Tuesday, February 18, 2014

11 things we love about you

We love you, Mario!!

Happy 11th birthday!!

In celebration of you turning 11 today, we wanted to share with you, Mario, 11 things we love about you!!

#1 - your sweet, tender heart

#2 - how you are so easy to get along with

#3 - your artistic talent and drawing ability

#4 - how you love the outdoors

#5 - your glasses - to match both Mom and Dad

#6 - you are a mischievous little jokester and prankster

#7 - how you love and get along with all of your siblings so well - your 3 brothers and 3 sisters

#8 - you are a like fish in the water, a natural-born swimmer 

#9 - your sweet hugs

#10 - your positive attitude that you bring wherever you go

#11 -you are so easy-going and just roll with transition and stress and chaos as it is happening

++Loving God, you created all the people of the world and you know each of us by name. We thank you for "Mario", who celebrates his birthday today. Bless him with your love and friendship that he may grow in wisdom, knowledge, and grace. May he love his family always and be faithful to his friends. Amen. ++

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - silly girl cousins

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Marian Consecration Day


Tonight was the celebration and Mass for our Marian consecration, on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.  I have been preparing myself the last 6 weeks using the 33 Days to Morning Glory study, digging into the wisdom of some amazing Marian spiritual giants...  St Loius de Montford, St Maximilian Kolbe, Blessed Mother Teresa, and Blessed John Paul II.  What a wonderful study and journey it has been!!  I have prayed to Mary and taken her into my heart and our little domestic church quite some time ago, but it was really nice to make my devotion to her and consecration "official".  I couldn't ask for a better person to bring me closer to Jesus - His own mother!! 

Three prayers I took to heart and will keep with me forever....

what is the arrow on my white board pointing to, you may ask?  a beautiful picture of Mary, of course....

How blessed I was to celebrate and consecrate myself to Mary with all of these wonderful people....

And a sweet, talented momma made these cakes - an Immaculate Heart of Mary cake and a Sacred Heart of Jesus cake.  Aren't they beautiful????

 (Thanks, Stephanie, for making these for us!  Super special!!  How sweet of you!)

++O Mary, conceived without sin, 
pray for us who have recourse to thee.++

Our Lady of Lourdes

Happy feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes!!!  
(my consecration day!!)

(This picture was taken a few years ago, at this beautiful shrine at their Lourdes grotto.)

++Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.++

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Star Wars themed feast and birthday party

Max turned 6 a few days ago, and we just had his party with cousins - a Star Wars themed party. Our kids are able to have the cousins around their age over for food, fun, and games until they turn 7, and after that they are able to include some friends as well.  So, this is Mark's last cousin-only party, although with his 3 cousins his age, it's a nice sized party already!  He has some buddies his age and I know will be thrilled when he can finally start asking them as well.

Having parties for our younger crew is becoming easier and easier every year!  The bigger kids just take over and plan and lead it!  It's so wonderful as a momma to stand back and see the love the siblings have for each other in moments like this.  Fone planned a couple of the games, decorated the treat bags, printed off little coloring books, and pretty much ran the whole party.  Mario drew and set up the Pass the Light Saber game, while Melody created the light sabers, and Ariel filled the treat bags.  Max is sure lucky to have great big brothers and sisters!!  For the Star Wars feast, I did a quick Google search and up popped plenty of ideas for Star Wars themed food!  I needed fast and easy and didn't have much time to research since we had just came home from a mini-vacation. Things fell together so nicely with very little planning!  I love when God takes over and things like this work out so smoothly!  Here are plans and pictures from the wonderful party....

"A feast fit for a Jedi" 
I think the pictures tell the story of what was served and ate....

(scoop tortilla chips)

And for the games/activities....

Pin the Light Saber on Yoda
Mario drew and decorated a large Yoda on poster paper and Melody created a light saber for each boy.  Typical "pin the tail on the donkey" game - spun the kid round and round, and they each got to pass the light saber into Master Yoda's hands.  This type of game is always a hit!!  

Jedi Training Session and a Surprise Attack
Obi-Wan showed up and taught the Jedi-in-training some moves with their new light sabers (pool noodles cut into smaller sections with duct tape on the ends - makes for "safe" fighting).  In the midst of their training, they were attacked by Darth Vader and a Storm Trooper.  The new Jedi showed off their new moves and defeated the forces of evil.  

Jedi Mission (scavenger hunt)
I am amazed every time Fone plans these scavenger hunts!  SO well written and they tie in perfectly with the theme.  Definitely one of his gifts!  Again, these scavenger hunts always win over at the party, especially when the treasure is TREAT BAGS!!

Coloring books
Fone printed off coloring pages and stapled them together to form a little book.  He used one of our favorite online printable coloring book sites.  

Fun was had by all, little kids and big kids!  Of course, we had to finish with some yummy cupcakes and a posed picture of this wonderful crew of cousins that Max is blessed to have!

May the force be with you!!!  

Friday, February 7, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday - Kalahari favorites

While our area was getting its 74th snowfall of the season (a 6 incher this time), we were spending time up at the beautiful Kalahari in Wisconsin Dells.  This is our third trip to Kalahari, and although it is a bit on the pricey side, it is totally worth it!!  I've shared before how Kalahari truly does it all right, cutting no corners, and makes an amazing oasis for all ages to enjoy.  We especially loved this time taking off our winter coats on Sunday, stuffing them in the closet and not even seeing them til Wednesday!  There's something so refreshing about taking a much needed winter break. We not only took advantage of the waterpark (covered under the room charge) but we splurged and bought passes to the indoor theme park.  It was a huge hit, for sure!!!!

So to summarize our favorites of our trip, I thought I'd join in with "7 Quick Takes Friday"....

Rides at the Theme Park:  Bumper boats were a favorite for our two littlest ones. When we first saw this ride, Neil and I both thought it was kinda a cheesy ride and would be a flop.  Surprisingly, the kids LOVED it!   The little kids also enjoyed the Carousel and the Ferris WheelGo Karts were a huge hit for the 5 big kids (Pookey was too short), and there was an awesome viewing area up by the bowling alley.    XD Dark Ride was a motion 3D shooting ride.  All five big kids tried it, but mostly Neil, Fone and Mario enjoyed it the best - a little too intense for the others.  Then there was the 360 ride - a CrAzY spinning upside-down ride that only Mario was brave enough to try out. 

Activities at the Theme Park:  The list of these seems to go on and on as well.  We went bowling as a group with our family and the cousins as well.  Our family loved Laser Tag and did this many times!   The Atomic Rush was like a giant Simon game where you have to tap your color square All the kids loved this, although Pookey was a tad short and couldn't reach all the shapes.  Fone and Mario went up the Climbing Wall - what little monkeys they are - they just climbed right up with no problem at all!  There were two rope courses:  one for the older crew and one for the younger crew.  All 6 big kids and Neil attempted, although three of them chickened out and never completed it - lol!  You may be able to figure that one out from the pictures...  


Cousin time!!!  This was the second time this set of cousins joined us at Kalahari.  It was so nice to be with them and see the kids having such a good time together.  

Grandparents time!!  Neil's parents drove up and back for the day to see and spend time with their boys and families.  The kids were thrilled to see them and took advantage of them not being in swimming clothes, and gave plenty of lovin's in the form of wet hugs! Then when we got home from our trip, Big Red could pull right in our garage because Neil's parents had cleared the drive from the six inches of snow!  (thank you!!!!)

Godparents time!!  Our sweet Pookey was especially thrilled because we had a special visit from his Godparents during the last night of our trip, since they live up in that area.  They joined us for pizza and all the fun at the Theme Park.  How blessed we were to spend this special time with them!!  
Pookey and his Godparents

The HUGE indoor waterpark!!  Of course, this is the main attraction of Kalahari!  They have three kiddie play areas, two that are very large and can entertain the littles for hours.  All the while, the bigger kids run back and forth between all the fun rides and slides of the park....  Victoria Falls (family tube ride), Master Blaster, Lazy River, Rippling Rhino, Wave Pool, ZigZag Zebra, Shooting Star Pool (with lily pads and basketball hoops), indoor/outdoor hot tub, Boogie Boarding, and more!!!  
Melody and Rose

Don't you just love her praying hands?

And BEST OF ALL is the bonding and family time!!!  So many wonderful, grace-filled, proud mommy moments during our trip!  How blessed I am!!!!

For more "7 Quick Takes on Friday", visit the logo below....


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