Wednesday, October 29, 2008

More Election Info.

Maybe it is because we are on vacation and I have seen more news the last few days that I have in months (we do not have cable at home). Really, do not watch the news stations . . . they will make you sick. One good thing has come from it, I have prayed harder for this election than any other.

Go here for more info on the case against Obama.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Law Of Entropy

There is a law in physics that is called the Law of Entropy. Basically put, it states that the universe tends to go from order to disorder. Anyone want to see proof of this law can come to my house.

(A disclaimer: Before reading the following. I may not be the best housekeeper in the world, but I do try to keep it clean, neat and sanitary . . . this little guy just flies under the radar!!).


I have a very special entropy maker: my 2 yr old. He thinks our kitchen floor is his second plate, that he can leave food on when done eating a meal, and come back to it later and eat off of it if he wants a snack. Because he has the charming habit of leaving food everywhere, I try to limit him to the kitchen while eating, but sometimes he sneaks it out without me knowing. Usually the food that escapes is the perishable kind.

A few weeks ago we were cleaning the play room. This room gets cleaned several times a week, but I rarely inspect the toys to make sure food is not stuck in them. Well, while cleaning, Joshua picked up something fuzzy and black. "What it this?" he asked. I looked at it. It was a half eaten, moldy peach that my wonderful little entropy maker stuffed into a toy basketball hoop.

Today, K was eating a banana. He took it into the living room and started peeling the off skin. He kept on trying to give the peel to J. When I came in to get the peels, I noticed that one of them was missing. I asked J what happened to it and he said that K threw it behind the couch!! I went to retrieve it and found an old apple core as well. I looked at Joshua and he smiled and said "K throws his food back there when he is done!!!"

I guess K is just trying to make it harder for me to keep order in this universe of disorder!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

School on Vacation?

A friend asked me yesterday if we plan to do any school while on vacation. My answer: yes. We were a bit sporadic with school while waiting for baby A's test results, so I need to make up a little ground. I have simplified our plans, so I do not need to bring tons of books, etc, but it should be fun. These our our plans:

1. Handwriting: I am sticking with Handwriting Without Tears, I am just not bringing our wood pieces
2. Reading: Alphaphonics
3. Math: I am bringing a set of dominoes . . . someone taught me a great game to teach counting and addition using dominoes. We will be doing that all week.
4. History: Thanks to my friend Sam who is lending me tons of books, The American History Lesson at Serendipity and the Library, we are spending the week learning about Colonial times and the Revolutionary War.
5. Science: No formal plans . . . that is the beauty of being a science teacher, I can make it up as we go along!!
6. Saints/Bible: We will continue to use Sonlight and Saint of the Day for this.
7. Literature: A cute book called Ben and Me

I know it sounds like a lot, but we are normally done with school in a little over an hour (and that is with snack breaks), so I do not envision us actually sitting down and doing a bunch of work at a table. I am trying to plan days where we do our history and literature lessons at Colonial Williamsburg and have a picnic lunch (weather permitting)! This is the beauty of homeschooling!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Getting Ready to Time Travel

Almost two weeks ago we got back Andrew's 24 hr EKG results . . . they came back normal. It looks like he does not have Long QT Syndrome. As soon as we heard this, Pete and I looked at each other and said "We need a vacation." The stress of not knowing if Andrew had a serious heart condition had gotten to us and we needed just some good, family time away.

So, in just one day, we are headed to Williamsburg, VA. We have gone there every year for the past 3 years.

The house if filled with excitement . . . each day for the past 5 days, J has done the count down to Williamsburg as soon as he has woken up.

And, no, we have never been to Busch Gardens (the amusement park). Although, I have heard it is a lot of fun. We go to all of the historical attractions. Believe it or not, my kids love it! I think if we could go to Colonial Williamsburg every day we are there, and see the fife and drum band march the streets, my 5 year old would be perfectly content. So, this time, we will head to Colonial Williamsburg and go to Jamestown.

During this past week, as we prepared to leave, J and K have been marching around the house like little Colonials!! For them, this week will be the best history lesson. It will be like travelling back in time to how the Colonials lived and fought for their freedom.

I have some auto posts prepared . . . so check in during the week!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

How to teach this homeschooling mom to "chill", in 100 easy lessons

I think if there were a book like this, I would buy it and read it from cover to cover as soon as possible.

If I wrote it, it would go something like this:

Lesson 1:
Part 1: Buy a bottle of wine
Part 2: Pour a glass of wine and drink it.

Lesson 2:
Part 1: Make a list of all the things your child struggles with in school.
Part 2: Make a list of all the things your child does well in school
Part 3: Burn the first list and put the second on the refridgerator so you can focus on the things your child does well.

My biggest struggle with homeschooling is worrying that I am not doing enough with J. Is he where he needs to be in reading, writing, math? Is he learning discipline and hard work? Is he learning that learning is fun?

When we are doing the lessons, most days, I love it. He does his work well and it is fun for me too. But, there are times when I begin to take it all too seriously. I wish he had a magic switch that I could turn on and that he could instantly know how to read, write his letters perfectly, and be able to add, and tell time perfectly.

Better yet, I wish I had a "chill" switch . . . I would turn it on right now.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I think Rich would like them better.

I told J to clean up his toys and if he did not, I would clean them all up, get rid of them, and give them to charity. While cleaning, Joshua said, "I think Rich would like them better." When I asked J who Rich was, he replied, "A boy at soccer practice."

I was confused. So, then I asked him, "Why would Rich like your toys better?" J said, "Because Rich is a boy, Charity is a girl."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The election, voting, and Our Lady

This past week has been a disturbing one for me as I read or listened to the national news about the election. According to most new programs, web news, and polls, the election is "over". A winner has been declared.

I had no intentions of watching the debate this week. I know who I am voting for and listening to both candidates dance around answering questions, did not seem appealing to me. So, I went to bed early. Once in bed, I could not sleep. The outcome of the election weighed heavily on my mind. I began to pray. I got concerned when I thought about the future and what this nation will be like when my sons are adults. I think this election is critical. After praying for a half hour, I jumped out of bed and went downstairs. The debate almost over, I sat with my husband and we talked about it all.

Since then, I have seen headlines of how McCain has dropped in the polls, seen the news where they say that Obama will win the election, and, unfortunately, watched the Thursday Night Satruday Night Special that made fun of McCain the whole half hour, and barely made fun of Obama. The media is trying to win this election for Obama.

With all of this, I have been upset. I am tired of the media. The election is not over until every ballot is counted.

I am more convicted than ever that we need to vote. www.catholicvote.com has a great video to watch on the subject. Archbishop Chaput, in his book, Render Unto Ceaser, said that we have an obligation as Christians and Catholics to be invloved in the political process. We cannot sit back.

We also need to pray. As discouraged as I might get about the future of our Nation and world, I remember Our Lady and many of the things she shared in her apparitions. Many of the Marian apparitions warn of things to come. Horrible things. Yet, Mary's message was one of hope. All of the things she mentioned could be avoided, with PRAYER. This being October, the month of the rosary, why not say a rosary for this election. For the future of our nation.

Anyone with me?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Girl Power

I am a day late in posting this, but Happy Feast day St Teresa of Avila!!

In a time when so many talk about how women are advancing in political life, etc, I thought about all the strong women in the Church. St Edith Stein (Benedicta of the Cross), St Catherine of Siena and St Teresa of Avila. I am reading Interior Castle right now, and yes, she is truly a strong woman of God. If we women are looking for role models, we need look no further than this amazing woman. Go here to read about her life.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Movie Worth Watching



I have been quite sleep deprived lately. Baby A wakes up about every 1 1/2 -2 hrs at night, so I am a bit blurry eyed by 9 PM. So when Pete put in a movie called Saint Anthony at 9 PM on Saturday, I was less than interested. I was sitting reading a book called Why Gender Matters and I did not want to watch a movie, plus I just wanted to go to sleep. I had every intention of leaving Pete to watch the movie by himself. But, within about 15 minutes, I was hooked. Maybe it was the fact that the movie was in Italian and I had to read the subtitles to know what was going on, but, whatever it was, I go very involved in the movie. By the end of it (and we stayed up way too late to finish it that night), I was surprised at how much I liked it.


I am usually not one for movies about saints' lives. Maybe, I have not seen enough of them, but the ones I have seen depict the saint as too "saintly" and not real enough.
(They are cheesy . . . Brother Sun, Sister Moon is at the top of that list). Saints were real people, they were just extraordinarily holy.

St Anthony depicted the saint, his incredible holiness, ability to preach and perform miracles, but also his struggles. His struggle to remain humble. His struggle to really know what God wanted from him. His struggle with obedience.

It was a great film about a great Saint. If you ever get a chance to see it, watch it.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Simplicity

I was reading this blog that I stumbled upon a while ago. The blogger was writing about the financial crisis and her worries and how she and her family are trying to live more simply. It got me thinking.

I have never been one for simplicity when it came to living life and finances. At least, I never thought myself as a thrifty person, that tries to live simply and cut corners. Over the last several years, and again, over the last several months, I find myself just naturally tending toward simplicity. I must admit, I like it. Because of it, I feel a real rhythm to life and and increased closeness to God. I am not sure where it it coming from. Maybe it has to do with doing HIS will for my life.

Do not get me wrong, I have never been an extravagant person. Growing up, we couldn't afford to live that way and when I got my first real job, I was really only getting paid pennies. By the time I got married, I had a pretty good sense that, although I would love to have a big house and new car, it was probably not wise to do so. My husband is a great saver, so he tempered me a bit too. We, as a couple, learned to buy things used, shop for deals and wait. My great desires to get our garage converted, buy new flooring, a new TV, or something else, usually pass with time and I realize that those things do not have to be done "now" . . . I can wait. I am talking a great deal about the money side of simplicity, but there is more to it as well.

This simplicity is showing up in little ways. The first, cloth diapering. I never would have guessed that I would cloth diaper. I liked the convenience, cleanness and ease of disposable diapers. I do love the earth, but am by no means doing everything I can to "save it". I decided to cloth diaper for financial reasons . . . I was tired of spending so much money on disposables every month. Now, with two in diapers, I love cloth diapering. It is just as easy to me as disposables. Plus, I love how cute their bottoms look in cloth diapers!

A few months ago I started a clothes line too. This, for me, took a long time to want to do. Why have a dryer and barely use it? It was along the same lines as hand washing dishes . . . I have a dishwasher, I am going to use it!! But, with rising electric bills, one day, I thought, I have to do it!! Now, I love it. The clothes have a beautiful clean smell from the air. It is surprisingly soft. Clothes does not "pile up" anymore. I do only as much as I can put out on the line and as soon as it is dry, it gets folded and I get ready to put more out to dry. Plus, the process of hanging up the clothes takes time . . . it has become a great time of prayer for me. I look forward to heading outside with the laundry basket in hand, knowing that I will be able to have some quiet time with God.

I have noticed my grocery list change too. I have always loved to bake and cook from scratch, but since having children, I have not really found the time to do it as much as I would like. Lately, though, I make most things from scratch again. I try to buy organic and all natural items, as our budget allows, and over the last several months, I find myself buying tons of flour, dried beans, and other items that I use to create breads, soups, etc. I have to admit, my family is eating more when they sit down to dinner, than they did when I bought more "convenience" types of foods.

I am not very good at expressing myself at times, but I guess, what I am trying to say, is that attempting to live simply has added a richness to my life, to each day, that I did not expect.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Lord Grant Patience Now, Please!

Patience is not a virtue that I have a lot of. I have grown very patient with my children, but when it comes to other things, I usually do not have much patience. Waiting for answers is hard for me.

I got a call from baby A's cardiologist's office today. The pursuit to get insurance to pay for the very expensive blood test to see if he has Long Qt syndrome is set in motion. The very nice woman on the phone said I should get a call in 2-3 weeks with the final "offer" from insurance. If we agree to pay the rest, we then can have the blood test done. 2-3 weeks???? I was a little surprised at that. I knew that paper work and hoops to jump through can take a while, but I was really envisioning taking baby A this week for the blood test. I was discouraged when I got off the phone.

In an earlier post, I said not knowing was the worst, well, I think this is worse. Now that we have a name to what he could have, and I have read about it, I am quite jumpy. J and K yelling too loud . . . I am afraid it will disturb baby A and cause a fainting spell . . . . baby A cries too much . . . he may faint . . . . keep him in tummy time too long . . . he may faint. Now I know that these fears are completely irrational; the Dr did say that his EKG in the office looked good, but I still worry. I want the blood test done and the results of the 24 hr EKG back so I can have some peace.

Till then, I think God is just trying to teach me some patience. I just pray it comes soon!!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Rhythm

Lately that word has been so much a part of my life. Since homeschooling. I have felt us, as a family get into a real daily rhythm. When in it, I feel at peace and close to my family and to God. It is further confirmation that we are on the right path.

In the last week I have come to realize the importance of rhythm in another area . . . baby A's heartbeat. Since my last post about this, we have seen a cardiologist. A name was given to what was thought to have caused his fainting spell. Long QT Syndrome. I still do not know much about it, except it can be life threatening and cause sudden death. Baby A's preliminary EKG shows that he most likely does NOT have it. The measurements were borderline and got better at rest. I must admit, hearing that set my mind at ease a bit. He is, most likely, OK. He finished his 24 EKG test and will have a blood test soon. Hopefully, Long QT syndrome can be completely ruled out in the next few weeks. That is my prayer.

Although all things point to him being fine, I am still uneasy. I hold him a bit tighter and really do not want to let him go. I look into his beautiful eyes and pray that he is healthy. I still fear losing him too soon. I know with time, no matter what the results, that this fear will subside.

I know that no matter what that A is in God's hands and I truly pray for His will, no matter what it is. I just pray that God give me peace through all of this.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Power of Prayer

This is a post I did a few months ago on a marriage enrichment blog I am helping my husband with. I have temporarily "shut down" the blog since I do not have time for it.

Since I am still a bit out of it and backlogged on everything around the house . . . I do not have time to write a post here either, so here is a re post from Felicity.


I love to pray. Years ago, when I was single, and had no children, I thought nothing of going to adoration at 1 AM. I could spend hours in front of Our Lord. I miss those times and I often yearn for them now. But, life has changed. Now, with three boys, I find myself praying throughout the day when washing dishes, changing the boys, doing laundry, or nursing Andrew. I will admit, I do not get to pray as much as I would like (or probably need too!!).

Pete and I give a talk to engaged couples on prayer in the family. We talk about individual prayer, couple prayer and family prayer. The crowd is a mixed crowd . . . some couple go to holy hours together and others, unfortunately, do not want to have anything to do with prayer. With that being said, we like to give them concrete examples of how prayer can change hearts and bring you closer together. Luckily, we have such a story . . . .

About a year ago, our, then youngest, Caleb, had to go to see a pediatric dermatologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital in downtown Baltimore. This Dr is one of the best in his field. Caleb had to go several times, and, each time was the same. It would take us forever to get to his office . . . as with doctors, so specialized, we would wait forever in the waiting area to see him. Finally, we would get called back and then the we would see several doctors in their residencies . . . they would poke at Caleb's head and look at the little blue spot under his hair. They would measure it and ask us questions about it. Once done, they would say that the doctor would be in soon. We finally saw the Dr we were there to see, he would look at Caleb, say he looks fine and say that he needs to see Caleb again in 6 months. In less than 5 minutes, the Dr was in and out and we were left wondering, "Why did we come?" This visit was no different, except that now that Joshua and Caleb were 4 and 1 respectively, the long wait int the waiting room was difficult. They wanted to run and play and I found myself getting more and more impatient. Well, by the time we were done, I was thankful that we would not need to make this trip for another 6 months.

Since it was close to dinner time and we were in Baltimore, Pete suggested we go out to dinner. We went to the Cheesecake factory (YUMMY!!). Pete dropped me and the boys off at the Inner Harbour and he went to park the car. After dinner, we walked back to the car. Pete said it was only a few blocks. We had a stroller for Caleb and, surely, Joshua could handle the walk. We got the the street that Pete parked on and, no van to be found anywhere. I immediately thought it got stolen, but as Pete walked up the street, he saw a sign that he did not see before "Tow Away Zone. No Parking after 4 PM" (It was about 4:15 PM). So, we walked a few blocks to find a traffic police officer who promptly told us that she was certain our car was towed. Then, she kindly told us where the impound lot was. She said it was only a few blocks . . . . well as we began to walk it, only a few blocks was a lot longer than expected. Joshua immediately said he was too tired to walk and for the good, mile, mile and a half walk, Pete and I took turns carrying him. As we walked further and further away from the inner harbor, we walked through areas of Baltimore that definitely would not make it into their tourist brochures. When we finally got to where we were supposed to turn for the lot, we got lost. Luckily, there were a few people standing in front of a building that were able to tell us where to go.

Once in the office of the Lot, we told them what car was ours and we began to fill out the paperwork. It cost almost $400 to get it!!! ($20 of the a fee for just using a credit card). By this time, I was tired, and furious. I just wanted to go home.

We hopped in the van and started to head out of the city. But, we were in an area we did not know with a bunch of one way streets . . . . you guessed it . . . . we got hopelessly lost. We were driving down streets that I am sure I have seen on the news. You know, the places where the drive bys, murders and drug deals happen. After about 20 min of trying to get out of this area, we saw a fire station with firefighters outside of it. We stopped and they took one look at us "Let me guess, you're lost, right?" They directed us out of there and we were on our way home. When we got to the highway and we knew we were on our way home, Pete said "let's pray." OK, now I am usually up for praying, but that it is the last thing I wanted to do at that moment. I was upset that our car got towed and we had to spend almost $400 to get it back (and money does not exactly "grow on trees" for us). I was upset that we even had to come to Baltimore in the first place: it takes almost an hour to get the Johns Hopkins, then we "wasted" a whole day for a Dr to look at my son's head and in less than 5 min. say everything is fine. I was upset that we drove around hopelessly lost in a horrible area of town.

Yes, the last thing I wanted to do was pray. I was angry and I felt I had a right to be angry. I wanted to "wallow" in the bad day we had and just be allowed to "feel what I was feeling". But, it would seem horrible of me if I said "No, I do not want to pray" So I said, "Sure, you lead." (My way of passively praying). Well, as we we were praying, something changed. God began to show me all that I had to be grateful for:
* There was nothing wrong with Caleb, he was healthy
* We had a great dinner as a family
* Our van was not stolen and it was not damaged in the tow (which, I have been told, happens a lot)
* We had $400 to get our car back
* God provided people to point out how to get to the impound lot AND the firefighters to direct us out of Baltimore

Suddenly, I was humbled and filled with gratefulness. God had blessed us with so many blessings that day. I suddenly was thankful for our trip. Thankful to God for all that He has given us. I was especially thankful for Him changing my heart. I could of stayed in a bad mood the rest of the evening, and many people would have said I was justified. But, in that moment of prayer, God touched my heart.

When I got home, I immediately wrote down all that I was thankful for that day.

I still think about that day and I am so thankful that Pete suggested we pray and I am thankful that God, once again, showed me the power that prayer can hold when we open ourselves to His grace and goodness.