Saturday, January 30, 2010

Three Stooges

Just a small example of why even a simple trip across town is far from boring! :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

If I had Super Powers...

1426 square feet.

3 bedrooms.

1 living area.

Dining room/School room/Kitchen.

Seven family members.

This morning, while yet again shifting things from room to room, it finally occurred to me what trying to comfortably fit all of us into this house reminded me of:

AAARRRGGGHHH!!! I've always hated those stupid puzzles! I always wished that just one more square would magically appear so I could more neatly arrange my tiles. Of course that's impossible, just as it's not likely that one more room will suddenly magically appear in this house! Too bad I'm not Wonder Woman. Looks like she could take on anything, even the challenge of organizing this house. :)

Updated to add: This post was only written in jest; I hope I didn't sound at all ungrateful for the house I have. I am so blessed. Thank you, God, for my happy home!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Words to live by

From Parenting with Grace: Catholic Parent's Guide to Raising Almost Perfect Kids, by Gregory and Lisa Popcak:

"Most of us can think of someone in our lives who has most closely mirrored Christ to us. A person whose wise counsel we have followed, and whose wisdom we respected. A person who generously gave of himself or herself, whom we would willingly follow to the ends of the earth. That is the kind of person our children need us to be to them."

Monday, January 25, 2010

Learning along the Alphabet Path: "M" week

I don't remember when or where it was, but I read once that a certain blogger never blogged if there were dirty dishes in her kitchen sink. I liked that rule, and I've been trying to follow it, too...which explains why I haven't been posting much lately! :)

Anyway, here's a quick look at a few fun highlights from "M" week! "M" was for Mallow, Mozzarella, Michael, Martin, and More!

Coloring pages (still waiting for our flower fairy book to be delivered!):

Monkey Bread:

Inspired by this book:

...we had this for dinner! (Made with love by my dear, darling Darren!)


One day last week Caitlyn really wanted to look through all of our old photo albums to see pictures of herself and each of her siblings as a newborn. It was so fun (though a little bittersweet) to take a little stroll down Memory Lane! In the photo above, we were looking at pictures of me pregnant with Dylan. Look at that belly, LOL! (Ohhh, and if you look really closely at that middle picture of me you can see the holding chair in the corner of the living room in our first apartment!)

Other "M" topics (our actual school work) included Mealtime Manners, Money, Migration, Motion, Mountains and Meadows, and Maps. References included:

I also really, really enjoy searching our bookshelves for topic relevant picture books, or titles that correspond to our letter of the week! Some of the books we chose for "M" week were:

Also can't forget all the Maze and Magic Eye books we had fun with! "M" week was a good week, I'm having a little more trouble with "N" week! Today went well, though, hopefully the rest of the week will, too. :)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Learning along the Alphabet Path: Week "L"

While I had every intention of posting each week's learning highlights, I've done a terrible job of actually doing so! I think the last letter I posted about was "H", and we also finished "I", "J", and "K" before Christmas. Rather than trying to backtrack, though, I'll just start with the weeks we've finished since starting school again.

Last week was "L" week. It was so nice having Darren home for our first week back to school! "L" was for St. Lucy, Lovely Lilac, Lavender, and Lily-of-the-valley. Copywork included our letter L practice handwriting pages and a little verse from Aesop's Fables (The Lion and the Mouse). History lessons targeted Abraham Lincoln and Leonardo da Vinci. (I think this graphic novel was Dylan's favorite book that week!) Here are some of the other books we enjoyed; sorry, I'm too lazy to link them all right now. ;)

Science topics included Leaves, Lions, Ladybugs, and Light. I took this picture of the table beside our couch one day that week because it was just looked so lovely:

We had many fun read alouds that week, including The Little Red Lighthouse, Ladybug Girl, Dandelion, and Honey...Honey...Lion! We just love Jan Brett, and from her website I printed some lion coloring pages that go along with Honey...Honey...Lion! Simple, but the kids enjoyed them!

We also enjoyed playing and experimenting with light! We read The Magic School Bus Gets a Bright Idea and then completed the little experiment from their website.

Taking advantage of brief periods of sunlight, we also took the children out into the backyard to demonstrate the neat little trick of magnifying sunlight. They thought that was so cool!

(I love that last picture of Dylan! It is such a perfect snapshot of my quickly growing boy: shaggy hair, bubble gum bubble, intent focus on the leaf he'd just burned...and look, you can even see in the top left corner the sad remains of the snowman we made weeks ago!)

Of course we also had to have a tea time treat; this week, from our Alpha-Bakery cookbook, was Lemon Squares! Yum! Next time I'll be sure to double the recipe. :)

Coming up next: Week "M", which we just finished! I thought I'd post it this morning, too, but I'm out of time. Maybe this afternoon! Hope you're all enjoying your Saturday!

Friday, January 22, 2010

It's all about the little things

This was a happy day. Now granted, it's not over yet, but I'm pretty sure that it will remain a happy day. And, without revealing too much about my true character, let me just say that it is very uncommon for me to have an entire, all day, happy day. So this feels huge! I really think that having a good morning helped set the stage for the whole rest of the day; I can't stress enough what a difference that makes for me, to wake up with the right start! On this particular happy day, I was nursing Austin in the rocking chair in the dim quiet of the living room when Darren, without being asked, brought me my first cup of coffee. Such a simple gesture of love can speak volumes!

I was going to make another banana bread this morning, too, but since none of the bananas at the grocery store were ripe last night, Darren bought me blueberries, instead. I found this recipe for lemon blueberry bread and oh, my goodness. This was quite possibly the best bread I've ever tasted, and certainly the best I've ever made! It was devoured immediately, so I never did get a chance to photograph it's loveliness, but this image (which accompanies the recipe) is a perfect illustration of the moist, tangy, delicious goodness we enjoyed this morning. I managed to save a cup of blueberries from the remaining cartons (the rest of which were enthusiastically consumed by my children at lunch) and I can pretty much guarantee that we'll be having this again for tomorrow's breakfast. :)

I am loving the weather here right now. It's been so cold and windy the past couple days, and it rained off and on all day today. We had hoped for some more snow, but it looks now like that might not happen for a while. Last night, at Dylan's request, we got out a bunch of old home videos and watched a couple before bed. This morning, the kids and I enjoyed watching some more, staying in our pajamas until nearly noon in our warm, cozy home while the wind howled outside. What a perfectly lovely morning!

My lunch today was so awesome that I just had to take a picture:

You'd be correct if you're thinking that it looks like nothing more than a big bowl of cauliflower. But if you're also thinking that it seems pretty boring...well, then that's where you're wrong! Darren made a big pot of this cauliflower as a side with our pork dinner last night, and it was amazing. It was prepared with bacon and this really incredible cream sauce, and I knew then that it's what I'd be having for lunch today. Oh, SO good!

I thought I might get started on organizing Dylan's closet this afternoon, but I just never did get around to it. (Although I did manage to wash, blow dry, and straighten my hair!) And it was so much fun helping Dylan make a mini figure of himself! :)

I don't have many plans for the weekend, but I am so glad it is Friday! I survived my first week of Darren being back at work! I think I'm getting the hang of it, but it sure is much nicer when there's another grown-up around. Oh, and speaking of that! We've asked my mom and step-dad to be honorary godparents at Austin's baptism, but sadly, he will be unable to come out here again so soon after their Christmas visit. He e-mailed me my mom's itinerary this morning, though, and she will be coming out to stay with us for a month! She'll arrive February 10th and return on March 9th. We are SO excited!

Of course I couldn't leave this post without a picture of Austin! And, I hate to end so abruptly, but this post has already been interrupted so many times that I'm finally going to have to just hit "publish". :) I hope to post again soon!

Joining the fun!

A special birthday boy's Mama playfully shared these delightful LEGO mini figure templates on her blog this morning and I, being the Mama of another LEGO lover myself, just had to join the fun! Happy birthday, Professor, from one LEGO lover to another! :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My new normal

I have all these blog posts in progress that I'll probably never finish, I'm shamefully behind in e-mail correspondence, there's a stack of extra Christmas cards and birth announcements on my desk that, embarrassingly, I forgot to ever send, lesson plans are seriously lacking (although our Flower Fairy coloring book should--hopefully!--be here any day now), and my body has completely forgotten how to remain awake at 5:30 a.m. I haven't washed my hair since Monday. (Okay, about that: before Austin was born, I was hot ALL the time. Now I can't seem to get warm. Usually, after my shower, I'd just scrunch a dab of gel through my hair and let my curls dry naturally. Now I freeze just thinking about having wet hair all morning. So, while Darren was at a doctor appointment with Austin on Monday afternoon, I took the opportunity to blow dry and straighten my hair and wow, what a difference! And it feels so good to not have that unruly mass of hair to fight throughout the day; now it's smooth and easily combed and I hadn't actually used a shower cap since I was like, what, nine or ten years old? But by some miracle I found an unopened one--provided by some hotel, I think--under our bathroom sink along with all the other miniature toiletries that I just love to collect. What a lifesaver! Or time and sanity saver, anyway. And don't think I won't be using it again! Heck, maybe I won't wash my hair again until Saturday, when Darren's home again to watch the kids while I tame my hair into submission for an hour in the bathroom. That should work, right? Provided no one gets close enough to really see or smell me until then. ;) Although, since I never actually go anywhere anymore, that shouldn't be a problem.)

Okay, I'm out of time now. The banana bread came out of the oven ten minutes ago and I can't hold these hungry kids off much longer. I didn't touch on half the things I wanted to say here, but that's the story of my life lately: Girl, Interrupted. ;) (Wait, clarify, I'm not saying my life is actually anything even remotely close to the movie, I'm just saying that I'm constantly, you know...interrupted. Which is okay! Life with five kids!)

I'm sure the grammar in this post is all wrong but I'm not proofreading, and I'm sure I said "okay" a few too many times, but I'm sure that can be overlooked, too, right? Thanks. I miss you, friends. I hope to post more soon!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

One Month!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Austin is home!!!