Sunday, May 27, 2012

Our vacation

A few weeks back we drove (and drove and drove) south. First, a stop in Memphis. Where we saw Mommy's college friend Alexis and her family. Where we were greeted with hot coals and superb cuts of grilled meat. Where we spent hours playing with the hose in their backyard and watering every inch of lawn and landscaping.

We got a few pictures of the Mommies and the girls. You all met baby Avery here. She is just such a good little sweetheart...or Jellybean, as her Mamma calls her.

 In Memphis, we visited the Children's Museum when a thunderstorm changed our minds about going to the zoo. It was fabulous, plenty for even the littlest ones (like ours) to get into!

We also got to check out an old cabin and watch a train go by UP CLOSE. Miriam is pretty interested in trains right now, so this probably crossed something off her bucket list.

Then we made the drive to Huntsville to visit our friends Paula and Josh. Tim and Paula led youth ministry together a few years back. And Sarah and Paula have been able to bond over their mutual love for Hanson. (We were in 8th grade when Hanson appeared on the scene...the love just never died.)

We went to a children's science museum, a mountain lookout, some fabulous restaurants, and the "compound" where they put on Space Camp and have several space museums (Tim especially loved this!).
Paula also showed us a downtown park where the girls could "feed some animals." More like flocks and flocks of pigeons, ducks, and geese. Not to mention schools and schools of humongous fish. The girls loved it.

Someone spotted the paparazzi.

See the huge fish on the right? Kinda looks like a baby crocodile, no?
And then we ate some more tasty food (avocado olive oil gelato!) before driving back home. Thanks to our hosts. We loved our time in your beautiful cities.

52 Weeks of Joy: Week 21

Yesterday we witnessed the ordination of our dear friend Fr. Ben. (Father Ben!?!?! Still sounds funny.) It was an amazing day and we can only imagine how proud his family must be. That Fr. Ben has come a long way. And we're joyful. 

Fr. Ben looked pretty joyful opening this gift! A stoll Aunt Annette purchased for him during her trip to Rome earlier this month. She was able to have it blessed by the pope. Good work, Aunt Annette.

It was an extra hot day so our girls were more obsessed than normal with ice. At one point they came across a particularly huge chunk of ice that some gracious soul released into the wild for the children during the reception. Miriam had to show her bit of the iceburg off to the consecrated. They were impressed - probably wanted her to drop it down their backs. They had to be boiling in those long garments!

We also managed a family picture. As promised, here are the girls Easter dresses that Mommy made. See the dirt on Miriam's hem? She tried to escape into the field in the background. But we caught her. Good try, Gingerbread Girl.

 And a favorite picture, Fr. Ben offers a first blessing to a sister and sisters-to-be.

Our girls received a first blessing from Fr. Ben, too.

Fr. Ben is Vivian's godfather. We got a picture of them together about a year ago when he was ordained a deacon.

My, how they both have grown.

What a beautiful day.

Friday, May 18, 2012

It's been a rough morning

Vivian tried to potty train Puppy this week. He got dirty and gross from that experience and needed to be washed. Unfortunately, Viv ran up just as Mommy was putting him in the washing machine. This didn't go over well at all.

She cried for 20 minutes. Begging us to take him out.

Her agony was unbearable. We tried Bear. No. We tried making it sound like a fun bubble bath. No. Daddy gave hugs and cuddles. No. Even Miriam tried comforting her, "It's alright, Sister." No. We tried reading books next to the washing machine. This was at least mildly distracting.

Don't worry, we did try to make her feel better before taking these pictures. But really, we could resist. She's going to love this story someday.

Now puppy is on the deck drying. She checks on him frequently. They should be reunited before the end of the day.

52 Weeks of Joy: Week 20

The garden is all in!!!! We have fresh produce on the way. It's going to be another fabulous, joyful summer. We'd better start collecting zucchini and eggplant recipes right away.

We're not big on tomatoes, but we put in two cherry tomato plants. Bet we'll be giving some away in August. And there are Brussels sprouts, too. We like them pan fried in olive oil with S&P. Green beans, lots of varieties of peppers, yellow squash...we probably over crowded again this year. Oops.

Grow, grow, grow!!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

52 Weeks of Joy: Week 19

New friends. Brand new friends.

Don't babies make everyone joyful? Here we are on vacation meeting our new friend Avery. She's only two months old and absolutely precious.

More on last week's vacation soon.

Don't you love Miriam's cheesing?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to our moms and grandmas and great-grandmas. We love you.

And happy Mother's Day to all the moms we know. We love to watch you with your children. We are encouraged by your faithful service to your family. We are in awe of your dedication to what sometimes truly seems to be the most difficult job ever created. We are blessed by your sharing in the joys and sorrows of motherhood.

Sometimes we can't help but wonder how Mary, Jesus' mother, did it. How she bore our Lord and then watched Him die. Luckily, that's a happily ever after kinda story.

Finally, happy Mother's Day to our two little girls who made their mommy a Mommy. You make this a very happy day.

Friday, May 4, 2012

52 Weeks of Joy: Week 18

As of yesterday, Vivian Therese is 18 months old. And the girl is certainly joyful. Bright, talkative, adventurous, ornery, quick, happy...we love her.

Just sharing a few pictures of the Mouse fresh out of a bath.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


We made our second trip to the zoo since it opened less than two weeks ago. We really enjoy the zoo. And not just because it makes the girls nap well.

Aunt Annette is finally home from Ottawa and Rome for her summer vacation. Aunt Nichole had the day off of school. So we kidnapped them and held them hostage all morning. The rain and storms held off, couldn't have been better.

Let the photo bomb begin. However, it turns out we didn't take any pictures of an animals, you know, the reason we go to the zoo.

As everyone knows, you must paint your toes before visiting the zoo. So we did.

Miriam's freshly painted nails.
Aunt Annette paints Vivian's toes
 After that little detail was taken care of, we packed up our post-zoo picnic and were on our way. As you can see, Aunt Annette and Vivi were so excited when we got there!

An aunt for each little girl

Two sisters smile, two sisters talk
 The drums were a hit! The girls could have stayed there pounding away for an hour...

...even these girls had to be pulled away.

Can't wait to go back!! Think we can kidnap the aunts again?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Magic Shakie Shape Bag

Last week was rainy and cold. Makes for antsy we made up a new game! It's basically Shape Bingo. But there's a bonus: the Magic Shakie Shape Bag.

Fancy, huh?

The shapes go in the bag. We used rectangles, triangles, squares, and circles.

Each girl got her own "board".

And let the shaking begin!

 After shaking the bag, we chose a shape.

 Then glued the shape onto our "board". Gluing may have been Miriam's favorite part of the game.

This all got a touch boring for Vivian, so she began peeling the shapes off, rearranging them, eating them...thank goodness Elmer's safe (enough) for ingestion.

Another bonus: the girls discovered that chalk can write on black paper. Extra entertainment!!

It was a hit...and helped Miriam with her shapes! We'll be playing again. Maybe rainy afternoons aren't so horrible.