Mother's Day 2015

Monday, May 25, 2015

I know that I am really behind on my posts.  I am trying to live each day and soak in the moments.  So many things are happening at once in our house. There is little time to blog about it all.  But I do want to have this.  This summer I am printing my blog to memory books for our family.

Mother's Day was extra special this year because my mom was here with us.  She flew in from PA for Kate's first holy communion and we were so lucky that it was also Mother's Day weekend.  Since I don't really fly and my Mom doesn't enjoy it either, we do not get to see each other that often.  She usually visits each Spring.

It was a GREAT weekend.  She really enjoyed some good time with us all.  Friday night was Will's prom so she got to see that.  Saturday was Kate's communion and brunch and a friend's party.  On Mother's Day we went to Mass at Will ( and now Harry's) high school.  We really enjoyed Mass there.

We took this right outside of Mass with the phone....


After Mass, we went out to brunch.  
We have been going to this place for the past several years and we all really enjoy it.


While we have a few minutes to wait for our reservation, we always take a few photos outside at the hotel.  These are often my favorite photos of the year.




I love this one of three generations of us...



I asked someone who was sitting on the patio to take these.  He did a GREAT job.


Bruch was fabulous.  Teenage boys definitely eat their fill at a lovely buffet brunch.  Harry ate his weight in crab legs and desserts.  I guess that is how he is growing so much.

After brunch, we took Mimi (my Mom) fishing.  Dave, Will, Harry and Kate are really into kayaking and fishing these days.  So, Mimi wanted to go fishing. There wasn't time to go to Galveston so we took her to a little inner city pond the kids like to go for short bits of time.

Harry caught a nice bass.



I think everyone caught a fish.
 I looked back and apparently we went to a pond fishing last year on Mother's Day too.
BTW~ we release these fish back into the pond.

Dave gave me an external disk drive for my computer that I really wanted.  The boys tried to get my favorite bundt cake but they were out/closed so they gave me an amazon card (which I LOVE) and sweet Kate made me this exploding memory box.


 When you open the lid, pages open up.  Kate put some favorite photos in there and I can add more.

It was such a thoughtful gift made with love.



I will treasure it and the memories of this day for a very long time.  I hope you all had a lovely Mother's Day.

We also had a lovely Memorial Day weekend.
We are very grateful to the men and women who serve our country and fight for our freedom.

This week is Harry's 8th grade graduation and the last week of school!

Winding down and moving up!

Monday, May 18, 2015
This time of year is so busy with end of year activities and it is even busier when people are graduating or getting ready to change schools (dances, parties, field days, awards and promotion ceremonies). So, this post is all over the place but  it's a re-cap of some of our end of year activities so far.

Well, here we are and Harry will be finished middle school next week.  I am SO GLAD!  I don't usually wish away years or phases. Typically,  I try to enjoy each stage of parenting as it comes my way.  But I will say that having gone through it twice, I think middle school can be really rough.  Harry was plagued with stress and migraines in 6th grade and it was such a hard year for us.  He even transferred schools in October of 6th grade.  There were days that I was not sure we would make it.

But he did.  He managed to get through with straight A's even though he missed a ton of school due to illness in 6th and 7th grades.  He also took the most advanced classes available.  He played three years of lacrosse and was a real leader on and off the field.  And he was a good friend to others. He was also in the National Junior Honor Society. And finally,  I have loved working in the school store with him every Wednesday morning for the past 3 years.

This past weekend was the 8th grade dance.  Harry is not one who usually likes things like this but he had fun with his friends.  They are all going to different high schools so this was bittersweet.



And I took these pictures before the dance....



I am really thrilled that all three of our kids are well rounded and involved kids.  But, it makes it extra hard this time of year to get to all of their events/recitals/games.  Dave and I often have to divide and conquer (as most parents do). And sometimes we don't make it to everything.

Will just finished up water polo season and I am very proud of him.  He was really a leader on his team this year and one of the captains.  He has made so much progress in the last few years.  Often his games are at the time of day when I am picking up Kate from school or driving gymnastics carpool.  Often they are very far away too.  So between gymnastics, violin and lacrosse, I did not make as many of Will's water polo games this season as I would have liked to.  I am going to work really hard next year to get to more of them.  I really like watching him play.


Love this shot of Will about to score.  
He played really well this weekend and was happy to see us all there cheering him on.


I  think their teams took 2nd and 3rd in the championship tournament.

Kate had her violin recital a few weeks ago and it was awesome.  I cannot believe how far she has come. She trains 16 hours a week in the gym every single week for her gymnastics team now. So with homework, there is not a lot of time left for violin.  Her teacher schedules her group lesson for Kate's day off from the gym and Kate has the drive and determination to stick with it.  I am not sure how much longer she will be able to do that.




I did not video the recital because I just wanted to watch and for her to see my smiling face NOT the back of a phone.  But I did ask her to play a little Ode to Joy before the concert.  I posted it here on Instagram.

And Harry had his last regular season lacrosse game. It rained so I did not get a chance to take many photos.



That is Harry front and center #18.

Finally, Will had his Junior Ring and Cross Mass.


Kate could not go because it was her last CCE class before First Holy Communion.

We love Father Bravo.  He has been an awesome mentor to Will the past few years.  We are sad he is leaving Jesuit this year for an assignment in Puerto Rico.


Will has an awesome group of friends at his high school.

They are all really fabulous. accomplished, good guys.  I feel blessed that they are his friends.




Although his friends all ordered a high school ring, Will decided not to get one.  He LOVES his school but he did not think he'd ever wear the ring.  And he is probably right.  I am glad he was practical about it because none of his friends have worn their rings since they got them.

But they all got a beautiful handmade wood cross that they hang from their car mirror (his friend is holding the cross two photos up).  And they officially became seniors along with the privileges (going off campus for lunch).  It was a beautiful Mass and I teared up quite a few times thinking about his senior year and graduation.

I think I need a nap now;)  This week, we have Harry's powder puff lax game and field day, a field trip for Kate, her end of year gymnastics party and some award ceremonies.  I am looking forward to summer!

first holy communion {part one}

Saturday, May 16, 2015
I know it will be excessive.  I am sure I will do about 3 posts on Kate's communion.  When Will and Harry made their first holy communion it was extremely special.  They both made theirs on Mother's Day weekend also and we celebrated with family. We lived in VA when Will made his and I was not blogging then so I don't have a post about it at all which makes me sad.  I do have some photos somewhere (it was before digital).

Anyway, as my kids get older, I kind of cling to each milestone a little bit more.  When I think about all the "lasts" it makes me super nostalgic.  For example, tonight is Harry's 8th grade dance and while I know it is not a huge deal, I find myself think him about his childhood a lot today.

So, with Kate's communion approaching, I asked my friend Shelly if she would do some portraits with Kate before the actual day. I really wanted the day of the communion to be about receiving Christ.  I did not want to be thinking about capturing the moment in photos.  I wanted to be present. I am SO glad we did this.  The boys would have never agreed to a photo shoot at this age but Kate was excited and cooperative.  It was perfect.

I want to share how Kate chose her dress so I will remember. For about a year or two I had been pinning dresses onto my Pinterest board as I saw them.  Just after Christmas, I showed Kate the board (which easily had 100 dresses on it) and she immediately pointed to this dress and said, "I like that one. That is the one."  I tried to show her others and persuade her a bit toward one I liked more.  But she was steadfast.  She LOVED this dress and thought is was perfect.  I had my doubts because a) no one in Texas carried the dress, b) it was more than we wanted to spend and c) there was one I liked more.

However, this was her day and I wanted her to love her dress.  So, I called around and found ONE dress in the entire country in her size. Even the designer was sold out in her size. And I happened to have a big pile of clothes that Kate had outgrown just waiting to sell. I put them on-line and they sold immediately paying for the dress.  It was win-win.

Ironically, I found the dress in PA from a shop where I probably got my communion dress growing up and they were so helpful.  When it arrived, it was even more beautiful in person and it fit her perfectly. I was very nervous about the fit because Kate is almost 9 but she measured a size 6. I had a hard time believing it would fit and I was so relieved when that dress fit her.  I should have trusted Kate all along because this dress was just absolutely perfect for her.  She felt beautiful and special in it.

A few days after Easter, we got Kate all dolled up and Shelly and I took her around on a 2 hour photo shoot.  It was a lot of fun.  In this post I am going to share some of the shots I took with my camera.  Then, I am going to share Shelly's (which are so much better-she's a photographer!) and then finally I am going to re-cap the actual communion day.

I snapped some pictures while we were waiting for Shelly to arrive....


{I know this one shot is totally over-exposed but I like the dreamy quality anyway}


And just to keep it real~Kate was laughing and goofing around but teasing me for taking photos of her waiting for Shelly at the window....




You can really see the detail in her dress in this one above. You can kind of also see a bruise on her forehead above her left eye.  The week before, Kate fell right on her head doing a one handed cartwheel with her hand full of a water bottle, snack and sock as we were leaving for the gym.  She came down HARD on our wood floors and had a gigantic goose-egg and bruise for a few days.











I bought Kate a little Mass book and she is obsessed with it.
 She wanted to read it though the whole photo shoot:)


I will post part 2 in a few days.  Have a great weekend!

Prom 2015

Monday, May 11, 2015
To say it was a busy weekend would be an understatement.  Friday night was Will's prom.  I was supposed to host the pre-prom dinner for 12 kids and all the parents.  And we were going to do photos at our house and the park nearby.  We were really looking forward to that.

However,  Will's group of best friends are all on the varsity baseball team. Will is not on the baseball team.  He plays water polo.  Anyway, the baseball players had a playoff game on prom night.  So, Will and his date were solo for the pre-prom activities.  I know they were disappointed initially but they ended up going to a very nice restaurant and then meeting up with their friends at the prom.  Then they had a short after party at another one of our friends' houses.  But due to another baseball game the following day, they were all home by 12:45!  I was glad about that since the next morning was Kate's first holy communion.


We were thrilled that my Mom flew in from PA to be with us this weekend for Will's prom, Kate's Communion and Mother's Day!

She is very proud of her grandchildren and they were so happy to have here here.


Dave and Will goofing around.


Kate and Will goofing around!


And Elizabeth arrives...


Elizabeth is beautiful inside and out.

This one cracks me up.  It's like Will is thinking "Please don't stab me!"



The Moms.


Elizabeth and her Mom.



One quick one with little sis before we head to the park...






Will said they had an awesome time at Prom.  He had lots of fun candids from the photo booth.