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Archive for the ‘School’ Category

1. The routine has continued to be largely a success- when I stick to it. If I get drawn into the computer when I’m checking something quick, or if I’m tired and the house is a mess, these things can get me off track, but we’ve usually done alright to get caught up again.

My mom also gave me an excellent book for my birthday. She had it set aside for herself but decided I could probably benefit from it more than she could, so she passed it on to me. It’s a book about organization, but it’s not just schedules, it aims to help you organize your entire life, especially around what is truly important. It is such a treasure, and what a Godsend! It covers WAY more than just organization, and addresses just about everything I’ve been struggling with or working on for the past 6 months or more!
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It is helping me to see everything in a new light – and to prioritize rightly – I made it easier to discern whether I really need time alone for x or whether I just want it – but am being called to do something else that would use my time better.

2. I have to remember to KNEEL for my times of THANKS!!! I don’t even know Why I stopped doing that. When I kneel I make the moment a hard stop, and it becomes a ceremony, a celebration of thanks.

Humility – Jesus = the way to God — why is He the only way? BECAUSE God is pure and holy, He is the purest love. And most all of us can admit that we are not.


God’s mercies are new every morning — not as an obligation to you, but as an affirmation of you. It right there in there in the sky every morning: Every sunrise proves the burn of His passionate heart.

The car can fail today and the kids and the dog and the fire detector and the dishwasher and the doctor and the whole free democratic world and it’s entire economic system but the mercies of God cannot and will not fail and His faithfulness is not merely great– it is unwavering.

Nothing is too much to handle when I think about the so much from His hand.

And the way out of the pressing “too-much” — is to whisper thank you for the providential “so-much”.

Levi breathes. He breathes pneumonia hard. And this world is hard as nails and Christ knew it and that’s why He came.
http://www.aholyexperience.com/2012/09/when-its-all-pressing-too-much-youd-like-answers/

3. I did it! I took all 3 kids to mass on Wednesday, by myself. And actually, it wasn’t quite as bad as I’d thought. Phew!

Here’s what it looked like…

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4. I had my first really frustrating time with trying to teach my kids this week. It was only the second day we worked on writing skills, and I was trying to help my oldest draw squares. Somehow I ended up wrestling with him for 2 hours. He’d do a pretty good one so I’d ask him to do jsut one more, to show me that he was really getting the concept, and he always stalled and complained at having to do jsut one more that by the time he went and tried again he’d forgotten and I had to teach him all over again. This went on for a while. I didn’t want to force him, but I didn’t want to let him off the hook either, so I jsut kept asking him again and again. He knew he was being really stubborn and difficult, and I couldn’t let that slide. So in the end, the time hopefully strengthened his will to obey; it certainly strengthened my patience!

5. Since DH transfered downtown he has been telling me of all the neat things he sees from his 6th floor waterfront office and snapping pictures of ships and such with his iPhone. Last week we finally got to have a quick tour of Daddy’s work – just before his team all got moved down to the ground floor in the middle of the building.

This is what they had to give up:
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The kids and I sure enjoyed ourselves.

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6. On Saturday we went to get professional pictures taken. One of DH’s coworkers had had us in for a session free of charge and I really liked some of the poses and things, but was really not happy with the end result, so I was still looking to get a proper family photo to put up over the couch etc (except that above the couch is a window). As someone so in love with photography, it kind of bothers me that we don’t have very many nice photos up, especially when I go to non-photography enthusiasts homes and see the put-together professional photos of their whole family. A month or so back someone came to our door offering a discount on a photo-shoot and an 11×14 photo and I snapped it up. Then I had to figure out what clothes I wanted us to wear, but in the end I settled on bright colors, a different one for each of us. I love fun colors and bright photos.

I don’t think I will be disappointed this time. This guy is a professional with a fabulous studio and fabulous portfolio. I get to see the raw takes on Saturday. He is letting me look at all of them, rather than narrowing them down by making his own decision as to what I would like. I really appreciate this, and respect him for operating this way; since they are to be my photos, I would like to be the one to choose the best.

I also stumbled on an article to make your own macro lens for your iPhone. I think it’s pretty neat. Check out these macros, they’re way better than my camera lens could take!
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7. We finally had another movie night. DH and I saw this one way back in theatres, before I think any of the kids were even though of. The kids had picked it out at the library, and both DH and I were interested in watching it again, so I googled around a bit and put together a simple dinner to go along with it. (simple in theory, DH had to step in to help because things weren’t going well in the kitchen!)
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jul 27

1. Routine: I can’t seem to find something that works for us… There are days when I get up early and can plan a good breakfast etc, I can devote all kinds of time to the kids, but then later when I try to do anything else I can’t; I’m peppered with questions and requests, I give them a toy they want and they want another 5 minutes late etc.. . I know praying and especially the rosary are important, and the earlier in the day the better, but I’m having a hard time finding a time when they will leave me alone enough. And I can’t involve them yet because they don’t have the attention span. I don’t know what works well…. not really – save having things planned ahead, but when I try to plan, bam kids want me then too.

A good plan would be chores and school activities in the morning, and walk and rest in afternoon. Then have supper ready, and daddy take the kids would guarantee some of that quiet down time i crave….
This will only work once the temperatures go back down a bit, right now I find it’s too hot to be out in the sun past about 10 or 11 o’clock.

A key to success, might be to involve the kids in everything I’m doing etc.. chores, my blog, my photos? – Well, I tried it. I liked the idea of living holistically, invovling my kids in what is important to me, and then vice versa. But even my 4 year old got bored of looking through pictures pretty quickly 😦

2. No. The key to success, I think – is to purposefully stay off the computer as much as possible, ideally all daytime hours, but at least all morning and have 40 min or so very productive, after DH is home and I’ve done a bit of cleaning. THEN I can engage the kids more and fill their needs? THEN I can have supper already cooking when DH gets home.

Something else that might help, if I need them to leave me alone to read or write, would be to give them puzzles. Puzzles really seem to hold their attention and keep them occupied.

3. On Saturday night God turned my world upside down when He showed me His plans for the future.

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DH and I went to a homeschool seminar at our local church. As with the Theology of the Body session in the fall, this was something I wanted him to hear from somebody else and not just from me. The idea had cropped up and intrigued me in the past, but I figured given my organization and procrastination difficulties that I was not cut out for it, and I would be happy to submit to my husband and send our kids to public school, if that was what God wanted. But that night God turned my world upside down when he showed He had other ideas.

The couple that was giving the talk began explaining what they do etc and within minutes I was already considering trying out a kindergarten program with the kids this year as a first step. It was just like with Montreal, by the end of their talk God had completely changed my heart. So much of what they said resonated with me. They explained the how homeschooling helped them to be more organized, and they specifically mentioned that it’s important to declutter your home. Their reasons for homeschooling were the same as mine but there were even other benefits I hadn’t considered as well. The also explained how homeschooling was just an extension of what they already did each day, and suddenly I could see how easily it could fit into our life too.

God has been calling me to be obedient. He’s been calling me to true biblical submission as a wife. That means: deferring the authority etc for final decision making to my husband, even though he doesn’t share my faith, EXCEPT in cases where it would go against God’s law etc. THIS is not a morality issue and IN LIGHT OF SUBMISSION I was perfectly happy to let the kids go to public school, if that was what God wanted from me – BUT God has made it completely clear that this is not an area of compromise.

Overall DH was less than thrilled, but that said, the decluttering thing was not lost on him. I was not at all surprised when he brought up that point that evening. I already knew this was going to be the deciding factor: if He had to submit to this homeschooling stuff then I definitely had to take seriously his wish for a less cluttered home. And I am, we’re already talking about ways we can start to tackle this problem. The promise of a tidier home is the way to make this idea appeal to him. And quite frankly, I’m sick of living in such clutter, I find it makes it so hard to get anything done.

4. Faith Notes

-3 things to remember: slow down, take time to give thanks and keep your heart open to God and others.

-Let suffering make your valleys into sheltered places to light a match and see the face of God…. –Ann Voskamp – A Holy Experience

-Thank you for giving me a cold while on vacation, when I have extra hands – it’s better than if I was stuck at home with the kids!

-Actually, this cold, this suffering, could be birthing the new graces needed to make this big change : live simple, walk in spirit, declutter, change my focus and then educate my children!

5. On Saturday afternoon my best friend brought the baby out to my mom’s house so she could meet her. It was an interesting girl’s afternoon, as my 7 month old was the only male present, and we discussed labor stories, mostly hers. We also took a couple pictures no the deck to finish the photo story and I had DH bring the kids at the end, so they could meet the new baby too.

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6. It seems God is quite involved in the July photo project. I’ve found over and over that if I wait and follow God’s lead on the project, each day He helps me to get the perfect photograph. When I am patient and just wait on His timing He gives me the perfect inspiration, the 20 or 30 minute time-slot I need, He lines up all the perfect circumstances and even sometimes provides the perfect subjects as well.
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Also as I’ve been doing this project, I’m finding I have to take less and less pictures to get my shot each day. The photo for EYES was a major exception, but only because I had never taken a direct self-portrait with my new cameras, ever. I don’t know why, it is so much simpler than trying to take a decent photo in the mirror… Point and shoots were always too close but SLRs give anyone the necessary distance to get in both head and shoulders easily, just by holding the camera out in front of them.
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7. On Monday night we made it down to see the tall ships. It was just a nice night out with the family, but we ended up sitting for about an hour waiting for the fireworks, so I had the opportunity to play with some nighttime shots. We all enjoyed looking at the boats, the fireworks were pretty spectacular and I have the cutest photo of my little guy, dressed of course in a nautical outfit for the occasion 🙂

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July 22

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Ahhhh! My world feels turned upside-down!

On Saturday night DH and I went to a homeschool seminar at our local church. As with the Theology of the Body session in the fall, this was something I wanted him to hear from somebody else and not just from me. The idea had cropped up and intrigued me in the past, but I figured given my organization and procrastination difficulties that I was not cut out for it, and I would be happy to submit to my husband and send our kids to public school, if that was what God wanted. All the same, I still felt open to the possibility and perhaps even a little bit drawn to this particular event.

When we got there it was like coming home. I didn’t know everyone but there were some familiar faces and it truly felt like a family.

The couple that was giving the talk began explaining what they do etc and within minutes I was already considering trying out a kindergarten program with the kids this year as a first step. It was just like with Montreal, by the end of their talk God had completely changed my heart.

It was all very timely for me. We had just had an encounter with some 9 year old kids at the playground and it scared me a bit what these 9 year old kids were capable of. You can think of the evil that is in the world and it was so hard to see that kind of behaviour in kids so young! They were only 9! Children are growing up far too fast these days and childhood innocence is just slipping away. It just further strengthened the fact that I don’t want my kids to be around that, period.

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This quote in particular stood out to me at the talk: ‘a lot of people don’t feel they have the energy to homeschool, but do you have the energy to undo everything your kids learn that you don’t want them to, at the end of each day?’ I don’t want my kids to live a completely sheltered life, but at the same time, I’ve seen the change even a little media influence can cause. My kids are 4 and 2 and ever since watching CARS 2 and the most mild of spider man, they now like to kaboom their toys and each other, and there’s nothing I can do about it, try as I might, I can’t get them to un-learn that behaviour. So, where I can I would like to try to limit those negative influences (and fill them up with wholesome stuff like building, racing, adventures, good heroes and role models etc. )

You won’t always see results on the report card, but they kids are benefiting. It certainly can’t hurt them to be as removed as possible from the problem behaviours. “After 11 years of schooling I’ve never had to suspend a single kid! We don’t have the problems with our kids that our parents had with us etc” – Homeschooling Parent. In fact, when they asked their oldest son if he wanted to go to public school for grade 12 he said ‘no, I see enough of the world already at work… I know I don’t want to be around that.’

So much of what they said resonated with me. Their reasons for homeschooling were the same as mine but there were even other benefits I hadn’t considered.

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Schooling at home allows you to keep siblings together, instead of them spending the majority of their day apart. My two oldest are so close and I would hate for them to lose that bond by being seperated for the majority of the day. Of course, it also lets me be continually involved in their lives, instead of only seeing them in the evenings as well. Already I was mourning the loss of access to my childrens’ world. DH’s coworker told him one day ‘ just wait until your child goes off to school. All of a sudden they become their own little person, with their own interests and their own friends and there own places to go etc..’ In other words, once they go to school as a parent you are no longer included in their plans etc. I know children need greater and greater independence as they grow but to have that firm a divide, so young? so soon?? Once that shift comes, I know that the place I have in their world can never be recovered, it can never be the same as it was before. Right now when he sees his friends, Mummy also sees his friend and his friend’s Mom. It is a time for adult socialization as well. Once a child goes to school, it will become a chat at the door and then drop him off at his friends house-and leave. I’m not ready to lose out on his world like that, not yet.

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Some More pros:

– It takes less time than regular school -where: lunch hour, breaks between classes, the commute itself all add to the length of the school day.

– As a result you can get a little behind, go on field trips and even take a day off to go to the beach etc. And, you can make sure that if your child isn’t at their best for whatever reason, they can take a test another day, without worrying about doctors notes etc.

– Learning is so natural. If a child is struggling with something, you can just wait 2 months and then go back to it, and usually will work itself out.

– Most kids love it – the thought of my kids being eager to learn excites me. Lots of kids in public school don’t want to be there, especially as they get older, and I know there were days at private school where I felt that way too, but when you are your kids teacher, you can focus more on the things they’re interested in and make learning fun for them.

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There is of course, the big question of socialization. It depends of course, on what the term means to you. If it means children have the ability to interact with others in society in a healthy way, then there is no reason they can’t learn this at home. If we are teaching our children how to live and interact in the real world, then who should they learn this from, other kids who make all the same mistakes, or adults and/or older siblings who are in the real world on a daily basis? And of course, they still need to interact with children their own age, which is where extra curricular things come in; playing with the neighbourhood kids, sports and other kids group activities.

My biggest reason for not homeschooling was the thought that I couldn’t do it. I’m so disorganized and I tend to procrastinate and I just didn’t feel I could or should even attempt to handle that responsibility. But some of the other parents who homeschool mentioned how they had similar organizational issues etc, and that homeschooling actually helped with them. They lamented how during the summer they miss the structure that schooling provides. In the summer it’s harder, because they find they lose the sense of routine and focus they have during the school year. I just thought to myself, ‘routine and focus, I need to get me some of that!’

They also explained how homeschooling was just an extension of what they already did each day, and suddenly I could see it would be the same for me. I realized with sudden clarity, that I do this already. I’ve already taken the initiative and purposefully worked to teach my kids colors, letters and numbers, and recently to even help my oldest read a few words now and then. I just slipped into the role naturally, and somehow I intuitively knew what to do and what to say to help my children learn.

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The speakers said that to school a 5 yr old would take less than 2 hrs a day. Of course it’s not like that when they’re older, but you work up to it. And I’ve always kind of liked marking… really, I COULD do this! (Also for the record, I’m feeling committed to this idea up till about grade 6, and then we might consider letting them make their own decision, if my children want to go to public school. Junior High and High School are scary prospects too, but I would feel so much better about them knowing that my chldren had that firm faith and character foundation first. )

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To finish off their talk, they gave us a list of their top 10 Homeschooling Tips:

-1. PRAY: saints, guardian angels, patrons etc
-2. Discipline – hardest to discipline will be the hardest to school – oldest
-3. Declutter your home
-4. Organize everything else
-5. Establish a gentle routine – simple meals, simplify prayer life etc
-6. Adjust your expectations
-7. Take it one year at a time
-8. Take time off to enjoy life – skip a day, go outside etc
-9. Concentrate on etc teachable moments
-10. Trust your curriculum, most problems re just small learning hiccups and if you wait a few months they go away…

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Half way though their talk or so, I was convinced. But back home, it was hard. To DH it was just information, a passive thing that we went to, but he could tell from how I was talking that my mind was made up and he was not happy about it.

Now, especially in my marriage God has been telling me that I need to be obedient; He’s been calling me to true biblical submission, as a wife. That means deferring the authority etc for final decision making to DH, even though he doesn’t share my faith, EXCEPT in cases where it would go against my faith – God’s law etc. THIS (homeschooling) is not morality issue, AND IN LIGHT OF SUBMISSION in my heart I was perfectly happy to let the kids go to public school, if that was what God wanted from me – BUT God has made it completely clear that when it comes to school this is what He wants and our boys education is not an area of compromise.

It should come as no surprise that I want to use a faith-based curriculum, so as to give them a firm foundation in the faith. This is especially important to me because we live in a spiritually divided home. DH of course does not want a Catholic, or even a faith based curriculum… He asked me to teach a non-faith one if it’s so important to homeschool, (though really he just wants our kids to go to public school like he did.) However, I don’t want my kids to grow up thinking God didn’t create the world etc, so why would I purposefully teach them such a thing? In a way what he’s asking would be 2x the work; I want to raise them in a strong faith anyway, so it would be great to impart the faith while teaching them core subjects as well.

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And then, when I think about teaching with a faith based curriculum, I would be right there learning and growing with them. THIS future really excites me; the chance to go through a solid faith-based education, MYSELF! There is so much that I don’t know and we could be discovering together!

Overall DH is less than thrilled, but that said, the decluttering thing was not lost on him. I was not at all surprised when he mentioned it to me that evening, he’s been expressing a desire for less clutter for a while now. And there it was on the list, more with the organization: they specifically mentioned that it’s important to declutter your home. I already knew this was going to be the deciding thing: if He had to submit to this homeschooling stuff then I definitely had to take seriously his wish for a less cluttered home. And I am; we’re already talking about ways we can start to tackle the clutter. I knew this was the best route with him, focus on the decluttering, that is the best way to make this idea appeal to him. And quite frankly, I’m tired of living in such clutter, it makes it so much harder to get anything done.

And the 1st tip after decluttering? Organize the rest. That’s the other challenge, the bulk of the clutter in our home is things that just never found their proper place yet. When you move it takes a while ans sometimes several tries to find a home for everything and so many things still don’t have one, so they clutter up my counters and beyond. I long for a less cluttered home that STAYS that way, because EVERYTHING has a place to get put away in. That is the bigger problem I have with organization, with a secondary being getting myself to put things back in their place. But, with the things that have a place, I am getting better at putting them away.

So my goals over the next few months then are to declutter the house and then to getting a little more organized; both my home and my life (schedule etc.).

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I feel a real sense of relief just knowing clearly what God wants, and I have such peace about this path – just not in my marriage. Ah well, I guess I expected that. It did cause division, and oddly enough all the dust left me alone at church the next day but it actually didn’t bother me. And if that next morning I had any lingering doubts about what God had revealed, my time in Mass that day completely melted them away: The Homily was all about sheep needing good shepherds – God might as well have just whacked me over the head with a lightning bolt! ‘The shepherd chooses to move the sheep to a higher pasture – what do the sheep think? ? Bahh!!!! But it’s what we need.’ ‘Invest in the important things’. – ‘Do the work…’ ‘Teach’, ‘shepherd’, ‘use your gifts’, ‘to benefit’, oh, so many words were just jumping out at me; they were all for me that day.

I had thought that homeschooling was not my calling but then, just like with Montreal, God wooshed in and changed my heart. Of course, I was open to His guidence. This is BY FAR the biggest calling from God. Some people are called to witness by mixing with the world, and some are called to witness by standing out. God wans me/us to stand out.

It’s a cross alright. A sacrifice, of my time and also an area of tension in our marriage. A cross to bear, to follow the Lord. DH doesn’t want this, he really doesn’t, but God has made it clear that this is not an area of compromise.

I will serve. I will die Lord (to my desires) It is also a big sacrifice of ‘my time’. Still, as they grow there will be more and more time for me… (you’d think I could learn to embrace my time with them while I still have it!!!)

After the tension it’s caused I found myself worrying and stressing about it again but God gently reminded me, He is in control, and I just have to trust Him and take it slow, focus on the decluttering and then a kindergarten program, and let Him take care of the rest.

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God has put so clearly on my heart, that I need to do this. (not just for them but for me as well) I NEED structure and organization and focus and routine! I’ve been focused too little on my kids; they should be my top priority, but most days they just haven’t been. This NEEDS to change. I’ve known it for a while and same with the clutter and now this calling might just be the catalyst I need to really start making these changes! (for example: looking at my 6th purse: maybe in light of homeschooling and this new future God has for me, I don’t really NEED this… ) This, teaching my children, this is what I need and God knows it. It’s what they need to truly blossom and what I need to truly thrive in my vocation of motherhood.

Some articles on homeschooling:

http://www.aholyexperience.com/2009/03/pros-and-cons-to-homeschooling-why-we/
http://www.familyministries.com/HS_Crisis.htm
http://www.raisingfive.com/2007/06/shelter-is-not-place.html

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June 1

This has been a week with a couple blog posts, other weeks there’s a dearth and I’m lucky if I get this one up. I think I’m going to try to work on posts when I have the time, but save finished posts for when it’s been a few days etc, so I still have something to put up. Especially if the post is already chronologically way late anyway 😛

1. The routine is still hit or miss. Typically the pattern is I have a really good day where I’m mostly away from the computer and on schedule, and then when I have some computer time the kids get into trouble and I end up frustrated, and then the next day I feel I can spend a bit more time on the pc to make up for it. I do love praying my new morning prayer out on the deck though! The kids have been sleeping in this week 😮 but if they don’t then I just give them some cheerios and a drink, and then go out to pray. The one time they stay out of trouble is if they’re at the table eating!

2. Faith Notes
– Morning Prayer/Reflection: I remember when I was younger I always felt like I was special, like I was set apart from the rest of the world, like the main character in a movie. Now I realize where that came from: God had a clear calling on my heart. Long before I knew what it was, I felt the whisper of God’s love on my life.

We are all the main character in God’s movie.

Then later reading spiritual combat: ‘We like to see ourselves as important’ – Yes, but this feeling didn’t come from me… I like to think of myself as important but this was different. – it came from ‘out there’ from somewhere outside of me.

-CCO is here for impact this summer. That in itself is pretty exciting, but since I’ve already taken ownership of my faith and gone through the first two faith studies, I didn’t think there’s be a whole lot to enrich my faith, but then I discovered the Courageous Catholic program. While the impacters lead faith studies, the staff team leads more mature Catholics in a program on mission and evangelization. There people of all ages at the tables, which makes discussion very interesting. I feel that pull on my heart for other souls, what better way to feed that desire than to be equipped to do something about it? It’s exciting and challenging, and I only missed two weeks… One session and I was hooked, I will be going back!

CC Lesson 3:
-Holiness and Mission are 2 sides to the same coin. They compliment each other, as one grows, the other follows. Both are key to our spiritual life, our relationship with God. We should put the same care, resources and attention into out missionary life as we do into attaining holiness.

-“In the spiritual realm, to, no one lives for himself alone. And salutary concern fro the salvation of one’s own soul is freed from fear and selfishness only when it becomes concerned for the salvation of others as well. This is the reality of the communion of saints, the mystery of ‘vicarious life’ of prayer, as the means of union with Christ and his saints.” Incarnationis Mysterium

-The danger in mission is we can get so busy doing, that we miss the relationship. My ways, my thinking interferes with what God wants to do. (like when you over think what you’re going to say too much…)

-Everyone’s relationship with God is so different, so personal, that children CAN’T latch onto their parent’s faith, because it is not their own.

-If anyone so much as glances at the Lord (monstrance) He’s got them.

-There are barriers to other people’s faith when we try too hard: the worst thing we can do is open our mouth and have it not be the Holy Spirit speaking

-Sometimes the worst sinners make the best witnesses. When you’re an army general, and you’ve been in the trenches and looked evil in the eye, no one can say ‘ you don’t know’.

-Faith w/o question is not faith. It’s blind obedience. How do we know it’s not just a bunch of lies? Lies fall under their own weight, truth survives. The truth of God’s word has survived for centuries. Also, would the martyrs die for a book of lies?

-To reach the world one person at a time, we need to pass on the message AND the mission. If we don’t pass on the mission as well, then there are people who will not hear the message. But we have to equip them, we can’t just tell them to go and share the faith without helping them to do it!

-I had a beautiful Pentecost. At Mass before communion I had a real sense of God pouring His very Life into us through the Eucharist. I understood again that this is what He does, for all of us, and also personally. As I was trying just a little harder to live led by the spirit and to live how God wanted me to, (extra patence and love etc) I chose to remain calm when one of my children followed me up, and when they wanted to see Mary I felt such a request should always be granted – though when my big kid came running over after the priest didn’t seem too impressed. But still, as soon as I received Jesus, I felt a deep increase of patience, that I had the grace to do much better what I had been trying to start doing for a few days. It was just neat.

As I drove to my mom’s while listening to the Rosary CD: ‘She would treasure in her heart, as she had always done, the things that God had done for her, and for all of us her children.’ As Father Groeschel said those last words, I had an image of a great big cross in the patch of sky that lay open before me, watching over us. It’s there, this life, this hope, for all of us here on earth, who choose to see it. I wanted to take a photo but I was driving, but another time I will. I hope I never see big open spaces like that driving on the highway the same way again.
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Then, still being led by the spirit, at my Mom’s mention I ended up washing a number of her dishes. (only my oldest kid was awake at the time.) As I washed and she prepared lunch we discussed a couple of the faith questions I’d been meaning to ask, and we had a very nice conversation.

-There was also a fun Focus on the Family Broadcast on Surviving Summer Vacation:

*Start by letting your kids have a few days to decompress. Then, draft and explain some summer house rules: curfew, bedtime, what friends can come over, where they can go etc… Then do some brainstorming and involve your children, what are some things you want to learn? ( Sports, hobbies, etc )Plan to help them get what they need, help them practice, even do related field trips.

*Expect them to do some more chores than during school year, and summer is a good time to teach them important life skills like doing laundry and paying bills. This is doing them a real favor, because they will need to know this stuff when they leave home!

*Have a Summer hit list: places and things to see. Think about some fun fieldtrips! (beach, parks, museums, tours…)

It’s a time when you can really influence your children since you’re around them more,. If you’re intentional, you can be teaching and growing your kids physically, spiritually, intellectually…. Don’t let the days devolve into ‘sleep in as late as you want’. Have a schedule where everyone sleeps in a bit but gets up at a reasonable time, 7:30, 8am. And don’t sit around in front of a screen all day – get out there!!!

Other ideas:
Have a scheduled quiet/reading time for everyone
Have a reading contest to motivate them to read… 2000 pts for this book… 10 000 for reading the gospels etc – have rewards (at the end of the week we’ll go: for icecream, to the beach, to an amusement park (depending on the total points)
Other ideas: Museum scavenger hunt, Nighttime animal safari!, Go to a state park and cook foil dinners – start traditions!
Same with the car trips: Car contests-scavenger hunt, bingo etc… have little prizes in the glove box.

3. Boo! Unprotected Sects – When it comes to computer viruses, you’re now more likely to catch one visiting a church website than surfing for porn.

4. BBQ for the Win! I love summer when we can just throw a quick meal on the Barbeque! We’ve been making suppers om the barbecue a lot lately, Yum 🙂
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5. The full site for the worldwide photo project won’t be up till June, but they’ve posted up 100 photos and also 100 profiles for people to browse through. There’s some pretty neat stuff there 🙂 I especially like this one:

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The tailor takes the measures of new summer uniform for a swiss guard in vatican city

Check them out here: http://www.aday.org/#100-photos

6— I am POSITIVE I wrote about these photography basics for kids activities, but I couldn’t find it anywhere on the blog… Since my kids have a mom who’s in love with photography, these ideas would be great to help teach them and have fun. Hey, I probably could teach DH a thing or two as well!

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This is another article about teaching kids to take good photos, but the ideas are more aimed at older kids: Teaching Your Child How To Take Good Pictures

7–My son’s birthday party is in just over a week! We’re doing a CARS themed party, and I’ve got some good ideas, but nothing is made or wrapped and I still have a few more supplies to buy.

I’m going for something like this CARS party :
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May 18

-1- Routine: Rest.

The kids have been going through a particularly mischievous/drive-mummy-and-daddy-crazy phase the last week or so. Since having one bad sleep a few nights ago I’ve been feeling tired and run down and haven’t been able to get back to feeling in control. Rest is something I have been craving.

I came across this post by Kathi Lipp, on creating routine when your life is anything but. Since I’ve been big on the routine thing, and my life is just a little crazy on a daily basis, I was totally drawn to it. It stressed the importance of making time for prayer, exercise and love, all of which I had heard expressed before. But there was one more: Quiet time.

I’ve known probably ever since I’ve had kids just how much I need quiet space in my head just to think etc, time free from crying and whining and interruptions, but of course when I’m home with 3 little boys, my life is anything but. As long as they’re around I usually can’t have more than 2 or 3 minutes uninterrupted, and it’s hard enough to find time to pray etc as it is. So the thought of additional time where I could be left alone, maybe even take a nap; I don’t even try unless I really need it.

Then I read this:

‘Quiet Time: Whether I’m crazed at home or on the road, I need to have a little quite time. Research shows that if you can take a nap, even for 20 minutes, it’s the best thing you can do for your health, productivity, and energy. Even if you don’t sleep, just resting will help your day.’

On my tired days I tend to sit at the computer and try to be productive there, with varying degrees of success. The thought that even laying down for 20 or 30 minutes on the couch make a difference convinced me to give it a try. I was having a particularly tired day so I unplugged from the computer and the world as much as possible, and just lay on the couch and rested. I was actually there about an hour but when I got up I did feel less tired; basically, it was just enough to help me make it through to the end of the day. I think I tired it yesterday too, but the kids were still interrupting and it wasn’t so effective, but I’m still going to keep this one in mind.

-2- Faith notes..

‘Lord, I see with new insight Your mighty love for this man.’ —- If he was the only person on earth Jesus still would have come and died for him.

‘Lord, You are not only the redeemer of our lives, but also the redeemer of our circumstances.’ – Redeemer! When I said yes to God, I had no idea all that He had for me, I was just happy that death would not be the end!

From Impact’s First Cornerstone

Our Priest spoke about God and his relationship to us etc, highlighting a passage from the Lord of the Rings:

“What wonderous days are these when myth and legend spring forth fromt he turf before our very eyes?”

The people knew all the stories, they just never expected it them to turn out to be true!

In the same way, mankind knew the story of the promised Messiah, they just never thought they’d see it happen! The same is true today. We need to get people to rediscover the message. ‘Things have been forgotten that should not have been forgotten.’ This is not a judgement, it’s the truth.

Everyone knows the story, but mankind just doesn’t stop to consider the fact that it might really be true! It seems a legend to us, we say it’s just a story. But, what if it isn’t? What if God really is REAL?”

-On Sunday we ended up at St Benedict’s for another of their stewardship commitment campaigns: This time, a Stewardship of Treasure. ‘In stewardship we see the abundance of gifts instead of the scarcity. God will not be outdone in generosity!’ ‘We’re asking you to increase your weekly gift by just 1%. Then, if God doesn’t give you more blessings, more love, more joy, more peace, more graces, I’ll personally give you your money back,’ the speaker boldly proclaimed.

I felt challenged, so we talked it over and decided we could make the increase. I’ve been a little ashamed of how little we as a household were giving and I am so glad we made the decision to give more. It’s far from a tithe, but in a spiritually divided home it is a huge blessing.

-(This is family but still)

Fighting the Homework Battle – From Focus on the Family Minute
Try setting a regular learning time for youre whole family.
Find out how much time your oldest shoud be spending on homework then set aside that amount of time for the entire family to use for quiet study. No tv, loud music or video games etc, just concentrated learning time. Mom and dad can work on bills, read or do other admin tasks, preschoolers can look at books, or color and do crafts etc. The point is, everyone’s involved every night.

-3- I’ve been editing wedding photos and learning a lot in the process!

The wedding was lovely. We had great weather, it was a beautiful ceremony and everyone had a nice time. Although they had one other person taking photos, I too took a lot of pictures. And I understand if the bride favors the other ones, but I still wanted to take phtoos myself: for practice and for my own memories. On Monday I spent a good chunck of time sorting through them and editing the good ones. Although the big windows were beautiful, they made for a real issue with backlighting. It was a little frustrating trying to take nice shots and a lot of them seemed like they weren’t coming out at all.

However, as I worked to make every good shot as nice and professional looking as possible I discovered something: I’m amazed at what a difference making a photo much brighter does… I used to add some highlight till the photo looked nice, and then I was scared to brighten it any more as I thought it would make the light spots wash out. I know highlight adds depth but I never knew how much! I can make the photo so much better than I used to, when I’m brave enough to highlight more… I’m really pleased with this one 🙂

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One other thing I learned only after the fact reflecting back on what the other photographer said – if your shots to light raise the f number – that doesn’t mean lower it!!!! It DOES make a difference. I found this out when I tried the auto settings at the farm on mothers day to see how it handled bright sunlight! She told me the right hing to do and I was just stupid and applied it backwards!!! So yes, if your photos are too bright, raise the aperture!

-4- !!!

On Wednesday I watched the baby as he purposefully moved for toys. He wasn’t just rolling around, but moving… purposefully…FORWARDS! Aaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

It all started when I noticed him push a toy further away, almost on purpose. Then I watched as he purposefully got into the crawl position and carefully made himself fall forward – thus reaching it. He did this several times… Boy does he have my stubborn streak! The focus and determination is so cute but agh! He’s going to be crawling before he can even sit up!!!!!

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Here he is pictured just days before, still rather mobile and actively exploring his world

-5- Photo – aday! – Tuesday May 15. (www.aday.org)

The big world-wide capture the world in a day project was tuesday. Check out some of these first submissions: http://www.aday.org/news/2012-05-16/first-pictures.
It’s pretty cool, the last one especially made me smile 🙂

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In Sweden, Valter Turesson was caught by his dad Roger Turesson wolfing a snack while installing Diablo 3 just after its eagerly awaited release at midnight.

It was interesting how shooting for the project affected me. First it gave me the added impetus to wash the dishes as I was taking pictures of my kitchen sink and shelf. And secondly, it helped make sure I stayed focused on the Lord – and His plans for my day, as I do the project. I wanted to be sure I captured what HE wanted me to submit. Shooting for the project also upped the importance of making time for God, for example – praying for my husband. This is a crucial thing to my day and something I feel deep in my heart, so I knew I wanted to include it, but in order to take a photo of it, I had to be sure to actually take the time and say the prayers – in capturing my life I want honesty not a lie – so if I was going to photograph it, then I had to live it! It was interesting the project helped me to stay focused on what’s really important, amid the daily ups and downs.

-6- Last week I took the kids and I took our lenten money to Birthright on our way to the March for Life. At the march we ran into some friends which turned out to be an even bigger blessing as they stayed with me while I was without my keys. Also, a janitor looking man came back out of the building holding them, saying the nun at the desk told him a young lady had left them upstairs and had been looking for them. There’s no nuns in that building. He may have come from the Catholic center next door (though I never saw him go by) but my friend thought it may have been my guardian angel 🙂

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One of the first things the kids did when they came into the office was picked up the little model baby.
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My oldest is tucking the baby back into it’s case for a nap.
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The obligatory handing over the check shot 🙂
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-7- This week we had a teddy bear picnic for movie night. I made teddy bear pancakes like these for the kids, and I had some leftover chicken and sausage rolls. I also had fresh strawberries in the fridge, so I brought those out too. Yum! Then we watched the Yogi Bear movie.
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Jan 13

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On Monday I left all the kids with DH and went to CCO’s Mission and Intercession night. I knew we would be getting a little training for running the survey tables to reach out to students etc, and that we were going to go pray on the campuses for the students and professors etc. I was especially interested about the last part, though the fact that supper was provided was also a draw. But it was the fact that we were going to specifically pray on the grounds that most excited me.

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Once we were gathered etc, one of the staff explained in more detail. We would be going on a prayer walk across the campuses of both universities (we would split up). There were two main reasons for doing this: The first was the way the Israelites marched around Jericho for 7 days as God commanded, claiming it for God and the walls fell and they were able to enter. We wanted to march around the university and claim the campus for God as well. And secondly, the way Jonah went to Ninevah and warned them, and they all turned to repentance, and were saved. We were praying repentance on behalf of the students etc. I believe it was also mentioned, that repentance always precedes the miracle. What better way to prepare for Mission week, than stopping to pray at each of the places we will be reaching out to students in the coming days?

So we split into groups, and took a prayer walk around campus. We prayed the Divine Mercy chaplet, stopping at 5 different locations to do a decade. Walking along together from place to place felt powerful, like we were up to something, something awesome, but no one else knew. Really, who knows what our prayers will do, prayer is powerful (where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name…) and 10 hearts united together for a common cause, well that’s some serious prayer power!

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It was a special night and I felt so blessed to be a part of it. I also got to lead one of the decades. It was while leading, hearing only my voice, that my heart became fully open (without distractions) and I felt a strong connection between this and the last time I prayed these words, 3 ½ weeks earlier, while in labor with my 3rd child. It took me back to the birth. I felt that same raw emotion, just more gentle, and I felt that same love. It was beautiful, and I continued to feel it each time I said my part when the others led after me. It was a beautiful moving experience.

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Then we went back to the centre and they explained what’s involved with running a survey table as well as making phone calls and doing follow ups with the people that left their contact info. They also explained a new initiative, 2 by 2. There are 2 instances where Jesus sent the disciples out 2 by 2, and so we were going to do the same. It was a variation on the survey tables as instead of stopping students with our survey, we would be going out to them. The most exciting thing about it is would let CCO go places where we had never gone before. Yes, unchartered territory where our presence is yet unknown. Like the Computer Science building!

By the end of the night I felt so fired up, I wanted to DO something! I’d never been able to help run a table before, I guess it never fit with my schedule. Of course, with 3 small children I can hardly make it out to the tables etc, during the week now either. I’d have to have a babysitter for all 3. I thought I could help with phone calls, which the staff told me wouldn’t work, but they can always use prayers (esp against spiritual attack etc). I agreed, but it still didn’t feel like enough. What I really wanted to do was be on the front lines.

The 2 by 2 had really grabbed my attention. I was excited to be part of going out to the students and especially, to be able to go to CS, my home turf. There was very little sign of God etc in my years there, I knew it was a place where our Gospel message etc hadn’t reached, and I wanted to be the one to carry that message! I really, really did.

But of course that too would be a weekday, when I’m normally home with 3 kids, and no car. I really didn’t think I’d be able to, but the more I thought about it the more passionate I felt. If God was calling me to do it, then he would make it possible, so I decided to ask DMIL if she would babysit. I was pleasantly surprised when she said it would be no trouble to watch all 3 kids, if I brought them over.

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So, on Thursday I drove in to school to become a missionary. As I walked from the car I was now without a doubt that I have a missionary heart. It was fired up at Rise Up, but I actually had it even before then. It was something I developed soon after I started praying the miracle hour. I really do want to seek and save the lost, and I was so excited to be on the front lines. It’s exhilarating to think that filling out one of my surveys could be a turning point in someone’s life! I just wanted to be a part of it, to experience the thrill of mission, maybe even to come to a CCO event someday and see someone there, that I had given a survey to, that would be awesome! And even moreso, to be able to reach out to others on my home turf, the Computer Science Building. I didn’t get to survey anyone I knew, but I know that some of my surveys did reach CS students (although a lot of other students use our building).

I also felt called to step out in my faith more: to let my faith be on display instead of hiding it. To put my face behind my faith in a place where people could recognize me. And, because God gave me the opportunity, I also felt called to serve Him, to do something for Him, entirely for Him, for a few hours. To love God with my time.

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Reading the surveys was neat, seeing what sort of questions people came up with if they were to ask God something, you could tell some of them were really thinking about it. And having 2 people who filled out a survey for me check yes, to finding out more about God! I do hope they will take a faith study, and then maybe I will get to meet them at a CCO event.

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My Quick Takes are really late this week…

1. Faith thoughts:

-He’s not mad at you. He’s not laughing at you either. He LOVES you!

-Learn to turn to that love in suffering/frustration. – like I did when I started to get my heart ready for confession, even before examining my conscience, just knowing that I’d be going later to meet with God etc…

-Like with loneliness, but also in the stresses of daily life- I am learning to find that comfort (Jesus/love) in times of trial.
also thinking back to Montreal-when I was there in adoration and still no peace-I was too proud-holding on to my anger and frustration. I have to learn, especially in trials/times of great frustration, to let go and surrender to God… maybe even try to learn but above all to remember that God loves me and I was not meant for this etc…

-Oh, and it’s probably high time for this (and I’ve been finding it increasingly difficult to share my life here without mentioning something) so: We are expecting our 3rd child in December. Right now a baby wasn’t in our plans, but I am choosing to really trust the Lord in this, and everything will be just fine.

2. This week I bought myself a can of hair mousse.
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For the longest time I have been of the school of ‘wash and wear’ with my hair, not wanting to have to fuss with it, but decided, especially with graduation coming up, that I wanted more volume to my ‘do’. And, I am thrilled with the results! When I put it in right after washing and blow dry it upside down etc, the extra bounce lasts for 4 or 5 days! It adds about 10-15 minutes to my overall care routine but it makes a big difference, and I love the new me 🙂

3. This week I finally graduated from University! It’s been a long time coming-6 years!- but with the co-op work terms and the 2 KIDS, well I guess it’s to be expected.

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My DMIL offered to take the kids for the night before my graduation, so I would have more time to get ready. Thank the Lord she did, I never would have made it! Still fighting the pangs of morning sickness, I ended up sitting down at my pc to got through pictures and rest and wait for it to pass, even after I’d eaten (which seems to be the best kept secret to keeping it away-besides taking my vitamin later in the day-instead of on an empty stomach first thing in the morning). Then once I felt better I had to wash and style my hair with the mousse and blow it dry…. By the time I got out of the house it was half an hour later after when I had tentatively planned to be at my Mom’s….

When I walked out to the car 30 minutes late DH was sweet and told me I looked fantastic. I knew he was right, and I felt I had mostly done my best to get ready on time, and decided not to worry about the details of the day. Unfortunately, my mother did not share my trusting attitude, and was actually much more upset about the time etc than I was; She thought the day was turning into an increasingly big fiasco because I hadn’t rented a robe yet either, but I was pretty sure it didn’t work that way anymore, and you got them the day of.

I knew when I first saw ceremony start time of 9:30 that given how my mornings have been this deadline was ambitious…(especially since they said grads should be there one hour before…) I can’t imagine if we’d had to get the kids up and fed and dressed and drive them all the way to my MIL’s… She just offered to take the kids and I never would have even thought of it but it was a lifesaver, so a BIG thank you goes out to her. As it was, I got there with 5 minutes to spare-before the procession. I ran up and found my spot, made a mad dash back down and got a robe and then dashed back up gain just in time to jump in my place in line at the door to the auditorium. I made it even in time for the procession-just. I hadn’t quite had time to finish with the pictures on the computer that I was going to be deleting, but I knew fairly well which were the good ones, (When I got in the car and told my mom that morning that at that moment we had only 11 pictures…she was somewhat distraught. So while I sat there in the auditorium I was able to clear enough pictures for the day. I did try to pay attention and clap for each graduate though, as God reminded me that EVERY ONE OF THEM deserved it just as much as I did.

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Sitting inside the auditorium I did my best to relax and soak it all in. For me, this was basically a once in a lifetime thing, and I was determined to enjoy it to the fullest. When it was time for our row to stand at the side I got the camera to my family, having cleared some 50 pictures for them to use. Then I fixed my robe, had one of the CS admin women pin on my alumni pin, walked up the steps, whispered my name to the announcer and walked across the stage. They hold a grad hat over you but you don’t get to wear it as an undergrad. There was a kneeling bench but I chose to bow under the grad hat, I only kneel to my Lord. Then I walked the rest of the way, shook a complete stranger’s hand and received my undergrad diploma; BSc in Computer Science and Philosophy. DH was right there with the camera to capture the moment. Sitting in my chair again afterwards was a moment of simple joy. There was a great sense of ultimate completion and fulfillment. This chapter of my life was over, for some reason it made me think of Christ’s final ascension from this world back up to heaven. And I couldn’t stop smiling, because after 6 long years, finally, I did it!

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Outside after the ceremony it was cloudy but warm, and not a drop of rain. The forecast had been for heavy rain all day, which of course would not do for my graduation, grad day is supposed to be warm and sunny for everyone to take pictures outside.. By later that afternoon the weather was perfectly glorious, I think the sun even properly came out. I decided we’d take the pictures first, just in case the weather decided to turn nasty again, so everyone took turns standing in and taking photos-all except me, who had to be in them all and thus couldn’t take them-but did give final approval that the photos that were taken were up to par, before we could move on.

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Then we went to the reception. It was nice to come back ‘home’ one last time, to my old friend the CSB.

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And the CS reception did not disappoint! In fact, the focus was on sandwiches and fruit and veggies… And it was catered by SCANWAY, one of our favorite catering places. The rest of the time was pure celebration, it was a most fitting reward after 6 years of hard work. The food was fancy and delicious, smoked salmon on potato latkes, gourmet and scrumptious!

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They also had wine which of course I couldn’t have any of, so I just took a few pictures of the glasses instead, and drank several glasses of the delicious non-alcoholic punch.
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Since I didn’t have my full length mirror yet, this was the first photo I was able to take of baby in my belly: 11.5 weeks.
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It was an afterthought when I decided to get a photo in front of the Computer Science Building, (I had already given back my robe and I had to convince my brother to go back and take it) but I spent a LOT of time there working at the helpdesk, doing assignments-even into the wee hours of the morning, and chatting with friends and it became another home to me.

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After everything was over and we got back to mom’s she gave me my card, with a surprise present inside! She also told me what a hassle I made it and how she nearly didn’t finish it. (oops! my bad..)
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Then we just sat talking about life for a while. It was as we discussed the changes and growth, and what this winter held, that my mom consented that I had been right: last year was the right time for me to go to Rise Up. I knew it all along, God writes these things so clearly on my heart. But it was good to finally hear it from her.
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4. I have two exciting faith prospects to look forward to. The first is Summer Bible Camp. After my grad I decided to go home and change etc, before picking up the kids from DMIL’s. As it was Wed and I had alone time, I also decided to stop in at adoration, especially because it would give me an opportunity to talk with the Catechism lady (since I would actually be there during daytime hours!). A few weeks ago I’d noticed the poster for the summer bible camp and felt it would be good for my oldest-but the ages is 4 and up, and he will barely be 3. Another mom there told me she brought several of her younger kids before along with her old ones and it would probably be no problem if I talked with the lady in charge and cleared it ahead of time. I would go with him the first day, then see how it went and go from there. We’ll get to know more of the kids and families, and my son will get time in a structured environment with lots of other kids to socialize with and proper instruction in faith, which hopefully will fill him with a new appreciation for everything I’ve been trying to teach him!

I said I would get involved with my parish … ! During my last meeting with my CCO mentor, one of the summer goals I set to help me grow spiritually was to get involved in my (new) parish, and this is getting involved! Especially if I also get to volunteer for the week too. The lady told me they’re looking for volunteers as well, and I felt that little pang in my heart like this was where God was leading me. Even before I was interested in my faith I went to a few of the bible camps at the local churches and really enjoyed them. It’s something I really want deep down, something that I could almost already see was going to happen. And my heart sang, Lord, your always challenging your followers to do new things they never would have thought they’d be doing.

Lord, You’re always calling me, and I love it.

The second is I’m signing my husband and I up for a Theology of the Body Seminar, taught my famous Catholic author Christopher West. I see attending on the facebook event CCO couples that probably know way more about this than us, and if they can benefit then we certainly can. Mostly, I think it will be good for my husband to hear a complete explanation of everything I stand for, better than I can give myself.

5. On Thursday my oldest was talking about pirate ships so we went on a Treasure Hunt, complete with TREASURE: I made a treasure map, and filled a little box with chocolate eggs from Easter, some of my jewelery and a few other little things.

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2 trees next to each other, a clear creatable hiding spot
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I put the map in a bottle, just for fun
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Sailing
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What’s this?
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A MAP?!
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Where would we find an island with trees?
DS: The sunroom!
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The map says it’s here Mummy
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Oooh!
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My lil pirate
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Later on my oldest kept following the map to the 2 trees, then was disappointed there wasn’t more treasure 😆

6. On Sunday DH and his friend dug up the rocks in our yard and put down grass seed in one section. I refused to let him make our whole yard unusable for the summer, by turning the entire thing into dirt, but if this grows as quickly as it’s supposed to, we may get another patch done later in the summer. Or early fall, apparently that is another good time to put down grass….
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Here it is, just over a week later:
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7. While DH went home to clean up the ants the kids and I spent time in the pet store. They loved looking in the cages etc, and were especially taken with the fish.
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After a while though, I got tired of trying to keep their fingers out of the non-parent-friendly open fish tanks at ground level… so I brought them to the cat toy aisle. Clearly, if it amuses a kitty, it will amuse two kids under the age of three….
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