Friday, April 22, 2016

Spring Heatwave

Usually, April is a cool, wet month for us here in Seattle. This week was the antithesis of that traditional weather. We had HOT weather... I'm talking record-breaking weather multiple days in a row. We hit 91 degrees on Monday... IN APRIL!!! (Right ... global warming is a myth!)

Annika and Conor LOVED the premature heat and gleefully donned their swimsuits and took to playing in the backyard sprinkler. They giggled, splashed, jumped, played with squirt guns, slung mud, and cooled off with true childhood verve.

When the sun began to set and we called the kids inside, we were greeted with a chorus of "Ahhh!!! So soon?? Not yet!!" (Mind you, we weren't rushing them in and out of the sprinkler. They'd been outside for probably an hour and a half!)

Conor enjoying the sprinkler

I guess he can't be considered a hot head anymore!

Buca even got in on the sprinkler action!

Annika easing in to the water
Conor's new sport: sprinkler skateboarding

Annika flying through the water
Future Olympic sport: sprinkler sprinting

"Wow! Cold water!"

And now time for the squirt guns
(amazingly, the camera and I escaped  unscathed!)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

A Glimpse

Yesterday, I took some photos of Conor as part of my current 365 photo project. It was a quick few minutes on our deck as the sun was setting and Conor was about to head off to bed. I took photos of him singing a song for me, making silly faces, and just having fun. It was a nice ending to the day together. Lighthearted, casual, fun.

After he headed down to bed, I pulled the memory card out of the camera and took a quick peek at the shots I got of him. This one (see below) REALLY jumped out at me... not because of my photographic skill or artistry, but because I got a glimpse of Conor as a teenager. There's something about his expression and posture that screamed "I'm growing up and one day, will be a teen" to me. Just wanted to share...

Monday, April 18, 2016

Annika's First Communion

This past Saturday was a BIG day for our little girl. After months and months of preparation, she and three of her friends received the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion.

Our dear, dear, dear friend Fr. Fred guided the kids' preparation and very clearly set forth his expectations. The kids, for their part, worked their tails off, both independently and as a group, to understand what they needed to know. Fred expected them to not only know the information, but to understand it and be able to talk about it with ownership. It wasn't enough for them to parrot the data ... he needed them to own it as their own. (Yup - that's a Jesuit for you!) :)

Everyone arrived bright and early Saturday morning at Bellarmine for the sacraments. The kids looked amazing in their bright whites and practically exploded with excitement. Once assembled, Fr. Fred walked each child through the sacrament of Reconciliation one by one. Then, we gathered as a larger group to celebrate mass and the kids' First Holy Communion.

I cannot begin to fully express how much it means to me that Annika received her first Communion in the same chapel that she was baptized in.... from the same priest who baptized her. It added so much to a big day for our little girl that there was this sense of continuity ... of family. Fr. Fred said mass with such genuine love and admiration for these kids. He spoke of them being the future of the faith and how each and every person needs to develop his or her own conscience and then own their decisions. He spoke of Jesus' welcoming nature and how important it is to love all and cast out none. (YEAH JESUITS!!)

 After mass, we had a little reception in a room near the chapel, complete with a lemon cake I made that was topped with a chocolate cross that Eric whipped up. (Creative, isn't he??) The gathering eventually spilled outside to the sun-soaked Bellarmine campus, where the kids ran around, climbed trees, and generally made themselves at home. Bellarmine is one of my homes in many ways, and the fact that we have celebrated so many important family moments there drives that feeling even deeper into my being.

By looking at the photos below, you may notice that she wore two dresses. She wore a new dress (no sleeves) for the Reconciliation part of the morning and then changed into the dress worn waaaaaay back in 1982 when I received my first Holy Communion. (It was also worn by my sister's girls when they received theirs.... again, loving the connection and togetherness!). The reason for the two dresses? We weren't sure if the original one would survive a trip to the cleaners, so had a backup dress. Fortunately, it did make it through and looks brand new again!

Annika in the Orton Hall chapel

Annika, Nina, and Karla

Our cutie pies

Annika all ready for her big day
Fr. Fred celebrating mass

Fr. Fred and the kiddos

Karla, Nina, Annika, and Jayden

Lemon cake w/ chocolate cross