Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Professor J

Since this is my first year homeschooling I have found that I like it a lot more than I thought I would and I am so different than I thought I would be in my approach. I am quite relaxed in my homeschooling style. Maybe it is because J is just 5, or maybe it is because I have realized that it is better not to take everything too seriously. Whatever the reason, I am much more lax than I thought I would be.

One reason I love to homeschool is the "trickle down" benefits to my 2 year old. He has learned so much just simply by sitting at the kitchen table with us while we do school. He calls his coloring his school work. He counts unbelievably well and knows more letters at 2 1/2 than J did. But, one area he is lacking . . . his colors. He is so bad a identifying his colors that either he is color blind, or I am failing miserably at his "two year old curriculum." And since, he is probably not color blind, I have decided to take some action. This week we made color cards and taped them to our glass door. I have enlisted the help of Professor J to teach his brother his colors. The great thing about it is that J is learning to spell the colors while K is learning them. Plus, is it just so cute to watch J teach his younger brother.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Little Things Mean A Lot

Here is my list of small successes for the week:

1. The backroom is clean!!! The back room is clean!!! It has not been this clean in a year!!!!!

2. I got the summer clothes bins out. I have not switched the clothes yet, but just getting the bins out is a huge step for me. I do not usually change the clothes over this early, but I have realized that the boys are really just getting clothes out of the laundry basket lately. Their drawers are filled with clothes that no longer fit them and they only have a few outfits that actually fit. K, my two year old has been wearing J's sweatpants and shirts and J looks like he is ready for a flood!!

3. I have a field trip planned for tomorrow. Not a huge one, just a 20 min trip to the National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.

Check out other small successes at Faith and Family Live.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook - March 16, 2009

From the Simple Woman's Daybook.

Outside my window...
It is overcast and dreary outside. It is slightly warm. At least, warmer than it has been. I am looking forward to Spring!!

I am thinking...
About a "talk" I have been asked to give at a Lenten "Woman's Night Out". The topic has been totally confirmed . . . I am pretty sure it is what God wants me to speak about, but I am still nervous!!

I am thankful for...
The gift of our home.

From the learning rooms...
Since my supervisor was questioning me on health and fine art, I have been putting effort into doing more with that (more structured). I have finally printed out the food pyramid info from www.foodpyramid.gov. We are going to go through it this week. I do not have to be too creative. It is amazing the activity sheets and coloring pages that I found.

Also, for a little more for fine art: I got this idea stuck into my head and now I am working to bring it all together. Since it is Spring and flowers are beginning to blossom, we are going to study Monet. I am going to incorporate a nature study with it too. I found some great children's stories that are focused on Monet's work at the library. If I find the time, I will write a full post on what we are doing. I am hoping it will involve a trip to the art museum and maybe the arboretum!!

From the kitchen...
My plans for dinner have been thwarted . . . I was going to make a roasted chicken until I found out my husband had to work late tonight. Now, we will probably just eat pancakes!!!

This week I am planning on making pierogis from scratch. Tomorrow is St Patrick's day and I will make some green velvet cupcakes for the boys.

I am wearing...
Jeans, black shirt and a cream sweater over it.

I am creating...

A couple of letters this week. . . all has to do with my new blog. The design is done. Once I get everything further along, I will share the "why" behind why I am doing this. I have only told a few people and when I verbalize what I am doing, I think it sounds silly. I have prayed a lot about it since I have had this idea for almost a year now and God is really revealing more and more to me about the purpose of it all. I wish I could say it has some great spiritual meaning, but it doesn't. It is just me trying to be more involved in the community, from my home.

Oh, and that scarf . . . well, I am further along, but I do not think it will be done until it is no longer needed. The good thing is is that I will have a nice new scarf and sweater for NEXT winter!

I am going...
To work on my school work for tutoring tomorrow once I get off the computer.

I am reading...
Days of Deepening Friendship (see side widget for the Lenten Retreat that goes with it). I am quite surprised how much I like the book. The chapters are nice and short and great for prayer time.

I am hoping...
For some nice weather!! I wish the sun was shining!

I am hearing...
A laughing at J!

Around the house...
K is napping and J is playing with A, while A practices his rolling around the floor! He is still not crawling, but looks like he may try soon.

Other than that, the house is still in a bit of chaos. I am working on my Spring cleaning and decluttering. Is it just how I clean, or does everything seem to get messier before it is cleaner and more organized? I have the play room done, the back room done, and our bedroom almost done. We have gotten a new rug for our back room and one for our living room . . . it is amazing how much better those rooms look now that the stained carpets are covered!! We also got a new bedspread . . . we have not purchased one since we have been married and it was time for a new look!!

One of my favorite things...
The smell of freshly ground coffee brewing!! It is right up there with the smell of a sunny spring day when the hyacinth are in bloom!

A few plans for the rest of the week:
I do not have any plans that are out of our normal routine as of yet. I may try to set up a play date for latter portion of the week. I am also thinking that I may take the boys to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception this week. I would like the take them to see St Patrick and the many Marian Shrines/side altars!

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Since several people I know have just had babies within the last few weeks, and I have realized that my baby is no longer my "little baby" (he'll be a year in April), I have been thinking a lot about when baby A was a newborn! This is a picture of me and him in the hospital when he was just 2 days old!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Small Successes - #8


Here is my list of small successes for the week:

1. After spending a week on deliberating how to move the rooms around to create more space in our home, we have decided to leave all the bed rooms alone and just declutter . . . I mean really declutter. I have convinced my husband that we need to get rid of most of the books we have. He is getting his doctorate, so we have TONS of books, but he has agreed to let many of them go. So far I have cleared out all of the book shelves in the house. When he is home over the weekend we will tackle the bookshelves in the garage. Yes, we have bookshelves in the garage.

2. Over the weekend we cleaned out 3 of the closets in the house.

3. The boys and I have gone to daily mass twice a week so far during Lent and we have actually been able to stay in the church in a pew!!! That has made me so excited.

Check out other small successes at Faith and Family Live.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The joy of boys - new additions!!

Inspired by my friend Mau's post on the Top Reasons Why 2 Rocks , I have decided to write a post about boys and why they are so great. I love my boys. I think that having boys is great!!

Being a mom of three young boys, I will often get pity from strangers while out and about. I must admit, this happens to be my biggest pet peeve. I hate, yes, hate when random strangers feel the urge to make derogatory statements to me about having all boys; especially right in front of my boys. I am not one to get into an argument with a stranger, so I usually just smile and walk away. This happened a few weeks ago while I was out with a friend. We were at Chick-fil-a and were getting ready to leave. J and K were standing in front of me and I had A in my arms. A lady walked in the restaurant, looked and me and approached me. She asked, "Are they all boys?" I replied, "Yes." She then shook her head, gave me a look of pity, and placed her hand on my head as if to pray over me (I guess)! She then said "I was lucky, I had two girls before I had a boy." I was a bit dumbfounded and so angry, that I knew I should just walk away before I said something that was not so nice.

So, in honor of all of those young boys out there. Here is my list of why having young boys rocks!!

1. They can turn anything into a gun. ANYTHING. Sticks, legos, a piece of paper . . . .

2. They are easy to please. Give them a toy shovel and send them outside and they will dig happily for hours.

3. They do not care about their appearance. Their hair can be messy and their clothes full of mud and they do not care.

4. Along with #3, they do not have to change their clothes frequently. Their jeans can have holes and their shirts can have food on them and they will not want to change!

5. They are bound to do something crazy at least once a day and make you laugh!

6. With young boys in the house you will always have a superhero, soldier, or fireman at a moments notice. (or, I forgot to add . . . a Jedi . . .one can always use a Jedi!!)

7. New addition, inspired by my own sons' behavior this weekend . . .they love their moms. they can be wrestling, playing guns, and being boys one moment and the next moment, see a flower and want to pick it for their mom!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Happiness of Motherhood

A friend sent me this article and thought I would share it here. It encapsulates a mother's love for her babies, the joy in large families and the beauty of spending each day at home, raising children.


This is a really neat article written by my dad's mom during the Depression. Grandma had grown up as one of two children of a well-to-do merchant, and when she married Grandpa, he was a dirt-poor farmer. They were poor almost their whole life, and yet they raised 10 children, 8 of whom have remained faithful Catholics and have raised their own families. (We're praying for the other two to be reconciled to the Church). Anyway it's a short article, but it's really beautiful.

Happiness of Motherhood

By Winnifred St. Hilaire

It all started some fifteen years ago when the saintly nun who was my teacher advised us to petition St. Joseph in the job of finding a husband if we considered marriage to be our vocation. Out of school, I never ceased to do this periodically, and when he finally came along I knew instinctively that here was a man who would help make my dream come true—a family of twelve children.

Last summer the fifth baby was added to our thriving family. What a miracle for the other four! What a rejuvenation for me. Could it be that because of my yearning for them, my resignation to God’s will, this peace, this buoyant youth, this exhilaration is given to me? Only He could reward so lavishly.

My work is a joy, a boon. I fly about beneath the clothes-line hanging the snowy washing in the wind, my six-year old son assisting. The cars whiz by on the road. My neighbors are going to and from their work or to their bridge luncheons. I feel their pity coming out to me. "That woman is always hanging up clothes." Above the chatter of the little boy beside me, my mind and heart indulge in a little pity for them.
They love their parties and their pin-money, a fleeting love. I love my children, my husband, and my home, an abiding worthwhile love. The time they devote to their hobbies is for the most part, a way to spend time. Mine is an investment, not only for my own pleasure and the broadening of my character but in the character of my children and for my own old age. Who will have the greater return in love and tenderness thirty years hence, I from my twelve children or they from their club activities? And who saved the most in her home now—the mother who must prepare her meals hurriedly after a late arrival, or I who am here with my mind and body, a fulltime mother and homemaker?

My friends come to call. They hold my sweet new baby on their knees. They tell me how much they love children and recall the days when their child was a baby. I gladly share this new miracle with them but it seems to me they are catching only the crumbs of happiness that fall from my abundance.

What mother, when she bends over the crib of her infant and feels the wave of affection flowing from her to this unbelievable vision before her, what mother can dare to say she does not want another! The pleasure derived from an afternoon among friends (I’ve experienced it!) can be as only husks compared to this rapture. And what other mother, when she comes home from her work to find her single child demanding a ride in the car or money for the movies, would not envy the simplicity with which our family of youngsters find entertainment in each other, but more especially around that most attractive spot in the whole house, the new baby’s bed?

Or when Sunday afternoon comes—yes, I even give up Sunday afternoons to my children—and the whole family tramps through the fields to our own laughing brook there to take whatever nature offers us, who can say there is greater pleasure elsewhere? The dragon fly skimming up and down above the length of the water is a masterpiece of color-blend. The questions he cannot answer about it send daddy scurrying to the encyclopedia, all of hanging over his shoulder, for there might be a picture. That robin’s nest welded too high in the branch for young eyes must be pulled down or four little bodies must be lifted to its level. The mystery of it up there rivals any amount of anticipation of a movie. What is beheld in there surpasses the best movie, and no movie has a story such as this to unfold before watchful eyes. The fishes, the crawdads, even the colorful rocks among the sands in the water, how alluring to a little child. I have heard my 4-year old imitate the birds, while neighbors played at "cops and robbers".

We could ask nothing better for our children than that they learn the thrill of "discovering" some drama of nature, to such an extent that they want it repeated time and time again, on into their teens. Did not Shakespeare and Lincoln take their pleasure thus? What but their close communion with the earth in early childhood could infuse such habits?

So in this family which wants twelve children and already has five, it is hard to tell who has the best time—the little ones who find life so new and puzzling and full and satisfying, or their parents who find the characters of the children unfolding before them in such fascinating patterns. If two children can amuse adults with their droll expressions then five will more than double that amusement. If a few can give occasional joy, many can make it constant. And fighting? I believe that the five will learn give and take more readily and gracefully than the two. Parents of moderate means, or less, cannot buy five of everything.

That is why I would not trade with any part-time mother I know. As a full-time mother I do not lose any of the joy that emanates from my children, nor they from me. And perhaps they will form a sort of pass key when I come to the pearly gates.

*Reprint from The Grail, (St. Meinrad, Ind.) February, 1938.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Training for an eating contest??

I think my 2 year old is training for an eating contest.

About a week ago, the boys and I were eating cereal for breakfast. I was sitting next to K and I noticed he was eating rather quickly. OK, he was piling food into his mouth at an amazing rate. Within a minute, he was done and looked at me and said, "I won mommy. You lost." I just laughed. I thought he was just being silly. But then it happened again at lunch with macaroni and cheese, and again at dinner with chicken, rice and peas. That evening I was really beginning to wonder, "What is he doing??"

Since that day, at least once a day, K will eat furiously and, when done, looks around and proclaims, "I won!" I try to tell him that he needs to eat slowly and, most times he listens, but every once in a while, he acts as if he is in an eating contest.

I guess I should be proud. Some moms are proud when their children grow up and want to dedicate their lives to the Lord. I will be proud when K eats more hot dogs than anyone else!!