Sunday, August 27, 2006

This Week

We had a fairly busy week last week - between homeschooling, my dentist visits, and normal life.

This week, we've got another busy one. Lots on tap for homeschooling; another emergency visit to the dentist for me (a tooth on the other side of my mouth cracked tonight!); mail a box of goodies to my brother in Kuwait; lunch with a friend & her new baby; can recycling; paper recycling; drop off at the food bank; and a grocery run or two.

I'm still trying to plan meals! Last week I cleaned out and re-organized the pantry and this week I want to get to the freezer. I really need to just SIT DOWN with a few cookbooks and a blank calendar and plan out meals! I don't know why I am so blocked about doing it. It would make my life so much simpler, and DH would eat so much better. I just need to block out some time on the calendar and DO IT.

I have this week's homeschooling mostly planned out. I am so eager for the weather to cool down so we can start spending time at the zoo and botanical gardens again. I planned the first half of the week and am waiting to see how it goes to decide what we'll do in the latter half.

I need to catch up with laundry (again!) and give the floors a good cleaning this week. I need to deep clean my room and go through the pile of clothes currently on the rocker in there . . . but I admit that I don't know if I'll get to that. Some of this will depend on whether or not I end up with another root canal this week. If I do - I will have to figure out a way to earn some money so we can afford all this dental work!

I'd also like to fit in some time for me . . . and I don't think sitting in the dentist's chair should count. I have a movie from Netflix waiting for me to watch, my hair desperately needs a cut, my brows need waxing, my toenails need painting. Realistically, this week, I will probably paint my toenails and *maybe* watch the movie. I should take the portable player to bed with me and watch a movie instead of reading before sleep.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Fine Art Friday #11

"A Quack Dentist Extracting A Tooth, While A Group Of Onlookers Watch Nearby"
Gerrit Van Honthorst
early 1600's (?)

This seemed appropriate for today - since I am off this morning to have a tooth extracted. I can only hope there won't be gawking onlookers at my dentist's office . . . but I'm sure I'll be making a face similar to the poor fellow in this painting.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

mom's group

I hosted a planning meeting for the mom's group at my parish on Friday. 3 other moms came, and 2 extra children. It was a good meeting, but it made me realize (again) just how bossy I can be at times.

I planned it as a lunch, and went the extremely simple route of ordering pizzas and made some iced tea. One of the moms brought a wonderful fresh fruit salad. After eating, the kids went off to play in the playroom and the moms met.

Well, the moms talked. And talked. And talked. LOL! I had my notebook on the table and I brought up a blank document and starting typing some introductory notes for myself and then I'd interject with "Wow! I'm so glad you could all come today! Do you think we should meet once a month or go back to twice a month?" Conversation ensued . . . no real winner coming through . . . so I said "Well, sounds like we're meeting once a month this year with added activities if we decide -- but our regular meeting will happen once a month."

Then, another tangent is taken so I come back a few minutes later with "What time should we meet? Stick with 10AM or should we move it back to 9?"

And, so on, for the entire meeting. I did say at point "I'm sorry I sound so bossy . . . " and one of the other moms responded "No, it's good . . . we'd never have any solutions if you didn't!" We did come up with some new topics, so that was good, since the last year & 1/2 all the topics were primarily thought up and presented by me. There was some interest in doing service projects - this has happened before, though, and nothing came of it. I hope this year we can pull something together.

I started the group with the thought if I could just meet ONE other mom - it was all worthwhile. Thankfully, I've met a few other moms and they've all been a blessing in my life. It'll be interesting to see how this year pans out, since I plan on really pushing for more members and trying to grow our group beyond the regular 2-4 moms I could count on last year.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Fine Art Friday #10

Arches, North Court, Mission San Xavier del Bac, Tucson, Arizona
Ansel Adams

We visited the San Xavier mission last weekend. While we took some pictures that I liked, this one by Ansel Adams is stunning.

Monday, August 14, 2006


Saturday, August 12, 2006


Someone, in a city I used to live in, googled a nickname of mine and found me here. Looks like the person spent some time going through most of my archives.

If it's you -- could you leave a comment or send me an email and let me know who you are?

thanks ;)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Fine Art Friday #9


If you click on the painting info above, you'll find a website with a wealth of information about this painter. I enjoy his "art deco" look and decided that "Summer" would be an appropriate choice for this month.

mom's group topics??

I know I don't have many readers . . . but those I do have are mostly moms . . .

So, help me out! What topics would you like to see discussed / covered during a mom's group?

Our mom's group meets at our parish one morning a month. There is no childcare offered for children, so they are with us in the same room (limits certain topics.) Topics covered in the past include: gentle discipline, prayer, building a domestic church, meal planning, sign language, frugal living, good books.

In the past, we've opened with a prayer (Hail Mary) and shared prayer requests. Then we usually take a moment to talk about the next topic, any playdates or mom's nights out planned for the month, and any other business (like if an expecting mom needs meals, etc.) Then, we move into the topic and usually wrap up 90 minutes later.

Any ideas for topics that you might have are welcome! I need to plan at least the first half of the year and feel tapped out.

Thank you!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

9 Years Ago Today

Nothing is nobler, nor more admirable, than when two people who see eye to eye live together as husband and wife, thereby confounding their enemies and delighting their friends. -- Homer
Marriage is an act of will that signifies and involves a mutual gift, which unites the spouses and binds them to their eventual souls, with whom they make up a sole family -- a domestic church. -- Pope John Paul II
As a lily among thorns, so is my beloved among women -- Song of Songs 2:2

As an apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my lover among men. -- Song of Songs 2:3
No sooner met but they looked; no sooner looked but they loved; no sooner loved but they sighed; no sooner sighed but they asked one another the reason; no sooner knew the reason but they sought the remedy; and in these degrees have they made a pair of stairs to marriage, which they will climb incontinent, or else be incontinent before marriage. -- Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

Monday, August 07, 2006

kids at mass

Today, C mentioned that he looks around for the kids he met at Vacation Bible School every week, but he's never sees any of them. I explained that there are 4 different weekend masses right now (we'll jump to 7 or 8 next month when the snowbirds start coming back to town), so they may attend different times. DH then said that not all parents take their kids to mass - and as an aside to me "they're not willing to stick it out for years until they are better behaved!"

It's so true! There were Sundays when I left the church, or DH left the church with one or both boys. There were many Sundays when I was red with embarrassment over their behavior. There were Sundays when I left church wanting to crawl under a rock because the boys were noisy, fidgety, annoying or just down-right awful.

But, we stuck with it!

One thing we did was change parishes to one that had a family/cry room. The parish we joined when we first moved to this area did not have a family/cry room because the pastor said he felt that everyone belonged at the mass, and he did not want anyone segregated. Unfortunately, he never took the time to remind the congregation, and we were often bombarded with dirty looks and nasty comments about our 2 young boys' antics. I admit that our attendance fell, and I felt horrible about it.

When N was 2 and C was 3, we changed parishes. There were a few reasons, but a big reason was the fact that they had a family/cry room available! We used it for the first year or so we attended - but not all the time. We tried some masses outside the room, and others inside the room. The room worked best for us when it was mostly empty. At crowded masses, it didn't work as well, because many parents felt their kids could run wild and didn't have to behave.

(Which is a big pet peeve of mine! Even though we were in this separate space, I saw it as a place to help kids learn HOW to behave -- which meant that there might be quiet talking to correct behavior, or infants crying, or young toddlers wandering a little bit. I NEVER thought of it as a place to let preschoolers / young grade school children run around and chatter non-stop. It made teaching appropriate church behavior much more difficult! But, it was the perfect place to go when behavior in the pews would be horrid, and I'm grateful that the option was there for us.)

We tried different times to see which worked best for our family. When it was important that we use the cry room, the best mass times were the masses that not many children attended. In our parish, that means early morning (8AM) or Sunday evening (6PM). If we shared the cry room at that time, it was usually with one other family only - which allowed more teaching moments to occur.

As they got older, we tried the family mass. At this mass, the kids are able to leave before the readings and return after the homily. They go together for a "children's liturgy" during this time.

Currently, the 6PM mass on Sunday works best for us. It's not very crowded, and since it's the teen mass, the music includes drums, chimes and guitar. N loves the added music.

Regardless of which mass we attend, it helps immensely if we get there early! Trying to get situated when mass has already started is very frustrating and embarrassing for me. This is something that DH and I have worked hard to come to terms with - since he tends to be "on-time" for things (in other words - late!) Arriving 5-10 minutes prior to mass makes a huge difference for my comfort level.

We've worked out the best places to sit during mass. This depends on which mass we attend - if we attend 10AM mass, we tend to sit in one area where many families we know tend to congregate (and their older kids are great examples!). During 6PM mass, we tend to sit in one of the first few rows so the boys can see as much as possible.

In the past, I tried bringing packs of holy cards, prayer books, lacing cards . . . and for my kids, it never really worked. They usually wanted me to play "with" them, or discuss with them vs. sitting quietly. The best thing we ever brought were travel-sized magnadoodles. In fact, my 5.5 year old brought his magnadoodle yesterday and spent a good portion of mass drawing the crucifix. I NEVER brought snacks, but I did bring sippy cups of water when they were much younger (2 and 3 years old.)

Something else that has worked for us is spending time outside of mass explaining the different parts of mass. We visit the church during the week so we can walk around and look at the different parts of the church. We light a candle and say a prayer for whatever intentions we have. We talk about liturgical colors. I review the readings before mass and talk about things to listen for. For C right now, his interest is peaked by readings from Jeremiah (his middle name), Matthew (his uncle's name) and Peter (his grandfather's name). Both boys are more interested when it's a story they're familiar with (like the recent readings about the loaves and fishes).

I think the most important thing is consistency. Going every week and talking about the expectations of behavior, and explaining why we attend makes more difference than anything. N has a very hard time sitting still, and I've become much more tolerant of it. It's important for us to BE there, and BE there as a family. We are all trying our best and that's all I can ask.

If we didn't attend regularly, they would never learn proper behavior. We'd have to start over each and every week we actually DID attend.

It has helped with this new parish. I started a mom's group, and have met some wonderful families that attend regularly with all their children. This parish is much more family-friendly than our previous parish, and parishioners are much more tolerant - which has made it easier for us.

I think that if you ask most parents who attend regularly what the key is to good behavior - they would agree that it is consistency and education. Just keep going. Just keep talking. Just keep praying.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

wonderful Sunday

Today was the kind of day I enjoy most : )

We woke at a leisurely time and headed out to breakfast at the 5 & Diner. On the weekend, they usually have a balloon artist moving around the tables, which the boys love. C asked for a white dog and N asked for a red monkey. It's really amazing what these guys can do!

After breakfast, we headed over to the cheap theatre and bought our tickets for Ice Age 2. It was a cute movie, and nothing too bad. The underwater predators were a bit scary for N, but not too bad. C's favorite part was the squirrel that chases after an acorn throughout the movie.

Then, we headed across the way to Borders, where I used my educational discount card to get the last in Ralph Mouse's trilogy and a collection of Robert McCloskey stories (found in the bargain section for $5.99). DH has been reading the Ralph stories at bedtime on those nights that he's home for bedtime. (I've been reading On the Banks of Plum Creek -- both boys love the stories of Laura & Mary Ingalls! We started with the first in the series, and are now reading the 4th.)

We came home briefly, then I headed back out with my sister for a Trader Joe's run. We called my parents on the way to the store to get both of our calls out of the way (my parents expect each of us to call home on Sundays -- J & I often call when we're together on Sundays to take care of both calls at once. It's funny, because I usually end up talking to my mom/dad at least once during the week, not counting Sunday) Got some yummy food, including pork chops & apple pastries for tonight's dinner. I made it home in time to put away the groceries, throw the pork chops in some marinade, then head out for 6PM mass.

During which C was absolutely angelic. N is still a flutterbug, but he's getting better.

When we got home, DH started the grill and grilled the pork chops while I made some rice and green beans. N set the table, and we had our family dinner! (Most nights of the week, it's just the 3 of us at dinner-time, so Sundays are always extra-special with DH home for dinner.)

DH is reading the new Ralph book right now and the boys will be sleeping a little later than usual - but they can sleep in tomorrow.

It was just a perfect day.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Fine Art Friday #8

"La Musique"
Henri Matisse

The original can be found at the Albright-Knox Museum in Buffalo, NY. I remember this painting from time spent there when I was younger. I always loved the large foot (I don't know why??) and the bright colors.

I find it interesting that looking at art brings out the differences again in my boys. C will look at a painting and want to be told the story behind it -- N will look at a painting and tell you the story he sees. N thinks they are having a great time singing songs together and they will go swimming soon. C wants me to go do some research and find out what the artist was thinking. LOL!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

places I've visited in the world

create your own visited countries map
or vertaling Duits Nederlands

places I've been in the U.S.

create your own visited states map
or check out these Google Hacks.


Last night found me at at the hospital because my oldest fell off the trampoline (the trampoline I did NOT want . . . and is being removed from the yard soon.) Thankfully, it wasn't more serious than a knee sprain, but my heart fell when I saw him fall!

A neighbor moving was unable to take her trampoline, so we ended up with it in our yard. My husband had often talked of wanting one, but I always said I didn't want one as they are one of the top reasons kids end up in emergency rooms. However, when this came up, I went along with DH and let him take it for the kids. As you can see by the picture, they have had fun on it the last couple weeks we've had it. I set rules -- no jumping unless an adult was out there with them.

But, even though I was there - not 10 feet away - C fell when trying to get off and managed to twist his knee the wrong way. He was crying and scared and I immediately dosed him with Tylenol and arnica and put ice on the knee. It was swelling, but not much. DH was playing racquetball, so I called the gym and had them go get him off the courts to meet us at the hospital.

Thankfully, we had absolutely no wait and were seen fairly quickly. No real damage - just a slight sprain. DH met us at the hospital and immediately said the trampoline had to go. Now to find someone to take it from us - which shouldn't be that hard. Maybe a family with older kids . . . or someone who wants to spend the money for the enclosure. My kids DID have a wonderful time playing on it - but I'm not willing to risk another (more serious) injury with it. There's too many ways they'll find to get injured without having something risky like this in the yard!

July's Reading List

Another month of reading fluff ;)

Nothing exciting from this month's reads -- mostly books that are easy, fun reads with a couple boring ones thrown in.

(*) "Angel & Apostle" by Deborah Noyes. The premise was of Hawthorne's Pearl growing into a little girl and a woman. It was boring . . . . and horrid in other places. I ended up reading "The Scarlet Letter" 3 times in high school (different schools) and got to appreciate it much more with each reading. This premise could have gone in so many directions, but the author chose to have Pearl end up in a pretty bleak spot at the end. Disappointing read.

(***) "Cotton Queen" by Pamela Morsi. Nice, southern story. Good character development.

(*) "Flamenco Academy" by Sarah Bird. This book seemed like it had great potential, too - but was just one depressing act after another. Everybody was dark and depressing and just boring after a while.

(***) "Death of an Angel" and "Corporal Works of Murders" by Sister Carol Anne O'Marie. More in the series about a nun who finds herself solving murders. Entertaining. These books are hard to find, though, so I am reading them out of order. I happened to find these 2 at Half Price Books a couple weeks ago.

(***) "Death by Design" by Laura Childs. This was a compilation of 3 novels into one book. The main character owns a scrapbook store in New Orleans. Typical of this genre, but entertaining. 3 in one sitting was too many for me though - I was sorta sick of her by the middle of the 3rd book.

(**) "Madame Mirabou's School of Love" by Barbara Samuel. Story about divorce and how it affects people, and supposedly moving on. I'm not sure if the author intended it, but the story played out that it seemed (at least to me) it would have made more sense for all the characters to have stayed in their first marriages and tried harder.

"Fluff" books are often easier to read while chasing children and taking care of a myriad of responsibilities. These books are easy to pick up and put down -- they don't require a lot of thought or even concentration. I admit, however, to being a bit tired of all the fluff lately. I picked up a copy of Charles Dickens' "Bleak House" and plan that to be my first book for August. I have read most of his work, but never got around to this one before. It should be a good, satisfying read!

(Link to complete 2006 reading list)
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