Tuesday, January 30, 2007


My daughter....the fashion plate. Maria has always been such a "girly girl". If she were going to high school, she would be the social butterfly cheerleader type at every social event,,,,praise GOD she is not going to high school. Haha! Seriously, homeschooling is often seen as a good thing for kids that are a bit socially awkward, and that's surely true. But it also is a blessing for a child that tends to be a little *too* peer-oriented. At least with homeschooling, I have a little more control over who those peers are! Maria loves clothes, loves to look "cool",,,and loves pink, as evidenced by this picture. I have no idea where she gets this. I am the exact opposite of a clothes-horse and disdain "wasting" money on buying clothing for myself when the money could be put to much better use buying books or something for our home. I don't recall ever caring much about clothing, even as a teenager. But Maria loves to dress up, and she definitely has a style all her own. Now that I can appreciate. The things she chooses to wear are things that *she* likes, not things that the kids at school will accept. I am always tickled when I see her wearing something a bit...unusual. I'm glad she has the space to develop her own tastes with minimal influence from others opinions. And as long as her clothing is modest and reasonable for the occasion, I try to keep even my own opinion to myself. :)

Monday, January 29, 2007

quick Monday post

quick Monday post
Oooooh...Mondays are so long. We had co-op today. Intro to Life Science, Fear Factor Fun (math), Spanish, Cooking, Knitting, and Art for Maria. Running errands, helping out in the preschool, the afternoon freeplay class for 2 hours....we are all wiped out. Maria feels bad this evening...wondering if she is coming down with something or just tired.

Breakfast- leftover pancakes and fruit bowl
Lunch- roast beef sandwiches, clementines, pretzles
Snack- granola bars on the run
Dinner- Burger King (yum...more junk)

What we read- Maria- nothing so far. Will read some of The Secret Garden tonight. Kain- Make Way for Ducklings. Jack- Curious George, some little puppy board book Maria picked out from the library.

GOing to go chase Kain into bed and crash now....

Sunday, January 28, 2007


-PSR this morning. I co-teach a preschool class, Maria and Kain go off to their respective classes. Jack usually goes to the nursery. Maria says they learned "more about Confirmation, and a bunch of different stuff I can't remember." Kain says they learned about "families".

-Mass after PSR. Kain did very well today. Jack was a wildman. Things to work on for next mass- Maria- attention to prayer after communion instead of looking for friends to walk by. Kain- kneeling without complaining and sitting on his ankles.

-Today was Kain's name day, so we went to pick up some donuts after mass. He also got out of chores for the day, but had to tell him later that this did not give him license to do whatever he wanted to do, i.e. not bathe or go to bed.

-Then the kids played outside while I attempted (and failed) to get Jack to nap. He's been resisting naps the last couple of days. Disturbing trend. I read some, channel flipped some, and generally made an effort to relax. Still had to wash dishes by hand, so that took some time this afternoon. Kids played outside and Kain fought often with the other kids. They try to leave him out, skip his turns, that kind of thing, and then he acts out.

- Jack watched a Thomas video, we read some books and played with his new nesting blocks. Didn't go outside with him. Too cold for me!

-Now Jack's in bed, Kain is on his way after bedtime prayers, and I will wash some more dishes and get ready for co-op day tomorrow. Should be a good day, because John is off, so either he can
A. come with us and get in some nice Daddy time, or
B. stay here and pick up Kain from school so I don't have to make the mad dash back to town in time to get him.

His choice will probably depend on what time he gets home tonight!

On the menu----
Breakfast- cereal, not a great choice, but I overslept a bit.
Snack- Donuts
Lunch- Mac and cheese (Kain's choice)
Tea time- Just tea for me. The kids were playing and had a late lunch due to the donuts.
Dinner- pancakes, eggs, sausage and bacon (we always have brinner (breakfast for dinner) on Sundays)
Dessert- Sundaes for Sunday.

Lots of junk...but hey, it's Sunday.

St. Amadeus

"The son of Blessed Amadeus of Clermont, Saint Amadeus of Lausanne (a.k.a. Amadeus von Lausanne) was born in 1110 in the castle Chatte of Dauphine, in what is now France. In his early years, St. Amadeus lived a life of privilege, a member of the Royal family of Franconia. Like many members of the nobililty, he was sent to the famous Benedictine monastery of Cluny for an education. But the influence of his monastic teachers led him to discover a call to the religious life. Rather than embracing the rather comfortable life of Cluny, however, he joined the new reformed Benedictine movement known as the Cistercians and became a disciple of St. Bernard at the monastery of Clairvaux. He went on to become abbott and then, over his protestations, bishop of Lausanne in 1144. He was also selected as chancellor of Burgundy by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. St. Amadeus died on August 24, 1159. His liturgical memorial in the Roman calendar occurs on January 28. "

St. Amadeus is Kain's patron Saint. Kain's middle name is Amadeus, and St. Amadeus' feast day is just a few days before Kain's birthday, something I'm sure Kain's parents were completely unaware of. When we had Kain baptised, I wanted to make sure he had a patron, so I started doing some research and I found the above info and picture. We picked up donuts to celebrate after mass and Kain gets a chore-free day. He also got to pick a meal today, macaroni and cheese for lunch. :)

St. Amadeus, pray for us!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

and a (not so )quick catch up

and a (not so )quick catch up
How neglectful I have already been of my new blog! We have tweaked our daily schedule around here to make room for some regular afternoons socialization with our homeschooling friends, and also to respect mom's natural biorhythm of being a morning person who is pretty much out of steam by the time lunchtime comes. Most homeschooling moms, I know, do all their school early in the day and do chores in the late afternoon/evening hours. We have been doing that basic plan too. However, it takes way more energy for me to clean than to sit down with a history read aloud, and the cleaning is just not happening far too often. So, we are trying something new. Maria is doing her independent work in the morning while I work on some daily chores, including getting meals for the day pre-prepped as much as possible. Then, after lunch we will either go to a homeschool group activity or I will catch up on some far behind purging and organization around here. And in the late afternoon, I will work on school work with Maria. I'm hoping that by our Easter break the house will be in shape again. Then we can spend some of those after-lunch afternoons working on rabbit trails together. So far it is working nicely. I'm not sure what we will end up doing next year though....then I'll have to get in school with Kain somewhere. It always amazes me that every school year I think, "Well, that's it. We can't possibly work anything else into the schedule." But we do. It always works out, and there always seems to be just enough time to do what we need to do.

So, briefly....

Tuesday- this is a blur to me already. I know we did a full day of school. I think I worked on our new schedule plan this day quite a bit.

Wednesday- Also a full day of school. Had to pick up Kain and take him to his first therapy appointment. It seemed to go well. I talked to the therapist for a bit first, and then she took Kain back. When she came back out with him she told me that she needed to speak to me first again next week. She had this really meaningful look on her face, like he told her something she wants to talk to me about already...kind of freaked me out a little! Kain likes going a lot. Having someone's attention solely focused on him for a hour....he loves that! He doesn't get a lot of that here, I know...but he's in school all day, and spends half the weekend with his Dad!

Thursday- Fun day, and also recent enough that I can recall a bit more detail. This was our first day on our new schedule. I sent Maria off to do some work on her own,,,reading a catechism chapter on the Eucharist, a worksheet from Let's Learn Music, a narration to copy and illustrate from Bible History, a saxon DIVE lesson on the computer, and some science reading to do that I found out the following day she "forgot". In the afternoon we went roller skating with one of our homeschool groups. John was off of work and came with us. It was Jack's second time roller skating, and he had a ball! We made this a half day of school, because I needed to get dinner on early and everything organized for John so that I could leave in the evening to go to Mom's Share with my Catholic homeschool group. First time out in weeks and weeks. It was very nice to get away for a bit!

Friday- Maria and I both had dental appointments in the morning, so I made this another half day of school. After our appointments I took her to Target to spend a gift card she received for Christmas. $30 is a lot to a 10 year old...until she is in the toy section and has to actually narrow her choices to $30. Jack had one as well and I had fun spending that on him. Maria bought a little electronic keyboard and a "Littlest Pet Shop" addition to the menagerie that lives upstairs. Jack got a colorful set of wooden stacking/nesting blocks. I like Target's toy section. They have far less in the way of trashy toys than Walmart does. Everything at Walmart seems to be battery operated and/or a knock off from some movie or tv show. At home, John and I worked out the details of our new budget (yesterday was the first payday on the new budget). I also gave up on our dishwasher and threw a wrench in the new budget by telling John we were going to have to call a repair guy on Monday. Our dishwasher is three years old and a piece of junk. This is the third repair, and of course now the warrantly is expired. The dishes have been coming out looking questionably clean for a bit now,,,,(one of those is something really wrong or is this just my imagination? things) but this morning's load was not clean in the slightest. I ran an empty load and realized that the spinning/spraying water thingies are now not spinning at all. I spent the rest of the afternoon washing dishes by hand and using the dishwasher as a drying rack. After we picked up Kain from school, Maria and I went upstairs to wrap up her work. We discussed the catechism chapter she had read yesterday, went over her independent work from yesterday, gave a diagnostic spelling test from WRTR (list K this year, woohoo!), drilled catechism for 5 minutes. I gave a fact drill sheet from her math lesson and pulled teeth to get her to work the new lesson problems with me. It was painful and tearful and took forever. By the time she was done with math our time was up. After we got Jack in bed (Kain was spending the night with his Dad), we quickly worked on her current poem (CHristmas Everywhere ...told you we were behind, haha!), recited the Our Father in Latin, and filled in a blank map with the southern states and capitals. So, in spite of the math delays, we managed to get everything done except for drawing.

And today- Saturday- grocery shopping and a library trip. I know, Walmart on a Saturday, right? Not too bad...Kain is not here, so that makes shopping a lot easier! Need to move the childproof latch on the pantry higher up...Jack smashed a giant jar of applesauce on the kitchen floor this morning (sigh).

On the menu for later today- Quesadillas for lunch, and Saturday evening is pizza and popcorn night (homemade,,,very, very easy, much cheaper and quicker than waiting on delivery on a Saturday night!).

standardized testing

How Kain's school prepares for standardized testing-
-making curriculum choices that will maximize test performance
-doing practice tests at school
-sending home packets of practice worksheets every week so that he can practice at home
- giving us a website where we can print off even *more* practice tests
-dangling carrots in front of the teachers- there's been talk in the papers of giving teachers financial rewards for good scores from their classrooms.

How we prepare for standardized testing-
-"Hey Maria, you remember how to fill in those little bubbles on that test you took last year, right?" "Uh-huh."

Homeschoolers in Arkansas are required to take the ITBS in 3rd-10th grades. Last year, since it was her first time taking such a test, we did a couple of "dry runs" so that she would be comfortable. By mid-first grade, she'd had enough experience with "real school" tests to be pretty darn nervous about it. I really did plan to do more that first year, but didn't get to it. I was a little concerned because she was struggled with reading and spelling. She still scored better than the state average. I think this will only improve as she goes on too. Our curriculum is pretty gentle in the early years and slower to progress in certain subjects than the public school's. But it's a well thought out curriculum and starts to pick up the pace right around 3rd-4th grade, and by the junior high years it is pretty darn tough....as good a college prep program as I've ever seen. I like the balance. I *want* the early years to be fun and enjoyable with lots of time for learning through play, and I *want* the curriculum to also be solid enough that my kids go on and do whatever they want in life. I know I could raise her test scores in this "in between" time by teaching to the test the way the public schools do, but I refuse to do that. I refuse to waste one iota of my precious school time by worrying about these silly tests. It's just one of my many prerogatives as a homeschooler. I tell Maria that the test is made for public schoolers and the books that they use, that different books teach things in different grades, and to just do the best she can and not worry about it. I make sure she knows how to actually take the test so that she doesn't miss problems for not coloring the circles properly or something like that. I give her a good night's sleep and a good breakfast. And then I let it go.

Monday, January 22, 2007

A quick post

A quick post
because I'm running out of steam fast. Today was our first day back at our homeschool co-op...so we have been gone alllll day. Dropped Kain off at school, then off we went to the church our co-op uses, spent the day, drove back to pick up Kain from school, then back to pick up Maria from her last co-op class. She is taking a life science class, a math class (fun stuff), spanish, cooking, knitting, and art. I dropped her off and then Jack and I ran an errand to the grocery store and gassed up the car. We came back in time for me to help out in the preschool room for an hour. Then we had our sack lunch together, and then Jack and I went on to teach "free play" for 2 hours. Free play is pretty much a class for the kids that are too young to take regular afternoon classes and is pretty much a place for parents to bring their little kids while they are teaching a class. It's informal...I put out a couple of activities, and they can choose to do them or to just play with friends. Jack had a lot of fun today. The second free play hour there was just Jack and another little boy his age. I blew bubbles for what had to be a good half an hour. They would shriek with surprise every single time I blew on the wand, then run around like crazy trying to catch and stomp the bubbles. Maria also had a good time. She *loves* going to Treehouse, and anytime I feel like it's gotten to be too much trouble I reconsider for her sake. I haven't done anything at home this evening. I am so, so tired! First day fully back on "schedule", so I've been up since 5am an

Sunday, January 21, 2007

a lazy weekend for blogging

So I'll just post this sweet picture of my Jack instead. This is the "safari hat" from our dress up trunk upstairs.

Friday, January 19, 2007

a new blog

Check out my dashboard. I have a secondary blog, smallthingswithgreatlove.blogspot.com. It's a list of our daily homeschool/homemaking doings. I started it for my own reference, realizing that that level of detail is not something everyone wants to read, but it may be of some use to those interested in seeing the nuts and bolts of someone else's day once in a while. I plan to start posting there on Sunday (that's right. Every day is a school day here! :))

A pause for math

Sometimes I really need to be reigned in. Yesterday we had a rough go at school. Jack has taken a liking to pitching toys down the stairs, and was just generally clingy and whiny. Maria was just *not* getting the math. I was getting really frustrated. We are quite behind on our syllabus and I was anxious to check off another day's worth of boxes. I sure didn't want to get any more behind. Not a great attitude to have, for sure. We had been working up to this since Christmas break. Maria was just not getting the concept of borrowing in subtraction. I had been plowing ahead anyway, and she was getting more and more problems wrong with each assignment. And I was getting more and more impatient with her for causing us to fall "behind". I finally realized what I was doing to us all, and that trying to do anything that required concentration with Jack in the mood he was in was futile anyway. I closed the books and we all went downstairs. I fed everyone an early lunch and put Jack to sleep, then sent Maria to lay down in her room with Charlotte's Web for 30 minutes. Then we both sat down with her math book in the quiet house. I printed another set of answer sheets off for myself, and we slowly worked through each problem together. She seemed to make some progress and by the end of the lesson she was solving borrowing problems correctly on her own. Afterwards, we hung up school for the day. What's another half day lost in the grand scheme of things?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

art show

Ever since Maria was three or four years old, art supplies and craft kits have been her gift of choice. I have always made it a rule to make supplies readily available to her, and as a result we spend a small fortune on keeping her in crafty things. People are starting to roll their eyes when I suggest, year after year, art supplies for birthday and Christmas gifts, but this is truly what she loves to do. I have always said that if we were unschoolers, Maria would do nothing but art projects all day long. Here's what she did just on Sunday afternoon...various collages, and dinosaur picture for Kain, a homemade cat toy, and a piece of lovely pipe cleaner/plastic gemstone jewelry.

Monday, January 15, 2007

bathroom clutter

Here's a picture of my latest nod to my vow to get more organized. The kids got these wooden bins for Epiphany gifts. After Christmas, I raid Walmart and buy up those fancy bath baskets on clearance and put away a year's supply of lotions and potions. This time they had some in these nifty wooden containers, so I bought three of them. I painted and stenciled them,,,Maria's with flowers, Kain's with dinosaurs, and Jack's with trains and cars,,, and now they are "bath boxes". They corral toothbrushes, bathroom cups, flossers, hairbrushes, etc. We have tiny bathrooms here, and these shelves are the only storage space in the bathroom that the kids use. The small sink was constantly crowded with all their stuff, and this has been a good solution. We have also color coded all the bathroom stuff. Maria is pink, Kain is blue, Jack is green...you'll notice the washrags hanging on pegs next to the boxes in the appropriate colors. To the right, over the clawfoot tub, there hangs their three bath towels in pink, blue, and green. I'm quite tickled with myself.
You might wonder, as Maria already has, what will happen when (God willing) we have another child. Right now, you see, it works out quite neatly, three shelves for three kids. Well, we also have a larger not-quite-finished upstairs bathroom. Hopefully by the time we have another bathroom user this upstairs bathroom will be completed and can become a "big kids" bathroom. Then the tiny downstairs bathroom can just be for kids still young enough to need some hand-holding during the grooming/bathing process.

Oh, and you're not hallucinating, Maria's bath box is bigger than the others. I didn't realize I'd bought one in a different size, but it's worked out well enough. Maria, true to femine tradition, already has more bathroom "stuff" to keep track of than the boys do.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

TV takeover

Dear Sprout People,

You have overstayed your welcome. Months ago, you "generously" ran a "free preview" with our basic cable programming, an obvious attempt to get us to advance our cable from our paltry basic channels into full-blown cable programming. It almost worked. All of a sudden, we had all our favorite PBS Kids TV shows on 24/7! Even favorite shows that we don't even get on our local PBS channel, like Thomas the Tank Engine, Angelina Ballerina, and Kipper. Brilliant! Even I appreciated the old-school Sesame Street episodes. It's come in so handy during these long winter school-free days, especially when everyone was sick. I would even panic a little at the thought that we might lose our "free preview" at any time. If you had disappeared from our channel lineup at that point, it might have been enough to push me into expanding our cable package. But, thankfully, you were kind enough to get us over the hump...and now, well, you need to go. Now, my 2yo comes running out of the bedroom in the morning to turn on the TV and watch "the show". The kids spend the evening hours captivated by "The Goodnight Show". And it's precious stuff, really,,,it's decent programming. But I'm tired of the constant television and tired of battling Nina and Star and Lucy to get my children into baths and into bed. I'm alarmed by the glazed look in my toddlers eyes and the fact that he can recognize the theme song to every show in your line up. I know, I know, I could be more consistent about limiting their viewing, but it's a temptation for me too, this instant entertainment that instantly captivates 3 children of varying ages and keeps them quiet and out of trouble. It's become a bad habit for us all. And so, now, when I see the scroll across the top of the screen saying that the "free preview" comes to an end the first week of February, I'm not even tempted to call the cable company. Christmas break is over, everyone is healthy, and I'm ready to take my children back.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Back to the Ordinary

Here's our latest Ordinary Time altar. You can't tell very well in this picture, but that is a green altar cloth! Christmas things are finally put away, and it's back to "normal life"...such as it is...heehee...we are slowly and painfully back to school and trying hard to discipline ourselves to stay on schedule.

Please note Maria's homemade bouquet of pipe cleaner/tissue paper flowers and cattails scavenged along the bike trail. I assembled this altar, as evidenced by it's sparse decor. When Maria decorates the altar she covers every square inch with holy cards, rosaries, and our small collection of statues.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Another Kain update

Lately, having Kain around is rather like living with a little old man...we have been spending lots of time in doctors' offices, and it's not over yet. There's been a lot going on, so I thought I'd post an update for those of you that have been offering prayers for him.

First of all, we have been to the pulmonologist for a check up this week. His lung function has improved a good deal...the doc was impressed. So, no changes there, we are going to keep on keepin on with the same meds and treatments. We also found out that he has lost 4 pounds since his visit two months ago. This is great news. We have not been putting any emphasis on losing weight...just on improving his lifestyle...but it's still nice to see the results. His previous lifestyle of living on pizza and cheeseburgers/playing videos 24 hours a day has left him pretty chunky, and the extra weight isn't good for his lung condition. He gets much less junk food here, but his portion sizes are usually still way too big. He is much, much more active though, and I know that has made the difference. When he came here, he was so deconditioned that he would complain about his legs hurting from walking through the walmart parking lot. A short walk or bike ride would leave him huffing and puffing. Now he plays outside for a couple of hours a day, and I still love to see him come in sweaty and red-faced, knowing he is getting so much physical activity and *enjoying* it...and the physical activity does great things for his mood as well. We also see much less of the binging behavior that was a daily problem in the beginning. He still tends to go overboard on a few foods....so we just try to limit the availability of those foods as much as we can.

Our other big accomplishment has been finally getting him into the Schmeiding Center for evaluation. It was an all day appointment...lots of testing. They have diagnosed him with ADHD (no surprise) and tentatively with Mood Disorder NOS. We are hoping that the mood disorder part will be rectified in time...that it is a result of his terrible early childhood experiences that can be worked out with time and therapy and not an indicator of something like Bipolar Disorder (we have a very strong family history of this). He is too young and has too complicated a history to be diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder of course, but the concern is always in the back of my mind. He will be going to behavioral therapy once a week at Schmeiding for this. The doctor that did the testing is also recommending to the school to do an occupational therapy and speech therapy evaluation...he tested with some delays there. He also tested with some processing delays, such as being able to quickly name shapes and colors when they are held up on flashcards. This may just be from his ADHD and inability to stay focused, so they will look for this to improve with treatment. Otherwise, his congnitive skills all tested in normal range. As far as treatment for his ADHD, we have made the difficult decision to try medication. Yes, we have researched other options...anyone that knows me knows that I compulsively research my "options" for everything :). But for a lot of reasons that I won't go into in this post (because it's getting so long already!), we have decided that it is in his best interest to try medication, at least at this time. His symptoms are very severe and his quality of life is so impacted by them, especially when it comes to making friends with other children.

As far as the other issues surrounding Kain...we are hoping to hire a lawyer with our income tax return and get legal guardianship. We continue to have various conflicts with Kain's parents. I can't go into a lot of detail regarding our struggles with this on a public blog,,,any of those questions should really be discussed privately. We are anxious to get guardianship settled...my worst nightmare is always that he will be taken away from us. As far as our assorted discipline issues...it's getting better. No magic changes, but we are having more good days than bad ones. His overall attitude is generally much less confrontational and more cooperative. I feel much more of a bond with him now. He is very affectionate and loving with me, which makes it feel easier and more natural for me to be the same with him. John still has a harder time with him...maybe because he just isn't with him as much because of his work schedule, or maybe because it's easier for me to bond with a 6yo dropped unexpectedly into our lives because I'm a mom,,,or maybe Kain has an easier time bonding with *me* because I'm a mom. Much of his abuse has happened at the hands of men, so there is that issue too. There are small victories there though, and I hope to see their relationship continue to improve. We have come a long way, I have to keep remembering this...how bad things were when he first came here, how much he has learned. I watched him struggling to make his bed the other day and remembered how when he first came here he wouldn't even dress himself. We have all worked hard, and we are all proud of him. Here's a new picture of the little imp with his favorite sword and his new obsession, the guardian angel doll he received for Epiphany. He's trying his best not smile.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

We are sick and tired of being sick and tired.

We have truly hit rock-bottom here. Momma is sick. It's the worst-case scenario for sure. I mean, as miserable as it is when one of the kids is sick, the rest of the world can continue to turn while the sick child sits on the couch and is indulged with Sierra Mist and repeated viewings of Barbie's Nutcracker. When John is sick, get this,,, he gets SICK DAYS. That's right ya'll. He gets PAID to be sick. This is still a step down from the kids being sick, because John does contribute to the general order of the household,,,plus, the kids want Daddy to play and read and go for walks when he is home. And so it is a bit stressful when Daddy is sick. But when Momma is sick...well, the world comes to a screeching halt. You know the scenario, right,,,the 5 steps of coping with Momma-illness?

First there's Denial. Momma will plug along and insist that it's "really just allergies" (see previous post). She'll pop Motrin and sip hot tea and keep doing what needs to be done.

Then comes Anger. You'll hear Momma mutter, "I really don't have *time* for this. Why can't John get sick once in a while? He gets SICK DAYS for heaven's sake?" Mom will be snappy and generally irritable as the herbal teas and Motrin don't quite cut it anymore.

Next comes Bargaining- "Please, please Lord, can't I just be sick another time? This is a really, really *bad* time for me to be sick. I don't even have a doctor right now, and the housework is *so* behind, we need a good grocery shopping trip desperately."

Now comes Depression. This hit today....after the good grocery shopping trip, with two kids in tow because Daddy is at work NOT SICK. That's right, Walmart on a Saturday, with kids. Good times. My asthma was kicking my rear end before we even got there. By the time we got home, Jack was cranky and overdue for a nap and, well, so was I. Maria helped me lug in bags. I threw the frozen stuff in the freezer, sucked on my inhaler, and collapsed to nap with Jack, totally dejected as I realized that no cleaning was going to happen today.

And the final stage, of course, Acceptance...well, I would accept it, except I'm feeling a bit better. I think I'll take some Tylenol, brew some tea, and see what I can get done in the kitchen.

Sometimes people have to cycle through the steps more than once...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

There's a hole

where our Christmas tree used to be. I know, I know, Christmas isn't over yet,,,but the tree had to go. It has been making me sick for days. We are going to have to get an artificial tree next year I think. This is the second year in a row I have had definite allergy symptoms with the tree around. The kids were not too happy to see it go early, and I put it off as long as I could. But I lay in bed last night with my throat burning and my sinuses throbbing and vowed that the tree would go today!

Kain was supposed to go back to school today...but his tonsillitis is still
not quite cleared up. It was not an easy decision to make. We are all needing to get back to normal around here, and cabin fever is raging. I feel a bit better already now that the tree is gone, and I am cleaning today. Maria is officially hired as my "Mom's helper" for the day....her job is to make sure that Jack gets non-TV stimulation while I do catch-up cleaning. That leaves Kain to be extremely bored. He is still completely incapable of entertaining himself for even the smallest period of time. So he has spent most of the day following Maria and I around, whining about how bored he is and how he wanted to go to school today. Tomorrow we will wean ourselves back onto our schedule.

Monday, January 01, 2007

And a blessed Solemnity

Here's a picture of my weathered statue of Our Lady of Grace. She retires from the altar when Advent begins, then reappears on this day.

Our altar is in the living room and is really a very old, very lovely wooden bureau that belonged to my husband's parents. It's been quite handy...drawers underneath to store extra altar and prayer items, comfy seating for the morning rosary... Please excuse the picture hanger in the background. A crucifix appears there when Christmas season is over. :)

Happy, happy New Year's Baby....

Here's Maria and John, ringing it in....

Well, sort of. John had to be at work at 6:30am on New Year's Day, so he rang it in until 10pm, then he went to bed. I toyed with the idea of letting Kain stay up, but he has had a raging case of tonsilitis so we kept a hush on the festivities and put him to bed at 8 with Jack. So, really it was just Maria and me. We didn't mind. We ring it in alone together every year because John always has to work New Year's and Thanksgiving in order to have Christmas off. We worked on this puzzle together....

ate junky foods and drank some bubbly (um, sparkling grape juice, of course), and as the ball dropped we ran out front and threw confetti and tooted our party horns with the other neighbors that were too young or too old to be elsewhere for the evening.