26 December 2016

Christmas 2016 (part 1)

Christmas has been lovely so far, and we are looking forward to more fun when Isabel and Matthew arrive tomorrow! 
The church choir sang at 6pm Christmas Eve Mass, and our director asked Tessie and me to cantor. We had fun getting ready and singing great music for this special feast!

with Aine before Mass

annual family picture after Mass
Going home, Tessie and I had snapchat fun in the car. 

At home, we said Christmas vigil Vespers, then had a late dinner of soup and homemade bread. After singing carols and putting the Infant Jesus in the manger of Mom's old nativity set, we spent the rest of the night talking and playing games.

We opened two presents on Christmas Eve--they were games we played before going to bed.

Next morning, we had an extravagant breakfast supplied by gifts from relatives (special breads, cheeses, etc.), and headed to the music room to open gifts. 

having fun on with Tess

I don't have pictures of present time, but I promise it was lots of fun. We lazed around and played games most of the day. We kids have a tradition of playing MarioKart on Christmas, and we upheld it royally.

We had a huge and delicious dinner, ate cookies, and had more fun before retiring early. I'll make a future post about special gifts received and given.

Our dinner table.

Merry Christmas!

23 December 2016

To the Blessed Virgin

"Lo! You were somebody all of a sudden." (Magnificat, Paul Claudel)
You were an ordinary peasant girl. Perhaps you were hanging clothes to dry or shelling peas when it happened. One moment you were Mary, daughter of Joachim, and the next, there was an angel kneeling before you and you were Mary, mother of God.
Suddenly you were somebody. You never saw it coming. Perhaps your recent prayers had been lukewarm. But God had already singled you out from the moment of your conception to be His special handmaiden. That was why the angel hailed you as "full of grace." You possessed within your soul the grace to say yes to God's plan. And that yes was not without its concomitant questions. 
"How can I be with child? What will those around me think? Will Joseph understand? Will I be deserted?" And most deeply, "Why has God chosen me to perform this sublime task?"
But the angel reassured you, and you took God at His word. 

22 December 2016

Christmastime Road Trip

Cecilia arrived for Christmas break on Saturday, but Susannah wasn't scheduled to get in until Tuesday night. So, being the friends we are, we planned a road trip to Omaha to get her from the airport and catch up at the same time. We even compiled a playlist to listen to during the drive.
The weather couldn't have worked out more perfectly, and we are all thankful for that. Grandma Kane kindly gave us dinner and a place to stay the night while in Omaha. We had an amazingly fun time.

On the way!

Sus's flight arrived at 11pm, then we went back to Grandma Kane's house and hung out for a while. In fact, we stayed up until almost three, talking and laughing and enjoying each other's company. We hadn't all been together for four months, and that is entirely too long.

Next morning we had a lazy breakfast, then Sus gave us our Christmas presents. She bought us all matching RPI shirts, so of course we had to take a picture.

We stopped at Trader Joe's for goodies and hit the road. It was a gorgeous day, and we kept a lookout for wide fields to photograph for Sus's east coast friends.

It's so good to have my twins home again! We have lots of fun things planned for the Christmas season. 

15 December 2016

Concerts, and concerts, and more concerts.

I was asked to turn pages/help in general with the SDSU choir concert on Sunday. So I spent a good five hours at the PAC, turning pages for accompanists, helping herd choirs in and out of doors, informing musicians of where we were in the program, and playing filler music between songs. They were two really good concerts. I was exhausted at the end.

Then, on Monday was our high school choir concert. My choir sang O Filii et Filiae (Leisring), There Shall A Star (Mendelssohn), White Christmas (arr. Snyder), and He Is Born (arr. Forrest) with Mixed Choir. And then there was the traditional Hallelujah Chorus with combined choir at the end. I think I've finally memorized the alto part of the Hallelujah Chorus...

Tessie wasn't into the whole taking a picture thing...

And THEN, on Wednesday was the youth Christmas program at church. I've been helping with youth choir and I played piano for their songs during the Christmas pageant. They are one cute and enthusiastic bunch of kids, and they did a great job singing. But I am very glad I don't have to play that music anymore.

with Janine and Mikalyn, our buddies!

And with those four concerts in as many days, semester one of senior year is finished. Hallelujah.
(All photos from Mom)

05 December 2016

Christmassy Weekend

We were busy and festive this weekend!
It started with the homeschool group's annual mother-daughter Christmas Craft Afternoon, at the Scotts' house. This is always a super fun and artsy way to begin gathering Christmas gifts and decorating the house. We drank tea and hot chocolate, ate cookies, and crafted to our hearts' content! It was really nice to see some of the SMF aunties that I hadn't seen since school started!

The annual couch picture--it keeps getting smaller! Photo from Mama Scott.

Their Christmas tree is always gorgeous!
I spent the night with Nicole, and the next morning I sang with her in the Cathedral choir, which was a great experience. It was lovely to be back in the Cathedral, and singing from the choir loft!
After Mass we climbed in the car and drove to Minneapolis, MN, for Isabel's choir concert. It was a big-deal concert--Isabel's last--and took place in the Orchestra Hall. We got a nice hotel, had dinner with Isabel and Matt, and went to the concert. It was a wonderful dose of Christmas music!

The morning sky from our hotel room.

We were on the 10th floor and had a lovely lighted courtyard below us.
It was a fun, friend-filled, musical, and Christmassy weekend! Only three weeks until Christmas!