Monday, May 31, 2010

These Boots Were Made For Marching....

I've blogged before about the Texas phenomena of rival universities--specifically Univ of Texas (Longhorns) & Texas A&M (Aggies), and how people go a bit overboard with their loyalty to a specific school. It is comical to observe the rituals of the alumni, and we chuckled along with fellow bystanders till our son became an Aggie 3 years ago. I can't speak for the other school, but learning what it means to be an Aggie has been both an education and a pleasure for our family. We definitely have become believers in this university and what it stands for--that is Integrity (with a capital "I")! Although Mike and I don't bleed maroon, we'd be proud of any of our kids who do!

At the end of junior year, cadets in the Corp, as Brian is, earn their boots. They are custom fitted to each cadet starting freshman year. Cadets wear the boots everyday of their senior year and they connote respect and honor of each soldier.

At Final Review each May, the Corp marches as their current unit, passes, then the graduating seniors dress down out of full uniform, and juniors get to don their senior boots for their first official Pass & Review. The Corp then repeats the march with each cadet now sporting their new class uniform, including boots if you are now a senior. Here are some snippets of this exciting day:

New seniors strutting in their boots

Brian (on right) with buddy, Nathan, showing off their boots
Close-up of Brian's. Each cadet chooses different insignias

Andrew & Kaitlyn "play" with the spurs!

First march in senior boots!!

Other Aggie traditions we enjoy--the internationally recognized Aggie Ring. Brian earned his last month.

The "Fighting Aggie Band"

Aggie Calvary:

School mascot, Reveille the dog.

Here she is!!!

Brian's Outfit

Gig 'em, Aggies!!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

In the Garden

Ever since we've had a house, I've enjoyed planting flowers each spring. I don't profess to have a green thumb, but I have had some random successes in past years. I do listen to the "Garden Show" on the radio, read books on proper landscaping, & mostly look at lawns in my neighborhood to copy what works. My biggest problem is that I learn best by watching & imitating others, so the books haven't helped too much and I haven't found anyone who wants to mentor me in my gardening skills!!

Impatiens have always been one of my favorite annual flowers. I planted them every year in NJ. They always did OK. One year they were spectacular---ONE YEAR---out of 15 that I planted them. Why?? Nothing I did--it rained alot that summer. Moving to a new climate has posed some challenges. I've had to learn what will grow best in this area and I'm definitely still experimenting. Three summers ago I planted impatiens and they grew over 3' tall. People walking past our house would stop to admire them. The past two summers, they did nothing!! Again, a deluge of rain that fruitful summer may have been the key. This year, I'm trying out a new variety called "Sunpatiens". We'll see how they do. I love that I can have more tropical flowering plants like the Hibiscus--one of my favs!! Our Texas winter this year was very harsh, so I've had to start over with a few plants. Here are some pictures of the work I did this past weekend pruning and planting.

The Queen Palms looked terrible after the winter and I thought they may have died. I just noticed some green coming back to life so --chop-chop--I know they look silly now, but in a few weeks I think they'll be looking pretty good!

After the "hair cut"

Lantana in full bloom, waiting for the butterflies to swarm around them

Here are the new "Sunpatiens". We'll check back in a month and see how they're doing.

On the back patio, some new flowers I'm trying

I bought a new Hibiscus, then noticed my old one had little green leaves at the bottom. I planted this one near it, hoping they can grow together.

Magnolia tree in full bloom, beautiful & fragrant!!

I've had bad luck in the past with flowers planted at Mary's feet. This year I'm trying Zinnia--it's a very sunny area.

I hope to post pictures later on to show how much everything is thriving. Wish me luck!!!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sacramental Grace

Oh how I love watching my children receive the sacraments!! Andrew has excitedly prepared for First Communion since receiving Reconciliation in November. Finally, the day was upon us and he was certainly ready.

Before we left for church:

Eager anticipation waiting to line up to process in to Mass. He was lined up with his very good friend, M, next to him.

Next in line!!

The smile says it all.

It appears the Holy Spirit is upon him!!

With Father Pat

Big sis, Michelle

Siblings, except Kyle, who wasn't able to come home from college

Mom & Dad

We were so glad Grandmom & Pop-pop came from NJ. Grandmom had been very ill the week before and we weren't sure she could travel, but she was able to bounce back.

Time to celebrate!!
Andrew, may the joy you felt in your soul as you received Jesus in Holy Eucharist for the first time light a flame and glow for all eternity. May you never forget where Jesus is truly present and seek him always.
"I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world." John 6:51