Thursday, November 28, 2013


It has been a joyful Thanksgiving week so far! We're grateful for these days with family. 

And we're grateful for fun times with friends. These friends just moved onto the lake!

For hot chocolate with friends on very cold days. For friends they've had since before birth, and for fun times watching these friends' Nutcracker rehearsal. 

For a non-carbonated glucose drink. The very first time I could finish it without a huge struggle. Also for good doctors and progesterone shots that will hopefully keep this baby girl cooking for a few more months.

For my favorite restaurant and a little mommy-only lunch. 

For a trolley ride with friends!

For a little taste of snow, leftover from a local festival. For snowball fights with friends!

And for four beautiful children, and one on the way. For the upcoming holiday season, memories past and memories to come!

Thank you God, for these and all our blessings!
May you all have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

What We Wore Sunday

(iPhone blogging)

Happy Feast of Christ the King! 

It's finally cold, but rainy here in South Texas so I went with denim today. Mary Clare actually picked out my jacket and scarf. She has much better fashion sense than me! I'm also wearing tights and my black boots. 

Here without the jacket. 25 week belly!

The kids looked pretty spiffy before mass. Afterwards we had Steven Joseph with mega orange stain on his slacks (chalk?). 

And Tommy crying because he took off his shoes in the car but didn't want to walk barefoot into the house. Daddy behind him is hoping he learned his lesson! He did look precious in his brown corduroys and striped sweater though. And finally his hair has grown out, too :)

Ellie is wearing an old faithful rainbow sweater tunic (Gap), leggings, and her new silver shoes (Payless). 

And ever the fashionista, we have Mary Clare in a bright blue dress (Dillard's) with white leggings, a brown hand-me-down jacket, my blue and white scarf, and her new pewter flats (Stride Rite). 

Now I'm wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt, as I await our usual Sunday afternoon "dinner" of grilled steak by Daddy. It'll be a day for cleaning and packing for Thanksgiving week. I'll be headed up with the kids tomorrow or Tuesday, with my exciting glucose screen and OB appt on Wednesday. We're looking forward to some fun days with family, friends, and food!

But first we have to take care of things like this...a living room filled with coats, socks, and shoes! 

Hopefully next week we'll be filling this area with Christmas decorations! I tried to convince Steven that we should put up a tree today, and he have me a look and just responded, "if you put up a tree BEFORE Thanksgiving..."  (He grew up getting a tree on Christmas Eve.)  Now to maybe find a Craigslist tree...

Happy Thanksgiving week!

See more fashion fun over at Fine Linen and Purple:

Friday, November 22, 2013

Walt Disney World 2013, Day 3--Animal Kingdom

We were all looking forward to our day at Animal Kingdom, me especially since this park wasn't there when I visited as a child. 

The day started with breakfast at our hotel, and then the usual shuttle bus ride to the park.  Thomas wasn't crazy about having his picture taken at the front gate!

Mary Clare took a photo of Steven and I (and my baby belly) in front of the big Tree of Life.

And then it was off to the Asia area to hit Expedition Everest.

Here are the girls standing in front of the roller coaster.  It was apparently another scary one!  I think it was just the girls and Steven who rode this time.

Next, we headed over to the Dino Land to cool off in the Dino Dig area.  

You see all kinds of interesting creatures while walking around Animal Kingdom!

Next on the agenda was the Kali River Rapids.  We waited in line for a few minutes and then all of us excitedly boarded the raft. Just as we moved off the loading deck, the entire ride shut down!  After about 10-15 minutes, a crew in waders came to move our rafts to the side and let us all exit the ride.  What a disappointment!  We got passes to ride again later in the day.

We were hot and sweaty and ready for some lunch!  Yak and Yeti Quick Service restaurant was perfect with some yummy Asian-type dishes that we all shared.  We even got frozen lemonades as a drink option with our meal plan!

We walked around and looked at the animal areas for a bit, and then headed over to the Kilimanjaro Safari.  It was a really fun safari experience, riding in a real jeep with wild animals all around us.  Steven said he kept trying to figure out all the ways they were keeping the animals contained, even though it looked like they were just hanging out in the wild.  The girls took all of these photos!

Next, it was time for the Nemo show.  We really enjoyed this one!

Thomas fell asleep and since he had been upset at the Rapids ride anyway, I sat and rested on a bench with him sleeping in the stroller while the others used our pass to get onto the Kali River Rapids again.  They didn't get very wet, which was a relief, since some people came off that ride soaked!

We went into the Bird Show for a bit, and they even let us come in with Thomas sleeping in the stroller, which is a huge no-no for almost any show in Disneyworld!  But the bird show was pretty much identical to every other bird show we've seen at zoos and aquariums, and I was determined to see the Lion King show, so we snuck out early for another long walk across the park.  The way the day went, we ended up having lots of walking to the different areas.  Next time I'd plan it out better!

Here are some photos from the Lion King Show!

We left around 4, boarding the shuttle bus to the Polynesian Resort for our dinner reservation at the 'Ohana Restaurant.  This was a treat!  It's kind of like a Hawaiian dinner, with a family-style all-you-can-eat meal delivered to your table. 

 Bread, salad, pot stickers, wings, noodles, veggies, and an unlimited amount of chicken, beef, and pork.  Delicious!  I also enjoyed their pomegranate lemonade a little too much, needing to visit the ladies' room quite a few times during and after our dinner!

They have a fun race for the kids where they push coconuts with brooms around the restaurant.

Steven joined in the fun.  We also enjoyed their amazing bread pudding and ice cream they bring for dessert!  We were stuffed!

We decided to take a ride on the monorail (with a stop at the Contemporary Resort's ladies room) over to the Magic Kingdom to catch the shuttle bus back to our resort.  

And we ended the day with an evening swim!

A great fun day on Monday at Disney World!!!  Next up: Epcot!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday Motivation

Another Monday is here, and we are over halfway through November!  The days are long, but the weeks are flying by!  I haven't blogged much; I still need to catch up with the last few Disney posts.  Let's see if I can do those by Thanksgiving!  Here are a few goings-on, Instagram-style, since I haven't done a collage in quite awhile...

Top L-R, 1st row: Girls playing a Catechism board game at 7am, girls claimed it "National M Day" to help SJ with the letter M (confetti, games, and a trip to McD's), Ellie with Vera Bradley bags at the mall, MC under the covers protesting the new Latina Christiana Latin video which Ellie enjoys!
2nd row: boys got new helmets for a long bike ride with daddy and taped on drinking straws to be "helicopter pilots," Ellie and SJ finishing schoolwork at like 6pm (long days), Tommy playing on the side of my bath, SJ telling me about his dream that he didn't want to end (at the Garcia farm and they were about to go hunting)
3rd row: Me and my JoJo, SJ self portrait, Tommy with the lizard Ellie caught at nature club, SJ at nature club with his shades
4th row: butterfly garden, babysitting a friends little girl and they all want her attention, Ellie's piano Hymn Festival, and a funny face by MC found on my phone!

So far, I've only been interrupted by one potty accident situation, so let's see if I can finish up before my little world here implodes!  Let's see, the girls are still busy with Nutcracker rehearsals, and we're thrilled that some family might be able to make the drive to come watch them perform!  I think Steven Joseph just has one soccer game left, so that season is almost over.  I'm not sure he was crazy about soccer; he likes baseball better and will probably play that again in the spring.  Some friends here moved into a new house this weekend, so the past few days have been filled with babysitting, menfolk helping with the move, and getting to spend some time visiting with friends.  Ellie also had a piano hymn festival and is preparing for her Christmas concert at a local assisted living facility.  In fact, some family might be visiting that day, which would be really special!  It's sometimes hard not being able to share the fun milestones of their little activities and performances with our family.  It's hard for everyone to travel, with health issues or just busy kids of their own.  We were grateful to have many summer visitors, though :)

Which brings me to a big milestone we passed last week.  TWO YEARS living here in South Texas.  I've started two blog entries that both just seemed like long whines and complaining, so I'll opt not to post those.  Suffice it to say it's been a hard transition and I'd hoped that two years in we'd feel at home here and at peace with living in this new city.  I do have peace in the knowledge that God has sent our family here, for Steven's good job, for the opportunity to slow down, and for some time away from the busy world back in Houston.  But I miss the joy that comes from sharing our day-to-day experiences with close friends and family.  I don't feel like I fit in, which is hard for me as an extrovert who gets energy and motivation through other people.  And right now, the biggest stress with living here is that my OB is 4+ hours away, and it has been hard going back and forth.  It's also hard to imagine how the next few months are going to play out with holidays, doctor appointments and at some point, actually staying in Houston for a few weeks awaiting baby's arrival and living away from Steven.  Please pray for us during this time!  The pregnancy is stressful as it is, with various little complications and facing a 5th cesarean.  I'm trusting in God to work out all the little details and to help me to have peace in all the unknowns of the coming months.

Well, kids are getting restless and distracted, so we'd better get busy with schoolwork.  And maybe I should get dressed.  Let's get some goals down for the week...

1. Complete sales of our Nutcracker tickets both for weekend performances and signing up our homeschool group for the school shows.
2. Decide what to do about needed black ballet shoes for Nutcracker (spray paint old ones or buy new ones or what?)
3. Co-Op on Tuesday and work towards a decision for the rest of the year, since the daily mass time is changing and will require us to adjust our schedule.  Plan hand motions for Timeline lesson.
4. Video tape the girls doing the Timeline and post to blog for other co-op families to be able to watch and practice.
5. Some important grocery items
6. Hosting Mom's Night here on Thursday.  Plan some snacks and drinks.
7. Start Christmas shopping.  We'll keep it simple and I have most of my ideas already.
8. Meals: Cheese-stuffed Manicotti, Pork loin, grilled chicken/steak, Papa Murphy's :), leftovers

Sunday, November 10, 2013

What I Wore Sunday

We had a lovely mass and some nice cool weather this morning! 
I went with an easy black dress (not maternity but has pleats that make it look like maternity), leggings, clogs, and a light periwinkle sweater. I also wore a black and white polka dot scarf, but had to put it in the wash after a scary diaper situation (When I said the 3yr old was potty trained I was wrong)!  My now 23-week belly is getting bigger each week. Seems like every day I put away more clothes that no longer fit and search for more in the maternity bin!

I'm hoping to take some Christmas pics of the kids today. We'll see how that goes! Yesterday was a full day of ballet and mall shopping for the girls and a soccer game and bike riding for the boys, so today should be a nice day of rest. For now, it's time to grill steak and chicken for our usual mid-afternoon Sunday "dinner."  

Hope you all have had a lovely weekend! Find more blog posts about fun Sunday duds at:

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

{pretty, happy, funny, real} Botanical Gardens, Aggie Game, and Catch-ups!

round button chicken 

~Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life~
Every Thursday at Like Mother, Like Daughter

Please excuse my long catch-up post!

 A few weeks ago was our first St. Francis Nature Club at the local Botanical Gardens.  We hadn't visited since around April.  The bugs were bad and it was still really hot, but it was so nice to get out of the house that day.  I've had quite a bit of cabin fever the past few weeks.
By Mary Clare...

I love this one of her helping them down the stairs.  He's concentrating so hard with his tongue out!

Lunch time!  Why can't my kids sit on the benches?  They always want to be ON the table!

This poor tree is irresistible to the kids!

I think these were by Ellie

My cute crew!  Hopefully we'll get to make a couple more Nature Club visits before baby arrives!

On October 19th, we took the kids to College Station on the Texas A&M/Auburn game day!  I'd been wanting to go for a game weekend, and our last game we attended was 5 years ago.  So we walked the campus, watched the Corps march-in, saw a few old students (my FIRST graders are now COLLEGE FRESHMEN!), and went to our church's big Tailgate party!  It was a great day, except Steven came down with food poisoning halfway through :(  Poor Daddy!

Here are the kids under the famous Century Tree

In front of the Academic Building by "Sully"

The Fightin' Texas Aggie Band!  Whoop!

The Corps of Cadets March On.  Steven was a member of the Corps, so he suggested going to watch this.  It was like a long parade! 

Reveille, our mascot

Steven and Steven :)  I can't believe we didn't get photos with my old students or our Aggie Catholic friends at the tailgate!

Checking out the horses of the Parson's Mounted Calvary, of which Steven was a member.  None of the same horses ~18 years later!

One more of our Aggie kids!

And of course the day wouldn't be complete without a trip to St. Mary's, where we met and were married :)

This is how crazy our car rides are!  And this was before Daddy got sick and Mommy had to man the wheels.  Always an adventure!  We'll be maxed out in Daddy's car once baby arrives!

We sat down to watch the Corps and looked next to us to see a friend and fellow homeschooler from The Woodlands whose oldest son is a fish in the corps!  Small world!

Road trips almost always include a gas station stop.  Tommy picks out powdered donuts every time and eats the whole tray in a couple minutes!

Here are some other little "real" moments of the past couple weeks, too.  iPhone pics...  

With the boys at Academy.  Lots of fun :-P

 Morning games...

Afternoon games...

I noticed MC had gone through all the newborn girl clothes and sorted and labeled them <3 br="">

The extent of our Fall/Halloween decorations.  Not really my favorite season, but maybe one day I'll get a few more things to please the kids!

Cole Park fun with the boys while the girls were at Nutcracker practice and Daddy was hunting.

Funny photos found on my phone...

And lastly, a real moment that makes me cry.  Some of our dearest friends here who were also transplants have moved back to Washington State.  I am so very sad to see them go, but happy for them that they're back home again.

We went to give some goodbye hugs yesterday at another friend's house where they were staying.  One of theirs was napping and another friend joined in the photo here.  The B family and our B family actually both have 2 girls and then 2 boys (but theirs are ages 6 and under), and they're also expecting #5.

Tommy and their little guy W are too funny.  They wanted to take the picture with their eyes closed.

And these two got into quite a bit of mischief.  They had quite a few "weddings" and lots of silly games!  We'll miss sweet little C and all her siblings.

Okay, that's enough before I start crying again.  I'm really homesick and emotional these days.  If you made it this far, thanks for tagging along while I caught up on photos.  Of course I'm still behind on the Disney recap, but I think I might have the rest of our September and October days covered.  Yay!

Hope you've had some pretty, happy, funny, and real moments in your lives this week!
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