Saturday, May 23, 2015

Springy Saturday Quick Takes

Don't you love Saturday mornings?  Well, Saturday mornings that don't have plans already...  This weekend is relaxed and laid back for us, which is a welcome change from some of the "busyness" that's been going on.  As much as I hate the word "busy," things have been so for our family over the last few weeks, though I must admit it wasn't stressful, run from the next thing to the other sort of busyness, but the sort that brought quality time with our family and our friends, and the sort that has lifted our faith.  It's been really nice.  Since I couldn't get to Friday Quick Takes, I'm going to go ahead and be a rebel and write my Quick Takes today!

-1- Felicity Turned 11!
A couple of weeks ago, Felicity turned 11 years old!
Really, it blows my mind that I am the mother of an 11 year old.  Her birthday is always extra special to me because it is the anniversary of me becoming a mother!  She had a very special day with lots of love and gifts and homemade cards from family and her sweet friends.  When we moved back to this area, one of my greatest prayers was that my older girls would be blessed with good friends, and God has answered that prayer for sure!  She was made to feel very special all day long!
We started the day out with the traditional birthday donuts.
Joe was pretty serious about not wasting anything out of the box!
After donuts, we had planned to attend our homeschool nature club, but a couple of huge accidents on the highway prevented us from being able to get there anywhere close to on time, so we changed our plans and headed to the mall where we planned to get Felicity's ears pierced.
Birthday Girl!
Taking selfies with her sisters, her best friends
The big moment!
We spent the remainder of the afternoon at a friend's house, and she even made a birthday cake!  Then she and Gabrielle had ballet class, her teacher prayed specifically for her at the end, and then we went out to dinner with Nana and Papa.

It was a very special day.  She is such a treasure in our family and turning into such a dignified, interesting, and genuinely kind young lady.

-2- Ballet Exams and In-Class Dress Rehearsals
My three older girls are in ballet together this year and their ballet school had exams that Gabrielle and Colette worked very hard toward!  (Felicity is not continuing with ballet next year, so she did not take exams.)

 I love that they have to take these exams, it is really good for the girls to take personal responsibility for their art and knowing what they need to know under some positive pressure.  They worked so hard and I am so proud of them!  We haven't received Gabrielle's results yet, but Colette got hers the other day and she is progressing to the next level and earned the highest marks on her exam!

The girls also got to bring home their costumes for next month's big production after their "in class dress rehearsal."  Their ballet production has an "around the world" theme, Gab and Felicity are Austrian and Colette is Swiss.  It's so fun to see them in their costumes and in full stage makeup.

-3- Parish Fun
Several months ago some families from our parish planned to take a getaway trip to a local camp.  We stayed in really fun cabins, enjoyed time with our friends and with each other, played games, swam, canoed, and roasted marshmallows over a huge bonfire.
Cute bunks in our room!
Mama and Addy's bed!  It was such a neat place!
Charlie chatting our first night

Canoeing fun!
Morning Mass on the porch.
Then breakfast all together!

Adelaide getting plenty of attention.
Frisbee golf lead by our pastor! 

One of the ladies held Adelaide the whole time we were at the pool and I got to play with my kids on the huge slide, the lazy river, water basketball, and jumping off the diving board (which I probably haven't done since I was 12!).  It was so much fun!
On the last night we had a big bonfire with marshmallows and glow sticks and tons of fun.  It was so refreshing.

-4- Lady's Beach Trip/Mother's Day
I hope that all of my lovely friends and blog readers had a wonderful Mother's Day!  Mine was totally relaxing, as Charlie packed me off on a weekend away with some girl friends to the coast.  We stayed in a luxurious beach house, went shopping, cooked together, chit-chatted a ton about everything under the sun, attended Holy Mass together, went searching for sea glass under the sunset, had quiet times alone, and generally enjoyed time with one another away from the daily grind.  These other ladies are a combination of mothers, missionaries, or both, so it was a needed break for us all!

-5- My Body is a Temple
I'm back to working out again, which feels amazing.  I can't go to the Y just yet because I am not emotionally ready to leave Adelaide in child care, and even if Charlie kept her, she's not ready to be away from me for that long.  I'm really grateful for my husband and *his* commitment to help me because he has set up a ton of equipment for me and even works out with me sometimes.
Adelaide in her swing in the garage while I did my weight lifting workout yesterday.  Our garage is air conditioned and connected to the school room, so I can work out while kids do independent work (and in yesterday's case, my housekeeper was over which made the day feel even more productive!).
Until I can get back to the gym, I am running, biking, and using the Stronglifts program (I think I might buy PiYo also) in addition to healthful eating and tracking (not obsessively, just for informational purposes) everything on My Fitness Pal app.  I don't have a scale right now, which is probably good, but I can tell that things are already improving by the way my clothes fit and the fact that I feel a generally positive well-being.  While I make efforts always to nourish my children, my infant, my husband, I realize that nourishing myself physically, spiritually, and intellectually is an acknowledgment of my own human dignity and a gift to my family. (If you want to read a beautiful post about nourishment, you must visit my dear IRL friend Lauren.)

-6- May is for Mary
Fina and Joe presenting Our Lady flowers at our homeschool group's annual May Crowning.

After the Rosary

The May Crowning is hosted by a generous member of our group who has a beautiful farm where we can get away to enjoy the quiet, the farm animals, and one another.  It was such a fun day!
Fina got to turn the pages on our art easel depicting each Mystery of the Rosary.  (Want one of these?  They are here.)

The new Rosary Charlie gifted me on Mother's Day

Lest anyone believe "family Rosary time" looks like a bunch of quiet, pious children with their hands neatly folded...this is more of reality...crazy.  But we persevere. haha
My women's Opus Dei circle has been getting together weekly to plant Mary Gardens for one another.  This was two weeks ago.  My kids loved this!

F & J transplanting Marigolds

Fina working on Begonias 

Hands in dirt.  It was such fun!  Then we had lovely snacks and heard amazing stories of how Our Lady is such an important part of different people's lives, leading us all closer to Jesus.

-8- Baby Update
Adelaide is 8 weeks old today!  She is such a delightful, sweet, sweet little baby.
The first time she wore a dress, last week!

Her sisters' reaction to said dress.  So. Much. Squealing.
She sleeps like an angel at night, cuddled up with me (safely of course) and I have yet to get up with her in the night.  She might grumble and I turn over and nurse her, and then she goes back to sleep, but she doesn't even need a diaper change at night at this point.  She is so happy for bed time, I can see her relief when I lay down with her in the evening!  Charlie and I have discovered that there are probably times she is awake in the night, but she is content and just stares at me and then drifts back off.  I feel as rested as possible for having a newborn!
It's hard to get a picture of her in a full-on smile, as soon as my phone passes over her face, she gets distracted!
Yesterday she wore newborn sized clothes for the last time, and is already comfortably fitting into some 3m clothing.  She's chunking out for sure!  
She still spends most of her day in someone's arms - mostly mine, but if I need to prepare myself breakfast, grab a shower, workout, or whatnot during the day, I have many willing little girls who love to snuggle her.  But she and I are still happiest when we are together.
I was singing her songs the other day and she started cooing (which she's been doing for a while) for the whole song!  Maybe she'll love music as much as I do.  That would be a joy to share.
Our favorite place to be!
Well, these were not quick.  Sorry!  But for some real Quick Takes (from yesterday!) visit Kelly!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Child of God: Adelaide's Baptism Day

Two weeks ago, sweet Adelaide was baptized.
It was a day that I have continued, for the past two weeks, to replay in my mind over and over.  It was such a special day, one even more powerful, more meaningful, more important than they day that through pain and elation, this child emerged in birth.
For months, her baptismal gown held space in my bedroom closet, reminding me that she would arrive, and that she would be welcomed into truth and Church, passing through the waters of Baptism  by the power of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

As the day finally approached, clothes were laid out, the cake was ordered, the party was planned.  Grandparents, aunts, cousins, and close friends descended upon our beloved parish and shared in Holy Mass with us.

The recessional hymn brought me to tears as my heart thanked God for what was about to happen:

Finish then thy new creation Pure and spotless let us be

Let us see thy great salvation Perfectly restored in Thee

Changed from glory into glory; Till in Heaven we take our place

Till we cast our crowns before thee, Lost in wonder, love and praise. 

After she was baptized, the whole group moved into the tiny side chapel, the Holy House, where Adelaide was laid on the altar and consecrated to Our Lady.  

My heart and tears exploded with gratefulness for this consecration because I know that I will never be a perfect mother to Adelaide, or to any of my children.  I also know that Mary will step in and be a mother to them where I can not and that she will pray for them always.

~ Beloved, see what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; 
and so we are. 1 John 3:1 ~

Following the baptism, everyone made the long drive back to our home where we hosted a party that went on late into the night.  This celebration of Adelaide's baptism left me sleepless, even as I fell exhausted into bed.  All I could think about was the beautiful gifts of the Sacrament, our parish, our community, our family, this child.

(The kids got kicked out of the bounce house for "Mom Bounce," some of the most fun I have had in a long time!)

(Adelaide and both of her grandmothers)

The Gospel at Mass that day read: "...I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me..."  May sweet Adelaide always remain close to Him, as she is now safely folded into the flock.

**a huge thank you to my dear sister-in-law and Blair's talented daughter for the bulk of these photos!**