Sunday, June 29, 2014

June 2014 in Review

I can always tell when we've had a busy month because the number of blog posts dwindles.  This has been such a wonderful month, filled with wonderful adventures.

Week One: Chicago Land

Lincoln Park.  Yes, that is the John Hancock in the background.

We skipped G-Bear's last day of school to accompany T on the long drive to Chicago for a course he was teaching.  While he was busy in the labs, the kids and I ventured to the Lego Discovery Center (worthy of a post of its own) and built with Legos, 

First Lego car, and yes, Mom helped.

Love that Millennium Falcon, E-Bear!

and more Legos in our hotel room.  
Surfs Up, with Legos, that is.

We also drank bottomless root beer with "Uncle" Tony at the Eleven City Diner and played with our friends at the Lincoln Park Zoo. We had a wonderful time. 

Weeks Two and Three: Swimming Lessons
Gertie the Guppie once again made an appearance in our lives for two weeks of swimming lessons.  Buddy Bear joined the Jellyfish group, E-Bear joined the Sunfish and G-Bear joined the Catfish.  The kids braved the 60 degree mornings like champions.  Everyone improved, both in following instructions and in their swimming skills.  I watched Buddy Bear come into his own singing to Gertie and even put his face into the water unprompted.  I watched E-Bear do under water bobs like a champ.  And I watched G-Bear backstroke across the pools and try a dive or two.   J-Bear spent her time toddling around the deck with me, holding my hand and trying her hardest to learn walk (thank goodness for those kneelers!).  She even learned the Gertie song too, and joined in by blowing bubbles with her lips just like the swimmers!

We celebrated at the end of the week by heading up to MoMo and Papa's cabin.  
MoMo was a champ and got the pontoon in the water.   

We all enjoyed our time on the water 

and in the forest. 

What a way to relax and revive.

Week Four: Catholic Kids Camp (Vacation Bible School)
When we got back, it was time for Catholic Kids Camp!  We all got to participate this year, G-Bear and E-Bear as campers, and Buddy Bear and J-Bear as un-official campers in a childcare class with me.  We did crafts, sang songs, enjoyed circle time and Bible stories and playground time each day.  All the kids were so proud of their hard work and had so much fun praising God with their friends.  Proud smiles abounded at the sing along at the end of the week.

I really must recommend Lacy Rabideau's Catholic Preschool Curriculum from Catholic Icing.  I used many of her ideas for Circle Time and for our crafts, all of which worked really well for our group of 1-4 year olds.  

In Between:  

In between our big events, we have had plenty of other little adventures.

We visit the visiting Handmaids nearly every evening. 

We even got to treat them to ice cream one evening.

We've played plenty of catch and ball.

We can't stay off our bikes. 
E-Bear asks to ride his two-wheeler every afternoon.

Day by day, we're growing a green, green garden,

From the front yard.
Our bouquet of front yard flowers.
The bouquet E-Bear picked for me.

and a new boulevard of green, green grass.

The kids have been a huge help to T, who reseeded our boulevard.  
It is hard to believe that only a few weeks ago it looked like a scraggly weed garden.

Everyday we make time for learning time, playtime and piano practice.

And each weekend you can still find us with MoMo, Papa and GG on the patio for brunch. 

These are sweet and wonderful summer days.  
Thank you, Lord, for a wonderful June!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Moved by the Spirit?

It is hard to be quiet during Mass when you are trying to learn to walk.  J-Bear successfully stood up and walked today during Mass, with her signature aplomb.

Happily Ever,
Queen B

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Heard Around the House, June 2014

E-Bear, after a playdate with a friend who is an only child:

"Mommy, I think I know why God made friends.  If someone is born and it is just them,
a friend can come and they will have someone to play with."

Buddy Bear, looking out the window on a long car ride:

*Sigh* "Mommy, sometimes I just like to look at the clouds."

J-Bear, ready for an early bedtime and waving to everyone as she's carried upstairs:


E-Bear, praying with T at bedtime:

"I am thankful that Buddy Bear is old enough to play play mobile with me."

G-Bear, whispering to T. 
They were admiring their newly planted grass along our boulevard, when a passerby walked off the sidewalk and trampled right over the grass in front of G-Bear:

"Daddy, that person just walked over the baby grass!"

"I know, G-Bear.  But it is more important to be kind to others than to have nice grass."

Friday, June 20, 2014

On Mothering, by J.M. Barrie

Todd has been reading Peter Pan to our children, the complete unabridged version. When I hear him reading, I love to peek around the corner and see our three little ones, hanging on his every word.   What a wonderful sight.

So far, this is my favorite quote.  Mrs. Darling has a way with her children, which so far, I admire.  I'd like to adopt a few of her ways myself.

"Mrs. Darling first heard of Peter when she was tidying up her children's minds. It is the nightly custom of every good mother after her children are asleep to rummage in their minds and put things straight for next morning, repacking into their proper places the many articles that have wandered during the day. If you could keep awake (but of course you can't) you would see your own mother doing this, and you would find it very interesting to watch her. It is quite like tidying up drawers. You would see her on her knees, I expect, lingering humorously over some of your contents, wondering where on earth you had picked this thing up, making discoveries sweet and not so sweet, pressing this to her cheek as if it were as nice as a kitten, and hurriedly stowing that out of sight. When you wake in the morning, the naughtiness and evil passions with which you went to bed have been folded up small and placed at the bottom of your mind and on the top, beautifully aired, are spread out your prettier thoughts, ready for you to put on."

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Best wishes for Friday the 13th

We are not superstitious.  I honestly didn't know that yesterday was Friday the 13th until dinner time.

But, if we were superstitious, T may have stayed home from work yesterday.  As he headed out the door, little Buddy Bear met him on the stairs and gave him a cheerful hug good-bye:

"Bye, Daddy!  Have a good day!  Don't get killed!"

"How's that for a Friday the 13th greeting?"  T asked at work.

Thankfully, our day was quite uneventful :)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Happy 35th Birthday, T!

Somehow, I managed to surprise T for his 35th birthday last week.  I assembled seven close friends, planned an adults-only dinner, and managed to organize everything with a babysitter (thanks,  MoMo!) and the restaurant without him knowing.  Whew!  My heart was racing even as we walked into dinner -- I wanted him to be happily surprised!  And he was.  He was so surprised and so happy.

After a wonderful dinner, we all took turns toasting T.  Here is the toast I offered.  To my love, in Him, from her.

A Toast to My Dearest T, on the Occasion of His 35th Birthday
"Thirty-five things I love about you"

35.  Your fashion sense, which always outshines my own.
34.  Your dancing ability.  For a boy who grew up in a school where dancing wasn't allowed, 
you are impressive.  I am pretty sure I first held hands with you during a dance class.  I've loved dancing with you ever since.
33.  Your sense of adventure.  Whether flying in a trike, tandem biking, hitting Disney World or driving across California with all kids in tow, you're ready.  I love getting to be along for the ride.
32.  Your love of sports, especially all things Alabama.
31.  You are clean shaven (most of the time).
30.  You love your grandmother's cooking best, and you don't complain when I try my best but still can't quite make it right, the way she did.
29.  Your gift of giving gifts.  Whether a flower smile, a princess crown, an Indian cookbook or an awesome bike, your gifts are always well-considered, thoughtful, and generous.  You are a great gift giver.
28.  You are a DJ ability.  Your music is always the best and most fun to listen to.
27.  You are respected at work.
26.  You are loved by your patients.
25.  You come home happy everyday.
24.  You come home happy when I need you to come home.  And you can hear it in my voice.
23.  You love electronics.  I do not.  Our family benefits tremendously from your skills, and so do our children, who enjoy sharing electronics with you.
22.  You are good at resting.  I am not.  You help me rest, and you give our children a great example of restful relaxation.
21. You rarely loose your cool, as in, almost never.
20. You are patient with me and everyone else.
19.  You love the fairytales (whether part of a Disney World adventure or encouraging our sons' love of superheroes), but you live in pursuit of the real Happy Ending.
18.  You are not afraid of uncertainty.  Whether facing the Match, job prospects, new little ones or the many unknowns of life, you are unshaken because your faith rests in the One who knows the future and you are secure in Him.
17.  The way G-Bear reflects you.
16.  The way E-Bear reflects you.
15.  The way Buddy Bear reflects you.
14.  The way J-Bear reflects you.
13.  The way you love G-Bear.
12.  The way you love E-Bear.
11.  The way you love Buddy Bear.
10.  The way you love J-Bear.
9.  You have embraced fatherhood with a whole heart.
8.   You are a Southern gentleman, and you are teaching our sons to be gentlemen as well.
7.  My mom loves you.
6.  You miss me.
5.  You love me better everyday.
4.  You know me well.  Who else gets a perfect score on the pre-marriage "How well do you know your fiancĂ©" exam?
3.  You know me well and you married me anyway.
2.  You pray.
1.  You love God first.  You always have, and I pray you always will.

And, one to grow on:

I love your age.  I have loved everyday that I have had with you so far, T.  I look forward to everyday ahead.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Happy Pentacost

Friday, June 6, 2014

Good-Bye Pre-K!

E-Bear, E-Bear, could it be?
Is that a Pre-K graduate I see?

Hooray for E-Bear!  On Wednesday we celebrated his last day of Pre-K with Mrs. Rogers.  
There was a time, not so long ago, when we said good-bye to Mrs. Rogers at G-Bear's preschool graduation, thinking that E-Bear might never get to have her as a teacher.  Now, after two years in her classroom, it is hard for E-Bear to imagine anything else.  What a blessing she has been to our whole family.

The graduation was done in traditional Mrs. Roger's style, with a singing performance followed by diplomas and cake.  Buddy Bear ran over to give his big brother a HUGE hug after the singing, which was warmly returned by E-Bear.  The whole crew was on hand for pictures afterwards.

Thanks to MoMo and Papa, whose attendance made the event extra special!
Notice the magazine in E-Bear's hand.  It is a Lego catalogue that came that morning in the mail.
He hasn't put it down in days!

E-Bear, we are proud of the things you have learned (writing letters, adding numbers, dinos, spiders, caterpillars!), the friends you have made, and the leader you have become.  We know you are ready for Kindergarten, but we are glad to have the summer with you first.  

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Do they really use that bike?

Last week, we got a new bike.  While I was a little intimidated at first, we are now totally hooked.  Yes, we really are using the bike.  All. The. Time.

First things first, both E-Bear and G-Bear have learned to ride their own bikes without training wheels.  E-Bear could hardly stand it that G-Bear was doing it herself.  He had been practicing on Buddy Bear's strider bike (awesome birthday gift from MoMo and Papa), and we noticed that he was already able to balance it by himself.  So, with a little encouragement from T,  E-Bear was riding his own bike in one Sunday afternoon.  This past week he rode his bike to school three days in a row!

E-Bear learning to ride his bike with help from T
 With the big kids riding their own bikes, the Mundo is much more manageable for me.  We have J-Bear on the front in her iBert and Buddy Bear on the back in the Peanut Shell.  The two big kids can easily fit between the monkey bars, but the bike gets heavy for me and harder for me to get on when they do.  T can easily drive the bike with all four kids aboard.  For me as a beginner, I prefer it with only two or three kids.

J-Bear, loving the iBert!
And we're off!  This was our first week with the Mundo:

Thursday: T takes G-Bear to school on the bike for the first time!  Super speedy, even faster the driving the car because he didn't have to go through the drop off parking lot.

Friday:  Mom takes all the kids the school on the bike, with the help of the chariot trailer.
We made it!

Saturday:  Mom's at a conference, so what did T do? Bundle all the kids on the bike (sans trailer), head to the splash pad.  When the splash pad is closed, he takes everyone across the neighborhood to get smoothies.

Sunday:  Rain, rain, go away.  We totally wish we could bike to church.

Tuesday: A special dinner night out!  We bike to the restaurant, E-Bear and G-Bear on their bikes, and then go for a 6 mile ride home down the river.  Wow!

Wednesday: Our Sienna minivan is in the shop!  Oh no! What to do?  We have so many things to do today!  Bike to school in the morning, then take the boys to their haircuts on the bike, drop E-Bear off for his last day of school and later go to his graduation sing along -- all on the bike!

Thursday:  To school and Mass on the bike for the last day of school!

Wow!  That is quite a first week.  Hopefully, we have many miles in front of us this summer!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Make Way for the Spirit

This week is the final week of the Easter season.  This is the week between the celebration of Jesus' Ascension into Heaven and the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.   In the early church, these days were precious days of prayer, remembering the first disciples days of prayer and anticipation of Jesus' promised Advocate.  The first disciples prayed through their uncertainty, and they received the third person of the Trinity.   This week, I am praying the beautiful Novena to the Holy Spirit for a greater outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the Fruits of the Spirit in my life and in the world.  The Gifts of the Spirit (Isaiah 11:2-3) and the Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) are needed everywhere in the world today.  With the Spirit of God in our hearts, we can bring these blessings to the whole world.

Lord, send forth your Spirit and renew the face of the earth.