My Beamish Brood

My Beamish Brood

Monday, September 25, 2017

Wedding Bells

We have a new auntie in the family!! The first time I met Anne was at 11:00 at night after a seven hour car ride, when she and Patrick stopped at our house so Peej could finish a paper that was due before midnight, on their way to Chicago. She was sweet, funny, and laid-back, and I told everyone right away that if my impression of her was that good under those circumstances, she was sure something special!

Thank goodness those two hung on to each other, because now she's a part of the family! We celebrated Patrick and Anne's wedding in Chicago at the end of August. What a blast! Anne's family is delightful, I only wish they lived closer so we could get to know them better. 

We stayed at the same hotel with all of Paul's family, plus some other close friends. Max and Lucian even got to hang out and play some pool with the Fathers, which they thought was the coolest thing ever. We spent lots of quality time with cousins, aunties, uncles, Grandma and Grandpa between all of the wedding festivities. I wish we could do it all over again right away!

Audrey was excited and honored to be a flower girl in the wedding! After seeing her new auntie in all her wedding finery, she is now convinced that Anne is some kind of princess. To top it off, she got to watch Anne do Irish dancing at the reception in her wedding dress! Audrey thought she'd died and gone to heaven. Combine her love of dance with her love of all things fancy, and Anne is currently her favorite person in the world. 

The wedding itself was held in a beautiful Chicago church, and while I can't speak firsthand about most of the ceremony (I spend 90% of it chasing Blaise in the back), what I saw was prayerful and beautiful! The wedding was undoubtedly Christ-centered; I watched the couple humbly kneel before the altar for the entire Mass. Wow.

 The reception was held outdoors at a small zoo in the Chicago area. A few sprinkles at the beginning of the evening made people a little nervous, but then everything cleared up and the night was perfect! A low-key buffet dinner was followed by delicious cake and dancing. About halfway through the reception, my parents (who took a train down to Chicago for this purpose alone!) came to pick up the kids so Paul and I could have a few hours of carefree celebrating. 

Patrick and Anne, we are so excited for you. I can't wait to have a front row seat watch you grow in love over the years, and to hopefully watch your family grow as well! We love you both!!

 The mothers of the bride and groom                          Waiting for the newlyweds to appear
Liam and Audrey doing some Irish dancing

All the girl cousins!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

My Summer Birthday Girls

 My two girls have birthdays just over a month apart, and in our busyness this summer I forgot to post about either one! Today I will finally remedy that oversight.

Audrey turned FIVE on June 17! She celebrated a ballerina-themed party with a bunch of her friends and family. It was so adorable to watch them all play freeze-dance, "Don't let the balloon touch the ground" and all kinds of games of their own creation. Audrey, of course, spent the day in full ballerina get-up, complete with ballet shoes... for one day only they were allowed outside, lucky girl.

While it was exciting to watch Audrey turn five, I didn't get the feeling that she's growing up too fast. She has a maturity (and an attitude...) beyond her years. If anything, five still seems too young for her! But I won't for an instant try to rush this time. I will cherish the fact that a teddy bear with its own wardrobe of clothing was the best gift she could possibly imagine. I will relish the memory of her opening a pink frilly nightgown and jumping with excitement. Sometimes in the midst of parenting my strong-willed little girl, I forget how young she is. I love the sweetness in these photos; they remind me that sweet and strong can (and do) coexist in my dear Audrey.

A month later, on July 27, Edith turned three! We celebrated with a "Snack Dinner" (Edith's choice), presents and cake. She received a Wild beach towel and fleece blanket, a new swimsuit, and a stuffed triceratops from her Uncle Ben that she promptly named "Jellycat" (Last year's gift from Ben was a stuffed cow that received the name "Puppycow"... so there's that).

I assumed Edith would choose a hockey-themed cake for her birthday, but she surprised me and requested a Thomas the Train cake! This was doubly sweet because her sister's third birthday cake was also Thomas-themed. Sometimes I notice more about my girls' differences than their similarities, but at the end of the day, they are best friends.

It is so fun to see how excited the other kids get when one of their siblings is celebrating. They love making the day special and going out of their way to show love to the birthday kid!

Happy belated birthday, girls! I love you lots and lots!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Family and Friends on the Fourth

Two months have already passed since our epic trip to North Dakota for the Fourth of July. Lots has changed- a new auntie has been added to our family, a new friend has been born, a beard has been lost... but I still need to pause and back up to that weekend among great friends and family before I move forward!

We are grateful that Patrick and Anne went to school so near Ryan and Maggie, because we could make just one drive and see eight amazing people! The first day we were there, Patrick and Anne generously offered to babysit all the kids so we could go out on a double date for possibly the first time ever. What a treat! Ryan and Maggie took us to a delicious spot for dinner in downtown Bismarck and we go to catch up without the interruptions from so many little voices... and Pat and Anne survived the evening. Good sign, good sign. 

Audrey and Edith fell in love with Mara and adopted her as their big sister. They were never far from her side the whole weekend, imitating her mannerisms and asking her opinion on every matter under the sun. She is a big deal in their book!


We kept ourselves busy during this visit, making two trips to two different lakes, visiting a fish hatchery (fascinating!), swimming at the public pool, watching a parade, watching fireworks, getting ice cream, and just being together. I'm exhausted thinking about it, but I'd do it again in a second.

We were well-fed throughout the week with amazing breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Maggie was Superwoman, keeping everything running smoothly even when pregnant! Patrick and Anne joined us for as many meals as they could, and Audrey and I even got to go flower girl dress hunting with Anne and find the dress Audrey would wear less than two months later for the big day!

As always, the visit went too quickly and it was soon time to return home. Edith still talks about her friends "The Rells", and we can't wait to see them again!

Renting kayaks at the lake
Feeding the fish at the hatchery

Soon-to-be-Auntie Anne painting nails on the Fourth

Red, white, and blue!

Our sweet Godson, Kieran