Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Kiss and Hug From Mr. Good Weather

I really find it hard to motivate myself right now.  I stretch the school days, even schooling on Saturday ( something I normally refuse to do). 

I am working low capacity right now, working with a simple routine that keeps the rhythm of life moving forward.

And that is okay.

We are moving forward in spirit, but nothing is progressing physically.  Very frustrating for me.   A doctor's visit next Thursday for me. 

My pregnancy levels are still present which still has me feeling sick every now and then.  Since we know the outcome, it is hard to deal with.  I just want to move on but feel frozen in time.

*********************************************************

In the meantime, Mr. Good Weather has been here for a visit over the past few days.  And would you not agree with me when I say that there is not any other better medicine than the feel of warm sunshine kissing your face with Vitamin D?

It has been heavenly.  I found myself sitting out on that back patio watching these two frolic in such pure innocent fun...










Friday brought even warmer temperatures.  We stretched school a bit going from 8:30am - 3pm with a two hour recess after lunch at the park. 





I had talked with Jen recently about how depressing the winter can be up north.  I so remember it.  I remember asking David many a times, "Just how many shades of gray are there?!"

Down here, I try not to complain about the gray skies.  Down here, you know that warm, pleasant weather will always pop in for a visit...more often than not. 

*************************************************

We did Saturday schooling and then Sally begged me to reopen her fish tank...after it has sat sitting since her last fish died about two months ago.

The deal is that I will not clean it anymore.  She is old enough.  And she did.






She did enlist the help of Ester who more than willing stepped up with the condition that she could put a fish or two in the tank as well. 

***************************************************

Stan came to me crying....really hard.

Stan:  Ester threw a Tomas train and hit me in the head.

Mom:  Did you do something to her? (Which is usually the case.)

Stan:  I accidentally threw one at her.  On accident!

Ester coming to the crime scene:  That is not true.  He threw a bunch at me and I was trying to protect myself.  I got mad and threw one back at him. 

Mom:  Stan, how many did you accidentally throw at your sister?

Stan:  Seven.  On accident!

*******************************************************


David and I have discussed allowing the girls ride their bikes to the park about five blocks away...by themselves. 

Things have changed so much since we were kids, but I do not want to live in such crazy fear forever.  We both feel we have to give them some free grazing ground. 

So with some new rules and a spare phone to keep with them, we let them go.






The deal is, they can only go together, never alone.  A big step for everyone.  One that needs to earn the trust of Mom and Dad.  So far, so good.

******************************************************

Stan was okay with staying back.  He knows he can only go with Mom or Dad.  Since it was windy, the flights coming into DFW airport were flying really low over our house.  He and I just sat and watched waving "hi" to the passengers. 

( I am sure no one saw us :)

We tried to guess were they were all coming from.




Then we saw this big, international bird...




...which opened up a beautiful conversation about how we flew to S. Korea to pick him up after he was born. 

We talked about Grammy coming for a visit soon.  I booked her flight and she'll be here for my birthday!

*************************************************

And nothing tastes better on a warm, sunny day than a dish of ice cream.  Yummy.



*******************************************************

Tonight is calling for a chance of thunderstorms.  That's okay.  We have sucked up every bit of vitamin D that we could. 

Tomorrow is Sunday, the Lord's day.  It will be a good day.  I will be thanking God for all the prayers that have been and continue being lifted up for me.  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Peace




It comes.  On God's time.  Not in the answers we may be searching for, but in other forms that mean so much. 

Your prayers, so many prayers,  have been heard and answered in the most beautiful ways~

*As David and I were grieving together alone in the doctor's office, with tears welling in his eyes, he  reminds me what a miracle and awesome privilege it was to birth life into this world three times.  What a blessing it is that our fourth blessing was given the chance to live through his birth mother.



*The faces, hugs, and smiles of our children greeting us at home are our miracle drug, if only for awhile.



*Sweet, loving notes and drawings randomly placed around the house for Mom or Dad to find. 



*The morning after, hearing Sally and Ester quietly working in the kitchen, unloading the dishwasher and trying to start the coffee pot:

 "Don't forget the water." 

 "Oh yeah!  The water."




*Being served warm, buttered toast in bed.



*A dear husband who sits in the chair by your bed, all day long.  Keeping watch over you. 



*A niece, who happens to be a specialist in the field, (far from us), opens her schedule and takes all of our calls.  She may not give us the desperately needed answer we are looking for, but she is a wealth of knowledge, a source of comfort.



*A dear friend who calls to say she is bringing over a hot dinner for your family.



*A husband and daughter go on a daddy/daughter date - to the grocery store.  They bring you back a petite bouquet of the prettiest, pale pink tulips.



*Children who really do stay quiet or play outside so you can nap.



*Late into the night, feeling this bath of peace wash over your body.  And you sense it will be okay.  A God moment.



*Being able to tell your mother that even if she is 69 years old, you still desperately need her.  Oh! How I just wanted to turn into a 10 year old girl again and run into my mother's arms that day.


*A husband who cries on the phone with his mother...



*Ester and Mabel casually telling you that they spent an hour at their makeshift prayer table, praying all the prayers that they know.  "Even to Pope JP II, because we already know he is a saint!" 



*Sitting on the bench outside and feeling the warm sunshine on your face.



*Placing a vinyl heart-shaped window cling on the kitchen window.


**********************************

~Physically, things have completely stalled.  It is a double-edge sword.  I enjoy feeling better today, but I know I need to start seeing physical signs to know things are progressing.  At the moment, we are in a limbo, waiting.


But I can slowly feel the fighter in me coming back because I am tired of sleeping.  I am tired of worrying.  Most importantly, prayer is coming easier to me.

~Surgery?  I have been through that particular one twice in the past, but things are much different this time.  Due to a health situation, there is a bit more risk involved.



~We need nature to start.



********************************

~Words cannot express the gratitude we feel for the kind words and prayers that have been lifted up for our situation.  Know that they are being felt and we are deeply touched by them all.  Humbly, we ask for those continued prayers because our battle is not over yet.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sorrow

 




I am physically and emotionally exhausted.  I tried to go to sleep but just keep tossing and turning. I am hoping this helps.  Writing down my thoughts.

 Prayers are not coming to me except in the form of calling out each saintly name I can think of and asking for help while I clutch my rosary.  I keep repeating, "Jesus, I trust in you."  But that devil.  He has been battling with me since I first knew I was pregnant.  As I desperately try and cling to the trust I have in Jesus, the devil tried to replace any smidge of hope with despair.  And he is still planting seeds of fear in my head.

It was with a hopeful heart that I thought we would be able to share wonderful and expectant news with you soon.  Sadly, we had a dark day today when the doctor could not find the baby's heartbeat. 

All was going well: nausea, good blood levels, even the beginning of a baby bump.  And then today happened  and we do not know why. 

What I do know is that this aches for both David and I.  It is our fourth loss and it is simply  heart shattering.

David and I ask for prayers from all of you.  I also ask to be put on your prayer lists.   Without going into all the details here, we are praying for some answers to a serious situation that placed this miscarriage at a higher risk level.  

I just want to thank you ahead of time for all the prayers that you can offer up.  I know that prayer is powerful.  I believe that.  Truly.  Sometimes we need more than we ever thought we would. 
~Patty 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Clearing the Air

I seemed to have kicked up some dust down here on a post I wrote just two days ago.

This post  quoted  Dr. Mary Kay Clark, Director of Seton Home Study School, restating the Church's teaching on home education.  I posted it because of the relentless negative views of homeschooling that home educators receive.   CONSTANTLY.





I followed the quote by personally writing the following:

It is about using the sacramental graces you received through the sacrament of holy matrimony to teach your children their faith with the goal of attaining heaven. It all depends what you, as a parent, teach your child.

No where on the post did I claim (nor did Dr. Clark claim) that you are "not as good" of a parent if you do not home educate.  And if you know me, you know I have previously posted  that I never want to give off the position that I hold myself in higher esteem because of our choice to home educate.

I must clear up one very big typo though...when I typed "sacramental graces" received through matrimony, I was suppose to have typed "particular graces".  For each sacrament, there is a particular grace received that only can be given in that particular sacrament. (Taken from the Baltimore Catechism).  This is what makes Holy Matrimony so special and different from the other sacraments.  And ditto for the other sacraments.

So, I hope this clears the air and that if you found yourself offended, please take the time to reread what I posted. 

Hoping you find peace in this~


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Kids in the Kitchen

I'm so excited with the girls' progress in the kitchen.  Mabel is loving her beginners stage.  Ester is working on mastering her baking.  Sally has graduated from baking and has moved onto cooking.

Sally has been asking for a meatball dinner.  I love http://www.allrecipes.com/.  I usually look for a dish that has loads of good reviews. 

I found the following recipe and it was an  easy enough recipe that Sally made it all by herself! 

Hazel's Meatballs




Absolutely delicious!


Ingredients:
2 eggs
1 small onion, minced
2 pounds of ground beef
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cracker crumbs **I substituted 1 cup of Progresso brand bread crumbs**
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup prepared yellow mustard
1/2 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup brown sugar

Directions:
1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2.  Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl.  Add the onion, beef,  milk, and salt; mix well.  Sprinkle in the bread crumbs and mix until evenly combined.  Form the mixture into 40 meatballs and place into a 9x13 inch baking dish; set aside.  Whisk the ketchup, mustard, vinegar, and sugar in a bowl; pour over the meatballs.

3.  Bake in the preheated oven - uncovered - until the meatballs are no longer pink in the center, about 1 hour.

Servings: 8


Soup and Sandwich

My all time favorite soup and salad would have to be at the Olive Garden.  Hands down.

When that is not available, I always enjoy a cup of soup with a good sandwich at home...and I like egg salad.  Do you?

I have a good recipe I want to share.  Found it last spring on, where else but, http://www.allrecipes.com/.






Ingredients:
8 hard-cooked eggs, diced
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped onion (*1 tsp of onion powder equals 1/3 cup of chopped onion.)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dill weed

Directions:
1.  In a bowl, gently mix the eggs, mayo, onion flakes (powder), salt, mustard, garlic powder, pepper, and dill. 

This tastes good right away, but tastes even better if it has been covered and refrigerated 8 hours, or overnight. 

This is obviously a good one for after Easter as well.

Enjoy!


Friday, January 21, 2011

Wrapping Up Our Week 1/21/11



~On My Mind~

I had an ah-ha moment this week that I wanted to share. 

As a home educator, I've been asked countless times, "Why not send them to a Catholic school?"  I usually answer the typical..."No one can teach them their faith better than their father and I."

I did not know how else to explain it. 

I read the following comment written by Dr. Mary Kay Clark, Director of Seton Home School Study School in a recent newsletter.

     "Sometimes we forget that according to the Church, parents have the primary responsibility to educate their children.  Parents may choose school or other means to do that, but it is a matter of choice.

     However, the best education is from the parents themselves because parents have been given a special sacramental grace from the Sacrament of Matrimony to fulfill the primary duty of parents:  to educate their children. 

     God instituted the Sacrament of Matrimony for the very purpose of producing children who would be raised in such a way that they ultimately will attain heaven.

     No teacher in any classroom in any school has the sacramental graces which were given to you when you were married.  The graces you have been given by God are particularly designed for you and for your children.  Even the holiest saint in the world does not have the special graces a parent has which are designed for that parent and for the children of that parent."



It is about using the sacramental graces you received through the sacrament of holy matrimony to teach your children their faith with the goal of attaining heaven.  It all depends what you, as a parent, teach your child. 

I loved the part that said "Even the holiest saint in the world does not have the special graces a parent has..." 

 Talk about hitting it out of the park! 

**************************

~Co-Teaching~





Another question I always receive (as I know almost all homeschooling moms receive): "How do you teach all four?"  Or whatever number of children you may have at home. 

As  mothers, we are natural born jugglers.  We are born to multi-task.  So give yourself credit!

When the juggling act grows a bit hairy, I am a big believer in assigning an older child to help a younger child.  Instead of having all hell break loose, (yes! they know when Mom is busy and will take full advantage of it), I start assigning. 

What older student cannot help some younger student?  Even with a simple task. 

In the above picture, Mabel was pointing out on the alphabet chart which letter would come next in the alphabet train puzzle.  Stan would than have to find that letter/puzzle piece and waa-laa...the ABC's were  being taught. 

Stan wasn't pouting because he was stumped - he has a short temper. 

 Mabel felt very important.

Ester was able to concentrate on her English.

Sally and I were able to continue with an oral quiz.

********************


~Melissa and Doug~

I absolutely love their educational products.  There puzzles are fantastic.  Their pretend play is packed full of reality and fun.  They make the best gifts.  I just cannot say enough good things about the brand.

Around December, Amazon always has a huge sale on the Melissa and Doug products.  I stocked up last month.

This is one of the new ones I purchased:



It continues to reinforce shapes and colors for Stan.  The other littles think it is just plain fun.  Each picture board is actually double-sided.


********************

~New Schedule~

It is working!  I have to tell you,  I am NOT a morning person so when that alarm goes off, I just moan and wish it were Saturday.  But, the pay-off is so worth it.  We have been finishing up by noon. 


********************

Please join in for more fun at Jen's Forever, For Always, No Matter What.

Have a wonderful weekend, stay warm, and remember to pray for all the wonderful pro-life marchers that are out there this weekend!


This Moment



In this moment...one photo...no words.

For more fun moments....visit soule mama.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Homemade Snowflakes

The yummy kind!





Back in November, I saw these at Hobby Lobby:






I knew I would want to save them for a cold & gloomy January day.  Sunday was a gloomy day so we baked.

Hobby Lobby has the cutest baking decorations. 

********************************************

Sally is taking a creative writing course on Friday afternoons through our city Parks & Rec program.  This past Friday she was asked to write a poem using the alphabet as a prompt. 

I wanted to share with you what she wrote since I thought it was quite beautiful!  (Sorry for sounding proud.)

Angelic angels
Beautiful wings
Carved angels
Darling spirits
Elaborate wings
Feathered wings
Gathering above
Halos shining
Immaculate adored
Jesus they praise
King of them all
Lord of all kings
Mary they love
Not the devil
Opening their hearts
Prince of Heaven
Queen of all saints
Ready for their tasks
Statues of them
They keep us safe
Unfolding their love
Very beautiful
Wings are big
Xavier
Yearning for love
Zealous love for all below
~By Sally H. (age 11)  1/14/11

I'll leave you all with that. 

Happy Monday!


Sunday, January 16, 2011

More Than Texas Prisons

Last Sunday, we had to leave Houston in a bit of a hurry. 





There was a terrible storm passing through and we saw a big winter storm  brewing for most of the trip home...expecting to worsen as the day went on.


The town of Huntsville, TX lies 60 miles north of Houston on I-45 in the Piney Woods region.





Did you know that Texas is broken into seven regions?:  Panhandle Plains, Big Bend Country, Prairies & Lakes (this is the region we live in), Hill Country, South Texas Plains, Piney Woods, and Gulf Coast.

Back to Huntsville...

When one hears Huntsville, TX the thought of Texas prisons, chain gangs and electric chairs may come to mind.  Kind of creepy, huh? 

There is so much more to Huntsville though...more interesting and historical than you may realize.

Huntsville was founded as and Indian trading post in 1835-36.  A man named Sam Houston (have you ever heard of him?) was one of the many prominent early Texans who lived there. 





Gen. Sam Houston was the first president of the Republic of Texas!  Republic of Texas you ask?

The Texas Revolution began on Oct 2, 1835.  The Convention of 1836 declared independence from Mexico on March 2, 1836, and officially formed the Republic of Texas.  Gen. Sam Houston was voted in as the first president.

Yes.  Texas was an independent country from 1836-1845 at which time it became the 28th state of the U.S.

Texas has had six national flags flying over it:
Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederacy, and the U.S.



The "Lone Star" flag paved the way for the nickname the "Lone Star" state.  The "Lone Star" was the symbol Texians used as solidarity in declaring its independence from Mexico.  It still is the symbol of Texas' independent spirit.

Pretty cool, huh?

(During the Texas Revolution, there were about six different flags that were actually flown at some point.)

*************************************************

Meeting Buckie.

We kept seeing huge billboard signs for Buckie's.  (One of those tourist pit-stops that pulled out all the big guns to reel 'ya in.) 

This was one of them.





I have to say that the billboard that read,

"Clean restrooms that even mom will approve of!"

was what suckered me in.  Clean restrooms?  I'm  game!  We stopped.

I have to admit it was a really neat pit stop.  There was a huge area of rather nice souvenir items, (not the typical dime store plastic junk), a deli that had something delicious roasting, and really nice, clean bathrooms.

I was so excited since I found the coolest postcards.  Whoop-dee do, you say?  Well, we are part of a post card swap and I have had the hardest time finding some educational ones on the Texas.   Believe it or not, it is so hard to find postcards in and around the city!

We did not stay long since the weather was so yucky.  Soon we ran into this:





....which soon turned into this...





Now, both David and I grew up in the Midwest as very experienced drivers.  This did not scare us.  What did scare us were all the incompetent  drivers that had absolutely no clue nor the experience of driving safely in this type of weather. 

Sadly, they usually put themselves (or you) in the ditch.  Like so:




They do not realize (or maybe they do and do not care) what white-knuckle driving conditions they create for fellow travelers on the road.

We made it home safely, praise God! 

Did you like your history lesson?  I find Texas' history fascinating.  With Seton curriculum, fourth graders study their state history in the fourth quarter and then submit a written report on their state.  Ester will be doing so this spring. 

When we lived in Springfield, Illinois, we had the privilege of partaking in Lincoln's history whenever we wished to do so.  The Lincoln sites are amazing and the Lincoln presidential library/museum will blow you away.  I encourage you to visit them if you ever have the opportunity.

May you enjoy a peaceful Sunday!


Friday, January 14, 2011

Wrapping Up Our Week 1/14/11



~On My Mind~

*Still feeling the joy from last weekend!


~From the administration office~

*Trying a new schedule out.  Starting school an hour earlier, slipping in a 45-60 min. break, finishing with the second session of school by 12-12:30pm for the day.  So far, so good.


House chores are already a big enough pain and when I am constantly trying to fit them in between helping each "student", I feel like I'm running around with my head cut off. 

Starting earlier and having less of a mid-day break has allowed me to "check out of the office" earlier.

An added bonus: kids are more tired and go to bed earlier as well.  Me likey!

~From our school rooms~

Reading:

Stan has started this book for third quarter-



I had purchased it from here.  He really enjoys this series.  Cutting and pasting things is his favorite.






















Last month, I had purchased The Wind Blows Free for Sally as a reward for finishing up her required second quarter book report.  She loved! loved! loved! her book and looks forward to the next in the Panhandle Series. 

For third quarter, she is required to read and write a report on Mother Cabrini: Missionary to the World

Also last month, I had purchased Happy Little Family for Ester as her reward.  It is rare that this child loves books and she absolutely loved this one. 

She has, (for the first time), been inspired enough to read ahead and finish her book, Patron Saint of First Communicants: The Story of Blessed Imelda Lambertini.

Since Happy Little Family is part of a series, Ester looks forward to receiving the next book.

Myself.  I just received this in the mail-



Since it came only yesterday, I just had a chance to delve into last night. 

I am desiring to see more of Christ present in those around me, mainly my dear husband and children, and to pay closer attention to them, at the same time, adjusting the household needs to fit my family's schedule.

We also rotated the book bins once again.  I find that the younger two are the ones who really enjoy this the most~




 

Hope you already witnessed success in your new semester!

For more fun, please feel free to link up with Jen at Forever, For Always, No Matter What.

This Moment



In This Moment...One Photo...No Words

For more fun moments...visit Soule Mama.



Thursday, January 13, 2011

I Am OLD!!!




I Want Candy by Bow Wow Wow








Heard this song the other night on the preview to a show.  Major flashback to '82 when I was ....13 years old!

Oh my gosh...started doing the math and realized how old I am getting - LOL

 It's been almost 30 years!  Yowzer!

Anyone care to share how old they were in '82?

Adoption Journeys


St. William of Rochester - Patron Saint of Adoptions


Sharing this lovely couple's special news...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

NASA




This was an amazing day and an amazing place to visit.  There is plenty for all to do...plenty to see.  ( I have a bunch of photos in case any kids out there who are interested in space or becoming an astronaut would like to view them.)

One of the first things we did was catch a show on the triumphs of America's manned  space flight program. 

Oh my gosh!  I came out of there with so much pride in this country that my heart felt like it was swelling large enough to burst through my chest. 


President Kennedy used this podium when he gave his famous speech announcing the space program at Rice University.









After the show, we went to the Starship Gallery to view the world's largest display of Moon rocks.  Here is a sampling of some other fascinating things we saw in that gallery. (No, no pictures of Moon rocks. Sorry.)




Next, we headed over to view the mock cockpit of the space shuttle.  It seemed so much smaller than I thought it would be.




He has a few more years to go :)



We also experienced a blast off.  Even though they said we'd feel what it is like when over 7 million pounds of thrust push a 4.5 million pound vehicle skyward, I don't think it was quite the same...but the special effects were really cool.

After that experience, we went into the Blast Off Theater for a live update on current shuttle missions.  ***Only two left***  The next is scheduled for Feb. 3.  That mission is to bring up material and supplies to finish the International Space Station, which is scheduled for completion in 2011.

These last two are going to be historic.  Try and catch one if you can!

*********************************************

A tram tour over to the Johnson Space Center grounds...the REAL space center...was fascinating.  We saw Mission Control.


(Sorry about the blur.  I was trying not to use flash and forgot to change my speed.)

We also went to a building that housed the mock up of the International Space Station.  This is where the astronauts do their actual training.  The ISS mock up is broken into sections due to its share enormity.



No one was there since it was a Saturday. 


You know that arm you always see attached to the space shuttle, operating out in space?  The pic below, on the top right, is the one that the astronauts do all their practicing on.





And that man in the gold mask?  He is Robonaut...the future of the space program.  He is scheduled to make his new home on the ISS in February.  Pretty cool, huh?


Off to some real rockets now...


...and the grandaddy of them all...



The Saturn V...America's Moon Rocket.

The first of five sets of engines below.



There are only three Saturn V's left.  This one being the most well-preserved thanks to the collaboration between the Smithsonian and NASA. 

Sally and Ester went on some simulated ride. 



There was a mounted camera inside the space shuttle where we could view from the outside.  Because the camera spun when they spun the "shuttle", we only knew they were upside down by watching their hair. 

Take a look at the sequence of these photos...





Oh! They had so much fun.  We could hear them screaming on the outside of the shuttle.


And they thought this was a "way too cool" McDonald's. (We just drove by it.)





We still have snow on the ground.  They have worked hard each day finishing up on their school work in order to get out and play in it.  A nice incentive indeed!  (And quiet time for me ;)

P.S.  Sally just came in, frozen, telling me she thinks her snot froze on her face - LOL

Hope you are having a good week!



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