Thursday, August 30, 2007

Fishism of the Day

While reading the First Communion Catechism...

Mom: Fish, why did God make you?

Fish: I don't know.

Mom: He made you because He is so good and He loves you so much!

Fish: And God loves you too, Mommy.... sometimes

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A new blog alert

Well, it's not exactly a new blog, but it's new to me. I guess she was keeping it a secret or something!

Mamabear has entered the blogging arena. As one of my bestest buddies in the whole wide world, yes, another friend I never get to see anymore, I present to you....

Mamabear's Blog

Be sure to tune in often. She is full of wonderful information and is one of my spiritual rocks. Oh, and she is Boo's Godmommy too!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Be Still and Know...

This is absolutely my most favorite line of scripture. There is just such a peaceful feeling that overcomes me everytime I hear it, every time I reflect upon it.

It just so happens to also be the theme for this year's LifeTeen program at our parish. I am so excited and we, as a community, are so blessed to have such wise and wonderful leadership for our teens. They truly love the teens and the parents.

I look forward to this new school year with the goal of finding the stillness and feeling His presence.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Tiles and Dryers, and Boo, Oh My!

I just love this shot of Boo taken by Deo this past June. His eyes are so intense, yet so full of innocence. Who knew that just a few hours after this picture was taken he'd end up with a horrible bruise that is STILL not completely gone!

A few weeks ago, our dishwasher had a nice leak and the water started coming up through the laminate flooring that my husband laid himself not even 5 years ago. By the time I had returned from a church activity, I had no floor. Well, that's not totally accurate. I have a floor. It's concrete. Fashionable, yet not desirable to me. Perhaps it could be if it weren't for the paint splatters and missing quarter-rounds...

So we've been looking for tile and by some miracle, found one that we liked. Funny thing, it looks very similar to the color of the concrete, minus the paint splatters. We had a quote done and quickly decided that this would be a do-it-yourself job. Nice how I say, "we decided". More precise, I decided that this would be a "he-does-it himself, with the help of Foo" job. Did I mention how much I love my husband??

On Friday, we came home to a dryers full of clothes that seemed to be very close to igniting. The drum was no longer spinning and being 8 years old, we (again, I) decided, time for a new dryer. Off I went on the hunt, coming home with nothing. DH went out, found a great deal and brought it home. Did I mention how much I love my husband??

Also on Friday, we received the new tires that were sorely needed on Mark's car. He was able to tell me the color of the steel showing through the tread. This made me quite nervous and therefore, tires were a top priority. Did I mention how much I love my husband??

After the convention, the tiles, the dryer, and the tires, this is turning out to be a very expensive month!

Boo is officially weaned. I am sad. I miss our time together. I am trying to start a new snuggle time with him by reading to him before bed. He really doesn't listen very long before he starts flipping through the pages and going on to the next book. He is saying all kinds of things now such as GO! Banks! (as in "Jane and Michael Banks for Mary Poppins). He also says, Poppins which at any time could mean puppy, poopie or poppins.

My favorite new word is not a word at all. It is a sound he makes. When we are reading his Thomas books, he yells out "Choo choo!' in a very deep and strong little man voice! But then we see a kitty and I say to him, "Look Brendan! Can you say 'Meow'?" He says in his highest pitch sweetest little boy voice... "OWWWM". Of course my first thought is that he is dyslexic. I'm not a worry wart, much. It is very cute and I wish I had a camcorder to capture this. But I suppose writing about it will help me to remember just as well.

The girls will be testing for their 2nd degrees this next weekend. Fish and Foo are growing like weeds. Beautiful weeds.

And me, we'll I'm doing more running. If you don't see much from me on this blog, you can keep up with me on my running blog.

Business wise, we had the pleasure of being interviewed for a local online information site. You can read the interview here!

For now I must close as Boo has found my coffee (decaf) and decided to drink it. Crazy kid!

Life is Good!

It really is! We are winding down the summer here, getting ready for school and trying to reconfigure our schedule so that we balance school, work, and play into our daily lives.

Mark and I had the opportunity to attend the THSC's convention yesterday. In all of my years of homeschooling, I have avoided these types of events for fear that I would buy too much, question everything I am doing, totally confuse myself, and leave feeling like I was a terrible homeschooler and I would never figure things out.

I am glad I waited 10 years to finally go. I can see that my predictions would have been true if I had gone as a new homeschooler. While it could be quite overwhelming to homeschoolers that really don't know which curriculum they would like to use, for those who have a list compiled and know exactly what they want to purchase, the vendor hall can be quite a fun experience!

I had a list of three vendors I needed to purchase certain items from. Math U See, Classical Academic Press, and Memoria Press. I also knew that there would be several booths that I would want to visit such as Dave Ramsey's booth, the driver's ed programs, and a few others.

Initially, when we walked into the vendor hall, it was a tad overwhelming. I am not big on going into crowds, but I have learned to face this fear on more than one occasion. The opportunity to save money on shipping is a TOP reason to overcome a few thousand people getting in my path.

We decided that we would go ahead and purchase what we came for first and then stroll around the booths and see what else was there.

This was Mark's first real event as a homeschooling dad. I've been to a few smaller conferences and lots of support group meetings, but he has not had that experience. I figured this would be a nice way to get his feet wet. After all, he will be a huge part of homeschooling now that he is working from home!

Our first stop was to the Math U See booth. 170.00 later for two math courses for two children, we moved onto the Classical Academic Press booth. Mark was trying to not hyperventilate as he saw how much the math was costing for just 2 children. (we have 2 more that will be using math as well!) He doesn't usually get to see how much or what I choose because he has not had the time to be involved in this process of "planning" every year.

On to the Latin program at Classical Academic Press. I know that many, many folks love Latina Christiana. I am difficult. I can't stand it. I find it dry, boring, and not very informative. I want to know "Why?" we do things. Memorizing just for the sake of memorizing or because the student is in the "memorizing" age does not appease my sense of learning. I want my children to learn, not memorize. And if I find it boring, dry, and unmotivating, then won't my children. Therefore, when I had heard about Latin for Children on Melissa's blog, (sorry I can't find the actual post about this, Melissa if you are reading and have it, I'll be happy to link directly to it), I knew I had to check it out. I have been eyeing this set for about 6 months now. Finally, it was in my hands along with an informal logic course and a couple of history readers. Erin Davis was there and happily signed the reader that she helped to write for my son. Foo was ecstatic when he saw it. I knew he would be! Lem will begin Latin for Children I this year while Foo and Bean will finish up Henle.

I penned another check for 140.00 but before I did, I sent Mark away so as not to cause him permanent damage. I tell myself, "it's cheaper than private school, it's cheaper than private school!" Honestly, it really isn't anymore expensive than our previous programs and I feel it will be a better fit for our family.

I then headed over to the Memoria Press table and inquired about the Henle Guide for Latin for units 3 - 5. The poor woman didn't know about them and Memoria had not sent her with them. I pointed them out in the catalog and she confirmed that she definitely did not have to have them, but tried to sell me a logic course instead. Giggling inside, I politely refused and headed away. We tried their logic last year. While it is a very comprehensive course, I think the stuffing I made without water one year wasn't as dry as their logic course. I thought of how Bean would probably be upset that she had to do that course and her brother was going to get the "fun" looking one. Revenge is always sweet upon teens!! Don't get me wrong here. I do like many of the items that Memoria puts out. I loved Andrew Campbell's book and I use it in my planning with much success. I do think that a classical education can be both well-rounded and delightful. Dry texts are not delightful to me nor to my children. My Charlotte Mason influence always trumps everything else.

Having made our purchases, we strolled around. I saw a few ladies I had not seen for a very long time and it was so nice to reconnect with them if only for a moment. Then the highlight of my afternoon was seeing my sweet little Godbaby, Anna, and her parents. We visited for awhile and somehow got taken into a demonstration on Algebra. Little did I know, this was going to change everything. VideoText Interactive was presenting their product and I was intrigued. Me. The one who failed miserably in Algebra. The one who fears the A word. Intrigued. Curious. Even a bit excited! Mr. Tom Clark, the author of the program was so passionate, so articulate, and so eager to teach algebra to the world. I won't go into all of the program details, but I will say this. I returned Math U See. That's right. I returned it. I bought the first module of this program and will try it out for the next 30 days. I am so excited about this program. Did I just say that? Me, excited about that which I used to fear?? OK... this guy could be up for Sainthood!

We have used Math U See for years. I love this program. But I must admit, I wasn't quite convinced that the upper level maths were as comprehensive as what might be needed. And being the math scholar that I only dream about being, I couldn't really tell. Mr. Clark believes that Math U See is a wonderful program, especially for the younger, elementary years. But after that, MUS does not explain "Why?" anymore. It becomes more textbook like and more, "you do it this way, because...well because you do." Mr. Clark's program answers the why. He asks the why. He encourages the why. I like that.
I hope to have an update on VideoText Interactive within the next month after we've had more time to work with it and try it out. I am only surprised that I had not heard about this program before now. It has received excellent reviews from many sources, and yet, I have never heard of them.

One more mention about math, I stopped by the Teaching Textbook booth and was shocked. Sure the DVD looks cool and Bean was convinced that it would be much more fun than MUS. But if she had seen the actual textbook that came with that DVD she might have passed out on the spot. The book itself had to weigh at least 5 pound, maybe more. And it was paperback! There were 130 lessons for Algebra 2. 130!!!! I asked the man behind the table how a student would approach 130 lessons. His answer, get this...."I don't know". What? Yes, that was his answer. Well, sir... good luck with that!

We did purchase another find that was just way to neat to pass up. Drive Through America History! What fun! We've watched some of the DVDs and they are very fun. I don't know how comprehensive a history program it will be, but I didn't buy it for that. I thought they'd make a nice family viewing experience and so far, they have. We bought them all. America history, as well as Greece, Roman, East/West, and Turkish Delight. It is put out by Focus on the Family, so I feel safe that it won't have anything objectionable in it.

All in all the convention was fun. We did not go to any of the workshops, but perhaps next year we will.

I have more to post about other goings on, but I shall make a separate post for those.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Happy Day!

Boo got a haircut!

I was after Mark to get Boo's haircut for about the past 3 weeks. He was looking quite shaggy and I was beginning to look for Scooby trailing behind him.

Now that his locks are shorter, he looks so grown up. I can't believe how fast his babyhood has gone.

I think he is officially weaned. I am sad about that, but I know it was time. We are having to avoid cuddle time because he stills looks for it. I hope that he forgets about "that" soon so that I can enjoy snuggling with him before he's too big for that.

He did let me hold him while standing before bedtime tonight. We rocked for a few minutes to a beautiful Celtic program on PBS. He loves music and this was no exception. I think he was feeling his Irish side.

We are having fun around the house these last few weeks of summer. Foo has been buried in the entire Harry Potter series. I think I saw him last two weeks ago. I never thought I would resent my children reading, but I am! He is reading constantly and is finally almost finished with the last book. Me, well, I am on Book 1, chapter 2... It sits in the stack by my bed of many waiting to be read. Maybe one day, when I am finished holding babies and playing games with Fish or braiding Lem's hair, maybe then I'll have time for Harry.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


The newest member of our "family"...

"Shu Shooorge!"

Picture Boo in his Yellow Hat around October 31st!

What is it that they say about time?

It flies, especially when your children are growing and everyone is having fun. And I agree it does. Whether it is seen by the fact that I haven't posted to this blog in a week,

or that I haven't seen my goddaughter in 18 months,

or that my neighbors for the past 8 years are moving away...

Time flies and it seems as though we never have enough of it to spend with those we cherish...