9 and 18

The end of the school year is fast approaching around here (Wednesday!) and in my family some are even graduating. While M and C are just beginning their student careers (going into 3rd grade and 4-yr preschool respectively), two of my brother’s three sons are starting a new phase in theirs. Last week both my brother’s youngest and middle graduated. One from eighth grade, the other high school. As I have been thinking of them moving on to different schools, etc., it has made me reflect on the passage of time. More specifically how quickly it has passed as seen in these two young men.

I remember exactly the day my brother’s youngest graduated from preschool. It was spring of 2004 and I was pregnant with M. I actually attended his preschool graduation with his mom and grandparents (my sister-in-law and mom and step-father). Something I hadn’t done with any of my other nieces/nephews. I remember it being a cold day. The “ceremony” was in the church basement where the preschool was held. The graduates were so cute with handmade mortar boards and tassel. My sister-in-law was a bit weepy since this was her baby now moving on to the big leagues of kindergarten. I was glad to be there and imagined a time soon where my baby would be doing this as well. This was nine years ago. How can this be? I look at M now, an almost third grader and know in my heart it won’t be long for her to be like her cousin and entering high school.

My brother’s middle son was born the summer of 1995. Today, in fact, is his birthday. He turns 18. When he was born, I was almost 21. I had just returned from  my junior year at Beloit College. My junior year had been a turning point for me. During the course of one semester, I had bought my first new car and broken up a long-term yet unhealthy relationship, in that order. I had started to explore new relationships and reconnect with friends, one such being my future husband. I remember returning home in good spirits and full of hope for new beginnings. Then a new nephew arrived. He was dark-haired and long. His older brother was blond and blue eyed. Already yin and yang. He was the only one of my brother’s sons that I actually saw in the hospital. Now that baby is eighteen and about to go to St. Ambrose for his own new beginnings. Wow.

Where does the time go? I don’t know but I am blessed to be here for the ride.

Easter 2011 Replay

In our family, we spend every Thanksgiving with J’s family and every Easter with mine.  While we miss the other side when we are not with them, I do like the consistency this schedule gives my girls.  J’s parents were actually up for a short visit this year so they were able to give the girls their Easter goodies before they left on Saturday morning.  This was a nice bonus to the holiday.

On Sunday, we went to early, early mass with my folks.  (They like the 8am mass).  The only good thing about this time is that we live close enough to their church so that we were able to make it there in plenty of time and without rushing through the house to get ready.  I had Miss M pick out her Easter dress the night before so there wouldn’t be any last minute quarrels (on my part) or frustrations (on both of our parts).  I also ironed both mine and C’s outfits the night before so we were all set to go.  Speaking of outfits, the only one who got a new Easter outfit this year was ME!  C wore M’s hand me down, M wore a dress that I won from Little Pea and I was sick of wearing the same thing every Easter.  I swear it looks like I have an Easter uniform in the old photos!  So I found something I like on Land’s End and bought it.  Winning!
We went to mass and then came back to our house for some delicious french toast casserole that J had prepared the night before and then cooked in the morning.  It is awesome.  While waiting for the french toast to finish baking, we did our egg hunt outdoors.  It was fun.  C was definitely getting more into the hunt this year and so we had to remind M to leave some eggs for her sister!
We don’t do a big easter basket filled with treats, etc for the girls.  Instead we buy them each a Christian themed book and perhaps a chocolate bunny and that’s it.  We try hard to keep it real simple and let the focus remain where it should be..the resurrection of our Lord and Savior.
After C’s afternoon nap, we returned to my folks place and had a lovely dinner.  Although my side can be quite large with a total of 6 children (blended family) plus spouses and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, it is every so often, as it was this year, that it is just us and my folks at Easter.  It is a nice and simple gathering.  My folks also gave everyone a lovely Easter card with some Easter goodies inside.
We are so blessed.
Here are a couple of pictures from the day:

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!  Anyone have their Easter hunt indoors?