Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Knitting Plaid

This is my latest project (I love Lion Brand's website). Ever since I learned to knit last winter from this lady at KnittingHelp.com ...I've really enjoyed it. It's exciting to learn to do new things... She has free lessons on video on her website!!! I found her VERY helpful and easy to understand! I don't think my poncho (what's the specific difference between a poncho & a shawl, anyway?) will turn out quite like this one...but I'm going to try.

Monday, January 28, 2008

How can I keep from singing?


Along with slowing me down to point that I'm not moving...this baby has brought song back to my heart.

For the last 2 years or so I couldn't figure out why my kids walk around the house making constant noise. It took me several months of being annoyed to recognize that they're always singing. I knew some moms would find that a validating sign that life in our home is a happy one. It just really annoyed me that there's almost never any quiet. Even when I'm standing over them with a whip to make sure we're schooling in silence (writing project or something), they're tapping their pencils or break out in a whistle or some other noise. I wanted to squash the noise and make it all stop.

I realized today that I've been singing little songs to the baby constantly throughout the day. Is that why my kids walk around singing all the time? Did I sing to them as infants? I must have, because it seems the most natural thing to sing rather talk to this baby.

It does make me happier, to sing my frustration at the red-faced screaming child. It must be some form of grace that I'm not mentally aware of. The kids' noise still bothers me (plus I'm constantly yelling in a whisper "SHHHHH!!!! The BABY'S ASLEEP!!!"), but I understand how their hearts well up and overflow as music escapes from their mouths.

Quote of the Day

"What did Jesus mean when he told Simon Peter and his brother Andrew you will be fishers of men?"
"Jesus needed bread and fish to feed the thousands of people so he wanted Peter
and Andrew to get lots of fish to cook and give to the men."

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Ultimately Stupendous United States flash cards (USUSfc)


This kid, Ryan, posted for FREE the United States flash cards he made. They are GREAT! They are INCREDIBLE! I thought I'd have to make my own to made cards that were simple enough for the kids to start learning and make another set of cards for when the kids were ready for more information.

These cards do all that in one set - FREE to print on your printer! The way the main picture in the cards is a blackline outline of the state, means that the kids just learning to identify the states can look at that, with a clue as one of the insets on the card. The flag and bird are the other insets on the map. As the kids progress, they can quiz themselves on capital, major cities and major geographic elements with all answers given on the back of the cards.

I'm printing them off today and I'll have the kids play:
Go Fish
Drill each other
Rummy - with geographic regions
Coin Toss - They can lay them out and toss a penny and name the information on the card that the penny falls on
Sequence the cards - in order of adoption to the union, size, alphabetize by state name...

Because of this boy's effort and generosity, we can all share this great resource!

Quote of the Day

"What does it mean when Pilate says in the bible I wash my hands of him?"
"Well, he didn't want to get germs on the food that Jesus was giving at the Last Supper and make everyone sick, so he had to wash his hands."

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Failure is...

Reflection :
Having this baby has made me hit a brick wall as far as how much I can get done. While it may look to everyone else like I'm accomplishing a fine amount, I feel like I'm failing. I am keeping my priorities in order. However, in order to do so, I'm giving up a substantial amount of things I need and want to do.

I talk to friends and strangers and feel compelled to divulge how much I'm failing. I walk around in a slight daze foggy from sleep deprivation trying desperately to keep up. Everyone wants to comfort me and tell me it's not that bad. The most comforting item I heard about it was

"this time won't last long."
OHHHHHH, that felt so good to hear!! I know it's true. I can see it's true as I get out all the baby's 3-6 month clothes because he's outgrown his first size. It still feels so good to hear! ...and yet...sad at the same time...


The word of the year - reflective. This pregnancy & baby has made me reflective. I have had to slow down so much that it's painful. This pain has borne the fruit of reflection. (I also got a baby out of it!!) I think you'll be seeing more of this word.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Quote of the Day

NONE of the kids did their schoolwork. I went from room to room with a screaming, fussy baby to find child after child NOT doing their school. By the time I got the other 3 kids re-started on school, I'd go to the first room to find the 1st kid NOT doing school. They didn't do their chores. They just got in trouble all day. I was a mess by the end of the day.

"How was your day?"
"The house didn't catch on fire."
That was about as good as it got today.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Baptism Celebration

We had the baby baptised this weekend. It was exhausting to prepare for, but I'm pleased that we made the effort - everything was lovely! The readings this week and Fr. Tom's homily all seemed designed for our baby's baptism. God is sooo good!! It was just heavenly seeing all the faces of so many people who love us standing around the Baptismal Font. We made up Mass programs for those that may not be as familiar with the Mass - joining in prayer together. Friends and family came and we all feasted down in the church basement on a particularly cold January morning. We decorated for Scotland with red plaid (it's not our tartan, but just a red plaid that looked like the 'scotch tape' plaid - it was cheap and we made table runners out of it). We even found a fleece blanket to wrap the baby in and red plaid plates to accessorize the buffet table with. The other cake had a celtic cross and celtic lettering "God's grace upon" our baby. In the picture below, we added a crystal bowl of water to signify the waters of baptism. The table was below the crucifix behind the buffet tables. We laid out books about Scotland on each table (in case conversation was lagging), had bookmarks for friends & family to take home, scottish coloring pages & a bean-bag version of the Highland Games. Dave thought the truckload of decoarations we brought from home wasn't needed, but he was glad we weren't having it at our house. It's hard to "dress up" a basement, but we tried and were very happy with everything. Just as the angels in heaven were celebrating, so were we! What a WONDERFUL day!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Happy Husbands

The saying goes, "If Mama aint happy, aint nobody happy." That is VERY true in our house. However the same goes for Daddy. I had a mother who beat her husband up verbally at every opportunity. They are no longer married. It's just not worth it to me to have temper-tantrums - there are consequences. That thing about "the two shall become one" is soooooo true (whether we quite understand it or agree with it at times or not). So, if I hurt him, it ultimately hurts me.
Amy and I had a great conversation that she relates on her blog. While I fall far short of her goal (which I can tell you from experience that she accomplishes that goal!!), I try to be very fair when talking about my husband. My darling husband told me early in our marriage that he had a hard time finding good friends because so many men spoke so poorly of their women. He wasn't interested in being friends with a guy who had so little respect for his life's-partner. The truth is that Dave's better about it than I am. I do try very hard to be fair, but am so impressed by Amy that I have to take another look at my goals. I never wanted to put my husband down, but doesn't a great guy like Dave deserve a goal higher than a wife who tries to be "not awful."

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Learning Styles Assessment Tool

Umnnn... I'm completely blown away.
I've known about this test for several years, but thought..."I know how my kids learn. Why would I pay $20 to learn what I already know?"

Umnnn... I was wrong.

I'd been having problems dealing with one of the kids and my sleep deprivation was making things that were always a struggle more like an open seeping wound. Both child & I were raw. I saw a message online where someone was praising the test and said they wouldn't be having the problems with a child they were having now, if they'd followed the recommendations on the test several years earlier. That's one of my greatest fears : that I'll damage the relationship with one of my children by not fixing things when they need fixed (either in me or the child).

So we took the test. The results to the test came back immediately. I was blown away. I called a friend because I was so overwhelmed by what I learned THAT I'D NEVER KNOWN about MY OWN CHILD! I've always seen certain traits, but I'd attributed them to immaturity or self-centeredness. The test revealed to me that it was almost the opposite in that child. I didn't just have the wind knocked out of me -- I was bruised and scraped from the fall.

Since we got the results, I've just been praying over them to be able to discern the truth in them for our family. I've already made changes and our lives have changed!

I cannot recommend this test highly enough. I haven't done the assessment on the other children -- the test recommends waiting. I've got enough to assimilate, I can wait.

The test is from a Catholic Homeschool Provider, Mercy Academy. The test isn't, however, exclusively for Catholics. My friend (who I called) took it with her children and she isn't Catholic. (She had to call me when she got the results...she was blow away with the things she knew and the things she learned, too. She said it was like someone had been peeking in their windows and directly observed her kids. She's telling everyone about it, too.)

Mercy Academy is also the place that gives out the free Teaching Style Test. I have both links at the right side bar of this blog.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Back to school

This week we've gotten 4 days of schooling in. We would have gotten 5, but in addition to Ds#4's fever and Dd#2's severe cold and the baby being too clogged up to nurse well and Mama being sick and tired...Dave was home sick one day this week and we DO NOT get school accomplished when Dave's home -- we don't even try.
My standards for what I'm pleased about accomplishing have been seriously pruned back. We're doing just the basics : Writing, Grammar, Math, Religion & some history. I haven't figured out how to fit in Science, Art or any substantial projects. I'm pleased that we're really accomplishing the basics. This is just a boring year. Having a baby really changes the dynamics of our days and "Shhhhh...the baby just went to sleep" is spoken VERY often! This picture doesn't exactly reflect the sleep-deprived, pajama-wearing, spit-up-smelling, frazzled mama that I am during school days...but it shows you that even during New Year's celebrations I can't manage to keep my hair brushed!

Dumb Ox Publications

They are open again and selling Catholic stuff that has a great reputation! A friend told me that they were in business, again and I was really excited to see it was true! I can't imagine trying to homeschool and keep up a business that has to come out with new products. It sounds like so much work.

I ordered :
A Lenten Calendar for Children 2008
Alleluia! Eastertide Calendar for Children
and some other stuff.

They only do mail order, but you can call to be put on their mailing list...

Dumb Ox Publications
10201 Grove School Road
Beloit, WI 53511
(608) 879-9400

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy New Year, 2008

To Ds#4 at 11:00pm New Year's Eve:

"Sweetie, are you tired?"

"No, Mama."

"Come here and cuddle with your Mama."


(picture taken at 11:02pm)