Thursday, January 16, 2020

Christmas Eve 2019: Disaster Strikes

My dad's side of the family has a traditional Christmas Eve party that has been going since I was born.  A few parts of the tradition have evolved over the years, but it is one of the things I always missed the most when we lived far away and couldn't drop everything and fly us all back.  

The newest generation (minus my three big kids who participate in the adult gift exchange game)  The little kids do a Secret Santa type drawing and get a gift for one other cousin.

The adult gift exchange game, it's like a White Elephant game.  Everybody brings one gift, unlabeled and we draw numbers.  There are maximum times gifts can be stolen.  Brian got the Christmas Story "leg" lamp.  It makes an appearance in our Christmas Eve gift exchange every so often.  Brian wanted it and it know resides on his night stand.  I kid you not.  Marriage is about sacrifice.

All the kids, my sister's kids are the only ones who couldn't make it this year.

Brian's mom drove down to go to this party with us and spend some time with all of us.

Our family
We really had a fabulous time!  Afterwards we headed to midnight Mass and my parents took my mother-in-law home.  Right as we were situated in a pew all our own at church, Brian received a text from my mom that his mom had fallen and the ambulance was coming.  They thought her ankle was broken.  She was carrying a few gifts and walked right off from our kitchen into our sunken living room, not remembering or seeing it was a step down. 

Turns out it was dislocated, and both the tibia and the fibula were broken.  She was hospitalized through Christmas and they put a plate and screws in on the day after Christmas.  She wasn't released, in fact, until the afternoon of the 28th.  I ended up taking the kids home on the 27th and Brian brought her to our house in San Antonio the next day in her car.  She is non weight bearing for six weeks. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Book Signing

As soon as school was out we went to Dallas to spend the week of Christmas with family.  While in Dallas we had multiple extended family gatherings beginning on Saturday and continuing through Christmas Eve.  In the midst of those my sister's little one year old became very sick.  The doctor thought she had the flu, and so my sister ended up going back home early.  This left us with just enough free time to go to our friend's book signing at Barnes and Noble. 

We bought his whole series for Isaac and he read all but one before the break was over.  Once he finishes it, I'm going to have him write up a review for my blog.  Now that school is going, he's very busy trying to keep up with his school reading, his current dragon drawing obsession, and his three instruments.  

We were there for a while and the kids all made their way back to the children's section and I found them like this when I went to collect them.  All reading.  Just warms my heart.

On Monday night, two days before Christmas Eve, at my mom and dad's house we had a Canasta tournament with $5 gift cards at stake for the winners.  It was a fun idea my mom had to liven up our regular tradition of playing Canasta when we are all together.

Friday, January 10, 2020

The Crazy Last Week of School Before Break

The last week before break was really packed.  We had 3 basketball games all in different directions, teen caroling on the river, a bible study, a Dad's night out, and a winter concert, and that was all in the 4 evenings.  During the daytime I was finishing up school with the boys at home, had a CT scan, and went to the Tobin for a field trip.  On Friday we were leaving for a week to go to Dallas, so I was also packing and finishing up my Christmas shopping and wrapping.  I tell you all these things to explain why I blew it big time on Thursday evening.

Isaac had his concert and Genna had her game in two totally different directions around the same time.  Brian was going to go to Genna;s game and I was going to Isaac's concert.  We arranged it this way for two reasons.  One, he needed to be picked up from school, taken home, fed, and change into his formal attire for the concert before being driven over to Trinity University Auditorium.  Two, he told me there'd be a surprise for me during the concert.  

I have to admit after the long week of everything going fairly smoothly and I had all the things he needed for the concert, I was feeling pretty on top of it.  Isaac told me he needed to be there at 5:30pm.  He was sure, even though I thought this very strange since there were two concerts, according to the page long information sheet, the younger kids concert was first and his was at 7pm.  Why on earth would they need to be there an hour and a half early?  I even checked with a friend to make sure I didn't break my back to get him there during rush hour traffic for nothing.  It was confirmed that the arrival time was 5:30, but I still didn't know why.  Maybe so they can watch the younger kids first?  Isaac had mentioned something about the Kindergartners singing first.  

I was so very tired by this time in the week.  I'd been up late and up early everyday that week because of gift wrapping and finishing up that Nativity set.  I was pinching and slapping myself to keep me awake just driving to the concert at 5:30pm.  I only took Drew with me to watch the concert, so I decided I'd take a power nap in the van before going in while Isaac went on in.  I fell right asleep and felt so much better after a half hour nap.  Drew and I took our time and went into the building.  Someone asked me if I was here for the next concert and told me to sit on one of the benches until they announced the next concert.  

Drew and I sat down on the bench and watched when the little kids came filing out after their concert.  They let people come out and then, eventually, started calling for the next concert singers.  I thought that was weird.  Why would they release all the older kids only to call them back in a few minutes for their concert.  Then I heard a teacher call out, "I need all 3rd through 5th graders, last call."  Wait, what?  I jumped up and asked him, "What about the 6th graders?"  He then told me they were singing in the first concert with K-2nd grade.  

My head started spinning.  How could this be?  I sat outside and missed his concert.  I was here, and I missed it?  I missed his surprise.  Then I started trying to find Isaac in the chaos, because that meant he was somewhere on the other side, most likely, looking or waiting for me.  We found him after stopping a few of his friends to ask where he was.  Isaac said, "I didn't see you.  Where were you sitting?"    Drew blurts out the bitter truth before I can even formulate a response.  His face fell and his eyes immediately were rimmed with unshed tears.  I grabbed his wrist and said, "Don't cry.  I want to cry too.  Let's just get out of here first."  In my memory, we ran like White Queen dragging Alice by the wrist through Wonderland in the Alice and the Looking Glass, and the moment we were out the doors, I burst into tears.  I cried and apologized all the way home.  I was so mad at myself for not seeing the comma after the "K-2nd graders," followed by the "and 6th graders" on that information sheet.  I read it at least four times and my mind just put him in the "3rd -5th graders" whose concert began at 7pm every time.  And WHY, didn't I just go in to the other concert when I came in the building?!  I would have probably seen all of the 6th grader's songs if I had!  If only...

Isaac, sweet as he is, tried so hard to be tough about it, but I came and sat with him on the couch at home and we cried together.  To make me feel better, he sang me a couple of verses for me even though he hates to sing alone in front of anyone.  Turned out he was chosen to introduce the last song, the school song "The Minstrel Boy" on the microphone.  None of my kids have ever been brave enough to do something like that!  I have never been brave enough to do that.  I'm scared to death of speaking into a microphone.  And I missed it.

It was a humbling experience for me, who often pridefully fall into thinking I have this all down and can juggle all the balls one can give me.  Well, I dropped the ball this time.  I just wish that my lesson in humility hadn't hurt my son in the process.  Thankfully, someone videotaped the concert.  The family is going to watch it this weekend actually on our TV because it just became available to watch a couple days ago.  

I also completely forgot to take any pictures of him at all because I was so emotionally distraught and Isaac was upset.  I wish I'd taken some before we left home.  He was so handsome in his tie.

This is from our field trip to the Tobin to see "A Midsummer Night's Dream" performed by the San Antonio Orchestra, an acting company, and a ballet company as well.  We got box seats, but still could only see half the stage.  Who designed that?

To end on a happier note, here's some cuties ready for Christmastime!

Monday, January 6, 2020

Our 2019 Tree: The Lowes Skinny Tree

After last year's tree cutting fiasco, we decided to try buying a pre-cut tree this year.  It was taller, and it was skinnier, but skinny turned out to be just what we needed since Luna's cage is where we used to put our tree.  Most importantly, it wasn't deadly and no insects were coming out of it.

We got the tree right when Advent began, but waited to decorate it until Gaudate Sunday.

Our Altar with our biggest nativity scene with our O Antiphons gathering in front as we do them.

The stockings were hung on the banister with care.
Genevieve has been working hard on her hand-lettering.  She even started a blog all about hand-lettering.  Here's a couple of her Christmas ones.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Some Home-made Christmas Gifts

I made this little Altoid Tin Dinoland for my godson.  It was remarkably easy and pretty quick, all things considered.  I bought the little dinosaurs at Hobby Lobby and was inspired.  

I made a wooden peg Nativity set for my nephew.  This was not quick or easy.  I started work on this before Thanksgiving and finished just days before Christmas.  I liked the end product though and might make a couple more sets for gifts next year.

Three Wise Men

The Holy Family

Donkey, three angels, sheep, and a shepherd

I painted Bethlehem on paper and decoupaged it onto the ends of this wooden box that I got at Hobby Lobby.  I took my peg people to the store to make sure the peg people would fit.  On one side I painted "Turner's Nativity."  Unfortunately, it was a little hard to read because of the dark background, despite adding the white and yellow.

I've been doing some religious mixed media drawings lately.  I posted this one of Mary on here before.  For another Christmas gift, I put it on a mug with the Hail Mary in Latin on the other side.

Here's my latest mixed media drawing.

Sacred Heart

I finally caved and got an Instagram account to post my arts and crafts specifically.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Her first dance! Wait, what?!

Hannah is a freshman this year and for the high school at Great Hearts they have a winter formal dance.  Normally, I'd not be a fan of that whole idea.  They have ballroom dancing only, no dates allowed, well chaperoned, and old school music to go with that ballroom dancing.

So, the girls and I spent the whole day at a retreat with some Dominican sisters.  We had confession, Mass, and adoration  All perfect ways to get ready for one's first dance, right?

I curled her hair and took her to the dance.  She had a great time and filled up her dance card with friends.  

Friday, January 3, 2020

Catching up in Pictures

Judah is getting better at doing his schoolwork willingly, but he takes FOREVER to do it.  One day he was trying so hard not to do his work diligently that he carried his math page, front and back, around with him all day as we went about our day, in the car many times and even to his sister's basketball game.  When he finally completed it, it was ripped up all on the edges.  Turned out during those car trips he was tearing off tiny pieces and throwing them on the floor in the van.  So he had a lot of cleaning up to do as well as having to start all over on his math page front and back the next day.  Hope that taught him his lesson!  That was all in addition to having to do his regular assignment the next day.  Things went faster, luckily, since I was worried he'd be compounding days of work going at that speed.

Bobby LOVES his reading lessons still and gets on to me if we miss too many days of it in a week.  He is almost halfway through the 100 Lessons book.

Judah is like Hugo, the Abominable Snowman, with Daffy Duck.  "I will hug him and kiss him and squeeze him and call him George" with Luna.  She was tolerant of it for a while and now she is kind of done with that.  We are working on him learning to read the dog signs and know when to give her space, but he can hardly help himself sometimes. 

Judah is moving along in his piano lessons and is starting the staff now.

Drew has been surprisingly helpful with Luna and likes to play with her and pet her.  He is afraid of the cat, by the way.

Brian got Luna this tactical vest with patches and all.  No one in the house was enthused about this masculine vest on her, but it has turned out to be a very helpful harness for her.  She calms down tremendously when it is on her.  We now put it on her whenever someone is coming over until she calms down.

Basketball season, and all it's craziness, has begun for the girls.  This year, Genevieve, made the A team for middle school again, but Hannah is on the JV high school team.  Two different practice and game schedules, team dinners, etc has proved to be quite exhausting.  The season is pretty short though and we only have two more weeks of basketball after New Year's.  These pictures were from a UTSA women's college ball game that the teams all went to watch one Sunday afternoon.