Thursday, April 30, 2009

I am beyond exhausted after a week of constant school and evening activities!
I think we are all very ready for summer!
John has finished his writing for the year, and also his maps book.
All of the boys are almost done with Spelling and English.
John will finish Math in a month but I am afraid Brendan will have to do his until the end of June, because he had to start it late, due to finishing up his Abeka 3 math book. He is just SO good at Math! I have no idea where that came from. He hardly ever misses a problem and he aces his all his tests. I wonder what that feels like? This isn't an easy course. He is doing the 4th grade Saxon book. I have a feeling that he will decide to do something really physical, like become a pilot or a firefighter though. I just don't see him wanting to sit in an office. He really doesn't enjoy sitting much. I just want him to do something he loves.

Paul is whipping through math and I am about to let him consolidate his reading and History because right now he is just reading great books for History until the end of the year. He loved "Ben and Me" and "Mr. Revere and I". He is reading about a boy who lives during the Revolutionary War right now.
He is not playing the piano until Oliver! is over. He sings his songs everyday and they do hours of rehearsal several days a week. I think that's plenty. He says he thinks he wants to be an actor or a marine biologist when he grows up. Right now he is busy being Paul, and occasionally he becomes his alter-ego Frank, the snowboarding teddy bear hamster. He is a superhero with amazing hamster powers. He even does a hamster voice. Seven is really a trip!

John has started building models. He has a jet liner that he is starting. He saved his money and ordered it through Amazon. He has been very patient about waiting until Tim can help though.
Tonight we had Lilly for the evening and I had to go to BJs, so modeling wasn't happening.
John has also started drawing planes and is loving that!

I just want to get out in the yard and start getting the garden in shape, and I am itching to something to the house, but everything I want to start on requires something either expensive, or a professional. I am dying to do the kitchen, even just the ceiling repair, but the guy that we want to have do it is swamped right now. So I have to be patient. Oh Well. I guess it is saving money to wait.

Mom and Dad will be here next week! It's going to be so great to have them here. I hope they have an easy trip and don't get too tired. I just want to spend time chatting. The boys want to hang out with Grandpa.
It is so hard having them so far away and only getting together once in awhile.

Well, tomorrow is another day, and hopefully not quite as crazy. I do have to work in the afternoon, but the school day should be short so we'll have a little more free time.
Paul's 1st Communion Class will make their first communion on Saturday and Paul will walk up with them. They will also do the May Procession on the 10th and he will have his Grandma and Grandpa there for that! Maybe I can make progress on the yard this weekend and get some pictures posted!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Kindred Spirit...

Laura put me onto the THIS blog, and as I was reading along, enjoying myself, and thinking about how nice it is to find like-minded folks out there in the blogosphere, I stumbled onto this post. Coming from the Pacific Northwest, I already knew that the "battle to save the trees" has all the liberals in a blind panic. Every time someone reminds me to cut down on paper and save a tree, I want to reply "What? You're eating a sandwich? Don't you care about the Wheat!?".
If you like this, go to "Change Barack!" and read the rest of the reasons.

4 Surprising Reasons I Won't Be Celebrating Earth Day - Part 4

1. Capitalism Solves Everything

One of my political mantras is: Capitalism Solves Everything.

(For those of you who don't recall, Capitalism was an economic system practiced in the United States from the founding of the nation up until late 2008 to early 2009.)

The full explanation of this phrase is for another post, but suffice it to say that I believe that capitalism would solve environmental problems if it were allowed to function to its full potential.

The problem with the way many environmentalists go about protecting the environment is that they do so by attacking capitalism. So, like any sane person, I am totally in favor of protecting the water supply and having breathable air, I simply do not believe that more government involvement is the answer.

Nor do I believe shutting down big businesses by legal force or though borderline terrorist acts (I'm looking at you ELF), are viable solutions.

ELF torched this home.
Burning stuff for the environment. Yeah, you're not crazy.

You want people to embrace environmentalism, allow the free markets to work, and amazing things will happen.
Mature trees, like all living things, metabolize more slowly as they grow old. A forest of young, vigorously growing trees will remove five to seven tons more CO2 per acre than old growth. There are plenty of good reasons to preserve old growth forests, but redressing the CO2 balance is not one of them. If we were really interested (as we should be) in reducing atmospheric CO2, we should be vigorously pursuing reforestation and the planting of trees and shrubs, including in urban areas, where local impacts on the atmosphere are greatest. "Reforestation has been going on through enlightened forestry practices on private lands by timber companies and as a result of changes in agricultural and land use. In the United States, the average annual wood growth is now more than three times what it was in 1920, and the growing stock has increased 18 percent from 1952 to 1977. Forests in America continue to increase in size, even while supplying a substantial fraction of the world's timber needs."

(Dixy Lee Ray with Lou Guzzo, Trashing the Planet, (New York: Harper Collins, 1990), p. 36.)

Why is it that logging companies exist? I know the primary reason is to utterly decimate miles and miles of land and destroy the atmosphere by removing our only source of oxygen. But the secondary reason logging companies exist is to make money.

If you only had 100 head of cattle, would you kill them all for money right away? Of course not. You would breed them first in order to be resupplied with the raw materials which you produce. Logging companies are not bent on the destruction of forests, they are bent on the creation of large bank accounts. This is done through the miracle of capitalism and the foresight of capitalists to plant new trees and allow them to grow as you cut down the mature trees thereby creating a source of income for the future.

By capitalism we get the benefit wood products and an ever-growing supply of oxygen-rich air.

So, on this 39th Earth Day take a deep breath and thank capitalism for providing this priceless commodity of breathable air at no charge!

Oh and "carbon off-sets" are a stupid idea, but God bless the capitalist who sells them to environmentalist suckers.

Flowers All Around!

Last night Tim came home with lovely roses for my birthday. He is so thoughtful!
They are beautiful!

The Lilacs are blooming outside, and I have been enjoying the way they spread their lovely aroma every time I open the windows.

This morning I was pleasantly surprised when my neighbor came by with a huge armful that he had cut for me!
He said "I know you won't come over and cut them yourself, so I thought I'd bring you some." He is such a sweet guy!
I brought them in, put them in the sink, and put a very wet, disgruntled, bumblebee outside.
I found my grandma's old pitcher, and here is how they look:

I have a mild allergy to Lilacs so my throat is a little scratchy, but the house smells so good, It's worth it!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Beautiful Poem From Karen

Those That Pray

When the road begins to wind
And I'm not sure of the way
I can look behind and see
God has sent help through those that pray

For my family and my friends
Get me through the fear
That around the corner lies
Trials I cannot bear

The love and the support
The friends and family
Are blessings from above
The trek becoming easy

I begin to see I'm not alone
That no matter what lies there
I can turn the corner, head up high
Knowing those beside me care

Lord, I thank you now
For the gifts that you have given
For the support you provide on earth
The loved ones sent from heaven

Keep Papa Ben in your Prayers

From: Patrick Madrid

April 27, 2009

Israel Security Agency Expresses Concern About Assassination Plot Against Pope Benedict

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As Pope Benedict's long-awaited visit to Israel nears, a new worry has emerged in the Israeli press about what some security experts fear will be an attack on the Holy Father during his stop in Nazareth.

The Pope will be in Bethlehem and Nazareth on May 13, the date which marks two important anniversaries in the Catholic Church: First, the 92nd anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima, on May 13, 1917; and second, May 13, 1981, the date on which Muslim hitman Mehmet Ali Agca attempted to assasinate Pope John Paul II in St. Peter's Square.

In 2000, I co-hosted the EWTN coverage of Pope John Paul II's Holy Land visit. I recall our being very alert to the possibiliy of an attack on the pope during that trip — keep in mind that this was pre-9/11 — and many were praying especially for his safe travel. Thank the Lord, nothing terrible happened.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz posted an eyebrow raising article on its website yesterday, saying:

The Shin Bet security service does not want Pope Benedict XVI to use his so-called pope mobile in Nazareth next month, saying it may not be enough against any attack by radical Islamic groups. Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov will discuss the issue at Sunday's cabinet meeting.

The Holy See told the Israeli government that the pope wants to get as close as possible to his followers, so the Vatican hopes the pope will use the vehicle.

But the Shin Bet opposes this, citing pamphlets in Arab towns in the north calling for demonstrations during the visit. Other pamphlets by radical Islamists allegedly call for physical attacks on the pope.
(read article)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Had to Post These!

Love those little Jeans!!

I know things...

Two BEAUTIFUL girls!


Hey, I signed on to Twitter. I'm gonna see what I think. There are some SERIOUS Twitterers out there. I'm still on the learning curve and I am hesitant to try it on the phone b/c I don't know how many texts I would get. I'd like to update from my phone, but I don't want to get all the updates of the folks I am following as texts. Yikes! That could be spendy!
I obviously don't know enough about it yet. I'll figure it out soon.
You can find me there, if you want, I'm: jmjr4all.

On another technology front, I've finally overcome my long and ugly Home School Tracker bugaboo.
I have been fighting it since the beginning of the year. I finally broke down and traded about five emails with their lovely tech-support people, and I am on track! Life is good!

More From Mark Steyn

The End of the World as We Know It
Welcome to the “post-American era.”

By Mark Steyn

According to an Earth Day survey, one third of schoolchildren between the ages of six and eleven think the earth will have been destroyed by the time they grow up. That’s great news, isn’t it? Not for the earth, I mean, but for “environmental awareness.” Congratulations to Al Gore, the Sierra Club, and the eco-propagandists of the public-education system in doing such a terrific job of traumatizing America’s moppets. Traditionally, most of the folks you see wandering the streets proclaiming the end of the world is nigh tend to be getting up there in years. It’s quite something to have persuaded millions of first-graders that their best days are behind them.

Call me crazy, but I’ll bet that in 15-20 years the planet will still be here along with most of the “environment” — your flora and fauna, your polar bears and three-toed tree sloths and whatnot. But geopolitically we’re in for a hell of a ride, and the world we end up with is unlikely to be as congenial as most Americans have gotten used to.

Keep Reading

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A SUMMERY Weekend!

It's not summer yet, but it finally seems like it's coming.
We got a wonderful preview this weekend. It's gloriously warm, the flowers, trees and even the butterflies are out, and so were we!

Friday we went back to the aquarium for Brendan's official "Birthday" date.
All the boys get to choose something fun to do with the family.
Paul chose the movies, Brendan chose the aquarium, and I think John is planning on a trip to the Air and Space Museum.

We went ahead and joined the aquarium. It's just cheaper all the way around, and then we can go as often as we want.Here is a view of the Inner Harbor from the second floor.
We have joined the Science Center, the Franklin Institute in Philly and now we'll use this membership for this year. Brendan is just crazy about all the creatures that they have down there!
Can you see the Crocodile in this picture?

Saturday I had a day with Lilly. It was too beautiful to stay in the house, so I took her down to the Promenade and we walked almost the whole thing. Well I walked, she ran. We saw geese, ducks, boats and kayaks. She climbed on EVERY bench,and was very interested in all of the activity.

We came home and had dinner and just spent the evening doing quiet things.

I have been trying to finish the summer/winter clothing switch. It has taken two days!
Paul also had rehearsal today. It was an outdoor rehearsal and it was great! The kids are doing really well.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Some Great Websites for Teaching...

Here are a few websites that we use regularly to supplement our studies.

This site has been GREAT for Science!!
There is just so much there for us this year. We are studying Earth Science and this has just come in so handy!

Geology for Kids

Another excellent Science site: Alphabetized Earth Science Animations and
Exploring Earth

For History I am very impressed with this site put together by another mom :
American History Curriculum

And for Geography: Geography Map Games

Enjoy the rest of the school year!

Parental Rights at Risk!

As our family grows and matures, I have become more and more aware of the importance of autonomy in the workings of individual families.
Every family is different and every child depends on the bonds that are forged within the family to navigate the larger world.
Granted, not all children are blest with a family that provides a strong foundation for the future, but, I think that for the most part, American families do want the best for their children and most parents really try to be the best that they can be for their kids.

There is a very different view of family and childhood within the international community.
There is a storm brewing for parents and families in this country, and we need to become informed and aware, as parents, grandparents and citizens.

I am going to be blogging about it off and on as this issue unfolds. Please share this information with others, so that we can unify our efforts.
The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is a sweeping effort by the United Nations to move into our families and determine how parents are able to raise their children.
At this time we have signed, but not ratified this treaty.
Please inform yourself and get in touch with your people in Congress. Encourage them to support
the Parental Rights Amendment.

Here is some information that came from the website.
I will post new information as it is available.


Ten things you need to know about the structure of the CRC.

  1. It is a treaty which creates binding rules of law. It is no mere statement of altruism.
  2. Its effect would be binding on American families, courts, and policy-makers.
  3. Children of other nations would not be impacted in any direct way by our ratification.
  4. The CRC would automatically override almost all American laws on children and families because of our Supremacy Clause.
  5. The CRC has some elements that are self-executing, while others would require implementing legislation. Federal courts would have the power to determine which provisions were self-executing.
  6. The Courts would have the power to directly enforce the provisions that are self-executing.
  7. Congress would have the power to directly legislate on all subjects necessary to comply with the treaty. This would constitute the most massive shift of power from the states to the federal government in American history.
  8. A committee of 18 experts from other nations, sitting in Geneva, has the authority to issue official interpretations of the treaty which are entitled to binding weight in American courts and legislatures. This effectively transfers ultimate authority for all policies in this area to this foreign committee.
  9. Under international law, the treaty overrides even our Constitution.
  10. Reservations, declarations, or understandings intended to modify our duty to comply with this treaty will be void if they are determined to be inconsistent with the object and purpose of the treaty.

Ten things you need to know about the substance of the CRC.

  1. Parents would no longer be able to administer reasonable spankings to their children.
  2. A murderer aged 17 years, 11 months and 29 days at the time of his crime could no longer be sentenced to life in prison.
  3. Children would have the ability to choose their own religion while parents would only have the authority to give their children advice about religion.
  4. The best interest of the child principle would give the government the ability to override every decision made by every parent if a government worker disagreed with the parent’s decision.
  5. A child’s “right to be heard” would allow him (or her) to seek governmental review of every parental decision with which the child disagreed.
  6. According to existing interpretation, it would be illegal for a nation to spend more on national defense than it does on children’s welfare.
  7. Children would acquire a legally enforceable right to leisure.
  8. Christian schools that refuse to teach "alternative worldviews" and teach that Christianity is the only true religion "fly in the face of article 29" of the treaty.
  9. Allowing parents to opt their children out of sex education has been held to be out of compliance with the CRC.
  10. Children would have the right to reproductive health information and services, including abortions, without parental knowledge or consent.

For a full explanation of all of these points, check out Mike Farris's article, Nannies in Blue Berets.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Family Times

What a wonderful week we have had this week!
Laura, Lucy and Molly came to stay for a few days. It was so much fun to have them here. Here is Lucy on the inflatable mattress. She had a smaller mattress next to it so that she could sleep next to her mom. The portacrib was set up for Molly, so the room was just basically one, big bed!
The kids loved it!
Monday morning was a school morning, but everyone had a good breakfast first!
John was busy helping the second grade at Good Shepherd make Rosaries, so we did a shorter day of school.
Later, Laura and the girls hung out at home, and the boys and I did some errands. Paul had rehearsal three nights this week, but Paula drove last night, Bless her! Nina and Lilly dropped by and the girls got acquainted again. That's always rough going at first. Toddlers have a hard time appreciating each other.

Tuesday we had a full school day. Laura went to dinner with friends and I had to take Paul to rehearsal again. We got home about 9:30!

Last night was so much fun! Nina, Johnny and Lilly came up and we had dinner. The girls played so nicely together and we had such a great visit. They surprised me with an impromptu birthday party and apple pie! Yum! Paul treated us to a performance of "Food" from Oliver!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Too Good Not to Post...

From the days when wits were sharp...
I got these in an email from my friend Tonya today.
I don't know if they were all actually said by the people that they are attributed to, but they are clever, not matter who thought them up!

The exchange between Churchill & Lady Astor: She said, "If you were my husband I'd give you poison," and he said, "If you were my wife, I'd drink it."

A Member of Parliament to Disraeli: "Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease." "That depends, Sir," said Disraeli, "whether I embrace your policies or your mistress."

"He had delusions of adequacy." - Walter Kerr

"He has all the virtues I dislike and one of the vices I admire." - Winston Churchill

"A modest little person, with much to be modest about." - Winston Churchill

"I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure." Clarence Darrow

"He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary." - William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway).

"Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?" - Ernest Hemingway (about William Faulkner)

"Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time reading it." - Moses Hadas

"He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know." - Abraham Lincoln

"I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it." - Mark Twain

"He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends." - Oscar Wilde

"I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend.... if you have one." - George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

"Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second... if there is one." - Winston Churchill, in response.

"I feel so miserable without you; it's almost like having you here." - Stephen Bishop

"He is a self-made man and worships his creator." - John Bright

"I've just learned about his illness. Let's hope it's nothing trivial." - Irvin S. Cobb

"He is not only dull himself, he is the cause of dullness in others." - Samuel Johnson

"He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up." - Paul Keating

"There's nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won't cure." Jack E. Leonard

"He has the attention span of a lightning bolt." - Robert Redford

"They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge." - Thomas Brackett Reed

"In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily." - Charles, Count Talleyrand

"He loves nature in spite of what it did to him." - Forrest Tucker

"Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?" - Mark Twain

"His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork." - Mae West

"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go." - Oscar Wilde

"He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lampposts... for support rather than illumination." - Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

"He has Van Gogh's ear for music." - Billy Wilder

"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it." - Groucho Marx

Monday, April 20, 2009

Over the Weekend...

We had a busy weekend and I am just beginning to get caught up.
It seems like we are just running like crazy!
However, we had a lot of fun.

Friday night we went down to Baltimore and watched a great soccer match between the minor league Crystal Palace, and Pittsburgh. They were a very even match. Tied 0-0! It was a lot of fun, even though it was freezing! The game was held at UMBC stadium, a bit of a drive, but well worth it!

Saturday John and I wanted to enjoy the beautiful weather, so we got on our bikes and rode down into town. We had lunch at a Chinese restaurant that we like, and then we went down to the river and watched the boaters and the fishermen. We had to get back because Lilly was coming for the afternoon. She was all ready for a ride too...

Sunday was Divine Mercy Sunday, and we had been doing the Novena since Good Friday, so it was even better! The Mass was wonderful and we had a chance to get a picture in front of the shrine at St Ignatius. What a pretty church!
Sunday afternoon we worked out in the yard. I planted tulips and irises under the birdbath.
John worked VERY hard on the bricks along the driveway. He leveled straightened them and clean out around them. He was duly compensated...

Sunday night I went over to Finksburg and picked up Laura, Lucy and Molly and brought them here for a few days. We have had a nice visit. Today has been really crazy and they had a lot of time here alone, but tomorrow we get to stay home until rehearsal, so we'll have time to visit and take pictures!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

We Are Called...

If you are looking for something to read for the summer, you might consider Carl Anderson's new book. He is the Supreme Knight of the Knight's of Columbus. I have bought a couple of his books and they are very readable and well written.
This is a topic for our times. The Theology of the Body is something deep and rich and it applies to every human being. We are created in the image of God, of course, but do we really understand how that applies to our relationships and the most intimate aspects of our lives?
The Theology of the Body is a whole new way to learn the language of God.

Here's what Archbishop Charles Chaput has to say about it from:
“Carl Anderson and Father José Granados write with a clarity, beauty, and intelligence that make these pages a joy to read. But it’s the content that makes this book so important. In a culture that increasingly devalues human life, this is a compelling, wonderfully readable reflection on ‘the theology of the body’ and the meaning of human love and sexuality. I highly recommend it.”
H/T to American Papist.

Another great program that I have found for understanding this very deep topic is "Theology of the Body for Teens" by Jason Evert and Brian Butler.
This is a great book if you are looking for a very clear cut study of the TOTB, or are trying to be ready to discuss sexuality with your teens. My boys aren't teens, but this book has already given me a wealth of guidance about discussing relationships on their level.

Friday, April 17, 2009


I have been following Stellan's story for awhile and Tuesday is a really big day for him.
Please read his story and keep him, and his family in your prayers.
This is a great intention for Divine Mercy Novenas!
Click the picture for his story.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Havre de Grace TEA Party

Today is Tax Day, April 15th.
To celebrate, the boys and I braved the nasty rain and cold, and showed up at Tydings Park to participate in our local Tea Party.
There were probably a couple of hundred people there. We carried signs, listened to a couple of speeches, and just basically wanted to show our opposition to the way the economic issues are being addressed.
It was quite enlightening.

John wrote a few questions out and interviewed a friend of ours that showed up.
I'll post it tomorrow.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Bosco Asks "What About Bob?"

Our fat cat, Bosco, is strictly an indoor cat.
He dreams of being the great hunter, but it is only a dream.

Recently, a squirrel, that we have christened "Bob" for obvious reasons, has caught Bosco's attention.
Yesterday I caught Bosco "hunting" from a perch at the front window.

Bob had no idea how much potential danger he was in. He never will.

Bosco lumbered downstairs to bury his sorrows in cat food.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter 2009

What a beautiful Easter it was!

Yesterday the rain poured! ALL day long! The boys made the most of it though. They dyed their eggs and put on goofy faces. We put them back into the box and they looked like they were on a rollercoaster...
About the time we left for Mass the weather cleared. It was cold, but clear.

This morning was just gorgeous!!
The boys were up early hunting for their treasures. They must have been tired because it took a long time!
They finally found every thing, and then went down to watch one of their movies.
They usually get movies each Easter.

We had a quiet morning. I worked on some of the food, and then Tim and I had some quiet time to chat.

Nina and Johnny stopped by with Lilly so that we could see her in her Easter finery. She looked very pretty, as you can see.

The boys had their egg hunt

and then we had one for Lilly when they came back for dinner.