Friday, June 29, 2012

Cats - A Guest Post by Ray

We just took our cats to the vet. The vet gave us medicine to put in their ears. And Mommy's going to have to put the medicine in. Well, at least we think. 

To calm down the cats Daddy held them. The cats seem to like Daddy best of all. They even want to snuggle up to him while he's sleeping. He doesn't always like that.

This is Adam playing with Mari with a new toy.

Here is Ray playing with another new toy. Well, Gloria is playing with it.

They LOVE this toy. They can roll the ball around and around like Mari is doing in this picture.

 And they like to scratch the middle part.

Here  is Mari. Doesn't she look proud?

Our cats are really growing!

What's Up?

I apologize for the lack of posts these days. I guess I'm in summer mode with blogging along with everything else. Here are some things we've been up to ---

Ray loves his weekly golf camp. He's now got his own golf bag and clubs.

The boys just finished up two weeks of swim lessons. On Monday they began diving board practice. Adam cried and was so scared. He had never gone off the diving board before. His main fear was that he could not wear his goggles. I finally coaxed bribed him to just do it one time... with his teacher catching him in the water.

He did it... and came out of the water smiling big and clenching his eyes closed until he got to the wall.

Since Monday he's gone off the board about 8,267 times! He's now doing cannonballs and twists and "Mario dives." He's begun his training for the 2020 Olympic diving team!

 Ray also loves the diving board!

We've been doing "OK" on our Summer project board.... taking it pretty loosely though. Surprisingly, Adam has gotten much more enthusiastic about reading this week. He's been reading lots to me and doing really well. Maybe because the regular school pressure is off.

I've been doing a big clean out of my office and school stuff. We have an extra bedroom that is our "office" (aka junk room where everything gets dumped). Over the past few weeks I've been purging lots and lots of papers and books and other junk. It feels great to get things re-organized and cleaned up a bit. I should have taken some before pictures so you could see the differences, but here's how it's looking now ----

(See the disco ball?) ;)

It's been nice to settle into a more relaxed schedule. I've read a few novels. Jon and I have had some really nice and needed time out together (while the boys were in VBS and spending a night with my sister). We went out to dinner, did some shopping, and even saw a movie! 

Thank you God for summertime!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer Activities

Happy Summer! We're loving these summer days. In addition to working on our summer activity chart we've been participating in some fun programs.

The boys are taking in swim lessons in the mornings....

...and attending Vacation Bible School at our parish in the evenings.

 The theme for VBS this year is "Hometown Nazareth: Where Jesus Was a Kid." The boys are really enjoying it. They belong to the tribe of Gad and they wear purple headbands every night. They especially enjoy visiting the "marketplace" where they have snacks, do crafts, and learn about what life was like in Nazareth.

Ray is also participating in a great Junior Golf program on Tuesday mornings. I'll get a post up about that in the next few weeks. It seems that we may have a young golf enthusiast in the making.

Meanwhile, our little kitties are growing fast and making themselves quite at home. During a good part of the day they look like this.....

...but it's a much different story between 10pm and midnight! That's their wild rompus time! They are so fun to play with and cuddle. We are so happy to have them.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

A Prayer for Fathers

Most gracious Heavenly Father,

We thank you for our earthly fathers, those to whom you have entrusted the responsibility to provide loving protection of their families and guidance of their children. We thank you, also, for our priests and bishops, whose spiritual fatherhood is so vital to the faith of your people.

May our earthly fathers imitate the manly courage of Abraham, Jesse and Joseph, and all the holy fathers of the past in providing wise counsel to the children you have given to their care. And may our spiritual fathers be guided by the examples of Saints Peter and Paul, all the Apostles and their saintly successors. Give them valiant faith in the face of confusion and conflict, hope in time of trouble and sorrow, and steadfast love for you, for their families, and for all your people throughout the world.

Assist all fathers of families, all spiritual fathers, and all Christian men, that through your Grace they may steadily grow in holiness and in knowledge and understanding of your Truth. May they generously impart this knowledge to those who rely on them.

As you, our Heavenly Father, so loved the world, sending your only Son to be our Savior and Redeemer, we ask you to help all men to imitate His fatherly gentleness and mercy toward those who are weak; His humility, perfect obedience to your Will, and fearless witness to your Truth. May their lives be examples to all of heroic faithfulness to you.

We ask your blessing on all those to whom you have entrusted fatherhood. May your Holy Spirit constantly inspire them with justice and mercy, wisdom and strength, fidelity and self-giving love. May they receive your Grace abundantly in this earthly life, and may they look forward to eternal joy in your presence in the life to come.

We ask this through Jesus Christ, your Son and Our Lord, AMEN.

(from Women for Family and Faith)

We enjoyed a nice Father's Day today. Jon's big request was that we go out to his favorite breakfast place. Yum! Jon actually got his gift last week ----

His old grill was really showing its age. (He got it for our wedding... 10 years ago!) He's super excited to grill lots of yummy food for us this summer on his new grill! He's a great dad and I'm so happy to share this parenting journey with him. The boys gave him some really cute cards today too... I'll try to get those posted soon.

My own dad happens to be travelling in Europe right now! So I'm just thinking of him and praying for him. We'll celebrate when he comes up later this summer.

Happy Father's Day!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Summer Reading Program

The Columbus Metropolitan Library totally rocks!!!! I can't even imagine how I could homeschool without it's amazing resources and programs. On Saturday we attended (with friends) an amazing summer reading program kick-off party at the library's main branch. There were so many great activities: music, free food, games, crafts, face painting, puppet shows.... all celebrating reading and encouraging kids to read. We signed up for the reading program, of course, and the kids are excited about reading all summer and earning fun prizes.

After the library party, we enjoyed a picnic lunch and a great Jazz concert in the park / topiary garden behind the library.

The Columbus Museum of Art even set up a craft activity for the kids after the concert! They got to make really cool treasure boxes!

We are so blessed to have so many wonderful FREE opportunities for learning here in Columbus!

Summer Routine

We're officially on Summer Break now, but I know we're still going to need some structure to our days. I want to live at a more relaxed pace, but keep the boys reading and learning. I don't want to constantly be asked, "When can we watch TV?" and "When can we play Wii?" So, I came up with a plan. This weekend I decorated our bulletin board (relocated our calendar/weather/etc) to help motivate the boys and structure our days.

On the left side I've got ideas for "Fun Family Adventures" we hope to go on this summer. As we do each activity, we'll take it down from our chart. (By using post-its on the whole board, I've got the freedom and flexibility to add/subtract things as we go along.)

At the bottom left I've posted the boys' summer reading charts from the library. They'll be able to fill in the spots as we read each day.

In the middle section I've posted lots of ideas in three categories: fun activities, chores, and learning. Each morning Ray and Adam will choose one post-it from each section and put them onto their charts on the right side of the board.

I will help them complete their fun activity, chore, and learning. They will also read to me and do a math drill. I will read to them. We will all do some kind of exercise. We'll be checking those off on a laminated chart at the top right corner of the board.

I hope that the boys will enjoy having so many choices... and they won't be telling me they're bored. I plan to allow them to work through the day's activities at a pretty relaxed pace, knowing that there will be no screen time, treats, or outings (except for planned activities) until their summer chart activities are complete.

I'll let you know how it goes! Happy Summer!

It's Like Reaching the Promised Land!

It's pool season. We are so blessed to live three doors down from a really nice neighborhood pool. We all really enjoy swimming. For the past six years I've taken the boys to the pool. I've had them hanging on me, jumping in to me, racing me, dragging me under the fountain. Super fun. Sometimes.

This year, however, something significant has happened.....

The boys playing in the pool with their cousin Carter.
 Suddenly At last.... they are swimming and playing INDEPENDENTLY! They'll play with me a little bit, but then they're off on their own adventures. They don't mind if I don't even want to get in the water!

I used to gaze jealously at (and judge harshly) the moms who were relaxing in the pool chairs and reading or sipping iced tea. But now ------

Look at me! I've crossed the great divide! I think I'm going to really enjoy pool season this year!

I do make sure I can see the pool and I keep my eye on what the boys are doing, but it is really nice to be able to just relax a bit (something I'm not so great at). We've wished and hoped for more children for so many years.... but now I think I'm liking where we're at with our two!

I'll still be doing some swimming and playing with the boys in the water.... but not every time we go to the pool.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

End-of-the-Year Luau!

Our local Catholic homeschool group gathered at a park yesterday for a really fun end-of-the-year picnic. Sixty-five families attended the luau-themed party! It was a fantastic, beautiful day and we all had a great time.

Hawaiian singing and dancing at the "Music Hut"

Fun for the little ones in the ball pit

Enjoying lunch.
This is the only time I really saw Ray during the whole picnic.
He was off and running with lots of friends all day.
Standing in the background is my friend with her SIX DAY OLD little one!

Cute little friends

Adam participating in the limbo contest.
He LOVED participating in all the planned activities.

We were so blessed to be joined by some of the Dominican novices and Franciscan Friars.
The Franciscan Brothers Minor are new to our diocese.
We had the privilege of picking up two of the brothers and bringing them to the picnic.

Tons of fun with Coach Q.

This picture just makes me happy!

This little one - a daughter of a friend of mine - had just had ENOUGH luau-ing! ;)
She took a great long snooze right in the middle of the action.

Adam getting his face painted... a Mario mustache of course!
A lovely, sparkly friend!
I was in charge of a bubble station. Lots of fun!

Time for a group picture!
And they say homeschooled kids aren't socialized?
What a bunch of great kids!
We are so blessed to share this journey with them.