want DADA, me up until 1:30am planning special back to school breakfast, kids on the 1st day, Katie kept sneaking into the dance studio and closing the door!
4th row: Tommy's first piano lesson (loved it!), my baby's after First Friday mass, Daddy's birthday, and boy buddies at the farm

Monday, September 07, 2015

Birthday Blessings

His arms and his heart are big enough to hold this crazy crew! Happy Birthday to Steven (yesterday)!

We had a quiet afternoon at home after going to mass across town. The kids decorated and made his favorite German chocolate cake. He grilled some slider burgers (I did make a nice breakfast that morning, before the AC was fixed!), Then we hit the pool and splash pad just before dark. 

This weekend he also got to spend Saturday exploring the hunting ranch with the boys, went fishing with Steven Joseph this morning, and has a dove hunting outing planned with the girls tonight. A few of his favorite things!

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Back to School 2015

We started our new homeschool year on Monday, August 31st with a fun Back to School Breakfast! I ran over to Michael's on Sunday evening, did a quick Pinterest search, and found a few goodies to decorate the school/dining room late that night. Then I got up early and made a big breakfast of all our favorites (lots of BACON!). Steven was able to stay home a bit later than usual to join us. The kids were pretty surprised, and it helped get our first day off to a great start!

I printed out a bible verse to meditate on this year, and I plan to paint it on a canvas and put it in a prominent space in the house. It has always been one of my favorite verses:

Finally, brethren,
whatever is true, 
whatever is honorable, 
whatever is just, 
whatever is pure, 
whatever is lovely, 
whatever is gracious, 
if there is any excellence, 
if there is anything worthy of praise, 
think about these things. 
     Philippians 4:8

From left to right we have Thomas (K), Ellie (5th), Mary Clare (7th) holding Katie, and Steven (2nd). The girls enjoyed their first week of online classes, and we did a decent job of staying on track this week. The girls are now doing their online courses on a laptop in their rooms, which makes things a little easier. I'm hopeful that each week will get a little bit smoother as we get into the swing of things. We had a bit of a rough time as the week went by, I can't even remember the details at this point, but we topped it off with a great Friday with our homeschool group!

We had a Back to School Mass, and then a Park Day to celebrate the Blessed Mother's Birthday. We had a great showing, including lots of new families. We took this photo before we started our rosary decade, and I realized that at this point in the party I didn't even know a lot of the kids! I'm one of the moderators of the group, and quite social if you haven't realized yet, so usually I know everyone! By the end, most of the "regulars" were there, and there were probably double this number of children, but it was nice to have a mix of old and new friends to meet. We're so blessed to have this amazing community of homeschoolers in our area! We're looking forward to a great year, especially as we set up school in a new house in just a few weeks!
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