Friday, November 30, 2007

Slow Motion

That would be my blogging speed.

I am still here.

I do still care.

I do not know where all my free time disappeared to in the last two months. I've lost it and I can't seem to find it.

I plan to post more often. I am devising a plan and a time. Half asleep between the hours of three and four in the morning.

I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.

P.S. I was going to post a really cute photo of one of the little reasons why I haven't written much lately but I cannot find the little memory stick converter thingy so I can download a few photos. I dropped it behind the desk and I give up trying to find it. Soon. I promise.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Two cute photos

Photo Number One
Entitled: Life Is Changing

Photo Number Two
Entitled: The Squirrel Feeder Isn't Near As Much Fun

Happy Thanksgiving to You!

Long time no blog - I know. I can't believe how little I have written lately. I am not sure if I am just busy or lazy. :)

I couldn't let this wonderful holiday slip by without a greeting to you all. Jacob has memorized this poem over the last few weeks and was so excited for me to record his performance. He loved to know that you would be hearing his special poem on my blog!

We are taking a nice break from everything school this week. We have read some Thanksgiving books. We baked Banana Bread yesterday and Cranberry-Orange Bread today. Tomorrow morning we will have a lovely bread breakfast - both of these kinds plus some pumpkin bread from the freezer. I can't wait!

We made a fun little turkey craft today. The kids needed a lot of help with it, but they liked the results.

This evening they helped bake the pumpkin pie for our celebration with Brian's parents tomorrow. It turned out beautiful! They are such wonderful kitchen helpers. Every time we cook,I enjoy their help more and more. I think the more I relax and let them be kids in the kitchen, the more I enjoy it.

I stayed up last night and finished the binding on my fall table runner (see above photo). Yippee! Just in time for Thanksgiving! I guess next year, I will enjoy it all during fall. Just so I can be sure of finishing my Christmas table topper at least two days before Christmas, I started today!

We are so looking forward to our day tomorrow! The weather will be turning cold while we sleep. It is fun ti anticipate waking up to cold and cocoa and yummy bread. We will pray the Responsorial Psalm from the Thanksgiving Day Mass and then we will be off to give thanks with family.

I pray your day is blessed and full of joy and thanksgiving!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sometimes I assign a writing project for Jacob (poem, story, facts for a lapbook). When he has to type facts or copy things on the computer, he does fine. Often times a creative writing project gets lots of complaints.

"I can't think of anything."

"I don't know what to write next."

Those are not fun assignments for either of us. So today Jacob came to me on his own and asked to type a story. I practically ran to the computer and got the word processor going. He had an idea. He was motivated. And the result? Absolutely wonderful, priceless, creative, thoughtful and even really well done grammatically. I love it!

This is Jacob's first draft. We corrected it and printed it out.

When the time of the bears coms.

When the time of the bears coms you will see all the anumols runing away afraid of being eaten.
When the time of the bears coms you will hear the big stomps of the bears and you must run away for they might eat you up.
When the time of the bears coms you will feel the breth of the bears and run.
When the time of the bears coms you will smell the bears and you will not like it.
When the time of the bears coms you will taste the bears meat and you will love it. The end.

I guess this is a perfect example of child-led learning. And I really like it. But I don't think it works for everything. If I sat around and waited for Jacob to be inspired to do his handwriting, we'd be in trouble. And I believe some writing projects must be assigned. But I do believe in capitalizing on the moments like these. If you were here, you would have heard lots of praise and compliments. Well deserved.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Home Safe

The shuttle we watched launch into space on the 23rd of October is now home safe and sound! Praise God for a super and safe mission!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


I really like the Light Southwestern Style Vegetable Soup!!!

Andrew ABCs

The ending sung to the familiar ABC tune.

"ABCs. Next time I'm going to sing with you!"

Holidays in Review

I think I'm catching up. I think I'm catching up. I think I'm catching up!

Halloween jumped up on us rather quickly and was gone in a flash - along with our quickly rotting jack-o-lanterns. Thankfully, I had done some Halloween costume preparation before our trip. So Tuesday and Wednesday we spent time on the little details. Jacob and I made his robot costume. (Brian was a robot for Halloween once when he was growing up.) I cut the box and covered it and Jacob did most of the decorating. It was fun making a homemade costume.

Nicole wanted to be a flower fairy. I had found the tu-tu at Wal-Mart earlier in the month. I pulled up her hair, put flowers in it and made her a flower wand.

Andrew was a "towboy" (all his c's are t's)! And what a cutie he was. I think he really understood the whole dress-up, trick-or-treat idea this year. He really understood once the candy started filling his bag.

Brian took the kids trick-or-treating. Michael and I stayed home, cleaned up from dinner and handed out candy bags. This Halloween didn't seem near as busy as in years past, but it was fun. I sent all the chocolate with Brian today. I was slowing eating it all! Not good for someone counting Weight Watchers points.

All Saints Day came and went about as quickly! We started the day with 9 am Mass. After some brief lessons, we attempted to make little Saint dolls. I had noticed some people out in cyberspace were going to be making "spoon Saints" to celebrate the Feast. I love them. They are so precious. But I knew I would be totally frustrated working in such miniature, especially with my brood of "minis" making them. So I set about devising another option - that very morning! (Why do I do this?) I love the idea - just larger!

So....... I found these printable doll bodies and made some copies on cardstock (I decided to use the one on the right only so with some cutting and recopying, I put two on a page.) Then I set about making cardstock clothing templates. I drew these up as we went along. Then the kids used the templates to make their Saint's clothing out of colored construction paper. We added some other details that I drew for them and glued everything to the doll. Here's how they turned out! Andrew's has a bit too much stray glue and pencil marks, but still cute.

St. Michael the Archangel

St. Barbara

St. Andrew

They were so much fun to make that I spent a large portion of the rest of my day creating lots of other generic "saint-type" clothing templates. I would like to make these available to you all as a PDF file, but I have yet to get the templates to scan the correct size. If worse comes to worse, you can let me know you want copies and I will mail them to you. The nice thing is that the clothing fits these little dolls perfectly and you can use the templates year after year. Imagine the little collection of saints you could grow!

We read and talked about Saints and read this book for the first time. Later that afternoon we had an invitation to our very first ever Apple Tasting Party at Robin's house. That was a fun time! The kids loved eating all the different types of apples and comparing them. What a neat way to add something special to such a special Feast Day!

That evening after dinner we carved our Jack-o-lanterns. Always messy. Always fun. This year the kids designed their own faces all on their own. I wondered how they would turn out. We were all pleased with the results. We had pumpkin cake for dessert and I roasted most of the pumpkin seeds seasoned them according to this recipe. The kids even like them!

We had a fun several days, although they were crazy busy. Now we have the wonderful Thanksgiving holiday to look forward to! I can taste it now!

God bless you all dear friends!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Brotherly Love and Care

The kids fight over who can help feed Michael.

I am so glad.

Just one of many reasons that brothers and sisters are good things.

Nothing surprises me anymore

I guess Monkey got tired of that humid jungle heat.

To Florida and Back

Yes, I know, I left you hanging once again. I have so wanted to post about our trip since we returned home, but last week was so very busy and full, I never got the chance. We spent last Monday cleaning up and putting away all the stuff we had taken. Thankfully Brian was home to help out with all that. But then Tuesday we began scurrying to catch up on school work, attend different activities, do laundry and prepare for Halloween and All Saints Day. Then there was our homeschool co-op on Friday as usual. Saturday Robin and I attended the quilt show (another whole post). And Sunday we were cheerfully occupied with Mass, a birthday party and a couple of errands. Last night I was finally able to stay up for a while, sort through our vacation photos and create a slide show. There were so many photos I wanted to share, I thought this was the best way to show them. Hopefully it's not one big bore!

Today we are off to a much more normal start. We got going earlier this morning and are now completed with most of our work for the day. The kids all got up at their normal times, around 7:30 am. The problem is that now 7:30 am is 6:30 am. Oh, well. It has been a good morning so far. The kids are absolutely loving the pleasant weather we've been having since we returned home. They have played outside so much - something they couldn't and didn't want to do all summer. They are taking pillows and blankets and books to the playset and just laying on the fort part. It is a blessing to have such lovely weather. I think tomorrow the temperatures will drop some and I know they will love that!

Once upon a time I thought I would compose a long, reflective, thoughtful post about our trip and all we did. But now I see that just ain't gonna happen. My brain cells are seriously lacking and I don't think I have it in me to do that kind of post. Plus, I want to move on. There are other things I want to post. So some scattered thoughts will have to suffice.

By far, the most memorable part of the trip was the shuttle launch - the whole reason for the trip in the first place. It was an amazing thing to experience and made you feel a great sense of awe and wonder for the incredible minds God has given to humans. Such great minds that could dream up and create and actually get man into outer space.

We made the trek to Florida because a while back Brian had won an award for some work he had done. The award was a trip to see the shuttle launch for him and a guest. Well, he wanted to take more than one guest. For a long time we couldn't figure out how to make it work. There were a number of events that only Brian and a guest over 18 could attend - long tours, tour bus, etc. I couldn't go to these and take Michael along (he kind of still needs me around). So we devised a grand plan to ALL go and take Brian's parents.

We all stayed in a two bedroom, two bathroom villa at the hotel where the awards events were hosted - way fun!

The evening we arrived, Brian took his mom with him to a fancy dinner for all the award recipients from NASA and the various contractors. His dad and I stayed back and got tired kids in bed.

The next morning, his parents stayed with all the kids while Brian and I went to a lovely awards breakfast for the recipients from his company.

The next day, there was an all day tour of Kennedy Space Center. Brain took his dad to that while Brian's mom and I took the kids swimming.

The next day we had to prepare for the launch. Brian and his dad went on the tour bus to the VIP viewing area at Banana Creek. His mom and I took the kids to another location to wait for the launch. This special Space View park was in a town called Titusville about a mile further away from the shuttle than Brian and his dad.

The shuttle was set to launch at 11:38am on the 23rd, but there was only a 40% chance go for that day. We were a little nervous we might really have to leave and not see the shuttle launch. We knew all along that was a risk, but the reality of it was sad. The kids and Gamma and I arrived at the park around 10am and got settled. Then we waited. I was amazed how quickly the time passed, all the while wondering if we'd be making this crazy trek again the next day. At some point, things were go for launch and then the anticipation really built up! It sunk in. This is really going to happen! Then the time flew by. There was 20 minutes. Then 10 minutes. All of sudden there was only 5 minutes until liftoff. I recall that at T minus 4 minutes, I was scrambling to find my glasses. What a difference corrective vision makes! The time leading up to the launch, those very last minutes are so exciting and sooooo emotional. Then it goes. And before you know it, the shuttle is just a speck in the blue sky. And only a short 8 or so minutes later, the main engines shutoff and the shuttle reaches orbit. We all commented on how QUICKLY it is all over and done. And then it almost feels odd to pack it up and leave shortly thereafter. Brian got some fantastic video. Once home, we played it through our stereo speakers at a high volume level and we could really experience the same sounds and feelings Brian did.

I am so thrilled we all got to have this wonderful launch experience. I was nervous about the whole thing before we left on the trip, but as the days went by I was more and more glad with each of those days that we had all come to Florida. It was a wonderful time for our family!

We did so many other things aside from the launch. I guess I will just list some of my favorite things.

1. Staying in the villa was majorly wonderful. So much room to spread out, a full kitchen and a washer/dryer!

2. The slide at the hotel pool was way too fun. I am not sure who went down more - me or the kids.

3. The car ride was better than I ever could have expected. Perfect? No. Manageable, pleasant and fun? You bet. I would so do it again!

4. Sharing Epcot with the kids was lots of fun. We didn't even care that it rained on us most of the time. Someday we really look forward to going back and doing the whole thing!

5. Downtown Disney was neat too! From those of you who live nearby, think Kemah on steroids.

6. It was a blessing to have no computer with email and internet, no normal life to keep me occupied, no chores begging to be done. We all spent more time just enjoying each other.

7. The Atlantic was lovely - much the way I remember it looking on our honeymoon. But we did not like the teeny tiny flying bugs that bit us in the parking lot! What were those anyway????

8. We so enjoyed traveling with Gamma and Pappa.

9. Pensacola Beach is gorgeous!!!!! The beaches are to die for! For those of you who are familiar with our local Galveston beach - THIS IS NOT THE SAME GULF OF MEXICO!!!! We are going back very soon to spend more time and see the sights in the area.

10. Peanut butter and jelly at home has never tasted so good!