Friday, June 28, 2013

First Holy Communion

I'm playing catch-up again. Here are some photos from Catherine's First Holy Communion on May 5. The second grade religion class had 35 children this year, the church's biggest class in quite a few years. Catherine had several friends from school in her class, including Gabe, who we decided is her longest friend in Santa Barbara, since we met him at Notre Dame preschool in 2009 and they both attend Peabody now.

The weather was more like Seattle than Santa Barbara, very gray and overcast, but at least it didn't rain. Catherine was very excited to be receiving her First Communion and especially to wear her custom-made dress, direct from excellent English seamstresses, Granny and Auntie Juliet. Catalina and Molly even had matching dresses! Not that I am biased, but I think Catherine's dress was one of the prettiest ones!

Catherine and Rebecca

Catherine and Gabe
Catherine and Elizabeth

This is just one-half of the group!

Sharing a laugh with Gabe

Family picture time

Oops, someone was missing from the first one!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Happy New Year!

I started this entry in early January and then time got away from me. I pick up where I left off...

Greetings one and all. It's hard for me to believe that it is 2013 already. It seems like we were celebrating the dawning of the new milennium just a couple of years ago. Y2K? What was all the fuss about?

Anyway, whether I like it or not the year is indeed 2013 and I say "good riddance" to 2012. It certainly started off fine enough and the first of the year was a good but the second half definitely took a turn for the worse. Richard and I have high hopes for the new year but prayers are always appreciated as well!

Thanks to Papa, we were able to spend Christmas in Portland with the American side of our family. It was fantastic! We didn't realize how much we have missed spending Christmas with family...until we spent Christmas with family. We arrived on Christmas Eve eve and had a wonderful visit with family and friends in Portland.

Catherine and cousin Alyssa had a great time together, even getting a sleep-over at Papa & Nana's! Little Finn was a sweetie but unfortunately, we weren't able to get any photos of the 3 grandkids.  Next time!

A few days after Christmas we headed to Sunriver and THE SNOW!! We all think this was the highlight of the holidays (sorry, Santa!). We tried to build a snowman but the snow in Central Oregon is so powdery it falls apart. We went cross-country skiing - we even got Catherine out on the trails. And she said she enjoyed it. They groom the golf courses with cross-country paths so we were able to get out whenever we wanted.

Richard hard at work

Attempting to shovel snow.

Helping Nana with the salad for dinner

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Very Different Thanksgiving

If I usually think it doesn't feel like the holidays in Santa Barbara then I really don't feel like it this year! Even before the car broke down on the way to Portland last Thanksgiving, we had already been talking about making the journey every other year and the mess with the car just made the decision that much easier. So, if we don't go home for Thanksgiving where do we go? Disneyland, of course!


We drove down on Wednesday morning and once again, we were inside the park within 3 hours of leaving the house - and that includes checking into the hotel. We went to California Adventure and checked out the news Cars Land, which is amazing. You feel like you are in Radiator Springs. The lines were long but manageable and the weather a perfect low 70's. We parted ways with Richard when he went on the California Screamin' roller coaster (0 to 55 mph in 4 seconds at the start and an inversion loop!) while Catherine and I went on the much more gentle Ariel's Undersea Adventure. After dark, we all rode the giant ferris wheel. Not exactly the London Eye but still fun and a beautiful view over the park.  That night we watched the Wonderful World of Color which is an incredible water and light and laser show where they project scenes from movies on the moving water fountains. It was beautiful.

Thursday, which was hard to remember was Thanksgiving, we headed to Disneyland. We got in and headed straight for Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion. We love the Christmas Haunted Mansion more than the regular one because it is completely decorated like the Nightmare Before Christmas, which we love! Jack Skellington and Zero are there and it is like the book (or the movie) come to life. I think by the end of the day, we'd visited it four times!

After some convincing, we got Catherine to ride Splash Mountain. She liked it ok but not enough to go on it again - she doesn't like getting wet; although luckily we were near the back and didn't nearly as wet as the two people in front. She does love the Matterhorn, though, and we did that a couple of times, too. We had a nice break in the late afternoon for a meal at the Blue Bayou, the restaurant in the Pirates ride.  In honor of Thanksgiving, they had a special of roasted turkey with all the trimmings so Richard got his turkey dinner after all.

We stayed to watch the fireworks and the snow on Main Street before leaving around 10:45. Catherine bounced out of the park which was quite a change from last Christmas when we had to carry her out at 10.  Both nights we didn't get to bed until midnight but she was fantastic.  The drive home up the Pacific Coast Highway on Friday morning was easy and beautiful, as always.

 Try as she might, she couldn't pull the sword from the stone. Although we've heard that twice a day the sword actually does come out!

What's a day at Disneyland without special treats!
It still doesn't feel like we had a Thanksgiving but I've got a way to fix that. I won a turkey at the YMCA so next weekend we'll have our own Thanksgiving dinner at home!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Long Time No Post

Yes, I realize it's been 10 months since I posted and I am not even going to try to make up for lost time. Everyone knows what we've been up and has probably seen pictures along the way (I hope).  Anyway, I am going to try to post more regularly again but I also think the time has come to change it a little bit. When I first began this blog, I wrote as if I were Catherine because she was still little enough that I felt I could do that. However, I don't think it makes sense to write in the first person as Catherine anymore - she has her own identity, opinions and ideas and far be it from me to put words in her mouth, so from now on it will just be me, writing as myself. I'm sure one of these days she'll want to start her own blog!

First order of business is Halloween. We celebrated for two weeks and it was great. Our neighbor, Gwyn (Laird & Claire's mom) is a huge Halloween fan, possibly because her birthday is the 30th. They hosted an adults-only party on the 20th. The kids were right next door at our house, watched over by Talia, another neighbor who is 11 and just starting to babysit. It was perfect - she got some experience but all the parents, inlcuding hers, were right next door.

Richard and I threw costumes together. I found an old dress of my mom's from the 1970's and wore my fancy witch hat. Richard, well, I'm not sure what he was. He wore shorts, a Hawaiian shirt, and a sherriff's badge, kerchief and cowboy hat we had from Laird's birthday party two years ago. The party was a lot of fun for the adults, the kids had a great time hanging out together and watching movies.

The next weekend was another costume party and I told Richard we needed to step it up so I sent out an SOS to friends. My good friend, Michelle, came to the rescue with a couple of beautiful costumes she made - a Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) dress and a Wonder Woman outfit, complete with red boots and the Golden Lasso of Truth! Wonder Woman is a brunette so I bought a wig and voila! Richard's costume came together after I had mine - we ironed a Superman S on a white t-shirt and he wore suit pants, a dress shirt open to reveal the S underneath and I bought him some "nerd" glasses and he was Clark Kent.  We both felt it was the best costumes we've ever come up with - thanks to Michelle.

Catherine had waffled back and forth over what to be for Halloween this year and we ran out of time to have Granny and Auntie J make it so we ended up buying a witch costume and Catherine loved it.  It came with the hat and all we added was her broomstick.

On Halloween day, Richard and I were able to watch the Peabody costume parade, which is always a treat. That night, Richard and Catherine went trick-or-treating with Laird & Claire and their parents, Gwyn & Chris.  Not too far from us, on Argonne Circle (near the church) is ground zero for trick-or-treating for San Roque.  Literally thousands of kids descend on the circle and the houses go all out with decorations. I stayed home and passed out candy - we only had about 60 kids, but that is the most we've had here.  I think more and more kids are finding the circle too crowded. But I'm not complaing - our friends who live just off the circle ran out candy after 1,000 kids!

That's all for now. But I do promise to post more regularly in the future.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Merry Christmas!

Yes, I know it's been a month but here at last is our Christmas post.

We had a wonderful, if low-key, Christmas. As you will recall from the previous post, we spent December 23rd at Disneyland, not getting to bed until 11 pm. Needless to say, we were all exhausted the next day (Christmas Eve). Catherine even fell asleep in the car on the drive home from LA, a very rare occurrence!

With her beloved Pillow-Pet (I'm still wondering how Colleen Nicklos knew!)

Making Catalina's new bed

Ta Da! (Now if Catherine could just make her own bed like that!)

Since Catherine has been asking for a guitar every year since she was 3 years old, we thought it was time to finally buy her one. Lessons to follow...

We still can't get used to this SoCal "winter" weather, but Richard at least is giving it a good try! Yes, this really was Christmas Day!