Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter 2017

As befits the occasion, we had absolutely stunning weather for our Easter weekend - and we took full advantage of it, from soccer games on Saturday morning, to a tennis match that afternoon for me, and then a fabulous evening on the "party porch" with the Francos. And that was just Saturday (with zero photos)!

Since Tim was singing at Sunday evening mass, we had a blessedly leisurely Easter morning. Eventually Laura did rally the troops to hunt for the eggs the Easter Bunny had hidden the night before:

Finally it was time to make ourselves presentable and head to church. I think we cleaned up pretty nicely (after two wardrobe changes for Danny...):

It was a day very easy for us all to feel blessed!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Spring Break (for Danny and Laura, At Least)

Gator hunting in the morning
The only real issue with Clare attending Marist while the other two are at Christ the King arises in the spring, when they have completely different spring breaks. Last year I simply took the younger kids out of school and headed to Florida. This year Clare was invited to spring break with Abby and her family, so then when it came time for the CKS break she simply stayed home with Tim and the three of us headed to Sarasota. I think we all wondered what it would be like to vacation without Clare and Tim, but I'm happy to say we managed to have a fabulous week (while still missing them, of course).

While the usual enticements of Florida - gator-hunting via scooter, heading to the pool, etc. - were certainly part of the joy, the presence of a brother-sister duo approximately the same ages made for many easily passed hours. The grandparents are friends of Donna's and Larry's, and the kids hit it off so well. The boys golfed while we gals dined out and enjoyed the water on the first night:
Laura looking extremely comfortable with a beverage on the beach...
This went so well that we invited them to join us at the aquarium the next day, which also led to lunch and then a fun afternoon at the pool (swimming is just so much more fun with friends!).

We did part ways the next day as Donna and Larry had rented a boat, which was a gorgeous excursion complete with a dolphin viewing (unphotographed due to Laura's dire fear that I would drop the phone in the water).

The stop at Casey Key beach was a major highlight for the kids (and wound up being our only beach visit the entire week, oddly enough):
The following day, Wednesday, was the designated day at the Magic Kingdom for me, Danny and Laura. It was very crowded, but we managed to thoroughly enjoy ourselves and worked in three rides on Thunder Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean, among many others.

Thursday was our final day on break, as we had to head home the following day in order to get home for Danny's basketball tournament. Unfortunately it rained all morning, so our planned beach excursion was a bust, but it did clear off in time for Danny to golf again with Larry and his buddies. It was much cooler, so we gals opted to do a bit of shopping instead of swimming. We all finished with a delicious dinner at Stoneybrook, where Larry regaled Danny with the life and times of Teddy Roosevelt, and I'm not sure who enjoyed that more!

Once again I was reminded of how blessed we are to enjoy such beautiful places and special people!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Shining Stars

Friday, March 31 was a big day for both Danny and Clare. And thank heavens they didn't overlap, so I could witness both!
First up was Danny's 4th grade Poetry Performance, which is a true highlight of that grade and a favorite of all parents. I want you to know that it was entirely Danny's idea to wear a sport coat, too! Good choice, might I add. He, and all of his classmates, performed beautifully and clearly enjoyed every moment.
From here Clare and I raced to the car and hit the highway (thankfully not clogged despite the collapse of Highway 85 just the night before), heading the the Georgia State Geography Bee in Milledgeville. This was a repeat visit for Clare, who once again represented Marist and was once again one of only 10 girls out of the 100 finalists.

As usual, we were immensely proud of them both!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Fabulous 14

Another March 25 has come and gone, and our firstborn is now 14! It was a marvelous birthday weekend that kicked off on Friday with her going to the Marist high school musical with a couple of friends. They first came over to our house after school, and Danny found himself a welcome addition to their powwow on the trampoline. Who saw that coming?? As much credit as I give to him for his ability to hang with teenage girls, I also give props to Clare for being so inclusive of her kid brother. (Laura kept to herself, interestingly enough.)
Saturday, the actual birthday, began with these awesome birthday donuts, which were every bit as delicious as they were decorative. From there we filled the day with a haircut for Clare and soccer games for Danny and Laura, and some presents in between.
The celebration culminated in a dinner party for 11 teen girls, which wound up being a LOT more fun than I initially feared. Tim and I reserved an adult table right next to theirs, and coerced a few other moms to join us. We had a good time, but clearly the girls had a GREAT time, which was just a delight to observe.

I particularly enjoyed the end-of-party photo shoot, which entailed each girl needing to get her picture taken with the birthday girl. Clare was just glowing. She obviously has a great group of friends - but then again, why wouldn't she? She's pretty great herself!

We ended the weekend with Clare's choice of dinner for Sunday night - and cake! As the State Geography Bee is at the end of this week, her choice of decoration seemed pretty perfect.

Happy 14th birthday, Clare! We couldn't love you more, and we are confident you will change the world.

Monday, March 6, 2017

A Sweet Hike

For unclear reasons, Danny and Laura had today off from school. It was a lovely day, so I mentioned heading to Sweetwater Creek State Park, a place I've been eager to visit for years. Miraculously they were up for it (okay, especially when bribed with the prospect of an afternoon sweet treat), so after a leisurely morning we headed out. And I'm happy to say that it lived up to my expectations, and they both thoroughly enjoyed themselves as well! Danny particularly reveled in trekking out to the middle of the creek on some of the larger boulders, showing how far he's come from his more tentative days. For her part, Laura has actually become a little less of a daredevil than she used to be, but that's not a bad thing at all.

The ruins of an old manufacturing plant.
Score one for Mother Nature, and some unscheduled time on a Monday! But now back to our regularly scheduled sports practices...

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Father-Daughter Dance 2.0

Laura counted down the days to the Father-Daughter Dance as though it was a major holiday. Truly, it's hard to overstate her excitement. Tim wasn't exactly as enthused, but he did a good job of feigning it for Laura, who for her part had been practicing moves for weeks. As we all knew would happen, the actual event entailed much more of her running around with her posse than time spent between the two of them. But, she declared the event a success, which is all that matters!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Danny's Maiden Voyage to ND

After a few years of (sort of) patiently waiting, Danny finally made it to the hallowed grounds of Notre Dame. He and Tim made their way for a basketball-filled weekend, and it was a rousing success from start to finish.

They flew in on a Saturday and made straight for campus, where one of the first stops was to The Rock, where they succeeded in getting their hands on a basketball and shooting hoops for 45 minutes. Evidently this was one of the major highlights for Danny.

Eventually they caught up with Demay and his daughter Giuliana, cruised around camps and ultimately witnessed a nice victory by the Irish over Florida State.
Fortunately the next day they saw another victory by the women's hoops team, so it was a winning weekend in all senses of the word. They even scored on the weather, which was in the balmy 50s in the middle of February!

We'll get him there for a football game one of these days, but I think it's safe to say this was an excellent introduction.