Sunday, June 26, 2016

"Serve the Lord with gladness..." Psalm 100:2

Lily Grace has always loved church.  She loves her Catholic faith, attending Catholic school and learning about Christ.  She has always sat in mass and participated since she was a baby.  This was actually the first Sunday that she hasn't sat with Matt and me.  
Today, she served her church and more importantly God.  Going into 5th grade, LG is old enough to be an alter server for mass.  She was trained a few weeks ago and has been so excited to start serving.  Today, she did just that.  
She was thrilled and a little nervous this morning.   We were so happy and proud of her.  She served as a candle bearer today.  As the mass procession began, I won't lie, I found myself overcome with emotion at the sight of my little girl, now serving in church and sharing her love for Christ.  My prayer for her is that she continue to grow closer to God each and every day.  That her love for Jesus grow daily as well as her desire to serve Him all the days of her life. 
Peace be with you Gracie Cakes, today and always.  We love you!

In the sacristy before mass changing into her robe and sharing a laugh with Father Dave.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

"Memories on the Madison" Happy Father's Day 2016

Matt has always dreamed of fly-fishing the Madison River in MT.  Last year, he got to do just that.  It was an amazing trip and we all loved every minute of it.  He fished the Madison for nine days and what made it even more of a dream come true is that he did so with his little girl.  He enjoyed the blessing of sharing that dream with her and sharing his love of fly-fishing.  
Once home from our trip, I posted pictures and one in particular ended up being a favorite among the three of us.  
This year for Father's Day, Lily Grace and I came up with an idea for a special gift and enlisted the help of friend and artist, Ashley Anthony.  She is so very talented and such a wonderful person.  I have several pieces of hers hanging in our home that I've commissioned, but this one would be a little unique.  I asked her to turn that favorite picture into a painting.  
Months went by as we waited. Boy was it hard for the two of us to keep this secret.  Lily Grace and I nearly burst with excitement when the painting arrived earlier this week.  It is beautiful, sweet and yes, perfectly special in so many ways!!!  We couldn't wait to give  it to Matt.  
Ashley was so sweet.  She names all of her paintings but let Gracie name this one.  Lily named it, "Memories on the Madison."  Gracie also wrote  a letter to Matt telling him why this picture was so special to her and why he was such a special dad.  She attached the letter along with a copy of the original photograph to the back of the painting.  As she told it to Matt, that is so when he is old and can't remember so well, he will have something to go on.  ha!  It truly is quite special.  
Matt was all smiles and has said it is the most special gift he has received.  I hope so.  He gives and blesses us each and every day, not just as a provider, but more importantly as a loving, God fearing dad and husband who would do anything for us. Thank you Matt!  We love you so very much!
After a special mass, we are enjoying the day hanging out.  Matt and Lily Grace have been held up in his office tying and reading about flies for our upcoming return to Montana and the Madison River.  
Thank you loving God for the example of unconditional and fatherly love.  Thank you for the gift of Matt who shares that with us each and every day. 

The original photograph

This beautiful treasured memory now hangs in Matt's home office.
"Memories on the Madison"  Thank you so much Ashley for allowing LG to add that special touch.  Thank you for creating such a wonderful keepsake. 

Happy Father's Day!  While the look is new, (yes, to mine and LG's delight, he is keeping the beard) he is still the same wonderful daddy he has always been!  We are so blessed by him!

These two have spent the afternoon up in Matt's office preparing for our upcoming trip back to the Madison in a few weeks. 

We are Officially Hoosiers Now!

Towards the end of the school year, Lily Grace would come home and talk about shooting hoops at recess.  She would share how many baskets she made each day, and how she didn't understand why some boys felt the need to wrestle one another for the ball to the point of rolling on the ground.  HA!  HA!  Anyway, we had been walking across the street to the school for her to shoot and decided to just get her a goal of her own.  Living in the midwest, winters are loooooonnnng and boy does it get cold.  So, the more we can do outside while the weather is nice, the better.
Matt had to make a two week business trip to Mexico but purchased the goal before he left.  Gracie thought that was the longest two weeks ever and couldn't wait for Matt to return to set the goal.  
Matt did a great job and put his engineering skills to use when it came to getting that thing up.  Why can't men just ask for help?  Never mind that he had neighbors right next door offering to help and directions suggest four people but again, why can't men just ask for help? 
We've all been having a great time shooting hoops and playing HORSE with Graciecakes.  LG even got  a new pink basketball. 
According to friends, we are now officially Hoosiers with that goal in our yard and all we need now is a barn.  

The first order of business was digging "The Hole."  Matt had to dig a hole 3 feet deep to set the pole in.

He was so happy to have that part over with.

Next came filling the hole with concrete which had to cure for at least 3 days.  That meant more waiting for Gracie

Of course Matt (aka: Mr. Safety) had his own way of making the rebar more secure and substantial in the concrete, what a mess.

While they waited out the three days they began assembling the goal in Matt's garage.  Molly and I were the supervisors.

On the fourth day, they had the goal assembled and raised the pole.  Now came the tricky part and this is when Matt went into high gear with some meg-shift engineering.  Instead having the neighbors come over to help raise the 100 lb glass backboard, he used the 4 Runner and some lift he created on top of the roof to lift the backboard which he slid on top of the car to the height needed to bolt it in.  I am happy to report I got out of having to insert the bolts and my neighbor came over and did it for me. I'm sure we were quite the site but I will give him credit and say, the neighbors were impressed. 

On Thursday night when they raised the pole, and put up the backboard, it was so chilly and very windy.  We were actually bundled up out there until around nine, but as soon as that backboard and the rim went up, that driveway saw some balls flying as the neighbors came over.

On Saturday Matt finished putting everything up. He and Gracie have been having a great time outside.  We have all enjoyed several laughs.  ( I will just say this about this picture which appears quite impressive- the great thing about this goal is that it can be lowered to 8 feet for Gracie.)  

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Summer by the Pool

When we returned home from visiting family, we were excited to find our neighborhood pool finally finished and open.  Construction started last year and we have been anticipating the opening this summer.  As Gracie and I made our first visit today, we both took in how nice it was to walk just a few steps out the front door and be at our own pool.  It's beautiful and we had a great time today. I imagine many of our summer days will be spent here. 

A trip down South

Lily Grace finished school last Thursday, and we boarded a plane on Friday afternoon to visit family in both FL and AL.  We kept busy and had a good time.  Thanks to everyone for hosting us!
Our first stop was Pensacola to visit Grandma and Grandpa.
We loaded the car and headed over to the beach in Destin.  We had a wonderful time.  The weather was beautiful and the waves were big.

A lot of time was spent doing this...thanks for the boogie boards Grandma.
Gracie got some seaweed in her hair and wore it the entire day with pride.  It made her feel like a mermaid.  (which she loves)

Drizzle Castles
Matt has quite the knack for drizzle castles.  He and Gracie could sit and do this for hours.
We left FL and drove to AL where Gran and Honey took us fishing.  Boy was it hot! Too hot for the fish to bit in fact. Thanks Gran for getting everything ready.

Gracie got to hold the newest member of the family.  She was beyond excited to meet Wilder.  She even read to him and thought he was just the cutest little thing ever. Thank you Jessica and Tanner for sharing your little bundle with us.  

Lily Grace taught her sidekick Honey to play Wheel of Fortune on the iPad.  They were giving high fives, laughing and solving puzzles together.