31 July 2015

Gus's Birthday!

Yesterday, Gus turned 23 years old! We had a very busy day with not much time for celebrating until the evening. Aunt Sue, Uncle Dave, and cousin Brenna arrived last night, as well as cousin Jacob, Patrick, and six or seven of Gus's college friends. Needless to say, it was a full house. Tessie and I got back from Totus Tuus and surveyed the onslaught of people before going to bed.
Mom and I made a cake for Gus, but we didn't get around to eating it last night, so probably that will serve as dessert tonight.
Happy Birthday, Gus! I hope you liked the whale card I made you. =)

I don't remember him this small...

When he was teaching in Philadelphia last year. 

26 July 2015

A fun weekend!

On Friday Katie came over to spend the night, and for Claudia to take her senior pictures! I got to tag along (and carry everything), and we had a really fun time walking around taking photos. We went to a campground for some nature-esque ones and the next morning we walked downtown for more city-ish photos. They all turned out amazingly.

 (Just two of hundreds!)

I got an official Carrier-of-Everything photo.

Katie actually ended up staying an extra night and left after Mass this morning. 
Then Claudia, Thomas, and I went to Sioux Falls to do some shopping and pick up Othman from the airport! No photos yet, but I'm sure there will be some in the next few days. 

23 July 2015

Summer (aka the best season)

Summer is going by way too fast. I have to start thinking about school. And that's depressing. But, this summer has been deliciously hot and sunny, and a great balance of incredibly-busy and empty-and-relaxing. Some things I've been up to:
-Reading. A lot. I'm working my way through several more Agatha Christie novels this summer, as well as reading To Kill a Mockingbird, which I'm almost done with and thoroughly enjoying.
-Writing. Not as much as I would like, but more than I expected. I'm slogging through some romantic scenes before writing the last action scene and the resolution.
-Swimming. Not very often, but often enough. I like my pool-going in small doses.
-Walking. We've been taking a lot of walks, exploring the new neighborhood and basking in our ability to walk to downtown from home!
-Sleeping. Because when will you have time for that extra hour of sleep during the school year?
-Cooking. It's very nice in our new kitchen.
-Practicing music. Building up repertoire in preparation for school.
Those are the main categories of my summer activities. Hooray for the best season!

15 July 2015

Shakespeare Camp Performance!

I've almost recovered from the week, so now it's time to blog.
The performance went quite well, and we had a ton of fun, despite being at the park on Saturday from 10am to 10pm. It was an exhausting but fantastic week, filled with lots of laughs, grumbles, tears, and yawns. My friends and I always joke that after Shakespeare camp week we never want to see each other again...until at least a week later.

Signing shirts!
The mad dash for line memorization 3 hours before performing. Photo from Mrs. Scott.
There were spots on either side of the stage for posters.

Imploring St. Genesius for help right before getting on stage.

 "Love's Labour's Lost" is my favorite Shakespeare play. I read it for pleasure once in 8th grade, and loved it. It is jam-packed with wordplay (even for Shakespeare standards). I will give a (hopefully brief) summary of the plot.

Ferdinand, the King of Navarre, wants to be famous. So he gets his buddies (Berowne, Longaville, and Dumaine) to join him in taking an oath, that for three years they will 1) fast, 2) study, 3) sleep three hours a night, and 4) see no women. Berowne, the extremely-talkative right-hand-man of the king's, has his doubts, but takes the oath with a prediction to his fellow votaries that he will be the last to break it. The king has made certain laws to go along with his oath, the prominent one of which is that any woman found within the king's court would have her tongue cut out (Longaville's idea--don't ask). Berowne reminds the king that he himself must break this law, because the princess of France is coming over to discuss political matters with him. The King finds a way out: the princess will camp in a field near the court.
Meanwhile, the fantastical Spaniard Don Armado (whom the king keeps around for entertainment) catches the clown, Costard, with a country wench called Jaquenetta. He writes the king a letter denouncing Costard's actions and requesting that proper punishment be enacted. The king talks to Costard, who "confesses the wench," and orders him to fast a week on bran and water, with Don Armado as his keeper.
Armado confides in his witty page, Moth, that he is in love with Jaquenetta despite her inferiority. He hates Costard for being caught with her and is happy to oversee his punishment. He gives Costard a letter to deliver to Jaquenetta.

Don Armado (Thomas S.) flirting with Jaquenetta (Maren), to the disgust of Moth (Mikaela) and Costard (Finn). Photo from Claudia.
The Princess of France then arrives a little way outside the court. She sends her right-hand-man Boyet (whom we changed into a girl part) to make sure her coming is all right, since she heard about Navarre's oath. Boyet returns with the information that they must camp in a field, and the princess is annoyed to say the least. The king then comes to meet the princess and immediately falls in love, as do his buddies with the princess's ladies in waiting: Berowne with Rosaline, Longaville with Maria, and Dumaine with Katharine.
Berowne gives Costard a letter to deliver to Rosaline (Costard still has the letter from Armado to Jaquenetta). Costard accidentally switches the letters, and Boyet reads aloud for the princess and her train Armado's boring, repetitive, self-centered, and somewhat insulting love letter to Jaquenetta. The ladies have a good laugh and go off to hunt.
Costard then gives Berowne's letter to Jaquenetta. She, being illiterate, enlists the help of Holofernes, a pedant, and Sir Nathaniel, a priest, to read it for her. They do so, and, finding out its writer and intended receiver, tell Jaquenetta to deliver it to the king, saying it is treason.
The king and all his buddies are down in the dumps for being forsworn so easily. Not knowing the rest are all in the same boat, each man wishes he were not alone. By stealth and deceit, the King, Dumaine, and Longaville all find out each other's secrets. Berowne rebukes them soundly for being in love, until Jaquenetta comes in with his love letter to Rosaline, which he tears up before anyone can read it. He confesses to the other men, and they make a plan to woo their loves.
The princess and her ladies have received several favors and letters from their lovers, and mock the men with mirth. Then Boyet comes in announcing that the men are approaching dressed as Russians to woo the ladies without being identified. They plan to know their ladies by the favor each gave his. The ladies switch favors and put on masks, so the disguised men won't know who is who and will make love to the wrong ones.

Katharine (Tessie) showing the Princess (me) and Rosaline (Ann) her letter from Dumaine. Photo from Claudia.

The "Russians" (Ethan and Will) speaking to the wrong ladies (Susannah and me). Photo from Claudia.
The "Russians" find out they've been duped and come back in a huff. The princess tells the king of their sport, and they are all reconciled. Then Don Armado comes in to introduce a play of the Nine Worthies, put on by himself, Moth, Costard, Holofernes, and Sir Nathaniel. The four sets of lovers watch the play with snide remarks until Mercade, a member of the French court, enters at top speed.
Mercade informs the princess that her father has died. The princess and her ladies immediately prepare to leave. The men wish to get married before they depart, but instead the ladies give them each a task to perform for a year, after which time, if they were still faithful, they would agree to be married. Don Armado brings in two songs, Spring and Winter, to send them off with. So ends the play, and such is the reason for its title: "Love's Labour's Lost."

Our lovely producer (Mom) and director (Mrs. Kane)! Photo from Claudia.

09 July 2015

Shakespeare Camp

It's been a busy, sunny, hardworking, hot, and super-fun week so far! Dress rehearsal tomorrow morning!

05 July 2015

Independence Day 2015: Evening

After eating, buying fireworks and groceries, watching a soccer game, and going to Confession and Mass, we came back to the house to make dinner and begin shooting off fireworks. The little girls, who had not had much experience with fireworks, had tons of fun. Before dinner Claudia and I did snakes, snappers, and smoke bombs with them.  Again, the camera was out in full force.

Marguerite especially liked the smoke bombs. 

We had made a cheesecake with Hope the day before, so we decorated it accordingly.

The dads had fun being the grillmasters. 

Josie was in love with Nora the kitten, who was obliging enough to sit with her while she watched the fireworks.

 After a late dinner, around 9 pm, the more interesting fireworks began while the adults sat around the fire.

 The Pepino kids had never done sparklers, so there was a lot of excitement when we got out a bunch. We had bought 150 sparklers for the occasion--they are a family favorite.
 Claudia had Raphael, Tessie, and me write USA with our sparklers while she took photos with long exposure, to see the word. Only one worked, and we were thrilled. We celebrated with s'mores, minus the graham cracker and marshmallow.

Happy Birthday America!

Independence Day 2015: Morning

This past weekend, the Pepinos came up for some 4th of July fun. It was a super great visit--as I told Dad after they left, "Now that the Pepinos have been to the new house, it's officially a home."

In the late morning was the Brookings 4th of July parade, to which we walked, as it was downtown. We found a nice spot in the shade and set up our lawn chairs. Invariably, Claudia took a bunch of photos.

Lots of people were throwing candy, so the little girls had a blast catching the pieces in Claudia's huge bag. Some people also handed out tokens for free ice cream cones and other coupons from Dairy Queen, so we headed there for lunch.