Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Science and History Heads Up

Maria chose to study Captain James Cook and his expeditions for her History lap book this Spring. Little did she know at the time that part of her study would include transits of Venus. Best of all, a transit of Venus is scheduled to occur next Tuesday at sunset!!!! These only occur every 105 years so this will be the only one we can view in our lifetime. How cool is that....that Maria would be studying this in the year of its occurrence!

If you would like to learn and know more, see the attached link for Transit of Venus.org.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Weekend Celebrating

I was super excited with a recent post that directed my attention to some incredible 4th of July desserts that can also be made for Memorial Day from Glorious Treats.  You can click here and here to see these cuties.

However, I forgot that I should probably be making a cake for today...Pentecost.  After all, Pentecost does mark the birthday of the Church!  I decided to use the same cake I wanted to make for Memorial Day....the flag cake....and tweak it a bit.

I decided to add 12 strawberry slices for the 12 apostles.  They look like tongues of fire don't they!  I made something similar a couple of years ago for this post.

The surprise for the kids was when I cut open the cake.  It's a flag!

I also wanted to use up the leftover cake.  If you read the post on how to make the flag cake, you will notice that there will be a bit of leftover cake.  I took a tiny condiment bowl and cut out little circles of cake, stacked them in pint canning jars, layered them with icing, and added sprinkles to the top.

Voila!  Glorious Treats' cupcakes in a jar.  The kids love these because they're super easy to eat with a spoon and they can walk around with them.  I love the no-mess factor!

Here are a few more pics from the day.

The Altar at St. Agnes

Happy Girls at their last Children's Choir Mass for the school year

All dished up!
Today was the day Daddy proposed to me 14 years ago.  If you want to read more about that, you can read our story, Fiery Engagement, here.  I'm also celebrating 5 years of abstinence from sugar and compulsive overeating tonight.  Exciting!  I can't believe that as much as I love cake, I had more passion for photographing it rather than trying to keep myself from eating it.  I don't desire these things anymore.  Time in abstinence allows me this freedom.  Now I can spend my energies on food styling and photography.  I know I have WAY to many hobbies, but I'm happy to say eating is no longer one of them.:)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fears I Have

They say a mother's lot in life is to worry.  I can attest to that.  I never really worried about anything before I was married except for maybe grades and getting through finals.  I definitely didn't worry with the following:
  • traveling through Europe from Rome to Bruge by train alone
  • traveling from Rome to Bosnia with a friend by train during a war
  • driving from Dallas to my hometown for 6 1/2 hours straight alone
But now, as a mother, I worry.  I worry a lot.  This photo explains the cause of a lot of my worrying of late....

He can't EVER sit still!!!!
This little 2 year old is a bit of a genius.  I should be happy that he's a genius.  I should look at the glass half full instead of my glass being half empty.  But because I'm a mother and a worrier, I haven't been getting a lot of sleep because he's so smart he can....
  • undo latches
  • open doors
  • run very fast
  • manipulate the IPad and make purchases
  • unscrew lids
  • climb out of his crib
  • hide extremely well
  • escape from the house very stealthily
He thinks it's all a game.  He loves to be chased, found, brought back home, talk to strangers, and give his mother a heart attack!  Just yesterday I thanked one of my neighbors for returning him to the house THREE times in one morning.  I explained how he loves to play and drive us crazy.  She agreed to keep her eyes on him and be a part of the team....we'll call that Team Nick!

Did I mention that he's also a screamer and very physical.  He's a hair puller, a pusher, a rammer, and a stomper.  At Dodge Nature Center last Friday, he wanted our guide to hand him a chicken so badly that he screamed incessantly, "Give me a CHICKEN!  Give me a CHICKEN!  I want a CHICKEN!!!!"  Needless to say I had to remove him from the situation, and I certainly did not agree to his holding a chick.  That wouldn't have worked. at. all!

I knew 2012 would be a challenge with our 2 year old.  I knew that I would gain a few more gray hairs, a bit of an ulcer, and many sleepless nights.  I knew that I would have moments in the day when I would fear a frantic doorbell ringing or a knock from someone returning my son.  I knew I would have moments in the day when I would wonder if the phone would ring and it would be CPS ready to schedule an in-home visit because someone in the neighborhood "was concerned."  These are the reasons I'm a bit scatter-brained these days and forget to blog about the beautiful and momentous occasions like these....

Birthday Lunch and Maine Lobster Field Trip

A Red Lobster Birthday lunch to celebrate Molly's, Jane's, and Grandma Carol's
May birthdays because Molly is studying the state of Maine....you know....Maine Lobster.
Jane's 4th Birthday Bash

Jane's Disney Princess cake.  Monica made the cake, I iced it and
printed that image on an icing sheet.  The 2 year old attacked it and
ate 2 fistfuls of cake before the party!!!  Sheesh!

Swimming in the hotel pool where her godparents were staying
for the weekend while in town

Jane and her Godmother, Cousin Alice

Eating cake in the hotel room on the floor with her Godfather, Cousin Chuck
End of the Year Violin Performance

Jane's been wearing either a tiara, a dancing dress, or some shade of pink all week.

Waiting and playing Chess

Yes, there were all of 3 students in Monica's class.  She's actually glad it's over.
I shouldn't even write what I'm about to because I don't get many comments as it is, but in case you'd like to comment and tell me how gentle and well-mannered your 2 year old is, how he/she will sit and color and never leave your side, or how that's just the way 2 year olds are; just don't.  I know all of those things.  I just needed to document this bit of my life because that crazy little boy you saw in the first picture, is going to grow up to be a wonderful young man that will be my companion when everyone else is gone.  He and I will go out to lunch together and visit Daddy at his work together and probably be so bored of the quiet in the house.  He's my baby...he'll always be my baby!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real: Photography Edition

round button chicken

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

I finally found a cheap photography class through Community Ed. that I could take that fit in our schedule.  For the last 3 Tuesdays, Maria and I went to our local High School and sat around with 6 other people learning about composition, lighting, camera basics, and all from an experienced, professional photographer.  He happens to be a friend of a guy in our community and so agreed to teach the class.  He's actually a personal photographer for Kenny Chesney and other singers none of which I was familiar with except for Rick Springfield.  Anywho....

I decided to try my hand at S-curves while taking the kids to the park yesterday.

This photo I took while standing up.

For this one I zoomed in and was kneeling to get down to eye level.

The S-curve is best in this photo.
Next, I wanted to try Framing.  My objective was to shoot the walking bridge on the opposite end of the pond.  I wanted to frame the bridge with the leaves from a tree right in front of me.

I think I like this one best because the bridge looks bigger in the photo.

Here it's like..."Where's the bridge?"

Same thing here...."Where's the bridge?" and the leaves aren't in focus either.
Finally, I wanted to take a picture of something and its reflection in the water.  The kids named an old dead tree that is sinking in the pond, The Octopus!  It's kinda creepy looking.

I probably should've been up higher so you could see the reflection better.  Also, the water lilies are blooming so they are
getting in the way of the reflection in the water.  
Molly asked for the camera so she could take a picture.  I only saw what she captured after uploading the photos.  I think she did a great job of capturing the blooming water lilies.

Have you been capturing any contentment on camera?  What do you shoot with?  I'm thinking of getting a Canon EOS Rebel XS DSLR.  Craig's List is the way to go for me.  There are plenty of great cameras here in the cities from people who are upgrading as the wedding and summer seasons are approaching.  Now's the time to grab a great deal.  I already have a Canon lens that I picked up during an Amazon lightning deal over Christmas.  I've been planning on getting another camera for a while.  I'm just happy that I have the class under my belt now!  See more Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real Moments by clicking on the button above.  And say a little prayer for Auntie Leila and her family...they have weddings coming up real soon!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bird Update, Recitals, and Everything Else

Back in this post, I talked about the interesting robin nest up in my window ledge.  Just as we saw the nest  fill a day at a time, an egg at a time; we watched the nest empty a day at a time, an egg at a time.  It was very sad to see that the mother bird would come faithfully to the nest even for that one last egg until it was gone, too.  She, of course, hasn't been back.  At that same time, we found a second nest.  A couple cardinals, set up shop in our mock orange by the front door.  We had a perfect view of the nest from our front window.

Mother Cardinal sitting in her nest.
That cardinal laid five eggs, but a predator ate three of them and the other two eggs were abandoned.  Lucas removed the nest to inspect its contents.  It is now a pile of grasses and fluff.  Nature is truly harsh sometimes!

For our last religion class one of my students gave me a beautiful hanging plant.  I brought it home and hung it from a hook on the front porch.

A couple days later, I noticed a small purple finch flying back and forth and seeming to go into the plant.  I wondered if the bird was making a nest in the pot.  She certainly was.  Here's what we have now....

Let's look a little closer...

The smaller light blue eggs belong to the Finch, but the other eggs look like Cardinal eggs.  I'm not sure what's going on here!  Did a cardinal lay her eggs in this nest?  Are Cardinals opportunists?
Hopefully, these eggs will hatch and we'll be able to get back to some cool nature studies of birds and nests.

Molly and Jane had their dance recitals at the end of April.  I've never experienced a real dance recital....like in an auditorium....with dance costumes.  So this was a first for all of us.  There was too much cuteness and girly-ness going on that evening!

The kids have also been busy with a lot of activities.  Soccer started up for Monica so everyone's getting in on the action.  Paul is coaching Gabe's team, and Lucas is playing U8 this summer.  He's definitely raring to go.

Note the Soccer book, soccer outfit, and the baseball socks...too funny!

Maria is very happy with her new-to-her flute.  She's getting better tone from this beautiful flute!

Gabe was bored with the soccer game so decided to watch the baseball game in the neighboring field.

Monica recruited Milah for the soccer team.  Now the girls are playing on a larger field with more players per team.

We really do hand-paint luster dust on our cookies to give them a little extra bling!
Lastly, Mother's Day was beautiful this year.  We were invited to New Ulm to the First Profession of Vows for two sisters from the Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus.  You can check out their order here.  One of the gals professing used to teach at the charter school where Monica and Maria were from K-2nd grade.  Many Nova and St. Paul people were there along with families from Net Ministries.  And the number of priests concelebrating at the Mass was amazing to see.  The Cathedral was filled to capacity and the weather was just beautiful for the event.

Milah and Monica at lunch before the Mass.

The altar in the Cathedral of New Ulm.

Two extra friends came along on the road trip.  This is one of them with Maria before the Mass.

Sr. Maris Stella of the Priestly Heart of Jesus listening intently at the homily.
Notice the white band of her habit signifying she has not yet professed.

Sr. Maris Stella professing her vows with the Mother Superior.

The Mother Superior removes the white band revealing a black band after the profession.

The newly professed sisters sign their commitments at the altar.

The newly professed sisters, the Mother Superior, and Bishop LeVoir of the diocese of New Ulm.

The girls and Sr. Maris Stella pose for a picture at the reception.

I hope all of you mommies out there had a beautiful Mother's Day.  I wish you all as much joy as can be found in this last photo!

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