Easter Weekend

Monday, April 21, 2014
Somehow, I am having trouble getting into the groove of regular blogging.  I have all the intentions but it seems so time consuming compared with slapping a quick photo up on instagram (which I do more often--link on sidebar if you want to follow).

I still have some posts in the works from the last few weeks but I will start here and then go backwards.

Our Easter weekend was pretty packed. Our niece, Olivia is graduating from college in a few weeks.  Unfortunately, we cannot attend her graduation as it is out of town and the same day as Kate's dance recital (which we had already committed to).  So, we decided to take a day trip to Austin on Good Friday to visit Olivia, take her to lunch and let her give Will a campus tour (yes, he's starting to look at colleges!)

I woke up Friday morning feeling pretty sick (killer sore throat, sinus headache) so I did not bother with bringing my big camera.  I just did not have the energy.  These are all I-phone pics.

On the drive to Austin, we saw the most beautiful array of wildflowers.  They were spectacular!  A certain someone did not want to pull over and let me take photos. However, he finally pulled off into the measliest patch and I snapped these quickly.  I REALLY, wish I had brought my good camera for the blue bonnets and Indian paint brushes.

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So, Olivia showed us around campus.

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There was a pretty little grotto.
We stopped and prayed and thanked God for his only son on Good Friday.

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Will, Harry, Kate and Olivia


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Dave and his favorite niece:)

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Kate, me and Olivia

After the campus tour, we we to a great restaurant on Lake Austin.  We sat outside on the deck, had an awesome meal and excellent service.  It was a really great day.  It was just one of those family days where everyone gets along and is in a good mood.  It really was delightful.

We drove back home that afternoon/evening and then woke up (still sick) and headed to the beach for the rest of the weekend.

Dave has recently taken up kayak fishing and so we go to the bay/beach (or he goes with the boys) as much as they can get away with our busy schedules.  I still felt really crummy but did not want to sit home alone for Easter so I went along.

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Harry LOVES the kayak and so does Kate.

Will wades out in the marshes to fish as well.

Kate loves sitting on the dock of the canal fishing (she doesn't ever catch anything--but she is happy)

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Harry waxed his skim board and did some skim boarding.

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On Saturday some friends came down to the house.  I was not the best hostess and napped most of the afternoon while they fished and went to the beach.  I LOVE the beach and it pains me that I missed it.  It takes a lot to keep me from the beach.

We did sit on the deck and watch a beautiful sunset.

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(iphone pic)

We spent the night so the Easter bunny did baskets at the beach.

Then we piled in the car and headed home.  We spontaneously decided to stop someplace for breakfast. I had read/heard about the Sunflower Bakery and Cafe and really wanted to try it but I was afraid that on Easter there would be a long wait.  And we were not quite showered or dressed for Easter brunch.  Luck was on our side and we got a table just before a long wait started.  It was sooooo good.

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Belgian waffles with fresh cream and berries, fresh gulf shrimp omelet, and homemade cream puffs.  Will had chicken and waffles and Kate had pecan pancakes.  We will definitely return to this place.

We ended up cleaning up and getting dressed for  a little egg hunt and 5 pm Mass.


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Kate's smile was so big that it looked like her eyes were closed in a lot of the photos.
So, the boys did what big brothers do-- tease her!

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Luckily, Kate has a great sense of humor and she laughed!


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This year I put $1 bills and a few $5 in the eggs.  Will are Harry are teenagers.  They want cash.  Plus, I'd rather give them that than candy.  They raced around so quickly that I could barely get any photos.

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Harry got almost all the $5 bills

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Poor Will (who needs the cash the most for gas and food with friends) got the least.

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We went to the teen mass in the evening and it was less crowded and less formal than our regular mass. It was nice.  Our Easter dinner consisted of BLT sandwiches since we could not really cook a big meal while at mass.  And I was still pretty sick.

Even though this Easter was very different from all of our other Easters, we all agreed that it was a really lovely family weekend.  The kids are at ages where they really enjoy each others company and there is little or no fighting.  We have fun together. I'd like to freeze time! I guess being sick worked in my favor as I did not go to any trouble for anything.  It was all super low key!

I know this is full of little details that are boring and insignificant.  I like recording all the details here so that we (our family) can look back and remember one holiday or occasion from another.

a few things

Thursday, April 3, 2014
I am working on a few posts but wanted to share these few things in the meantime....

Kate got moved up to Level 3 in her competitive gymnastics on January 1st and her training hours have increased.  She LOVES it and never complains but it means that she will be leaving dance after her recital this year.  This will be her 6th dance recital and I am so sad she is quitting.  I get it and I totally support her decision but I am still sad.

In Level 3 gymnastics, they have to do a round-off back-handspring and Kate has been working hard to get this since January.  She got it about a month ago and her coach was kind enough to send me a video.



Also, Harry has been involved in an organization here called Positive Works.  It is a FABULOUS community initiative started by two women I know from church and various circles to end bullying.  Harry has been involved from the very beginning and was even in Redbook Magazine when they did an article on +Works.

This year they invited Harry to emcee a rally on having courage.  It was a beautiful night of performances (music, singing, skits, poetry, etc).  Harry said yes when they asked him because he loves the organization.  But the truth is, the night before he was pretty nervous.  He almost did not want to do it.  He has never emcee'd anything and was a little nervous about being onstage at his middle school.  But in the end, he had courage and he did it!

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Well, he was AWESOME! And he enjoyed it too.  I would not be surprised if we see him doing more public speaking in the future.  I wish I had a video or better photos.  I am trying to live more in the moment so I use my phone for photos a lot now and it is not great in low light.

Harry has also been babysitting lately too. He took the Red Cross babysitting class online and last week he babysit 3 little kids under the age of 5!  He did so well, they have asked him back next week.  He is incredible with young kids.  I am happy for him but sad for me because he is my main sitter for Kate and pretty soon he will be booked by other people (who pay!)

Will is a busy, busy teen these days.  He is a captain of the JV water polo team and a planner/leader for next year's freshmen retreat at his school.  Between school and work and water polo and his social life, we rarely see him.  Sniff, sniff.

Finally, this just amazes me.  Harry and Kate won these goldlfish over a year ago and this lil guy (or gal?!) is still swimming around.  How long do these things live?  We keep it alive but I am telling you it is a pain in the neck. We never even named it because I did not think it would last a week let alone a year!  It lives in a big vase and we change the water once a week.  This one hardy fish!   I never thought he'd live this long.

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Tomorrow is Kate's "special" day (what she calls it).  It is the day I met her. 
 It is the day our whole family was together for the first time. I am sure I will post about it very soon.


spring break beach day

Monday, March 31, 2014
Each year during Spring Break, our good friends invite a group of us to their beach house.  Due to Harry's Spain/France trip, Will's water polo schedule, Kate's intense gymnastics schedule and my work, only Kate and I could slip away for about 24 hours.  It was so needed though and it was very relaxing. We had an awesome time.

I did not take a ton of photos (like I usually do at the beach) but Kate had a ball with her friends.

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Kate looks so grown up to me in this shot.

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This is Kate's friend, Layne (her family invites us each year).

As an added bonus (and surprise) there were come other little friends from Kate's school there too.

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The girls dug a hole and all sat around it with their feet inside.  They took turns filling a bucket with water from the cold ocean and pouring it in the hole. They did this forever and laughed and giggled each time.  It was so cute!


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Kate loves her girlfriends but she is equally as happy and comfortable playing alone (which I love).


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She is just the HAPPIEST little girl!

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The water was really cold but it did not stop them...

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And of course, cause my girl's gotta tumble so there was some of this going on...

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Her muscle tone astonishes me.  I wish I had it!
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This was Kate's first time in the sun this year but she looks SO dark to me in these photos.

And my favorite photo of the trip...

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Both of Kate's bathing suits are can be found here.

rodeo time

Saturday, March 29, 2014
So, it was just Rodeo time here in Houston.  Dave and I went a few weeks ago to the BBQ cook-off.  That was interesting and fun. Loads of good people watching! Will has gone a few times a night with his friends.  But we usually go as a family during Spring Break.  I remember last year thinking it might be out last year to all go together.  I knew that at almost 17, Will would be going with friends this year.  And Harry was in Europe on the coast of France and Spain this day so he missed it too!

I invited one of Kate's good friends from school to join us and they were sooo cute.  They walked around the whole rodeo carnival either hand in hand or with an arm around one another.  It was so bright and one of my cameras is broken so I am not thrilled with the shadows/overexposure of some of my photos but I LOVE looking back over the years at our rodeo photos. It brings back good memories.

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Kate and her friend, Maria.

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They held hands the whole time...so cute!

First, we rode the ponies.  We always do that first because the line gets long.  The sun was so bright that each photo has Kate in the shadows of the tent.  I tried a fill flash and that blew the photos out.  But I got this...

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Immediately after the pony rides, we went to the petting zoo. 
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I love how I caught the cone mid-air in the photo below..  Dave was feeding a goat and he pulled it right out of his hands.  That little deer came right up to Kate's face:)
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Kate's friend Maria was really nervous in the petting zoo so she did not last long. I cannot blame her. Years ago, I was was thrown down by a mean llama in the rodeo petting zoo and I still have flashbacks! Kate and I do love petting on the little goats though.  They were sweet.

After the petting zoo, the girls wanted to go on some carnival rides...

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I think we went to eat after that. Rodeo food is awesome (it's all junk food). It is not the way we usually eat but we throw caution to the wind and eat the decadent food that is there. I had cajun shrimp and Dave had sausage. I think the girls had burgers.

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I love this shot of Kate and Maria just before the pig races.

After lunch, we went to the pig races. This is a rodeo tradition too.  Both of our boys used to love the pig races.  They pick kids from the audience to lead the crowd cheering on a pig for that section.  Will and Harry had been chosen when they were younger but Kate has always been pretty reserved (shy).  This year, she was picked though!

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After the pig races, the girl did a few more rides...the carousel and the swings/spider thingy.

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We promised the girls a"sweet treat" of their choice on the way out.  If you've never been to a Southern carnival, you will not appreciate the "fried" food options available at Rodeo.  The girls chose fried ice cream.  I think they liked it!  I opted to try fried Strawberry Shortcake.  It looked tasty but it was not so good.

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 Bye bye Rodeo 2014~See you next year!


UPDATE: A few of you are praying for the girls injured on Harry's trip.  One of them returned to the US and needs surgery on her ACL.  The other girl was moved out of ICU this week and is still recovering in Spain.  She will be there another month due to the extent of her injuries.  Her name is Leslie and I am sure they would appreciate continued prayer.