Saturday, December 26, 2015

Family Christmas Video

It's been a JOY filled Christmas season around here.

We are very blessed to be surrounded by such love throughout the year, especially at Christmastime.

Enjoy our video and a little Toby Mac.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Monday, Monday

Good Monday morning!

Please indulge me a little? 

I'm bursting with pride over my little performers.  On Friday night Mary's high school had their orchestra and choir performance.  Tommy's middle school jazz band did a small performance before it started.

How cute are they?

Tommy is trying so hard to be civilized.  Before we left, it was more like this:

We only got this one shot during Mary's performance.

The night was a much needed infusion of holiday spirit.

Below is a video I shot of Tommy's jazz band.  Enjoy a lively version of We Three Kings.

Happy second week of Advent!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Everyday Happenings

Well, hello there!  Welcome to my 400th post! 

I downloaded pictures from my camera and iPhone and thought it was a good time for an Everyday Happenings post.

*Backing up to October, there was Halloween celebrating.  The children took the lead doing their own carving.  They did a great job.

Bill took Tommy to a friend's house, Mary had a parade with the marching band, and Billy has outgrown the whole thing. (but apparently hasn't outgrown stealing the candy left for our trick-or- treaters)  That left only Matt, Ann, and me to roam our neighborhood.

*Parade and football season has come to an end, thank goodness.
Mary also completed cross country.  Here she is at the district championship alongside her coaches from her CYO days.  She now runs for her public high school, but these coaches still cheered her on and gave their full support.
She did so well this season her coach gave her the "Most Improved Runner" award.  Something with the title of that award doesn't sit well with her, but it just goes to show she worked really hard to shave off a lot of time from her initial race.  Way to go, freshman!

*I call this next photo "Typical".
4 lonely hooks without their towel on it.  Every. single. day.

*Billy gave Matthew a haircut.  


*We were told the shore house we've been renting for vacation the past 5 years had been sold and the new owner would not be renting it anymore.  We high-tailed it to Avalon one beautiful Sunday to find a new one.

On the way, we stopped to see Dad's new office....

We grabbed some Wawa hoagies and had lunch on the beach.

It was a picture perfect day with my favorite people at my favorite place.

*Hanging out with my sisters in law is always a treat.

Jenny, Amy, me, Kate, Ali, and Christa
*Random photos:

parade watching

Eyes failing

Eyes popping

Birthday singing

Bed invading
Leaves falling

Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)

I was smiling so much my face started to hurt.
It was a sunny day in August, and I had just been offered the job I had prayed for (literally) for half a year!

Let me explain.
I had wanted to find a little job to help fill the hours of the day while the kids were at school.  It had to start after 9am and finish before 3pm.  I did not want to, nor have to, give up the time I had with them at home.

I had spent many hours at daily mass and time in Adoration asking God where He wanted me to be.

It was probably at the beginning of 2015 that I started asking Tommy, Ann, and Matthew, "What does Mrs. B do at the school?  Shouldn't she be getting ready to retire soon?"

Now, Mrs. B has been at the elementary school for a long time.  When the kids described what role she played there I said, "I can do that!  I want her job."

This conversation went on weekly.  During after school snacks as I sat around the table listening about their day, I would always bring up Mrs. B.  "Any news on Mrs. B retiring?"  "No", they'd say.

All the while I kept praying for the perfect job to show up, intermittently checking the school district website, among others, for a perfect fit.

In July I checked the website at THE most perfect time.  I could not believe my eyes.

Teacher's Assistant  3 hours/day.  (at our elementary school)

Upon further digging, I read that Mrs. B had resigned.  I had 4 days to submit my application.

Luckily for me, my husband helped me and made my qualifications sound stellar.  (are you familiar with the saying, "He can sell a screen door to a submarine skipper"? Yeah, that's Bill.)  He also encouraged me to call the principal before I handed in my application, which I did.  Two days later she called to offer me the job!

I ran downstairs to share the news with the kids... dancing, smiling, and woo-hooing the entire time.  (Yes, they looked at me like I was crazy)  To truly understand why this was such a big deal, you may want to go back and read the post I wrote HERE.

If I had to attach a moral to this story:  Never give up, never settle, and pray always.

Who am I to disagree?

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Knee Deep In The Hoopla

I imagine you are all excited right now.  You are probably:

1. ...glad to see I'm alive.
2. ...waiting to read about the exciting things going on here that has kept me away from blogging.
3. ...thinking it's going to be a post on Big 80's music because of the title.
4. All of the above.

The other day my brother texted me this.

It felt good to be missed.  Even if he was the only one who realized I was missing.

September is always a "kick my butt" sort of month, but it seemed to continue right into October this year.  It's all good, though.

When I heard the lyrics in the song used for the title of this post, I said to myself, "That's a good title for my next blog post."  I looked up the definition of "hoopla" just to make sure.

Hoopla: Excitement surrounding an event or situation, especially when considered to be unnecessary fuss.

There definitely was excitement and unnecessary fuss lately, but mostly taxi driving on my end.

Some highlights include, but are not limited to:

* Billy, who started Scholastic Scholars at his school.  He won't let me come watch the competitions, though.  I guess he thinks I will cause him to get stage fright.

Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge!

*Mary is finishing cross country this Tuesday, and is in the midst of football and parade season for marching band.
Needless to say, we don't see her much.

 *Thomas is also in marching band and jazz band and finding his way in middle school.

*Ann is happy we let her start the cello at school. It's almost as big as she is.

*Matthew just finished his first  How pumped we all were at his first game when he "booted a screamer right into the back of the net!"  (that sentence was penned by proud big brother, Billy.)

Matt with his "coach"
*Bill celebrated another birthday.

Happy Birthday, Dad.

*I started my new part time job and I love it.  I am a teacher's assistant at Ann and Matthew's school.
Dream-come-true job, I tell you.  I want to tell you about it in a post all on it's own, so stay tuned.

That's a wrap on my re-entry post.  Now you can't...... "Say you don't know me, or recognize my face."

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The "BVV"

It's here.  Our annual Beach Vacation Video.  This video showcases our week in Avalon, NJ with my brother John and nephew Johnny.

I hope you enjoy it.  I recommend turning up the volume :)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Summer Wrap Up Series: Part 3

The kids had some commitments this summer that kept them occupied.

Vacation Bible School was in July.  Billy and Mary were crew leaders and Ann and Matthew were participants.  Tommy is in that in-between year where he's too old to attend and too young to volunteer so it was just the two of us for a couple of hours at home. 

Or at the diner.

 ....or at Dunkin Donuts
Once August came, it got really busy around here.  Mary is now in high school and band camp is 3 weeks long in the summer.  It was 8-1pm every day, and on some days the woodwinds section stayed until 4.  Add that to the cross country she did almost everyday at 5pm, running up to 7 miles and that girl is my new hero.  She's grown up so much these past couple of months.  Love to see her shine.

Picture day:

In uniform, minus the ascot tie....haven't figured that out yet.

Tommy also had 2 weeks of band camp.  Since I volunteered to help out this year, we had to be there at 7:15 every day.  Mary helped out before she headed over to her camp.  She helped me sell lyres and folios.

I had such a great time helping out this year.  I had a front row seat in seeing these middle school kids go from sounding "so-so" to sounding wonderful at the end of the two weeks.  The parent preview night was rained out, so these poor kids crammed into the auditorium to play for us what they had practiced for two weeks.  Unfortunately they didn't get to march though. 

I tried to capture a starts out slow, but when the brass comes in...I think it sounds great.  Of course I'm going to say that because Tommy plays trumpet :)  They are playing Coldplay's Viva la Vida and also Build Me Up, Buttercup.

Of course I have to give a major shout out to Billy for watching Matt and Ann while I was gone every morning for 2 weeks.  Thanks, Will.

Our twin nephews celebrated their second birthday.  They are just as cute as ever and are the happiest little boys I've ever seen.

Eric and Jason

Matthew and the twins' big brother Michael

Last but not least, I recently sent this text to the Six.

And on that note, that wraps up this Summer Wrap Up Series.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

We Interupt This Series....

I'm putting the Summer Wrap Up Series on hold to bring you this important announcement.

School Has Begun.

Monday we had staggered start times.

Mary was first.  Freshman year.  How about that?

Tommy was second.  First day of Middle School.

This is the text I sent Bill after the two of them were off to school.

Next were my elementary school kids.  Ann, 5th grade and Matthew, 2nd grade.

Billy is a sophomore this year. 
He had a delayed start to give those Freshman some adjustment time :)

Oh, wait.  Who's this?

First day of my new, part time job.  More on that later....

And one more first....Matthew started soccer!

Here's hoping for a great year!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Summer Wrap Up: Part Two

It wouldn't be summer without the annual Sexy Six Sleepover.  This is a night in August when my five childhood friends and I get together.  To read more about our history click here. 

In short, we've been friends for over 30 years, named ourselves the Sexy Six, and get together a few times a year -- one of those times is our sleepover.  We take turns hosting and kick out the husbands and kids.

This year, it was my turn to host.  Bill graciously took the kids to his parents' house for the weekend and in turn, Bill's parents graciously took them all in.  Going to spend the weekend at Gran and Gramps' house isn't exactly a hardship for my kids.  See those happy faces?

The girls starting arriving late afternoon.  We hit the 5 o'clock mass...a must due to the "up all night" nature of our festivities.

So basically the night consists of the 6 of us sitting around a table, eating all the food we each contributed, some festive drinks, and lots of catching up.  There's laughter, there's tears, there's total awesomeness....because I love these girls.

We started fading around midnight but then someone had the brilliant idea to turn on '80's music.

Oh, yeah....

We've been doing this pose since 1985
We were fast asleep by 3am but then up again by 8:30.  More food and Mimosas!

It's always sad when it's time to say goodbye.  I'm already looking forward to next year.