Sunday, March 30, 2008

Divine Mercy Sunday


What a treasure we have in this Glorious Feast!
Our Lord has given us such Graces!

Today we went back to Holy Rosary for the Feast of Divine Mercy. The Church was packed! There were sisters from several orders, and many priests concelebrating the Mass.
The boys were so good! Jesus is going to give them special Graces for participating in a long Mass and praying the Whole Chaplet! Paul loves to sing, and the Chaplet was sung all the way through. It was beautiful to hear Paul's sweet voice ringing out into the church. We have been saying the Chaplet each night with the Novena prayers, and so the boys all know it, but singing it with a huge crowd, in a beautiful church, with incense and a nun who sounds like Dana, was a very heady experience. We went down to the gift shop and Paul got the "Passion Bear" that he wanted the other day, Brendan got a Divine Mercy t-shirt, that he is very proud of and John found a little holy water bottle and a St Benedict crucifix medal. He collects medals.

It was a wonderful day. Now I just have to practice being Merciful myself.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Mother Seton and Divine Mercy

The boys are out with Tim and I finally have time to post the pictures of the trip to Mother Seton House and Holy Rosary church.
What an incredible day that was. Both places are so rich with the history and
beauty of our faith.

First we visited Mother Seton's Baltimore home.
Here is the living room, in the original colors. The floors are the same ones she walked. Mother Seton and her family and students were the only people who ever occupied this house. They only lived there for about a year. The renovation was simply new paint and a little plaster.
This is one view of the kitchen.
Some of the kids on the stairs,
The upper bedroom with the "chamber pot" under the chair.

The old St Mary's Seminary Chapel is behind the house and we had the kids sit for a picture.


The Chapel is really beautiful. It is where Mother Seton and Mother Mary Lang took their vows.


We ate lunch and then headed across the city to Holy Rosary church, the Archdiocesan Shrine of The Divine Mercy. We had a great tour guide and a wonderful talk given on the Divine Mercy and St. Faustina, by a sweet young nun named Sister Claudia, who, I believe is actually from Poland.

The Church is amazing. Built by Polish immigrants during the last century.One of the many, many works of art, a relief of the "Church Suffering, Militant and Triumphant.The whole church just takes your breath away. You could be there for a lifetime and still find so many deep symbols of our Faith to meditate on.Every wall, corner, alcove, nook and cranny is steeped in the history of Catholicism and Polish Catholicism, in particular.

The Main altar.Mary and St Thomas Aquinas and St Catherine. A mural of Mary being presented in the temple.Poland's own dear "Lady of Czestochowa"
This is St Jude. Paul knew the answer to the question when they asked who the Saint was.

This is the shrine to Divine Mercy. Read all about the Miracle and Saint Faustina here.
Here is where Pope John Paul II prayed when he visited Baltimore.

We will be returning to the Shrine tomorrow for Divine Mercy Sunday and the Mass.

I am taking my camera and I am hoping to get a picture of Sister Claudia and the boys!
I will pray for all of our family and friends!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Another Great song from Mark Schultz

Some Pictures...

Here are a few pictures from Sunday.

The boys eggs, after they decorated them.

Brendan's egg looking rather sick.

The egg hunt in the back yard.

Tim, John and Lilly.

The happiest baby!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Back to school.

We didn't take Easter Monday off.
We are going on a field trip to Holy Rosary Church and Mother Seton House downtown on Wednesday and I couldn't lose another day this week.
So we broke out the books and got another day under our belts. One thing about that Easter candy, it just keeps them hopping!
Tomorrow I have to go out and get a few estimates on getting our van repaired. It was parked in the parking lot during Easter Vigil Mass and a lady backed into the door. It's got a pretty big bend.
Ugh. And it wasn't even a year old yet. However, we are just counting our Blessings that she didn't hit a person!
Wednesday will be a full day and then Thursday and Friday are regular school days.
Saturday I get to go see my dear friend Betty. I think I work for her, but it never seems like work.
Sunday is the Feast of Divine Mercy, a wonderful indulgence!

The next week we have standardized testing for three days and so that will be school for part of the week. It's exciting though because that really makes it feel like the year is winding down. We will be finishing a couple of books next month and the formal Religion program for the Parish is practically finished. We will keep doing Religion of course, but it will feel good to have met the requirement.

Now I have to start thinking about what to do for next year. I can't believe it is that time already!
Brendan will be in his Math book over the summer, but he is doing great and I think he will be ready for Saxon in the later Fall.
Paul is going to be in the 2nd grade book! Man that kid just floors me. He learns by osmosis.
The "Calvin and Hobbes" reading program is just amazing! The boys have developed a very sophisticated vocabulary from reading those crazy books in bed at night. They just crack up! I think Brendan secretly wants to be Calvin. Thank You Andrew.

Well I shall visit my new blog and add a post. One of these days when I have something useful on it I'll post a link to it.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Alleluia!

I love saying that!

It's always one of the best parts of the Easter Vigil.
He Is RISEN!!
He is risen indeed!

I also love the Litany of the Saints. I could sing those names on and on.
The boys love the dark church and then lighting their candles with the Easter Candle and watching the church get brighter and brighter. Then they love listening to the Old Testament readings in the dark. It adds a sense of mystery and drama to the history of Salvation.

Fr Jay has a beautiful voice and he chanted most of the parts of the Mass. That was awesome too!
Easter, as always, is the culmination of our Spiritual Lives, year after year.


As for what the guys were working on...

Here is the finished creation.
It came out really nice. That's a rock that only and Angel could move!

Why we Hope...

Holy Saturday is, for all Christians, the day of Hope.
We have lived through Good Friday. Contemplating and meditating on the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross, the ultimate price, paid by God's own Son, for our redemption.
Good Friday is a long and emotional day. It is a day of fasting, so we feel a bit more tired and maybe more emotional than usual.

Then we wake up to Saturday morning. We have a sense of quiet.
Tomorrow is Easter! We sense the coming Joy, but it is still really a day of Prayer.
This is the day when we think about what is to come. We think about our own lives, our path to Christ and our struggles. We all have crosses. We meditated on them yesterday, but the cross has been carried and we know that there is Resurrection Joy at Easter.
So Holy Saturday is that hopeful waiting that we do so many days of our lives. Not the intense prayer of Crisis, but the rather suspenseful prayer of Hope.

The Apostles didn't have the Resurrection to look forward to on that first Holy Saturday. They really weren't sure how all that was going to play out. They knew that Jesus said he would rise, but just how was He going to achieve it and what were they to do in the meantime? Would they be arrested and put to death as well? They didn't have the "Blessed Assurance" that we know every year at Easter.

We have today to pray and thank God for His Great Love, and for making us part of the Easter story. There will be a day when we will each have our very own Easter! What incredible Hope that brings. If we live our lives in Christ we will live forever in Christ.

Romans 8:35-39

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Tomorrow is the day of Celebration. Today is the day of Hope.




Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday


Have a Blessed and Grace filled Good Friday.
Wherever you are and whatever you are doing today, take a moment to remember that this day is the one on which all of history pivots. Everything that came before it was only to prepare the world for Christ. Everything that has come after has happened within the Kingdom of Christ.

Because Christ accepted His Father's will, death no longer has the last word.

Everything He did on that Good Friday all those years ago, He did for YOU.

If you were the only person alive on the Earth in all of history, He would have done this out of love for YOU and you alone...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Easter Project

John and Tim are very busy working on a project for Easter...




John used his knife to Whittle some dowels into shape...



Tim built the wooden part of the framework on Sunday Night...



So can you guess what they are up to?
Tomorrow I will post another entry with a few more pictures.
It is really neat to see it coming along.



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Friday, March 14, 2008

Until I see you Again...

video I have been listening to Mark Schultz a lot lately and the other day when I heard this song I thought of the Holy Father and how he was such an inspiration to all of us, but especially children and youth, to live totally for Christ.
He brought Christ to so many people. I know he would tell us to live every moment of life with all our heart, soul and mind.
Some of the pictures aren't very clear, but this is what I felt when I was listening to this song.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Happenings...

Well, we have had an eventful 24 hours.
Last night I went out to a Study group at the Church and Tim was home with the boys.
I had to shop after that and went to Walmart because I needed the kind of stuff you can't get at the grocery store. Printer paper, binders, socks and school supplies, in addition to a cartful of food. Everything everyone has ever said about the dietary habits of growing boys is true. They are growing (John is 5 feet tall now), and they are boys. They pretty much eat all day. I think Tim and I are going to stop eating so that we can devote all of the caloric intake in the house to the three of them.
They eat healthy. Lots of fruit, yogurt (LOTS), tons of peanut butter, cheese, etc.
Now our grocery bill will never rival most of the families we know who are dealing in much larger numbers, and you know who you are, but per person we are making a respectable investment in consumables.
So, anyway, I called Tim on my way home and he informed me that while I was gone, John had been running in the yard, tripped over one of our edging bricks, twisted, and probably sprained, his ankle. He was in some pain when I got home, but Tim has had lots of experience with this kind of thing himself, and he had iced and elevated it, and given him Motrin already. I went up to see him and looked at it. It was REALLY swollen! You have to be really careful around your kids when you see an injury for the first time. I had to keep my face and voice all upbeat and positive as I said:
"Oh gosh, that's going to be fine in no time. No, I'm sure it's not broken, in fact I think it looks better already. You probably won't even have to see the doctor."
Instead of what I was thinking: "OH MY GOSH! That must be excruciating! It's so huge! It could be broken! These can take a long time to heal! We should go get x-rays right away!"
He fell for my line and I got out of the room with my composure intact. John doesn't mind doctors at all, but he dreads the flu, so we are avoiding the doctor's office if at all possible.
Actually, it was looking better this morning. I called the doctor and he said to keep doing what we are doing and that if it's not a lot better over the weekend, he will want some x-rays on Monday.
He said that he should not put any weight on it for a couple of days, so I went and dug out Nina's crutches and, by George, they are just the right height. John is five feet tall now and Nina only has a couple of inches on him! Yep, all that food paying off. He has been very careful and I think it will be fine by Monday.
I am sure glad this didn't happen in the middle of the soccer season! He would have been so bummed!

We also had Christian and Lilly here today. Nina has it down to a science now, so she is taking him three days a week. She is doing most everything herself and it's going great for the most part. Christian has been sick and the poor little guy has weepy eyes and a lot of congestion. He is getting really good at taking naps in the Portacrib now. He and Lilly are both going to be crawling very soon and it's going to be a whole different scene!
Brendan and Paul have been tearing up the driveway on their bikes. It's actually been pretty nice out. It was at least sixty today.
My tulips are starting to poke their leaves out of the ground. I need to get out and rake the beds. They are full of winter deposits of leaves and sticks.
I can't wait to see the grass getting green again.
So we will have a slow weekend. It will be Holy Week before we know it!
John is supposed to served Palm Sunday Mass, and I know he is looking forward to it, but we'll see how he's getting around. Maybe with an ACE bandage...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I have to post this...

With all the events in California whirling around us, we have to be careful not to allow a few bureaucrats to distract us and push good people into panic. However, as this article so clearly states, it would also be foolish to think that there is no threat to freedom from those who feel that parents, as a whole, should not be the guiding force in the education of their children. Certainly there are parents that abuse and there are homeschoolers that do a poor job of educating. However, there are teachers who abuse and some of them also do a poor job of educating. Some, a few. It works the same way in any segment of the population. There are bad people out there. Some of them happen to teach their children at home. Some of them teach other people's children.

The freedom we stand to lose is not simply the freedom to educate at home. It is the freedom to be families that determine our own identities. It is the freedom to be individuals and the freedom to pass along to our own, the truths that we hold to be self-evident.

Parents that determine that the local public school is the best place to educate their children should not be criticized by homeschoolers. There are many, many fabulous public schools and teachers. Parents that decide that private schools are best should be free to use them, preferably with a nice tax credit. I wouldn't expect a Jewish family to find Good Shepherd Catholic School a perfect fit for their child and I would think that the place that they would determine to be the ideal would be a place where the Jewish Faith is taught. They have the right to make that judgment. Public schools are there for everyone that thoughtfully, or otherwise, decides that this is where their children will thrive. Great! Wonderful!
Let's just try to remember that by virtue of the dignity of the family, Parents are the primary educators of their children and it is their right and responsibility to decide how they should be taught.
All that said, I think we need to be prepared to defend this right and I think this article gives some important insight into things that we ought to be thinking about.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008


PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM
Time for a Texas-style round up!
Exclusive: Chuck Norris warns Schwarzenegger, 'Don't make us send in a Ranger'

Posted: March 10, 2008
1:00 am Eastern

By Chuck Norris


Our twins are homeschooled. That is the present educational option we have chosen for them and us. It is our right to do so as parents and American citizens. But, increasingly across this union, private academic alternatives are coming under attack, being legally stripped of their value and even being labeled unconstitutional and illegal.

Dr. James Dobson calls it "an all-out assault on the family … [and] an imperious assault on the rights of parents."

Brad Dacus, the president of the Pacific Justice Institute, said about one recent ruling, "The scope of this decision by the appellate court is breathtaking. It not only attacks traditional homeschooling, but also calls into question homeschooling through charter schools and teaching children at home via independent study through public and private school. If not reversed, the parents of the more than 166,000 students currently receiving an education at home will be subject to criminal sanctions."

These disparaging remarks are the result of a shocking California state appeals court ruling last week, that declared parents without teaching credentials do not have a constitutional right to homeschool their children. Besides statewide consequences, this decision could set a legal precedent for other states as well.

A brief summary of parental erosion

At the core of these types of ludicrous rulings is the assault on the parent-child relationship by judges who refuse to support or even acknowledge parental rights. This California appellate judgment shows how lower courts are also following suit in alliance with similar federal verdicts. Crossing the borders of our homes, government is infringing upon our parental freedoms and responsibilities.

Even strict Constitutional interpretation has been used to lessen the roles of guardians, citing a growing belief that a right cannot be protected by the federal courts if it isn't explicitly stated in the Constitution.

And, strange as it might seem, even international law is encroaching on our parental borders. Violations to our inalienable rights are being exacerbated through gatherings like the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, or UNCRC.

Educational elimination déjà vu?

The reason government courts are nationally cracking down on private instruction has more to do with suppressing alternative education than assuring educational standards.

The rationale is quite simple, though rarely if ever stated. If one wants to control the future ebbs and flows of a country, one must have command over future generations. This is done by seizing parental and educational power, legislating preferred educational materials and limiting private educational options. It is so simple any socialist can understand it. As Joseph Stalin once stated, "Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed."

Is it merely coincidental that homeschooling was outlawed by the Soviet State in 1919, by Hitler and Nazi Germany in 1938 and by Communist China in 1949? Will California be next? America? Will we yield control and our educational rights as parents? Such would not only be an American travesty but a human disgrace.

What you can do to fight educative and legislative tyranny

1. If we are to sustain private educational options in society, we must rid ourselves of passivity and step into the rings of political activity. The system will get worse, not better, if all we do is complain about it. As Thomas Jefferson once said, "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent."

2. Educate yourself on your particular state's legal academic options. Understand your parental and educational rights, and teach them to others. As Thomas Jefferson also said, "Educate and inform the whole mass of the people. … They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty."

3. Whether you homeschool or not, support an organization like Home School Legal Defense Association, or HSLDA, that protects families who do.

4. Oppose bad or unconstitutional rulings. Petition the Supreme Court of California to "depublish" its ruling and opinion, which would restrict it from being used by other California courts. And don't forget to appeal to my old buddy the Governator. Tell him to flex his muscle on this appellate motion, or Texas might have to export a Ranger to get 'er done!

5. Petition your representatives to support a constitutional amendment protecting the child-parent relationship from unreasonable government intrusion.

'Eternal hostility toward every form of tyranny'

Unfortunately there are people and forces out there that truly fear traditional family values and particularly the Christian voice taught in private education. We must remind any prejudicial dissenter that our parental rights and educative freedoms were also embedded by our forefathers into the Constitution, and even the Declaration of Independence. Therein government is demanded to "secure" or protect them:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

As our Founding Fathers swore to uphold these, so must we. Thomas Jefferson committed, "I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." I know others would join me in rightly assuming that in our day "every" form of tyranny could also include publicly forced educational indoctrination. Friends, while you keep one eye on our national borders, you might keep the other on your state's. If academic corruption is easily conceived in California, how long will it take to crawl to your state line?

My warning to such creeping companies of corruption is this: Best not to test Texas. If you thought we fought hard for the Alamo, wait until you see what we can do for academia. You can hide your sleaze behind No. 2 pencils, but our branding irons will find your tail sides.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Weekend in Frostburg

It's been quite a whirlwind weekend, and I mean that literally.
On Friday we decided that we should use our one and only free weekend to come up to Frostburg.
We have a lot going on the rest of the month!

So we packed everybody up yesterday morning, put "The Wizard of OZ" in the DVD player and headed upstate to see the Cooke's.
We have had a lot of fun. Lucy was very happy to have company and has been charming everyone.
The boys just love her.

We met them at the Mall and had lunch. The boys ran all over the mall after being in the car for 3 hours. Laura and I stepped into the AT&T store and oggled the new phones. They are so neat!
I want to upgrade before too long.

Laura had invited the Twigg family over for a Taco dinner and we made tons of food!
We sat around and watched babies for awhile. The Twiggs little guy, Ben is a real cutie and is talking up a storm!

The boys bedded down in the office, but it was very hard for anyone to sleep because there was a wild winter storm going on and the wind was roaring around the apartment. It was so cold and the snow that had fallen was whirling around like little "snow devils". The boys kept running to the window and looking out at every gust. It was so neat. They said they looked like Snow Ghosts.

We had to turn the clocks ahead and so we got a little less sleep than we'd have liked.
We decided to walk to Mass, it was REALLY windy and cold, but it's a short walk and it was sunny. The church is so pretty! It's right on Main Street.

So now we are just relaxing, the boys are playing the wii and we are getting ready to head back home. We do have a long drive ahead of us, but it was so worth it!


Here's Lucy having her lunch, she does love those Cheerios. video

Friday, March 7, 2008

Thanks John!

Well, do you like my new look?
Actually I found this template through John and, with his permission, I took it!
I have always loved Lighthouses. Tim and I honeymooned on the Oregon Coast and the Yaquina Head Lighthouse has always been kind of "ours".
So now my blog is much more me!

The boys and I went to Mass this morning, John and I went to Confession, then we came home to a quiet house and two sleeping babies. So I hustled the boys downstairs for their Math tests.
We are going up to Frostburg for the weekend. Gotta get the Cooke fix!
It is so nice to be able pick up and go on short notice. One thing that is very hard to do during the summer months.
Good thing I don't have that puppy...

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Spring forward...

I always love the first warm days of Spring.
The ground starts to warm up, the worms get moving and the robins come back.
I can see the buds on the lilacs. I step outside to enjoy the fresh air and not just because I have to get the mail. I start to plan what the flowers will look like.
This year is especially exciting because we have two little girls to share the warm weather with!

The other thing that I can start to see is the progress we have made over the course of the school year. The books have marks closer to the last third and the book lists are long!
The Math books are worn and the test booklets are getting thin.
The notebooks are filling up, and the boys start to enjoy going through them to look back on what they have done.
Paul finished his Religion for the Diocese requirement, now we get to work on the things that I was too busy to let him go afield on. He is reading the wonderful Fr Lovasik books. The set we have has stories of saints, books about the sacraments, the Mass, the Works of Mercy, and lots more. I have been wanting him to just enjoy reading them, but there was a lot of book work to get done.
Science has been great. We have used the Astronomy book as a guide, but have done so many other Science oriented activities and trips. The computer is just a necessity for looking up sites with info on the stars and planets.

I can see the study habits really becoming ingrained.
Spelling, Grammar, Corrections, things that have to become second nature, are important to them now, three quarters through the year.

I am really pushing them in History and I think they are remembering the main points. I don't get too wrapped up in exact dates, but the older two have a good sense of the flow of history from the explorers through the War of 1812 for John, and the early Colonies for Brendan. They both remember names and places and by having them add Historical fiction to their textbook study, I am hoping that they see the lives and sacrifice that were so much a part of our early history. It's hard to soak up facts when you have no point of reference.

Reading, is a recreation so dear to my heart. It is not something I want to teach as a subject, as much as a way to explore all of the things that we learn in school, in our free time, and later, as we go into the world. I have to chuckle when I see Paul walking around with his nose in a book, almost falling over the furniture. He reads at meals, in the dark, when he is supposed to be doing his schoolwork. It brings back such memories.

John is a huge reader. He can't go to sleep without a good book to enjoy first. He likes almost anything about animals, adventure, science, you name it. He reads so fast it just amazes me. Now he is writing stories about dogs having great adventures. I have let him take off and write these rather than do the old Typing program. He was almost finished with it anyway.

Brendan has more specific tastes. He reads very well, is finishing the fourth grade, second reader, but he only likes certain types of books. Mostly information oriented. How-to, books about machines, books that teach you something. He is listening his way through "The Chronicles of Narnia". He just finished "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader".

We are reading aloud one of my all time favorites "The Phantom Tollbooth". I was waiting until they could get the plays on words and all the great expressions.
If I couldn't give them anything else, I would be happy just knowing that they are comfortable in the world of books.
I am already planning next year. Looking for more hands-on, more out-of-the-ordinary.
John and Brendan will take standardized tests at the beginning of April. It will be interesting to see where they come out. I am now wishing that I had signed Paul up. Oh well, he has years!
Gee, it's late!!! Off to bed, Chris will be here bright and early!

Monday, March 3, 2008

A little Civil unrest...Just a little

Well, Yesterday was the kickoff to the Civil War re-enactment season around here.
Our friends, the Tellups and the Zumbrums, have been active in a group of Christian Re-enactors that do an encampment twice a year. They do the big reenactment at Harper's Ferry, once in the Spring and in the Fall. So the Tellup kids thought that to inspire interest in the kids in Harford County, they would host an introductory "Civil War Day"
here in Havre de Grace. We heard about it because we expressed interest in going to the big one last Fall, but couldn't because of another commitment.
The Tellups had been planning to host the event, but at the last minute a change of location was necessary because Michael, their 11 year old son, had gotten the flu.
Since it was cold and they knew that the kids would need the privy, they asked for another family to volunteer their yard for the event.
Barbara Moore, who lives just down the road from us, offered her yard and the woods behind her house so that the troops could skirmish.
What a beautiful place that is, and I didn't even know it was there!

As General Buford would say it was "Lovely ground."
He would have been proud!


The kids put the whole thing on. It was amazing!
The girls made their own bandages and were dressed as nurses in period clothing. They made "hardtack" and had beef jerky for the battle field. They had a jug of water and cups.

"Colonel" Zumbrum, had to step in for Colonel Tellup, stricken with the Influenza, and train all the troops to march, stand for inspection, reload their weapons and be brave in the face of the enemy.
Fortunately for these soldiers, the nurses outnumbered the troops, so the medical personnel were able to be so attentive that everyone who was wounded recovered.
They fought up and down all day long. Sometimes the Rebs would drive the union back and the the Yanks would push them away and take the high ground. I was "embedded" photographing the battle. It was dangerous work, but very revealing. Those nurses are pretty much the boss on the battlefield.

We could hear them, late in the day, singing on the hills, "Bonny Blue Flag" and "The Battle Cry of Freedom"
Paul came running back from the battle field and triumphantly proclaimed "I was victorious! I won the battle for Guinea Pig hill!"
He was totally in his element.

Many of the parents lamented the fact that our children were divided in their sympathies and were in the battle on opposite sides.
John and Paul chose the Confederate side, mainly because it's a lot easier for mom to put together a costume on short notice!

Brendan, however wanted to fight for the Union, and was just as happy as could be in his Blue.

The temperature was mild enough in the middle of the day that the boys were able to go out in just the Flannel and undershirts that they had. They were going all day!

All of them were injured.
Shoulders, legs, Paul even had a bandage around his torso.
The nurses just kept patching them together and sending them back out.
The amputation went very well.
The wagons also held the ammo, dried Chick-Peas. Each soldier was issued a sandwich bag with their ammo measured out. When they had to drop one with each shot, and when they were out, had to run back to the wagons.

At 5:00 the troops headed for camp and an authentic Civil War encampment meal.
Hot Ham, Potato and Green Bean stew, and a wonderful Lentil soup. There were also Corn muffins and more "hard tack". Paul surveyed his choices, no pizza or hot dogs, and said "this Hard Tack is actually really good!" He ate an awful lot of it!

After dinner there was a "yard dance", for lack of a barn.
Brendan was at his soccer game, but John and Paul were conscripted to duty as male partners. I think at first John wished he had died on the battle field. Paul, as always, was very enthusiastic and dove right in! They both learned the "Virginia Reel" and the "Snowball Reel". After John learned the routine, he just loved it! He was "Dosey Doeing" and Promenading like a pro. Neither of them wanted to stop!
I'll have to post the video tomorrow because I am out of space in this post!

It was dark and freezing and the kids were just having so much fun! Brendan came back from soccer and was very disturbed to learn that the fighting was over and, even worse, all the enemies were consorting all over the place. What a mess! He retreated, glowering as only Brendan can, and proceeded to keep watch.

It was such a great time, with such great people.
I am really looking forward to April, when we can go to the one in Harper's Ferry!