Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Fish on Ushering


Fish: Mommy, I can help daddy usher now. But I just have to stand with him.

Mommy: Well, maybe if you are really good, you can help him with other things.

Fish: No, mommy, I don't think so.

Mommy: Why not? If you are a really good boy, you can help him, I'm sure!

Fish: (Laughing) Mommy, you know I couldn't do that!!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Talking to the kids


Some days, I feel like this is what I must sound like when I am trying to talk to the kids...

I would like to

I bet they wish that I would give up sometimes!

Calm within the storm



This weekend brought quite a bit of rain to us, sorely needed at that! In between the raindrops, we decided to go ahead and plant our herb garden. We also planted a few tomato plants as well.



I decided to do container planting this time. I think it will be more manageable for the kids (and for me!).



Earlier in the day, I noticed one of my mom's planted had bloomed. It's amazing how that bloom left me with a connection to her.
I am not sure what type of plant it is. My brother said it was a corn plant. Any ideas? Two more blooms appeared overnight.


This is turning out to be a very busy week for us. More details to follow. I'll try to post as I can.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Latin Centered Curriculum



I have spent a better part of today reading through this "must-own if you are a homeschooler" gem. If you are not a homeschooler, you should read it anyway to see what exactly our educational systems are lacking and why the present educational method in use will never compare to that of the Ancients.

Mr. Campbell has done a wonderful job of defining what a true classical curriculum is, the history of it, and why it should continue to be, especially for those who desire to become something more. He demonstrates through numerous examples that a "real education" is not just for the wealthy or the priviledged.

He also provides a very detailed break-down of the three parts of the Trivium. I have yet to see this done in a more approachable format.

Along with this, he offers a scope and sequence as well as suggestions for curricula to help the homeschooling parent who might feel a bit overwhelmed with the many choices available to them.

Personally, I felt that this book pulled together the ideas and methods of education that I have been trying to implement in our homeschool since we began 8 years ago. Reading this book helped me to consider refocusing that which we are already doing into a more logical path that will help to get the children to where I envision them.

I am more encouraged than ever to begin my own classical education right alongside my children.

If you can only buy one book for yourself this homeschooling year, (HORRORS!!), I would highly recommend this one.

To read more about this book, visit the Latin Centered website.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

daughters



I just found out that Bean actually reads my blog! She burst my emotional bubble straight away, however, by announcing that she only reads it to see if I have said anything embarrassing about her!

I inquired as to whether or not I had, to which she replied, "Yes!" I think just the mere mention of her name qualifies as embarrassing, so on that note...

Ohhhhh Beanie... I wuv you soooooooooooo much! KISSY KISSY KISSY!!!

And she did comment that I wasn't just "not real happy" last night. She claims I was a monster... of course I was, she didn't give me a puppy kiss!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I'm so spoiled

I have to admit it. Everyone else knows it. I am spoiled. My dh helps around here so much. You can read more about that here. This week, however, dh is travelling, something we aren't used to around here. This post is to reassure him that the kids are still intact, as am I. We miss him terribly and can't wait for his return.

We thought we'd give our daddy a little view into our day today.

Baby B went to the dr. for his 6 month check up. He's 7 months now, so we are right on time...

Always fun taking a perfectly happy, content, healthy baby into the doctor and spend the next 2 - 4 days consoling, medicating, and worrying that he is reacting badly to his immunizations.

The nice thing is he learned to sit up almost all by himself today!



After a few doses of Advil and Tylenol, he is finally asleep. He weighed in at 20.02 lbs and 28.50" we'll call him "Tiny" from now on!

The other kids are being troopers. Mom was not feeling real happy when bedtime rolled around. Short on sleep and patience makes not a pleasant mommy. Sorry guys. I'll make it up to you tomorrow, promise!

They had a message for their daddy though...

Don't you just love the postman?


I do today! He delivered my newest purchase, Latin Centered Curriculum



as well as my current late night addiction, my Netflix DVDs of Ballykissangel. How lucky can a girl get??

I'll be spending my evening watching season 4 of Bally K and reading the LCC cover to cover, taking many notes along the way.

I love the preface of the book thus far. I am so encouraged by Drew's passion for classical education. He has a way of prodding even the least educated of us to seek out that classical education for ourselves as well as our children.

Drew tells of his own education which is not unlike my own, publically educated, and very uninspiring. He advises one to move past "vocational training and/or edutainment." I love that word!!

Having survived a public education myself and offering up one of my own children to the system, I feel safe in saying that his impression of today's educational results are on par.

I plan to go ahead and take the challenge which Drew presents. I will be studying Latin this summer. I also plan to purchase a Math curriculum, either Algebra I or Pre-Algebra. I have not determined where best to start yet.

Future courses I will take on as my vocation allows time for:

Greek
Algebra 2
Geometry
Trigonometry
Calculus - ok, maybe not, but I can dream, can't I??

These are two subjects which have always intrigued me. Latin, because only the "college-bound" students were encouraged to study it and "I" was not cut from the college-bound cloth, and Algebra because I failed it so miserably in high school and have avoided it like the plague ever since. I have always said that I would like to go to school to learn these things, as well as many others, and now I have finally realized that I can do this at home, on my own, and call myself a HOMESCHOOLER! Isn't this how many of the greatest men in history learned things?

Aside from the actual knowledge that I will gain in my endeavors to learn Latin and Algebra, I am hoping that my children will see how important it is to always be willing to learn, to always seek knowledge, and to never be afraid go after what you want on your own.

I realize that I will not receive a college diploma from this method of studying, but honestly, that is not important to me at this stage of my life. The knowledge is. The ability to be a self-directed learner is. And should I ever decide to enroll in a "real" college, perhaps I'll be that much more prepared for the course work.

If anyone else would like to join me in this new endeavor, I would love to hear about it. Please drop me an email or a comment and let me know what you plan to do for yourself!

21st Carnival of Homeschooling is up!


Please take a minute to stop by and enjoy the many tidbits from homeschoolers round the globe at Principled Discovery's Progressive Dinner. Hey, anything that offers food (for thought), I'm there!

One of my previous posts has been posted there.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Fish on Breakfast

Dad: Fish, how many breakfast taquitos would you like?

Fish: Twenty-two!

Dad: How about one or two?

Fish: How about twenty-three?!

Dad: Let's start with one...


Mom (thinking to herself): Why do we ask such silly questions?

Friday, May 19, 2006

I don't like waiting...

Waiting seems to bring out the worst in me! My lack of patience shows each and every time I am forced to wait, whether I am waiting for Lent to come to an end, Christmas to come, the kids to get in the car, the light to turn green, etc.

But the worst type of waiting that I can experience... waiting for my newly purchased school books, to arrive!!

I am patiently, not so patiently, no choice but to wait patiently, waiting for The Latin Centered Curriculum to show up in the mailbox. Since it was just released and my debit card is still warm from the purchase, I can't complain too much that it is not yeet here.

I am looking forward to reading what looks to be a very interesting approach to education. It seems that it will blend well with how we try to do things at our humble school at home.

I plan to post my thoughts about it just as soon as I can. So excuse me now while I go out to the mailbox and... wait.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Time with the kids


I find it amazing that as a homeschooling mom who has the blessing of spending most every moment of the day with her children, that I still feel that I need to make a special effort to connect with them.

One might think that I am crazy? How can I not be connected with them when we do everything together??

It is quite easy to accomplish this. The best way is to overschedule oneself. I have a horrible habit of doing this. It has been better in the last year, but I have a history of saying "yes" to many things and "no" to very few.

While my children go with me or help me to do the things we "need" to do, we have difficulties at times truly being present with one another. We fill the spaces between the time we wake up and the time we get to bed, which most often is way too late, with lots and lots of busy work and lots and lots of demands on our time that do nothing to help build our relationships with one another.

Since mom's death, I have attempted to re-evaluate what we will allow to occupy those precious spaces in our day and have made some changes. I imagine it will be a work in progress for the rest of our lives.

The question that I have begun to ask myself is this:

How will this activity benefit our family? How will this bring us closer to one another and closer to God?

This seems like a simple question, but I have found that it is not. What if a particular activity would be great for a certain child's education, but not so great for the younger ones who need to nap? When is it time to cut down attendance at church functions, family events, and social obligations when to do so could hurt other people that we care about so much?

These are difficult choices that must be made and sometimes even I don't like the decision that is decided upon. Again, I go back to my question for myself and try to remember what exactly my husband and I are trying to do. We are trying to raise Godly children to become Godly adults.

One thing I have found that keeps us connected more than anything else is our read aloud time. Currently, Lemma is reading Little House by Boston Bay. Foo Fighter and I are soaking up The Children's Homer, and Fish and I read whatever his little heart desires!

Bean and I don't read many books together anymore, now that she is almost 15. We do discuss books as often as we can, but it is not the same. Perhaps I need to pick something for "our" read aloud time...

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Overdue


On May 7th, our parish took the time to honor the altar server ministry.

It was a beautiful Mass which began with the Knights of Columbus saluting the altar servers with their drawn swords held over head. (Joseph REALLY like that part and decided he wants to be the "purple guy".)

The servers then processed down the aisle (over 100 of them!) with complete reverence. It was a most moving experience.

I attempted to capture a few pictures, but decided to put the camera away so as not to distract from the moment.

Matthew came away from the experience with wonderful memories of this occasion. He enjoyed the standing ovation that the congregation offered for their service.

The newest Fishism



MOM!!! Brendan is HIPBUCKING!!! (hiccupping)

do you like his self-portrait?

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Mother's Treasure Box




How many of you have a special place to put your most treasured possesions? I have two fairly large boxes full of cards, pictures, notes, letters, and other keepsakes that my beautiful children have created for me over the years. They are my most beloved, most cherished items. Aside from their photographs, these are the next most important items I would grab in the event of a fire.

These are my newest treasures that will be added along with what the other children have made to give to me tomorrow. I know I am not supposed to know about them, but I happened into the room at the wrong time. I acted innocently enough, exiting as quickly as I came in hoping that no one noticed.


Joseph however could not wait til tomorrow to give his to me. He made two, so I'll have another one tomorrow morning.

As a mother, I have been so blessed to have 6 children who tolerate my deficiencies, my weaknesses, and my not so wonderful moods some days. They love me for who I am. Make-up or none, crying or laughing. My sons long to protect me from the evils of the world and my daughters cherish the opportunity to pamper me. I hardly feel worthy of the efforts, but not accepting them would crush their spirits. And a mother could never do that.

Mother's Day has always been a day in which I celebrated my mother. I don't know that I have ever been able to look upon it as "my" day. Last year was the first year that I had to make that transition. Thanks to my loving husband who took steps to recognize my mother who had passed away only 6 weeks earlier, I was able to face the day that I was not especially looking forward to with smiles, laughter, and most importantly helped me to accept the love that my children desired to shower upon me.

This year, with great humility, I will embrace Mother's Day as a day that my children want to celebrate my life. I will act with as much grace as I am able to muster, and being a good mommy, I will probably shed a few tears and make them all happy. (They love to laugh at how emotional I get over "stuff".)

I will also remember my mother. Her love for life, her love for her children, and her love for her grandchildren.

I pray that each one of you who is a mother enjoys a truly wonderful Mother's Day. If your mother is still here, let her know that you love her. Even if it is just for giving you life; a life that has allowed you to become a mother.

If she is not, remember her in a special way today. Celebrate your motherhood in her honor. Shower a friend who is also a mother with an unexpected surprise. I plan to honor my mother in this way. She would want me to. Mother's are like that.

Comparitively speaking...



Here's my little 6 month old baby sitting in an identical car seat to that of my newest 3 week old goddaughter. Guess he's not so little anymore...

oh, and my 4 year old baby behind the both of them and yes... a basket of laundry

Joseph on the weather

Fish: Mom, how do they make hurrycames?

Mom: Well, it starts as a little thing over the ocean and then turns into some wind and rain and moves over the land. (really horrible explanation, but the best I could come up with in the car with no resources on hand)

Fish: Well, there was TWO bad things that happened then.

Mom: Really, what were they?

Fish: First the hurrycame then the tormatoes!!

Mom: Do you mean tornadoes?

Fish: That's what I said mom! Tormatoes!!

Mom: OK.

Fish: Actually, there were three bad things that happened.

Mom: Oh? What were they?

Fish: First the hurrycame, then the tormatoes, then I hit my head on the table and got this Anakin on my head! (a small scar over his left eyebrow...)

Mom: I know honey. Sometimes bad things happen. (mom to self... what exactly goes through a 4 year old's mind when sitting in the back of the car for longer than 20 mins? The drive to Disney should be interesting! )

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Three types of giving

A post at my dear friend, Cindy's blog, really touched me.

There are three types of giving in each day...

Self-giving

Forgiving

Thanksgiving

I love simple ideas that can help me throughout the day to live out my vocation. This is a very easy reflection that I can use during my nightly examination of conscience.

Was I able to give of myself today, even when I didn't feel like it?

Was I able to forgive even when it didn't seem that I should?

Was I able to give thanks for everything that came my way today, even the trials (and the Laundry)?

Very simple thoughts, but much to meditate upon.

Mystery in the Laundry



As friend and I were discussing the mother's curse yesterday, (the never-ending cycle of clothes needing to be washed, dried, folded, hung, or placed in drawers), a secret was revealed. She seems to have the same "mysteries" in her home that occurs in mine!

We were sharing that how no matter how diligently we work on the laundry, just when we think we are caught up, somehow, a huge pile of clothing appears that needs to be washed! Where does it come from? How does it get there? And why must I find it so soon after patting myself on the back for a job thought to be well done??

Another mystery revealed... underwear. Why is it that each child can have 10 pairs of pants, 12 shirts, 5 shorts, numerous socks without partners, and 8 pairs of pajamas (all worn within 3 days, mind you) and yet, somehow they only have one pair of underwear to put away! I don't even want to think about this...

Don't get me wrong. I love my children. I feel blessed to have the clothes to fold, (at least I am trying to convince myself of that still) and I know I will one day be sad that I don't have more than two people to wash for, unless of course I do the grandkids' laundry.

I just wish that sometimes I could be caught up and enjoy the moment for a day or two. Ahhh, the path of sanctification is riddled with great trials...

Off to fold some more!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Joseph on Birthdays



Fish: How much is Daddy being on his birthday?

Mommy: 42

Fish: Wow... He's really big now!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Happy Birthday to My Knight



My eyes have never seen a more handsome site. Happy Birthday, sweetheart!

I know you just hate this mushy stuff....

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Recognizing my blessings

Upon reading this beautiful post by Melissa Wiley at Bonny Glen, I feel compelled to share how things run around my house. When hearing that I am a homeschooling mom, I too have received those comments such as, "WOW, you must be so patient"; "you must be so organized"; "I don't know how you do it, I never could"; "You are a better woman than I am."

I try to stop them mid-comment and let them know that "I" really am not patient, nor organized, nor smarter than average, nor super-powered! Rather, as a very wise woman once told me, "God does not call the qualified, he qualifies the called." I have been called to this lifestyle by God. I truly believe that this is the path He has chosen for me to grow in holiness. Most days I do not do a very good job. In fact, somedays are down right badly done! But I try to reflect on the blessing that God has given me by ALLOWING me the priviledge to be at home with my children all the while learning along-side them.

My husband is a great support. He does not like me to brag about his contributions to often, but I will tell you a bit of what he does each day. He meets me at Tae Kwon Do to pick up the baby and the 4 year old, leaving me to work at the school and watch the older children. He then heads home to prepare dinner for us. I am not talking about pizza, fast-food,etc, I am talking about delicious home-cooked, wonderful meals, each and every night. OK... Friday night is family night and we usually have pizza. But most often, he spends his first 2 hours at home cooking for his family.

At night, he bathes the children that need to be bathed and tucks them into bed while I nurse the baby and settle him in. Then he starts on the laundry. I can usually get it washed and dried, but he will spend the late nights folding and stacking so that we can put it away the next day. Some days get away from me and I'll not have an opportunity to do the washing, so he will throw a load or two in. He will also put the clothes away if I can't get to that.

My husband LOVES to vacuum. It is his passion in life! Anyone who knows him, knows this is true, even him! I love to sweep, he loves to vacuum. Some days I will call him and tell him how difficult the day has been and how messy the house is. He is always sure to tell me to focus on taking care of the kids and he'll handle the other things when he gets home. And he does. He can clean up a house in no time flat. A project that would take me hours he can accomplish in 30 mins.

He does many other tasks around here as well. He shops, irons, fixes things, cares for the lawn, loves the children, and never complains, ever. Oh, and most weeks, he works 6 days.

Honestly, he is a role model to me. I am a pretty high strung person at heart, and he calms me. He reassures me. He loves me.

If it were not for my husband, I could not do what I do, which sometimes doesn't look like much.

I also must mention my children. They are the most wonderful children I know. I don't just say this because they are mine, I say this because it is true. They help me with the baby. They help with one another. They help with the house. They help friends. They give of themselves. I strive to be half the person that they all seem to be.

And of course, none of what I do could possibly be done with out the support of wonderful friends, family, and most importantly, Christ. He is my source of strength. He is my hope. He is my comfort.

Another homeschooling mother I know used to say about homeschooling, "I homeschool, not very well, but from my knees." I live this statement each and every day.

Over the last several years, I have learned that I have an ideal that I would like to achieve with our homeschool. It is rarely if ever met. We do live in reality. We have illnesses, babies, difficulties, deaths, depressions, birthdays, vacations, etc. We try to put our faith first and our relationships with one another before the academics. Yes, I do plan and plan the years course of study for each child. Yes, I do get caught up and concerned with where the children are in their studies. Yes, I do get wound up when we aren't "on track", but in the end, when I kiss my children good-night, I want to be able to look upon that day and say that I have helped them to know God a little bit more. Perhaps by my example of living well that day, more often by my willingness to admit my mistakes and try again the next.

After all, I am trying to raise souls that I will be proud to give back to God.

How does my faith change the world?

"They will know we are Christians by our love!" I am sure many of you have heard or even sung this song. It resonates throughout my mind quite often.

Our faith reminds us constantly that we should be Christ to the world. And many of us try to do just that. We feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick, give alms to the poor.

But how do these acts of charity show Christian love? Can't someone who isn't a Christian carry out these acts as well? Of course they can, and many do! So I ask again, how exactly do our "works" as Christians change the world? How would a non-Christian recognize the love that we show to others as "Christian" love?

A deacon from our parish gave a homily that asked us this question and ever since I had the pleasure of hearing it, I have pondered it and as of yet, I don't have a an answer. What differentiates me(considered a faithful Catholic Christian) from a very nice person (non-Christian)?

I am always on a quest to increase my faith, my love, and my trust in Christ. I read, study, discuss, pray, and reflect. Interiorly, I feel I have grown in all of the areas mentioned, but again, I can't say with any certainty that I have changed anything, let alone the world, with my faith.

I hope to expand on this more and welcome thoughts on this subject.

Day Nine - Desire for Heaven


O Holy Priest of Ars, your precious remains are contained in a magnificent reliquary, the donation from the priests of France. But this earthly glory is only a very pale image of the unspeakable glory which you are enjoying with God. During the time you were on earth, you used to repeat in your dejected hours, 'one will rest in the other life." It is done, you are in eternal peace, and eternal happiness.

I desire to follow you one day. Until then, I hear you saying to me: "You should work and fight as long as you are in the world." Teach me then to work for the salvation of my soul, to spread the good news and good example and to do good towards those around me in order that I will receive the happiness of the Elect with you.

Holy Priest of Ars, I have confidence in your intercession. Pray for me during this novena especially for ... (mention silently your special intentions).

Say: Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be. O St John Vianney, Patron of Priests, pray for us and for all priests!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Day Eight - Exquisite Purity


O Holy Priest of Ars, a witness of your life made this magnificent praise of you: 'We would have taken him for an angel in a mortal body."

You so edified others: the modesty and the exquisite purity radiated from your body. With such charm and with such enthusiasm you preached to others about these beautiful virtues which you said resembled the perfume of a vineyard in bloom.

Please I beg you to join your entreaties to those of Mary Immaculate and Saint Philomena in order that I guard always, as God asks me, the purity of my heart. You, who have directed so many souls towards the heights of virtue, defend me in temptations and obtain for me the strength to conquer them.

Holy Priest of Ars, I have confidence in your intercession. Pray for me during this novena especially for ... (mention silently your special intentions).

Say: Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be. O St John Vianney, Patron of Priests, pray for us and for all priests!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Day Seven - Dispeller of Satan


O Holy Priest of Ars, the infamous attacks of the devil which you had to suffer and the trials which disheartened you by fatigue would not make you give up the sublime task of converting souls. The devil came to you for many years to disturb your short rest but you won because of mortification and prayers.

Powerful protector, you know the temptor's desire to harm my baptized and believing soul. He would have me sin, by rejecting the Holy Sacraments and the life of virtue. But good Saint of Ars dispel from me the traces of the enemy.

Holy Priest of Ars, I have confidence in your intercession. Pray for me during this novena especially for ... (mention silently your special intentions).

Say: Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be. O St John Vianney, Patron of Priests, pray for us and for all priests!

One of those days

Today was one of those days. Those days where I wake up with every intention of doing one thing, yet being called away to something else. I find these days quite frustrating and don't handle them very well.

Through my more diligent attempts to pray when I feel I am losing "control" of my day, I seem to be less irritable, especially towards the children. But nothing can make me feel as relaxed as coming back into the house to see this sweet little face...



Then he decided that the dog needed a hug too...

May - The Month of Our Heavenly Mother




May is such a special time to honor our Blessed Mother. Sometime this week, we will crown her with flowers to show our love and admiration for her willingness to say "yes!" to God.

Here is a link with more info. I'll be posting more as the month progresses.

When the mom is away


the strawberry fairies show up and leave this for me to find in our guest bathroom!

Just when I was craving some fresh berries with my yogurt and granola.

When asking Fish "Why, did you have these in the bathroom sink?" He replied, "cause I was getting a snack mama!" I think I heard a "DUH!" in his tone...

Happy Birthday, Dad


Dad lives far away and we don't get to see each other very often, but the love we have for one another keeps our bridge strong.

I pray that his birthday is a wonderful one and ask St. Joseph to keep watch over him.