Monday, October 31, 2011

Co-op Classes Fall 2010

We are three weeks into our fall semester of co-op.  I know I've blogged about our wonderful, laid back, homeschooling co-op in the past and I like to post here the classes we offer as ideas for folks searching the web for ideas for their co-ops.  We have 4 separate age groups and offer three classes for each age group, with the exception of the youngest group.

The youngest group is comprised of our nursery babies and toddlers, as well as several preschoolers and kindergarteners.  For this group, one mom is teaching Cathechesis of the Good Shepherd.  I observed in this classroom this week and was floored by the organization, structured play, and peace that permeated the class.  It is a truly wonderful program and the children not only seem to really enjoy it, they are learning a new depth of appreciation for sacramentals and the sacraments.

The next group is our 1st -3rd grade group.  Being a flexible group, several children in this class, including our own Lil' Wingnut, are actually kindergarten age.  This age group has three classes. The first is a science class using Detective Science, in which students use science to solve mysteries in class. Their second class is a unit study of North American Native Americans.  They are putting together lap books as a finished product of all their new knowledge. The third class for this group is a study of wild animals native and unique to Maryland.  Lil' Wingnut is having a blast in his classes and is really hanging in there with the older kids, as long as he has a little help with cutting with scissors.

We have a nice group of 4th and 5th graders.  They are taking art lessons from Ginger Hime's Simply Art DVDs.  So far they have focused on drawing animals.  Special K's notebook is filled with cute little realistic looking bunnies and deer.  She is so excited to be learning to draw in a more realistic style.  Their second class is also science using Detective Science, but with a little added difficulty.  This group's final class is a study of Meso-American culture.  So far, I think the final offering is Special K's favorite.  It's taught by one of our most gung-ho teachers who is just as excited to teach as the kids are to learn in her classes.

The final class is made up of 7th-9th graders.  They are learning about our neighbor to the north, beautiful, diverse, Canada.  In order to adequately cover the material in this class, it was decided to extend the duration from 45 minutes to an hour or an hour and 15, depending on the extent of the day's material and the endurance of the instructor.  This shortened the length of the second class to 15-30 minutes.

Unable to completely decide what to offer in the shortened class, it is a miss-mash of sorts.  We had some very definite opinions from a couple of the students to consider.  More drama was a desire for a few, while others threatened mutiny if drama was offered again.  Some kind of phys ed or P.E. would be a good choice for this group, except we couldn't call it such, due to some strong student prejudices against P.E. of any kind.  We decided to leave the title and what is finally taught up to the teacher.  She opted for a little yoga the first couple of classes and then this last week she taught them to fold paper footballs and they happily played the associated for the duration of class.

The final offering was a popular student request that has been offered on at least three other occasions to their older siblings: photography.  This is the only class I'm teaching this semester and is also the last class I will be teaching this particular co-op group.  This is a fun class to teach, and this is a great group of kids to teach it to.  Several of the students have great eyes and some real talent.  We've had a couple truly stunning student photos and I'm looking forward to seeing what else these kids have in store. Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, October 27, 2011

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} Instagram Edition

round button chicken

I really have enjoyed using Instagram to edit my phone photos.  All of my submissions this week were taken on my phone and then put through Instagram.


I think autumn has to be my favorite season.

Two weekends ago our oldest was home from college and Oleander was in town for a visit with the Novitiate sisters.  We were able to all get together (minus Wingnut who was in Utah for his interview) and I was able to snap a rare shot of all the children together.  I like this photo and might use it for Christmas cards this year.


This shot of Lil' Wingnut peering at me from a playground structure cracked me up.


I wasn't sure if I should use this photo as happy, funny or real.  Real won out.  Lil' Lamb has nearly outgrown baths in the kitchen sink.  He is too splashy, wriggly, and has been trying to stand in the sink. Oh dear, at least he's downright adorable.

Print Friendly and PDF

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Connecting with Boys

Lil' Wingnut and I were watching a little evening TV together when a Barbie commercial invaded the screen.

"Ugh! Oh no!  I hate those!" He exclaimed, rolling his eyes and flailing his little body around.

"What? Oh, dear! I love Barbie! What will we ever have in common?" I teased before asking, "What do boys like?"

The lil' guy thought for a moment before responding sheepishly, "Girls?"

Oh dear, we are in trouble. Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mauri's Dream House

I suppose for the next few months this blog will be slightly preoccupied with the big move.  We have been house hunting online in Utah ever since we first heard of this job in May.  I've had plenty of time to think and dream about our next house. I even began a Pintrest account to document my ideas.  If I could have everything I ever wanted in a house the following list would be it.

Dream House Mauri 

1) 3 bathrooms, at least 2 must be full baths and the last can be some kind of partial.  Does that sound spoiled?  We have 3 1/2 baths now which is quite luxurious, but there are many occasions, especially Sundays when 3 bathrooms are occupied at the same time.

2) A spacious kitchen with lots of storage space.  I practically live in the kitchen and being one of those moms that loves to cook, this is a definite must.

3) A covered garage that our 12 passenger van will fit in.  It snows a lot in Utah.  I have a feeling clearing vehicles on a daily basis might get pretty old.

4) A walk in pantry; oh that would be sooooo nice!

5) A gas range; I had one once in Oklahoma and I just loved it.  For a foodie like me, a gas range would be absolutely heavenly!

6) Land;  2 or 3 acres would be just about perfect.  We could raise laying hens and plant a good sized garden.  We might even be able to raise a couple goats!

6) A laundry ROOM;  We've had a laundry closet for the last 10 years.  I would love to have a nice room with storage and room for Wingnut's ironing accessories (the man loves to iron).

7) An extra bedroom for guests; we can get away with a 4 or even 3 bedrooms, but having an extra room for visitors would be lovely.

8) A photography studio; the guest room could double for this purpose.  Of all the artistic endeavors I've attempted, photography is something I would really, really love to pursue further. A studio will need lots of natural light, so several windows would be a must.

9) A separate formal living area, office, and family/exercise room; This is actually less than we have now, but we have been spoiled by having so much living space.

10) A walk-in closet; We have one in this house and I love it.

11) A mud room; it would be so nice to have an accessible space to store winter gear, rain gear, and beach gear.

This house would have to fall within our price range and be within reasonable commuting distance from the high school for JayP, the commissary for grocery shopping, the monastery Wingnut has fallen in love with, and Wingnut's new job location.  Obviously I will have to compromise, but it never hurts to dream.

Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Utah It Is

Wingnut interviewed for and was offered the job in Utah and we took it.  We've been praying a lot about this decision and have both felt this is the direction the Lord is taking us.  I feel pretty good about it.  It will be a big stressor trying to get this house ready for market and I imagine we may not sell but will end up renting it, but I'm okay with that.

I was telling Special K the other day, God very often points you in the direction He wills for you to go, it doesn't mean that path will be an easy one.  You'll just feel a sense of peace about it, even amidst the stress.

The JayP is not very happy about the move, and we didn't expect him to be.  Fortunately, he has been pestering me about going to school and we've decided we will enroll him once we are there.  Wingnut even visited the school yesterday and feels great about doing this for the JayP.  It's a small, orthodox, catholic high school with about 200 students.  He had a long conversation with the principal and came away impressed and relieved.  Best of all for the JayP, the athletic program is no-cut, meaning he will be able to play the sports of his choice without having to worry about being cut!

Please continue to pray for us.  We know there are a lot of obstacles and draw backs to making this move smooth.

Saint Joseph, pray for us! Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, October 17, 2011

Too Funny

Lil' Wingnut was perusing his latest Lego Magazine, wistfully filling me in on the release of the newest Lego Star Wars DVD.  He read all the details of the video's release until he reached the "price".

"Oh my gosh!" He exclaimed, "This is really expensive! I can't believe how expensive it is!"

"How much is it?"

"It's really expensive."

"Read the numbers to me." I suggested.

"9, 1, 6, 2, 0, 1, 1!"

Confused by the string of numbers I said, "Here, let me see it."

This is what he thought was the price of the coveted DVD: 9/16/2001.  He's a smarty, that one.  LOL! Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, October 13, 2011

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} October 13

round button chicken

 My two youngest daughters modeling the very cool feather headbands #1 daughter brought home from 

 Lil' Wingnut happily reading the story of one of his favorite saints.

 Rolly polly boy

We are in big trouble.  Our little one is extremely curious and is into everything already. Oh, and he's mobile!
Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Not to be too crass, but this is an honest question.  If your sweet little guy were singing the "Hail Mary," absolutely singing his little heart out, while doing his . . . ahem . . . business in the bathroom, what would you do?  Would you tell him it was an inappropriate place to be singing to Mary or would you think praying can and should happen everywhere and during any activity and encourage him or would you just ignore it all together? Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, October 7, 2011

I Think Someone is Trying to Tell Me Something

Skoshi A printed out a sketch of Lil' Lamb for Special K to color.  Lil' Lamb makes a pretty cute little girl, don't cha think? Is Special K hinting at something here?
Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, October 6, 2011

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} 10/6

round button chicken


I loved this photo of my pretty baby boy sitting in the morning sunlight.


Nothing makes my boys happier than playing outside. Nothing makes me happier than when the weather is perfect for my boys to play outside :)


Praying Mantis peering down at me from the gutter.


Yes, that is grass in his mouth.  The reality of letting Lil' Lamb play outside is now he puts everything he can grasp into his mouth so we have to watch him like a hawk.
Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Lil' Lamb 8 Months

We cannot believe he is 8 months old already!  It seems he changes every day.  I spend much of my time watching him in fascination as he learns new skills.  He's creeping faster than many babies can crawl.  He's getting up on his knees and making little crawling movements forward and back. He can push back from his stomach onto his bottom into a sitting position. Oh and he's incredibly curious.  It was a challenge to photograph him this morning as he was fascinated with the camera and would come at me as quickly as I got the lens up to snap a photo.

 Here he comes!

 Take a look at those chompers! He's cutting four more as I type.

He's still so cute and fluffy :)
Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, October 3, 2011

Trusting in His Wisdom

Eleven years ago, Wingnut was on the verge of separating from the Air Force when the job he has now caught his attention.  We began to pray for God's Wisdom in helping us decide if we should remain in the military or if Wingnut should separate and enter the work force as an airline pilot.  We asked God to place obstacles in our path if we happened to fail to see His Way and we asked him to remove obstacles from the path He wanted us to follow.  As he applied and interviewed for the job at Andrew's AFB that particular path seemed paved and ready made for us.  In the end we thought we would let the 2000 Presidential Election make the final decision for us.  Funny, that was the election that dragged on and on in court in Florida and in the end we just had to trust God had our best interests in mind even if he did not desire to show us with signs and wonders.  Wingnut stayed in the military, he got the job at Andrew's, and President Bush was finally victorious, in that order.

So many of our friends and colleagues had made the jump to the airline world from the military. We were among the few that remained in the military.  We came to see exactly how well God was looking out for our family when 9/11 hit.  Every one of our airline friends were furloughed from their jobs.  We were so incredibly thankful to have been spared unemployment.  God is Good!

Last week Wingnut put in his papers to retire from the military.  We are again looking to God for Wisdom.  Our time in the military is done and we are relieved and thankful.  Now we need to seek His Will for what to do next.  Wingnut has applied for several jobs in corporate aviation as well as civilian federal jobs.  We love our parish and our network of friends here, but there is also so much we don't love about living in the DC area. We also know the housing market is not favorable, and so staying would probably be less stressful.  He has applied to several local jobs, but it seems there is a hiring freeze for federal jobs.

He's had one interview in New Jersey with a corporate aviation company.  He hit it off with the head of the aviation department and feels he'd be a good fit with this company.  They are going to have him out for another interview in the very near future. We'd likely live in Pennsylvania if he was hired by this company.  This would keep us close to Oleander and Karate Kid, and fairly close to our established network--at least close enough for visiting occasionally.  In Pennsylvania we'd be able to own a little land.  I'd love to have a large garden and maybe some chickens and the girls would love to have a horse.  We've researched parishes in Pennsylvania and Catholic high schools for JayP.  We are fairly certain we can find something pretty orthodox, if not exactly the same as our beloved parish here.  There are two draw backs to Pennsylvania.  First, homeschooling is a bit more regulated there.  We'd be required to test our home schooled kids in 3rd, 5th, and 8th grade and would need to submit to yearly evaluations to the superintendent by an independent educator/evaluator.  We'd also have to defend our unorthodox immunization and healthcare choices. Secondly, we'd have to worry about doing something with this house.  This choice would be a bit more stressful than staying where we are.

He has an interview lined up in Utah.  This one we were extremely excited about at first.  Utah is much, much closer to home for us.  It would be the closest I've lived to family since leaving home after college.  We could definitely own land and the cost of living is incredibly low.  Homeschooling is also a cinch.  Unfortunately there are a couple huge drawbacks to Utah.  Utah would take us very far away from our two daughters.  I'm not as worried about Karate Kid getting along without us as I am about our 14 year old at the Aspirancy school.  This idea stresses me out.  Obviously another drawback is once again having to do something with our current house.  The biggest drawback to moving to Utah is the diocese is not orthodox at all.  In researching I couldn't find a single parish that has daily mass every day.  Only two parishes have a Saturday morning mass, and only the Cathedral has a Friday daily mass.  This is very troublesome in my mind, not to mention Utah is only 2% Catholic, and the bishop of Salt Lake City is less than impressive.  Even so, Wingnut found a trappist monastery with daily masses (6:45 am) and two Latin Sunday masses.  We could handle that, but it would be unlikely they would need our boys to serve on the Altar, and very unlikely there would be a youth group or a family like atmosphere anything similar to what we have here.  This really stresses me out!

Once again, we seek His Will in making this decision.  Pray for us!  We are definitely going to need it! Print Friendly and PDF