Saturday, February 27, 2016

Game Day (October 2015)

Game Day!  ND vs Navy, October 10th 2015

Marcus and I "won" (in the lottery) the right to buy 6 tickets, and we figured the lucky spectators would be my parents, Marcus, and the 3 kids.  But Linda offered (insisted!!!) on watching Celeste while I went to the game.  My dad bowed out and let me take his ticket.  It was so much fun to be back at a Notre Dame football game!

The weather was absolutely perfect, couldn't have been any better.  We really lucked out!  The kids loved hearing stories of our band days and what football weekends were like for Marcus and I when we were in college.

Tailgater at Bob and Linda's before the game
Concert on the steps

Band step-off (this is where Marcus proposed
to me 18 years ago....)
Dad walked with me to the outskirts of campus to meet Bob
and Linda, so they could take Celeste after I nursed her one
last time.
ND never misses a licensing opportunity....
I met up with Grandma, Mariposa, and Bunny who were already
in the stadium.  Marcus and James had different seats.

halftime Band performance
Notre Dame won of course ;o)
Grandpa waited in line for the bus back to
the parking lot, so we just "cut" and didn't
have to wait at all!  (crowded bus)
beautiful evening
Celeste was an angel for Linda!!

With the weather, my family, the win!, and Bob and Linda's generosity, this trip was everything I could've wanted!  I am so glad the kids got to see ND and I'm hoping to make this a more regular occurrence.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Notre Dame trip in October 2015--campus tour

In October, we took a weekend trip to South Bend to take the 3 older kids (and Celeste) to see a Notre Dame football game!

Now before you say something like "Lucky!" or "You're just bragging," or even "You have such a fun, carefree life!" I should take a moment to put into words the ~anxiety~ and ~stress~ that led up to this trip.  :oP  We had planned on leaving Sedric (3) and Gemma (5) at home for those 3 nights, and from the moment we heard we won the tickets in July (ND has a lottery), Marcus asked his parents to watch these 2 younger kids.

But in late September, just a few short weeks before our ND trip Marcus' mom and dad had to cancel because of a serious family emergency.  Oh no!  Who would watch Gemma and Sedric?  We went through our list of possibilities, wondering who was in the best situation to ask for such a big favor.  I honestly thought of cancelling the trip.  This big, wonderful trip that was to be such a great experience for my kids.  Celeste and I would have to stay at home. {:o(

But I decided to ask my friend Lisa.  She has 4 young kids--including a newborn!--and while she knew it would be hard, she said Of Course she would help!!!  Then I asked our family friends, whose oldest daughter Tess is one of our babysitters.  Mom Shirley said she would do whatever was in her power to make sure we could still take our trip.  Oh, everyone should have such good friends!!!  <hugs> to Lisa, Mrs. N., Shirley, and Tess!

So we patched together a hodgepodge of childcare that involved Lisa for one night, Tess for two, and another family friend for the final day.  So with some sweat and tears, we were on our way to South Bend....

We stayed with longtime family friends Bob and Linda, and their hospitality was so amazing!  We were definitely pampered on this visit, especially the kids.  My parents drove down from Northern Michigan as well, and they stayed at a hotel.

First night, playing games with Bob
 On Football Friday morning, we took a tour of campus.  Bob and Linda's granddaughter Kate came with us.

"Stonehenge" and the Golden Dome in the background
 Notre Dame is a somewhat small, closed campus (no cars except by special permission), although it is expanding every year.  These scenes are what I walked by every day when I was a student there in the mid-90s.

North Quad
Bunny saw one of her Camp Howard
counsellors!  How funny!
The Dining Hall was a big hit with the kids. 
Everyone liked the food and all the choices.
The kids thought the dining hall looked like
it belonged in Hogwarts.
Marcus' old dorm, Morrissey

Lighting candles at the Grotto
Walking through the Basilica.  So many
relics in their reliquary! 
"Touchdown Jesus" (the library)

"First-Down Moses" (complete with horns)
Do you know why Moses is often depicted
with horns?
Bunny standing in front of my dorm, Pasquerilla East

When we got home we were treated to a Polish FEAST by Bob and Linda!

Our wonderful hosts
Well, what I thought would be just one quick post will need to be two (or three?) since I haven't even gotten to the game day pictures yet.  :o)

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

October 2015 in review

Well, I have set the hard task of creating ONE post for each month I am behind.  So many photos!  So many adventures!  But I am ready to get caught up.  So here goes...

October was another busy month.  Is there any other kind, when you have a large family?

Normal (Posa caring for Baby)
Not Normal (This is a photo of Bunny's camera screen.  The
first time we've seen a lynx on our property!!!!)

Normal (cousin over to play)
Not Normal!  It's not every day you gain a god-daughter!!
(The sweet Clare Evangeline, daughter of our friends)
Normal (Bunny's horse lessons continue)
Not Normal (funeral for Marcus' maternal grandmother,
Nana Kitty, in Indiana)
Both Normal and Not Normal (my birthday is only once a year,
but the kids are ALWAYS crazy!!)
Normal (Annual Fall Festival at church)
Normal (field trip, this one to the Bonneville
Dam and Fish Hatchery)
Not Normal (funeral for Marcus' uncle Rick) 
Normal (another elaborate creation by James)
Not Normal (learning the Thriller dance)
Normal (trick-or-treating every year!!)
Ok, I guess I lied.  There is NO WAY I can fit in our awesome trip to ND in this one October post.  So be looking for a separate post on that.  Then I promise, only 3 more posts (Nov, Dec, Jan) and I'm all caught up and can finally start posting current stuff!!  :o)

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Albuquerque--final stop of our big trip

The Residence Inn was nice, and the kids were happy with the breakfast and the pool (no surprise).  I liked it because it was like a small apartment, with a separate master bedroom!  Most of the kids were upstairs in a loft-like room, with their own bathroom, and a few slept downstairs on the sleeper sofa in the "living room."

After packing up, we drove to the Albuquerque Balloon Museum for one last field trip before catching our flight home.

not my photo
We were there one week before the big Balloon Festival, so there weren't many people (yet) but we could still feel the excitement. we were walking in, Sedric decided to play with the ants he saw marching on the sidewalk.  The reddish color of these plump ants was too hard to resist--he picked one up to smoosh it, and the ant bit (stung?) him instead!  We found out right away that he was playing with fire ants, not the cute little black ants we have at home.  He CRIED and CRIED and then CRIED some more.  It was horrible.

Trying to calm him down
I like how Baby is peeking around the stroller.
If you know know that he can get worked up pretty easily.  He is also very stubborn.  So he stubbornly decided to stay worked up about this ant bite.  I know, I know, I should have more sympathy.  Fire ant stings are apparently horrible!!  But he would NOT stop crying (screaming).  It was awful for all of us.

I stayed back with Sedric in the stroller
while the rest of the group got a little tour.

This was the observation deck for the festival.  Notice Sedric
is still crying.

not my photo, but is shows what would be going on the next week
again, not my photo

This trip was special for Mariposa, since her
AG doll Saige is from Albuquerque!

Sedric is still in the stroller and probably still crying.

Happy family (except Sedric)

And that was the end of our adventure.  We drove straight to the airport to return our van and catch our flight back home.  Sedric was STILL CRYING and miserable and we were dreading how bad the flight might be with a screaming pre-schooler.

Hustling to catch our flight--I had Baby in the sling and Sedric
in the stroller
But we made it!  It wasn't that bad, we just had to keep being really nice to him.  Which was hard, but we made it through.

Home at last
This big adventure was fantastic, with the best part being the wedding of course! and the second best aspect just being time spent together in new places.  I'm happy with all the education that we snuck in ;o) and I'm hoping we can plan another big trip sometime soon!