Saturday, April 12, 2014

Holy Week 2014

Confession, mass, spring cleaning, and family will be the order of the week.

May God bless your Holy Week.

See you at Easter!

Sweet Pea's Visit to Portland

24 hours in Portland.  I am exhausted.  It was a thoroughly draining trip and being on the other side of it, I wonder if it would not have been best to stay one more night and rest before heading home again.

Of course, the bed in our hotel was about as comfortable as a piece of dry plywood, so rest would probably have not been in the cards.

I do love Portland.  It honestly doesn't seem like a city, well besides all the people.  ALL. THE. PEOPLE.  I am not good around all those people.  In fact, I will probably be recovering for a good week.  Even Sweet Pea, as we drove into Portland yelled angrily out the window that there were too many cars there.  Yes, sweetie, mommy agrees.

As for our visit to Doernbechers, one quick exam and we knew Sweet Pea's issues.  The bad news is they are not fixable.  It is something that happens occasionally and is not something that can be surgically corrected.  For most children who have this issue, they outgrow their struggles by about school-age. 

It was a huge relief to hear that she has no food allergies, no celiac, and no thyroid issues.  But she does have to stay on medicine and actually add more to her regimen.

Thank you so much for your prayers.  Hopefully in the course of the next few years she will be medicine free.  At least that is our sincere prayer.

Friday, April 11, 2014

{this moment} April 11, 2014

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

{yarn along} April 9, 2014 & A Prayer Request

 After yesterday's announcement, I bet you were thinking something pink?  Not yet.  There will be plenty in the next months, believe you me!

I am back to reading Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World.  I enjoy it, but I am at the part where she is talking about work.  She is talking a lot about how her blog supports her whole family and that really blows my mind.  If only I was that good, lol!  I am also working my way through the last three units of Connecting with History, Volume 1.  We are going to be wrapping that up over the rest of spring and summer.  I am looking forward to it and feeling more on the homeschool ball once again!  Yea me!

I am still working on my Monsoon.  I haven't gotten very far.  I had to frog quite a bit and start over (again and again and again).  But I think I am getting it now.  I am just starting the lace.

And a prayer request.

I am leaving today to head up to the children's hospital again.  This time for a different child.  Sweet Pea had had stomach issues since she was about nine months old and we have been unable to get a firm diagnosis on the problem.  The poor baby ended up in the ER awhile back because of it.

Ah, the things a mother will do to make her child giggle... 
So please, say a few prayers for her.  I don't know what testing they will do and how hard it will be on her.  She is only three and it will be hard to help her understand.

Thank you!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Boy or Girl?

Since I am soooo old (or so they keep telling me) I have to have extra tests done this pregnancy.  One of which is actually a DNA test and will, this early (12 weeks), tell me if we are having a boy or a girl.

So, yesterday morning I got the call.  Baby looks strong and healthy with no complication and it's a...


I wanted to do something special this time.  I was going to do something special to tell everyone I was pregnant, but it was such a high stress time that I ended up blurting it out in tears one night because I had a tummy ache.  Hormones are so much fun.

Anyway, I scoured the internet trying to see if I could find something fabulous, and decided to go with what Charlotte did over at Waltzing Matilda.  I was going to make cupcakes!

Any excuse, right?

Voting was Boy: 4 and Girl: 5
I printed off a little chart so everyone could vote and stuck it up, then, skipped off to the store and bought my favorite gluten free mix (because since I got pregnant that has been something that has gotten worse).  While the cupcakes cooled, after a good 25 minute bake, I took everyone (and the kitchen sink) to where they needed to go and then ended up taking the cupcakes back to my bedroom to fill them in secret.

I cleared off my dresser and whipped up a little bowl filled with colored vanilla frosting.  The best part, was when I grabbed the box with food coloring in it, there was blue spilled inside, so I got a bit on my hands...

I knew that unless I wanted to wear gloves until we ate the cupcakes I was going to have to break out the red, so I didn't give anything away.  I was even so prepared!  I had surgical gloves to wear while making and using the frosting so I would give nothing away!

I don't have any really cool cake decorating stuff, so I found this cool you tube video (which I cannot find now, of course!) where the lady used an apple corer to take out the middle.  Then she used a fancy piping bag to fill them.

I used a green baby spoon.

When you use the apple corer you pull out a bit of a plug, so I put those all on a plate, then I filled the inside, finally, you can break that little cork to make it smaller and put it back!  Wipe off the top and then frost the cupcake as usual!

I wanted to be careful to wipe them off really well, since I didn't have a handy-dandy piping bag, because I was using white frosting and if any color leaked through, it would give it away!

After I did this, no one wanted to wait for after dinner, even though it was in the oven at that very moment.  So we gathered around the table.

Sorry, the video is so dark!  The funny part was Lily saw my hand before I added the red dye.  She thought it was a boy!

It was a lot of fun and the rest of the evening involved discussing names and different saints we could name our baby after.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Thankful Thursday ~ April 3, 2014

 I am joining Jamie today to share some  

Thankful for free coloring pages!

  Let me see your face!  There it is!

 Thankful for little readers...

Thankful for all the laughs they bring me.

Thankful for allergy medicine approved by doctors and that works!

Thankful for women not afraid to go grey.  Like Kendra and Tracey.

Hmmm... I tried to capture mine, but for some reason, the camera doesn't think it is as bad as I do.  Although I am trying embracing it.

Thankful for two year olds who wear socks on their hands for no good reason.  You should have heard the fit he threw when I tried to take them off before I took him to the store the other day.  I didn't want people to think he was OCD or something.  But then, he is my son.  

We won't go into my OCD tendencies.

And finally!  Thankful for baby bumps!  This one is almost 12 weeks.  Impressive, huh?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

{yarn along} ~ April 2, 2014

I finished Lost Lake!  It was a bit disappointing.  I like Sarah Addison Allen, but this book fell a bit flat.  I was not too happy with the ending, it felt rushed.  I loved the characters very much, especially Eby.  But there were a lot of characters and she went into all their back stories, so it felt kind of disjointed in the end and not everyone's story seemed to finish.  So now I am floating here in a land of not knowing what to read next.

I finally got a copy of How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare!  I have been wanting this book forever, but I am rather burned out on education reading and am craving some fiction goodness.  Who knows what I will come up with.  Any recommendations?

Knitting!  Wow, I am so in love.  This yarn.  This yarn!  Madelinetosh Pashmina.  It is so soft and light and look at that color.  LOOK AT IT!  It is perfectly named: Tart. 

I am making the Monsoon shawl from the latest edition of Interweave Knits.  It is a huge shawl that will be perfect for wrapping up in come October with a little newborn baby.  I am thinking of saving it for the hospital, so it will be for both me and the baby.  A shawl/ baby blanket.

So what are you working on?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Amy Caroline's Daybook ~ April Fool's 2014, No Kidding!

Light reading for Rose's spring break

Outside my window...
The sun is starting to come up.  It has been blustery and cold here lately.  We also got a lot of rain which was very much needed!

I am thankful for...
Lent.  It really gives me a chance to think about the how and why of the things I do.  It is a difficult time, but a time that helps us focus on how God can be more present in our lives and how He speaks to us in our everyday.

I am thinking about...
Gulp.  I haven't kept one of my Lenten promises.  I know, I know.  It was the veiling thing.  Life has been a bit overwhelming.  My faith is being tested sometimes and I couldn't help but feel that, while I love the practice and everything behind veiling, I was not up to being a crusader right now.  I was actually afraid that standing out right now and making a statement was going to actually harm my faith more than help it. 
Now, I believe that veiling is a beautiful and ancient practice that is respectful of God and His church.  I applaud all women who do it. It is not very common in our region to see women veiling, however, and I just felt completely overwhelmed.
So instead, I am trying not to yell.  I don't yell that much, like in anger, I have come to realize.  I mostly yell just to be heard! Yesterday, trying to get everyone to the table and be heard over playtime was like pinning a cloud upon the sand, so to speak.

From the kitchen...
There is no half and half.  There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth this morning.

I am creating...
a Monsoon.  Sounds pretty cool huh?  I keep making mistakes on it, nothing terrible, but this shawl might not end up just like the original.  I know have 11 more stitches than I should.  I am not sure if this should worry me, or if I should just go for it.  Should I embrace its uniqueness?  If I pull it out that will be the fourth start on this!
I am praying for...
Sweet Pea.  We have to take her up to the children's hospital next week.  There are no pediatric gastroenterologist (whoosh, say that five times fast) within 5 hours of here.  But we finally after years of trouble got a referral and will hopefully find out just exactly what is wrong with Sweet Pea.

And a friend's son who is have some medical testing done.

I am hearing...
Oh, I just heard a door open on the other side of the house.  Someone is waking up.

Around the house...
I woke up this morning and saw a picture of Nicholas Cage on the table.  Apparently he had been in the water chamber of the coffee pot.

I opened the fridge to get out the eggs, and there he was again.  

I opened the dishwasher to get out the spatula... and there he was again!  

He was on the computer, under the mouse... in the spice cabinet!  

It must be April Fools day!  Now I know why Daisy and Lily were laughing so much after I went to bed. *Update... it was Rose!  She surprised us all right!

So, Tony, being a bit of a prankster...

Boy, I am glad I didn't think of it!

One of my favorite things...
Kids with a sense of humor!

A few plans for the rest of the week...
 Don't go there.  I am a taxi.  It is what I do.  I take people here, I take people there.  And hopefully somewhere in between we can get some school done.
A few picture thoughts...
The mornings are still chilly enough to curl up under blankets and read!

Rain, rain, go away... come again another day.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Heart of Homeschooling

Last week I hit one of those walls.  I had worked hard on simplifying our homeschool and it worked.  Everything was running like clockwork.  The kids hardly needed me for anything!  I gave them a list of things to do and they did them.  In fact, during one of those first trimester mornings ,I needed sleep.  I mean I needed sleep!  And you know what?

They didn’t need me.

Lily stepped in, checked their work and made lunch.  When I woke up, we were ready to eat and everyone was almost done.  

The next morning I sat on the couch after just finishing working on poetry memorization with the kids, my knitting in my lap, and I looked at the kids working away at the table.  The younger ones were playing in the playroom.  And I was struck with a horrible thought.

Everything was running smoothly.  Workbooks were out, they were getting done, and everyone was plugging along.  It seems like a homeschooling dream…

Or does it?

Truth is it was boring.  B-O-R-I-N-G.

I started talking to my husband, lamenting that everything was so boring and that maybe the kids should go to brick and mortar schools.  He talked me down.  I am so lucky to have him be so supportive of homeschooling, even more than I am!  And then he asked, “Are the kids bored?”

I stopped and I thought about it.  I didn’t think so.  I think they actually liked some of it.  Some I knew they would rather see flung out the window, but generally they seemed content.  I still had this inkling though that it wouldn’t last.  That this sitting at the table and filling out workbooks and being drilled by me every so often was going to lead to nothing good, possibly something worse than boredom… Mutiny!

I have been homeschooling for over a decade and have taught every grade.  If there is one thing I know for sure there is always a calm before a storm. 

You might think that I am over thinking this.  That if the kids seem content than, logically, I should be too.  I was asking myself those very same questions.  What was wrong with me?  Why wasn’t I pleased as punch?

Because I was bored.

That struck me quite strongly.  That if we as homeschooling parents are bored we are not likely going to keep with it either.  Maybe the mutiny was my own, seething under the surface.  I was getting nothing out of this new method of schooling at all.  I didn’t get fun stories.  I didn’t even get special one on one time doing something lovely with them.  It was all, “Stand and recite the poem.”  “Sit here and recite the states and their capitals.”  5 minutes later they were back at the table.

That was not what I signed up for.  My reasons for homeschooling were vast and born out of frustration, really.  I wanted what was best for my family and that includes me.  How selfish!  I know.  I wanted more one on one time with my kids.  I wanted to be able to learn with them and explore fabulous new places and have adventures with them.  Handing them a workbook wasn’t cutting it.

So, luckily, this week is spring break.  I have been scouring the internet and trying to find inspiration.  I know that with a baby coming this October I can’t be super mom.  I have really appreciated the posts from Sarah at Amongst Lovely Things about Teaching From a State of Rest.  Unfortunately, I think I started teaching from a state of coma!

What I came to realize, more than anything, is that homeschooling is a journey and it isn’t one your kids do on their own.  The best homeschool is the one where mom and dad get to learn too.  No matter what philosophy you follow or what label you put on your school, the heart of homeschooling is family.  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Blustery Day

Happy First Day of Spring!  It is actually here!

Last Sunday we had a bit of a blustery wind roll in.  It was perfect since Tony had just bought some kites at the dollar store!  I love how sometimes the cheapest form of entertainment can cause so much joy!  Simple is always the best, isn't?  Just wind, string, and smiles!

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