Tuesday, February 24

A Trip to the Aquarium

I organized a field trip for our homeschool group to visit the local aquarium.  I didn't think it would be that big of an endeavor but it sort of was!  We went a couple of years ago and I really wanted to go again- and no one else wanted to organize it- so I volunteered!  The aquarium gave us a great rate for an all-day pass that gave us unlimited access to the rides and aquarium so it was hard to pass up this opportunity.  We had over 50 kids and their parents attend!

Before we started exploring, the kids had a little class prepared for them by some of the aquarium workers.  Their class was jungle-themed.  Basically they got to get close to a parrot!

 We explored the museum and saw one of their resident white tigers.  Ryan noticed that every time an aquarium employee walked by, the tiger got up and started pacing at the window.


Next we visited the sting rays, where we could stick our hands in and "pet" them.  Everyone was pretty timid at first but I think Luke was able to put his hands on one!  (A couple of months ago they also got to pet a shark at one of our museum field trip days- even Jack stuck his hand in and touched it!)

We went to lunch upstairs at the restaurant, where the kids sat a table with friends and the adults sat at a table alone.  We were right next to the ceiling-high aquarium, and we all enjoyed watching the fish and learning about them from our waitress.

Finally we went outside for the train, carousel, and this thing that took them up in the air and dropped them gradually, bit by bit, back down again.  It wasn't one huge drop which is what I initially was worried about!  Since we had unlimited passes they went on it a couple of times.  Jack even went!

The weather was cold, gray, and dreary, so we didn't stay outside as long as we did a few years ago, but the kids still had a great time.  I know they had a great time when they look like this on the ride home. :-)

Tuesday, February 17

Valentine's Week

Well, I've been out for a week or two.  Caeli and Jack seemed to have gotten over their illnesses but this mama is still tired.  Jack was down for about 4 days with a throw-up/nausea bug, and it took Caeli a good 8 or 9 days to start acting totally like herself again.  But as of a few days ago, her snotty nose is back with a vengeance!  She's mostly acting like herself, but with a cough and runny nose.  Which means she doesn't sleep very well... Which means mama is sleepy!

She did manage to have a few good days in between colds though.  This was on the Monday before Valentine's Day, after a little get-together with other homeschooling families for a quick Valentine exchange.  The weather was an unusual 80 degrees and the afternoon was gorgeous.  I had to take my babies to the park.

The next day was also nice, a little cool in the morning but Beth had science class at the museum so I took the boys and Caeli to the zoo.  Caeli got a little too close to a chimpanzee for her comfort, and the boys had a great time running around with their two friends.

Thursday we had another Valentine exchange at co-op, then PawPaw stopped by for a quick visit!  He was in Texas for business and chose to spend the night with us before flying home.  When we got home from co-op, the kids dragged him outside and they played games with him for a couple of hours.  

Friday we had Pickwick and Blue Knights.  Beth was the last girl left sewing a red heart to give away as a gift.

and the boys had a lesson on St. Valentine at the park.

And that night the kids had their first soccer practice!

Saturday morning, Jack's game was at 8 am.  Caeli had a rough night the night before so I stayed home with her, but they all came home bearing good news of Jack scoring a goal, and they also brought Uncle Dan and Cousin Evan!  We were able to visit for a couple of hours before going out to Beth's noon game and Luke's 2 pm game.

After soccer was over we came home to get ready for our annual family dinner at P.F. Changs.  This was our 9th year to take our children their for a family date, as usual we all dressed up!  It was busier than normal this year, probably because it was on a Saturday, but we got in for dinner around 5 pm.  They stuck us in a huge corner booth, which is perfect for us!

The day didn't end there!  Around 6:30 we headed over to our family dance with some friends, and yet another Valentine exchange.   We arrived a little late and had to leave early- we were all exhausted!  Unfortunately we didn't get to stay late enough to dance, and the kids were disappointed, but Ryan and I could hardly keep our eyes open after such a long day!

It was an unusually beautiful weather week, which helped keep my February Blues away, but it was busy.  I've concluded that Valentine's Day, with the exception of PF Changs, is soooo overrated.  I'm happy to not cut another heart for a year!  And all the candy and sweets!  It's just too much for me!  But the kids enjoy it... sigh... the things I do for them. ;-)

Saturday, February 7


In February, Ryan and I were invited to attend a Gala at our parish with some friends.  I'm pretty sure this was the first formal event Ryan and I had attended together in...years?  I have no idea.  It was a long time since we'd even gone out on a real date, let alone a dress-up event with swing dancing, dinner, and drinks with friends!  We had SO much fun!  Of course we were some of the last people there (it seems we always are the ones to shut the place down!) and enjoyed carpooling with friends  to make the ride seem not so long!

Monday, February 2

Sick Babies and a Long Weekend

(Deep breath.  Another sip of wine.)

My poor Caeli got a snotty nose last Wednesday, the day I drove in to the city to visit our parish's home school co-op and meet with our priest.  I had lunch with a friend and she pointed out Caeli's nose- one of those "things" that drive me nuts is a snotty-nosed baby- and of course Caeli's was so gross!  She got worse on Thursday, and so I brought her in to our family doctor on Friday.  A swab confirmed RSV and a peek in her ears confirmed a double ear infection.  No wonder she had seemed so lethargic and miserable.  Her fever hadn't been too high but it was enough to make her seem so very sick. 

Dozing in and out of sleep.
 We treated her ears with ibuprofen to lessen the swelling and of course that lowered her fever as well, but her nose and cough continued to progress.  She and I stayed home from a birthday party on Saturday (the weather was a little too cool for a sick baby) while Ryan and the kids got to go have some fun!

Sunday was a big day for our parish- the consecration of the new chancery!  The day started early with Sunday school (we were late!), high mass with two Cardinals in attendance (super cool), then lunch and playtime on church grounds for the afternoon.  All week long the weather had been predicted to be rainy but it stayed dry!  At 4 pm we attended Evensong (evening prayer in the Anglican use that is sung) and processed to the new building to witness the blessing and attend a reception.  I can't even describe the great procession, led by Cardinal Levada and attended by over 30 priests, our church's beautiful choir, Knights of Columbus, and all of the laity.  It was spiritually stirring to witness Evensong,evening prayer similar to Vespers.  (I am learning so much about these traditions held sacred by Catholics before the schism of the Church of England, but reverently preserved through all of these years until being welcomed home by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009.  It's very humbling to this cradle Catholic who thought she knew it all!)

Beautiful children from 3 families, 11 in a row.  They are such good children, we are so blessed to call them friends!

All Jack really wanted was to meet a priest with a "bishops hat."  Unfortunately we didn't get to introduce him to one of the two Cardinals in attendance.  Maybe next time!

This was only a tiny part of the procession- the Knights of Columbus and part of the choir.  My photos do not do it justice.
Part of the outdoor shrine to Our Lady of Walsingham, with the beautiful new Chancery in the background.

The reception included appetizers and desserts, wine and coffee, and of course our children running around playing in the courtyard, having the times of their lives.  They love this place, and most likely at this point because they get to spend mornings and afternoons with their friends.  But I think it's a little more than that too.  I have no doubt that this is the right place for our family!

We shut the place down as usual (they had to turn the lights out on us!) and we came home late and went straight to bed.  12 hours at church just wore them out!

Maybe we wore Jack out too much, as today he woke up at 6 am needing to throw up.  And he's been sick all day, not even able to keep down a few sips of water.  But since it's not respiratory, it's not what Caeli has been sick with.  Yesterday and today she has clearly been on the mend, off the ibuprofen and pretty close to acting like her happy little self.  But poor Jack spent the day on the couch, in-and-out of consciousness.  Ryan and I both felt a little off today too but I'm hoping and praying that tomorrow everyone will wake up healthy.  I'm exhausted from having a sick, clingy, nursing-around-the-clock baby, and I'm ready for a little bit of normal life!

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