Thursday, August 30, 2012

It's a new year!

Sorry I haven't written anything for a few days -- these first few days of school always throw me for a loop until we get back in the swing of things -- earlier bedtimes, arranged shower times, figuring out the next day's schedule, etc.

I think we got it.  Right now, we only have one major scheduling conflict to work around each week -- Becca has taken a job at Schwieterman's Drug Store in Minster, so she needs a ride on the days that she works.  Sometimes Emily can take her, but other days I just take off from work early to go get her and move her to Minster.  It's kind of fun sometimes to be home early and get a jump on dinner, so I don't mind.  And, my wonderful boss doesn't care, so that's good, too!  :)

It's fun seeing the kids in their new roles each year -- this year we have Sarah in her second year of college at the University of Dayton, where she is studying dietetics -- and anxiously awaiting her turn for Organic Chemistry, which I think frightens her -- a lot!  :)

Emily is in her senior year and from all appearances is enjoying it.  She's really involved in lots of things, so Emily sitings are rare -- so oftentimes I will sit on the end of her bed at the end of the day just to catch up with her.  She works part-time at the New Bremen Coffee Company, is the co-captain of her flag corps, plus is trying to find some other colleges to apply to in case her chosen ones don't work out as she hopes.  Senior year is such a stressful year that we are trying to help her along in any way we can to get over these hurdles so she can sit back and relax!

Becca as I said before, is working part-time at Schwieterman's -- and loving it!  She always has stories to tell me of people that came in or what it's like to wash out the compounding equipment, or whatever.....I love that she loves it!  She's a sophomore and is soon to be 16 -- next week, in fact!  She drove me around tonight looking for her homecoming dress -- and I'm proud to announce that I now ride with her and don't feel the constant need to be watching the road!  Yay!!!  I'm hopeful she's able to pass the test on the first try....I think she can do it!

Abby and Harry are in the 6th grade this year -- and loving it, too!  I love this grade because I personally feel like I know the teachers a little better, which just helps the mom in me!  :)  They are both in band (Abby = clarinet; Harry = trombone) -- so that's fun, too!

Will is in the fifth grade this  year -- and joined band (which I think I've mentioned before).  He's playing the drums and the bells and certainly seems to enjoy it!  I'm hoping Emily's friends, who play percussion, will come over and play with him some night.  That would be fun!  :)

Life is always busy and hectic around here -- and each night I collapse into the couch realizing what a full day I just put in.  But I wouldn't have it another way -- I love that our kids are finding their ways in life -- and that we are blessed enough to help them do that.

I hope this school year finds you happy and well.  May it be a great year for all!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The end.....

.....of a fantastic summer!

♫ Tomorrow, only a day away!!!  ♫

Tomorrow is the first day of school.  It's hard to believe!  This has been one of the best summers we've had in a long time....from traveling to New York, Boston, and Michigan, to various camps, and fair, and lots and lots of family.....I've loved it all.  Or at least most of it :).

We spent the last few days celebrating.  My original plan at the beginning of the summer was to take a day every week and do something fun or educational or at least something besides laundry and cleaning.  LOL  We did do a few outside activities -- we did a little geneology tour one day (through cemetaries -- don't judge it was hot and I bought them ice cream!)....Harry had a fun afternoon with the good folks at Crown seeing their video department and seeing the "other side" of what he's doing at home.....

I tried and I tried all summer to get a day that would be good to go to Sidney and visit/watch Duane in Municipal Court.  Well, it took until last Friday, but we did it!  Emily was not able to go with us (starting to be a theme here!), but everyone else went.  It was an interesting day and the kids learned a lot.  They saw people go to jail because they failed drug tests, they watched people lie to the court (that part surprised me!) -- even when it was apparent they were not telling the truth....they saw people truly sorry for what they had done and got to witness what happens when you truly make a mistake and are sorry for it.  It was a great tour.  I did mention to them that this was the ONLY time I wanted to be sitting in a courtroom with them!  It was so funny -- there is a metal detector that you have to go through before you enter the courtroom.  Here I came in with my big ole purse, and my camera, with my keys and my phone in my pocket.....and I made the detector beep.  LOL  I started taking the things out of my pocket when I explained to the lady that I was Duane's sister.  I told her if I really wanted to take him out that I could do it any time....I knew where he lived.  LOL  She laughed and waved us through!

Duane was so gracious and gave the kids a neat history lesson when they were done listening.  There is so much history around us...

My little defendant

Order in the court!

A precious photo

We decided to take a group photo before we left.  I hope my kids cherish this for years to come!

Clearly Abby is in charge.

We followed our exciting morning with the only lunch alternative I could come up with -- we went to The Spot for lunch!!  My mom used to take us there after shopping at Uhlman's.  It was fun to take the kids!

Waiting on lunch in the corner booth

Sarah:  Mom, count to three and then take the pic!  
1, 2, 3!  Surprise!  A kiss for Will!  <3

We spent the balance of the weekend celebrating with our town at Bremenfest.  Sorry, no pictures -- I was having fun!  :)  I was not around on Sunday, parade day, as Becca and I took Sarah back to the University of Dayton to start her sophomore year.  (As an aside, I am amazed at how much easier it is to drop your sophomore off than your freshman.  I guess it's because I now realize that she WILL come back to visit, and with that, she WILL bring home large piles of laundry every time!  Yay for laundry!  Love her and miss her -- but I hope she has an amazing year at college!

School starts tomorrow -- for all of our kids -- even the college one -- so dinner will be fun tomorrow night -- to hear the stories about friends old and new, teachers, and whatever else appears at the dinner table.  

Did I mention Will will be in band this  year?  He's taking percussion.  Lord help me/us.  I already warned Mr. Yahl to put me on speed dial in case he gives himself a concussion with his drumsticks!  It really was fun to go to instrument fittings for him this year.  Many of Emily's friends were helping, and all wanted him to play "their" instrument.  It was fun for Will, too!  :)

Here's hoping everyone's school years are awesome.  Here's a little prayer I found that we are going to say tomorrow morning before everyone departs:

Prayer for a New School Year 

Spirit of God, fill our hearts with a desire to seek truth and rejoice in beauty.
Help us to know what is pleasing to You and to understand what is right and good in Your sight.
Give us the Spirit of Learning that we may please You by our thoughts and love You in Your creation.
Give all teachers Your constant encouragement and guide them in their good work.
Spirit of God, make us effective witnesses of Your truth to all whose lives we touch. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Prayers please!

A short, simple, but important blog post tonight.  I have so many friends who are going through things right now -- would you please take a moment and pray for them?  I know I would appreciate it, and so would they.  I strongly believe in the power of prayer and God knows to whom they need to be directed.

If you feel like it, maybe a few words of encouragement, or just a simple "prayers" would be helpful to those who need us.


Feast of the Assumption

Today was the Feast of the Assumption.  A holy day of obligation, meaning a day we are expected to be at mass.

Christmas we all understand.  Easter we all understand.  But sometimes, feast days like today are not readily understood.

Father's homily tonight was so spot on and I loved it.  He was discussing Mary's life, especially in light of being Jesus' mother.  Can you imagine that?  I still get stuck on the part where the angel came down and asked her to be His mom.  Oh, my gosh!  How exciting!  But wait -- I'm not married -- what will people think?  I am not worthy of this!  Who am I to be asked to do this?

I saw something on Pinterest the other day that caught my eye -- it was interesting that Father discussed this exact thing tonight.

It really piqued my interest when I saw it.....but Father discussed how we get caught up in wealth, fame, and possessions and many time leave behind what's MOST important -- our faith.  Jesus never cared about any of that stuff (even though I would have to say he's pretty famous!).  Most certainly Mary and Joseph never aspired to great wealth.  

It's really an interesting concept -- to live as Mary did -- go about doing your business, living your life.  I TRY to do that, but must admit that at times I fall prey to those things above -- always wanting "more".  I certainly don't think that we live an extravagant life by any means, but at times....  :)

I wanted to touch tonight a bit on the "Assumption" vs the "Ascension".  I hear these words get transposed occasionally and wanted to offer some definitions:

 The Ascension refers to our Lord's bodily entrance into Heaven on the fortieth day after Easter. It is described in Acts i: 1-14, and is mentioned briefly in Mark xvi: 19-20 and in Luke xxiv: 50-53. Although the Scripture uses the words "He was lifted up," we use the word "ascension," which suggests something done under one's own power, for Jesus Christ is God and is all-powerful.
    The Assumption refers to the taking up, body and soul, of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the end of her earthly life. In this case the word indicates that she was taken to heaven by a power apart from herself. The Assumption is not recorded in Sacred Scripture, but there are several extant writings including one by St. Melito of Sardis, who died in the second century (see "Apropos"). Sometimes called the "Dormition," or "falling asleep" of our Lady, the doctrine has been acknowledged by the faithful both in the east and in the west since the earliest times. It has been the subject of many of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, gives its name to numerous churches in their dedication, and is celebrated liturgically on August 15th. On 1 November, A.D. 1950, Pope Pius XII declared:
    "We pronounce, define, and declare it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory."1

From:  Here

Thought that was interesting and that I would share.

Hope your week is going swimmingly!  We are gearing up for another CCD year, so we'll start discussing that soon.  Almost back to school time.  Hug your kiddos close -- soon they will be gone all day!  :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Happy anniversary, my love!

Twenty years ago today, I married my best friend.  Little did I know that many years ago what our lives would hold!  I do know that at that time, and still today, I wouldn't have wanted to go through the betters and worses without him!

I look back on our pictures and realize that although we seemed old at the time (26 and 27), we were really just kids.  Actually, it was probably better that way.  If we had known the challenges we would be faced with, we may not have said I do!

But we did, and here we are.  We've been through some really great times and some really low times.  Through it all, he's been my rock.  Truly living up to those promises we made on that day.

You know, taking marriage vows is a big leap of faith.  Trusting that the other person really will live up to those promises and not bail at the first sign of trouble.  Trusting that you won't grow tired of each other.  Trusting that you don't drive each other crazy (well, not sure I didn't test this one once or twice, but he's still here, so.....  :)

I remember when we were dating, he always did nice little things for me.  I wondered at the time if those things would continue.  They have!  :)  He's always doing nice little things for me to make sure I know that he loves me.

One of the poems he wrote to me has become our mantra.  We even had it printed on our wedding cake:

"From sunrise to sunset
With every passing cloud;
I'd always be right by your side
If only time allowed."

So special!  I wish we really could be with each other every waking moment!

I remember one time I asked him why he didn't send me flowers for some occasion.  He looked at me and said, (if you know Jim at all you know this is so true!) "I grow many flowers so that I can make  you bouquets all the time! Why do I need to buy special flowers?"  Point well taken.  He does.  We never discussed again!  :)

Without getting all mushy, I wanted to share a few photos of that day with you.  Above is us with our unity candle (it had oil in it, which ran out, which is why there is a match in it!  LOL).  Here is our engagement picture so you can see us all young and stuff:

And then, the traditional wedding photo.  

And our beautiful wedding party:

If you know me at all, you know what a huge reality tv junkie I am.  So, in reality tv speak:

Jim ~ you've always been a great "Big Brother" to your younger siblings, but I'm glad  you took yourself off of "The Bachelor" so that I could be a "Dance Mom".  We have definitely mastered "Survivor" and, after living in 2 cities, having 2 dogs, raising 6 children and traveling through 22 states and 2 countries.....I'm so glad you have been with me on this "Amazing Race".  I definitely would have been the "Biggest Loser" without you.

I love you, Jimmy!  Let's get this party started!!!  :)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Date day (and night!)

Yesterday was a rare day for Jim and I.  We both took off, in the middle of the week, to spend the day together -- just him and I -- at the state fair.  How fun!  We had an hour and a half on the way there AND on the way home to talk -- no one interrupted us, no one was yelling, nothing!  So special.

 We originally planned this day because Jim found out Boston and Kansas were playing last night.  He wanted to go see them in concert.  Well, when you purchase concert tickets to the fair, you get entrance as well, so we left mid-morning to get there in time to look around for a while before the concert.  We had two extra tickets, and I found out my sister was going to be there, so she said she would go with us a bring me a surprise guest that I knew.  OK, I said.

After all of this was arranged, I found out my very special goddaughter would be competing in clothing while we were there.  So, we wandered around the fair, got some lunch (from Schmit's of course!), looked through a few buildings, and then went in to watch Andrea get judged.  She made a beautiful dress and jacket that showed beautifully in judging and on the stage.  Also while we were in there, I got the chance to catch up with my old buddy, Joyce Kremer, whose daughter was also competing.

Soon my sister showed up with my surprise, who was my brother, Jim.  If you have ever met Jim, you would likely guess that the last place you would look for him was at a rock concert.  So, I took pictures so that we could document this moment!  LOL

My brother, Jim, and I

Me, Jim, and Nancy

We grabbed a quick dinner in time to rush in and see Kansas (we were a few minutes late -- oopsies!).  They were ok -- I didn't know a lot of the songs they played and their voices are sounding a little gruff.  :)

BUT, soon after the stage changed hands, we were in for a treat!  :)  Boston took the stage!  I tried to take some pictures but only had my phone with me, so they are not such great quality....but will try to share some (and maybe even a video!).

It's nice to go back and relive memories.  Jim and I giggled on the way home, because neither of us had really remembered that one of our very first dates was at the Ohio State Fair.  And soon thereafter, we went to dinner at Schmit's.  I guess we were reliving earlier years without really trying (or maybe, we went back to our favorite places).  All I know is that we had a fantastic day!  I love every day I get to spend with that man -- God so blessed me when he put him into my life.  We've been through lots in our years together -- and even though it hasn't always been easy -- it would have been much much harder without him by my side.