Monthly Archives: September 2012

Cale Plus Katelyn

By Mary

Poor Cale. Like the rest of my brothers he has pleaded to keep out of this blog, which is known as a girly thing, or something of the sorts by the males of the family. The thing is: Cale’s a pretty news worthy guy with his stellar sense of humor and unique way of bringing fun into even the most mundane of situations or conversations.

A year and a half ago, Cale showed up to Robert’s wedding with Katelyn Peterson who was at the time finishing up her studies for a degree in elementary ed at the University of Dallas. After more than a year of long distance dating, Cale proposed to Katelyn in June. In January, the two of them will tie the knot with a winter wedding ceremony in the Twin Cities where Katelyn grew up and now lives once again.

This means that the sweetridgesister blogging team (AKA, Kate who is known as a master wedding blogger), will be acting as the paparazzi, and stalking our current family newsmakers during their wedding celebrations.

After marriage, Cale will be moving to the cities. Cale’s transition is a bittersweet one for us. He really is more of a sibling than a cousin to our family. For the past 10 years, Cale has been living with various groups of Slattery siblings. He started out by living with my parents in high school and then entered the adult world, while living in North Carolina at a time in which Kate, Gabe, and Robert all lived there. When in college, he went to the same school as Robert and Gabe, and eventually transferred over to UD with Patrick and Raphael. Cale is a family mediator who is close to all of us in different ways. He makes such an effort to maintain an individual relationship with each of us siblings.

That’s a pretty big job in a family so large! Lucky for him, he’s had some pretty fun adventures along the way.

Don’t let the pictures fool you though. Although generally Cale does spend most of his time with Robert, the two of them aren’t drifting abroad in Ireland or living the life of a beach bum. Nah, they are generally climbing scaffolding and scaling roofs while working on jobs for Rob’s business: Ascension Builders.

It is a known fact that my brother, Rob will miss his work partner and closest cousin. I feel similarly saddened about Cale’s soon to be absence. The times from which most of my best and worst memories come often originate in the company of Cale. He has been like a cousin, brother, and closest friend to me … so him moving away isn’t something that I look forward too.

A loss can be a gain though. Cale’s choice in choosing Katelyn has been a good one, and I am super happy to soon have a new sister-in-law, slash cousin-in-law, slash I am not sure what to call her! Katelyn is an especially fun and authentic person. Dad used to always say that Cale only went for girls with Miss America looks. Well, Katelyn has that going on for her, paired with a fun and intelligent nature, and a sense of humor that is both honest and comedic. Plus, she’s a Norwegian gal to boot!

I am thankful that Cale made the decision to spend the last 10 years as a sort of  honorary sibling, and I look forward to the future of seeing Cale maybe a little less, but enjoying his company and that of Katelyn’s just as much if not more, on a less often basis.

Congratulations Katelyn and Cale! Best wishes and all my love.


Francisco Hidalgo

by Kate

The two year old is dropping blueberry jam onto the rug and the baby is in a basket, and if I type quickly enough I just may have time to tell you that Francisco Hidalgo Stapleton arrived, belatedly, on September 14th, 2012.

Francisco was in no hurry to enter the world, and in fact had to be coaxed out at great length, but he emerged with fat cheeks, a full head of hair, and a sweet disposition juxtaposed with the occasional fiery Latin temper tantrum when he is cold, or hungry, or generally frustrated by existence outside the womb. Along with the birth of my son, my creativity seems to have experienced a rebirth- but you will just have to take my word for it during the next few days or weeks, as I attempt to balance the needs of a toddler, an infant, a husband, and my elderly Polish refugee.

There are more pictures of Francisco Hidalgo here.

And now, it is time to feed the hungry baby and clean up that blueberry jam.

Sweet Fall Memories

By Nicole

The fall is my favorite season and every time the leaves start to change and the Slattery’s start harvesting squash, my heart beams. My mind will always wander back to two falls ago when Rob asked me to marry him.

Once upon a time…

Image Squash season was in full bloom. The Slattery clan was hard at work with the harvest and I was an honorary team member.



Colleen, looking fabulous


and then me… awaiting instruction… wasn’t even sure what a squash looked like before this…

I didn’t know that this was probably Rob testing my ability to get my hands dirty and work with his family because the next day came the big question…

He woke me up at five thirty in the morning for our breakfast sunrise date. I didn’t know what was going on or where we were going but I did know that this guy was not a morning person and he was dressed and smelled like cologne before six am so something was up….

He took me to a cabin in the country where he set up a breakfast complete with yogurt and granola for me and shrimp cocktail for himself ( YUUUUCK )


step one – roses …yellow are my favorite


step two – the beautiful ring


Step three – Victory pose


yes, yes most definitely – yes.

So my favorite season will now always take me back to one of my most cherished memories. The day was almost flawless… except for the part where I may or may not have forgotten to say yes before I snatched the ring. I guess Rob wanted to put it on my hand… Whoops.


yes, always and forever – yes.

Here Comes Fall…

By Mary

Yes, I know, the average person looks forward to fall. Especially if it’s unfolding in a flurry of color like it does here in the midwest.

However, my feelings about autumn can pretty much be summed up to that of the attitude I carried with me a week or so ago when I bought yet another pair of sweatpants. At the cash register I concluded with a glum grimace that I will probably be shrouded in sweats and a bulky hoodie until, oh, about say April.

While many look forward to the autumnal parade of colors that sweep in after Labor Day weekend, I personally delight in the fresh goodness of late summer colors.




Despite my confessed autumn pessimism, fall is here:


and it’s pretty darn gorgeous (as is my sister Clare!)


And tasty. Nothing can beat the taste of fresh apples or homemade applesauce.


And last of all, it’s a pretty comfortable clothes season- especially when you are committed to sweats and hoodies…

Back in the Saddle

by Colleen

Howdy, “y’all”!  Okay it still feels too wrong to use that phrase, despite the fact this will be my second year at the University of Dallas in good ole Texas.  Yes, I’m back in the land of heat, papers, books, and college.  Despite the difference in climate and surroundings, I find that I’m up to the same things.

Before leaving home, Mary took me on a trail ride at Gabriel and Aurora’s place out in the middle of nowhere.  Turns out that the middle of nowhere is the best place for wandering about on horses for hours on end.  It’d been a few years since I’d been in the saddle, and I was so happy to be back at it, even if just for an afternoon.

I missed riding, so on a late night adventure out in Dallas with my friends, I found a good enough alternative:

This little guy just one of the mustangs of Las Colinas.  These sculptures had many signs surrounding them thanking passers-by for not climbing on the statures.  I wasn’t climbing- I was riding. 


by Colleen

It had been a particularly gray and drizzly fall day, and I was in a foul mood. It was my senior year of high school, and the monotony of classes had settled in.  Not even cross country could keep me entirely occupied, and my mind was increasingly far away from Cashton High School.  I’d day-dream in English class about sunny Texas, while the temperatures dropped faster than the sun set each day.

On this particular day I remember looking forward to eating the last of the applesauce that Mary had made.  Mary is  a particularly masterful craftsman applesauce, simmering the a pot of hand-picked apples from our little orchard for hours and then add in just the right amount of cinnamon, sugar, and magic.  I anticipated the crisp sweetness of the late fall apples as I rode home from cross country practice.  Upon arrival, I walked into the kitchen to find that the last mason jar of applesauce was gone!  In a fit of childish rage, I berated my family for “stealing the only food I like!” ,as if it were a personal attack on my happiness.  My mother especially got the brunt of my anger.  I ran upstairs to lament, taking solace in the iron gray skies outside my window and burying my head in a hoodie.

A few minutes later, there was a soft rapping on the door, and my mom entered, bearing the gift of the last few apples of the season from the apple tree in the front yard.  Knobby, twisted, and broken from years of children swinging on it’s branches and Dad’s voracious prunings, this tree had always held a special place in my heart.  In a flash, I imagined the trouble Mom had gone through to procure those little fruits; pulling down the branches and holding on to reeeeeaaacchhh for the last apples at the very top of the tree, gathering them into the skirt of her dress, and carrying them up to the room of her sullen daughter, who just moments ago had been striking out at her in vitriolic words over a mundane matter.  And here she was, holding out to me, not just apples, but unconditional love.  In that moment, I realized what I wanted to be in life: I want to be just like my mom.  I want to have her love and her patience.  I want to have her faith and trust in God.  And most of  all, I want her capacity to give and give of herself, even when it’s hard-especially when it’s hard.

Most people groan when they say they’re becoming just like their mom.  I take it as the highest compliment.


Red Hair & A Bucket List

By: Clare

Bucket lists. When googling this term, you’ll be led to the urban dictionary, where bucket list is described as:

1. A list of things you want to do before you die.


2. A really bad movie where a lot of money was wasted on unnecessary CG work that is unconvincing and you can tell the actors were in front of green screens during most of the shoot.

The first definition I know for a fact is true, the second one I can’t honestly say is totally true, because I haven’t yet watched the whole movie through, but I’m assuming is really a lot like its description.

For some inexplicable reason this picture does not make me want to run to the library and rent the movie. Not a very thrilling picture, but maaaaybe a sweet plot?

Anyway I’m sure not many people are willing to sit down and write out a list of things they would like to do before they die.  And I’m not one of those people either. If I did attempt to write a list of all the things I wanted to do, I would probably end up with about 340,009,876,452,843,749,830 things on that list, and would then be held accountable for the murder of several hundred innocent trees.

Boo. Go hug a tree.

In any case. In my mind I assembled two things I really, really wanted to do:

1. Lose five pounds. Because every teenage girl in the world wants this, and who am I to pretend I’m not one of them. The only problem is I would never be able to tell whether or not I had accomplished this, the reason being that scales are the devil. I avoid scales as studiously as I avoid doing any kind of field/farm work around our home. Except being one of the two people in my house who isn’t over the age of fifty, sometimes my plans are foiled. No matter where you are, they will find you.

2. Dye my hair red! Yesterday, my dream came true.

After debating the topic of red hair with my mother for a long, long time, Mom finally gave in. Ah, the powers of youngest child persuasion!

At the moment, my mother and I are in Pittsburgh, waiting (a bit impatiently) for another member of the family to be born. In the meantime, we’ve been busy perusing Pittsburgh, experimenting in the art of aerial silks, and eating greasy foods. More on that later.

Of course, I used henna instead of real hair dye.

After applying The Gunk, we had to wait a few hours. Once it came time to wash all of the brown icky henna, my new hair was revealed, and it was….

well, it was a bit orange.

The sunbleached streaks of my hair had turned bright orange! I had to spend about an hour continually washing my hair/moping around the house mourning my lost beauty.

Now my hair looks like this.

Which is much better. This is pretty much my dream hair color.

Because after all, what’s a girl with light skin and green eyes supposed to do with dirty blonde hair?

Just dye it red of course!

Well, that’s half of my bucket list already. Now I’m invincible.

What do you want to do before you die?

Kate’s Quilt

by Mary

Kate’s pregnancy brought about the inspiration to create a quilt for the newest edition of the family. The initial visualization of the quilt (all the way back in January) was at best vague, but in May I started embroidering 12 Mason Jar quilt blocks.

By the time August rolled around, the blocks needed a new home, rather than the nylon bag they were wadded up in. It was time to look for fabric. Some stops at fabric stores resulted in a colorful collection of material. After the fabric and blocks were ready to be quilted, it was time for the fairy godmother (see my Cinderella Sundress post) to set the blanket project into action. The hum of a sewing machine was a frequent noise throughout last month. When I’d come across my mother bent over the machine, I’d think about her former maiden initials- TLC. The Slattery family matriarch put a committed amount of tender loving care into what is now a beautiful baby quilt, which she completed the night she and Clare flew out to Pittsburgh to wait with Kate as she prepares to welcome her son into the world.

Teaming up with Mom to design and produce this gift has been a gift in and of itself. I am grateful for the privilege of being a daughter to such a beautiful mother, and for the gift of another nephew- that is, if Kate ever has her child, who is overdue by MANY days. Perhaps she will continue being pregnant for the rest of her life, in which case I suppose we could re-gift the quilt to Aurora, who is due in January. I rather like that alternative, seeing as it saves me from starting another quilt project.