Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What's wrong with this?

So, I just learned something that I think is rather strange.
You can't slander a person after he/she is dead.
It's legal to say anything you want about anybody, but they have to be dead.

I was going on about how I had heard someone making extremely disparaging comments about an author that I happen to like. I was saying that if I was his family...
Well, it turns out that his family doesn't have a thing to say about anything that anyone wants to say about him. He's dead. Reputation be hanged.

Wow. I can't believe with all the litigation out there, that defamation of character can't be posthumously litigated. True, the guy can't be put on the stand. But it seems like there should be some burden of proof on people who want to trash other's reputations publicly.

Of course, there is always the possibility that everything they said was absolutely true.
In which case I have to say that the guy would totally lose MY respect! ICK!

So why go on about this? I just think it's strange. That's all.

Happy Birthday dear Laura...

My oldest child is 24!

Thank you Lord for such a sweet, loving child.
First-borns have to take the brunt of all our parenting foibles.
Being born to a 19 year-old mom and a 20 year-old dad, has it's own set of challenges.

Laura has overcome all the stuff that life has thrown at her very admirably.
I am so proud of the road she is travelling.
Today I am thanking God for all the gifts of parenthood.
I have been so blessed by all my children, and Laura was the first little gift!

Now I have the added Blessing of Andrew and Lucy.
I feel like I'm the one getting all the gifts!

God Bless you today and always Laura!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Gone Fishin'....

Our book club is turning into quite an adventurous little group. Especially the parents!
The boys read a great book for May called "The Sign of the Beaver".
It was about two boys, one an Iroquois, and one a young English boy, who become friends.
Matt has to learn all about how to survive in the wilderness and his new-found friend Attean, helps him learn the Indian ways so that he can find food and protect himself.
The two boys spend a lot of time fishing in the book, so the mom who was organizing this particular month chose a fishing trip to a little stocked pond at a park. A pizza dinner(delivered to the park), a discussion about the book, and making Indian Fry Bread over a fire completed the evening. The boys had a great time!














John has a fishing pole that he got with his allowance and he has been dying to use it.
Brendan and Paul, not having their own poles, borrowed a couple from our friends, The Beyers.
Ryan Beyer was along as the official "Dad who knows about fishing".

Now this pond is very interesting. It's really not a place you would want to fall into, but the fish are VERY happy there. They swim happily amidst the green slime, sharing the water with turtles, ducks and the occasional goose. It has been stocked with baby trout and they are very enthusiastic, but most of them are so small that they can't get the hook into their mouths. One boy, who was not in our group, caught a very respectable Catfish and a lot of the kids were catching the bigger trout. It's all "catch and release", unless you are a Heron, then it's "catch and digest".
Brendan caught the first of the fish in the Merkel family. The little thing was jumping all over and Ryan had to get ahold of it and take it off the hook. NOT my job! Brendan just can't abide the killing of any live creature and he wanted to make sure that this fish got back home safely. He got the hang of casting really quickly and didn't even lose any tackle!

Paul is a pretty scary guy when you give him a pole and a hook. I don't think he quite gets the whole concept of the hook being a sharp object. The first thing HE caught was Brendan's finger.
He just flung out that line and that's where it ended up. Brendan was surprised.
So we sent Paul over to the other side of the pond, where he could cast with abandon, and he was just as happy as could be. And he caught a little fish! He was quite surprised. Just after he caught it, Tim arrived and we wanted to show it to daddy, so we had to let it hang around a bit while I took pictures and Tim came to the side that Paul was on. They did get it off the hook though and it swam away, probably promising itself never to be tempted by anything that doesn't look natural.

It was so interesting how the evening turned out. I had been to this park with the boys when Paul was about two. It was horrible! I hated that pond because it was just waiting to swallow my boys into it's green, slimy depths. Last night it was the most fun they have had in awhile! I enjoyed it too and I didn't have to worry about them the way I had before.
They really have the "fishing bug" now. John and Tim went to a favorite spot of Nina and Johnny's and might have caught something if they hadn't gotten rained out. I had tried to take the boys to the pool earlier and we had to leave due to thunder and rain as well.
We got a couple more poles and now Paul and Brendan have something to take when we have a chance to fish. I may have to learn how to take the poor things off the hooks. We are a "catch and release" family. I can tell you I'm not going to eat anything that comes out of either the Bay or the River.

Tim is now hard at work on the wainscoting. I may have a picture or two of the room before the weekend is out. The floor looks so nice and I drove to the ends of the earth this morning to get a nice big overstuffed chair from one lady, and a nice recliner from another. Craig's List been very,very good to me! Still on the lookout for a china hutch (cheap) and a couple of small tables.

Well I have to go check and see how the oven is doing. I put it on self clean and it is so hot that it's scary! I only do this once in awhile because it really sucks the juice but our rates are going to skyrocket next month so I thought I'd better do it now!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Knights and Peonies...


Well, as I promised I have pictures of Paul in his new "chain mail".
He was very excited when he got up this morning and found that it was finished.
He immediately started vanquishing his brother.

I was very pleased to see that the Peonies and Irises have bloomed along the side of the house.
I have been waiting rather impatiently. They are so pretty!
The Irises are new this year and they have really outdone themselves.

I can't wait to see what the new plants look like as they bloom. This summer won't be very exciting but next year they will be very well established.
It is so much fun working in the yard and getting it the way we want.

Tim will be working on the floor in the new room and hopefully we will get it down this weekend. I am working hard to find furniture that will go well in there. I am going to look at some chairs this weekend and I want to get some big pillows to kneel on at the coffee table when we play games.

The boys are getting very good at Chess and they have been pulling out the board regularly. I think I am going to have to get a good book so that I don't embarrass myself.
I play very defensively! Paul really wants to play, he's going to drive John nuts asking. I think I may try to put together a club within TORCH.

So much going on. More pics this weekend!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Darling Lucy...


I am just head over heels in love with darling Lucy!
I can't wait to see her again! And of course Laura and Andrew.
Boy, they are just great parents.

It is so much fun to see the girls blossoming into motherhood and to get to be so close to it again.
I can't wait to meet Lilly, Nina and Johnny's little one.
I love my boys like crazy but I can't wait to have Grandma Days with little girls.
Baking, watching the birds, sewing.
The boys just don't get into that stuff in the same way.
They love eating what I bake, and they are great at "birding" and yes, I did just finish Paul's "Armor" (pictures to follow tomorrow), but they are little men. They are moving in an outward direction. It's the way of men.
Girls are much more domestic by nature.
Sorry Hillary.
I've just seen too many little boys and little girls. Facts are facts. The village is full of homes and the girls are running them.
So I will enjoy passing on tidbits of domesticity to my granddaughters. Their moms will do a fine job, as they are both very able managers of their homes, so I get to do the warm fuzzy stuff!
Life is so full of Blessings!
Tomorrow is going to be here soon though so I'd better head for bed.

Almost Summer...

So we are winding down the school year...
I am so excited to be seeing the back covers of our books getting closer!
John has a couple more Math lessons and a test and then he will be finished with Saxon 54!
He is finishing with a very good grasp of the concepts. His comprehension amazes me, but there is always the bugaboo of computation. Those darn little mistakes. I keep telling him that an Engineer can't afford those little mistakes. Bridges and dams have collapsed because somebody added wrong!
We are getting through the end of the book and it's really not giving him any trouble.
We are on the last lesson in Spelling 4. Woohoo!
Next week we are going to work on a Geography report and finish up History. I think I will have him read a bunch of historical fiction on the Revolution this summer. John loves to read and we just finished the French and Indian War. I want to do some reading about George Washington and some of the other major figures of that time period.

We are all very happy to feel the sun and think about all the fun things we can do this summer.
We have to get Paul off the training wheels and onto the road so that we can do some trail rides.
We would like to camp with the bikes if we can get everyone riding well enough.
I will be so happy when we have the freedom to just jump in the car and go to Frostburg for the day! Or a couple of days.

I think I my business may be starting to fledge, just a little. I have bought an ebook on the subject of becoming a professional organizer. There are people all over the country that are doing this and I just love the idea of helping people through the process of organization. I love it myself!
I want to gear my business toward homeschoolers and newlyweds. I know there must be a lot of young women out there who are setting up homes and would like to get a jump on systems that make running a household easier and more efficient. Why learn all that stuff by trial and error? I can share all my trials and errors and then they won't make the same mistakes!
Now I just need a name...

Saturday, May 19, 2007

All the loose ends...

Well, today and yesterday have been days of picking up loose ends around here. So many things that we have been meaning to do!
Yesterday Tim took the day off. We worked on paperwork and getting some financial details in order. Phone work. We had to set up an auto-deposit for the car payment in order to keep the low interest on the loan. So we decided that they will take it out twice a month. Since the car payment will only come out once a month, I'll be saving the equivalent of another car payment. I think this was actually a very good idea. I'll have to do some belt tightening to leave it alone, but it will be a very good thing.
Then we went to Lowes and bought the flooring for the new room. It's a Pergo floor like in the kitchen, but darker. We were hoping to get it down this weekend but it has to acclimate in the room for 48 hours. Oh well. Next weekend. It's just really nice to have it bought and paid for. I love knowing that everything in that room is paid for.
I will be keeping an eye on Craig's List for furniture. I want to furnish with chairs, bookshelves and a large, squarish coffee table for games, puzzles and such. I think I may also try to find a chess table for the corner. I need to find rugs too. I can't see buying any of the stuff new when there are all kinds of people with beautiful things and they are practically giving them away.
I went grocery shopping last night and picked up a few more planters for the front. I planted all my flowers and then yesterday my friend Paula brought me her plants to care for for awhile. The front is just a blaze of color right now!
I am so excited about the side bed. My peonies are going to bloom and there are a whole bunch of buds on every plant in that bed. If they all bloom together it is going to be really pretty. The back beds are all planted with my baby plants (the ones we grew in the peat-pots). This year they probably won't do much, but next year should be really nice.
We have lots of birds visiting us now that the trees have all leafed out. The Goldfinches are everywhere. We have two feeders just for them.

Today Tim fixed the window on the side of the house. It is all sealed up and waterproofed now.
I mowed and trimmed the lawn and pulled weeds. I can't believe how things grow here!

We went to Mass tonight. Fr Mark was there again and gave a really nice homily. I just love his Polish accent. He is a very special priest.

I talked to Laura and it sounds like Lucy is actually going to get to continue nursing. She is a great nurser. Very serious. A little too serious! She knows what she wants.
I can't wait to see them again. It seems like weeks since I was up there and it isn't even a week!

I think we are going to take the boys to see Spiderman 3 tomorrow. They have been saving their allowance. They are all very excited. They have to get to bed now though and we still have to do prayers. Tim and I may watch some Monty Python tonight. I can't help it, it's just too funny. I suppose it's not the kind of thing most people enjoy, but there's just something about it...

I'll have to post again after I have some pictures.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Some Heros are very Small...

Those of us with healthy children (and grandchildren) sometimes take for granted all the gifts that we are given. We are sometimes distracted or busy with the details of life, and we don't have time to recognize the miracle of each breath, each heartbeat, each word, each glance. My boys argue, I get grumpy and impatient. There are so many moms out there who would give anything to hear a normal argument between a child with Autism and a sibling. I get frustrated because school is going slowly. School is going slowly because the boys wanted to use the Mass kit and it was a long Mass! Then Brendan read a book to Paul. So he didn't get to Math until late. My son is reading so well and so easily. He doesn't have a reading disability. He wants to read to his brother. There are miracles in every moment of every day of our lives.

Even in the most difficult of lives, there are miracles. There are heroes that are the bravest and strongest among us.
Watch this video and see a tiny hero and his mom and dad. Try to imagine yourself there. If you can't, remember that God's Grace is the only way that any of us gets through anything. We can't imagine being able to get through something like this because we aren't given the Graces we need until we need them. We can, however, try to live in a way that honors heroes like Elliott.
Live the trials of today Gracefully, because God gives us the Grace for where we are and He will give us what we need for where we are going.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Motherhood...Sainthood....

Over the past week I have been thinking so much about the sanctification that is so much a part of parenthood, and motherhood especially, and I found this on another blog. It really says everything on the subject so beautifully....


On Motherhood and Profanity-

Elizabeth Elliott

"OK now, which one of you clowns put that bag of M 'n' Ms in the grocery cart?" The mother looks harried.

Two boys, maybe five and seven, eye each other and race away toward the gumball machine near the supermarket door. There is an infant strapped to a plastic board on top of the groceries, and a two year old occupying the built-in child seat in the cart. The mother picks up the M 'n' M candy bag and starts toward the aisle to return it. The two year old screams and she relents, throws the bag in with the rest of her purchases, patiently waits her turn at the check-out, fishes five ten-dollar bills from her purse, receives her small change, and pushing the cart with the babies in it, herds the two boys through the rain to the station wagon in the parking lot.

I go with her in my mind's eye. Jump out in the rain. Open the garage door. Drive in. Close door. Babies, boys, bags into the house in how many trips? Phone rings. Answer phone, change baby, wipe muddy tracks from kitchen floor. Feed baby, put groceries away, hide M 'n' Ms, start peeling vegetables, take clothes out of dryer, stop fight between two older children, feed two year old, answer phone again, fold clothes, change baby, get boys to:
1) hang up coats,
2) stop teasing two year old,
3) set table.
Light oven, put baby to bed, stop fight, mop up two year old, put chicken in oven, answer phone, put away clothes, finish peeling vegetables, look peaceful and radiant--husband will be home soon.

I see this implacable succession of exigencies in my mind's eye. They come with being a mother. I also see the dreams she dreams sometimes--write a novel, agents call, reviews come in. TV interviews, autograph parties, promotional traveling, a movie contract--preposterous dreams. Try something a little more realistic. Cool modern office, beautiful clothes, make-up and hairdo that stay done all day. A secretarial job perhaps, nothing spectacular, but it's work that actually produces something that doesn't have to be done over at once. It's work that ends at five o'clock. It means something.

I know how it is. I have a mother. I am a mother. I've produced a mother (my daughter, Valerie, has a two year old and expects another child soon). I watched my own mother cope valiantly and efficiently with a brood of six. ("If one child takes all your time," she used to say, "six can't take any more.") We were--we still are--her life. I understand that. Of all the gifts of my life surely those of being somebody's wife and somebody's mother are among the greatest.

But I watch my daughter and other mothers of her generation and I see they have some strikes against them that we didn't have. They have been told insistently and quite persuasively that motherhood is a drag, that tradition is nonsense, that what people have always regarded as "women's work" is meaningless, that "roles" (a word we never bothered much about until a decade or so ago) are changing, that femininity is a mere matter of social conditioning, that it's time to innovate. If the first-grade readers show a picture of a woman driving a hook-and-ladder and a man doing a nurse's job, see what happens to the conditioning. Abolish the stereotypes and we can abolish the myths of masculinity and femininity.

I hear this sort of claptrap, and young mothers often come to me troubled because they can't answer the arguments logically or theologically. They feel, deep in their bones, that there is something terribly twisted about the whole thing but they can't put their finger on what it is.
I think I know what it is. Profanity. Not swearing. I'm not talking about breaking the Third Commandment. I'm talking about treating as meaningless that which is freighted with meaning. Treating as common that which is hallowed. Regarding as a mere triviality what is really a divine design. Profanity is failure to see the inner mystery.

When women--sometimes well-meaning, earnest, truth seeking ones say "Get out of the house and do something creative, find something meaningful, something with more direct access to reality," it is a dead giveaway that they have missed the deepest definition of creation, of meaning, of reality. And when you start seeing the world as opaque, that is, as an end in itself instead of as transparent, when you ignore the Other World where this one ultimately finds its meaning, of course housekeeping (and any other kind of work if you do it long enough) becomes tedious and empty.

But what have buying groceries, changing diapers and peeling vegetables got to do with creativity? Aren't those the very things that keep us from it? Isn't it that kind of drudgery that keeps us in bondage? It's insipid and confining, it's what one conspicuous feminist called "a life of idiotic ritual, full of forebodings and failure." To her I would answer ritual, yes. Idiotic, no, not to the Christian--for although we do the same things anybody else does, and we do them over and over in the same way, the ordinary transactions of everyday life are the very means of transfiguration. It is the common stuff of this world which, because of the Word's having been "made flesh," is shot through with meaning, with charity, with the glory of God.

But this is what we so easily forget. Men as well as women have listened to those quasi-rational claims, have failed to see the fatal fallacy, and have capitulated. Words like personhood, liberation, fulfillment and equality have had a convincing ring and we have not questioned their popular definitions or turned on them the searchlight of Scripture or even of our common sense. We have meekly agreed that the kitchen sink is an obstacle instead of an altar, and we have obediently carried on our shoulders the chips these reductionists have told us to carry.

This is what I mean by profanity. We have forgotten the mystery, the dimension of glory. It was Mary herself who showed it to us so plainly. By the offering up of her physical body to become the God-bearer, she transfigured for all mothers, for all time, the meaning of motherhood. She cradled, fed and bathed her baby--who was very God of very God--so that when we cradle, feed and bathe ours we may see beyond that simple task to the God who in love and humility "dwelt among us and we beheld his glory."

Those who focus only on the drabness of the supermarket, or on the onions or the diapers themselves, haven't an inkling of the mystery that is at stake here, the mystery revealed in the birth of that Baby and consummated on the Cross: my life for yours.

The routines of housework and of mothering may be seen as a kind of death, and it is appropriate that they should be, for they offer the chance, day after day, to lay down one's life for others. Then they are no longer routines. By being done with love and offered up to God with praise, they are thereby hallowed as the vessels of the tabernacle were hallowed--not because they were different from other vessels in quality or function, but because they were offered to God. A mother's part in sustaining the life of her children and making it pleasant and comfortable is no triviality. It calls for self-sacrifice and humility, but it is the route, as was the humiliation of Jesus, to glory.

To modern mothers I would say "Let Christ himself be your example as to what your attitude should be. For he, who had always been God by nature, did not cling to his prerogatives as God's equal, but stripped himself of all privilege by consenting to be a slave by nature and being born as a mortal man. And, having become man, he humbled himself by living a life of utter obedience, even to the extent of dying, and the death he died was the death of a common criminal. That is why God has now lifted him so high. . ." (Phil. 2:5-11 Phillips).

It is a spiritual principle as far removed from what the world tells us as heaven is removed from hell: If you are willing to lose your life, you'll find it. It is the principle expressed by John Keble in 1822:

If on our daily course our mind
Be set to hallow all we find,
New treasures still, of countless price,
God will provide for sacrifice.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Where to begin?


Wow! What an incredible week it has been!
In one short week I have become a Grandma and have met one of the sweetest people living on this planet!
Little Lucy came to us last week, and she has captured our hearts forever.
I can't get over how cute she is. And a very sweet, easy-going baby. Such a gift from God!
I know Laura has already blogged the details here: The Thinking Mommies Blog
The pictures are really great!

So we are all home again. Hard to believe life can change in such a total and wonderful way in such a very short time.
It was hard to come home and leave Laura and Andrew and Sweet Lu.
I know they need to have time as a family and Andrew will be going back to work next week.
They are adjusting to family life so well! Laura is just a natural mom.
It's going to be so much fun watching Lucy change.

What a miracle to have TWO babies in the family in one year! I can't wait to meet little Lilly! She is already a precious part of our family and we are getting more and more excited about meeting her.

It's so hard to settle down and get back to our routine. I have to get school back on a regular track so that we can finish the year. Have to gather my thoughts. Pretty hard to keep our minds on our work.

Well, I am beat! It was a long drive today. I'll write more tomorrow.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Sunday...

I have been having such a good time! I am going to utilize every aspect of Google. I went to Google documents today and put almost all of my documents from this computer into that storage. Wow, it is so nice. Now if the computer crashes, I can access any of my docs from the web. I can also save lots of space on the computer. I then went to Google photos and put all my photos on there. Man is THAT convenient. I have all my photos available on the web to order, share or look at. I can put the files in my external drive and take them out of this computer. I can always get them back if I need them because they will be on the x-drive. I can do everything I would do in my pictures and I'll still have them to import into my pictures if I want them back.
It is just so nice that I can free up a bunch of space in the computer.

This is part of how I have spent the day. We went to Mass and it was very nice. I love Fr Mark.
Then we came home and Tim had to go to work. That stinks. We haven't hardly seen him this weekend. So I cleaned and got the details in order for the week.

Then I started working on me stuff and I have been on the computer all afternoon!
A little more and I will be done.

The Hauf boys are here. They came over while their mom and dad went out to dinner. They ran each other ragged outside and now they are watching a movie. My basement smells of sweaty but happy boys!

Well, hopefully a Lucy update in the morning, or sometime tomorrow!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

A Quick Post...

Well today was one of getting the details in order.
We had nothing on the calendar, but so much to do! Whenever Laura calls we are ready though!
I had to get the lawn mowed, and the house cleaned. I took my baby plants over to the Hoppels.

I found to coolest online storage for all my pictures and TORCH documents. It's called Box.net. I can get 1GB for free and I shouldn't need more than that for the pics and the few docs that I want to store that I have done in WORD. I am using Google Documents for most of the things I do now so all the new stuff is already stored online. It's just nice to know that I can access all that stuff from anywhere and share it when I need to. The fact that a computer crash can't touch it has a lot of merit as well. I found an online homeschool record keeping service and I must say I am very tempted to sign up. I Love Homeschool Tracker, I really do, but it's all on my computer and I am always afraid I am going to have a major computer issue and lose something. I ALWAYS back up to the laptop but wouldn't it be nice to have all that stuff on the web where I can access it at anytime and it's not at the mercy of my desktop.

Well, I can't wait to post that Lucy has arrived! She missed Cinco de Mayo. Oh well, it's just the fifth of May. Now if she can get herself ready, she could have the cool "05-06-07" birthdate.
That would be really neat!
Well, we shall see. I'm heading to bed now. I'm 'zausted.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

This is kind of fun...

Just a little trivia that I heard on the radio this morning.
If a Stay-At-Home-Mom in Havre de Grace were to get a paycheck, she would be making 134,000.00 per year! The breakdown is found at: Salary.com

I thought it was interesting and I really appreciated the positive spin on my chosen career.
I don't want/need a paycheck, but it's interesting to be able to see all my different hats and the value that they would warrant in the marketplace.
The marketplace is over-rated in many ways. What they don't evaluate is what the SAHM is getting out of what she does, and I think this is why so many women don't feel validated by their career status.
As a profession, motherhood is everything that career women are looking for, but it hasn't been packaged as a valid option.
We who love our jobs need to be sure to share our joy and satisfaction as we also climb the ladder, not to the corporate success, but to Heaven!

I love the fact that I am doing the same job that Our Lady did when Jesus was growing up.
What a beautiful image to model ourselves after. If our lives are hidden and we are doing our best to raise Godly families, we are walking in some very blest sandals!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

It's a GIRL!!

Oh Baby!
We are going to be drowning in PINK!
What fun!
I went with Johnny and Nina to see her ultrasound today, and the little Miss was very cooperative in the discovery of her femininity. I think she has heard that we all want to give her presents, but we were waiting to see what to get!
The technician was very thorough and spent a lot of time checking to be sure that this young lady has all her working parts and is growing the way she should.
I think Johnny and Nina were just falling in love with her.
Daughters are so wonderful. I feel like I am getting two more! What fun Christmas is going to be!
The boys are in for a very interesting time.
Brendan is going to be seriously smitten with his nieces. He has a such a tender heart.
It will be so much fun to see the effect that they all have on each other.
I am trying to scan the pictures in but my scanner is being stubborn. As soon as I figure it out I will put the pics into this post.

We pray this week for a safe delivery for little Lucy and Laura. And we pray that Miss McMichael's journey is safe and healthy too!
God Bless all mom's and babies, born and unborn.

And a few pictures


Well, I had written a really long post.
And then the power went out and I lost it.
I guess God didn't want me to publish it.
So I will post a few pics and be done with it!

Here is the little Terrace. I have the pots out but I'm not planting anything until after Mother's Day!
We are looking at getting a new, glass storm door. That will be so nice because I will be able to leave the front door open and be able to see my flowers out the door!

Brendan and the other boys were a big help.

I have to figure out how to do the birdbath area yet.

























So that's the way it looks for the moment. I am going to try to mow this morning.
School flew by already!
John took his "Birthday" holiday today. He gets it because his birthday is in summer and he never gets it off school like the other two.
Brendan was also very motivated. We are going to the park for a Picnic-meeting with the co-op.
Then I get to go to Nina's sonogram! Maybe we'll find out who this might be!
I'll post THAT news for sure!