Saturday, June 23, 2012

Aquatic Wear 2012

Right up there with Christmas and Easter clothes, I delight in finding our swimwear every year. Yes, the challenge always presents itself to find modest suits even for little girls without handing over all my doll hairs. I was a little late this year which proved to be quite groovy as Old Navy was basically asking me to take them off their hands. No problemo, Old Navy-o.
I have always enjoyed dressing my little dolls. I even did this with my younger siblings when they were of wee age. Never fear, the littlest sisters haven't been left out. They were napping and usually don't get to partake in swimming each afternoon. Nonetheless, they have suits that go right along with their older sisters. It would be a travesty if they did not. Ahem.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Zellie's 5th Birthday

Are you really five whole years old?You still seem so small yet so many others have come after you that you seemed to have joined the older girls club in the home.  It definitely is an experience that is not worth missing celebrating a birthday with you.  You remember every tradition and certainly won't let any of them go unnoticed or uncelebrated.
We began the morning in geriatric style. We had already scheduled chiropractic appointments so off we went. Oddly, I think you thought it was part of your birthday celebration. The office staff congratulated you and you strolled through that office like you owned it. I remember my birthdays when I was little and just knew that everybody knew it was my birthday by just looking at me.
We let you pick out a cake at the Dairy Queen. 

Your smile today typified what it means "to smile from ear to ear." You didn't stop smiling the whole day.
You have pulled at my heart the most this past year. I knew you were growing so quickly, but felt so stuck at reaching you. It is not that you were difficult, I just felt so busy at times teaching the big kids while simutaneously caring for the little ones. I would find you playing in the toy room so contently, but it always tugged at my heart. I am grateful, it just made me sad that I wasn't sitting next to you more. I love that you enjoy going on errands with me. I can always count on you to go anywhere.
Aunt Hilary gave you lip "glosh." You ask me everyday for my lip glosh. I think you and your sisters stayed up until midnight applying lip glosh.
A four pack of princess shoes that you eagerly shared with your sisters. I love Lillie's monster feet stuffed into the shoes. These puppies won't be coming off until the next century.
Since you and your siblings go swimming almost every day, we knew goggles would be a hit. I think the pictures speaks for itself about the eruption of laughter.
A couple years ago, we started the little tradition of giving each of our girls a little piece of jewelry for their birthdays. I found these gems at Goodwill. I knew this would be the icing on the cake.
I love your spunk. I love your cuddly personality. You love to be held still. I am grateful for our time together.

Father's Day with Father

True to your nature, you came to me on Saturday and requested we go visit our good friend Fr. Courtney for Father's Day. You have known him since you were young. Fr. Courtney has wanted to be a priest since he was a young boy. The youngest of nine children, God placed that calling on his heart very young. He is a lover of all things beautiful and traditional. Our children have grown to love priests and are extremely fond of Fr. Courtney who stops by the house frequently. He always gives them a picture of the Divine Mercy and says, "Here is a picture of my friend." I love how they giggle. He gets a kick out of all the kids especially Zellie who has mutual affection for him. He usually gives each of them a quarter when he leaves.
John always says that we need priests and priests need families. It is important that we are present in each other's lives. So on this Father's day, we headed out to Steinauer, Nebraska to celebrate Father's Day with our dear spiritual father. The kids were so tickled that Father just fussed over them at mass. After mass, he took us into the sacristy and showed the kids all his vestments. After spending some time with Marge, we went with Father to the Pizza Hut.  I must admit that the Gospel of Life that Pope John Paul II preached about was very present this glorious day.  I watched from the end of our table, Father dressed in his clerics surrounded by six little faces laughing and joking.  So full of life.  So full of hope. 
After the beautiful hour long drive, we walked into St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Steinauer...population 73 people total in the town. In the middle of this little town, one can find this magnificent structure. Back then, people knew their priorities. The love put into their faith building such a structure back then was a testimony for us on Sunday. Across the street, we ate a light lunch at the Convent House. The House use to hold an order of traditional Benedictine nuns in full black habit. These nuns taught at the small school that closed down in the 60s. Father gave us a tour of the old convent. I was amazed again at the elegance and faith of this small community that once built a gorgeous church, a convent, a Catholic school, and had enough children attending to be taught by nuns. Our faith is so rich. Today, we met Marge. Marge was a woman in her 80s that was so tickled by all our little girls that she was beside herself with joy. She immediately came up to us after mass and asked if we could come over for fruit, sausage, and eggs that she had prepared earlier for out-of-town guests. The convent has since been turned into a bed and breakfast and Marge donates her time to running the B&B. I asked her how many children she had and she told me that she was never married because her mother was paralyzed when she was little so of course she wanted to take care of her. I told John later I loved how she told me her simple life story as if it were no big deal. She gave her whole life caring for her mother and now she helps Father run the B&B. We talked pie crusts and prime rib recipes. I think I enjoyed her most out of our day in Steinauer, Nebraska.
So once again John you have taught me that life is so much more full-filling when lived in service of others. You spent "your" Father's Day being a good friend to our spiritual father. I've said it before, you are a privilege to know just on a human level. You exemplify what God intended for the human race. Pure self-sacrifice. Our children will be different because of you. It is not that we won't struggle with them, but they will be different because of your reaction to life. My sisters want to marry "a John." My brothers want to be "like John." Heck, I want to be "like John."
You recently showed me these three videos that I want to pass onto others. Your strength and character match what these two men are challenging us to be. Thank you for the example. This is long, but worth your time. As we say almost every night, there aren't many things that beat listening to a good Marco Rubio speech. I have listened to this speech many times.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Mahoney Park 2012

For the past four years, we have made a trip out to Mahoney Park to enjoy a day of swimming, eating, and all sorts of fun events. The trip begins by everyone loading into a tour bus from Lincoln to Mahoney State Park. Zellie and Vianney sat in the very front seat. Please only imagine what neurons were firing in their little 3 and 4 year old brains as they sat in the FRONT seat of a massive tour bus flying down the highway.
John and his traveling companion. We both believe that she thought the trip was ALL for her. Yep, we loaded everybody up, ordered tons of food, and invited several thousand people to join us today JUST FOR YOU.

I found Vianney quite pensive over what to pick for her one selection of balloon art.

Although, no one gets to it like Lillie. She eats without talking to anyone, quickly stands in line for her balloon selection then scampers over to get her face painted. So much fun, so little time.
Zellie was so overly giddy at her Viking hat selection that I believe she snorted twice with excitement.

She owned that sucker. Some serious strong man contest would have to occur for that to be dislodged from her jaw grip. Nope, not coming out ever.
Of course, Simple Rose would pick a simple, yet beautiful flower.  So true to her nature. 

Waiting for the big bucket to drop.
Vianney said, "Itsss too loud." The ONLY negative to having a child with a cute lisp is that I've imitated it for so long that I've developed a lisp.
Yes, she is this sweet and lovely.
After a fun-filled full day, we rode the trolley around the park. I was sitting with a sleepy Vianney on my lap and looked up near the front. I watched how cute John looked standing there holding Damaris' binki in while talking to the driver. There is something so manly about a man with his baby.
It always feels so good to get home and have everyone take a nice long bath. Even baby was exhausted from sleeping all day.