Sunday, July 28, 2019

First Chapter Book!

Drew finished his first chapter book from his silent reading and I really still can't believe it.  He's been such a reluctant reader, only reading when he has to that it shocked me when he started reading one of our Larryboy chapter books on his own.

He finished it in two days and is on to the next one.  If you've never read one of these, they are pretty cleverly written just like the movies.  I have read four or five aloud to the boys and we all enjoyed them.  It's not classic literature, but also it's not trashy like Captain Underpants or Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which we try to avoid.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

The Big Four!

Bob's been calling himself a "half baby" for a long time now.  If people call him a baby, he informs them he is only half baby.  When he did this recently, I asked him if he'd still be a half baby when he turned four in a few days.  He said that he would not.  Alas, he spent most of his actual birthday crying about everything because nothing was going his way apparently.  He's always been so easy going and not had a terrible twos or threes really, but he's been having a harder time with this transitioning out of naps than I anticipated.

Since his birthday was the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing mission and there was a friend of Brian's going up in space, we have been reading a book called "Armstrong" and offered Bob some diffierent space cake options.  He wanted a rocket cake and so I made him one.  We also watched the launch together and  brought him a Sonic shake.

He's wearing the famous FOUR necklace that all four year olds in our house have worn since Mimi passed it down to us.

When it was time to open presents from our family, he started with Hannah's card and a stress ball of hers that he loves.  He took it, and he tossed it away saying "You can have it.  I don't want it."  So we had to have a talk about gratefulness.  He seemed to understand and so we very intentionally practiced being grateful for each and every card that he got from all his siblings.  That's why we have so many pictures of him hugging his siblings here and one odd one of him kissing Drew's foot.

His birthday was on a Saturday and the very next day we had his birthday party planned at my sister's pool.  We swam and cooked fajitas on the grill.  I brought the birthday cake, but forgot the candles.  We lit a candle next to the cake because it's all we could find.  Then he opened his presents from his aunts and uncles.

A couple days after his birthday, still needing that nap every so often.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Beauty and the Beast and the Yellow Cheese

The yellow cheese in the picture was an attempt to stop a fit from Bobby.  He wanted a yellow cheese on his plate and all I had in the fridge was white cheese.  He started to cry and so I drew him this picture and brought him a yellow crayon to color it and keep by his plate.  It worked like a charm and peace reigned at dinner once again.

I took the girls to see Beauty and the Beast performed at the Woodlawn Theater in San Antonio with their uncle.   Our piano teacher was playing one of Gaston's silly girls and so we made a special effort to go.  It was outstanding!  It was funny and so well done.  The singers were very good.  After the production, we snapped this picture of the girls with her in her wig and costume.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

The Rest of our Trip: Dallas and Charleston

After our jaunt up to Oklahoma's Northeast tip, we came back to Dallas to hang out with family and see some friends int he area too.  Our trip amazingly coincided with two of my cousins who live far away and I don't get to see often.  One of which just recently had a baby!

Oh yes, your eyes do not deceive you!  That is Hannah holding a baby!   

Yes, that's the cutie pie in Hannah's arms!  It was great to see them and everyone else at my uncle's house for a big potluck dinner.

A bunch of my cousins at our family gathering

Bob in Action

After slurpies, wave pools, and more swimming, Brian and I left the children with my parents and flew to South Carolina, Charleston to be more precise.  It was a fun weekend!  We stayed up until at least 2am every night and slept in until 9am!  We shared an apartment with two and a half other couples.  One of the girls does imrpov for fun so she gave me lessons in improv and comedy.  She is usually the one who everyone puts in the front seat of the Uber because she can talk to anyone.  She knew very few people and yet she befriended many including the groom's mom, who I've known forever.  By the end of the weekend, his mom would walk around me to get to Sarah.  I was totally jealous and so became her student.  When it was time to go to the airport in an Uber, I was elected to sit in the front and see what I had learned, an exam if you will.  I talked Arthur's ear off.  Turns out it was super fun to talk to him about random stuff and ask him questions.  He even gave me a biscuit recipe and the advice to make an app for my baby sleep services when he found out I was giving away tons of free advice to moms to help them get their babies to sleep better.  So my introverted self, usually very bad at small talk, learned how to be a little more balanced and a lot more friendly.  What a productive, yet relaxing weekend!

After Rehearsal Dinner

South Carolina BBQ

My First Blow Dry Bar Experience
The other girls I was staying with wanted to go get their hair done at a blow dry bar and so I gave it a shot!

Wedding Reception with our professionally done hair dos.

This was for the kids because they said they'd never seen him in a tux before besides in our wedding photos.  He's usually in his fancy military dress.

Bob and Isaac got their gifts for birthdays coming up early from Mimi and Papa Boat before we headed back to San Antonio.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Oklahoma is the place to be! Farm living is the life for me! Mmmaybe.

Immediately after the Fourth, we started out on a scouting trip to Oklahoma.  We stopped over night at my parent's house as it is halfway.  We went to stay in a log cabin at Clear Creek Abbey. The point of the trip was to start looking for an area we want to settle when Brian gets out of our nomadic life style, and we can finally stop relocating every two to five years.

The cabin's a/c wasn't on when we got there, but it also wasn't blowing cold air once we turned it on.  The kids were all going to sleep in the loft and it was 89 degrees at bedtime which was after a storm had cooled things off outside and downstairs considerably.  The upstairs had no windows and the door to the balcony had no screen and a giant wasps nest was right outside that door.  We put several box fans up there and got it tolerable when they were in front of the fans and laying still.  Princess Hannah slept in an extra bed downstairs with us.  Most of the kids were so excited about sleeping all together that they didn't care about the temperature.

A really cute cabin, but hot!

After the storm, it was cooler out on the porch than inside.

There was a kitten hanging around the cabin and she was very friendly.  The kids adored her.  There were also sheep in a field across the dirt road from the cabin.

This was going to be a quick trip, just one night.  We went to the gift shop and looked around the monastery the first day.  It was very hot, but it stormed in the afternoon and cooled it off nicely.  When it was time for vespers we drove down the dirt road from our cabin and a woman and two girls asked for a ride.  The woman worked at the monastery women's house and she told us more information about the church schedule than was on the websites.  After vespers in the crypt, we met the artist working on a giant painting on the ground in the foyer of the crypt chapel.  He was working on The Adoration of the Lamb replica and it was crazy impressive.  We ended up talking to him for a long time about his conversion story and his travels.  He's lived all over and traveled a lot too.  We told him that we almost saw the original Adoration of the Lamb in Ghent, but it was being restored when we got to the church.  This man really has a gift for painting and it is always refreshing to see someone's talent being put to good use.  This painting is to be hung in the cloister for the monks private viewing.  I'm glad we got to see it even unfinished before it goes behind the cloistered curtain.

It had benches set up around it and Bobby asked him if he "put those there so nobody will step on your picture."

It was 7pm at this time and the kids were starving so we drove 25 minutes to get to the closest restaurant.  It was a cute country place with a beautiful view and the kindest people, but the food was not so good.  After talking to people the next day, going out to eat is not something anyone really does in the area.  If you want dinner and a movie, you have to go into Tulsa, an hour away.

Sunday morning, Brian, Isaac, Drew, and I got up early for Low Mass.  About 15 of the monks say Mass at the same time in the small side chapels, basically on every altar in the crypt.  It is silent for the most part, you can follow along in the missal by just watching them.  It was short, and I left the boys with Brian to go experience the silent breakfast with the monks while I went back to the cabin.

These are all pictures of the kids around the cabin, waiting for Mass time.  I love how it shows their personalities too.

At the cabin, I got everybody else up, dressed, and fed so we could meet the boys back at the church for High Mass.  The boys finished early though and walked back to the cabin.  We went to High Mass all together.  Afterwards, we tried to talk to everyone we could.  Brian hit it off with a couple of the men, found out about a lot more land for sale, and we were invited to one of their houses after lunch.  We packed up and ate all our left overs for lunch.  Then we headed over to their house.  Turned out they were part of one of the first families to settle in the area near the monastery a long time ago and part of one of the families I had been told were the people to talk to to learn more about the area.

We really intended for it to be a quick visit, however, when Brian starts talking to men that are big talkers, it is never quick.  Three hours later, a lot more knowledgeable about the area and with contacts in the area to boot, we rolled out on a very late start back to my parent's house.  We decided not to stop in Tulsa since it made the trip longer to go that way and just head back.

The family who opened their home to us told us almost everything we wanted to know.  The closest big grocery store is in Tulsa.  The internet is better than it once was because of the IEW opening a branch right there, but it depends where you are exactly as to how consistent it is.  There is a nice homeschooling community there, but most people send their teens off to a Catholic school because homeschooled teens get bored around there and the other high school options are very poor.  It's a very poor area in Oklahoma and many of the roads are dirt roads, but the paved ones are pretty terrible too.  The Catholics who have settled in the area want to make a village and are very friendly and encouraging of new people moving in.  Clear Creek is a young group of 40-50 monks who are all unique and devoted to the contemplative life.

My new favorite picture of this guy!

It did seem a bit more rural than what we were looking for.  We don't want to live in the suburbs, but we don't want to be quite so far out from the suburbs at the same time.  We want a slower paced life and to live near a good solid church with the option of going into the city from time to time.  A lot can change in six or more years when we are ready to actually move somewhere and settle down permanently, so we'll be keeping in touch with this family and looking at the other areas we were interested in as well.

The kids reactions?  Genevieve said she really liked it, but she probably wouldn't want to live there.  She and Hannah will be out of the house by the time we settle somewhere though.  Isaac LOVED it and thought it was awesome.  Drew and the little boys had so much fun with the family that we visited, and they left with happy memories of the place.