Sunday, May 30, 2010

Chesapeake Swim Club Opening Day!

Yesterday was the first day of pool season!! The Chesapeake Swim Club is open!

We wait every year for this weekend. It means Summer has started!

We had such a good day yesterday. We got there as it opened and the water was actually warm. The boys got in right way and the oldest two passed their swim tests immediately! John had his friend Jerry come along. We ordered dinner from Pat's pizza, and they delivered a wonderful pizza for the boys, Tim and I had a wrap. The boys went back into the pool until Jerry had to go home.
We went back for more today. More friends, more fun!

We all got a bit too much sun, but it was so good to get back together with our friends and the people that we spend the Summer season with.

Friday, May 28, 2010

We're Celebrating the Start of Summer!

Well, we finished school today!
The boys each took one last math test, and Brendan had a History test. Those all went very well.
We do have some Science experiments to do over the summer, at least Brendan and Paul do.
John is actually having lots of interesting experiences.
He built the birdhouse and the Wrens promptly moved in.
He also captured a caterpillar, and had it in a container, just to see what would happen and it promptly turned into a moth, which was cool!
I have several neat experiments for Brendan and Paul.
We have to find some frog eggs somewhere and the boys have to observe the changes as they grow.
We also have to observe a chrysalis. We'll try to find a different kind of caterpillar.

Tomorrow the pool opens, and we are hoping to attract a bunch of new members.

We had Lilly come over this afternoon and, as always, she and Maggie were a whirlwind of activity, Maggie literally. Finally caught it...

Lilly read me a few stories out of the fairy tale book, and the boys had a ball taking turns chasing her. She is so cute. I love it when she "reads" to us.

So serious!

Later, we ordered Chinese, which I have sworn off of for many reasons, but tonight I had a good reason to have it.
After dinner, Maggie came into the kitchen with something in her mouth, and just stood looking up at me. It was kind of stuck, so I pulled it out, and much to my surprise it was a fortune that must have fallen on the floor out of one of the cookies. I read it and had to laugh....

If that isn't a fortune for a Golden Retriever, I don't know what is.

I am putting it in her puppy book.

Oh, and we started "clicker" training today. Since this particular type of training starts out with lots and lots of treats, Maggie is an ever willing student. She hears her name and "Come" and as soon as she turns to look at me, I click, then she comes flying across the yard, and just before she gets to me, I click again. She decided that I was the best thing going in the backyard and I am hoping to have this particular command down cold within a week or two. I want her to be comfortable with all the basic commands before we install and train her to the fence. That is going to be the focus of her attention for awhile and we will won't be introducing anything new while she is getting that down.
She is just such a good puppy. She tries so hard to understand what we want. Well, OK, she knows we don't want her to chew on the furniture, and that's still worth ignoring us over, but she has to have something that makes me crazy, otherwise I would be worried that she was going to explode.
She is so mellow most of the time and the boys are really enjoying her, now that she is biting less and retrieving more.
Agility isn't coming along quite as well... she keeps eating the tunnel...

Here is a little video of her.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I Didn't Drive my Car Today!

This is a rare occasion and worthy of mention.

I worked around the house, re-entered a bunch of stuff into Homeschool Tracker, which seems bent on annoying me at the end of the school year.

I cut all the boys hair, then did Tim's after dinner. (Pictures to be furnished later.)

Tim installed the window a/c units.

Brendan finished his spelling book!

I mowed the front and back yards, did three loads of laundry, washed the floor in the living/dining area, fed everyone...and Maggie had no accidents!

John and I took Maggie for a wonderful, long, warm walk this evening! Love the warm nights!

When I have a chance to stay home and get things done around here, I feel like I am me again!

Tomorrow is not going to be the same kind of day.

I will be running for most of it! Oh well, today was great! I'll have to try again soon.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

An Outing...

I am learning very quickly that Maggie on a leash and a camera are two things that do not go well together. However, we took Brendan to gymnastics this afternoon and Maggie came along to see the sights.
She saw many sights.
She saw a black dog that was as big as a bear, and went over to say hi to him. This sent me into a very quiet and controlled panic, because if he had just gotten a little annoyed, she would have been a snack. He was, in the end very polite and reserved and simply wagged hello.
She then saw a yellow lab that barked and barked, until we let the two of them meet. Then they played and rolled and bit and wrestled. The woman who owned the dog was one of those extremely responsible pet owners, so I was OK with this play session.
she saw plenty of kids, and was very well mannered. She didn't jump all over them and hardly even nibbled a finger! I was very proud!
Well then in the chaos of coming home and getting dinner started, I blew it and she got off into the bedroom and made a puddle. I was so mad at myself!! It's been going so well!

So her are her pictures of her exciting time out.
Drink water, play in water, spill water...More water??

Tomorrow...Haircuts for the boys!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Once Again...No Pictures...

But I did take the camera with me to the park today. It just didn't get used between Maggie dragging me all over, the boys running around, visiting with the other TORCH moms, and then John didn't feel well, so we came home.
I'll get it out again tomorrow and get pictures of new hair cuts and Maggie, who is growing like a weed!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Facing The Giants...

Ok, I have to see this movie...It has my favorite song for the theme and everything!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Day At Home? Really?

Today has just been great!
We had nowhere that we had to be (except that I did give Fr Henry a ride to the doctor) and I feel so much more balanced!
I was going a little nuts with all the obligations, but today was just fine.
I have had meetings every night since Sunday, dinners have been rather stunted, and Tim keeps catching "dish and dog" duty after dinner.

Maggie was only in her kennel for a little while today, and we had a wonderful walk up the road.
I was able to bake cookies AND muffins, for the boys, and school was so relaxed.
The Laundry is all caught up, I have a bit of work to do downstairs but nothing earth-shattering.
Tonight Tim and I can finish our movie and enjoy just being home together.
What a concept...
I love it here.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Happy Feast Day, Brendan!

Saint Brendan the Navigator, May 16

Born c. 484-489; died at Annaghdown, Ireland, c. 577-583.

"I fear that I shall journey alone, that the way will be dark; I fear the unknown land, the presence of my King and the sentence of my judge."--The dying words of Saint Brendan to his sister Abbess Brig.

Like the wanderings of Ulysses, is the story of Saint Brendan voyaging over perilous waters. We see him as only a shadow in the old Celtic world, he was born the son of Findlugh on Fenit Peninsula in Kerry, Ireland, of an ancient and noble line. It is said that he studied theology under Saint Ita at Killeedy, that he was a contemporary and disciple of Saint Finian and later Saint Gildas at Llancarfan in Wales, and that later he founded a monastery at Saint Malo.

Saint Brendan was given into the care of Saint Ita, who taught him three things that God really loves: "the true faith of a pure heart; the simple religious life; and bountifulness inspired by Christian charity." She would have added the three things God hates are "a scowling face; obstinate wrong-doing; and too much confidence in money." When he was six he was sent to Saint Jarlath's monastery school at Tuam for his education, and was ordained by Bishop Saint Erc in 512.

On the Kerry coast, with 14 chosen monks, he built a coracle of wattle, covered it with hides tanned in oak bark softened with butter, and set up a mast and a sail, and after a prayer upon the shore, he embarked in the name of the Trinity. After strange wanderings he returned to Ireland and, about 559, founded a great monastery at Clonfert in Galway of 3,000 monks and a convent under his sister Briga. He gave his monks a rule of remarkable austerity.

Later he visited the holy island of Iona, which was the center of much missionary activity. He founded numerous other monasteries in Ireland and several sees. And he himself made missionary journeys into England and Scotland.

It is said that Columbus, to whom Brendan's story would have been familiar, may have been inspired by the saint's epic saga Navigatio Sancti Brendani Abbatis. Long before Columbus, the Irish monks were renowned as travellers and explorers. Tradition says that they reached Iceland and explored even farther afield in the Atlantic--perhaps as far as America.

Scholars long doubted the voyage to the Promised Land described by Brendan could have been to North America, but some modern scholars now believe that he may have done just that. In 1976-77, Tim Severin, an expert on exploration, following the instructions in the Navigatio built a hide-covered curragh and then sailed it from Ireland to Newfoundland via Iceland and Greenland, demonstrating the accuracy of its directions and descriptions of the places Brendan mentioned in his epic. Brenden is perhaps the first Orthodox Saint to set foot on North American soil.

Brendan himself stands out in a dark age as the captain of a Christian crew. Like the Greeks and the Vikings, he had a craving for the sea, but he built his boat, and launched it in the name of the Lord and sailed it under the ensign of the Cross.

Now the great mountain that juts out into the Atlantic in County Kerry is called Mount Brandon, because he had a little chapel atop it, and the bay at the foot of the mountain is Brandon Bay. Brendan probably died while visiting his sister Briga, abbess of a convent at Enach Duin.

H/T to Mairs

Friday, May 14, 2010

Macbeth, a Fabulous Success!!

Well, our first performance of "Macbeth" last night was just beyond successful!

I am so proud of all the actors and families that have gone to so much effort to pull this off!

Wow...You guys are amazing!

Here are a few pictures...Hopefully I will get some clips of some of the best scenes tomorrow night.

Brendan as "Seyton"

Paul as "Donalbain"

the Banquet scene...

Some of the cast...

Bosco's Dilema...

Should I sit here and salivate?....

Or should I just pretend I don't see them?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

New Neighbors

Since John built the fantastic birdhouse, I was puttering around in the yard last week and thought I would just hang it outside. I grabbed a hanger and pole stand, and just stuck it out on the patio. This was just going to be a temporary arrangement. Then, for Mother's day Brendan got me a really nice suet feeder and lots of suet blocks. So, just to get it out where the birds could enjoy it, I hung the feeder next to the new birdhouse.

Well, apparently the attraction of a new condo next door to a five star restaurant was just too good to be true, and within a day we had several potential new tenants. The Sparrows decided that the hole was just a bit to small.
This House Wren, though, thought it was just the thing...

So, much coming and going and nest building has been taking place right over the patio.
Little thing doesn't care about kids or dogs, just getting the place furnished for the family!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Flowers for Mother's Day!

Today is a perfect day-before-Mother's Day!

The weather is just gorgeous, and the flowers inside and out are just beautiful!

Laura and family sent this beautiful arrangement, and it arrived this morning...

I went out and got pictures of the blooms in the yard today too.

John's Clamatis...

My Columbine...

The Honeysuckle on the house...

The Irises on the side....
And these....

Maggie Is Three Months!

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Friday, May 7, 2010

I didn't post this yet...
Last Friday some of our members met at the track in Havre de Grace to run a "Marathon Relay".
We had about 22 people combining walking and running. Each person decided what they could do, with the goal being at least a mile per person. Several of the kids did more! After most of the participants had finished four 1/4 mile laps, it was determined that we were still about 11 laps short of our 26 miles. Lisa Tellup cheerily encouraged everyone to do "just one more" and we ended up with 30 miles to our credit!
Kudos to Nate Heinlein, who didn't intend to run, and ended up finishing a mile! The up side of peer pressure! Missed them in the picture...
The weather was gorgeous and almost everyone was able to meet afterward at Tydings Park for a picnic lunch.
Next year we'd love to do it again, with even more people!

It's Really Friday...

What a week! All those things that I posted about, that have been keeping me running, are still going full tilt, and so am I!
Monday we did a full day of school, we went to Macbeth rehearsal, where we discussed props and costumes and realized what was missing. That night I went to the "Annual Parish Meeting". A reality check for the parishioners by any other name.
Tuesday we had another full day of school, Brendan started gymnastics, and I worked in the evening. I did enjoy the job. We cleaned out the entire "craft room" and it looked great when we were finished! Then I went home and worked on the "signs" spreadsheets until midnight.
Wednesday we had rehearsal again after school. It went well, but Maggie ended up stuck in her kennel for a long time. I felt really bad. She is so sweet and cooperative. She spends all her time following us around and she is just such a little trouper. I am so proud of her progress!
Tim had a Knight's meeting, so I stayed home and worked on more campaign details.
Yesterday we did school all day, but the light is shining at the end of the tunnel!
The boys only have ten lessons left in Math and they are getting down to it on several other subjects. Yay!! Yeah, there are going to be a few things that we have to finish up. History for Brendan and John, and English for everyone. But they are doing so well. Brendan took a History test today and he got a 90%!
After school I had to take Maggie to the vet for shots and all that jazz. She is growing like a weed, and everyone loves her. She is so well behaved. It's a pleasure to take her anywhere.
She will start a puppy class later this month.
Today started with Mass. Then we came home and the boys did school. Three math tests. A History test, three Spelling tests, and all the other subjects in between.
After school it was off to rehearsal again. We got a lot done.
Then we came home just in time for Paul and I to grab a bite and run back out to Children's Choir practice.
When I got home I worked on some stuff for Macbeth.
I am just finishing up and am going to post this and hit the sack.
Tomorrow is another day...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Life Apart: Jenna's Story

Laura at "Planted and Blooming" says:

Welcome, Jenna! Jenna Bonner is a 23-year-old newlywed and medical student. She lives in Maryland with her husband, Ben. I am so blessed to count her among my friends and I know you'll be amazed by her frank words and leave-you-speechless discoveries. Grab a cup of coffee and a muffin, folks. You won't get up again until you read it all.

Angry. Disillusioned. Betrayed. I can’t really begin to put into words the way I felt as I scrolled down the list. ‘But you know, this can’t be legit. It’s probably some specific version of the Pill that I don’t even take,’ I reassured myself as I searched. Asbestos. Everyone knows asbestos. Benzene. Ooo, benzene. I remember benzene from lab safety. And there it was: “estrogen-progestogen oral contraceptives”. I dashed to my nightstand to grab my current pill pack, frantically searching for the “clinical names” of the drugs it contained. Desogestrel. Ahhh (sigh of relief). No progestin. Wait - better check. Google. “Desogestrel – a progesterone-like hormone, or progestin…” Speechless. Back to the list.
Practically holding my jaw closed with one hand, I read on. Formaldehyde. Hepatitis C Virus. HIV. Mustard gas. Radon. X radiation. Alcohol and tobacco. Would I pump any of these horrifically harmful substances into my bloodstream daily? Sure, we all have a drink here and there. Everyone’s had an X-ray. But we are all empirically aware of these dangers – we are forewarned (repeatedly and emphatically) about the risks we take when we submit our bodies to such toxic exposures. As I sifted through a list of all-too-familiar chemical compounds – substances that I once handled with special gloves and a lab coat strictly within the confines of a chemical fume hood – my thoughts wandered, years and years back. Back to my first OB/GYN visit.
Vulnerable. Nervous. Heck, I was darn-near petrified.

Read the rest HERE....It is so worth it!!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Life Apart: Call To Authenticity...

By Laura.
I just had to post this...It is just too good!

What is A Life Apart? It's freedom from the Culture of Death, and the decline of marriage and the family. It's a call to rise above the mainstream ideals of sex, love and the human condition. A Life Apart is the belief that anyone can reclaim their faith, find spectacular love and live an authentic life. Through a series of guest posts, crazy ideas and fabulous resources, we'll introduce you to a way of living that'll leave you thinking harder and making changes. This series will post on Wednesdays until we run out of things to say. :-)

Now you might be thinking, "Psh. Catholics couples don't have sex. Their babies fall from the sky and into the pew!" But did you know that the Catholic Church is well-formed, well-informed and well-spoken on what goes on in the bedroom?

Read the rest here...You know you want to...

For Rachel...

Facing giants and trusting the "Voice of Truth"....

A Glimpse at My Crazy Life....

I could be losing my mind.
No one would notice, because I am so scattered around over the landscape that I am only required to present a sound mind to a few people at a time, for a short period.

Remember last Fall when I was bemoaning my busy life and I made that commitment to slow down and take things a day at a time?
That worked through most of the winter. I was getting pretty good at saying "No".

True, we did "A Christmas Carol" and that had me at my wits end for a couple of weeks.
But then we went to Texas and I had the perfect time off.

So...What has happened to foil my plans for peace and harmony within the heart of my family?

Well...we had already planned to do "Macbeth" with the Shakespeare group. I could handle that because that was absolutely the biggest thing I was going to commit to. OK, since I had no other big plans, I could certainly coordinate props and costumes!

Well, I had no other plans, but I do have a standing arrangement with Nettie for a certain number of hours of work each week...and the occasional class...just one night a week though.

Oh yeah...and the Pool. Yeah, OK, so I am still the secretary and there are some duties that require my attention. Just a few, I can fit them in around the other stuff. A couple of meetings, writing some emails, sending out minutes. No Sweat.

So...Looking at all this, I'm not REALLY busy, even if you add school to the mix. That's just five days a week from 8-4 or so.

This is what I was thinking when we were Blessed with the gift of Maggie, and she has been SUCH a gift. A wonderful addition to the family.
When you have a baby, everyone brings you meals and excuses you from all the details of the world for at least six months, sometimes a year!
When you get a puppy, they look at you and say "Wow! You are really gonna be busy! That's just like having a baby!" Only, they don't offer you meals or tell you to take the year off.
Well, we couldn't be happier.

So what was I thinking when the Parish called and said that even though I didn't get elected to the Parish Council this year, that Father would like to re-appoint me to the same post? I could have said, "I really can't do that again this year. Maybe next year." I had every reason.
But no, I want to help out the parish.

Now I have really put my foot in it.
I have accepted the job of "State Sign Coordinator" for Jim Rutledge's campaign for Senate.
I am thrilled to be able to help. I can't sit out another election cycle without doing something to effect change. I want to see this man get in and I desperately want to see Barbara Mikulski unseated. I will do anything I need to to help.
I am just concerned that I may not be up to this task. Driving signs around to local voters and giving the campaign a hand with data entry is one thing. This is a little bigger bite than I was prepared for.
By the Grace of God...

I have to wonder though....

What is it about "No" that I don't understand?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Miss Maggie...

A few pictures from the past week...
Maggie is always going under or getting into something, literally.
They tell me her mom was nicknamed "Underdog" and Maggie is carrying on the tradition.
One of these days, very soon, she is going to go under something and she will realize that she is too big to get out. She is growing by the day.
It has been very hot for the last couple of days, and I think poor Maggie thinks that the world as she knew it is gone. This is her first experience with heat, and she hates it!
We will get the A/C installed this coming weekend and she will be amazed at the improvement in the quality of life!

No, I did not put Lilly in the kennel, she put herself in!