I'm Late for a Very Important Date!

When one doesn't blog, journal, photograph, scrapbook or do much at all in the way of recording anything beyond a couple of instagram posts here and there, the idea of catching up is beyond overwhelming.  This is where I am.  I have a year's worth or more to catch up on and I'm not even sure where to start, so this may be another one of those picture posts with a year's worth of birthdays, milestones and memories that we will get to make up our own stories to if I never get around to journaling any of it.

As I sit an type this and only hope that I will be lucky enough to efficiently find photos to stick in here, I am 40 weeks and 6 days pregnant, cautiously ignoring my parental responsibilities and sitting outside in 70 degree weather hoping I don't get a concussion from the falling acorns above me.  If I didn't have anywhere to be tonight, I would most definitely be assured of finishing this post.

I am not in the best frame of mind considering I am a tired 44 year old expectant mother with a 2 year old that didn't nap today and an 18 year old that faces  a crippling diagnosis of a repeat shoulder injury that will require surgery and end his college football career that has just begun.  Those are the kinds of things that make for long days in my life.

 Kind of hard not to start with her...
 Football was a busy season...a senior and a sophomore who got to play together.  Jakob had a great year and the game of his season in the first playoff game when he played at running back which was a change of pace for him.
 The entire experience of an away playoff game was a memory that will stick with him for a long time.

 Every weekend, we enjoyed the company of my parents as they traveled down to watch each of Jakob's senior football games.  It was such a treat to have them with us every week.  We got kind of accustomed to them walking in the door every Friday afternoon.  That's a pretty big deal considering it is a 6 hour drive each way.
 High school football on Friday nights and Midget football on Sunday.  Full weekend.
 Early in the fall, before school began, we started gathering with friends at our house to pray a family rosary together.  Since then (going on 15 months), without fail, we have met every Sunday night at 7:00 to pray together.
 Sometimes the numbers are sparse and sometimes the space is tight.  The time and location never changes even when the participants do.  It has been a beautiful thing.  The coffee is always on, families bring snacks to share and stay to socialize after for a while or just come pray and go.
 This is one of the last time all of the boys served Mass together.  I don't even remember what it was for!

 Brothers...playing side by side.
 Post game with both sets of grandparents...proud grandparents!  :)
 Homecoming 2015.

 I'm a little more comfortable with all of this stuff--highschool dances, flowers, dinner, dates, (not dating) than I was a year ago.  I guess it's all part of high school memories and fun even if I think it is overdone.

 Happy 17th!
 I can't quite remember what the cake was--frozen swiss cake rolls?  A little lopsided...but I'm betting we all ate it and licked our plates anyway.

 Two #22s this season.

 Lots of benefits of grandparents every weekend!

 Mathilda swam competitively this year...something that is her's first.  She isn't following in anyone's footsteps with this sport and we are learning as we go.

 This one...just tags along to everyone else's events.

 Watching a blood moon eclipse.

 Insert a first birthday in here, but I can't get photos to upload...poor Willa!  I guess that is what happens when you're the 8th!

 Cash and Annie were able to come for a weekend also.  Grandma and Grandpa had to leave early this particular weekend, but we took full advantage of having our CO guests a little longer...
 Everyone loves a good "Chopped" challenge.  Guys against the girls this round.
 Oh...and the third team...the boys.

 There was some seriously tasty food happening on these plates!
 So we had to bring in judges from the outside.

 Not just bacon...these guys wrapped two other meats in bacon...on a stick!
 And the winners?  Bacon...kind of not even fair.

 The aftermath...worth it!
 Last regular season game.  A tribute to the seniors.

 When the season was over, the calves were waiting in Western Nebraska.

Branding isn't an enormous endeavor, but it is a big deal...even when there are only enough calves for everyone to get just a little dirty.

 Pretty great weather for November!  Good for family picture taking.

 Shagging for the Huskers.
 ...and the glamorous job of wiping sweat too.
 Final year of St. T's basketball.

 Happy 14th!

 I know we celebrated Thanksgiving, but maybe I didn't take any pictures?  Actually, we celebrated at home due to an ice storm that kept us home...in addition to the fact that Joshua had his wisdom teeth out and Jakob had a big shoulder surgery the day before.  I guess it was a good time to stay home.

 Trimming the tree during Advent.
 This is a source of conflict every year.  We always have to look back at pictures to see whose turn it is in the current year to put the angel on the tree.

 Winter formal.
 Wrestling...junior thunderbolt club.

 Happy 9th birthday Joe!!!

If there is a perk to having a birthday during Lent it is that you may get to celebrate with a fish fry!

 Random picture thrown in?  Nope...apparently Josh's 16th birthday which apparently was not well-documented?  He had baseball practice in the wee hours of the morning and then again until late in the evening.  (I bet this was an instagram event instead of a real camera moment!)  We love you all the same Joshua...real camera or iPhone picture!  And we all know the cake you got...Chocolate Eclair, just like every year, with 16 candles on it this time!

 Checking out the neighbors chickens.

 Happy 11th birthday Ben!
 Willa really enjoyed your cake!

 Happy 7th birthday Amelia Therese!
 Yes...she slept in her school clothes!
And no...our boys never wear shirts!
 Since we aren't really very busy, we and two other neighbor families (who also aren't really very busy with their big families) volunteered to be in charge of the neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt.
 We stuffed thousands of eggs in record time!  Lots of hands made it pretty fast!

 We made an announcement to our kids on Easter morning.
 They were a little slow to figure it out, but finally after counting an extra basket and pulling the contents out they learned that we were planning to welcome another member to our family.

 Happy Holy Confirmation to Benjamin Thomas Blaise!
 Pretty good looking guys!

 Finally...Millie's turn!  Maybe she's going to be our soccer player?
 And just when things begin to slow down, it's just a facade...things don't slow down, they just change pace.  Track was a really fun season for Jon.
 We all watched him break records all season...comfortably in different ways!

 There was lots of baseball watching too from March through July.  (x 3 when Benjamin and Joseph were included, but alas, no pictures from their seasons!)

 My handsome date and the odd couple that went with us to BOLT.  :)
It really isn't as painful as it looks...there is just drama in our family!
 Senior prom...

 Senior Mass...
 8th grade graduation.
 May Crowning.
 Cinco de Mayo.
 Way back in November, we co-contributed a silent auction "murder-mystery dinner party".  Our part of the contribution was hosting with the other contributors who were the "celebrity guests."
 What a fun night with new friends in our home!  And to think we worried that our guests may not really get entirely into the fun!
 Pasta feed for the 8th grade boys before the last meet.
 Jon broke school records in three of his four events.
 Ringing the Prairie Wolf bell at NWU (above) and announcing his intention to play football at NWU during Pius X media day (below).

The first of many graduations to come...

 We had fun being able to celebrate both of our graduates...with lots of friends and family!

 with lots of help behind the scenes...
 and guests who could literally say, "I haven't seen you since you were this tall" and reach to their knees.

 This kid...heading off to college now.  This picture was when he was 4!

 And in this one he was 9 ^^ and it won't be long before this one below will have a green cap on before we know it!
And it's only May...

The summer was full of baseball, swimming, ice cream, work, sleeping in, swim team...Jon spent the summer in Scottsbluff on the farm and Mathilda spent the summer in Denver honing her nanny skills taking care of her cousins.  Twins and a three year old!  They threatened not to let her come back and treated her like a queen making it a hard decision, but we got them both back in time to start school all over again in the fall, but not before a little family vacation to the lake.

 Seems like a really great pillow!
 We had a blast, but couldn't end it without a trip to the ER for stitches!

The first day of school wasn't any less dramatic...five kids off to school, and the other...
 ...in the hospital with a staph infection.
 Heat dismissals offered the opportunity for a snow cone stand.

 Next milestone...college, and college football.
 Yep, that's right...as we send one off to college we prepare to bring a brand new one into the world!  This way we can relate to almost everyone we know between the ages of 19-50!
...and we are back to another birthday...
 Happy 13th Mathilda!
 Seems like this may be a good place to end this post since it is almost a year to the date of the beginning of it.
The year has been full...more full than this blog post can possibly suggest, even with 200 pictures.  Perhaps as we get ready to introduce a little more chaos into our lives in the next 72 hours or so by bringing home a new baby, I will do a better job of staying on top of putting our memories together to remember them without having to go searching.

The farther we get into this family/parenting/life thing, the more we learn, the more we change, the more we grow and the more memories we make.  They're not always great memories...some of them aren't even good, but they certainly will all define who we are and who we become.  Hopefully that is a strong, faith-filled family that can relate to lots of different people in many different worlds.  Some days I wonder what in the world we are doing by thinking we can bring yet another one into this craziness...but then I look at my beautiful and incredibly imperfect family, and I'm thankful we get to do it.  Stay tuned for a back up to September of 2016 and the fast forward to the current time when we'll introduce you to our newest.  I have so much I wish to express, and likely I will never get it all done.  Until "fullofgracex9"...