Thursday, May 21, 2009

How pathetic is this?

Submitting last night to the pervasive sense of loneliness that's been weighing so heavily on my heart, I keyed in a Google search for Catholic homeschoolers in my area. No results, of course, and I'd not really been expecting any, having searched at least a hundred times in the past for this very elusive entity. Plenty in the northernmost regions of our state, but none in reasonable driving distance from here, so, failing that, I thought I'd try a less specific search: "[My City] Catholic moms". Scanning the resulting list, one in particular caught my eye. Seventh down, a quite familiar description...wait a minute, that's ME! My abandoned MySpace page. (Hello, Facebook!) That's right, I turned up in my own Google search.

Sigh.

I feel much like Lillian right now, except that I've lived here my whole life so I really have no good excuse.

Please, God, send me a friend. And if she could just happen to be another Catholic homeschooling mother of many small children, that would be just awesome. ;)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

So much to do...

I'm procrastinating right now because there is so much to be done around here that I don't even know where to begin. Posting pictures to my blog seems like a good start! :)

I just wanted to share a little bit of what we've been up to lately. It's been so gorgeous here and the children and I have really been taking advantage of these beautiful days. We're pretty much finished up with school, although there are a few things we'll be working on over the summer, so we've been out and about much more lately.

Last week we packed a picnic lunch and headed to a pretty park to eat under the shade trees. They were pretty disappointed that there wasn't extensive playground equipment, but we did enjoy our picnic and afterwards we spent some time at the mall, then headed home to swim, so it was still a great day! :)

I just love these pictures of them enjoying our picnic:





Yesterday we went to Hobby Lobby to select the materials for Dylan's first grade scrapbook, and while we were out I decided to take them to a nature garden that we haven't visited in a very long while. They love it because it has so many different paths through tall trees and flowering shrubs, a beautiful fountain, a small bridge, a giant gazebo, and an area enclosed in low, stair step walls that feel like the remains of a castle. Although we were greatly enjoying exploring our "enchanted kingdom", it was getting pretty late and we were getting pretty hungry, so we headed home to have some lunch. Next time, we'll go a little earlier so we can stay longer!





Oh, and I just have to share these two photos! Kristen finally had her first haircut on Sunday afternoon! Her hair had finally grown long enough that it kept skimming her eyes, and she just does not like barrettes in her hair...she kept pulling them out and putting them in her mouth every time I tried to sneak them in! Not a good thing. I kept wanting to trim it just a bit but wanted Darren around for moral support (and to photograph the event for me, of course!) Here are her before and after pictures:



Ahhh...much better!

Okay, off now to tackle at least a few of these chores. I'd really like to enjoy our long holiday weekend without having so much to do around here!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day

Despite having worked a twelve hour shift Saturday night, my Mother's Day was awesome! Of course, it would have been even better if I had actually been able to spend it with my mother, but still. Darren and the children made it one of the best Mother's Days ever! I was home from work early enough for us to make it to the same Mass my brother was attending, and we were so happy to be able to sit with him!

We treated ourselves to donuts (with pink sprinkles!) when Mass was ended, and then spent some time at our favorite bookstore. I was especially happy to run into an old friend of ours, who was telling me about a few different homeschool groups she is involved in and who invited us to join them at their next park day tomorrow! Her two children--a son and daughter--are close in age to Dylan and Caitlyn, so we're really excited to go play with them and the other children in their group!

From there we went to a store we generally try to avoid, because we had promised the children a swimming pool! They wanted one similar to the one we had last summer, but we opted instead for a less expensive one that would give them a little more room to play. Upon hearing that we could just stick our own slide into one end of the pool, they were even happier with their selection. :)




We also purchased the cutest little baby pool for Kristen to splash in. The pool itself is a large inflatable turtle (we love turtles!) but it's shell comes up to form a large sun shade. I love it! It's so perfect for little Miss Kristen. She's still much too small to play in the big pool with her bigger, rambunctious siblings, but this one is just right for her!




We all had a great time playing outside, and then, after coming inside to dry off and warm up, Darren made the most delicious dinner of eggplant Parmesan, a salad, and cherry covered cheesecake for dessert! (Does he know me, or what?! We even had cherry limeade!) :)





I just have to share this next set of photos, too, because they so hilariously illustrate why group shots are not always such a good idea around here. It's because, as you can see, what begins as a nice, sweet, sibling hug...


...often quickly becomes a mischevious death grip!


Also, I just have to share these two short video clips. They are so cute, and besides, Darren and my mom will be checking my blog until they're up. :)

video

video

Hope you all had a wonderful Mother's Day, too!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Black Swallowtail

It's not the best photo, and she flew away right after it was taken, but look who appeared at lunch time yesterday! Our first of the year! :)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Art

I think I've mentioned before how much I love the site Art Projects for Kids. It's just packed with wonderful ideas, and for such a wide age range! We've enjoyed practicing the various techniques that Kathy generously shares there, and I just LOVE the way today's project turned out!!! Dylan and I flipped through one of his duplicate issues of National Geographic to find a suitable picture for a "Finish the Picture" creation, and I think he did such a great job!


While he was working on his project, I was helping Caitlyn with some work of her own. She does a great job printing her name in capital letters, but has a little trouble with lower case. So, today I lightly wrote her name and had her trace over it in marker, then asked her to decorate the rest of the page. She did a beautiful job, and her work makes me smile...she is my Caitybug! :)

Multisensory experience

Dylan, with a happy gasp, upon learning of this morning's breakfast menu: "Oh, good! My eyes were feasting on a picture of coffee cake in one of your cooking magazines and now my mouth will get to feast on it, too!"

And later, "Mom? Can I have just a little splash of this in my chocolate milk? It will give it a little twist of Italian."

"Mmmm," he says, raising the cup to his lips and appreciatively sipping the delectable beverage.

Caitlyn asks, "Every time you take a drink, does it feel like you zip into Italy?"

I love my kids. :)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Look who's walking!


Just before a completely independent circus performance by our children tonight (So cute! Deserves a post of it's own!) Kristen decided to start walking! Darren happened to look into our bedroom from the hallway and saw her walking out of it! That little stinker! We've been trying for days to get her to walk and she finally took her first steps when no one was even watching! But oh my goodness, she is sooo cute! Yay, Kristen!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Mmmmm...

Darren says I'm crazy, but I think this is just about one of the best lunches ever:


Grilled peanut butter and banana sandwiches on 100% whole wheat Wonder bread, paired with a tall glass of ice cold milk. :)

And now, with a very happy tummy, I am off to bed.

Hope you're all having a wonderful weekend!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Happy May Day!


We made a few simple May Day baskets this morning to distribute among our neighbors. I would have made more, but I was afraid that if Darren came home and discovered that all of the flowers in our gardens had been clipped he would have been very unhappy! Three was enough, I think, for our closest neighbors, and the children and I really enjoyed sneaking from door to door!


Dylan asked me before bed last night if we could make pretzels today, as was our custom every Friday during Lent. Always happy to comply with his simply sweet requests, I'm planning to serve them for lunch and was pleased to remember this morning that pretzels are also often associated with St. Joseph, whose memorial we observe today. Although this custom is more closely tied to his solemnity in March, it works perfectly for us today! :)

Happy May Day!