Saturday, February 7, 2009

first born

two friends have tagged me for this on facebook.
and since today is his day anyway, i thought i'd go ahead and do it.
hard to believe 15 years ago , on a rainy monday,
that my first born came into this world at 10:14 am.
i can still recall it as if it were yesterday..........
Was your first pregnancy planned? NO.
Were you married at the time? no.
What was your reaction? scared, but in awe.
Was abortion an option for you? NEVER.
How old were you? 17.
How did you find out you were pregnant? missed period(s).
Who did you tell first? friends, boyfriend-who is now my husband.
Did you want to find out the sex? YES.
When was your due date? January 31, 1994.
Did you have morning sickness? a little bit.
What did you crave? salsa, mashed potatoes with cranberry sauce
and marie calenders pie (cherry) with vanilla icecream.
Who/What irritated you the most? hardly anything because i slept all the time, but the sound of chewing really got to me.
What was your first child's sex? male.
Did you wish you had the opposite sex of what you were getting? no. i wanted a big brother to lead the tribe of children i'd have.
How many pounds did you gain during the pregnancy? way TOO many, didn't you see my list of cravings??
Did you have a baby shower? yes, three.
Was it a surprise or did you know? i knew.
Did you have any complications during your pregnancy? no.
Where did you give birth? sharp murrieta.
How many hours were you in labor? 5.
Who drove you to the hospital? my mama.
Who watched you give birth? both of my parents, he was "our" baby, as i was still their baby.
Was it natural or c-section? i have had all of my kids natural. no c-sections or episiotomies.
Did you take medicine to ease the pain? no. i have never used medication during birth,
it would be distracting to me.
How much did your child weigh? 7lbs. 8 oz.
When was your child actually born? February 7, 1994.
What did you name him/her? i named him Christian.
How old is your first born today? today he turns 15.
happy birthday, son.

so off i go to make him a white-texas sheet cake-

it is his FAVORITE cake in the whole wide world.

it probably has more calories than all the cakes in the whole wide world too.

i chose this LIFE............

and i don't ever want to imagine what kind of life i would've had without him.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

sprouting wings

today was monumental for me as a homeschooling mother.
one of my students sprouted his wings as a writer.
you may have a student like this, he is the reluctant one,
the one who reads later than the rest.
he takes longer to learn
his multiplication tables and he pretty much despises any
kind of structured learning.
he is the middle child.
not the oldest, not the baby and not the only girl.
it has always been hard for him to find his place.
not just with regards to school, but in life.
he is the stubborn one.
the one who makes my blood pressure
rise every time we have some sort of confrontation about
not putting forth his best effort or paying attention.
he is the one that made me doubt whether or not i should
even be homeschooling at all.
he is the reason i searched feverishly for different ideas about teaching.
it is because of him that i found out that not all children are auditory learners,
which you'd think i'd know, because i am not one either.
yet he is the one with the neatest handwriting.
he is the first one to put his boots on and lead me outdoors.
he is the one with an artistic eye and a gentle heart,
he can quite often be seen following the shadow of another
small boy, his little brother.
he has his ears tuned to the birds that frequent our yard
and constantly comes inside with descriptive narratives
of things he has seen as he peruses the property,
pellet gun in hand and camera in his pocket.
the assignment was simple enough:
write me a paragraph about our day at nannie and papa's yesterday.
make it in chronological order, starting with breakfast,
which were yummy "mamacakes".
pay attention to punctuation and spelling and i will help you
with paragraph structure later.
he is in the sixth grade, this should be no problem you say.
well, not for my boy.
this is usually a most painful process,
ending with discouragement on his end
and disappointment on mine.
disappointment in myself because maybe i have
not been the best teacher.
maybe he needed special ed.
maybe i wasn't patient enough.
but in the end it was because
he just wasn't ready,
he hadn't sprouted those wings.
but today he did
and it happened so much like all of the rest of his
"learning", very out of the blue, quite naturally
almost as if he'd always written this way.
beautifully constructed sentences, colorful adjectives,
very well written feelings and emotions about what
he did, what he saw, tasted, touched and felt.
and all i can say is
i am one PROUD mama bird!

the ducklings have arrived

and they've brought chicks with them.

my kids have taken this project much farther then i ever thought they would.

i'll upload all of their birds on flickr when i get a chance, but i am so impressed

with the bluebirds, woodpeckers, cygnets, crows, hummingbirds

and yes, even a flamingo with sunglasses on, that have all come out of

their imaginations, with just a little felt, some pom-poms and glue.

this duckling and chick don't have eyes, but beads and glitter glue

work just fine in case you'd like yours to be able to see.

and if you love usborne books, like we do, the usborne books for beginners

are great. they have links here where you can look up the book you

are reading and play, read or watch online activities pertaining to the book.

you can watch a baby chick hatching here and this website has some

great pictures of baby birds.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

simple abundance

i am loving my new book-which i got the other day at a thrift store for $1.00.
the back cover reads:
"in the past a woman's spirituality has been separated from her lifestyle.
SIMPLE ABUNDANCE shows you how your daily life
can be an expression of your authentic self...
as you choose the tastiest vegetables from your garden,
search for treasures at flea markets,
establish sacred space in your home for meditation,
and follow the rhythm of the seasons of the year."
does this sound like a good read or what?
well, we are off to the mountains to do some school.
hoping to enjoy some simple abundance.
a visit to nannie and papa's mountain home
always does each of us some good.
the little ones will be bird watching and doing watercolors,
me~i want to finish my
sunflower handwarmers
and my husband is taking the big boys on a hike.
they found a bedding area of a
deer family on their last hike.
they saw a mama, her baby doe
and a buck, all tucked in for the night
imagine that!
my prayer for you today is
that you'll find some simple abundance
in your little corner of the world too.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

the great outdoors

i can remember being a child
and sitting in a classroom,
the doors were open to let
some fresh air into an overwhelmingly
stale and stuffy room and my mind would drift.
it drifted so far into the p.e. field
that my concentration level was
practically zero.
all i thought about during those times
were the little flowers with heart shaped
petals that, when tied together, made the prettiest
they wilted quickly, usually by the time
recess was over, they were dead.
fast forward 20 years
and i am so pleased that often times
is our classroom.
and if anything wilts, well,
it doesn't matter,
because there is no rush.
we can just pick more!
they amaze me
by how astute they've
watching and listening
for different bird calls,
and then there is
the joy on a certain face
when he
takes notice for the first time
of the velvety stuff
growing on the rocks.
a discussion is sparked
about direction and moss
and how it looks like a little kingdom.
they bombard me with
"look at this mama
and this...",
and i am filled with such
joy because, much like them
i am constantly amazed
at the beauty and wonder
that has gone into
designing the great outdoors
and best of all
sharing with them
just WHO is in charge of it all
and the small talk which ensues
as we ponder over whether or not
what GOD has is like
having "the force".

shedding some light

O my Lord, how You are the true friend; and how powerful!
Oh, who will cry out for YOU, to tell everyone how faithful
YOU are to Your friends!
All things fail; You, Lord of all, never fail!
It seems, Lord, You try with rigor the person who loves You
so that in extreme trial she might understand the greatest extreme of Your love.
All fails me, my Lord; but if You do not abandon me, I will not fail You.
Let all learned men rise up against me, let all created things persecute me,
let the devils torment me; do not You fail me, Lord, for I already have
experience of the gain that comes
from the way You rescue the one who trusts in you alone.
~St. Teresa of Avila

making way for ducklings

and swans too.

i stumbled upon this site the other day while looking for some activities to do while we read these two books.
there is also a link way at the bottom of the page that seems like it could be useful.
as you can see one is for my pre-schooler and the other is for my middle kids.
but both of them seem to be appealing to all of my students.
i know the "content" standards are for california, but if you are not in a charter, those things won't matter anyway.
just thought i'd share the info.
it is kind of nice to stumble upon free lessons that have already been planned and use them to your advantage.
and it makes less work for mama, which means i can plan crafts and activities instead!
so off i go to make way for some pom-pom ducklings......

Monday, February 2, 2009

and mondays

i didn't want to write out the rainy days part because i am sure
you all know that song from the carpenters'.
rainy days and mondays.
and yes, they both tend to get me down.
especially if either falls on a day when the house is a wreck.
i don't know why, but when the house is a wreck i am a wreck.
even though my sinful nature fights against forcing myself to clean,
i am SO much happier when everything is well-ordered.
which is probably why i was so unhappy this cheerful, bright and sunny day.
i did actually do a lot on saturday but practically nothing yesterday.
so how could a woman, who woke up and spent some quiet time with her Lord,
her husband home from work today, all her children safe,
healthy and snug in their beds, be so grumpy and ungrateful, you say.
well, i guess that's just life sometimes.
so after feeling sorry for myself i got up from where i was sitting,
made breakfast, fixed my hair, dressed and left to my two favorite thrift stores.
i know you all probably went to mass.
i couldn't because my kids are still fighting colds and mass is over an hour-one way- away.
and so we will have to settle for a small candlelit celebration in our little domestic church.
i am particularly feeling drawn to the feast today because as you all know i have chosen the sorrowful mother as my patron saint this year and simeon's words are resonating in my ears...
"and a sword shall pierce your heart.........."
my mind keeps going back to yesterday and how i eyed an almost 15 year old boy, my boy, attempt to drink alcohol at the super-bowl party we attended.
i am trying to understand why he did it when he knew i was watching him.
what was he trying to tell me? help me.....stop me......set some boundaries for me.
he wasn't really being sneaky, yet he was.
and so i stopped him. i gladly set the boundaries.
but needless to say, a sword pierced my heart.
i know that it is not the same sword that pierced our Blessed Mother's heart by any means.
and unlike the mother of james and john
i am not even asking our Lord that my son sit at His right or left in the kingdom of heaven.
i am simply just wondering how i am going to manage to help my children get to heaven in a world gone wrong.
a world filled with temptations and lies calling out from every which way, attempting to lead these souls, whom I have been entrusted with, to an eternity where they might possibly be separated from God.
a phone call to one of my dearest friends, who also has a teenager, quickly made me feel better.
these are good kids, her daughter and my son.
we have raised them well.
i thought i did all the right things.
natural birth, breastfeeding, bed sharing, tons of stories,
laughing, loving, cuddling, nurturing.
he has been taught the faith, received the sacraments.
she wonders if it is because they have money and maybe the world is starting to creep in.
her husband is a faithful catholic doctor, he catechizes the children on a regular basis.
i wonder if it is because we haven't always had a lot of money and maybe staying with my
fun-loving-functioning-yet still-alcoholic husband has been a bad influence.
i have always been faithful, but maybe i haven't done enough........
i could go on and on, but i won't because the what ifs are endless.
my life, just as yours, is what it is.
if it were a recipe, it might read like this:
one ton of undeserved-pre-packaged blessings.
3/4 cups remnants of past mistakes
1/2 of which turned out for the better because there is a God and He loves me
1/4 part slivers from the Cross
(some of which seem so unfair and heavy at times)
1/4 temptations, emotions and struggles
(all sent to me from Him)
because He knows that if i continue to trust in HIM,
hands folded in prayer, heart pierced with a sword,
i just might make it to the "well done" part.
you know, the one where HE tells me well done good and faithful servant
and these mondays will go with me into eternity.
after a little time in the fires of purgatory of course.
i'll wear them as my badge.
and by now......
there is a checker tournament going on under the peppertree,
a wooden box that needs to be built for the pansies,
strawberries dying to get into the ground, if you know what i mean.
and i am just glad that it's not a rainy day!

p.s. i hope you find happiness
and peace wherever you are.

guaranteed to grow

these strawberries
are guaranteed to grow and
i hope they do
because i hate to disappoint my helpers when the
things we work so hard to plant
aren't successful.
so please wish us luck!