Friday, May 30, 2008

A Quick Post

No, I should not be blogging, I should be packing, but I have a splitting headache and I just need to sit down and get into the vacation spirit.
Today was our last official day of school. Yes, we will be doing the Math drills and Piano, and John has a few more states to do for his Geography notebook, which is really turning out well. But, I have closed out Homeschool Tracker for the year!
We are getting on the road in the morning and I will blog from the Outer Banks!
So exciting!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Summer Time!


Well, it's finally really here!
We are having a very nice weekend of Sun and Fun, with a little yard work thrown in to make it interesting.

The Peonies and Iris' have begun to show their pretty faces. It will be a short show but they are so pretty while they last! There are lovely blooms on the flowers in the planter boxes too!
It's so nice to have the color.

The opening of the pool is the biggest sign that summer has really arrived. It's really not warm at all, but the boys don't care. John is a regular Polar Bear! He went in as soon as he got there.
Remember it's still cold!

Tim has been busy. He is making frames for some pictures that we have had for the basement for years!
They are some prints of Trains and they are a very odd size. I went looking for frames yesterday and couldn't find anything, so Tim went to Home Depot, bought some molding to match the chair rail and built some really nice ones. As soon as they are hung I will take pictures.

The boys have also purchased "Super Soaker" Water guns, and have been soaking each other in a super way all weekend. I don't remember liking water fights, even with those pathetic little plastic water pistols that we had when we were kids. These things deliver about 2 cups of water at about 20 feet! And they love it!
Gotta be a boy thing.

Praying that the weather stays nice.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Dear Friends


This week has been so special.
Our dear friends, the Pergola family, have been visiting the area from Louisiana. We have missed them so much! It has been a year since we have seen them and everyone is getting so grown up. Suzanne looks great, as usual. What a wonderful time it has been to be able to share and catch up.
I have treasured the opportunity.
Katie is a beautiful young lady! Very poised and gracious. I really enjoyed having a chance to chat with her. I didn't get to see Michelle and Anna much because they were having a great time catching up with all their friends. They are also very sweet and pretty.
John loved having Giordan to hang out with and do guy stuff. Giordan is so polite and easy to have around, but he likes a lot of the same things that John does.
Gina was here, but she is a quiet little thing. I hardly knew she was here half the time. She read most of our library of Hardy Boys books in about two days. What a cutie, very helpful!
It was especially nice to get a chance to see how Dominic is growing up. He is our Godson and it really means a lot to be able to stay connected.
Anthony is a little pistol with an imagination that makes his mother nervous, but what a doll! He is so cute you just have to grin no matter what he is into. He was really very good.
Mike came by today and Brendan was so happy to see him! He has a hard time expressing those things. Mike brought him some hockey equipment because Brendan has taken a liking to in-line hockey. He loves his skates, and anything with a stick and skates is even better.
When Mike had to pack up the kids and leave to go get Suzanne, Brendan came inside and I think he was a little choked up. I guess he wasn't sure what to say. He really wants to go down to Louisiana and so do I! We are just gonna have to suck up the gas prices and go. Skates and all.

We have had a chance to share time together with several families, including our TORCH group, and it is such a Blessing to have such special friends. I pray we will all have many more years and times together.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Family Doings

Last Thursday we went to Frostburg to help Laura and Andrew and Lucy move into their new home.
They closed on their mortgage at 4:00 in the afternoon. We met at the library and the boys and I entertained Lucy (actually she entertained us) while Laura and Andrew did the business.
Then we went over to the house. I hadn't seen it yet.
It is a really cute place in an older neighborhood. It sits on a hill overlooking Frostburg. The view is amazing! Frostburg is such a pretty place. The Front of the house faces the Catholic Cemetery.
The cemetery is really pretty too!
The house itself is really big! It has four bedrooms, two on the main floor and two very large ones upstairs, and one bath. The basement will be finished eventually. It also has a bedroom and play area.
The living room and dining room are really big and the kitchen has lots of cupboard space.
The house was built in the late forties and there are still many of the original features.
An awesome cedar closet, a walk through closet between the upstairs bedrooms, high ceilings and beautiful wood moldings and door frames.
Lucy was so good through the whole move.
Her whole world was in an uproar, all her toys and clothes were packed and she was being toted from pillar to post by several different people, and she just went with the flow.
She had fun with her uncles, and I just loved getting to cuddle her.
We worked on painting the kitchen. Laura chose a Terra Cotta color. The cabinets are brown and tan. The dining room is a really warm gold color. The living room will be blue and brown. Andrew and Laura painted the fireplace a chocolate brown. They are intrepid painters.
The washer, dryer, refrigerator and stove were delivered on Friday morning, but the guys said they don't "do gas" and so Laura has had to find someone to help them hook it up.
We worked on getting things moved into the correct rooms on Friday and the guys brought in the bigger items on Saturday.
John worked so hard with Andrew and his friends. He was toting and loading and sorting and running things all over the place. He was rewarded with a trip to Game Stop, where Andrew let him pick out a new game for his DS.
Brendan and Paul stayed with me, but they were also very helpful in entertaining Lucy and being there to yell when we turned things off and on to check for problems with the household systems. There are a few, but they will be sorted out quickly. As with any older home, there is a "getting to know you" period. Having been there myself, I can say that I am really glad that Laura and Andrew bought a "project" instead of a ready-made house. We have been going down the home improvement road for almost ten years now, and I have to say I really love our house. It has all the quirks of an eccentric uncle.
Laura and Andrew will have such an adventure making this place over.
A new deck, carpet upstairs, finishing the rest of the basement. They have great plans.
I am going to really enjoy watching it happen.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Light at the End of the Year...

Monday we had a very full day. School is actually lightening up a bit. We are finishing subjects and books here and there, but I am also trying to get more done in the subjects that we have left.

Paul finished his reading book. He stopped for this year somewhere in the third grade. I also dropped his phonics program because he has learned all the phonograms and now the book just focuses on the spelling rules and he will get that from Seton Spelling next year. He is done with Religion but I am dragging him through coloring the Mysteries of the Rosary. He also has a few more planets to color for Science.
Brendan is almost done with his reading. When he finishes this book he is done. He is done with Spelling as well, but I am still having him do some Grammar here and there. He will start a great Grammar program next Fall. He is in the middle of his Math book. Abeka Math 3 is a toughie! I remember John having a real time with it because the lessons are long and it advances pretty fast. When John took the placement test for Saxon, (no slouch there) we found that he could have taken the 5th grade course coming out of Abeka 3! I wanted to let him relax and review, so we did Saxon 54, the 4th grade. I will do the same for Brendan. He is doing really well in the Abeka program. Getting 95 to 100% on each test. I am not going to push real hard over the summer. He can do a lesson or two a week to stay sharp.
John has said Goodbye to Latin, Grammar, and very soon Math, except for drills over the summer. We got back his standardized tests and overall he did great but he has a weakness in the area of Computation. I know it's not that he can't get the answers, he has no problem with that, it's that he is never timed. So that is our plan for the summer. Timed drills. Brendan has to be a lot faster with his facts as well.
John has quite a bit of History left. I diverted him from his text book into a bunch of different books this year, which was a good way for him to learn, as he loves to read, but now we are only just coming to the Civil War. He also has quite a few states left to study in Geography, but his Notebook is beautiful! He has also done a beautiful Science Notebook. After he learned about Pluto he built a presentation in Google to prove his Hypothesis that Pluto is not a planet. It was really nice and we added it to his notebook.
I will be glad to see the end of the school year, but I don't feel like I am worn out. I feel really good about the year. I sure hope we have the same kind of year next year!
In a way, gas prices have really be a good thing. We are staying home much more in the afternoon and can be a lot more relaxed ab0ut the way the days go. It will be nice to have a break though, don't get me wrong. We will start a little later in the fall because we are going out to the West Coast in August.
I am ready for my review and then I get to start buying books!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Dear Lucy...


Today we drove up to Frederick to celebrate Lucy's birthday!
Little Lucy is one year old! It seems like yesterday that she made her great entrance into the world.
What a wonderful year it has been!

Laura found a perfect spot to host the party.
It was in a lodge type hall at a park. The park is huge!
The room where we held the party was very good sized and perfect for the number of people that came. The weather was so perfect! The kids were able to play outside for most of it, which was so nice for them.

Laura planned everything so beautifully.
There was a corner where people could sign a "Guest book". It was a cute storybook and Laura had pens for us to sign it on different pages. A great idea. As Lucy reads the story her mom and dad can show her all the people that came to wish her a happy birthday.

Then there was a really neat activity for all ages.
Laura had the numbers from 2-21 written on little squares of paper. Each person drew one and then we could make Lucy a card for the birthday year that we had drawn. Every year she can open a card from someone who attended her first birthday party!

The kids played a game. Pin the Bee on the flower. I didn't get any pictures of that one.

Laura also had a craft for the kids. They each got a pot and some soil and they planted either marigolds or zinnias. Then they got to bring them home. Paul is so excited about his flowers! He got them out of the car and watered them right away. He can't wait for them to sprout. Some of the kids painted their pots so pretty!

The food was great! There was Pizza from the best pizza place in Frederick, Pasta salad, fruit, Jello and this very interesting dessert. Laura and Suzzy used to make this stuff while they were in college. It's a "Dirt dessert" and boy is it good! It looked so cute in the pots!
There were also the most beautiful cupcakes! I have never seen cupcakes like that before!

The big kids ran around and Lucy, Lilly and Christian crawled around. They were all so tired by the end of the party.
They seemed to have a great time though. Lilly took it all in stride, as usual, and just smiled and danced!
Lucy went home with some beautiful presents. My camera died before that though so you'll have to go to Laura's blog to see them.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A surprise visit


Boy were we excited to see one of these guys on our feeder this morning!
A Blue Grosbeak! He was just beautiful.


I also saw a Catbird in the garden boxes. I just love it when they come back. They are wonderful little friends.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Another Paulism...


So we were praying the Rosary and I was explaining to the boys how to meditate on the Mysteries. I hadn't really explained this to Paul in detail.
We prayed the Joyful Mysteries, and after we finished he came up to me and said, "Oh, so the finding in the temple was a symbol of how Jesus was resurrected in three days." Really.
Why on Earth didn't I explain this months ago!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Little Red Haired Girl


We had a very Lucy weekend.
Laura called on Wednesday to see what we were going to be up to for the weekend. Aside from the usual run of the mill stuff, we were miraculously free!
Renee Twigg and her family were going to be coming downstate to a family function, and they offered to let Lucy hitch a ride to Grandma's house.
I went and met them and picked her up late Friday night. There was a bit of confusion in her little head about why she woke up at 11:00 and was not in her bed. She was rather disoriented, understandably, and so I held her for awhile and when it became apparent that I was just going to have to hold her, well I just laid down with her on Paul's bed and that's how we slept.

She got up early the next morning, none the worse for the wear and had a nice breakfast.
We played for while, Nina and Lilly dropped by, and then it was off to piano lessons. Lucy had a great time exploring the basement music studio while the boys had their lessons.
She was quite taken with the drums and the mirrors.
Then we came home and she had lunch and took a really good nap. She was so good about going down!

OK, Mass was less than it could have been.
Or more if you want to look at it that way. You don't often have a three ring circus at Mass. I had a very active Lucy, who did NOT want to be held, Paul, who still needs to be reminded about keeping still and paying attention, and Brendan, who thinks it is HIS job to remind Paul. He is not subtle. I must have gone in and out of the church a half dozen times!

We came home after that and had dinner. Lucy went down at 7:15, like a lamb, and I crashed at 10:00. I was so tired!

Then at 11:30 somebody touched off either some very large firecrackers or a small tactical nuke. It sounded that loud. The cops went tearing up the street about five minutes later. Oh well, glad we didn't have to evacuate.

Today was very nice. We just stayed around the house and did "Lucy" stuff. She played with the boys and was just so cute all day! She hardly cried, except when she was tired and wanted to go down for a nap.
After that Lilly and Nina came back to play for a bit.
I took her over to her Grandma and Grandpa Cooke, and she is going to visit with Aunt Lisa and Josiah until it is time for her to go home tomorrow afternoon.

Yes, there are a few things that I might have gotten done this weekend, but they are just stuff.
Lucy is growing up so fast, she is such a treasure and I am so glad that she was able to come down. I am lucky to get to see Lilly often and I want so much to be the Grandma that the girls remember and enjoyed spending time with. If I let stuff get in the way, and it can, I will wake up some morning and the girls will be 16! Lucy and Lilly won't always be this age. The stuff will always be there.

This is also precious time for the boys. They just love having the babies around! They really need to have the gentling influence of these little people.

Well, I guess I'd better go prepare for Monday. The boys are running wildly around the house and raising the "Monday Alarm". They are secretly plotting to overthrow the Math General. That would be me.
They are trying to figure out how to avoid the "Force of Monday". Hmmm...
I may put in with them...