Sunday, November 5, 2017

A Very Special Birthday!

This past Thursday, I celebrated my 46th birthday.  That's right, 46!  I don't cringe or shy away from it, I'm proud of it.  I have so many blessings to show for 46 years.  
I had quite the special birthday.  Matt and Lily Grace as always, planned and put forth great effort to make me feel special and I most certainly did.  I woke to greetings and gifts to start the day.  
My birthday was also All Souls Day and I attended Lily Grace's all school mass where my sweet girl just happen to have been asked to cantor for the day.  It was truly quite special.  She did a beautiful job.  
I received text, calls, gifts and cards from friends and family throughout the day.  Thank you so much to everyone for making me feel so loved and thought of.  
Matt took off Friday to keep the celebrating going.  We spent a fun day together laughing, getting some odd jobs done and watching for the UPS man.  Oh yes!  The first deliveries for the iPhone X fell on this day and yes, we joined the crazy.  Matt actually got up at 3:00am two week's earlier to order this phone for me and people, we actually cheered when the UPS man turned onto our street.  As you can imagine, we spent the rest of the afternoon playing with talking emojis.  ha!  
After picking Gracie up from school, we enjoyed dinner out to end the day. 
It truly has been a very special birthday.  Matt and Lily Grace you make me feel special each and every day just by being in my life.  I am so very blessed!!!  God is most certainly good! 
With my favorite cantor right before mass
Spending the day with my best friend who's been there for 27 of my 46

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

First Day of Middle School

Today was Gracie Cakes first day of Middle School.  I can't believe we walked her into 6th grade today.  She was sad to say goodbye to summer and I was sad to send her back, but we both took it pretty well.  She said she likes changing classes and it's fun in a new way.  
While it always tugs at my heart, I can't wait to see all the ways that she grows this year.  
Middle Schooler- 6th grade

Gracie Cakes could have cared less that she was starting Middle School.  When I asked her if she wanted Matt and me to walk her in she replied, "of course," as if I was crazy for having asked.  Melt my heart.  Her daddy told her he'd walk her into high school if she'd have him. šŸ˜Š

We stayed after school along with some other friends for LG to get her locker organized. Last year was her first year to have a locker so she learned that all the fluff and decor may be cute but it isn't functional or practical.  So this year, organizing was all about that, getting organized for a productive year. 

 Funny how last year they were all running around trying to gather items to decorate their lockers all cute and this year, it was all about survival.  ha!

Monday, August 14, 2017

A Day at the Office

Lily Grace has been to Matt's office several times.  However, the one things she has always wanted to do is spend time at the office during the workday.  She got her wish today. 
Gracie spent the afternoon helping Matt in the office. It was jeans day at the office today, but she still made sure she dressed professionally for her day at the office.  She wore her blazer of course. She also packed her briefcase.
According to both of them, it was a very productive and fun afternoon.  She took pictures of wire samples and created a Powerpoint presentation for her daddy.  He walked around and proudly introduced his little girl.  It was definitely a highlight of her summer and I'm sure one of Matt's most memorable days at the office.

I'm beginning to think that all these two did at the office was snack and visit the office candy jar.

Home from the office and ready for dinner

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Date Night and Diamonds

Lily Grace and Matt had their monthly date-night tonight.  They enjoyed dinner, karaoke and games.  Matt also surprised Gracie with her first pair of real diamond earrings after talking to her about beginning middle school.  He reminded her to be true to who she is, to always do her best, be her best self and remember, that like those diamonds, she is strong and precious to both us.  She was beyond excited and surprised.  So sweet!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Starbase (STEM Camp)

Lily Grace has spent the last week at Starbase.  Starbase is a STEM camp (science-technology-engineering-math) that's run by the Defense Department here in Indiana.  
She has loved every minute of it and couldn't wait to see what the next day would bring.  Some highlights included building a robot, putting a skeleton together, and flying in a small Seneca.  
The first day was spent at the Airforce Base

While Gracie has flown a lot (so much that she has a free airline ticket sitting in her Delta Skymiles account) this was her first trip in a small Seneca.  She loved it and thought the headsets were just the coolest.  
Graduation Day on the last day of camp.  Her call-sign for the week was, "Cookie."

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Making Music

Lily Grace has taken violin for the last five and a half years.  After much thought and discussion, she recently decided that she would like to take piano instead.  
We purchased a new digital piano and she has been taking lessons for a few weeks now.  Having taken violin and with a good knowledge about music reading, she skipped several early books.
She plays quite beautifully.  She's loving it and we are really enjoying listening to her grow musically.  
Her first time trying out her new piano.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Take me Out to the Ballgame!

We live a short 3 hours from Chicago and love to visit often.  This past week we visited for a few days to do some shopping and catch the Cubs.  We had great seats and a great time!  We sported our Cubs gear, enjoyed a hot dog of course and cheered along with over 41,00 fans at Wrigley Field.  Even though the Cubs lost to the Cardinals, 11-4, we still had a ton of fun at the ol' ballgame!
From the 20th floor, one of the better views we've had on a stay in Chicago.

While checking in, Lily Grace joined in a conversation with the manager.  She was of course polite as always and can hold her on in a conversation.  The manager, JL, was so taken by her that she sent her up a box of chocolates and a note. Lily Grace was all smiles as I answered the door and the bellhop announced a delivery for Miss Lily Grace.  Too sweet!  JL was delightful herself I might add.  So fun! 

On an evening walk, Matt and Lily Grace stopped and purchased a glow launcher.  They joined some other kids in a square and enjoyed laughing and launching it.  

Of course before heading to see the Cubs, we made a stop in American Girl.  Gracie couldn't wait to go and see Gabrielle, the new doll of the year. 

And of course we enjoyed a little treat at the American Girl Cafe.

Our next stop was the Lego store.

I must admit, I always love going to the Lego store to see the latest sculptures they've created out of Legos.  It's pretty amazing.  

On our way back from shopping, the new Tesla SUV (which cost more than $100,000) was on display.  These two couldn't wait to have a turn sitting in it.  They were giddy as school girls.  They even entered a raffle to win it for the weekend.  

Ready to cheer on the Cubs!

Gracie was bummed they didn't sing Go! Cubs! Go! but she had no complaints about the hot dog.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Back to the Midwest!

After nine wonderful days full of memories, Matt and LG took their last early morning cast on the river while I got dressed.  
We boarded a flight at 11:00 am and said farewell to another fun summer in Montana.  
They were headed down to the river to get in one last cast 
by 6:00am and it was a chilly morning. LG took
the car temp pic on the way down.

On their way down, the elk were on the move on the ranch.

Gracie managed to hook a little fellow on a dry fly.

Gracie signed the guest book for us.

We landed last night at 10:30 pm.  Even though it was late, Suzie who was keeping Molly for us, graciously stayed up for us to swing by and pick up our favorite furry girl.  She wasted no time snuggling up to Gracie and Gracie was just as excited to see her.  We all were.

Our last Full day in Montana

Thursday, we spent our last full day on the ranch fishing and enjoying time together. 
We made our way down the ranch early to wet a 
line on the Madison for the last day, but 
the rain had other ideas.

So while we waited for the rain to pass, we sipped hot tea and played Yellowstone Monopoly.  Gracie has had her eye on this game every year.  Finally, Matt lugged it home for her this year.

Once the rain cleared, Matt and Lily Graced headed back down to the river.  Matt let LG net for him and so she deemed herself a fishing guide and took over Matt's vest and net.  Too cute!

As the sun started to set, Matt hooked the last fish on a dry fly.

Our last time on the Madison River in MT fishing as a family.

We loved every minute of it!!!!!!!!!

An Exciting Day in Yellowstone!

This was our third year to visit Yellowstone and by far our most exciting.  
Yellowstone is 2.2 million acres and this year we ventured over to the far north side.
We started our day into the park at one of mine and Gracie's 
favorite stops in West Yellowstone, breakfast and the 
Running Bear Pancake House.

The north side of the park is absolutely stunning.  Riding through 
these large boulders and the curve that overhangs the side of a 
mountain is really fun and exciting.

Early on in our trip, we got an exciting sight, we pulled over to 
enjoy our first bear sighting in Yellowstone.

Mammoth Falls

When we entered Mammoth City inside Yellowstone, you see 
elk sitting all around the little town square.  This fellow was 
so still that Matt was sure he wasn't real. He even
suggested Gracie get her picture with him.  SURPRISE!! 
He was very real and they wander all around the square 
and are protected by rangers watching over them to make
 sure they aren't harmed and curious onlookers don't get too 
close.  After all, this is their home and we are simply the guest. 

Ha! Ha!  We opted for a distant pic with the very REAl elk.

How adorable is this little post office on the square?

Lily loved all the old cars being driven around.

We made it all the way to the North entrance and then on to 
Lamar Valley.

The Petrified Tree

Once we arrived at the Petrified Tree we got another surprise.  
We sat and watched this Black Bear graze in the meadow 
for about 30 minutes.  It was very exciting and our second 
bear sighting of the day.

We made a stop at Roosevelt Lodge.

You never know who is going to cross your path in Yellowstone.
This time it was a fox.

See that snow capped mountain.  That is Mount Washburn, 
elevation 10,243 ft

We drove all the way to the peak of Mount Washburn 
and while we were out taking pictures it began to snow 
and hail really hard.  The temperature dropped by 
22 degrees.  It was really fun and something 
we won't soon forget. 

A snow pile still melting at the top.