Saturday, February 22, 2014

Saturday Morning Reflections (18): a simple prayer

I have too much in my mind this morning, and yet, nothing to say. Instead, I will leave you with a beautiful prayer thought:

God bless you.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thankful Thursday: school & snow

Today I am THANKFUL for feeling so well the past two weeks (as in, so well, this is what I imagined how I would feel if I were "normal," hehe). It sure helped when I woke up today... feeling not so well thanks to an itty bitty cold the kids are sort of sick with. Does that make sense? Just enough icky to make them a bit extra cranky and sniffly but not so much to slow them down.

Unfortunately for me, that cold began with falling asleep this morning (while my son was reading to me!) and waking up to difficulty breathing. Boo. So I tried my inhaler which is actually helping this time and stationed myself in bed. So I am THANKFUL for schooling in bed.

I'm THANKFUL that as I write this post my breathing is calmer and easier.

I'm THANKFUL for my new school organizer:

I do pretty well with organizing menu plans, and school ideas, but handling the weekly paper work was a mess. I had stacks everywhere. I kept seeing Dawn's system, and seeing it again, I thought, why not? It's only been this week, but I have a good feeling about this. I didn't go full out as she does but have adapted the manila file folders to my use. I'll be sure to post a yay/nay in the future if it sticks.

I am THANKFUL for school with littles. In an attempt to devote more time to my 4 year old, we are reading a book and doing related activities, along with letter sounds and formation. This was our first week (reading Over in the Meadow, illustrated by David A. Carter). The plan is to keep it simple, keep it intentional, keep it seasonal, and keep it fun but not exhausting for me. So far, Miss Bear loves it - and Miss Z too! If you like that kind of thing, I'm slowly adding my books/potential activities to my pinterest board, School for Littles: Books & Activities.

I'm THANKFUL for coming across the idea of a blob map. The boys are making more circles than shapes, but we will get there. We're on an adventure in Geography with a continent study. Up first: Antarctica. Here's Critter's second blob map:

I'm THANKFUL that we can have a day out doing something different and not always stuck inside with our books. Like going to a play (Willy Wonka Jr.). Don't you love how she's sitting?

Or, while public school kids have a day off, we keep going so we can take "sun days" instead of "snow days." Here, the kids are finishing a project three years in the making - our patriotic flower pot for President's Day. Painting is always fun, never a chore (except for Mom).

Or taking a break for plain old fun with my kids. They built a pile of junk in the basement and climbed on it. We sang and danced and threw balls at each other.

I'm THANKFUL that I had the hopeful feeling that this would be the last snowstorm (I know, silly of me):

I was wrong. But I am THANKFUL that we made it home finally on Monday night - safe and sound - even if we had to park at the end of the drive and shovel out the driveway of 15 inches of snow, thanks to new snow and drifting.

I'm THANKFUL the next day dawned bright and sunny, and that we had nowhere to go. Instead, the temperatures rose and we played outside. I'm THANKFUL for my little helpers:

I'm THANKFUL yesterday dawned sunny yet again, and I heard this little bird singing away. Can you see him?

I'm THANKFUL Spring is near. Even my cat agrees.

I'm THANKFUL to hear the drip-drip-dripping of melting ice and snow, and that all these dangerous icicles are gone off after rough, house-shaking avalanches.

I'm so THANKFUL for all the fresh air this week.

With all this warmer weather, we woke one morning to the sound of rushing water. Unfortunately, an outside pipe froze and burst in our garage. THANKFULLY, it was connected to the well water and not the county water, which we use inside the house so repairs can wait until spring.

I'm THANKFUL for sleeping babies, even if it seems to occur more in my bed than hers. She keeps waking up screaming, even in my bed. I can't tell if it's pain or just a stage (she's fine during the day).

I'm THANKFUL for dance and how much Miss Bear loves it. Last Friday was parent visitation and since her class size is so small, her teacher let our entire family go. I think we might have two girls in dance soon. Miss Z loved it, and was so mad when she could not join her big sister on the floor.

I'm THANKFUL Skipper's loose tooth for forever finally fell out! I'm even more THANKFUL when he wrote this sweet note (he does not write much on his own):

The note reads: "Dear tooth fairy, if you want to write a note on the back, it's fine. I really want you to come." Yes, the tooth fairy has sometimes forgotten to visit at our house.

I'm THANKFUL for sweet hugs and kisses before bed:

I'm THANKFUL that this guy is so mature, loveable, and sweet. I'm THANKFUL his headaches seem to be migraines - poor guy - but the doctor is still watching him to make sure (my pocket book too...).

I'm THANKFUL for solo time with Miss Z, and her cute antics in front of the bathroom mirror after bath.

Above all, I am very THANKFUL for a sense of peace this week. May you have a peaceful week as well, and hopefully enjoy some Springy weather too!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Saturday Morning Reflections (17): St. Valentine's Style

As a kid, I remember enjoying making my valentine's box and picking out my valentines for each individual of my class (sometimes making them, sometimes buying). I remember in high school receiving a few carnations (red = love, white = friend, pink = an admirer). I even remember when everyone called this "holiday" Saint Valentine day, though I had no idea what that meant. It was only the name of a day.

I remember hearts and cupids and plenty of red, pink, and white to celebrate the day. And stores filled with candy, cards, and red flowers.

I remember special meals and a date night out.

I had an idea of love, didn't I?

...Didn't I?

Now, so many years later, the kids do so many of the same things I did as a child. I see them growing, trying to understand. They are luckier than I was.

They know why the day is called Saint Valentine (though no more in today's shortened, Valentine's-only day).

Perhaps they still have quite a journey to go in learning the meaning of love, the sacrifice of loving someone (as do I), but they are on their way, I hope, I pray.

They are on their way.

We are thankful for the gift of love and for the gift of knowing that
You are here watching over us in everything we do.
Your power of healing and love for others has shown us the true meaning
Of loving others, ourselves and most of all, God.
The first blooms of the crocus flowers in spring
symbolize a celebration of new life
 New beginning and a new person in all of us.
Your continuous blessing of hope, strength, courage and love
Will strengthen and enrich our faith in you.
Carry us on your wings of love and sweet flowing grace. 
Inspire us to help others and dedicate our lives to the service of others.
Guide us through life and through all the obstacles and difficulties. 
Let us not be tempted to do things against your will. 
Let peace and justice be in our hearts and let
Helping others be our mission.
This we ask through Jesus Christ’s name.
J.P. DelCarmen (student graduate of St. Valentine Elementary School) - source

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Thankful Thursday: a good week!

Really, all weeks are good. You can find the good, the thankfuls, in each and every day, but this past week was a really nice one in our home. The kids and I had fun in the school room, I felt more energized and had no episodes of bad breathing (!), and in general, the week passed so peacefully... amid the kid noise and screaming, and baby clinginess, the spills and messes, and moans over school. :)

I'm thankful that I found our lost credit card. Oh, doesn't your stomach just feel sick when you misplace something like that?

I'm thankful for this little girl cuddling in her big brother's bed to read. She snuck in there and was so quiet. I wouldn't have known had I not been busy upstairs myself.

Thankful for feast days and the celebrations we do, big and little. I love the Catholic Church's liturgical year, just as I do the natural seasons. Our Lady of Lourdes is a favorite here.

Thankful for this boy and our cat. He could cuddle all day.

Thankful for soap carving! Every time we go into the wood shop, Critter says, "I want to carve!" But alas, he's too young. Grandma surprised him with a soap carving kit for his birthday and he's been busy.

A heart for St. Valentine's Day. He's since smoothed it and wants to paint it.

For his birthday present from Grandma, Skipper received a tape player/recorder. We have Spanish tapes and he insisted he has to learn Spanish. So far he's been too busy listening to The Lone Ranger and recording various sounds to bother with Spanish.

I'm thankful for snuggling babies and accommodating dads. I was also thankful for a short break from the sweet girl. She's been very tired and clingy lately, which means more holding from me, and she is heavy! Though I am thankful I can still hold her and rub noses. I love how she gives me a hug, pats my back gently, and plays with my hair. She's so precious.

I'm thankful my kids love to cuddle with me. And my husband. And my cat.

I'm thankful for distractions and easy decorations. I cut out heart shapes from contact paper, used tape to stick them to the window, and provided the girls with cut-up squares of tissue/light paper of red, pink, and purple. They stood on the window seat and stuck on the squares, and have done so in bits over this past week. The mess of squares even look pretty too along the bench.

I'm thankful for gorgeous winter mornings. This winter sure has been cold and snowy but overall, it is sunny, which is absolutely wonderful. This particular morning was negative something and everything was frosted with layers upon layers of huge frost pieces. It.was.gorgeous. My pictures can't even compare.

Thankful for homeschooling friends and bowling. We all had a blast. I loved seeing their excitement, helping Miss Z roll balls down the lane, and talking with other moms, a definite necessity this time of year!

I am thankful for little girls and glitter and hearts. The kids made their valentines today (to deliver to family tomorrow) and Miss Bear just loved it. I think she could have kept right on going if lunch wasn't in our plans.

Miss Bear took her creativity to the white board. I love her mama caterpillar (with bangs of course) and all her babies and one "snail house" as she calls her snail.

I am thankful for Confession... for warming temperatures (40 next week!)... for spring lesson plans... for Lenten plans... for hot baths... for a little voice saying, "I really love you." ... for walking 7 minutes straight with no problems... for books... and most of all this week...

I am thankful that though I fall down - again and again it too often feels like - I get back up, looking to the One who has been there before: