Sunday, June 21

Answer Me This: Father's Day!

I haven't blogged in a while because I feel like I'm suffering from a bit of writer's block.  We've finished up our 2014-2015 school year and started swim lessons at the YMCA.  We went to a lake with friends and wound up having a crazy time (more to come on that soon).  As for now, I thought it would be easy enough for me to link up with Kendra, one of my favorite bloggers, for "Answer Me This" and simply answer a few questions in honor of Father's day. I sorta have an amazing father of my children, and my old man isn't half bad either!  

1. What's the best thing about your dad?
The best thing about my dad is that he's always trying.  I didn't understand that when I was a kid, but as an adult I see that he's always trying to grow, learn more about his faith, please his family members, stay healthy, and make amends for past errors.  He's taught me that when we get stuck, we don't give up.  And he's taught me that sometimes it's super hard to apologize, but it's something that we just have to do sometimes, because none of us are perfect. ;-)

And I truly love watching him be a grandpa to my children.

2. If you've got kids, what's the best thing about THEIR dad?
Ryan is simply amazing.  I know that because I'm married to him, but I hear it all the time from other people as well so I know it's not just my bias.  He's so fun with the kids, always trying to make them laugh but knowing when it's time to be serious and learn virtue or discipline as well.  I appreciate his mild manner and understanding that they're just kids, with expectations that are reasonable, and that he's not afraid to shower them with love or silliness (depending on what they need).  He's just so intuitive.  (Okay I think that was multiple things but I just couldn't help myself!)

3. What's the best advice your dad ever gave you?
My father told me that we have to respect people even if we don't get along with or care for them all that much.  As an adult, I see that playing out in my life all the time when I run into people that I don't really mesh well with but try my hardest to see the positive and give them the benefit of the doubt.  But it's really helped me with people in positions of authority that I don't agree with.  Instead of arguing and being demeaning, I've learned to speak truth in charity and take other people's feelings into consideration.  I try to be very empathetic. Even though I didn't understand what he meant long ago when he said that to me, it's been something I've incorporated and expanded upon in my life to this day.

4. What's something you have in common with your dad?
My dad and I are both hard workers.  We like "projects" and to keep busy.  We both love the Lord above all things, and we both get super bright red faces when we work out for a long time!

5. What's the manliest thing you know how to do?
Me?  Ha!  Um... I used to know how to change a tire and check the oil in my (college) car.  I can build bookshelves and mow the grass.  I roughhouse with my boys and like to fish.  But I don't like "potty" humor and I can't burp on demand!

6. Who is your favorite fictional dad?
I have no clue so I'll change the question to who else has been a fatherly figure in my life?  My father-in-law has provided much healing to me as I've seen him model a functional relationship with my mother-in-law, and be interested in my life in a different sort of way than I was used to.  Growing up, I looked up to several of my uncles, admiring their love for their wives and dedication to God.  And I also had a few high school friends with dads who were very kind to me, and will always appreciate their involvement in my life during some difficult times.

Saturday, June 20

May: A recap

I didn't get around to posting much in May, but we had quite a few big activities and events!  I'll post some highlights that I don't want to forget.

Those math timed tests...

Bananas are her favorite breakfast

Finishing up his kindergarten math book
1. May 2 was our last day of soccer for the season.  Beth, Luke, and Jack all had great seasons.  Beth's team was quite amazing this season, they had been together for a couple of seasons already and they were really good.  I honestly looked forward to and enjoyed watching her games every Saturday.  Luke's team was coached by Ryan again, and these kids were pretty good too.  Luke definitely scored more goals this season than he has in the past.  Every season Ryan gets SO MANY compliments on what a great coach he is, how great he is with the kids, and I believe every one of them!  He really is a fantastic coach, probably because he's such a good dad. ;-)  Jack's team was pretty fun to watch.  There were a couple of great players, but Jack had fun watching his shadow as he ran and being silly with his teammates!  He scored a few goals throughout the season too.

Waiting for his game to start

2. May 3 was the May Crowning at the farm.  This was our second year and just as fun as the first year.  We always enjoy driving out to the farm, and praying with our friends and family in honor of Mary was a beautiful learning experience for the children.  I love showing them that our faith isn't something we just do alone, or just on Sundays.  We live it in a truly real way.

3. Later that week we were invited last-minute to a small family retreat with some members of our parish.  This was an event that had been planned for many months, but a last-minute cancellation opened up a spot for us.  Our family spent two nights in a cabin, having fun in canoes, playing frisbee golf, swimming, and making s'mores.  Ryan and I spent quite a bit of time chasing Caeli around, but the opportunity to get to know other members from the church on a more intimate level was a great pleasure.  (Let the record show that while playing frisbee golf, each team had the chance to deduct a point from their score by scoring a free throw at the basketball court.  I stepped up to the free throw line and totally sank one, nothing but net, and everyone was shocked but I think I was the most surprised person there!)  Our priest celebrated mass outside on the front porch of a cabin on both mornings, and I won't soon forget the sunrise and the swallows and the elevated Host.  It was breathtaking.

She felt like such a big girl in her on kayak.

Ryan had the pleasure of taking everyone out for a spin!
My sweet friend and I sharing bourbon...Because it's Thursday.

7:30 am mass on the porch
4. We left  the retreat to go straight to Ryan's parent's house to celebrate Mother's Day weekend.  On the way there I fell asleep and spent literally all day on Saturday in bed.  My body had picked up a germ and I was trying to hard to fight it off, but everyone else had fun playing with Grandma and Grandpa!

Playing with all the treasures at Grandma and Grandpa's house

5. Sunday was Mother's Day and I felt better!  We went to mass at our parish and Ryan prepared two feasts for me that day- a huge brunch and a fajita dinner.  I got a nap, and all was well!

At the end of the day.

6.The following week we left on Thursday afternoon to drive to San Marcos for my brother's graduation.  However, the night before we left my fever had risen and I felt the worst I had felt in years, but I desperately didn't want to miss the graduation and family reunion.  I drove myself to an urgent care facility right by our house and was given antibiotics by a doctor who was clearly upset that I denied a chest x-ray.  On Thursday afternoon, Ryan gathered our stuff while I still felt pretty miserable, and we all left.  I'm so happy I went, though my body was clearly still needing to recover. I pushed myself probably too hard but oh well.  I wanted to see everyone and be there for my little brother!
Matthew and Me

This is the second time we've rented this farm house.  It's amazing.
Nope.  She's going to be an Aggie.
Beth and Matthew after the ceremony
We had a long afternoon of hosting a party at our rented farmhouse!

Sweet girl.
Most of my side of the family, we're missing Michael!
The S. family women
At the Alamo!
We woke up to some crazy rain on Sunday morning, the boys watched airplanes take off through the crazy lightning!

We visited a beautiful parish in San Antonio.

7. I still felt pretty rotten the next week.  I went to see my primary care doctor and he prescribed a different antibiotic for bronchitis and a sinus infection.  We went to a friend's home to pray a rosary that morning, and I pretty much laid on her couch all day while the kids played!  I finally started to feel better by the following Thursday, though my cough definitely took a solid three weeks to go away. 
Playing some checkers with a cowboy.

The first time we tried pigtails!
Luke (and Beth) had their first piano lessons!

 8. Memorial day weekend was mostly relaxing- Sunday we had a picnic at our parish and Monday we lounged at the pool most of the day before coming home to barbecue.  But Tuesday afternoon, Ryan left for San Diego.  He rarely travels, which is such a blessing to me, but it means I was unprepared for three nights without him.  We actually did really well!  We stayed busy during the days and I managed to stay on top of chores and dishes.  We went to a different friend's home to pray a rosary and Ryan's parents came over one afternoon to help out as well.  So while I don't want him to pick up the habit of traveling frequently, I was relieved to know that him traveling now was not the same experience as him traveling four years ago.  It's so very different to have older kids!

Memorial Day dessert, with blackberries from our garden and homemade whipped cream.
One of Ryan's amazing views during his travels.

Thank goodness for Facetime.  Pretty awesome.
Running errands to keep busy- we went to Whole Foods just to check it out.

Praying a rosary with friends.

And thus ended May, with Ryan coming home and everything seemingly back to normal.  Only June's been pretty busy too, but I'll write more about that later. :)

School's Out!

I battled an illness for about three weeks in May, but when I finally felt better I kicked it into high gear so we could finish up school!  It provides great relief to me to "officially" end school and declare that we are DONE!  Even though we will be continuing with math for probably most of the summer, I feel like I can close that folder in my head and move on to thinking about the pool, summer drinks, and next year's plan (which I actually enjoy!).

I asked Beth a few questions to gauge how the year went in her mind and I wanted to share some of her answers!

1. What was your favorite subject? Math
2. What was your favorite part of ancient history?  The stone age people
3. What was your favorite field trip?  The aquarium
4. What are you most proud of learning? Multiplication, 10 x 5= 50
5. What are you most excited about for summer time?  Swimming!

Luke's year was pretty tame for a kindergartener.  He's very close to reading, and can sound out a few words but he's lacking confidence to just sort of take it over.  But boy, this kid is also an artist.  And a mathematician!  We will work on building confidence over the summer and I think he needs some new building sets!  (I'm considering venturing into the world of Legos...)

Jack will be in kindergarten next year and I'll admit I'm a little nervous about teaching three in the fall!  But for both of the boys, at this age I am just not concerned with having them sit and "do school" for three hours a day.  It's much more important to me to instill in them a love of reading (by reading to them!), an inquiring mind, appropriate social skills, and most importantly- virtue.

I hope to take a slightly different approach to our lessons in the fall.  I'm hoping that Caeli will be a little more compliant in letting me sit down to read to everyone (now she immediately climbs into my lap, kicks everyone else away, and wants to nurse), and I hope to put together some toddler busy bags for her to play with when I need her to play alone.  (Realistically I know this probably will rarely happen.  #fourthtimemomwisdom)  Beth will be doing some more work on the computer, we will be adding Shakespeare to our literature (!), and I want to plan out more official field trips and community service.  I'm considering joing 4H, we will stay in our co-op, and Beth and Luke are also starting piano lessons, finally!  I'm so excited to start planning our fall!
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