Saturday, April 6

A Day at the Symphony

So sweet and innocent looking
Last week we took a field trip to the Houston Symphony to listen to a concert for school kids.  We sat in a balcony because that's where they assigned out homeschool group, and I nearly had a heart attack as they kept trying to look over the ledge!  After the concert got started they sat back and listened and participated.  We had been listening to the music selections all week so they were familiar with what was coming up.  Their favorite was In the Hall of the Mountain King by Greig.  We had played a game with it where I pretended to be a bear, slowing sneaking up on them, and as the music got louder and faster I'd move faster... Which ultimately the game turned into me chasing them around the school room!  Needless to say, that was their favorite song!

After the concert was over we went to a nearby park to have our picnic lunch that I'd brought.  And would you believe that so far away from home, we actually ran into some friends!  So we ate with them (they were having a picnic too!) before we left for home!

Veronica's rose

I've been given a few beautiful gifts as mementos of our newest little saint.  My mom sent a beautiful rose bush in the mail (did you know you could do that?!) with a note from our little saints.  I took this picture when it was very dark, but it just seemed like the perfect moment to capture this flower.  It's the screensaver on my phone right now- Veronica's rose.

We have been given a few other flowers as well, and Ryan gave me a memory box with a St. Veronica medal.  I've placed it next to the box he gave me after our first loss.  They are so very special and meaningful to me. :*-)


reading a book in the bathtub
Yes, I'm on Instagram now.  I didn't know it was a thing to be "on" until I got my iPhone in January.  So that's why you see a lot of sqaure photos now.

donkey puppets to celebrate palm sunday
I just wrote and published several new blog posts because I finally sat down to take the photos off my camera.  And sadly, there were hardly any photos.  I just haven't been using my camera very much lately!
i'm sandwiched.

But at least I have these little photos of our daily life. :-)

Spring "Break"

I was on the fence about whether or not to take a Spring Break this year, or at least rather when we should hold it.  I was sick for about 3 weeks in February, off and on, with a nasty head cold that would NOT go away!  During that time we did a little bit of school work but we definitely didn't stay on schedule... Hence my pondering.

I decided to do a school/break hybrid, and "teach" the kids without letting them know what I was actually doing.  Living life, and learning through everyday activities.  It's pretty much my goal, my philosophy, and one of the big reasons that we chose to homeschool in the first place, is that learning should be organic and natural because they want to do it.  So I "let" myself have spring break to try a different kind of learning.

Monday we did a lesson on the papal conclave, since it was the first day of the conclave.  We had a friend come over and Beth, her friend, and I all worked on a lapbook from the Shower of Roses blog.  It was fun, they (and I!) learned a lot, and I realized then that Beth does REALLY well with a little bit of friendly competition.  She and her sweet friend took turns reading to me and it really motivated Beth to read a lot more, when previously she had been resisting and totally holding out on me! 

On Tuesday I took the kids to a local dairy farm.  We arrived early in the morning when no one else was there, and the owner was nice enough to let the kids watch and participate as she was milking her cows.  Someone else offered to let us help feed the baby goats and the baby cows.  So cute!!!  We bought some delicious raw milk and came home, and Beth worked on a booklet for me.  She illustrated some pictures (of course!) and wrote down one thing she learned, what her favorite part of the trip was, and what the weather was like (EXTREMELY windy!).  She wrote down that she learned that cows have four teats and goats have only two! 

Wednesday, Ryan took a half day off work.  I dropped Beth off at her friend's house and took Luke and Jack to an ENT specialist.  Luke, over a year later, is still having earwax buildup in his ears, and Ryan and I finally decided to bring him to a different doctor.  (Over a year ago, we brought him to the pediatrician and a nurse irrigated his ear.  It was awful traumatic for Luke, the nurse threatened us, and there was no way in you-know-what I was taking him back there for another ear problem!)  The doctor used a little tiny vacuum this time to clean out his ears- still not the most pleasant experience for Luke but it went WAY better than the previous year.  The best part about the whole thing was when we were leaving, Luke said, "Mommy, I can hear out of my ear again!"  ***tears*** My poor love...  I don't know why his body insists on making so much ear wax... It's already building up again.  And no I don't use q-tips! Anyways... On the way home we stopped and I let him pick out a special treat for being so awesome.  He picked kombucha. :-)

We had lunch at our friend's house then hopped in the car to meet Ryan at the nursery to pick out plants for our new backyard vegetable gardens.  Not too long after we got there, I got a text from a friend- "HABEMUS PAPEM!"  We have a pope!  I parked our wagon full of plants and pulled up EWTN on my phone.  Once I realized his name wasn't going to be announced right away I finished shopping while the kids were watching our phones, with instructions to let me know if anything exciting happened!  We finished the shopping and loaded up the car, Beth was watching my phone intently the whole time.  About halfway home I realized they were going to announce the new pope's name so I pulled over so Beth and I could watch it on my iPhone- the boys were asleep!  She watched everything else as we drove the rest of the way home.  We were so joyful!

I don't think we planted anything that evening.  We were all so worn out from the long day!

Thursday and Friday were days spent doing "real" school work (like her math workbook) but guess what- Beth initiated it.  She told me she wanted to do a little bit of math... Then she told me she wanted to write a letter to someone, and would I spell everything for her?  (That counts as handwriting in our house!)  I think we also went to the library on one of these days- I can't find a picture in my phone that documented the occasion!

Our "break" was great for all of us.  I got a reprieve from the typical daily grind and the kids made some memories but also learned a few new things!  I would love to be able to include more of these types of activities for us, but planning usually takes so much work for me.  I think I'll make a list of all of the potential places where we could go, and then when I'm feeling spontaneous we'll take a look at the list and just pick a place to go.  We did that a couple of weeks ago, on the day my miscarriage began.  I knew I didn't want to just sit at home all day, stare at a mess, and listen to the kids whine about the usual stuff, so we just packed it up and hauled out of here, without a plan.  We wound up watching airplanes take off at the airport and then went to the zoo.  It was the BEST day- we all had so much fun! It's all been a big reminder to me that I want their education to be fun and exciting, but meaningful.

I think we're going to have more days like these.

Valentine's Day

We spent the first part of Valentine's Day at a party for our girls/boys clubs that we belong to.  They made mailboxes (with the special help of Grandma and Grandpa since I was at a birth the day before!) and exchanged Valentines with their friends.  It was a gorgeous day at the park, and the boys did their thing and fed/chased ducks, played with sticks and friends, and nearly fell into the water several times, while Beth danced with the older kids.  We had a picnic lunch with the whole group before we left.

By the time we got home, it was about time to get ready for our annual Valentine's day family date night!  We dressed up nicely as usual and I had time to grab a few pictures before we left.  They were already all a little tired from being outside all morning; Jack didn't feel like taking nice pictures before we left!

I brought a plethora of cards and notes to dinner.  We received a few in the mail and Ryan had made notes for each of the kids.  Beth and Luke made cards for everyone.  I think I brought a stack of 30-40 envelopes for us all to open!  That kept them busy while we were waiting for our dinner- I must remember this trick next year!

After dinner we walked over to the mall to ride the carousel, then went to the bookstore for a little bit.  We considered buying everyone their own books for a special treat but by this time... pushing 8 pm... they were ALL done and ready to go home.  We had a long, full, fun day!  So we picked up our car from valet (another special Valentine's day treat!) and went home for the night!

Soccer Player!

Here are a few photos from Luke's soccer games.  He began playing on a local league in February.  Ryan is the assistant coach of the team (our friend is the head coach and Luke's friend is on the team).  They practice every Friday night and have games every Saturday morning.  Grandma and Grandpa have been faithful supporters- I think it brings back memories of when they were watching Ryan play soccer so very many years ago. :-)  So far being a soccer mom is pretty easy since Ryan is the one taking him to practice and coaching his games! ;-)

First soccer practice!  He was so excited to go- but poor guy, he was cold!

Not sure what he's pointing at, but that's Luke with his arm up!

Jack on the sidelines... He found a stick, of course.

So proud of his first game!

From a game a couple of weeks ago. 

And here is a photo from today.   He scored his second goal!  Ryan said we need to work on how he celebrates- we were all cheering for him and he kind of shrugged it off.  So modest! :-)


 He has a few more weeks of the season left, then I guess we'll talk about if he will join the summer league.  I have a feeling he'll want to!  I know Beth does, she is chomping at the bit ready to play!

Tuesday, April 2

Another Saint in Heaven

Ryan and I are sad yet proud to announce that we have another child in Heaven with our Lord.  Our baby, whom we named Veronica, was born into our Lord's arms on Thursday, March 21, at only 5.5 weeks gestation.  She wasn't with us for very long, but just like our first saint, Samuel, she made a huge impact on our lives and will continue to be in our hearts until we can hold her in Heaven.  A few friends and family members knew about it during the time and helped take care of us as we mourned, and it's still very early for me to talk about it openly.  We appreciate the love and care we received during that time; how beautiful it was for others to recognize that this baby was a very real part of our lives, even for the short period of time she was with us!!! 

There isn't much more for me to say about this except that please pray that God's will be done in our lives.  We would love to be blessed with another child on Earth, but I am beginning to wonder if the desire in my heart to have a large family was misunderstood by me.  I have five children- three on Earth and two in Heaven.  I ask that none of you forget that, because the two in Heaven are just as much a part of my family as Beth, Luke, and Jack are!

Saint Samuel and Saint Veronica, pray for us!
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