Thursday, September 28, 2006

And we're off!

We are heading out in the morning for our big family vacation. I can't believe the time has already come for us to leave. It seems like just yesterday when we were relaxing in Galveston on our 1st family retreat AKA SHINE I.

I don't know if I'll be posting much until after we return.

Here we come SHINE II!!!

I am off to see Mickey!!

Monday, September 25, 2006

While checking out some of my favorite blogs I overhear...

"Foo, come on! Are you going to play Ace of Cakes or not!"

"Hang on Em. I'll be right there!"

Just a bit too much Food Network around here.

All the while The Phantom is STILL playing in the background. So much for my study of Handel this week.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Our Father's Hand

Watching Boo this past two weeks has given me a wonderful reflection on how I think Our Father must look down upon us.

For the past 18 months, I have been doing all that I can to nurture, protect, and provide for my newest son, as I have done with all of my other children.

Last week, he finally learned to crawl. As any parent quickly learns, a crawling baby takes a once orderly, peaceful environment and turns it upsidedown, overnight!

Statements like..."Quick, move the dog food!" "What's in his mouth now?!?" "Where did this come from? I just vacuumed?!?!" "How come he can't pick up a Cheerio, but he can pick up microscopic pieces of lint from the same color carpet!?!" fill the day and night.

From crawling, Boo immediately learned to pull up on the furniture and start cruising around the house all the while holding on for dear life to anything which he can grab hold of. Sometimes, even with me standing directly over him, he falls over. I have never seen a child get as mad as he does when this happens.

I imagine Our Lord looking down upon us as I watch over my son. He watches us as we stumble around life. As we fall, as we try to pull ourselves up again. He rejoices when we take our first steps independently. Actually He rejoices each and every time we take those steps. His love for us is deeper than any human love could possibly be. I wonder if He cries with us when we cry. Or if He hurts with us when we fall. Then I am reminded that He does.

I watch my littlest son as he tries to crawl, pull up, and walk. I have to watch him fall time and time again. I try to keep him as safe as possible, but we all know that if a baby doesn't learn to fall, he'll never learn to walk. It pains me to watch him struggle with things, but I need to let him do it on his own, else he might never learn.

Our Father watches our struggles, as well as our triumphs. He is always present encouraging us to try again. Try again. Try again. Just the way that I will stand over my little boy today encouraging him to try again...

Friday, September 22, 2006

Always learning

Two things I learned tonight..

1. New shoes WILL make a difference when running

2. Eating a slice of pizza right before trying out those new shoes - not the best idea. Takes the whole,"boy do I feel great" thing and tosses it right out the window, along with the pizza...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Nine Days

Nine Days until we leave for our trip. I haven't a list made, a thing packed, an iota of what to pack and three sick kids!

I've been trying to get back into running, but feeling a bit overwhelmed with the illness factor. Then I saw this mom. If she can do it, I have no excuses!

Back to mommying...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

A smathering of our life

I haven't been able to steal much time away from things around the house this week. Boo has really started moving! He finally started creeping last week and this week moved into full blown crawling! The very next day, he decided it would be a great day to learn to cruise the furniture and anything else he can pull up on.

I've gone from having a pretty docile little guy to a very active one without much of a transition period!

Foo has been helping with his Homer express, however on this day, Genivive Foster's Abraham Lincoln's World, was the accompanying read.

With a bit of time, Boo finally caught his nap...

Boo also moved from crawling to this...

While I am so very proud of him, I am also sad. I know that this new phase means that much of the old phase of snuggling, snuggling, and snuggling some more will happen less and less. Hence the invent of the read alouds!

Another strange set of events has been occurring around here alongside all of this excitement. My children have become particularly obsessed with Phantom of the Opera. It began with Bean, but has rapidly spread to the other children, and finally, after my husband had the opportunity to view the movie last night, he also succumbed to the mesmorizing music that accompanies this production.

There has been great debate over which music score is best, either the original broadway score or the movie soundtrack. We have listened to both almost non-stop for about four weeks now, and we have decided that both are fantastic, each with their own unique signature pieces. As I type this, Bean is in her room practicing her best Sarah Brightman renditions.

This exposure to Phantom has re-inspired Bean, Lem, and even Foo to try to plunk the tunes out on the piano. Last Sunday, as I lay in the dark upstairs nursing Boo to sleep, I was serenaded by the voices in my home singing (and beautifully, I might add), to my Sister in Law playing All I Ask of You on the piano.

And who said we weren't doing composer study this year?? I have several of Andrew Lloyd Webber's other pieces, such as Evita, waiting in my queue at Netflix.

The other strange phenomenon that seems to be happening is that my children are actually enjoying Latin! I am also loving our sessions of Latin study each morning. My son, Foo, actually is asking for more translation exercises because he finds them FUN! We do try to make our Latin time more entertaining. He and I will both do the exercises in a sort of competition style. We don't share our answers until we are ready to correct them, and then we compare who did the best. If we both get the answer correct, we high-five one another, sometimes I even do a crazy little dance (which could scare some people), if not, we encourage one another and then learn from the mistakes that have been made.

Lem is doing very well with Latin. She is learning the Sanctus and many vocabulary words.

Fish is counting up to 20. It goes something like this:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20. He can't seem to get the "thir" sound yet, but HE knows what he means!

I have a goal this week of trying to put grades into my new Homeschool Tracker program; that is if I can find time between Latin, attending the Opera, and chasing my newest walker!

Of course, then there will be that small little matter of preparing for "SHINE II...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Can you hear Boo? I think he said, Mr. Reeeenooooo... I wanna be on the Tiger Team!!

Well little boy, now that you are crawling on all fours, it will be sooner than you think.

Hop on the Homer Express

Today was a day to be the baby in this house! Foo was feeling mighty energetic (and has been since his surgery three weeks ago!) He decided it would be a great day to turn himself into a train for Boo. The best part was that Foo also decided to finish The Children's Homer while he pulled the load.

He was so happy to finally finish this book. It was not one of his favorites.

Hard to say if he is truly comfy...

OK... He looks pretty content now!

Lem said that Foo should be careful because Boo might want him to do this more often. I informed them both that if Boo didn't ask for this kind of entertainment, I would just to keep him entertained!

Hop on the Homer Express

Today was a day to be the baby in this house! Foo was feeling mighty energetic (and has been since his surgery three weeks ago!) He decided it would be a great day to turn himself into a train for Boo. The best part was that Foo also decided to finish The Children's Homer while he pulled the load.

He was so happy to finally finish this book. It was not one of his favorites.

Hard to say if he is truly comfy...

OK... He looks pretty content now!

Lem said that Foo should be careful because Boo might want him to do this more often. I informed them both that if Boo didn't ask for this kind of entertainment, I would just to keep him entertained!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Never forget, pray for Peace

Sometimes, in my less than wonderful moments, I think about how it seems that I am doing the same things today that I was doing almost 19 years ago. Taking care of babies, nursing babies, grooming pre-schoolers, etc. I love my vocation as a mother, however, I will admit that there are those days when I wonder if I was meant for something else. (not more, just something else)

But then today, I woke up and remembering that tragic day five years ago, I turned on my tv to see if there were any memorials playing. There were. MSNBC was running their broadcast from five years ago as a tribute via living history.
I was never so happy or felt so blessed to be doing the exact same thing (nursing a baby) whilst watching this event today as I was five years ago.

I'll never forget that horrible day. My infant at the time (Fish, who just turned five) was happily nursing and I was enjoying that early morning snuggle with my newborn son. His godmother called me and told me the news. I turned on the tv and watched in disbelief. Surely I was experiencing a nightmare. But no, I wasn't. We all were.

Today, reflecting back on the events of September 11, 2001, I am so thankful that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I am so grateful to those who strive to protect us. I am so blessed to be doing the exact same thing that I was doing five years ago.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Elegant Simplicity

I've been reading with great interest, several bloggers who are implementing what they call "elegant simplicity" into their homes. I love this idea and have really tried to begin to implement somewhat around here. You can read some posts here, and here.

The best approach to this is truly baby steps. One room at a time; one corner of a room at a time.

I seem to struggle with wanting live more simply, wanting to enjoy the quiet moments which in this home come far too infrequently, yet still yearn for material things that I can treasure.

There are so many women of inspiration who blog about how they achieve the peace that I long for in my home. I am bringing much of this to prayer with me each night as I try to incorporate many of the ideas I read about into my daily life.

First and foremost, I want my children and my husband to feel that their home is a place of refuge. I want them to long to be here. I wish for it to be simple, yet comfortable, pretty, but not too ornate. I pray that it is a place where they feel that they can let every guard they have down and enjoy curling up with a good book, a cup of hot cocoa, and snuggle on the couch with their siblings or their parents.

Amazingly, I am finding that a life of simplicity takes a lot of work! Go figure! I suppose for someone like me who tends to take on too many things, especially things that go on outside of our home, it is work to say no. It is work to focus on doing one thing at a time and not be in a constant state of multi-tasking.

I am also finding that multi-tasking is not all it is cracked up to be. I usually get many things started, but I finish very few. This adds up to frustration and disappointment in myself. I set myself up to be a complete failure most of the time.

I envy my husband in this respect. He starts a job, he finishes it. He doesn't take on anything extra either. Work, family, home, church. Once in a while he may play a game of softball, but all in all, he keeps things simple and his expectations low. One day, I pray this trait rubs off onto me.

For now, I will pray each morning for the blessed Mother to help me to provide the atmosphere in my home that my children require, desire. I will pray that I can focus on homeschooling, our prayer life, and our relationships one another, putting these things before all else in our lives. This post at Alice's cottage helped me to put things into perspective. Her post and the fact that my baby has already started creeping! The time has flown by again, my baby is growing up, and my children are learning from me each day. Exactly what will today's lesson be?

For today, I'll leave you with a photo of Boo helping me set the mood of our Elegant Simplicity for the day... Next year at this time, it will be a whole new world!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Mid-way through

We are mid-way through our first term and despite the efforts of the evil anti-homeschooling forces, we are skating along fairly well. I'll admit we are a few days "behind" our schedule, but it is not to the point where a few days of extra work won't catch us back up.

The new focus of our curriculum is wonderful. We are all enjoying the Latin-centered approach. Wouldn't it be a hoot if Boo's first words were "Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus?!"

We have structured our days beginning with Latin, followed by Math, then English studies, Christian Studies, and Modern Studies. I am really trying to follow up with more narrations, dictations, and copywork as I have found, after 8 years of homeschooling, that this truly is the key to successful writing.

What better way to learn about writing than by copying from the masters?

This first 4 weeks has seen it's share of bumps with a nasty virus making its way through the house during the first week, the second week it was another broken wrist. The third week saw a tonsillectomy followed by a week of TLC for the patient, poor Foo. Today seems to be the first great day he has had since the surgery, thank goodness he is coming around.

In spite of the above incidents, Mom, aka mean ol' teacher, still expected a certain amount of schoolwork to be completed. Granted, the kids may still have been in their jammies, taken naps through-out the day, and had to endure nothing but Ramen noodles and chicken broth for nutrition (because of the sore throat), but we plugged ahead and continued our learning experience.

I found a cute site where one can create a Sponge Bob Latin Calendar. I am not a big fan of Mr. Sponge, however, the calendar was a big hit for the kids.

I am praying the next 4 weeks go by with a bit less chaos, however, given our track record, it would take a miracle for that to occur. So, I will press on with our studies, enjoy what we can, learn what we can, and love while we can. Then we'll head out to SHINE II, return in October and begin our second term.
Can you tell a difference in this child?

Here is a picture taken on August 31, 2006, right before bed.

Below is a picture taken September 1, 2006, right after morning chores.
What is different?? (answer below)

My Fish is Five!!!

Happy Birthday, Fish!

It seems like only yesterday that I held you when you looked like this.

My how Fishes fly...