Thursday, June 30, 2011

Liam's Baptism - June 4, 2011

We had an awesome time celebrating Liam's special day with many friends and family. He was baptized at our parish, St. Joseph Catholic Church. Father Denis Dougherty enjoyed baptizing a very happy little boy. Liam wore the Dwyer family baptismal outfit that has been worn my several generations of Dwyer babies. We arrived at the church in typical Dwyer style with only a few minutes to spare. Luckily, we all made it there safely. Mommy did a speedy outfit change on Liam in the back, and we made it to the front of the church just in time. St. Joe's performs their baptism ceremonies during mass. Liam was very content the whole time. He was staring at the priest the whole time, even when he poured holy water on him. Father Denis couldn't believe how well Liam took the "cold" holy water.  We shared this special day with many, we are truly blessed in so many ways. Here are some of the great pictures from this special occasion.

Our little gift from God and his Mommy!

Father Denis was smitten with little Liam

Georgie and Thomas playing on the church steps. So cute!

Godmother Analita! 

"The Godfather"

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Farm Fun - May 28th thru June 4th

For those who may not know, "the farm," is property in very remote Missouri, about 30 miles south of Salem, Missouri.  The drive is about 2 hours and 45 minutes from Springfield.   Michael's grandfather, George Hellmuth, acquired the property bit by bit over a span of 30+ years.  Michael's parents currently live on the property, and there are several other houses there that are rented out, or used by family when we visit.  It is the most beautiful place I have ever been, very peaceful and relaxing, as well as full of adventure and fun.  Also, it is right near many springs and natural attractions that we like to take field trips to when we are visiting.  So, here's what we did the first week we visited this summer.

We stayed at Uncle George's house, it has been recently renovated and has four bedrooms and two baths.  It was plenty of room for the clan we brought to the farm.  For the first weekend it was Michael, Astara, Cheyenne, Cora, Henry, George, Liam, and myself.  Michael and Cheyenne had to return to work and school on Monday, and the rest of us stayed until the next Saturday.  Here are some pics of fun times we had together.
Daddy and Liam "hanging" out

Daddy fishing....he did this a lot this trip.

Astara had a good time finding interesting creatures. 
I'm not sure how she found this one, but it
 was the smallest frog any of us had ever seen.  

Cheyenne and Cora had a mini photo shoot,
 this is one of the pictures Cora snapped of Cheyenne. 
It isn't hard to get a good picture of this beautiful girl.

One of the super fun things we did on the trip was to teach, or refresh, all of the kids on how to play solitaire.  After they got good at playing on their own, we decided to let them play double solitaire with two of the masters!  We had so much fun playing together. 

Cheyenne brushing up on her solitaire game.

During the week, we decided to have one of the nights be a "girl's night."  After the boys went to bed, Astara, Cora, and I stayed up late to do some fun stuff.  We did mud masks, from the Dead Sea Mud that Auntie Cara gave us from the Middle East.  Then, we did some hair braiding, nail painting, microwave s'mores, and we stayed up late and watched a few comedy shows. 

Cora and Astara's mud mask

Pretty toes!

This is Astara's nine small braids into three braids,
into one BIG braid.  Turned out pretty cool looking.

This is one of Cora's cool braids.

There always seems to be something new to see at the farm.  This trip it was Roaring Springs.  We have seen this on a previous trip, but it was very overgrown and hard to get to.  This time, the way to the spring had been cleared, and there was a new suspension bridge over the creek.  This was our first time seeing the bridge and the cleared area around the spring. 

 The kids striking a pose at the new suspension bridge at Roaring Springs.

On Friday, June 3rd, we took a fun field trip to Montauk State Park.  We ate at the restaurant inside the park, then we ventured outside to see a little bit of nature.  It was super hot and humid this day, so we had to take several breaks to cool off.  We got a good look at the spring that starts the Current River.  Then, we went and fed the trout in the fish hatchery.  This was a cool field trip for me, because it brought back memories for me of when we took my Grandfather there on a fishing trip many years ago.
Cora pushing little brother Liam along the trail to the spring. 

George and Henry checking out the spring that is the start of the Current River.

Henry being a goof ball.

George and Henry feeding the many, many, many trout in the hatchery pond.

Henry trying to keep his balance while wading in the strong current of the Current River.

 Super Cute Georgie Boy!

A pretty view on the drive to Montauk.  This was from a lookout point near Aker's Ferry. 

Hay, hay, and more hay was the theme for this week at the farm.  Bob was busy all week cutting, raking, and bailing the hay.  The kids and I had a good time just sitting and watching the process.  They thought it was great fun to watch the hay be put into bales and be spit out by the machine. 

On Friday night, we enjoyed our last time of "creek sitting."  Granddaddy Joe and Granny joined us and we had a BBQ and creek fun.  This was our last night at the farm for this week, so after we went home and packed up for our return home for a few days. 
Liam showing off his handsome smile.

Cora loves to show us how fast, and messy, she can eat watermelon!

More postings to come on our farm fun!  We have another ten days and more adventures to blog about.  

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Henry's Award Winning Poem





Good, annoying, fun

Good for nothing

Likes to eat cat food


Discovery Center Trip - 5/17

I forgot to post about this great day!  I got to go with Henry's class to the Discover Center.  Staff from the center visit the classroom for 7 weeks to teach them cool science things.  At the end of the seven weeks the kids all go together to the center on a field trip.  I got the privilege to drive my minivan with five of the boys, Henry, Wes, Alex, Cameron, and Gino.  Then at the center all of the 2nd grade boys got to be with me.  Luckily, there are only four of them and they are all very well behaved.  We had lots of fun playing at the museum.  This year they even convinced me to be the parent that rode on the high wire bike.  It was fun,  but scary, I got out there and did it.  If I ever do it again, I think I will be more adventurous. 

Wes, Henry, and Cameron playing with the spinning wheel thing, notice the
newsman and Einstein look-a-like in the background, they were shooting a story.

 The air canon - Mommy got a blast from a worker,
while I had my head inside trying to figure out what it was.

Fridge magnet tunnels, the boys had a blast creating pathways for the metal
ball to travel.  They spent more time here than anywhere else in the center.

Mommy on the high wire bike!

We also got to do a fun DNA extraction experiment that was a lot of fun for the boys.  It almost made us late to the high wire bike event.  The high wire bike was three stories up, and the bike is on a high wire with a 300 lb counterweight.  It stays on the wire as long as the rider is less than three hundred pounds.  It was fun to ride, and I wasn't too scared, until I looked down and saw all of the school kids underneath me through the net.  Then I got a little bit nervous about the whole thing coming down.  Luckily, it didn't even budge.  It was fun, and know I can boast about being brave enough to get on the bike.

WARNING - We have a permit driver - WATCH OUT!

Astara is thrilled to be a permit driver.  She has had a great couple of weeks, and earned the opportunity to go and try to pass the written driver's examination.  She only had to take the test three times to pass.  It is very scary, and a little bit exciting for her to be able to drive.  I'm hoping it will get a little less scary as she gets more practice.  Congratulations to Astara!

Field Day - 5/26

Once again, I was blessed to be able to help out with the kid's Field Day.  This year it was indoors at the newly built parish hall, because the weather was cold and rainy.  The kids had a lot of fun doing minute to win it activities with teams.  Cora was on the Yellow Spider Monkeys team and Henry was on the Green Leprechauns.  They competed many team and individual activities that had to be completed in one minute or less and some relay races.  The teams earned coins for the activities they completed in under a minute.  The team with the most coins won.  It was close, but the Yellow Spider Monkeys were the winners. 

Who knew pulling Kleenex's out of the box could be so much fun!

Cora and Gracie, the mummy!

Henry was a pro at getting the marble in the small black square on the racket.

This was the greatest competition of all, they had to try to
get the Oreo into their mouth only using their face muscles.

After the minute to win it competition, there were some relay races.  In the pictures below, the kids had to carry a ball between their legs and drop it into a hula hoop at the end of the gym.  It made for some funny pictures. 

After the team competition, we ate a delicious hot dog, hamburger, chip, and snack cake lunch.  We watched a great volleyball game (in which Astara participated) between the 8th graders and the St. Joe's teachers.  The 8th graders tried hard, but they were defeated  by the teachers.  Next up was booth play.  They kids got to move between different games and activities like, hillbilly horseshoe, bean bag bowling, nail painting, face painting and soda pop ring toss. 

Here's Henry all done up nicely!

It was a fun day!  I was happy and honored to be able to be there and enjoy the day with the kids.  I love days like this!

Cute Little Liam - May Update

During the month of May, Liam has grown and changed so much.  He had a doctor's appointment on May 16th.  He weighed in at 12 lbs 12 ounces and was 23 1/4 inches long.  At his doctor's appointment I heard him scream for the first time when he got his shots.  He was so mad about them.  He let out a very high pitch scream.  It was the first time I heard anything like it from my sweet little boy. 

This month, he has also started to coo, quietly of course, as he does everything quietly.  Every once in awhile he lets out a loud coo that startles himself and me.  He is also batting at toys, and following objects with his eyes.  He still has very blue eyes and he is starting to get more fuzzy hair.  He is also getting rather roly poly, as my Dwyer babies usually do.  His eyelashes are also thickening up.  I still can't tell who he resembles the most.  I see a lot of all of the kids in him.  His coloring and expressions are most like Cora.  When he is relaxed he looks a lot like Henry.  Then, I see pictures of George that look just like Liam.  I'm really puzzled  by this question.  My best answer is that he looks most like all of them!

Henry stealing a quick kiss from his baby brother.

Liam is a very well loved little boy.  He gets lots of cuddles, kisses, hugs, and held by his brothers, sister, and cousins.  He really doesn't know what to do when he is not being loved on.  What a great way to be raised, in the most loving environment I can imagine.  He's super happy, as long as no one is poking him with needles to give him vaccinations :-)

The Humbling Power of God - 5/22

On May 22nd, I had a very humbling experience.  I am very afraid of storms, and specifically of tornadoes.  I fear the unknown power of the storms.  The fact that they can just pop out of nowhere and possibly cause mass destruction.  On this Sunday, Astara, Cora, and I had traveled to Branson to work on restocking the PlayNames booths.  We had a good time working and completed out tasks in few hours.  Around 6:30 we headed home, while we were sitting in the drive through at McDonald's, I checked the weather, because I remembered that there was a chance of storms that evening.  I got the first warning that we were under a tornado watch in our area. 

We started on our way home down Highway 65.  This is when I got my second sign of the potential threat.  While we were driving, the cloud to the northwest of us were looking very dark and dreary.  Then, I got a text from my sister, saying that a bad storm had just gone through Joplin and that she was worried, and wanted to make sure we were all taking cover and safe.  This is when I began to panic.  I was driving Michael's new car, which has a standard transmission, and it was starting to rain and I had Cora, Astara, and Liam in the car.  The next half an hour was were driving through terrible rain, and the thunder and lighting was bad.  At one point Cora got very upset in the back of the car. 

We did make it home safely at around 7:30, it was a very scary hour for me and the girls.  Later, we found out about the terrible F5 tornado that hit Joplin, it was devastating.  We have been thinking about and praying for all the families involved in that storm.  What we experienced, was nothing compared to what they all went through.  I just keep thinking that God works in mysterious ways, and that many good things can come out of tragic events.  I see all of the people coming together to help out their neighbors in need, and it makes my heart happy to think that this is what God wants us to do.  He wants us be able to love Him and love each other more fully.  I'm really trying to see the good that can come out of something so scary and devastating to so many lives.  This is helping me deal with my fear of this kind of event.  It is humbling to think that it could happen to us someday.  I hope that my prayers can help those in need in some small way.

After the storm passed we had some beautiful moments.  Astara is a great photographer, and captured these beautiful pictures. 

The cloud cover was so dark, and the sun setting was
so bright, it caused almost a spotlight effect. 
It looked like someone was shining a bright light towards house. 

Astara's "epic" setting on the camera, created some awesome pictures.

There was an awesome rainbow after the storm.

The rainbow combined with the bright light was pretty awesome.

Mommy & Me Scrapbooking - 5/14

Cora and Mommy got to enjoy some scrapbooking time at a Girl Scout event.  We learned how to make paper bag and board book scrapbooks.  Cora also worked on her personal scrapbook a little bit.  When Liam was born, she got three new books. Scrapbooking is one of my favorite things to do, getting to share something I love to do with my baby girl is so much fun! 

Recorder Karate!

During the fourth grade, the kids at St. Joe's get the joy of learning to play an easy instrument.  It has been fun to watch Cora get her "black belt" in the recorder.  However, it has been a little painful to listen to the awesomely cheap instrument for the last few months.  Cora LOVES to practice, practice, practice.  In order to survive, Mommy had to put down a few rules to be sure that I didn't lose my mind.  The number one rule was, no practicing in the car.  As much as I love that Cora is learning to play her first wind instrument, I had to save my sanity.  I really couldn't handle driving while llistening to the car TV playing Looney Tunes, the kids fighting, and the delightful sounds of the recorder, all at the same time.  So, Mommy had to be mean and say, "no practicing in the car."  Cora was very understanding, most often she would practice in her bedroom downstairs.  She is so accommodating!  All of the pain was well worth is to see the joy Cora got when she earned her black belt in Recorder Karate.  Also, when you put together three part harmony in the recorder, it actually doesn't sound too bad.  The concert at St. Joe's was very entertaining.  We love you Cora, and your awesome musical talent on the recorder.

Mother's Day - 5/15

Another great celebration we had in the month of May was Mother's Day.   I am truly blessed with a great mother, sister, mother-in-law, and sister in laws.  I got to share the special day with three of them.  Here is a great picture of me, my mother, and my sister.  We are usually the one's taking the pictures, so it is a treat to have this great picture of us.  Having all of these great women in my life is yet another blessing. 

Henry's First Communion - 5/8 & 5/15

Henry celebrated his first communion this spring.  He has worked hard all year in preparing for this special day.  In addition to the preparations in his second grade class at St. Joseph Catholic Academy, he has been attending the PSR (parish school of religion) classes.  He had his first reconciliation during advent.  We learned a lot about the sacraments of reconciliation and Eucharist this year.  Henry worked hard to learn about these great gifts from God.  We had a special celebration with the family on May 8th for him to receive his first communion.  The next weekend, on May 15th, we had the formal celebration with this PSR classmates.  For these special days, I have LOTS of pictures.  Henry is so photogenic, that I can't resist posting all of these great pics. 

Henry posing for a picture outside the church.

Henry with his banner that he made at PSR with his Daddy.

 Henry was so cute in church the day of his first communion.  It appeared that he was listening to every word the priest said, and he watched the preparation of the communion so intensely.  I couldn't help but chuckle to myself, he was so well behaved and cute sitting up the front pew staring at the priest's every move.

Henry with his Godmother, Auntie Shelley, and Godfather, Uncle John.

\The whole crew celebrating with Henry.

Uncle John got Henry a really cool gift, it was a tiniest bible.  Here is a pic of Michael reading some of the tiny text.  It was fun to see who's eye sight was good enough to ready the tiny bible text.
 Henry also got a St. Michael statue.  His Daddy also got a similar statue on his first communion.  After Henry's celebration, he proudly displayed all of his cards and gifts on his bookcase over his bed. 

Here are some pics from Henry's formal celebration on May 15th with all of the other children from St. Joe's

It has been great to watch Henry grow this year with his first reconciliation and first communion.  I think he really understands what a blessing it is to receive these gifts.  I thank God all the time for sharing Henry with us.  He is such a precious boy.