Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Send in the Clown

Skoshi A has always been a little ray of sunshine in our family.  Even at a very young age she had a sense of humor and always laughed at Wingnut's lame jokes; not because they were actually funny, but because they really were that lame, and that is what she found funny.  We've always called her our Little Clown and our Queen Monkey.  In fact, Queen Monkey has become part of her name.

When she was about 4 she told the same joke for an entire year; "Why did the chicken cross the road in Georgia? Because it was against the law."  She'd laugh hysterically each time she told it. I'm fairly certain she still finds that joke hilarious.  She loves good natured teasing, silly jokes, funny faces, and laughing.  She is a never ending bundle of joy and energy.

When it comes to caring for Baby Wingnut, she is absolutely invaluable.  With four girls, Baby Wingnut has enough junior mommies to take care of him but Skoshi A is his favorite.  She is the loving, caring, gentle, good mommy, while the rest of us are the mean, disciplinary mommies. More than any of us she is able to calm him down, entertain him, and keep him from whining.  

It has always fascinated me how each of our children have such different personalities, different strengths, different weaknesses.  Each one completes our family in a unique way.  I'm so very thankful God looked down on us and said, "This family needs a little clown to bring a special kind of joy to each day." And then he gave us Queen Monkey.
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Monday, September 29, 2008

Don't Worry. Be Happy.

Baby Wingnut likes peace and harmony.  He may not create it in our family but he likes to make sure we all maintain it.  He is constantly asking if we are happy, especially if we happen to be scolding him about his antics.  It's his little way of reassuring himself that everything is still ok, even though he is in trouble.

Usually his little way of asking, "Mama, you happy?" is very cute and I can't help but smile and say, "Yes, Mama is happy.  Are you happy?" But then there are the times when he is being particularly naughty and I cannot smile and agree to be happy. "No, Mama is not happy.  Mama is cross."  This response results in a complete collapse of Baby Wingnut.  His world comes crashing in around him and he begins frantically crying, "No, you happy Mama. You happy." I'm not sure what the little guy will do the day he gets a real criticism.  
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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mass readings for September 28, 2008.

I had the rare pleasure of going to Mass all by myself yesterday. Imagine an entire Mass without having to take a naughty toddler to the back or having to constantly remind a hyperactive 6 year to be still and listen.  I was able to sit in front and not have to hide out in the back row!  

Our young associate priest gave a lovely homily in which he made the following observation: Those who exude joy in their lives are those who faithfully live out their vocations not because it is something they ought to do, but because of their deep love for God.  Pray, not because God asks it of you; pray because you love God.  Serve your family, not because it is your duty as wife and mother; serve your family because you love them. Care for the sick, hungry, naked, and imprisoned, not because it was what Christ taught; care for the sick, hungry, naked, and imprisoned because you love Christ.  Serve with love, and joy will follow.
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Friday, September 26, 2008

Baby Fashion Police

Wingnut believes we dress our children like complete idiots.  No sane adult would wear an outfit like this:

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Thursday, September 25, 2008


Mornings like this remind me that I am doing something right by keeping the kids home and teaching them myself.  Big Ben had been sleeping on the couch.  He woke up, said, "Good morning!" and climbed into the chair to help his big sister with her math. Sometimes you just have to stop and pray, "God is so good." Print Friendly and PDF

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Terms of Endearment

Is "Dude Mom" an appropriate term of endearment?  It is if it comes from your 13 year old son and is a step up from "Hey, Homie". Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, September 22, 2008

Wild Child

We have a tornado in our family.  She is so full of energy none of us can keep up with her.  In her 6 short years I don't think she has sat down at the table and stayed there for an entire meal. I can't bear to watch her ride her scooter like a complete maniac around the neighborhood. Every elbow and knee has a huge scab, worn like badges of honor. If she were in school outside our home, we are convinced teachers would encourage medication to slow her down.  To top off her hyperactivity, she is also fiercely opinionated and very volatile.

The other day we were driving behind a show-off on a motorcycle.  He was speeding and weaving dangerously, in and out of traffic.  Every few hundred yards he would pop a wheelie which evidently impressed our little tornado.  She kept telling us how cool the guy on the motorcycle was.  This concerns me.  Is she going to be the one who shows up at a family function with tattoos, piercings and leather?

A couple of years ago, while watching our tornado dance her self-choreographed dance to "Ring of Fire" sung by Johnny Cash, our children's choir director called it like it is: "She is your wild child.  Every family has one."
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I can always tell when it has been too long since my last confession.  Behaviors I normally find cute and endearing in my spouse and children begin to irritate and annoy.  I find myself grumbling as I wash the hair from his electric razor down the sink.  I throw my hands up in the air with frustration as Baby Wingnut proudly announces his third poopy diaper of the day.  The sounds of chewing, slurping, swallowing and burping get on my last nerve.  The poorly attempted or completely neglected chores send me into a tirade of complaining and nagging. The thought of having to meet one more need or want from any of my family becomes enough to drive me to a dark, silent, and secluded closet.

As a convert, I have to say, confession is such a wonderful gift.  I really don't know how I made it through life without it.  The grace mothers get from this sacrament reminds us of why God has blessed us with our husbands and children and allows us to return to the trenches with renewed love, patience, fortitude, resolve, and humility.  God bless the priests that sit in the box and so patiently listen to poor sinners pour out our daily sins, sufferings and frustrations!

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Workers in the Vineyard

Today's Mass Readings

The Gospel reading for today must be where Wingnut gets his philosophy, "If someone gets a good deal, it doesn't mean everyone else got a raw deal."
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Saturday, September 20, 2008

On Ballerinas

We have three beautiful ballerinas in our family.  They belong to a fantastic ballet school that is small, strict, and teaches ONLY ballet (no hoochie mama dancing, tap, jazz, etc.).  We spend three evenings of our week transporting our dancers to their classes, which are thankfully only 5 minutes from our house.

Today, we are doing something so crazy and so completely counterintuitive. We are taking two of our ballerinas to audition for the Nutcracker.  The audition and subsequent rehearsals will be a 35 minute trek from our house, and that is if traffic is running smoothly on the oft volatile beltway.  I can't believe we are doing this, but it is with the Joffery Ballet and performances will be at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts!  This is an amazing opportunity for my dancers. I mean, what little girl doesn't dream of dancing in the Nutcracker?

I'll leave an update this evening with the results of their auditions.

**Update:  After a very long day, both girls made it into the production.  OJ is a mounted mouse and Skoshi A is an angel.  They are both absolutely thrilled.  I'm sure we'll have more posts in the near future about our Nutcracker experience.
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Friday, September 19, 2008

If the Hat Fits, Wear It!

Baby Wingnut wanted a hat to wear and so I sent one of his older sisters to get one for him. I was thinking of more of a baseball hat, but once he saw this one, it was too late.  Never mind that it was 85 degrees and humid.  He wore it to piano lessons, the grocery store and during dinner.  He said he was a cute little bunny. I wish I could get away with wearing a hat like this on bad hair days. Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Anyone Got a Plunger?

Oh dear, I think Special K has my talent for remembering song lyrics:

"Black sheep, black sheep,
have you any more?

Yes sir, yes sir,
three bags four.
One for my master,
one for the dame,
and one for the little girl,
who lives down the drain."
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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Frenzied Football Fanatic

Stat Boy is a sports statistic junkie and he is driving me crazy.  I love the boy, but does he have to continually keep me updated on the latest sports stats, plays, injuries, etc ?  Right now he is totally obsessed with football--college and pro, and I never hear the end of it.  Stat Boy runs a fantasy football league and a pick 'em pool for our family during football season. He has even begun sending his friends a list of weekly predictions via email, minus correct grammar, capitalization, and punctuation, of course!  I don't know, maybe he has a future as a sports caster or writer. 

We've had to implement a rule in our house that he is not allowed to discuss particular sports in the off season.  We get a small break between college basketball and baseball seasons as professional basketball and hockey are completely forbidden around here.  Sports, especially football make it into nearly all of his creative writing and art assignments. I guess I should be glad he is writing and drawing without complaint, but you'd think he'd love math all the more due to his love of sports statistics. He has bins and drawers full of papers with sports information and formulas written on them. I should just collect all of those to show the county when portfolio reviews roll-around.

Because of our son's well publicized passion in our homeschool community, a nice mom from our co-op is going to teach a class about football to a group of 6th-8th graders. She's basing the class on the very popular Baseball Unit Study by Amanda Bennett. Our son is chomping at the bit for that class to begin. I don't think she realizes she is just feeding the monster. Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Weigh Down

In my married life, I have never seriously tried to lose weight, even though after 7 pregnancies I have put on more than 40 pounds, since our wedding day.  After watching several close
family members lose weight using liquid diets, pills, specialized packaged foods, fad diets and other drastic measures, I swore if I ever was going to lose weight I would do it right, once, and for good.  I'm not saying we've never been on a health kick around here, cutting out sugar, eating more veggies, or upping our fiber intake, but I've never been on  what one would consider a restrictive or conventional diet.

This last spring I found myself gaining weight for no explainable reason (i.e. I wasn't pregnant) and that had never happened before.  I was beginning to feel weighed down and unwell.  I lacked energy and I was having trouble sleeping.  I decided, maybe I should do something about it.  I wanted to stay healthy and young enough to enjoy my children and I could no longer keep up with them the way I was.  

I bit the bullet and joined Weight Watchers Online in early June.  I chose the Flex Plan with the point tracking system and I dove right in.  Thankfully, I'm still nursing our two year old so I'm allowed several more points than if I weren't nursing.  I think I'd starve to death if I didn't have those extra calories!  I began taking long walks in the morning and worked up to almost 4 miles a day, along with some light weight training on days when I don't have enough time to walk.

I've lost 20 pounds since beginning this journey and I've learned a lot about myself and food.  It is all about eating less and exercising, stupid!  I learned I don't need to serve myself such large portions at dinner, I don't really like french fries, a lot of butter, sauces and dressings, and a little bit of dessert can be very satisfying. The nicest aspect of the Flex Point System is I did not have to change the way I cook or deny myself or my family good food (I love to cook from scratch and with real ingredients).  I just needed to reduce the portions of what I ate and get some moderate exercise throughout the week.   I'm not deluding myself that I will achieve the same size I was when Wingnut and I got married, but I will be at a much healthier weight for my children and grandchildren, God willing.  I can't tell you how much stronger, energized, and well rested I feel.
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Monday, September 15, 2008

Home Run!

Baby Wingnut has a thing for sports, especially baseball.  He can spend every evening in the front yard "butterflying" wiffle balls.  He no longer allows us to pitch to him, because he learned he might miss the ball and not get the desired home run.  He hits nearly every ball when he pitches to himself and then insists that we yell, "Home run!" and cheer wildly for him.

The wind up
The hit
Batter chases down his own home run ball
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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Must You Watch Me Eat?

Baby Wingnut is fascinated with our resident Praying Mantis.  We locate the insect most every day in our Butterfly Bush or climbing our porch.  We took this great photo of our Praying Mantis while it ate it's lunch.

He doesn't look none to happy that I'm giving him the paparazzi treatment.
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Friday, September 12, 2008

Those are Pectoral Muscles, Son

Our two year old is still nursing, partly because I've completely forgotten how to wean (if I ever knew how in the first place) and partly because he is just so darn cute when he asks to nurse. Our other children were weaned between 20 months and 2 years, but I don't recall any of them being as obsessive about getting their RDA of mama's milk as Baby Wingnut is.  

The main problem now is that he is constantly talking about everyone's "two nursies."  Having older siblings is often an even bigger problem, because they think this stuff is hilarious and have now taught Baby Wingnut other ways of referring to "nursies".  The latest incarnations are nipples (pronounced very funnily as "whipples") and "I have two man b**bs!"(pronounced very clearly).  The latter one got an immediate nix from Wingnut, who insisted the kids teach Baby Wingnut, "I have two Pecks!"

Calgon, take me away!
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Thursday, September 11, 2008

7 Years Later

From Pope John Paul the Great's Hora Tertia for the One-month Memorial for the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001.

One month since the inhumane terrorist attacks that occurred in different parts of the United States of America, we again recommend to the eternal mercy of the God of our Fathers the numerous innocent victims. We ask for consolation and comfort for their family and relatives, burdened by pain; we invoke strength and courage for the many who continue their work in the places struck by this terrible disaster; we implore for tenacity and perseverence by all men of goodwill continuing on the paths of justice and peace. May the Lord remove from the heart of man every trace of resentment, of hostility and of hate, and open him to reconciliation, to solidarity, and to peace. Let us pray, so that the "culture of love" may be established all over the world . . . O God, Almighty and Merciful Father, he who sows discord cannot understand You; he who loves violence cannot welcome You: watch over us in our painful human condition tried by the brutal acts of terrorism and death. Comfort your children and open our hearts to hope, that our time may again know days of serenity and peace, through Christ our Lord.
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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What I Will Miss Most

One of my favorite bloggers had a bad day yesterday and posted a list of things she won't miss when her brood grows up and moves away and I have to say, I agree with most of it, too.  It can be a good thing to vent our frustrations when we've had one of those days and blogs are a great sounding board, filled with sympathetic voices.  The challenge is reminding ourselves of what we will miss when our children leave home. When you've had one of those frustrating, provoking, and exhausting days remember these are the things you will miss most. . .

Their sweet little sleeping faces and bodies contorted into crazy, uncomfortable positions

That sweet little sigh they make in their sleep

Their need for you to kiss every little boo-boo and make it all better

Sticky, sweet kisses from dirty little faces

The sound of their laughter

The silly jokes, songs and dances they compose to entertain you

Homemade birthday cards

The expressions and mannerisms that remind you of the love of your life

The creative games they come up with that make you want to play along

Their belief in do-overs

The fierce manner in which they protect and stand up for their siblings, family, and friends

Their black and white understanding of right and wrong

Their innate sense of justice

Their complete innocence

Their simple, unquestioning faith

Funny mispronunciations, misspellings, and misunderstandings

Overheard conversations between brothers and sisters who really do love each other, despite what they want you to believe

The everyday beauty and joy they find in ordinary things

The absolute love, adoration, and devotion they have for a new baby brother or sister. . .

What will you miss most, as your children leave the nest to begin lives of their own?

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The Basics

Whether we like to or not, everyone follows some kind of daily schedule.  With Wingnut being an Air Force pilot, our schedule is fairly strict when he is out of the house, but much more flexible when he is home.

Here is what a normal school day looks like on paper:

7:00-8:30--Get up, make beds, get dressed, have breakfast, brush teeth

8:30-9:00--Morning prayers, saint story, religion

9:00-12:00--School work

12:00-12:30--Correct school work and put away, lunch, lunch clean-up

12:30-2:00--Chores, practice instruments, pick-up

2:00-4:00--Free time (Mondays-flute lessons, Tuesdays-piano lessons, Wednesdays-writer's workshop, 1st and 3rd Fridays-park day)

4:00-7:00--Dinner prep, dinner, dinner clean-up (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday-ballet)

7:30-8:30--Free time(Monday, Wednesday-taekwondo; Tuesday-CCD)

8:30-9:15--Get ready for bed, family rosary


**Karate Kid gets up between 6:00 and 6:30 so that she can get some of her school work done in the quiet of the early morning.  Although she is taking High School courses, it is important to her to finish her assigned work before lunch.  I know, I really got blessed with a good one.

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Monday, September 8, 2008

Crafts and Fun Galore

In the sidebar of this blog I have links to other great blogs I've come across.  One of my newest favorites is Kiddio.  I enjoy crafting with the kids to a certain extent, but I would never call myself creative when it comes to thinking up new things to do.  I loved this idea for sidewalk paint that came from Kiddio's projects page.  My youngest three and I will sit in the driveway for a good spell painting, creating, and spraying our artworks.

We've used several of Kiddio's other ideas to keep Baby Wingnut occupied during school and I've found them to be invaluable. So, if you're feeling crafty and are looking for a fun activity to do with your kids, give Kiddio a try.
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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Peace, on a Sunday Afternoon

This is what peace looks like in our home.
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If Today You Hear His Voice

Mass Readings for Sunday, September 7th, 2008

Parts of the Gospel take me back to my protestant roots, especially the passage on prayer, ". . . For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst."
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Saturday, September 6, 2008

Mothers and Daughters

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of taking my teenage daughter shopping for her fall wardrobe.  Yes, I know, I wrote pleasure, because it truly was a pleasure.  I remember shopping trips with my poor mom as being completely miserable for both of us.  We did not share the same taste or style then, and we don't share them now. She just never got my love of all things black. 

We have been blessed with extremely modest children who are not into the latest fashion trends at all, but are somehow able to blend in with their peers without appearing out-dated. Their modesty can be attributed to their innate senses of right and wrong and our hands-on style of parenting, but also to the wonderful examples of modesty from their grandmothers and aunties.  They are all pretty conscious of what is and what isn't appropriate dress in particular situations. That's not to say we don't have our moments of contention over what is considered nice enough for Mass, but then I'd be a little worried if they didn't have their own opinions some of the time.

And so it was a definite joy for me to spend an evening alone with my oldest daughter, have a meaningful conversation, shop to our hearts' content, and stop at Rita's for a treat.
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Friday, September 5, 2008

No More Tears

All in all, we had a great start to our school year.  Probably the smoothest start we've ever had. Baby Wingnut even settled in and was capable of remaining occupied quietly, long enough for me to coax the Tornado through her work each day.  The Tornado has some kind of attitude problem. I think she slept through the meeting when we learned 1st grade is fun.  You'd think she was 13 the way she moans and groans over her school work.  She does this even for music and art.  Can anyone tell me how it is that 45 minutes is an absolute eternity to a 6 year old?  

Our older four dove right into their work and we finished up our first week without a single tearful outburst.  If they can advance their ability to read and follow directions properly and improve their accuracy, we should have a banner year. Next week we'll be adding history, geography, spelling and typing.

I really am this nuts.  I absolutely love homeschooling!
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Anyone Know Where I Can Buy a Gansta Chicken?

OJ had a suggestion for dinner:  Cornish Gang Hen

I think we may need to hit vocabulary pretty hard this year.
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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Homeschool Funnies

From OJ's English assignment:

Our Blessed Mother told Bernadette, "I am the Immaculate Consumption."

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Palin Power

So, did you see Sarah last night?  I have to say, it was the best political speech by a woman I have ever seen.  The Dems must be shaking in their boots.  She'll be a tough act to follow for McCain. He just isn't that inspiring to me.  For this election, I'm a single issue voter.  I'll be voting to keep Obama out of the White House.  The McCain/Palin ticket is FAR from perfect, but a Obama/Biden presidency will do untold damage to the pro-life movement, our country and the world.

My younge$t daughter i$ $itting with me a$ I type thi$ po$t and want$ to $ee the dollar $ign$ u$ed, $o here goe$: $$$$$$$$$$$.

She got a kick out of that.  Oh, to be six years old.
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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

School Daze

So we are two days into the school year and so far, so good.  We decided to ease into it which seems to be paying off.  There has been very little frustration and minimum wailing and gnashing of teeth. We are focusing on getting a good start on math and english and will add our other subjects as we go along.  My main challenge is keeping our vociferous toddler happy and quiet, without resorting to videos too frequently.  Yesterday, stickers and paint kept him happy.  Today, a dry erase marker and board and a box full of puffed rice with measuring cups, spoons and funnels did the trick.  Thankfully we've been finishing before 9:30 each morning, although that will change in the weeks to come.  Deep, cleansing breaths and lots of prayers for patience ought to do it. Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Pony Rides, Rock Walls, and Carnival Food

Every year, our parish has a Labor Day Festival, complete with food, crafts, games, hay rides, pony rides and live music.  Our children look forward to it every summer and begin asking in June if we are going.  Once we arrive, Wingnut and I shell out the bucks for tickets and give each one of our kids enough for food and fun and hope they will last more than half an hour. I'm not sure what our oldest two spent their tickets on, but I did hear about the fried oreos from Stat Boy and how they were the best thing he has eaten in his entire life.  That kid is a coronary waiting to happen!  We all had a lovely afternoon and enjoyed seeing our parish family and friends.

The pony rides are what my youngest children remember each year.  It amazes me how patient they can be waiting to ride a pony.

10 minutes into the afternoon, Special K had already spent most of her tickets.  I had to lone her 50 cents to ride the ponies.  Thankfully she won't be in charge of our checking account anytime soon!

The rock climbing wall is a new attraction to the festival.  OJ was really excited about this one.

She almost made it to the top, but couldn't find a final foothold to ring the bell.

Labor Day has come and gone, meaning school begins today.  Where did the summer go? Time feels like it is racing by faster each year.  I think I'll go give my Baby Wingnut a squeeze and read him a Thomas story before he grows too old for squeezes and trains!
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Monday, September 1, 2008


Do you ever wish you could be one of your children?  Over the years my kids have come up with some of the greatest games to play.  They are so imaginative and creative that sometimes I wish I could be one of their siblings so I could play too. 

Yesterday, my girls came up with a game they call "circus". Boy, I wish I were 8 years old again!

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