Friday, May 29, 2015

Seven Quick Takes, May Madness!

A friend was recently talking about her family's "May Madness" and I realized that has truly been a good description of our month! We've had baseball, ballet, swim team, several trips, illness, broken AC, flooding, and more! We're still in one piece, but I'm not sure I'll be recovered for awhile...

Let's just start with the least fun part of this month! We got back from our beach trip and I had these horrible pains in my ribs on one side of my body. It hurt like my ribs were bruised and I couldn't figure out what was wrong. A few days later I developed a painful and itchy rash on my back, but I was still perplexed at what was going on with me. Finally, after Googling my symptoms a little more I was able to diagnose myself with Shingles! The doctor confirmed this and prescribed some anti-viral medication which I've been taking for a week. Thankfully it's a mild case and it looks like the rash is almost gone. I really need to get healthy and get better rest. My body is crying out for help!

Flash Floods
Texas has had the rainiest year! I don't remember a time when it rained through the whole spring like this. Finally this week, the ground could hold no more and flooding began on Memorial Day evening. It was nothing like the flooding in other areas of Texas where homes were washed away with the river, but we did have a lot of high water in the area. 

We got stuck out in the storms for awhile, trying to get home but having to turn around due to floodwaters. It was a bit scary for all of us. We were in two cars leaving the mall, but after stopping for awhile in a different shopping center, the rain slowed and the water went down enough for us to make it home. There were also some scary storms when we were staying at the beach house. Of course the worst one was the night when Steven took Steven Joseph home for his baseball playoff game, and I was left at the beach house with the girls, no car, and a nearly-dead cell phone without a charger. That was a long and scary night!

Tonight it looks like rain is about to hit the major cities in Texas once again. Hopefully this is the last hurrah and there won't be too much damage. 

Our Friend Nan

Aside from our beach trips and some work trips for Steven, our other overnight adventure was a trip to College Station for a surprise birthday party for our friend Nan. Nan is one of those lovely, generous, kind, creative souls that is always giving, always encouraging, and always a light to others. She helped so many of us with our weddings, and she helped put together so many college celebrations with her amazing cooking and decorating skills. So this weekend was an opportunity to celebrate HER! Our friends that put it together went all out, with a tent set up indoors, all kinds of decorations, fresh flowers, candles, live music, and the most delicious gourmet meal. Several college friends brought their kids and it was such a fun evening!

The kids all pitched in to help clean up the elaborate decorations and food, and we had fun hanging out at the hotel with some of our friends. But of course there must always be something that goes wrong. First of all, Steven Joseph's baseball playoff game was rescheduled for late that afternoon (after he already had a swim meet), so we had to take two cars and SJ wasn't feeling well when they arrived. He perked up a little but then started having bad stomach pains, so I took the youngest three kids and rushed off to go check-in at the hotel. I didn't get checked in quick enough, though, and SJ puked in the lobby and the lobby bathroom! He was fine after that and ate a whole bag of microwave popcorn, so we were grateful it wasn't a virus.  But overall we were so glad to be a part of this special celebration for an old friend who we don't get to see as much as we'd like.


Baseball is over! Finally! Steven's last game was the day of that birthday party (May 16), and the boys both had their team parties after that. I missed SJ's party and final games because of the crazy schedule and my shingles, so I don't have any photos of those, but Tommy was so proud of his banner and trophy!

We've been taking it easy with swim team. Steven Joseph makes it to practice once or twice a week, and we're just doing the home meets. Our team, which used to be known as the more low-key area swim team, is now huge and competitive, and sadly I think it's just going to be too much to do in the future with their other activities. In this area, if the kids don't "specialize" in a sport, it's hard to compete with area kids who have started these sports at age 3 or 4, many training year-round.  He's having fun, but it's been hard to make practices and meets with the other May Madness going on!

The girls did amazingly well on their ballet exams, after being away from this studio and this kind of technical ballet for three years. They have their recital in a week, and then I'll share some photos and words about their year in dance!

Ellie's Birthday Party
We were finally able to celebrate Ellie with a few friends and my parents last weekend. She wanted a "Sweet Shoppe" themed birthday, and we delivered! Actually the girls delivered, because they put most of it together themselves, along with some adorable decor by NeNe! I'll share more about it this week after I get through the rest of the beach week photos!

I think I'm finally starting to get the hang of this photography thing. I am shooting almost all in manual mode, which is a big accomplishment after using a DSLR camera on and off for several years. I can't quite get the photos I see in my head, but I can now recognize what I'm aiming for with focus and lighting and such. I still have a LONG way to go with learning editing and Lightroom, but I'm just glad that I'm making some progress! Here are a few I took at the farm on Memorial Day!

A little decorating and house stuff

I really enjoy crafting and decorating projects, but my time is limited and I'm in a bit of a rut with the current state of this house. We had fun doing the Saint Peg Doll Exchange, which was a fun creative outlet.  While we were getting some items for Ellie's birthday party at the craft store, I decided to pop onto Pinterest on my phone to find some ideas and buy a few things to put together a front door wreath. I think it came out pretty cute! But now I really want to paint the front door! Either red or turquoise. Probably red. But more likely it'll just stay black! White might be nice...

We're getting some drainage work done in the yard and starting to get estimates for remodeling projects in hopes that we can start the renovations this summer (mainly bathrooms, kitchen, and flooring).  It's quite overwhelming and I am still not sure I believe that this is going to happen. We moved here in January 2007, and overall we haven't done much. Our friends who lived here before put quite a bit of work into this house, but we've never had the funds to do more than fix the things that were very broken.  

As of now we plan to renovate the house to prepare to rent it out again, whenever we find our "forever" home. We don't have a timeline for that yet. One day Steven says about a year, the next time three years, and then five years! He likes to mess with me!  But I really would love to have a little more space both inside and outside, as well as a safe area for them to play. Our street has gotten really busy and I am so worried that they will get hit by cars when they are biking and running around. Hopefully their guardian angels keep working overtime until that time when/if we can move somewhere with a little more safety and freedom for their play. We will see!

And now for a weekend filled with a swim meet, food drive, mass, and a week getting ready for the dance recital! Bring on a relaxing month of June...please!

See more Quick Takes over at Kelly's!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Mother's Day at the Beach

It wasn't a very sunny day, and it was quite an ordeal getting everyone down there. We almost canceled the trip because of the upcoming rain, the continued baseball playoffs, and all the little details of getting this family of seven on a trip for a few days. But I'm glad it worked out and that my parents were able to follow us down and spend a few hours there. Definitely a beautiful way to spend Mother's Day!

More beach photos to come...

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Baseball Boys

The baseball season is over for Thomas, but Steven Joseph has won two games in the playoffs and the next game has been rescheduled three times already due to rain. Getting this much rain in south Texas is a rarity, and it has been hard to try to start swim team and have a family beach trip in the midst of the continued and unknown baseball season length. We're learning lots of flexibility! I wish I would've taken more videos; Steven Joseph made some great plays and hits recently, including a home run at last Saturday's game. But here are some of the good snapshots of both of our baseball boys! Hopefully I'll get a few more photos and video at Steven's final game/s!

I wasn't there, but Mary Clare took some photos of him on picture day!

Here's his team!

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