Friday, June 20, 2014

End of Year Picnic 2014

Despite needing to be pushed back a day due to bad weather, our annual homeschool end of year picnic was a huge success. It was a WILD WEST theme. It was a beautiful day, lots of families attended, and we all had a great time celebrating the end of the school year.
Wild West play area for the little ones.

A very handsome cowboy

A pretty cowgirl friend

The annual "Who says homeschoolers aren't socialized" group picture

Some beautiful, amazing homeschool moms
Our scheduled activity leaders were not available  when we had to re-schedule....
but we were able to get this awesome magician to pinch hit.
He was a huge success!

As the magician was wrapping up his act, the Velvet ice cream truck pulled up!
They passed out free treats!
It was a huge hit!
Many thanks to the Velvet folks for their generosity!
(One of our families is part of the family that owns Velvet.)
Who says homeschoolers don't know how to wait in line?

We were blessed by the presence of several Dominican and Franciscan friars!
The friars even got in on the "Pony Express" sack race.

We had a rocking horse / hobby horse corral for the little ones.

Balloon Animals
Decorating Bandanas
Panning for Gold
Fruit Loop Necklaces
Yummy picnic lunch
Face Painting

Adam and lots of buddies had a blast building this structure on the natural playground.

 Happy Summer!

A New Adventure --- Swim Team!

Ray and Adam have been little fish, loving the water since they were babies. This year, for the first time, they are members of the swim team at our local pool.
And.... Jon's firm signed on as corporate sponsors of the team. They're at the top of the team t-shirts!

It's been fun to see how quickly their swim stokes have dramatically improved with the daily practices and great coaching.

The first swim meet was held last Wednesday. It was an away meet at a really small pool.... and it ended up being cut short when a storm kicked up. The boys were at Cub Scout day camp all day and went straight to the meet. It was interesting figuring out how it all worked and when to be where.... but it ended up being a great experience.

Here are a few pictures ---

Ray getting ready to swim in a medley.

Adam on the block.

Off to a good start!

A few of our homeschool friends are members of the team against whom we competed.
Here's Adam hanging out with Luke.

Ray swimming backstroke.

Ray's friend Joel cheering him on as he made the turn for the second lap.

Ray smiled the entire way.
He was so fun to watch.

Ray hanging out with friend and teammate Ella.

Our little swimmers!

We're not sure which team won the meet. Both boys did well in their races. Adam shocked us by powering into second place in breast stroke, which he only learned last week. They both have good builds and dispositions for swimming and we hope they'll stick with it and do well.

And now, a little throwback picture.....

The only time you'll ever see me in a swimsuit online! This is my sister Reenie and me in a swim team picture that's about 30 years old! We were pool rats too and we loved being on the swim team. Butterfly was my specialty stroke. It's so cool seeing my boys participate in an activity that was so fun for me.

Go Seahorses! (Interestingly, the team I swam for also had seahorses as mascots, but we called ourselves the "SeaKings." We also swam at the pool where the boys had their first swim meet.)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Happy Pentecost!

I think Pentecost is one of the most woefully under-celebrated Feasts in our Liturgical Year. Every year I promise that I'm going to "do it up big" for Pentecost.... and every year it flies up quickly in the midst of lots of other busyness and gets slighted again. UGH! Next year, really. Kites and fires and doves and lots of hoopla.... all for the Holy Spirit.... and for the birthday of our great Church.

Today I was recovering from a whirlwind week of homeschool group activities. Jon and the boys were travelling back from a Michigan trip where they attended my niece's First Communion. They returned at dinner time and we celebrated Pentecost with a special dessert.

The apostles waiting for the Spirit!

Funny picture, I know.
Adam is clearly filled with some kind of spirit!
After singing "Happy Birthday" to the Church and discussing Pentecost and the Holy Spirit, we were trying to name the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Well, guess what just got added to our Religion curriculum for next year.... Yep, the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. I mentioned Fortitude and they followed up with "Attitude, Gratitude, and Latitude!"

I attended Mass at our parish today and enjoyed lovely hymns and brass accompaniment. Our dear retired priest gave a lovely homily. I was most struck, however, by a reflection in the missal that described how the Holy Spirit comes to our Church today. It talked about the Spirit moving by motivating a community to break out of it's comfort zone and serve others in new ways. I know that I've been stuck in a comfort zone and feeling very unmotivated in terms of taking care of myself and my health. I'm really asking for grace and strength of the Holy Spirit in this area of my own life.

I always love the Sequence that's sung at Pentecost. I'm intending to pray it and reflect on it all week. Join me!
Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from your celestial home
Shed a ray of light divine!
Come, Father of the poor!
Come, source of all our store!
Come, within our bosoms shine.
You, of comforters the best;
You, the soul’s most welcome guest;
Sweet refreshment here below;
In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.
O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of yours,
And our inmost being fill!
Where you are not, we have naught,
Nothing good in deed or thought,
Nothing free from taint of ill.
Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away:
Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.
On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore
In your sevenfold gift descend;
Give them virtue’s sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end.
Amen. Alleluia.

May we come to know God's Love through the Grace of the Holy Spirit... so that we may proclaim His glory by becoming all that we were created to be. Amen.