Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ok, Ok, I'll Make Appointments

Assignment: Write a sentence about your dentist. Be sure to write his name.

Alex writes: I do not know. I have not gone to the dentist in a long time.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things vol. 7


Make steel cut oatmeal in the crockpot. Add what you like. Convenient, economical, and healthy and yum.


Arnold sandwich thins. These handy dandy things are just 100 calories a piece. They make a fabulous low calorie sandwich and I'm hooked.


Meatball subs! I warm two packages of Trader Joe's turkey meatballs in a quality sauce and serve in baguettes cut into six inch subs. Top with Parmesan (serve a salad on the side) and my kids love me for for this. It's messy, but I love it, too! So easy, so delicious and not bad for you either.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

On Dreams and Thoughts That Really Count...

Zachary: Mama, last night I went apple picking in Connecticut in my dreams. I picked an apple for you and put it in my pocket, but this morning when I woke up I was wearing my pajamas which have no pockets...and so the apple was gone.

Mums for a Mum

Look what I won! I never win anything, but at a welcome dinner at our parish last night they had a door prize for the mother with the most children. I won, hands down. My neighbor thought I would have more competition at a Catholic church. One would think... but, I won't complain. I prefer to think that it's a good sign when your church chooses to prize a large family. Aren't they lovely?

The Fungus Among Us

We've had a lot of rain lately and strange fungi have been appearing all over our lawn and woods. Here are six of the many, many species we've seen and just in time for our unit on sporing! Does our interest in fungus necessarily make us geeks? I'm OK with that. I mean, look at these things--some are red, some are curly, some are slimy and others look like soft leather. Some are little more than a button, others are massive, and many have more interesting undersides than topsides. If fungus isn't cool, it should be!
Add Image

Friday, September 25, 2009

Come See Me

We ran out of cookies today. I know, terrible.

But just as the kids were finishing up lunch and starting to ask for their allotted two cookies each, I spotted our neighbor coming up my front steps with a tray full of pastries. "Hi Suzanne," she said in her cheerful way, "Jerry said we couldn't eat all these so I thought I'd bring them by for the boys." Her timing couldn't have been better.

We invited her in, our fun and easy going neighbor who moved here from Connecticut at about the same time we did. She talked with the boys about school and their extra curricular activities and listened to their piano playing. They loved having an audience and she "oohed" and "ahhed" at their renditions of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" and the "Indiana Jones" theme song.

Then we all sat down and shared the plate of apple turnovers. They were delicious. When the boys ran off, my neighbor and I talked in the kitchen as I put together a crock pot dinner. We talked about the new house across the street, home owner's insurance, the proper way to prune a rose bush, and the best methods for removing mold off a deck (We never had such mold problems in Connecticut, we agreed). We had a great time.

Only after she'd left did I get a look at my floors and realize what a mess they were. The kitchen and dining room were badly in need of sweeping. How embarrassing. I was sure my neighbor's floors never looked like this. I'd seen her floors and I knew she never had children of her own. She must have noticed this mess, I thought, as I swept up dustpan after dustpan of food crumbs, art scraps, and school residue. So embarrassing.

Then I remembered how, years ago, I had admired a homeschooling mother of many who lived down the road from the house we were renting with our two young sons. I had asked her if I could stop in some time to see how she "does it all." Her response surprised me. She'd said, "If you're coming to see me, come see me--but if you're coming to see my house, make an appointment." Now, many years later, I sympathize with that mother and understand how she must have felt with a young, overly idealistic, perfectionist wanna-be asking to spy in on her "perfect" household. At the time, however, I really couldn't understand her response and took it as a firm, "NO." I really had just wanted to "see her," though, and get a closer look at the kind of life I already admired and felt called to live myself. Would messy floors have turned me off to it? I don't know. I never saw her floors.

Somehow I doubt very much that our neighbor dropped in today in order to get a look at some really clean floors. Finally, she comes to visit us every once in a while knowing full well what a lively household we have. In fact, I think she comes for that very liveliness, and everyone knows that liveliness has its messes. Life is messy. There is no shame in that. I decided not to let myself feel ashamed. I refused to give in to the feeling and smiled to myself instead. I was smiling about her perfect timing and the blessing of good neighbors.

Patent Pending

Alex, after watching Micah walk across the room holding just my pinkey finger with one hand,

"Mom, we should get some wheels and then attach some bars to them, and on the bars that go around like a circle some handles could hang down so Micah could hold those and walk across the room by himself, but not really by himself because he'd really be holding the handles on the bars on the wheels."

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Can you make one with mother's milk?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Today's Art

Hannibal on (friendly looking) War Elephant by Simeon

Haunted House by Alex

Community Begins At Home

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church
2205 The Christian family is a communion of persons, a sign and image of the communion of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. In the procreation and education of the children it reflects the Father's work of creation...

2207 The family is the natural society in which husband and wife are called to give themselves in love and in the gift of life. Authority, stability, and a life of relationships within the family constitute the foundations for freedom, security, and fraternity within society. The family is the community in which, from childhood, one learns moral values, begins to honor God, and makes good use of freedom. Family life is an initiation into life in society.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mama's Magnolia

I think that I shall never see...

I've wanted a Saucer Magnolia for as long as I have known Saucer Magnolia's existed. This was my mother's day gift this year, but rather than spending the day at a nursery we went to the gardens instead. Just now, we're getting to planting this little tree. I love it already. I hope it grows twenty five feet tall and blooms as beautifully as these (scroll down). Be still, my heart.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Nine Months

As of yesterday, Micah was officially "ex utero" for as long as he had been "in utero." It may be a funny milestone, but it always strikes me, in part because the first nine months with a child always seem so much shorter than the gestational period. Well, Micah has learned a lot and changed a great deal in the last nine months and I thought I'd mention a few points here. Nine points, to be exact, to commemorate the occasion...

1. Crawling: Micah crawls all over the house with amazing speed and puts everything he finds into his mouth.

2. Standing: Micah pulls himself up on things and if he's holding something in his hands he thinks it is holding him up. He's actually taken several steps this way....aye, aye, aye...

3. Teeth: Micah has four teeth-- four teeth he cut all at once just in the last few days. Ouch, for both of us.

4. Papa: Micah knows his Papa and is always glad to see him come home from work. He also likes to play with Papa's ears when Papa is trying to sleep in on the weekends (Papa loves his Micah, but isn't so fond of the ear thing).

5. Brothers: Micah knows he's a Temple Boy and has some idea of what that means. He's anxious to jump into the fray. He likes being in the pool with them, the sandbox, eating pancakes with them on Saturday mornings, watching Netflix (particularly Blue's Clue's) and playing with trains. Micah loves his brothers and wants to be held by the older ones, but not so much the younger ones.

6. Country Music: Micah loves country music. He's our only southern boy and so it fits. He will stop crying in the car if I put on country. He's no fan of NPR.

7. Thumb: Micah is a thumb sucker. He's my first thumb sucker and everyone says he makes them want to suck their own thumbs because he makes it look so satisfying. As an aside, Micah likes to play with my nose with his free hand while he's sucking his thumb. That isn't so much fun-- funny, but not fun. He actually gave me a bloody nose one morning doing this--he sliced the inside of my nose with a sharp fingernail. That was a mess.

8. Expression: Micah is a highly expressive baby. He does nose crinkles and eye twinkles. He has an amazing amount of muscle tone in his eyebrows and around his mouth. The subtle combinations of all these things mean all sorts of things that Jeremy, Simeon, myself, and those in his inner circle all understand. It is very amusing.

9. Mama: Micah loves his Mama. I am still the parent of choice and am almost certain this has something to do with that fact that he is a power nurser. He doesn't eat too much else, but has creamy skin and enviably shiny hair on account of it. His love for his Mama is fully returned and then some. I am as head over heels for this little one as I was the day I realized he was with us. I love you, sweet Micah, here's to nine months and many more!

Unmasked Joy

Batman Cape: $1.25
Boy Joy: Priceless (I had to convince him not to wear it to church)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Plane Names

Jacob named his paper airplane "The Susan Constant," after the ship that carried John Smith to the New World in 1606. But then, when his plane wouldn't fly right, he renamed her "The Lazy Susan."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Was I the only one who Didn't Know that: Otoscope

We've had our first ear infection of the season and while I was filling the antibiotic prescription I spotted an otoscope for home use made by Dr Mom. I've always wanted one of these as I thought it would help me catch ear infections earlier, but I had no idea anyone made them for home use. I bought it and now I'm practicing looking at all the boys' ear drums trying to get a sense of what a healthy one looks like. Very interesting.

While I was at it, I also picked up...

Immunity booster vitamin supplement

Vick's foaming hand sanitizer

Fever reducer

New scanning thermometer

I hope we stay well, but if not, we'll be better prepared next time.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ten Reasons to Think of your Own Ten Reasons...

I received an anonymous "thank you" email from a student recently who had used this old post of mine to complete a homework assignment. I checked my stats and found, sure enough, that that post has been very popular recently. It seems more than one student is using my ideas to help with homework.

If you Google "Reasons to Study History," that post is the third link.

If you Google "Reasons to Study World History," it is the top link.

The reasons to study history are many and it is a very thought provoking question. It's good to look at what others have thought and I'm glad to help, but I hope you students out there are thinking of your own reasons and not just copying mine. Your teacher can Google as well as you can, he or she doesn't want a set of "right" answers, he wants you to think for yourself. The purpose of education isn't to fill in all the blanks or pass all the tests, it is to understand the world and your place in it. It is to know for the sake of knowing. It is to think for yourself because that is how you form a relationship with truth--a relationship that you will want to cultivate and develop your whole life long because it will set you free and make you happy. In order to do that, you have to care and think and apply yourself. Google can't do that for you.

Little Helper

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sod Story

The house across the street is nearly done. They laid a sod lawn today and Nicholas was amazed,

"Mama," he said pointing to the instant green, "I don't understand how this grass suddenly growed."

"They laid it down in squares," Zachary explained, "like outdoor carpet."

Confession: After spreading our truckloads of topsoil this summer, we are now seeding and I discovered a new vice--I have sod envy.

The Secret Club

Since I've had boys, I've had the opportunity to witness a certain male camaraderie that I had hitherto been completely unaware existed. When I go out in public with my all-male crew, men cheer me. I've never had a man ask me if I was done trying for my girl. They wink at my boys in the deli line and congratulate me, they talk sports and recommend movies to my boys when we visit the hardware store, they count them up with admiration and honor me with their "SIX!" like it's a trophy of some sort. They smile and nod with approval when we pass, they offer all manner of hand shakes to my boys and my boys respond in kind. There's a certain clubbiness about it, a certain male team spirit my boys understand. I don't know how they learned it, but I know they didn't learn from me. It's a male thing. It's a good thing. It makes me smile when I see it.

Just today, our kitchen cabinet man came to repair a drawer and the fraternizing started the moment he walked in the door. He was counting them, smiling, admiring whatever they showed him and saying, "Look at these brothers," over and over with satisfaction. He told them they should watch "The Little Rascals" and when he saw Micah in Simeon's arms he put his hand out. "Give me five, big guy," he said to Micah.

"He doesn't know that..." I was about to say, when Micah pushed off Simeon's chest with his feet, leaned well over Simeon's shoulder to get a better angle and slapped the kitchen cabinet man's hand smack in the middle of the palm. Micah gave him five, ten, and fifteen before I had the chance to say a word. Looks like male society takes its members fairly young.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Lewis and Clark

Lewis and Clark History Timeline entry. All art by Simeon.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


...with baby, Pomp, on her back by Simeon. We read about these two today. Courageously guiding white men through rugged wilderness with an infant on her back, this Shoshone woman has long been a heroine of mine. Little Pomp was later baptised Jean Baptiste and became highly learned and accomplished under William Clark's sponsorship and guidance.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Ask Mom, She Knows Where Everything Is

Alex: Mom, I can't find the Duh.

Me: The what?

Alex: (Takes me to the piano and plays) See I've got the Bu-Di-Bu-Bum-Dum, but then I can't find the Duh.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Red Tailed Hawk

This hawk paid us a visit this morning. He hung out long enough for the boys to get a good look at him and take a few pictures. Then he flew away.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Now That's a New One

So, the grocery clerk decides to chat with me...

Him: Is it your job to do the grocery run for a home, business, or camp... or something?

Me: Yeah, it's my job to grocery shop for a home--MY home. I have six sons.

Him: ?

And I thought this was a good week. While I'm not joining Mary O. in her September grocery challenge, I have been inspired by it and careful planning saved me $20.00 this week.

An aside: Unless the kids are with me, nobody ever believes that I have six sons. They look at me like I'm a pathological liar. My husband says I should take that as a compliment. I have a hard time seeing it that way.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Mitchell Family Memorial Fund

For those of my readers who may yet still be unaware of the Mitchell family's sudden loss of their sixth son, Bryce, please pray for this family and consider making a donation to defray funeral costs. Bryce was just three months old. You can see pictures of his baptism here.

Lord, have mercy on the Mitchell family and comfort them in their grief.

Classic Zack

After sending him to his room several times to look for his shoes using his "open" eyes, I decided to look for myself. I found his shoes in Nicholas' shoe basket which is right next to Zachary's shoe basket.

"Here they are," I told Zachary, "in plain sight."

"Yes," Zachary agreed, "but not the plain sight they were supposed be in."


After explaining to him that we "dog ear" the corners of book pages so that we know where we are in the book...

Zachary: Good. So if ever I'm lost, I will "dog tag" my own ear and then I will know exactly where I am.