Friday, April 22, 2016

Eleven for Ellie

Our Ellie-in-the-Belly is now a big 11 year-old! She's about to finish 5th grade, has finished her first Suzuki book, and has had a great year with 4-H and ballet too. She's a great big sister, kindhearted friend, and sensitive girl who is always thinking of others. We're grateful she's a part of our family and look forward to what's in store for her in the next decade!

Today we had an impromptu get together at the park for some cake and playing, and tomorrow we will finally take a road trip back to Corpus Christi to visit old friends, see a beautiful ballet, and attend our old church there. We never got to have a proper goodbye, so this will be a special trip!

Happy Birthday, Elizabeth Ann Marie! 
We love you so very much!

(photos by MC)

Monday, April 18, 2016

Sunday Blessings

Our Sundays are first marked by a morning at church. It's the focus of our day, the focus of our week. The liturgy is so beautiful; today at mass I got the chills over and over again. I love the Vidi Aquam chant at the beginning of mass during the Easter season...
"I saw water flowing from the right side of the temple, alleluia.
It brought God's life and his salvation."
In many ways I feel like this "water" is like grace flowing out from our church, our community, the sacraments, is bringing much life and salvation to our family and to the outside world. It has been a blessing to be a part of this vibrant church community for over a year now.  Today there were about a dozen children who received their First Holy Communion, several who are good friends of our family.

On this Good Shepherd Sunday, Bishop Lopes spoke about Jesus as the Good Shepherd, and how images in the early church portrayed him in this way. He described a beautiful fresco in the Catacombs of Saint Priscilla of an image of Christ the Good Shepherd from the 3rd century. Jesus lays down his life for the sheep. He leaves 99 in search of the one who has wandered. The sheep know his voice.

Today our Sunday afternoon and evening was spent celebrating the sacrament with friends. Some Sundays are spent with extended family. Others are spent with our own family trying a new restaurant or grilling a nice meal at home. The photos below are from a lovely Sunday afternoon walking on the waterway after brunch. I am blessed to be surrounded by such my family, my local community, my church community, and among the precious friends God has given us.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Weekend Blessings

Our weekends this year have been full, but they've been full of blessings! Whether at a baseball game, a 4-H contest, a family outing, or a church sacrament celebration, these weekends have been filled with precious memories to treasure in our hearts. This photo shoot was from a hike at the state forest one Saturday evening in March.

The rest of these photos were taken by Mary Clare, in preparation for photo contests for 4-H this spring. She did an amazing job!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Horticulture Contests

Two of the other events our 4-H club entered in the Houston Rodeo were the Horticulture contests. One family from our club entered the Rodeo Cup, which was a contest where the kids had to make a floral arrangement for a table and a wedding bouquet. Then there were 4 girls signed up for the Dining Duets event, including Mary Clare (Ellie's partner had to drop). They gave each duo a surprise theme and supplies...fresh flowers and decor, and they set up a table with the given theme. They had one hour to work on it!

We were proud of the girls' hard work, and the older duo was awarded 10th place for their tablescape. Congrats, girls, for another fun 4-H event!!!

MC and her partner working hard and having fun!

The other team from our club

Mary Clare's duet's final creation!

All four girls with the other team's 10th place entry!

And a snapshot of the 1st place winner!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

County Fair 2016

Aside from the Food Challenge, the County Fair is probably the 2nd most enjoyable 4-H event for my girls. We participated in two of them in Corpus Christi, but this is the first time they've entered the one back home. We were ambitious with nine entries! Mary Clare entered 5 events and Ellie entered 4.

Even though I always say we will work throughout the year and not wait until the last minute, there we were at 1:30am finishing up! There were catastrophes and tears and last minute runs to the store. It was quite chaotic! Then we had to drop the items off by 9:30am at the fair and wait until 2pm for the awards to be announced. It was a long morning of waiting and then waiting in a long line to get in and see how they did!

Our 4-H club did a really good job for everyone's first time to enter the fair! Our team is young, and there are no age divisions, so the 3rd graders compete against 12th graders. We had quite a few blue ribbons and even some Honorable Mentions (Top 20). Ellie actually got a slot in the Top 10 in Handicrafts for her handmade clay rosary! This put her in the running for the Top 5, which are auctioned off for thousands of dollars. She had to do an interview which required sitting in the exhibit hall for almost 2 hours (the other kids played on their phones), until her name was called. We had to wait for her outside the hall, mostly sitting on concrete, until she finally finished and we could go home. Next time we will remember snacks and lawn chairs! Steven took her back for the final awards at 8:30pm. She earned 9th place which made us so proud! She was competing against high schoolers who made things like huge wooden furniture projects.

Mary Clare made a beautiful US quilt which I really thought would at least make Top 20. But the competition at this event was fierce, and we know that whether the kids were recognized for their projects or not, they should be proud of their hard work and creativity!

Here are their entries:

Ellie's award winning rosary

Crayon Mosaic

Lemon Loaf

and her Photography entry 

Mary Clare's incredible US Quilt!

Little House peg dolls

Cheesecake Sopapilla Bars

And her two photography entries

So proud of these girls and all of our club!!!!

Project 366

Days 89-100!

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