Catching Up

Well hello there! Long time no blog and for that I apologize. Or at least wonder where the last two months have gone because I know I wrote more recently than that…right? Oops, wrong.

I should write a bunch of detailed posts about what we’ve been up to lately but I’m still getting my gears grinding so a haphazard update with a few pics will have to do. Here goes nothing!

……..

grandma bonnie.jpg

We had my grandmother’s memorial in Dallas and it was beautiful. I was surprisingly not as emotional as I’d expected, partly because I had my hands full with the kids I’m sure. But also I think because I had such closure with getting to say goodbye to her, had no regrets about the time we had together along with visiting her many times while her health was starting to decline, and of course knowing that she’s with Jesus now. All eight of her kids were able to be there so it made for quite a fun family reunion afterwards. Grandma Bonnie, I miss you dearly but know that I’ll see you again soon enough.

……..

IMG_3697.jpg

On a more upbeat and unexpected note, Jason and I got to attend the Coldplay concert when they came to DFW. Long story short…I called and won a little Coldplay prize pack on the radio and was then entered into the drawing for the grand prize tickets plus a meet & greet with the band. I stopped by the station office to get my guaranteed prize but while I was there, found out that I was the grand prize winner for the show the next night! Mind blown. They proceeded to whisk me (and baby Catherine) away to their studio upstairs to record my “live” reaction and a little promo spot. Thankfully I was able to get help from family to watch the girls while Jason and I enjoyed a last minute date night and boy was it one for the books! We arrived at AT&T Stadium and got a full tour of the facilities by the band manager, were able to go on stage, ate a delicious dinner with the tour crew (including Chris Martin, whaaaat!?), had a quick meet & greet with the whole band, then enjoyed a truly amazing performance. Is this real life??? What an amazing night it was. I’m glad I made that one impromptu phone call while at a red light on the way to Hobby Lobby!

……..

cookies.jpg

Speaking of hobbies…there’s one thing (besides married life and the kiddos) that’s consumed my life as of late. Cookies y’all. My life is overflowing with cookies. I could post a bazillion photos of the projects I’ve done lately but will give you one quick photo collage instead. (Lots of photos can be found on my cookie FB page if you’re curious!) Business is definitely booming which has made life crazy but amazing. It’s been a balancing act and learning experience for sure, figuring out how to prioritize with my other obligations and responsibilities but I’m loving it. Minus the late nights, but that’s what coffee is for right? And I have a baby anyways, so what’s a little extra sleep deprivation a few nights a week? PS: I’m thankful for moms and word of mouth, because kids birthday parties have apparently become my market lately!

……..

img_3998

Jason and I were able to attend the Encounter Young Adult Conference down near Houston a few weeks ago. Clare stayed with family while Catherine tagged along with us and it was a truly beautiful and enriching weekend full of great speakers and break out sessions plus lots of time for fellowship and the ever important Sacraments too. I saw lots of familiar young adult faces and even got to finally meet an online friend in person. (hi Andrea!) All in all, it was a much needed getaway to recharge my spiritual batteries. Props to Steubenville and Adore Ministries for hosting this great event!

……..

img_3616

Something that Jason and I have felt called to pursue and finally took the plunge to start is a weekly “family dinner”. We knew about it from friends in Houston who established the concept a while back in their area where basically you give an open invitation to folks (usually it’s a young adult/family scene) to come over one night a week for dinner. The host family provides the main dish and everyone that comes brings a side or dessert. Come if you can, no need to RSVP, and bring the whole family plus other friends you think would like to attend. We really wanted to build community and friendships in our area including our actual neighbors in the neighborhood. So if you’re ever in Fort Worth on a Friday night and want to join, just let me know! (PS: that photo isn’t at our house, but at a family dinner in Houston we attended recently! Maybe someday our backyard will be that awesome. 😉 )

……..

jrs-558-copy-2

Lastly, today is our 8th wedding anniversary! My how time flies. I could’ve swore it was just last month that I was 21 and saying “I do”. Jason has a surprise dinner out planned for tonight while my MIL watches the girls, so I’m super pumped for that. Love you Jason – here’s to many many many more!

……..

img_3872

Other things we’ve been up to but I don’t want to make this a novel include: Jason’s 31st Birthday, lots of play dates and story time at the library, painting our guest bathroom and updating our front and back garden beds, and us girls going to the Luke’s Diner promo event for the upcoming Gilmore Girls episodes. Life has surely been busy but beautiful!

IMG_4050.jpg

 

Monday Morsels #25

Hi yall! Well, life has certainly changed since my last family update! Without wasting any time, here’s what we’ve been up to lately.

clare 2nd bday

My sweet firstborn turned two! Goodness gracious, how the time flies. We started the day with her two year check up which thankfully didn’t include any shots. Then we stopped to get a Birthday donut, went to the neighborhood pond to feed the “quack quacks”, and played at the park. We had one of her favorite meals for dinner plus cake of course. As much as I wanted to have a big celebration for her, I loved our simple day together and honestly, at 40 weeks pregnant, I couldn’t have handled much more!

family of 4

Then two days later…our precious daughter Catherine was born! Things happened pretty quickly and labor went as smoothly as possible. We are totally in love with this little lady! Life has been full of visits from family/friends, meals delivered, and adjusting to being a family of 4 (most adjusting from a certain toddler) and while we’re tired, life is beautiful. I actually hope to finally write a birth story for both girls soon, so stay posted for more info besides “hey! we had a baby!” if you’re into that sort of blog post.

baptism catherine

Then 9 days later, little Catherine was baptized and brought into the Church. It was sort of last minute since we weren’t totally sure when she’d arrive but worked out just perfectly and also happened to be the feast of Pentecost. So fitting! Our sweet little saint smelled of chrism and peacefully slept through the whole thing. Who could ask for more?

ordination

Then besides the everyday crazy life in new baby land, we’ve been right in the middle of busy event season and trying to attend what celebrations we can manage. First off was the ordination of our friend, now Father Joseph Keating. I have to get used to calling him that! We became friends during my college years and it’s been just beautiful seeing his vocation unfold. When we met, he was a vibrant youth minister, then entered the seminary, was sent to the NAC in Rome for his studies (we even got to visit him there while traveling!), had the honor to sing the Gospel at the Easter mass at St. Peter’s this past Easter, and now is officially a priest in the Diocese of Fort Worth. Congrats to you, Fr. Joe, and I can’t wait to see where God takes you next on your journey!

IMG_2390

One of the youth from our former parish invited us to her graduation party which was also a blast. I was her confirmation sponsor a few years ago and got to know her really well during our time there. I’m so proud of her accomplishments and know she’ll do great things at Benedictine College. The party was full of yummy BBQ, cake, and a fun photo area with props. We got to catch up with some old parish friends and Clare wore herself out with an inflatable ball. Good times all around!

IMG_2405

We also got together on my side of the family to celebrate the May birthdays in the family. Which is my mom, Clare, and now Catherine too! So it’s basically now a party for grandma and her granddaughters, which I know she loves. We had tons of delicious food as always, a variety of desserts, gifts, and great company. Clare had a cookie cake that grandma made especially for her, since she’s a total frosting and cookie girl. (which baffles her cake loving mother) Catherine got to meet most of the rest of her Texas family and it’s such a blast having more littles in the family now, running around and playing during our gatherings, plus plenty of arms wanting to hold the babies. It’s a beautiful thing!

Monday Morsels #24

Hey everyone! Hope that you’re all doing well this spring – life has continued to be busy on our end but I certainly can’t complain! Here’s some of what we’ve been up to lately:

ordination

Photo cred – Diocese of Fort Worth

We were blessed to be able to attend the ordination to the diaconate for two amazing men, Stephen and John, both of whom we got to know at our former parish where they served at different times. Ordinations are awesome in general, but when you know the people, it’s extremely powerful and beautiful. Congratulations to them on this huge step towards their vocation to the priesthood. Our diocese is blessed to have you both!

wyd meet and greet

Photo cred – Jeanette Houle

That same weekend we went to the final meet and greet for the upcoming World Youth Day pilgrimage. It’s hard to believe that we leave in less than 100 days! I’m beyond excited to travel with this group and still hoping that traveling overseas with a toddler and baby isn’t too nuts!

rangers game.jpg

We got some tickets to a recent Texas Rangers game and had an amazing time. It was Clare’s first game and she even got a cute commemorative certificate. She was fascinated by all the people, chants, music, and of course the food. Especially the nacho cheese!

IMG_1974.jpg

There have been a lot of celebrations in our lives lately! Several of our friends have kiddos turning two so we’ve had a blast celebrating these little ones. Also, Jason’s grandparents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary and we had a nice family dinner out. What a huge accomplishment that is and a beautiful example to our family and others!

cookies april

In cookie news, I’ve kept busy lately with Birthday cookies for several kids along with a “family tree” set for the 60th anniversary party. I’ve decided to take off the whole month of May with baby Catherine’s arrival soon. It’s definitely been hard turning away business but I know it’s for the best and would be way overwhelming otherwise. But what a blessing to be my own boss and have that option! I’m looking ahead at June with graduations and Father’s Day (and my 30th Birthday, whoop!!) but will honestly just play it all by ear once I see what I’m able to handle.

IMG_1899

In miscellaneous news, we’ve had some fun play dates, an old friend over for dinner, and my ladies book club finished “All The Light We Cannot See” and loved it! I’ve been having my weekly birth center appointments and all looks good on the baby front. My due date is now anywhere from May 5th to the 11th so we’ll see what little miss Catherine has in mind! I’ve been nesting like crazy, wanting to clean and organize ALL the things, plus trying to soak up all the snuggles and one on one time with Clare that I can get before life changes.

IMG_1866.jpg

We’ve also finally transitioned Clare to her “big girl room” upstairs which is going ok – some nights are better than others! We did cosleeping when she was a baby and then since the master bedroom is downstairs and the others are all the way upstairs, she’s slept on a bed in our room after that. With Catherine soon taking that spot in our room, we decided to move Clare up there before baby comes so she doesn’t feel replaced or kicked out. It’s hard to believe our big girl will be 2 this week but it’s super exciting and we’re thrilled to see her be in big sister mode soon. So stay tuned, because the next update will likely have baby photos galore!

Monday Morsels #23

Why hello lovely readers, it’s nice to see you again! My Lenten break was much needed but to be honest, I didn’t really rest like I’d hoped. Spiritually, kind of. But physically, not even close. Here’s some of what we’ve been up to lately!

vehicles

After 10 years, I said goodbye to my sweet little 2 door car that I bought freshman year of college. The Becky-mobile (as my mom called it) and I had been through a lot over the years between road trips, getting married, and adding a car seat for our first kiddo. I never had any problems with it but with Catherine on the way and me being super pregnant, getting a kid in and out of the back seat was getting tough. So we traded it in and upgraded to a new Dodge Journey which we’re hoping will last a long time and be a great family vehicle. I love it already!

IMG_1570

Jason was out of town for the annual Region 10 meeting and it just happened to correspond with my mom’s Spring Break! So us girls mosied over to my parents’ house and spent the week shopping, hanging out, and just having quality girl time together. Such a blast!

cookies

Between holidays and special events, my little cookie business has been keeping me mighty busy! I made some fun St. Patrick’s Day and Easter sets along with special orders for a Curious George birthday party, bridal shower, Minecraft birthday, dance team spring show, Minnie Mouse birthday, and a medieval set for a homeschooling family. (more photos can be seen on my cookie Facebook page)

barn wedding

My cousin-in-law got married a few weeks ago and we attended her lovely barn wedding. Huge congrats to the happy couple! It was a beautiful evening complete with BBQ, cool weather, and fun family time.

Holy Week didn’t quite go as planned. We didn’t make it to church on Holy Thursday or Good Friday because our family was all sick. Sorry, no photos of that. (you’re welcome) We certainly offered up our sufferings and hardships during that tough time and thankfully we recovered just in time to…

easter2016

…celebrate Easter! We went to a beautiful Easter morning mass full of Alleluias and definitely gave thanks for our returned health on top of Jesus’ sacrifice and Resurrection of course! Then we enjoyed a delicious meal with the Spoolstra side of the family and relaxed the rest of the day. Just the sort of day we needed!

IMG_1706

And lastly, I’ve had a full plate with co-planning and running the first ever Catholic Women Blogging Network – Texas conference which was this past weekend. I’ll write another post about that soon but let’s just say it. was. amazing. Stay tuned for more on that front!

I hope that all of you had a blessed Lenten season too and a beautiful Easter. I look forward to writing and sharing more soon!

Monday Morsels #22

Hello everyone! I hope that all of you have had a lovely holiday season between Thanksgiving and now the current Christmas season. I know it’s been a while since I’ve written a family update so I wanted to play catch up with some highlights!

IMG_0590

My darling goddaughter was baptized – yay! It was a beautiful ceremony full of family and friends and baby girl was a total champ through it all. We had a party afterwards to celebrate the little saint which was tons of fun. Congrats baby M, I’m so excited to be your godmother!

thanksgiving food

Thanksgiving came and went quickly but was a lovely holiday. This year we were with my husband’s side of the family and had quite the delicious feast. I made some pecan pie bars (SO delish) and a sweet potato casserole with the best of both worlds – marshmallows for some folks and a crumble for others.

catherine

Somehow I’m already halfway through this pregnancy! We went in for our 20 weekish appointment and anatomy scan and found out that…baby #2 is a girl! As much as I’d love to have a boy (maybe next time!) I am thrilled to have another sweet girl and that Clare will have a little sister. I always wanted a sister so can’t wait for Clare and Catherine to have that special relationship.

cookies

This fall/winter has been busy busy with my cookie decorating business that’s starting to take off. I now have business cards, a legit budget, and whoa things are getting official! I made some fun Thanksgiving sets, had a big corporate order for a local MMA studio, and then Christmas cookies galore. I’m so thankful for this way to use my talents, have a major creative outlet, plus help support my family in a small way.

arboretum

While delivering some cookies to my cousin, we made a visit to the Dallas Arboretum right by her house. The two of us plus our littles enjoyed a beautiful day outside and got to see their amazing Twelve Days of Christmas display. We also visited the new(ish) Children’s Adventure Garden which was awesome. Clare didn’t want to leave! They have all sorts of daily scheduled activities for kids along with various interactive areas for them to explore. We will definitely go back again, especially since we didn’t get to see the whole thing.

christmas 2015

And now we somehow already find ourselves in the season of Christmas. We had lots of fun family time the last week or so – my big family celebration was the Saturday before and was a blast as always. Then on Christmas Eve afternoon, we had a gathering with Jason’s dad’s side of the family. After that, we went to an evening mass where Clare was a huge wiggle worm but it was such a beautiful liturgy. On Christmas morning, we had some time with just our little family and Clare was surprised with her new fort. So fun! Then we went over to brunch with Jason’s mom’s side of the family and afterwards, went back home for some much needed rest and relaxation. I hope that all of you had a wonderful Christmas as well and continue to enjoy these last days of the season!

IMG_0999

As many of yall probably saw, there’s been some crazy weather here in north Texas. My hometown of Rowlett was unfortunately wrecked by an EF4 tornado on the 26th. Thankfully everyone is safe and fine but many houses weren’t so lucky. The disaster zone was dangerously close to my parents’ house – way too close for comfort. It’s been heartbreaking seeing photos and videos of your old stomping grounds in disarray.

If anyone feels called to help those in need, I’m going to selfishly share the story of one particular family that could certainly use it. If you remember, my best friend Brittany unexpectedly passed away just over a year ago, leaving behind her husband Walter and a sweet little boy named Nolan. They have been strong and were moving forward despite the huge loss but sadly, their house was destroyed in the tornado. As Walter said, they’ve been through worse and thankfully both of them are safe, but I can’t imagine facing yet another major tragedy. A Go Fund Me page has been set up for Walter and Nolan, so if you are able, please consider making a donation to a family that is in real need. Or if you want to spread the love, a friend compiled a page of all the current campaigns and made sure that they’re all valid. And if money is tight, please keep these families in your prayers!

CP Book Cover

Finally, I wanted to announce the giveaway winner of the book that I reviewed, “Mommy, Mommy, When You Pray”. Congrats to Jodi! I will be in touch soon to get your contact info and hope that you and your kiddos enjoy the book!

Monday Morsels #21

Hi everyone. Phew – I know I say it every time but life. has. been. busy. Sorry for still being a slacker blogger but I honestly hope to pick back up in the next few weeks and give you more than a monthly photo/story dump and more excuses. Regardless, here’s some of what we’ve been up to the last few weeks!

IMG_0341

My equally busy husband had a big diocesan event a few weeks ago and thankfully missed the gross weather we had that weekend. The Dallas and Fort Worth diocese joined together and had an awesome World Youth Day North Texas gathering with mass, inflatable games, food trucks, and a concert at the end of the evening. Clare and I were able to join them for the concert which featured some guy named Matt Maher as the headliner. Totally kidding, I was way excited to see him perform again! He put on a great show as always and the youth had a blast. Clare was jamming to the music and loved the people watching opportunity too.

IMG_0374

I’ll share much more about this in a separate post, but Jason and I went on a much needed vacation to Shiner, TX. It was just what we needed – lots of rest, relaxation, and wonderful husband/wife time together. We walked to the brewery each day (yay for small towns!), were able to sit and chat with Jimmy the brewmaster, and also got a behind the scenes tour of their current renovations and additions. I can’t wait to share more about our time away, so stay tuned!

smg

Our family got to see and venerate the relics of St. Maria Goretti during their recent stop in Dallas. The lines were long (which is a good problem!) so we had to wait for about 2 hours but luckily had good company and it moved along quickly. I’ve been able to see many relics in my lifetime but this was such a powerful and special experience having her here on our home turf. Also, Jason and I were married at St. Maria Goretti parish so she has a special place in our hearts and we made sure to have our wedding rings blessed. See this site for more info on the tour and info about this amazing young saint who even in her death, showed great virtue, holiness, and mercy. St. Maria Goretti, pray for us!

jp2lifecenter

We took a quick trip down to Austin last week for the John Paul II Life Center’s benefit dinner. Thank you Kimberly for the gracious invite! It was a lovely event with a delicious dinner, nice company, and the vibrant Fr. Mike Schmitz as the main speaker. I knew that we’d be getting a shout out due to their video project I’d helped with during the summer but we were also featured in the program which was a funny surprise. We drove back home that evening which made for a super late night but it was completely worth it!

IMG_0577

A big part of my busyness is due to some cookie decorating projects I’ve taken on. My latest order was for a 50th anniversary party that my friend planned for for her parents. These cookies were SO fun to make – the top part is their family brand which is just downright cool and I got to finally experiment with decorating luster dust to give the big 5-0 treats some extra pizazz. I have a Thanksgiving cookie set in the works for later this month and now have a big order that came in for this week. This has turned into quite the fun side business for this stay-at-home mama and I recently made a Facebook page for my creations. Next up are business cards which makes me feel so legit. Feel free to follow the page if you’d like to stay up to date on my sweet treats!

IMG_0582

This past weekend Jason led the annual Lock-in for Life for the youth in our diocese. They had a great turn out and a fun sleep deprived night from what I heard. Clare and I stopped by for a bit because I got to volunteer for the live sonogram! Which is awesome because I did the same thing two years ago with the same doctor when I was pregnant with Clare. The teens were fascinated and baby was very photogenic and active for them. And even though I’m only 14ish weeks along, doctor had a good guess about whether baby is a boy or girl. But we’re gonna keep that detail to ourselves till we know for sure. So sorry!

In other news in which I forgot to take pictures: I had my BFF over for a play date and got to see my darling goddaughter. I had some family visit from Minnesota that I hadn’t seen in years and we had a fun family shindig. And Jason and I (plus Clare a little) helped with a video project for the NaPro clinic that’s in the works for the DFW area, Whole Life Authentic Care. Can’t wait to see how it turns out and share this with yall!

Monday Morsels #20

Hi everyone! Hope that yall have been well and having a lovely month of October. Things have been just as busy around here as always but life is good. Here’s a bit of what we’ve been up to lately:

IMG_0194

I was SO excited that we were able to squeeze in a family trip to the State Fair of Texas. I hadn’t been in forever and was super (overly) giddy to go. Thankfully we went on a beautiful day and enjoyed some treats like classic Fletcher’s corndogs and a so good/so bad fried Snickers bar. YUM.

state fair

Clare had a blast and enjoyed all the people watching and tasting some new foods. She wasn’t a huge fan of the animal area, at least not this year. We savored some A/C and looked at all sorts of vehicles at the Auto Show. We may have taken some notes for whenever we buy our future family friendly (aka: large) vehicle. Clare loved climbing in the cars as you can tell. We got to see the famous new Big Tex (RIP old Big Tex – such a tragedy) but I couldn’t help but think that he was smaller than I remembered. Probably because I was a lot smaller last time, haha.

IMG_0225

We were able to attend the beautiful baptism of our friends’ little girl. I know they were overjoyed not only about the baptism, but just having their sweet girl in general. They were another couple that waited patiently for a little one and their prayers were answered. Baptisms are always so amazing to attend, seeing someone, whether young or old, become an official child of God. Congrats to J, R, and baby G!

family time

If you remember, this summer, Jason was supposed to visit Poland for a World Youth Day familiarization tour but that unfortunately didn’t work out. Well, he was able to reschedule and went overseas two weeks ago! He had a wonderful time and got to see and learn a ton that will help our group next summer. While he was there, us girls had some fun extra time with family. We visited my mother-in-law at work on the way out to my parents house where we stayed for a few days. Clare had a blast playing with baby dolls and is such a sweet little mama to them. Good practice for big sister! Also while we were there, we got to go visit my grandmother, enjoy a little shopping time, play outside a lot, visit my mom at work too, and just spent some great extra family time together at home. Plus as usual, it made Jason’s time away fly by!

15-10-20-151623_SPOOLSTRA_20151020_152246_0002

After a tour and consultation, we picked a birth center for baby #2 and I absolutely love it already. We had our first appointment last week and everything looks great. Baby has grown so much in the last month and is a fully formed fig sized kiddo. I’m now 11 weeks along and am feeling MUCH better, thank God! Plus, I now definitely believe what they say about showing sooner with your second child. I’m still at that weird stage where I look like I’ve gained some tummy weight but am not obviously pregnant to the average Joe. Gotta love it.

IMG_0340

Finally, I’ve spend the last several months co-coordinating a blogging event for the Catholic Women Blogging Network of Texas. We were all set to meet down in Fredericksburg this past weekend and then…Hurricane Patricia got in the way. I had my bags packed and all the event supplies ready to go when we realized on Friday morning just how bad the storms were supposed to be throughout the state. After some quick prayer and discernment, we decided to sadly cancel that weekend’s events and plan to reschedule for the spring. It was such a bummer after all the hard work we’ve put into the plans, but we truly felt it was the best decision. And that just means our spring event will have to be extra awesome!