Connor’s 5th Birthday

Connor celebrated his 5th birthday with a gaggle of friends at the fire station.

The firemen gave a little safety talk and then walked thru the fireman getting his gear on.


When he added each piece of the gear they reinforced how it was still Fireman “Joe” and he’s not scary. When he was all dressed I loved how they encouraged the kids to touch him, knock on his helmet or whatever so they’d know what it was like if a fireman came into their house.

IMG_8515You can see Blake in the back of this picture just taking it all in.


He wasn’t upset but didn’t want to get any closer and didn’t crack a smile.


Madelyn toddled around, sticking her hands all over the tires of the trucks.

Then everyone got to climb in the trucks.IMG_8541

The group picture is typically taken on the front bumper of one of the trucks but it was a cold windy day and that requires opening the garage door so I asked if we could go sit by the old truck instead.  Aside from the fence, it made for a pretty cute picture.



We played a few games then enjoyed hot dogs and cake.

The cake has Fireman Sam toys on it. Connor’s request for his birthday “yellow cake with chocolate icing and I might want to sleep in.” He’s been listening too much to his daddy.  He didn’t choose to sleep in but he did get his cake of choice.



Aunt Jen helped wrangle this little busy body.


An attempt at a family picture at the end.


We enjoyed celebrating Connor with a sweet group of friends and wonderful, helpful parents!

And photo credits and thanks for Ms. Stephanie for taking over the camera for the party!

Andrew’s 1st Reconciliation

Got to take Andrew to his 1st Reconciliation the other day. Rare for me to get to partake in these events just by myself but was happy to do so. I was slightly annoyed all week that it was just this random evening and poof, all done. My memory of my 1stR was of substantially more pomp and circumstance – in fact, they may have actually played pomp and circumstance ;) Guess when you grow up in a church with 50 people, it plays out a bit differently. Andrew did his thing with probably 500.

Was a nice enough ceremony – sat with his class and got assigned a priest (one of 8 that were on hand for the occasion). Noted that the priest said no photos, so, of course, we took one…call it a pre-reconciliation selfie:

20160107_235741923_iOS.jpgYou know, cause…sad with sin.

Turns out, he had a great time, got the old priest from St Frank that retired some years ago and was apparently very funny so that set him at ease. Not easy scooping all the dirt from birth to today with a stranger. Once complete, we of course, took another photo – this time, sans sin:

20160108_003833636_iOS.jpgLove the missing teeth. It was a great evening for him and daddy as he recalled his sacraments over the years. And of course – mommie and Pie were happy for him too:


Edit by Mom:

We celebrated when he got home with angel food cake cupcakes and with the hopes he would be feeling all “light and fluffy”. Connor and Blake had fun helping put the toppings on as we awaited his arrival back home. Andrew also got to use the “You are Special” plate which is a tradition I grew up with but haven’t gotten out yet for the boys to start using on special days. I think this was a perfect first time for the special plate.


Quotes of the Day

Blake: Mom, don’t fall in the potty!
[Thanks for the tip kid. If only I could potty without interruption.]

Connor: I don’t think I’ll try the trick of riding my bike with my eyes closed any more.
[This comes the day after he rode off the 3 ft retaining wall of our driveway. Now I know why.]


Santa came to our house and it was after 7 before everyone was awake.

We tried a new tradition (we’ll see if it sticks and I’m documenting so hopefully I’ll remember). I forgot to have the kids put Baby Jesus in the manger before bed on Christmas Eve. Christmas morning before opening gifts each child had a Baby Jesus to go place in a nativity somewhere in the house.


We had Oatmeal with Sprinkles for 1st Breakfast.


And then more presents!IMG_8398


The sweet girlie cousins!IMG_8411

We had 2nd breakfast of cinnamon rolls, sausage balls and (real) bacon which is rare in my house.  Then we got everyone ready for Mass (which is no small feat for 15 people, 7 of whom are under age 8).

These aren’t the best pics due to my failure to fully consider the lighting before snapping and the kids weren’t super cooperative.






Thankfully we did get a good pic of all 15 of us after Mass (to be inserted later).

We had some rest time, Rummikub (in which Liesl is force!), and then the kids asked to go to the park. How could we complain since it was 70 degrees!?

We enjoyed Christmas dinner followed by Baby Jesus Birthday cake.


Right before bed we remembered the last gift of Christmas which was still hiding in the attic.  Pops assembled and took these two on a little ride in their new bike trailer. (Unfortunately Andrew tried to do the same thing the following day before we had a chance to take it outside. He didn’t lift up on the end, leaving a 6ft scratch across the wood floor in the front entry way. oops!)IMG_8458

Lots of wonderful memories!

Christmas Eve




We spent the week with the cousins going to the Perot Museum, Ft. Worth Zoo and out on the go. The weather was extremely warm (in the 70’s) and everyone loved the outdoors and park. Christmas Eve we spent mostly at the house.

Kathleen and Sebastian led 2 teams of Gignerbread House Construction.




I’m still laughing that Andrew’s first question was, “are there directions?”  Nevermind that he was working with a structural engineer.

Brad carried on Grandmother’s tradition and made delicious Runza for dinner.


After dinner we drove around to see a few Christmas lights then came home for Christmas pajamas. (Madelyn was already in bed by the time we got this picture.)

Santa Party 2015


Little Miss Life of the party climbed on top of the table and responded to the camera with this.


Connor asked for Mercury and Jupiter Fireman Sam toys.IMG_8285



Andrew asked for FIFA 16.IMG_8292

Madelyn decided Santa wasn’t for her.IMG_8298


Blake chatted with Santa.IMG_8307

The Family.IMG_8345

Everyone got awesome books from Santa this year!IMG_8329

The Cousins.IMG_8353

The best we could get of the 7 kiddos!IMG_3821