You may (or may not) have noticed a long period of silence on my end. Our family went on an extended trip to Indiana that was filled with fun with family and friends. We only saw my parents for the first day before they skedaddled over to California leaving Paul and I to keep track of the rest of the clan. I took a bunch of pictures during our time in "the crossroads of America" but will only document the highlights here.
First stop on our trip was the University of Notre Dame to watch my little brother (and birthday twin) become a Double Domer. We had to leave at 3:00 AM in order to arrive with a little extra time to freshen up before the big ceremony. We pretty much transferred the kids directly from their beds into the car and then fed them a bunch of Pop Tarts, animal crackers, and juice in order to keep them happy. Since Emma in particular likes to wear everything she eats, they both looked pretty nasty when we finally pulled into South Bend. Thankfully, Raymond was gracious enough to leave a key to his apartment for us so we could go inside and clean up the kids so they would not look like street urchins. When we got inside, we found that Raymond had also bought a bunch of snacks for the kids - including some Thomas fruit snacks for Matthew - and some coffee/alcoholic beverages for Paul and I. What a nice host he was! We cleaned up, ate some food, met up with Mary (Ray's girlfriend) and then headed over to the JACC for the graduation.
At the JACC, we met up with my family and then settled in to watch the graduates process in. Around this time, Matthew decided to completely conk out on Paul's lap. He had been wide awake the whole time in the car, excited to see my parents and his uncles and aunts. Emma decided to start complaining right around the time they announced that my brother was the valedictorian for his business class. I had to take her out to the back because she sounded like a monkey in distress and completely missed it! I did, however, make it back in time to see him receive his diploma.
We were all so proud of him! He worked so hard for this moment. He actually looks smart in that graduation cap and gown.
|The Graduate + the Parents|
|The Graduate, Paul + Emma, my youngest brother Bruce, and my brother Mark.|
|The Graduate + The Girlfriend|
Matthew of course woke up the second the graduation ended but was so darn grumpy that he refused to cooperate for any pictures. He also hit the graduate and ended up spending a bit of time in the corner. I think our feeble attempts at parenting were amusing to some.
So, let's play a game....see if you can spot Matthew in some of the group pictures in this post.
|Three Domers + Two Future Domers|
We enjoyed a lovely celebratory lunch at a local Asian restaurant. Afterwards, the kids played outside while Paul and I took a walk around the Notre Dame campus to reminisce. We both miss it so much. It's a very special place to both of us because it really is where our journey as a twosome began. During our walk, we would pass the familiar landmarks and talk about things that happened during our time on campus. Paul even remembered some incidents that I had forgotten - such as the time I had tried to coax the giant swan to eat out of my hand at one the lakes and that big dumb bird had ended up engulfing my entire palm with its mouth, holding on tight, and then dragging me into the lake. I still have a little scar from that.
Later that afternoon, we said goodbye to my parents before heading to the Basilica for Mass with all my younger siblings. After Mass, we loaded everyone up in our Camry and my parent's minivan and drove to Fort Wayne to begin our week of house-sitting.
I'll be posting Part II shortly!