Friday, February 29, 2008

No Shows

We will be a bit tardy for school today due to the inclement weather. This horrible, warm sunshine is just making us picnic outside. And after lunch we will have to endure a few rounds of tag followed by a mandatory bike ride. I'm sure none of us will have any fun!

And on a side note- we accidentally learned a smidge of science as my daughter pointed out that the two bald eagle near us were mating. How do we know?? Apparently she read that when they clip their feet together like they were, they're mating. "After all" she said, "it is springtime".

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hearts and Brains and Lungs, Oh My!

We go to a fabulous co-op once a week at a Catholic church near us. There is a wide variety of classes to choose from including science. In just the last few weeks PJ has gotten a literal hands study of the heart (thank you Miss Moo), the brain (a shout out to the sheep) and the lungs. This is what they made last week to see how the diaphragm pushes up gently as the lungs expand.

Do you think a 5 year old boy likes this stuff? You bet your sweet bippy he does!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Like Father, Like Son

I was out last night and missed the boys bedtime routines. When I came home I found a very needy 5 year old in full attention from his daddy. He was suffering from sibling-birthday itis. You know how you can only take so much of all the attention being put on someone for an entire day...

How sweet though that daddy let him snuggle in bed with him and read.

This is how I found them shortly after. Sweet dreams boys....

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Young Lady

I'm not going to write the cliche. We mothers know it so well. Sometimes so painfully well. Today is a special day in our house. Our daughter turns 9 today. She's our eldest so as we enter into our last year in single digits- we look back and reflect.

A special girl was born 9 years ago in a special way. She came painfully and not without complications. (Some of the best things do.) She came with many prayers from all around. She came and went so fast.

Little Gracie had a spontaneous bilateral nemathorax. Fancy name for a scary entrance. The grand aforementioned name meant that both her lungs collapsed. Common for one lung but not so for both. Wearing a helmet, she left me before I could hold her. She went across town to a hospital with a higher functioning NICU. When the nurses gave me a Polaroid photo of her I cried not knowing if she would live or die.

The short version of the story and the most important part of the story is that my beautiful, full-term, NICU- linebacker did live. She fought back like a champ and soon came home.

My mind reels with the sweetness of the memories. My only girl. My precious girl. Oh how she is loved. Happy Birthday Spunk!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

One Fish, Two Fish

Doesn't saying Octopi sound funny? Well what do you say when there are two octopuses in the tank? That's what we saw yesterday at the Seattle Aquarium. It was "Octopus Week" and we sure learned just about everything there is to know about them...except how to say the plural form!!

The kids wore long octopus arms and opened containers to get a prize. A real octopus can open one very quickly- not so for a 5 year old boy.

Exploring the tide pools with very chilly Puget Sound water.

On a nice day like today- this is the place to be!


Yesterday I went for an early morning long run. Long runs for me can be tough. My legs morph into heavy tree stumps. I get weak halfway through. And sometimes I am nowhere near a bathroom!

Despite all of those issues and more- I had such a wonderful experience. A little over an hour into the run I came to a dead end on an old farm road. There were barns sparse in the distance but for the most part it was me, the river, the trees and the sky. Just as I stopped to turn around, a massive bald eagle flew right over me. With the backdrop of the blue, blue sky and the snow capped mountains in the distance with sunlight streaming over them- I just shouted it right out loud. "Thank you God, for this day and for the beauty that surrounds me."

I felt so good. So alive. So thankful.

Friday, February 22, 2008

She's Not Budging

So we've had a hard time with Belle lately. (Does that sound familiar?) She won't go outside. We finally have this lush, green paradise for her to run amok in and she won't budge. Our daily scene is thus- Belle whining at the door to go outside with a full bladder. One of us gets up to let her out and PING - she's gone. She runs away. Like far down the hall and into her bed.

Well let me tell you that this behavior gets old and frustrating real quick. Yesterday I lost my patience with her and carried the snarling on the outside, wimp on the inside to the patio myself. All 300 pounds of her! (Okay, that's an slight exaggeration.) She sat at the door and barked at me for 45 minutes without going potty. It had been about 8 hours, what in the world??

My husband who holds so much more wisdom than myself- came up with the diagnosis this morning. She's afraid. There is a shooting range a few miles from here but when shots are fired, they echo off of the surrounding mountains loudly. So my big, wussy dog is scared of the sound of gunfire.

At least she hasn't jumped into the bathtub yet!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Do You Know This Author?

I listened to a great radio broadcast on EWTN a few days ago featuring Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle discussing her recent trip to the Vatican. I hadn't put two and two together to see that she is the author of this little gem given to me for Christmas one year from my friend Lisa.

Donna-Marie has a few blogs that she writes and a great little store to visit as well. Very inspirational!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Aren't We Lucky?

We are on day four of the most beautiful weather up here in the Pacific Northwest. I'm talking bird-chirpping, sun shining, playing hookey-we can do school later kind of weather. (Not that I would do that, of course!)

It hasn't rained at all. And the colors, oh the colors. One of my children noticed at lunch that the grass looked really green. I'm still shell-shocked from desert dwelling at just how green it is here.

Today is the kind of day that when you breathe in deep you get this invigorating smell of chilly, wet pine. The kind of day when you feel spring is hiding just around the corner; that we can make it. The kind of day that gives you hope in things good and alive.

Can you tell we've had a long winter?

The PJ Files

PJ: Mom, God is bigger than a giant, right?

Me: Yes honey, I believe he is.

PJ: God doesn't get old, does he?

Me: Well, I don't imagine he does.

PJ: Mom, did you know that God is so fast...he can run to Costco and back in one minute??

God is good.

Back in the Saddle Again

Training is back on and you know- it's not easy. I'm almost all healed from a case of shin splints and there are eight weeks until the marathon. Marathon training requires more than just running; there is proper nutrition to follow, sleeping requirements, injuries to nurse and the biggest challenge- TIME! Time is sucked up by the miles to be put in weekly. For the majority of the weekly runs I am gone for an hour at a time. However, come the long run on weekends- I can be gone for three hours and I haven't even hit my 20 mile day. The side effects of training set aside- I love it. I love running. I love training for a goal. I'm hooked.

Monday, February 18, 2008

For Love

My daughter asked me last week if she could cut her hair and give it to someone who needs it. Someone with cancer. She and I watched a show recently about a girl the same age who had cancer. A little girl despite her illness who was so full of life; happy and courageous. And she loved her wigs. We were both devastated to learn at the end of the show that she passed away. It sunk in for us both.

I was hesitant for Grace to cut her hair short- she had long hair her entire almost- 9 years of life. I emplored her really, seriously think about this. In all my seriousness she joyfully reminded me that hair grows back. Right. Even more to my surprise was daddy's response, "It's her hair and if that's what she wants to do..."

So off we went last Friday with the near excitement of Christmas morning. My beaming child had 11 inches of hair cut off just like that. To me she is more beautiful than ever. And knowing that she wants to grow it out again for another child makes me swell with pride.

To learn more about donating hair to Locks of Love, please visit their website at

Friday, February 15, 2008

Row, Row, Row

Your kayak. Yep, that's what they're doing all right. Horse and all.

Have a great weekend!

An Experiment of Sorts

You may know that my little one often gives me big trouble. He is a professional two year old. For us homeschooling moms, this can be a lethal mix in the day. Many a tantrum can occur with occasional book throwing, scribbling inappropriately in sissy's religion book, and a ripped page from big brother's phonics book. But this week...there's been none of that. Do you want to know why?

This week the doctor is in and there is an experiment in the works. This week we are going napless. Yes! Napless. Don't report me to the authorities on this but my two year old is awake ALL day. Huh, you say?! That doesn't make sense to leave an intense child to run for an entire day without recharging, you say. Well, my experiment happened by mistake. Perhaps Divine Intervention is spilling into the house-hold system. We got unintentionally busy on Monday and my little bear didn't sleep. To our surprise he fared nicely all day. Less meltdowns, cheery disposition. And that night there was no jumping up and down in the crib screaming blue murder. He quietly laid down and (gasp) slept!

It's been that way all week long. Joey has played endlessly and he's been chipper. (Despite a minor setback at the post office yesterday). He goes to bed about 7pm without a fuss. And you're not going to believe this but he's been asking to get into bed during books and prayers. So for now this professor is going forward with the new project and we'll eagerly wait for results. My more quiet time for mommy during the day but a peaceful child. Who could ask for more?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentines!

The table is set and I'm just waiting with coffee in hand for three little cherubs to roll from their beds. Today cupid will make heart-shaped pancakes while the little loves enjoy their new book and stickers. Then we'll savor candy hearts while graphing for math, we'll run off all that sugar outside, learn about this and of course there will be lots of hugs and smooches.

Tonight the kids are having veggie corndogs preferably before their homemade cupcakes and will be shipped to the basement to watch this movie.

This is when I will daddy and I will enjoy some good music, a bottle of wine and dine on this scrumptous recipe. But this will be the first year that there are no chocolate covered strawberries for dessert. Bummer...

Happy St. Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Mi Amore

What do you do when you have oodles of afternoon left and 'nothing to do'?? You turn those bored, restless children into famous Italian chefs, is what you do. My little amores made spaghetti sauce for the very il primo time. They chopped mushrooms, onions (sniff, sniff- I sense a science lesson here), carrots, celery and garlic. They thought it was funny that they put sugar and wine in with the tomatoes. They LOVED when the tomatoes exploded in the heat of the pot. And, they really liked their dinner. I think they might have had thirds!

And yes, that is a headlamp my daughter is wearing. Don't worry- there was no loss of power, just a shadow puppet show on the wall!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Remind Me Why I'm Doing This Again?

Yes, it's one of those days. My husband could probably get to the root of why but nonetheless, it's upon us. The day that I ask myself through tears and clenched fists- why am I homeschooling again? And it's really not so much the school part. Math was done with very little complaint and quickly I might add. All subjects were checked off and books were put away. So that element actually was pretty good. Today the problem lies deeper. I'm feeling like I can't get a breath. Like winter will never end. Like the sun might have forgotten Washington altogether. Homeschooling means being together all day long. All week long. The weekend, too. I'm not embarrassed to say it- homeschool is hard. It's especially hard today. Pray for me that we make it to Tuesday.

Before I could even publish this post, the day got brighter. Some robins played right outside the window and we all noticed. (Spring might come here afterall). My dear friend Miriam called to tell me an amazing story about Padre Pio. Our little neighbor came by for thirty minutes and played with all three kids. And now Joey is taking a nap. I think we just might make it to Tuesday!

Tough One

I did something I've never done before. Yesterday after Mass we took the kids to get a special little treat at a very special little place. The smells, the chocolates- it was almost too much for a Lenten girl to handle. Everyone except mommy claimed their treat; toffee covered in chocolate, choclate dusted with coconut, white chocolate drizzled with dark and even a little chocolate turtle. The pangs hit deep but I made it. It was temptation at it's finest... and I won.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

So Proud

He finished his Kindergarten math book and is on to bigger and better things. PJ is so excited that his goal is to wrap up 1st grade math and start 2nd before the year is done. He's got high hopes...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

And On A Lighter Note

PJ is giving up making his bed for Lent. Why didn't I think of that?

Penances Abound

Last night I caught an old episode of Mother Angelica Live on EWTN. I love that woman. She is so funny, so holy and definately speaks her mind. The episode aired years ago the day before Ash Wednesday and she spoke about sacrifices and Lent. I had to laugh when she scoffed giving up sweets. If she only knew just how hard that is for some...ahem- me! Anyway it was it good reminder of giving something up in hopes that it will be forever. Not just 40 days but a change for good. She also talked extensively about penance. Each of us can use difficult situations as a penance. We're off to a good start with that at our house. My daughter woke up and is on the 'verge' of the stomach flu that began Monday. She is couch bound and moaning so I suppose 9:30 Mass is out of the question. Joey woke up all out of sorts. The whining and crying this morning is almost too much to take- but then that's a penance, right? I'm just going to put that smile on my face and take it. All day long.... (I may sound optomistic but then again it's not even 8am.)
Have a wonderful Ash Wednesday everyone. May you find grace and penance, too!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Sick Day Leads to Great Imagination

Yesterday little Joey got his first stomach flu. You know what that means when they're two. It tears at your heart and at the same time is so messy that you can't leave their side in fear of the inevitable. So while Joey and I camped out on the couch with buckets and towels, the big kids had great adventures. (Of course they finished their school work first!)

The rain stopped so I sent them outside for some "fresh air". While pretending to fish in the trickle that runs through our yard, two bald eagle flew about 15 feet over their heads. They came back up yelling like mad with such happy faces.

Their next adventure took place in the basement. They created their own science center downstairs. It had such imaginative exhibits: bird watching, rolling cars down a hill to see which is faster, a gravity test, a stopwatch for throwing the ball in the air- to see how long the ball could stay up, a find it game with clues, and a baby center where you could take a grabby baby so "he won't mess up the exhibits". They even had a gift shop! Proud of their accomplishments, they were sorely disappointed when mom put the kabosh on their magnet center. For some reason they couldn't understand that a brand new box of magnet experiments had to be used for a monitored science lesson. Mean mommy said "kitchen table only". I hope they don't still resent me.

And that leads to our last great fun of the day...magnets! And what a beautiful sight - they are all being contained on the kitchen table. Millions of magnets in one place makes for one happy mommy.

Homeschooling can be such a wonderful thing. I bet the big kids learned an abundance today from their experiences and boy did they have a blast.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Did I Really Say Yes?

Because my good friend Angel says that you have to "get busy livin'", I have said yes to this!

I have been known to get overly enthusiastic many a time; it's one of my greatest battles. It's a fight because I get excited about something and I say YES! and then it's just one more thing I have in the works. I've done it with sewing, scrapbooking, knitting, making books, home projects - the list is long.

Okay so back to the latest committment. Myself and eleven other runners will set out on a 24 hour expedition and run in a relay for 187 miles starting at the Canadian border more or less and running down Western Washington to the end of Whidbey Island. And yes, I said 24 hours. An entire day of a mobile slumber party so to speak with runners of all ages and backgrounds only hopping out of the car to run my portion of the race. Oh the madness.

And to not appear as superwoman (because I am far from that) when my dear friend Lisa asked me if there was anything I can't do... The answer is a resounding yes. Yes Lisa, I haven't sat down to finish those baby blankies that I started last September for the twins. I promise they'll come. Maybe I will run them to you this summer!

Friday, February 1, 2008


Oh boy. I've done it now. I have taken a small break from marathon training do to shin splints and am replacing the run with hitting the gym. I say gym loosely, for it's more than that. Debby at Sculptor Fitness is killing me. I have never, ever taken a class like this before. This is no ordinary gym- this is boot camp for people who thought they were strong but were wrong. After Wednesday's workout and an early morning workout today I feel like I've been run over by a truck. A big, fast moving, mud-flapping mac truck. And this is what I look like with just two visits to Debby!

Happy Crunching!