Wednesday, April 23, 2014

36 Things We Love About You!

For once, this is not is Neil and I'm guest-blogging for a very special occasion.  Tomorrow (Apr 24th) is Katie's 36th birthday!!  So I'm sorry if this isn't as fancy as her posts usually are.

The kids and I wanted to wish her a happy birthday by listing the 36 (we lost count actually) things we love about her.  I tried to keep their original words, I think it helps her hear their voices when she reads this love letter from her family.  So let's begin.

Fone's list of reasons that he loves you:

  1. Your smile
  2. Your hugs
  3. Your Chili
  4. Your kisses
  5. Your laughs
  6. Your snuggles
  7. The way you teach school
  8. Your motherly compassion
  9. Your care
Mario's list
  1. Your love that you show for us 
  2. How happy you always are
  3. How good you are at teaching school
  4. The good food you always make
  5. When you read to us
  6. When we play games with you
  7. How forgiving you are
  8. When you let us stay up
  9. How good you are with babies and easily calming them down
Melody and Ariel worked together on their list:
  1. Your loving hugs
  2. Your snuggles
  3. Your smile
  4. You taking Ariel to St. Louis
  5. You taking us to Disney
  6. Your love
  7. You homeschooling us
  8. Your delicious home-made bread YUM!
  9. Your yummy soups
  10. You being our mom!
Max and Pookie's list:
  1. Max: Your snuggles
  2. Pookie: Your good food
  3. Both: When you sing songs to us at bedtime
  4. Both: Your kisses and hugs
  5. Max: You take me to Tae Kwon Do
  6. Max: You teach me
  7. Pookie: You love me and I love you
  8. Max: You clean my glasses for me
  9. Pookie: You let us eat outside sometimes
  10. Max: You let me play LEGOs
  11. Both: You let us do our privileges
  12. Pookie: You gave me Max
  13. Max: Yeah!  You gave us our whole family!
Those last two brought tears to my eyes...

I asked Rose if she had any to add, but she just yelled MAMA!! over and over again at the top of her lungs because you weren't home...I think she loves you :-)

From me, your groom:
  1. Your self-giving love.
  2. Your smile
  3. Your organizational skills
  4. Your ability to calm fussy babies (funny that Mario also thought this)
  5. The joy with which you approach everything
  6. Your unfailing faith
  7. Your dedication to your family
  8. Your hugs
  9. Your willingness to help those around you
  10. Your ability to look outside of yourself and our immediate family to recognize when we should reach out with love
  11. The passion that drives you
  12. Your ability to put up with me :-)
  13. The beautiful family you have given me
  14. The direction you have helped to give me in life
There are countless other reasons why we love you dear, but this is just a few items we chose to share.  We love you and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

We are blessed to have such a strong yet gentle woman in our lives.  I pray that the Lord blesses you in the coming year.

Neil and the kids

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Holy Thursday - 2014

Today begins the Holy Triduum in our Church!  It is one of my favorite Masses of the whole year. Fone and Mario served Mass and our family was asked to take up the gifts following the dressing of the altar and the presentation of the holy oils.  Super special night!!!

Before Mass, we fed our hungry crew a Holy Thursday themed meal, almost identical to the meal we have done for the last two years.  It's so sweet how the kids look forward to and remember and talk about these special traditions throughout the year.

Here was our menu...

**Hearts of Palm**
(we had salad - one plain and one Caesar, since palms are green plants too and we need a veggie)

**Costly Oil**
(plain ole olive oil - we sprinkled on some parmesan and crushed pepper for a yummy dip for the bread)

**Thirty Pieces of Silver**
(30 Ritz crackers)

**Unleavened Bread**
(skinny bread - went great with the olive oil dip)

**Mount of Olives**
(black olives)

**Cock Crows Twice**
(chicken pot pies)

**Gethsemane Figs**
(Fig Newtons)

**Judas' Kisses**
(Hershey's kisses with green wrappers)

**Clouds of Heaven**
(Cool Whip to go with the fig newtons)

**Peter's Tears**
(Altoid mints - they are so strong, they can bring tears to your eyes)

Here is our celebration for 2012.  And as always, a HUGE thanks to Jessica for sharing the idea of this tea to begin with - what a wonderful inspiration she is to me!!!

++Thank you, God, for ideas like this themed tea to help remember and understand all about the sacrifice of Your Son and His great love for us.++  

A trip to celebrate...

...Ariel's First Holy Communion!!!  

Ariel received Jesus in her First Holy Communion back in December.  And, like we did for the oldest three, we took her out on a little trip away for a couple nights to celebrate the new life of Jesus in her and to also give her that special one-on-one time (although little Rose was a tag-a-long since she is not quite ready to leave Mom and Dad at night).  We were able to split the rest of the kids up and they stayed the night at both sets of grandparents (thanks, Mom/Dad and Jean/Ken!!!).  And, Neil and I, and Ariel and Rose headed down for St. Louis....

The first night, we only had a couple hours, so we took Ariel out to an arcade for a little fun with playing games and winning prizes....

 Goodness - that girl can jump, huh??  

The next day, we spent almost the whole day at the St. Louis Science Center , back to the hotel for some swimming, and then a little shopping at the Galleria mall...

 Ariel was a tad nervous (see above) about the Dinosaur Exhibit, but after she found out that it was not scary, real-looking dinosaurs but playing with the robots instead, she was happy as a clam (see the last last dinosaur pictures and her goofey pose below....)

And for the last day, we spent the first part visiting Our Lady of Snows Shrine and then driving home.  The shrine is such a special place and we went to Mass, spent time at the playground, visiting the devotional areas and eating lunch there as well.  I have to add - their lunch buffet of salad/soup is *the* best buffet of that type!!!  Eight homemade soups and a huge salad bar!!!  If you ever visit the Shrine, do not forget to eat there too!!!

 Isn't there just something so precious with a baby in a bonnet, not to mention her adorable smile!!

 Gotta love that smile!!!

++Thank you, God, for the gift of the Eucharist and for sending your Son to live in Ariel so beautifully and brightly, and for the one-on-one time you gave us with her in this special trip++

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