Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Post #3: Halloween Minute by Minute

This evening after dinner, we headed out on our much anticipated trick or treating adventure. We got the children all dressed up and went to the neighbors on our street. The children had a wonderful time. Jacob led the way excitedly, but I made him wait for Nicole each time. Even Andrew caught on to the game a few houses into it. He seemed to enjoy it as well. Upon returning home, the children surveyed their candy acquisitions and ate a few pieces plus a bag of fruit snacks. Andrew had a lollipop (I still can't find the stick - maybe next month). The kids had just a lot of fun answering the door each time more children arrived. Jacob held the pumpkin bucket and doled out the candy. All in all, I think it was a happy day. Now on for more festivities and fun tomorrow - All Saints Day - beginning with 7:30am Mass! They are looking forward to carving pumpkins tomorrow night.

Jacob - Great Knight

Nicole - Sweet Cinderella

Andrew - Expert Golfer

Deep Halloween Thought

"Mess is inevitable."

The was that little nursery rhyme that went like so:

Rain on the grass.
Rain on the tree.
Rain on the rooftop,
But not on me.

Let's change it up a bit:

Mess on the floor.
Mess on the seats.
Mess on the tabletops,
And all over me.

Happy mess!

Post #2: Halloween Minute by Minute

After Andrew was down for his morning nap, we began a few Halloween/pumpkin crafts and activities.

I printed some orange construction paper pumpkins and on a website we use often, I printed off pages of eyes, noses and mouths. The kids each made 2 jack-'o-lantern faces and we hung them in the windows next to the front doors.

From another website I paid a little extra to use, I printed off some coloring pages, a pumpkin maze for Jacob and a matching page for Nicole.

Happy pumpkins!

Post #1: Halloween Minute by Minute

This morning the children and I worked hard and had a lot of fun filling candy bags to give out to Trick or Treaters tonight. A few years ago I decided instead of handing out a handful of candy, I would portion it out into snack baggies. This year they got an assortment of candy and some Great Pumpkin fruit snacks. Then we attach a sticker on the front that says something positive and religious. This year's bags say:

May the Lord rule your hearts and minds every day of the year. Happy Halloween! All saints pray for us.

I am sure some people grab out their treats, read the bag, laugh to themselves and then quickly deposit it in the trash. But I don't care. The Bible says that nothing we do to share the Gospel will return void. Every seed sown will be harvested someday. Maybe someone will remember those silly little bags of candy with the stickers someday. You never know.

Happy Halloween and Happy Trick or Treating!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Knowledge we aren't born with

We aren't born knowing that it is not a good idea to flush paper towels down the toilet.

I guess we missed that page in the "Potty Basics 101 Handbook."

Edifying Speech

From today's readings (and a little extra):

"No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear....All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting and reviling must be removed from you, along with malice. And be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ." Eph 4:29, 31-32

As I read this in Scripture this morning, I was reminded of how often I need this reminder. These verses are strong, compelling and convicting. They can hit home often. These are not always easy instructions to swallow. Yet, they are there for us, each one of us, to read, internalize and act upon. The Word of God is living and effective and it must live in us and work in us.

Now, in posting this, I'm not saying that I, or those reading this, actually use what we consider "foul language." But aside from "bad words," can't we also think about this passage as applying to the subjects of our conversations, the tone and manner in which we speak to those we love, and even the effort to think about what we say before we say it. How much of what I say misses the mark? Is what I say always what is for "needed edification"? Or how often is my speech laced with bitterness or anger? Does my speech "impart grace"? I try, certainly. But too many times to count I fall short.

I found it interesting that in today's Gospel, Jesus gets upset and speaks harshly to the leaders of the synagogue for their hardness of heart. Was he wrongly angry? Of course not. But his speech was justified in that it was meant to admonish, correct and "edify." To edify those stubborn souls.

So today I have spiritual food for thought. Maybe today I will be a little more aware of the ways in which I fall short of these precepts. Maybe today Christ will reach my hardened heart and change my stubborn ways. May Christ be evident in what I say AND what I don't say, whether it be to my family and friends or strangers, on the telephone or on my blog. May it all be edifying and impart grace.

I feel like I must. So let me say it. Amen. :)))

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Pumpkin Patching

Yesterday we went to our local pumpkin patch. The children enjoyed it and came home with a very nice pumpkin for carving. We look forward to doing that on All Saint's Day!

Never a dull moment

I tell you things just get more interesting around here all the time! Today we observed this teeny tiny spider catching this very large bug.

No we were not on a nature walk. Just in the kitchen (gives new meaning to bringing the outside indoors). These spiders like to hang out underneath the bottom cabinets, near the baseboards. I know they exist because I am forever vacuuming up the webs, but rarely have I actually seen one. And certainly not in action. This little one was very busy spinning and stunning. Nicole, Andrew and I sat and watched them for a while and took a few pictures.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

My Thoughts Exactly!

I could not have said it better myself!

Here is a wonderful post from a dear blogging friend.


Great Post

If you have not already read Melissa Wiley's post at the Lilting House, get to it!

It is a wonderful post about her "Rule of Six" which I had never noticed on her sidebar. I remember the words from Karen Andreola's book, but had never thought at the time to use them in such a beautiful meaningful way. I think I am going to have to think about these, possibly modify (maybe not) and then post the list EVERYWHERE!!!! I love it!

There is also a link in her post the Rule of Six Carnival. Really neat!

Would love to hear what you think.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Daily Mass

Well, I have always been a big chicken about this one (or at least since I have had children). I really desire to attend daily Mass, but never have out of fear that I would be unable to handle the great fiascoes that might ensue if It did brave it alone. I have been thinking about it a lot lately. I have thought about how Jacob and Nicole are getting better at Mass, esp. Jacob and how Andrew doesn't do so bad normally for the first half hour of Sunday Mass. And, you know, daily Mass IS shorter (I told the kids that this morning). I have to step to the back or out with Andrew on most Sundays, so why not just do that at daily Mass? I just have to drag them all along. :)) I want the children to love Mass and grow up attending more than just on Sundays.

So today I took the plunge. I got brave. Not to mention I found the daily morning Mass mecca for homeschoolers with small children. We got ourselves up as normal, ate our breakfast and then headed out the door for 9am Mass at a parish 10 minutes from here. The Mass at our parish is at 8:30am (a little harder to make) and not quite so populated with little bitties. Many of the families we know well from Opus Dei meetings or our local Catholic homeschool group attend daily Mass there and sure enough they were there today - kind of like my own little support group. It went very well, minus an angry outburst from Nicole, and I feel great about the whole experience.

I have decided we will start slowly. We will begin with one daily Mass each week - most likely Wednesday. Then we will slowly add on days as we (I) get braver. I watched the other moms I know and felt comfort in the fact that our children are much the same in their Mass behavior. And I do believe age makes a HUGE difference!

So, here begins another adventure. And I know God will reward us all, even if things go less than perfectly. We are there. We have a desire to love him and receive him. We are all growing. He knows our hearts and our intentions. And I know the graces will flow abundantly for our efforts.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Ten Random Facts Meme

Well, I was tagged by Melissa, so here it goes.

Ten Random Facts About Me:

1. I love, love, love to quilt, but really dislike any other types of sewing projects.

2. I never liked history in school, but really enjoy it now that I am sharing it with my family.

3. In college, I spent a month or so studying in Merida, Mexico.

4. I cannot stand driving next to orange construction cones and concrete barriers on the freeway.

5. I am not real good at getting the actual cleaning done, especially dusting (which I hate), but I am a stickler about having things in their place.

6. I did not play with baby dolls growing up. I did not know how to dress a doll for a very long time. Legos, trucks and stuffed animals were more my speed.

7. I am really enjoying swiss cheese right now.

8. I have said this before, but toothpaste anywhere but on the toothbrush or in the mouth thouroughly annoys me.

9. I love old things (a disease caught from my mom). Antique dishes, kitchen gadgets, furniture, books, etc.

10. I wear short sleeves and no shoes around the house in cold weather.

And now that I have had my turn, I tag mom-in-training, Mom of Boys, and Crafty Mom.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Just said

Jacob came and asked if they could watch a video. I said, "Not today." No fusses or pouting resulted.

Then I heard Jacob say in the playroom, "Nicole, we HAVE to find something to do."

Good thinking. That's why I drastically cut back TV viewing many months ago. So that they would get more practice at "finding something to do."

Rounding the bend

Well, I think as we begin another week in this great adventure here at home, we may also be almost recovered from illness. It has been a long, and frustrating at times, road to wind along. Each day that Jacob's cough persisted and his fever kept returning, I grew more weary of seeing this thing linger.

Last week, after Wednesday and Thursday with no fever, his fever returned Friday morning. He just looked like he didn't feel good. The doctor said we should come in and follow up again. We were scheduled to go in the late afternoon. By lunchtime his fever was gone, but we went anyway. They did another blood test like last Friday's and his white blood cell count was up from then, but not in the range of concern. The doctor said his lungs sounded much, much clearer. With all the data she had, including the knowledge that Nicole and I had been a sick, she concluded that Jacob had been getting over the bronchiolitis and then caught our little virus. It all made sense and I left happy, knowing at least that it wasn't the same thing coming back again. Thankfully his fever never returned and the weekend found us all basically well. Jacob still coughs and my symptoms are still annoying, but with my allergies and the weather changing back and forth I am not surprised they are lingering. We tried to keep things relatively low key this weekend and hope to get a quiet start to our school week. Jacob is excited to get back to his horseback riding lessons - he has missed them 2 weeks in a row.

I am thankful for this lull in the viruses. I am praying we are all 100% really soon and that we can remain so for a good while. I know it is cold and flu season and that illness is inevitable at times, but I can still hope and pray. Keep us in your prayers, as I do you all. May we all be saved from any serious illness.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


I tell you, I am loving it! My freezer, that is. I love the thing. I have been busy, busy, busy and it is filling up so nicely. It is so much fun and so rewarding to open up the back door, open up the freezer door and add a few more things to my stash. I love it!

I think I said a while back I would chronicle what I was doing. So here's the synopsis. Of course, I reorganized the inside refrigerator freezer, keeping only the daily necessity type things inside, like ice cream. Then I went to Sam's one day last week - something I haven't done in a while because I haven't had the space to make it worth my while. I bought 2 big bags of my very favorite Tyson frozen chicken breasts, 2 whole fresh young chickens (2 in a pack, great price), another bag of the oh, so essential chicken nuggets, a very large pizza, and 12 pounds of lean ground beef. I bought other stuff, but it was not for the freezer. The pizza, I figured out when I got home, needed to be baked soon and was not recommended for freezing. So I popped it in the oven and froze it cooked. Then I began the beef division process. :) In 2 bags I put a pound each, raw. In another 2 bags, I put 1.5 lbs raw (meatloaf requirement) and then I browned the other 7 lbs. I divided those into 1 lb bags. Yippee!

So that was the Sam's trip. Then I baked. Thursday the kids and I made Melissa's pumpkin chocolate chip cookies - a double batch! They were fantastic. I know Melissa talked about them on her blog and the recipe is also on Robin's blog. Well worth trying. I froze 2 dozen of those. Then Friday I made super easy Snickerdoodles. I froze 1.5 dozen. Then tonight I made pumpkin bread - my absolute favorite. My mom gave me the recipe and I don't know where it came from. Anyway, it makes 2 or 3 loaves depending on the size of the loaf pan. I froze one of the 2 I baked. Last, but not least, I made chicken spaghetti for dinner Thursday night. It makes a 9x13 dish and so I doubled it. We ate half over 2 nights. I froze another half and then also froze the other whole dish in halves.

It is so nice to know I have all this wonderful food out there. I am sure it costs a little more at the outset, but eventually it will really pay off. I also had two containers of my spaghetti sauce and two of my chili, which had been inside, as well as some cornbread. I have more things to try this week. I will let you know how it all goes.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Jacob Update

Well, tonight was the first night in 10 days he went to bed fever free. Not even 99.1! Nothing. I am hesitant to rejoice, but so thankful to God for this little break. I pray he is coming out of the woods now and that it will be all uphill for him.

On the other hand, Nicole was quite cranky and fussy tonight. I was suspect. I can spot a fever a mile away now. Who needs a thermometer? She said she didn't feel bad, but upon further medical investigation, she for sure had a fever. I am not surprised, though, since last night I began with a sore throat and nasal troubles. Hopefully Nicole and I will have the short lived version of whatever virus this happens to be.

On the up side, I am becoming more resilient to illness and a whole heck of a lot less in a tizzy about it! God does work in mysterious ways.

Ode to books

Melissa was talking about a bit of reorganizing today and mentioned clenaing out some books. Yes, I have done that too - just not very often. It got me gazing at my shelves, wondering what treasures I should order next from Amazon. Then I got a little inspired and a little silly. Following is the result of my silliness. Sorry Elizabeth Barrett Browning!

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the pages and cover and spine
And the smell of a new one, leave me feeling so divine;
For the knowledge they impart each and every day.

I love thee as thee arrive by UPS at my door
Waiting to be loved, by children and their kin.
I love thee truly, no matter what shape thee are in;
I love thee abundantly, scattered across the floor.

I love thee with the passion put to use
In reading stacks daily, imparting childhood joy.
I love thee faithfully as my children choose you
First and foremost everyday, better than any toy.
Wonderful books fill our lives and, space permitting,
I shall love thee as I continue to fill our shelves till splitting.

Here are a few photos. These do not include the shelves in the kids room (smaller) and the miscellaneous books scattered here there on tabletops and in drawers.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Well, no one telephoned at 6:30pm to see if I was slowing. So I'll tell you. I was. At 6:30 we were walking in from ballet with an armful of fundraiser notecards and calendars. It was late, but dinner and that dessert in the refrigerator I was dying to sample kept me moving along. We ate dinner and I cleaned up the kitchen. There were an awful lot of rice grains and buttery peas on the floor. I stood staring at them for a while and then decided to call Jacob in for a little reinforcement help. He reluctantly retrieved the great majority of it and I am thankful. Didn't think I had the strength to bend over once more. I scrubbed the heck out of my crockpot and then ushered all three little ones up for bed. Brian was out for the evening and so I was on my own. By this time my allergies were causing me lots of grief and I'm not even sure the kids could understand the words of their bedtime books. It's ok, they've heard them many times before.

After hugs and kisses and a nice shower, I am downstairs - here in front of my computer - a veggie. The kids are in bed (I can't promise Nicole is asleep, but she's quiet), the kitchen is clean enough and my leg hurts. I really should be upstairs working on a quilt for a gift, but I'm not sure I'll get there. I can hear the sofa calling my name.

All said and done this day has been really good. Jacob is still not all well and not every moment was perfect, but I am blessed. I am blessed that God gave me an extra boost of energy today to help me accomplish the things I had on my list and more. It doesn't happen every day, but again I wonder is that my fault usually and not God's. It's so easy to postpone, procrastinate, waste time and I am good at it. I am blessed to have my husband who willing put those sheets back on Jacob's bed, knowing it is not easy for me. I am blessed to have wonderful children who generally obey, help out and love each other with ease. I am blessed to be tired and achy because of this baby. I am blessed to have this productive day so that on those days when I feel down because I feel I can't get anything done, I can look back on it and remember that days like this do happen. I am blessed. Yes, blessed.

Law of Nature

For any of you who might be thinking, "Wow, is she productive today or what??????" or other such thoughts, I issue a warning!

It is a well known basic law of nature that one very productive day will almost always be followed by one or more very, VERY unproductive ones. Especially for those of us who are pregnant! In fact check back with me around 6:30pm after ballet and I might have already begun the day early.


Yeah! I have just finished cleaning out all my "Favorites" folders for the internet! Well, all that is except for the "Homeschool" folder - that will take me an eternity!

Brian? Your turn! :))

Oh, aren't they cute??

And for those of you who can't get enough of my kidos, here's the latest installment.

Gotta figure out why they are all coming out fuzzy/hazy. I think it might have to do with some greasy handed little people who like to take dazzling photos. :)

Tuesday thus far...


Beds made and morning routine completed

Few emails typed and flying through cyberspace

Lessons pretty much completed

All Jacob's bed laundry washed and dried (still needs to get on the bed)

Load of kids' clothes waiting to go in dryer

Lovely paintings in secondary colors completed and enjoyed

Pumpkin dessert in the oven (gotta remember to pull the cool whip out of the freezer)

Dinner is in the crockpot


Vacuum downstairs and mop (after lunch, of course)

Read with the kids

Fold kids' laundry

Put some stuff in my new freezer (!!!!!!)

Miscellaneous other odd tasks

Take a nap!

I'd say, so far so great! :)


It is quiet this morning. I have been awake since 5am. Out of bed since 5:40am. The house is peaceful now at 6:40am. I really do enjoy this time of quiet. It's not that our home is never quiet - it is. But there's something about the morning when it's dark. I am thankful for this time to pray, reflect, have a cup of coffee. Waking up this early makes me more tired as the day goes on, but I enjoy it just the same. I need it. I think God needs it - to speak to my busy self.

Jacob woke up at 5am coughing quite a lot. He is still fighting the bronchitis. Lately, if he does wake during the night coughing, he stops quickly and falls back asleep. But this morning at 5am I think he wasn't quite as sleepy and so his coughing lasted longer as he wasn't able to drift back off. I was encouraged yesterday late afternoon because there was no fever, but then closer to bedtime it started creeping up again. I know it may take a while for him to beat it (one dr. website said 2 weeks), but I feel sad for him. Thankfully he does not get worse. For the most part he goes about his day normally and happily, but I know he would enjoy an end to the coughing and the fevers. I keep praying and may touch base with the doctor again this afternoon, but I think this may just be harder to fight than a normal cold. Poor little guy.

Well, I am sure my quiet will not last indefinitely and I should take advantage of the time I have left to get myself ready and dressed.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Freezing Cold!!!


Not the weather - that would be unheard of in the middle of October, much less November.

Our freezer is freezing. Yes, we brought home our new upright freezer last night from Lowes. It has a happy home now in our garage right as I open the back door. Couldn't be more convenient. I am so excited!

So now I begin the great freezer adventure! I plan to fill it with such industriousness! I have many plans. We just plugged it in this evening (had to wait 24 hours) and by morning (actually 4 hours, but I'm not staying up till midnight to fill it) it should be happily ready to receive our goods. I have some things already to transfer from the refrigerator freezer and then tomorrow evening I plan to make a trip to Sam's for some meats, etc. that I haven't had room to keep much of on hand. And my first meal to double this week will be chicken spaghetti (at my husband's request).

A dear, sweet friend of mine has so many wonderful freezer ideas and I can't wait to try them! I will post them as I do. Let me know if you have anything you do!

Happy freezing!

And the fever continues

Well, poor Jacob is still battling his illness. I took him on Friday afternoon to the doctor and they did a blood test (no infection) and a breathing treatment. It seems he has bronchitis caused by a virus. It may take a while longer to beat this thing from what I understand - via doctor and internet. Yesterday and today during the afternoons he continued to have some fever. I am so ready to see him be done with this illness. I know he is probably even more ready. It just makes me sad to know he has been sick in some form or fashion for 2 weeks now. Generally, though, he is in good spirits and goes about his normal business. Jacob still needs all our prayers and I thank you in advance for them.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Nothing quite like....

little people spending the morning playing Army battle to the glorious sounds of Tchaikovsky.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


The author, Douglas Florian, has actually written bunches of similar books on different subjects. Found a bunch at the library. Can't wait to investigate. Praise God for libraries or this serious bookaholic would have been in serious debt long ago! :))

Newly added

I just added another new book to my sidebar, Insectlopedia. A really fun book of insect paintings and poetry. Some are really humorous. Jacob and Nicole got a big kick out of it. Jacob took it upon himself to copy out and memorize his favorite poem.


Mosquitoes are thin.
Mosquitoes are rude.
They feast on your skin
for takeout food.

Heeee heee heee. He is so proud of himself! So am I, his mother. He spoke to both of his grandmothers on the telephone and proudly recited it for them too. See his spirits are quite cheery.

Fever Still

Well, Jacob still had fever again this afternoon. The Dr. told me Monday morning that if he had fever by Wednesday, to call. This makes 4 days of fever - unusual for him or anyone else in our family. It was a tough call because I was only getting 99.6 or 99.8, but to me that's still fever. His spirits are cheery, even though he still has his cough. He came down with the coughing virus 2 Saturdays ago (so he's been coughing about a week and a half) and then this past Saturday, he came down with a fever. I went ahead and called - like my sister said, "Call or go in and let them decide what they think." Good advice. The Dr. still really believes he is just trying to fight off two vruses and that usually with a bacterial infection, the fever is 101 or higher. On Monday when they checked him he was clear and clean - no infection. Makes sense. She told me to watch him tomorrow and bring him in on Friday if we have more of the same tomorrow. I am not too worried just sad for him and wishing he could get over all this.

I know you are all praying, but please continue. God bless you all.


Praying for a day without any. Poor Jacob. Please pray too.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Soaring to Great Heights

According to this height predictor, my children will be approximately the following heights at age 18.

Jacob (currently 5 3/4 years and 49 inches tall) will be 6'3".

Nicole (currently 3 1/2 years and 41 inches tall) will be 5'9".

Andrew (currently 16 months and 31 inches tall) will be about 5'7".
(we had to do a little forecasting on him, but seems reasonable)

What a variety of heights! I fully expected Jacob to be way taller than me at 5'4", but would not have thought Nicole could be anywhere near 5'9". Too funny and lots of fun!

Martha and Mary

Today's Gospel presents us with the familiar story of Jesus' visit to Mary and Martha in Bethany. Martha is busy serving. Mary sits at the feet of Jesus. Recall these words?

"Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen he better part and it will not be taken from her."

How often Jesus must shake his head at me and say, "Oh, Celeste, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing." Period. End of statement. I can picture Jesus standing there, staring at me after saying those words - silent, serene. "But, Lord! What is that one thing? What is that one thing I need? Huh? Huh?"

As I thought this morning (dangerous, I know), I realized that maybe there isn't just ONE thing I need at all times and in all circumstances. Yes, I need Jesus. I know. But what I mean is that when Jesus utters these words to me in my heart of hearts, He is wanting me to look at the moment and see, "What is the one thing I need right now?" I am concerned over a sick child - pouring drinks, inquiring as to their status every 5 minutes, taking temperatures often. I am anxious and worried. What is the one thing needed just then? If I look I might see that what is really needed is a favorite book reading session or a Mommy who just sits on the sofa next to her sickie and enjoys episode after episode of "The Cisco Kid." Now I know it doesn't mean we do nothing, never serve. But I do believe we miss so many simple opportunities to sit at the feet of Jesus when we are overconcerned and blinded by daily life and its myriad tasks. Essentially, we need to be both a Martha and a Mary, with maybe a little more attention on the Mary half since our society calls us to be so Martha-ish.

There are so many concerns in daily life that call for our attention - scream, might I add. Yet, so often maybe we miss that "one thing." Today I pray that the Holy Spirit will give me the inspiration I need at those moments when I really need to look for that one thing.

P.S. We are still battling sickness here. Jacob has been coughing for 9 days and Saturday afternoon began with a fever. Really thinking virus had turned to infection, we went to the doctor yesterday. He was clear and clean. We left with a new cough medicine. As of last night he still had a fever. He seems to feel better, but the cough lingers and the fever still hangs on. They said call tomorrow afternoon if the fever hasn't left. We'll see. I so want him to be well. Pray that he will get well and that we will all stay well. Pray too that I may not be anxious and worried about many things.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Things going on in school

Reading/phonics: lots of reading aloud, still working through Alphaphonics (almost done), Jacob reading just about anything he sets his mind to. Last night when we came in from ballet and before dinner, the older 2 immediately sat down with a book of poetry. Jacob read to Nicole. Brian laughed and said, "Gee, I don't know about all this reading they do. It might not be good for them." :) I agreed. "Yeah, maybe we should take away the books and encourage more TV watching!" HAHAHAHAHA

Math: Addition, money, measuring in inches, place value counting by tens and on and on and on. Time to pull out the Tangrams again. Got a cool new book!

Science: We have been learning about seeds, flowers and trees. We do lots and lots of reading. I love nature books. We are growing kidney bean plants. About 3 weeks old now and absolutely amazingly fast growers. We are trying apple seeds, but I doubt they'll work. Yesterday we did tree bark rubbings and soon we'll have to collect leaves (but first they need some color change).

Handwriting: lots of letter practice, writing The Litany to the Holy Name of Jesus line by line each day.

Religion: We read the Golden Children's Bible little bits each day and then he periodically narrates to me what he has read. Then he illustrates his retelling of the stories. We just finished reading about St. Francis and we read lots of religious books often.

Jacob has memorized 2 poems by Robert Louis Stevenson and is illustrating them in a poetry notebook. We are also studying some fine art paintings. Yesterday I had each of them pick their favorite from the six and make up a story about it. I copied it down for them and then tomorrow they will try their hand at copying the paintings (maybe with pastels) and attach them to the stories.

And then we read. Read. Read. Read. We just finished D'Aulaire's book on Benjamin Franklin. We love their books. The exhibit on Benjamin Franklin at the Houston Museum of Natural Science begins on October 13th and we are planning on going!

I am really enjoying our homeschool adventure. It is fun. It is not always easy, but I love watching them learn and grow and take interest in things like tree bark and Benjamin Franklin. Jacob looks forward to his daily lessons and is always proud to tell others that he does homeschool.

I thank God for this opportunity to teach my precious children about him and the world he created and the history he has been a part of.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

We start them early here

Before anyone calls CPS, I must warn you this is all voluntary on his part. In fact, he comes running from the other room each time the dishwasher is opened in hopes that the dishes are clean and not dirty. He loves doing it! Of course, nothing dangerous or sharp involved.

He is such a natural helper. He helps because he somehow sees a need and does so willingly. I know this phenomenon might come to an end someday, so I plan to enjoy it while it lasts!

A Morning Done Right (courtesy of God)

* early morning with a nice chunk of quiet prayer time.

* cheerful children who got up and got ready without complaints.

* good news from a dear friend. :)

* a 16 month old (just turned today) who actually ate a good breakfast.

* coffee with a heaping helping of pumpkin pie spice coffee creamer

* a nice loud jam session and plenty of praise with Matt Maher.

Thank you Jesus for all the blessings that abound - DAILY!!!!!

Monday, October 02, 2006

And a few more words

This morning as I read and prayed, I came across some quotes that seem to fit so well into what I said last night.

This week the Scripture for the First Reading at Mass tells the story of Job. While I cannot compare my sufferings with those of Job, of course the theme applies. My sufferings are miniscule in comparison to his and to those of many in our world.

My meditation book said the following:

Today is a good time to examine what our feelings toward God are when we experience disgrace or suffering, or both. God is always our loving Father, even when we are sorely afflicted. Do we behave as grateful sons and daughters in good times and bad times alike, in sickness and in health?

The closing prayer in the morning prayer says:

Almighty Father, you have brought us to the light of a new day: keep us safe the whole day through from every sinful inclination. May all our thought, words and actions aim at doing what is pleasing in your sight.

I think this gives me something to work with for today. God bless you all.

Hope in God; I will praise him still, my Savior and my God. Psalm 42

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Feast of St. Therese

Today is such a wonderful feast - St. Therese, our Little Flower. I read with the children a sweet book we have about her childhood, St. Therese in Jesus' Garden, and, as a family, we watched parts of the movie, Therese. The children love learning about the lives of the saints.

As I read our story and watched the movie, I was reminded about Therese and her "Little Way." I know she desired to be a saint and was quite holy, but yet she is known for her little sacrifices and offerings. She made her way to holiness through the little things of every day. The difficult tasks done cheerfully, the small mortifications, and the little kindnesses done for others that no one would notice - all these offered up to Jesus. And she prayed - prayed heartily for the conversion of sinners that she did not even know. Her way was little, yet so big!

If only I could be so little. So many times I cannot even do these little things that she did so well. She once lamented at her sinfulness for taking the largest piece of cake after dinner one night. Boy, do I have a long way to go! :)

For me, the past several days of sickness in the house and especially today, have shown me how much I need to focus on being more like Therese and following her little way. As common as childhood viruses are, (and I must say I have improved in my dealing with them in a less worried manner), I still find myself wearied and frustrated when everyone seems under the weather and not quite well. Today is a great example. Andrew still has a poor appetite, Jacob is coughing (but happy), Nicole is tired, I am fighting allergies and possibly a little cold too, and now Brian has had a fever and is somewhat sick. Today I felt as though I'd had enough. I felt lonely and tired and sick of sick. Yes, yes, it's only been 5 days and not too horrendous, but it does wear on a mother. I don't think the wrong, though, is in the feelings of weariness or frustration, but in my failure to accept the difficulties (the Cross) and go about my "little way" with joy and peace. Instead, I'm teary, I snap at the children, I fuss over spilled water (of course, it did all land in my freshly served dinner plate), I sigh lots and lots, I am less than understanding (like this virus is anyone's fault), and I have a general dissatisfaction for the service I am called to. That just about sums. I cannot focus on the little way because I am too focused on little me - LITTLE me.

So here I sit tonight. There are still a few toys to pick up, a dishwasher to empty and reload, coffee to make and a grocery list to prepare. But the children are happily asleep, the house is quiet, and Brian is content watching football in bed :) So I pick myself up. I pray to our Lady and St. Therese for a new resolve and a joy that can be found in forgetting me and looking to all the little people and little needs that can be cared for with love and offering.

I pray for you. You pray for me.