Tuesday, November 19, 2013

How's school?

It's been a while, but what's new? Avid blogger would not be one of my titles. I enjoy it, I just am not very good at sitting down to write. Since my last post was about starting homeschooling I thought I would give an update. (Hoping for a double post tonight.... we'll see).

Well homeschooling has been... ummmm... well... almost non-existent. The reading/writing curriculum I picked out are way to advanced for a first year preschool boy's mom. I got IEW's pal reading and writing. They are awesome, lots of simple games and it makes it fun for the little guy, but there is a lot in one lesson. I'm not sure my son would be able to pay attention that long, which is fine I can break it up, but I totally over whelmed me. So instead I made letter flash card so we can time test letter sounds. I separate what he know from what he doesn't and then we pick one of each for the week. Every so often I remember to ask him each letter sound or we name things that begin with either letter and by the end of the week he remembers the letter he didn't know.

Math happen, but only because my friend and I are doing it together. Tomorrow another friend may join us. For the most part homeschool is nothing like I thought I would be, I don't do it every morning or even most mornings. I'm disappointed I didn't meet my standard but I see where I tried to take on too much in math and reading and not enough in other areas. I'm sure it will progress through the year and hopefully be much better by next year.

If you are floundering, or outright drowning, in your first year I hope you can take comfort in knowing you are not alone.

Saturday, June 1, 2013


In the last year or so the topic of school for our children has been in discussions. Homeschooling has been a big front runner, my husband is all for it, perhaps even my driving force, and I have been timid but willing to try. I have gone through the same thoughts I think everyone goes through: Will I be able to do this? Can I be disciplined enough to keep the kids on task in a loving way? What if I start and I just want to kill myself or my kids (figuratively NOT literally)? What if I FAIL??? Well, I finally came to the conclusion that it is only preschool, but even if it wasn't it is only one year. Probably the best piece of advice I heard is to approach school on a year to year basis. Just because I am homeschooling this year doesn't mean it will be right for our family or that child next year. I knew a family with 10 kids and at one point they had kids in public school, private school, and homeschool. Each child was able to thrive educationally and spiritually in a different environment. I like to keep that in mind and I pray for the wisdom to see my kids as the really are and take care of their need accordingly.

Once I got over that hurdle it was, where to start? I asked around about homeschooling and homeschool groups and I found out there is a great Catholic homeschool group in my area, I am quite excited to join. I googled a lot. Anything I heard about or didn't understand, I googled. I asked veteran homeschoolers. To decide on a curriculum I relied almost exclusivity on veteran homeschoolers' advise. I figure they have tried different thing and at this point I have no idea what I am doing and pretty much every curriculum is going to sound great. Now that I picked my method and curriculum and I am sticking with it, at least for this year. That makes one less thing to worry about. I also picked up some quick reads. In particular I found this book, Ginny's Gems, to be very encouraging and helpful, but also a quick read. Finally, if you are thinking about homeschooling find out if there is a homeschooling conference in your area, they have lots of vendors and talks to listen to, some are free and some are not.

So are you thinking about homeschooling? Are you feeling over whelmed and unsure? Don't worry we all are or did at some point. We worry because we care about our children and the quality of their education, socialization, and their soul. This is a major part of their life and I want to see it unfold, I want to make sure my children are able to reach their potential in their education, their talents, and especially in their faith. Is a teacher with 30 students going to be able to do that? No. Will I be able to do that when I see them for less then half their day? Maybe. Will it be easier if I am beside them, guiding them? Yes and no, but the no's are a labor of love, a cross if I may, that I am picking up and carry with and for Christ.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Forgetting Perfect

Motherhood is a calling and a gift, a joyful time that goes by so quickly. So I have heard, but right now in toddler world it is tiring and messy and nothing goes the way you think it should. I was just listening to a radio take titled The Sacred Calling of Motherhood, something she said really resonated with me. I don't remember the exact quote but it was something along the lines of mothers today have this idea that the goal of raising children is to do it perfectly. Can I just say I am definitely failing on that front. Just today I chased my 2 1/2 year old daughter around the produce stand in the grocery store and then she proceeded to have a temper tantrum in the shopping cart. (For us going into the shopping cart is the equivalent of time out when we are in the store.) Later at the store when she didn't want to leave the bathroom I closed the door and left her in there which again caused a melt down, but she came running when I opened the door half a second later. Of course at some point I got the ever popular comment of, "wow you have your hands full." Thank you for noticing...

Motherhood truly is a sacred calling so lets treat it like what it is and embrace it as a prized and highly valuable position. I am not sure if my feelings towards motherhood come from societies influence or maybe because it didn't come about how I planned. Don't get me wrong I love my kids and I did want to be a mother, but I was at least going to get through college so that I could have degree to fall back on. I had a plan and when I became a mother I stuck to that plan. Then when I had my daughter I still kept to the plan. After my third child I conceded to the message God had been sending me for 3 years. Accepting a calling that has been dropped in you lap and embracing said calling are very different. I will always try to remember that I have a position that no one else can fill Mother to my children.

Back to perfection. The idea that you can parent perfectly implies that your children have no free will, that you just have to follow the right steps and the product will come out as desired. I think we all know that is not true. What makes the difference between Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, the prodigal son and his brother? I surely do not know so the best I can do is to teach my children the truth and do my best to shape their character. While I do that I also need to take some time to be a little less busy; less worried about the dishes, the laundry, the floors, the bathroom... A little less concerned about if I am getting any me time and a little more concerned with being present to my children. I need to enjoy the moments that I have now and put them above my insecurities of a messy house when possible.

Have you thought of motherhood as a sacred calling? Do you see the value of your work?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Saint John Vianney

In my last post I mentioned five saints that I wanted to learn more about this lent, each of them having a special meaning to me. I begin with Saint John Vianney. He is the patron saint of parish priest and my brother Marc's confirmation saint. I am Marc's confirmation sponsor so I wanted to learn more about this saint that picked him so many years ago...

Yes I did say picked him, it's not a typo. When Marc was preparing for confirmation in 8th grade he research and decided on Saint John Bosco as his confirmation saint, but when he wrote down his confirmation saint on the form he got the names mixed up and wrote down Saint John Vianney instead. I have always believed that the mix up was divine providence. I wondered if he would become a priest perhaps, though he hasn't shown interest in that calling so far. I thought it would be fitting to begin my Lenten saint research with John Vianney as yesterday was Marc's golden birthday.
I read a couple quick biographies on online to begin but it didn't give me the depth I was looking for. Finally I came across this website. John Vianney was an amazing man and priest. I wish I lived in Ars during the time he was priest. I took him about 10 years but he converted the whole town. No one worked on Sundays and everyone attended mass. People would come from all over to have him say hear their confessions.

A couple of quotes from John Vianney on the Our Lady of the Rosary website stuck out to me. First,  “O what a beautiful thing it is to do all things in union with the good God!” he would say. “Courage, my soul, if you work with God, you shall, indeed, do the work, but He will bless it. You shall walk and He will bless your steps. Everything shall be taken account of – the forgoing of a look, of some gratification – all shall be recorded. There are people who make capital out of everything, even the winter. If it is cold they offer their little sufferings to God. Oh! What a beautiful thing it is to offer oneself, each morning, as a victim to God!”

I have often thought about how I should always be asking God to help us with our tasks. Good, hard, or otherwise God should be part of our lives all the time. So how does that work? Cause obviously I am the one acting, so where is God in that? By John Vianney's account he is present because he blesses us and the work that we do. So we should offer everything to God and always ask for him blessing.

The other thing that same website quoted him saying was, “My friend, the devil is not greatly afraid of the discipline and other instruments of penance. That which beats him is the curtailment of one’s food, drink and sleep. There is nothing the devil fears more, consequently, nothing is more pleasing to God. Oh! How often have I experienced it! Whilst I was alone – and I was alone during eight or nine years, and therefore quite free to yield to my attraction – it happened at times that I refrained from food for entire days. On those occasions I obtained, both for myself and for others, whatsoever I asked of Almighty God.”

So as we go through lent fasting keep that in mind because in one action, of giving up food, drink, or sleep for God, we can greatly please God and beat the devil. Saint John Vianney, pray for us.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Let's Lent!


"I’m participating in the Keeping LOVE in LENT Blog Link-Up 2013, hosted by
Raising (& Teaching) Little SaintsTruly Rich Mom and Arma Dei: Equipping Catholic Families. We'll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Lenten sacrifices, prayer and good deeds, and how to carry them out with LOVE instead of a GRUMBLE. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of link-up entries.”

So lent has been going on for a week now. How's it going for you? I have to admit I broke one of my lent sacrifices like 3 times in the first day, but when I caught myself I stopped and began again. I can already tell it's going to be a tough, but rewarding lent.

Every year around lent I hear many people bash others who give up things, especially dietary things. If you are using lent as an excuse to get back on you diet and nothing else I might agree, but I  if you use those sacrifice to discipline yourself and implore God I think they can be great gifts to him. When I think about sacrifice I go back to this passage...

Romans 8:13 says, "For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live."

What should we be doing? Well perhaps we should just simply turn to the Catechism it says "The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent, and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church's penitential practice. These times are particularly appropriate for spiritual exercises, penitential liturgies and pilgrimages as signs of penance, voluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, and fraternal sharing (charitable and missionary works)." (CCC 1438)

As my children are getting older and slowly starting to understand more I have been racking my brain trying to come up with a special way for them to celebrate lent also. I googled and came across a couple really good ideas like the jelly bean prayer, the count down crown, or a lent box. Still I think they are a bit young to understand, so we pray with them and do our best to explain, but hopefully next year we will be able to do more with them. If I am able to do something more with them I'll keep you posted!

My focus for lent this year is the saints. There is great wisdom to be found in the lives of the saints. We can learn how to better love God and find strength in their story, knowing we are not alone. I don't know what I will find but I am excited for the journey through their lives. Each week during lent I am going to read up on a different Saint. I'll be learning about Saint John Vianney, Saint Therese of Lisieux, Saint Cecelia, Saint Francis de Sales, and one other that is yet to be determined. They all have a special meaning to me already and I wish I could tell you more then that they are saints.

Do you have a saint that you have been wanting to learn more about?


Check out the Lent reflections participating in the Keep LOVE in LENT Blog Link-Up 2013! We'll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Lenten sacrifices, prayer and good deeds, and how to carry them out with LOVE instead of a GRUMBLE.

Discover new Catholic Blogs to follow!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Have you ever seen one of those sad movies? You know the one that starts out with a date like December 4, 2009 and a phone call. The broken voice on the line says, "It's Emily, she was in car accident... It's bad. We are waiting, hoping she makes it through the night...Max was in the car he needed some stitches but he will be ok." From the flash scenes they show you gather that Max is her 2 year old son. You see the accident unfold, a car losing control on an icy bridge and then two trucks doing the same. One hits the car from the front the other hits it in the back. You lean towards the screen as the helicopter tries to find somewhere it can land, the bridge is too icy to land on. Even the paramedics slip as they try to make it to the vehicles. More scene flash as the paramedics help both the woman and her child. The woman is revived and an emergency tracheotomy is preformed on the woman, a detail you later learn is pretty miraculous because the paramedics do not usually have the skills to preform such operations. You continue to watch as the family stands together and prays. Watch as the doctors work to stabilize the victim. Then you see her come out, broke but alive. You see Emily talking in whispers over her tracheotomy, learn she is currently a quadriplegic, but there is hope for a greater recovery. You wait for the Christmas miracle.

What do you think? Would you watch it?


Want to live it?

Of course not.

But I did. That broken voice over the phone was my Father's. Emily is my older sister and her son Max is my nephew. Sadly the Christmas miracle didn't come, at least not that we saw. She lived for 2 years after the accident but due to complications they were spent in hospitals and nursing homes. She never walked again, after a high fever her mental state was altered. She lost her ability to speak and though at times she seemed very lucid we never knew what her state of awareness was. She passed away on January 24, 2012, just over a year ago.

I miss her.

Emily was a great big sister. She loved her family and would do anything for them. She loved to teach, and even though they could frustrate her, she loved her students. She taught 8th grade reading. Her passion for her job and reading was easy to see. Her students nominated her for a golden apple award and her school was considering her for tenure the spring just before her accident. She also enjoyed playing board games. It seemed she was always introducing us to new games. She introduce me to my husband and was the first person to ever say my married name, though she didn't know it at the time. She was still trying to convince me to take an interest in him at that point. My married name was a selling point she thought it sounded french. Even though I rolled my eyes I thought it sound cool too. I don't know if she ever knew what a big influence she had in my life, but I pray she is in heaven helping me still.

I love you Em!

Friday, December 21, 2012

CHRISTmas, advent, and everything in between.

With this post, I’m participating in the Keeping Christ in Christmas Blog Carnival, hosted by Arma Dei:Equipping Catholic FamiliesRaising (& Teaching) Little Saints, Truly Rich Mom and the Catholic Bloggers Network. We'll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Jesus as the Reason for the Christmas season. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of carnival entries. 

It's Christmas time, the most wonderful time of the year! Well Easter is at least equal to Christmas, maybe more exciting since that is when we were finally freed from original sin, but I digress since this post is about the CHRISTMAS season. It is a season that gets more exciting every year my children get older and begin to understand better what is happening. It is also a season the lasts about 6 weeks, something I (and I think many others) often forget. So I am trying my best to celebrate the WHOLE season.

We begin in advent. I don't have everything together yet because that is pretty much the story of my life..... late. This year we did manage to get a couple things put into action. Every night at diner we light our own family advent wreath and say an extra prayer that we got from an advent packet our parish put together. It was exciting last week to see that our 3 year old made the connection between the wreath at church and ours at home! At diner on Gaudete Sunday (the pink candle) he informed us that we get to light 3 candles now since they lit 3 candles at mass. We also chose the first day of advent to put up our Christmas tree with some lights. Throughout advent we use it as our Jessie tree. Each night we read a scripture passage following the line of Jessie from Adam all the way to Jesus and add an ornament to the tree that goes along with the passage. I made my own ornaments a number of years ago, but I am hoping to redo them and put together a tutorial here for next Christmas. 

Then on Christmas we will finish decorating the tree with other ornaments so that we can enjoy it through the Christmas season till the Epiphany. Finally this year we are doing "Santa" but with the focus more on Jesus. My oldest barely understands the concept of Santa bringing gift but when he broke his favorite toy sword and really wanted another one I took the opportunity to have him ask Jesus to have Saint Nicholas bring one for Christmas. Later when we saw one in the store and he was reminded of his longing for that sword I reminded him that he had asked Jesus for one and would have to wait till Christmas to see if he would get it. Being 3 years old and that it was close to nap time he did not care for that answer and had a bit of a melt down. However, when we got home he asked me to help him say a prayer to ask for the sword again. 

So far I am happy with how we are celebrating the season, but I am even more excited for next year when we have things a little better figured out and add more traditions to remind us what Christmas is about. I would like our family to build a comfortable manger for Jesus with our good deeds throughout advent; make a birthday cake either on Christmas or the Epiphany and sing for Jesus to remind us that it is his birthday we are celebrating; and incorporate some more charitable giving. It may be a little ambition so next year I need to get things together a little sooner I guess, but with my children as small as they are what we have now is working out wonderfully.

If you liked this or even if you didn't check out these other wonderful blog posts on keeping Christ in Christmas!

Homeschool Mosaics: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Joy: Keeping Christ in Christmas: Advent Interruptions
The Breadbox Letters: Interrupted by Glory
TwentyTuesdayAfternoons: Keeping Christ in Christmas/ The Season of Giving / A Wee Bit of Beach Holiday Angst
The Learning Basket: Staying With the Nativity Story
Tercets: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Rosary Mom: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Ate Maui: Hoping and Bringing Hope
Written By the Finger of God: 12 Traditions for Keeping Christ in Christmas
Dominique's Desk: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Felix at Fifty: What Jesus Wants for Christmas
Mommy Bares All: Birthday Cake for the Birthday Boy on Christmas Day
Between Now and Later: Keeping Christ in Christmas, I am trying...
Lique's Antics: Family Antics: Christmas Reflection
Life of Fortunate Chances: Our First Ever Christmas: Keeping Christ in Christmas
The Mommy Journey: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Roller Coaster Ride: How to Remind Your Kids of Jesus Christ This Christmas
Cymplified: Christ -Centered Christmas: Cymplified!
Mountain Grace: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Touring Kitty: Grown-up Christmas List
Mommy Chinkysoup for the Soul: A Very Special Christmas
City Girl, Country Home: Finding Jesus in a Flurry
Coffee Moments with Sam: Christmas Unwrapped: 5 Presents Our Kids Truly Deserve
Raising Lifelong Learners: Keeping Christ in Christmas
The Diary of a Sower: Keeping Christ in Christmas: Celebrating the Golden Days
Arma Dei: Equipping Catholic Families: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Raising (and Teaching) Little Saints: Keeping Christ in Christmas
Truly Rich Mom: The Greatest Gift of All This Christmas
Joy-Filled Family: CHRIST in Christmas
Blueberry 010: Keeping Christ in Christmas: Jesus is the Reason for the Season
Deeper Truth Blog: Keeping Christ in Christmas Carnival
Holy Ducklings: 10 Ways to Make Advent Special for Your Little Ducklings
Green Eggs and Moms: Keeping Christ in Christmas: Green Eggs & Moms Style!