Monday, February 26, 2018

What we've been up to

The answer is a little of everything! I have been a negligent blogger since the cruise mostly because we came back and had to jump back into normal life full force. This is probably the busiest February we've had! Plus I have a renewed inspiration to spend time with the children when I have a few free moments, so the blog fell to the back burner.

Mariana had a robotics competition in San Antonio. Her team didn't do as well as they would have liked, but I think they learned some good lessons!
Stephen had his First Reconciliation retreat and then his actual sacrament. We are so happy for him! Now, on to first communion prep.
 Allia also had her confirmation retreat
And Mariana and Austin squeezed in a trip to see Black Panther in 4D together. The kids earn points for their chores to trade in for special rewards. Mariana had saved quite a lot of points, so she got an extra special reward!

When we came back from the trip we took the opportunity to move rooms/beds. Anastasia and Cecilia are now roommates and really enjoying each other. The boys now have a true boys' room to themselves!
 When Cecilia gets out of the house she is usually eager to visit Pawpaw and Manah!
We moved Cecilia out of her baby carseat and into a big kid seat. She is growing so fast!
She has us all cooing over her lately. She can now say almost all of our names and has also learned fist bumps and high fives which are totally adorable!
The oldest 3 also participated in the piano solo festival this past weekend. Amidst the busyness I think we failed to get a photo, but they all 3 earned superior ratings. So proud of them!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Lenten Almsgiving

Just as Lent began, a sweet friend here in our community was diagnosed with cancer...only a week after giving birth to their 3rd child. Whether you know them or not, I pray that anyone reading this will click on the link to her story that I have added to the sidebar and consider including her family in your Lenten almsgiving and prayers!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

15th Anniversary Cruise!

Austin and I wanted to do something special to celebrate our 15th anniversary, especially since we did a simple honeymoon. With Cecilia still nursing and because the kids are an important part of our marriage and the dreams we had in the beginning, we decided to make it a family trip...a cruise to Cozumel and Progreso. Lito and Lita decided to come with us and celebrate their anniversary and Lita's birthday too!

A stop along the way all decked out in our cruise shirts from Lito and Lita...
We spot our ship! (insert shrieks of excitement)
Lunch on the ship before embarkation
And here we go into the great wide ocean!
Allia splurged and paid a little extra for the "bottomless bubbles" so she could order soda whenever she wanted. She is proudly sporting her first Dr. Pepper here.
We dined restaurant-style every night with Lito and Lita. The food and environment were exquisite and the company even better! We all enjoyed ordering whatever we wanted (and even seconds). Several of the kids wowed our servers with their appetites!
 The early risers (everyone but the 3 oldest girls) dined for breakfast as well.

Exploring the ship a bit after breakfast...we liked the top-deck mini golf. It was an expert course with the wind blowing the balls around, but Stephen still managed a hole in one!
Stephen and I went for a run together on the track. Can't beat the view!!!
While we were gone, Austin took these two to play a game where they won trophies and then a certificate for build a bear!
I am pretty sure these 3 spend about 80% of their time onboard in the hot tubs. If they went missing, we quickly learned that this should be the first place to check.

 The little ones loved these glass elevators.
 The second night on the ship was formal night where everyone dresses up for an extra nice dinner including a show put on by the wait staff when they announce, "It's Ssssshhhhowtime!" The Maitre D actually let Stephen help him announce on our last night.
Our family pic

 Part of the show...waving our napkins 12th man-style!
 The wait staff did some amazing dancing on the serving tables!
Our first port and the highlight of the trip...Cozumel. We went to Playa Mia which proved to be an awesome choice! The beach was beautiful, they had an inflatable obstacle course in the water as well as kayaks, water bikes and pedal boats all included plus a pinata for the kids and a pool/hot tub/splash pad. We could have stayed there for days!

Cecilia loved the coarse sand!
 After we spent plenty of time at the beach, we took the younger kids to the splash pad and pool area. They loved it so much we barely heard from them for about 2 hours!

 Scenery pictures
 Farewell, Cozumel!
The next morning we docked in Progreso. After breakfast, we had a lower key port experience where we walked along the beach and through the town, doing a little shopping, then headed back to the ship.
  Anastasia found this adorable hat!
Beautiful turquoise water!
 We were so glad we made it back to the ship for a late lunch when we found these delicious red velvet cupcakes.
 And during naptime we took the older girls to bingo.

  This guy ate 2 plates of pancakes for breakfast!
A puppet show of the towel animals they leave in our room each day.
We went to play a life size family board game of Cranium while Cecilia napped.
Our hostess had to go fetch some extra prizes, so Austin took over MC-ing the game!
 Proud of their penguin from build a bear!

Surprises from Lita!
Our last dinner on board

 Goodbye to our favorite server, Jamille.
 What a wonderful family vacation. We couldn't have asked for more!