Friday, February 26, 2010

I found that story...

...that I mentioned yesterday. We read it in the beginning of a book by Matthew Kelly, but I'm not postive that he's the original author. Either way, it's a good illustration and I copied an pasted it below...

The day is over, you are driving home. You tune in your radio. You hear a little
blurb about a little village in India where some villagers have died suddenly,
strangely, of a flu that has never been seen before. It’s not influenza, but three or
four fellows are dead, and it’s kind of interesting, and they’re sending some
doctors over there to investigate it.

You don’t thing much about it, but on Sunday, coming home from church, you
hear another radio spot. Only they say it’s not three villagers, it’s 30,000
villagers in the back hills of this particular area of India, and it’s on TV that
night. CNN runs a little blurb; people are heading there from the disease center
in Atlanta because this disease strain has never been seen before.

By Monday morning when you get up, it’s the lead story. For it’s not just India;
it’s Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and before you know it, you’re hearing this story
everywhere and they have coined it now as “the mystery flu”. The President has
made some comment that he and everyone are praying and hoping that all will
go well over there. But everyone is wondering, “How are we going to contain
it?” That’s when the President of France makes an announcement that shocks
Europe. He is closing their borders. No flights from India, Pakistan, or any of
the countries where this thing has been seen.

And that’s why that night you are watching a little bit of CNN before going to
bed. Your jaw hits your chest when a weeping woman is translated from a
French news program into English: “There’s a man lying in a hospital in Paris
dying of the mystery flu.” It has come to Europe. Panic strikes. As best they can
tell, once you get it, you have it for a week and you don’t know it. Then you
have four days of unbelievable symptoms. And then you die.

Britain closes it’s borders, but it’s too late. South Hampton, Liverpool ,North
Hampton, and it’s Tuesday morning when the President of the United States
makes the following announcement: “Due to a national security risk, all flights
to and from Europe and Asia have been canceled. If your loved ones are
overseas, I’m sorry. They cannot come back until we find a cure for this thing.”

Within four days our nation has been plunged into an unbelievable fear. People
are selling little masks for your face. People are talking about what if it comes to
this country, and preachers on Tuesday are saying, “It’s the scourge of God.”

It’s Wednesday night and you are at a church prayer meeting when somebody
runs in from the parking lot and says, “Turn on a radio, turn on a radio.” And
while the church listens to a little transistor radio with a microphone stuck up to
it, the announcement is made. “Two women are lying in a Long Island hospital
dying from the mystery flu.” Within hours it seems this thing just sweeps across
the country. People are working around the clock trying to find an antidote.
Nothing is working. California. Oregon. Arizona. Florida. Massachusetts. It’s as
though it’s just sweeping in from the borders.

And then, all of a sudden the news comes out. The code has been broken. A cure
can be found. A vaccine can be made. It’s going to take the blood of somebody
who hasn’t been infected, and so, sure enough, all through the Midwest, through
all those channels of emergency broadcasting, everyone is asked to do one
simple thing: “Go to your downtown hospital and have your blood type taken.
That’s all we ask of you. And when you hear the sirens go off in your
neighborhood, please make your way quickly, quietly, and safely to the

Sure enough, when you and your family get down there late on that Friday night,
there is a long line, and they’ve got nurses and doctors coming out and pricking
fingers and taking blood and putting labels on it. Your wife and your kids are
out there, and they take your blood type and they say, “Wait here in the parking
lot and if we call your name, you can be dismissed and go home.”

You stand around scared with your neighbors, wondering what in the world is
going on, and that this is the end of the world. Suddenly a young man comes
running out of the hospital screaming. He’s yelling a name and waving a
clipboard. What? He yells it again! And your son tugs on your jacket and says,
“Daddy, that’s me.”

Before you know it, they have grabbed your boy. “Wait a minute, hold it!” And
they say, “It’s okay, his blood is clean. His blood is pure. We want to make sure
he doesn’t have the disease. We think he has got the right type.” Five tense
minutes later, out come the doctors and nurses, crying and hugging one another -
some are even laughing.

It’s the first time you have seen anybody laugh in a week, and an old doctor
walks up to you and says, “Thank you, sir. Your son’s blood type is perfect It’s
clean, it is pure, and we can make the vaccine.” As the word begins to spread all
across that parking lot full of folks, people are screaming and praying and
laughing and crying.

But then the gray-haired doctor pulls you and you wife aside and says, “May we
see you for a moment? We didn’t realize that the donor would be a minor and we
need . . . we need you to sign a consent form.” You begin to sign and then you
see that the number of pints of blood to be taken is empty.

“H-h-h-how many pints?” And that is when the old doctor’s smile fades and he
says, ” We had no idea it would be a little child. We weren’t prepared. We need
it all!” ” But – but…” “You don’t understand. We are talking about the world
here. Please sign. We – we need it all – we need it all!” “But can’t you give him a
transfusion?” “If we had clean blood we would. Can you sign? Would you

In numb silence you do. Then they say, “Would you like to have a moment with
him before we begin?”

Can you walk back? Can you walk back to that room where he sits on a table
saying, “Daddy? Mommy? What’s going on?” Can you take his hands and say,
“Son, your mommy and I love you, and we would never ever let anything
happen to you that didn’t just have to be. Do you understand that?” And when
that old doctor comes back in and says, “I’m sorry, we’ve – we’ve got to get
started. People all over the world are dying.” Can you leave? Can you walk out
while he is saying, “Dad? Mom? Dad? Why – why have you forsaken me?”

And then next week, when they have the ceremony to honor your son, and some
folks sleep through it, and some folks don’t even come because they go to the
lake, and some folks come with a pretentious smile and just pretend to care.
Would you want to jump up and say, “MY SON DIED! DON’T YOU CARE?”

Is that what He wants to say? “MY SON DIED. DON’T YOU KNOW HOW

“Father, seeing it from your eyes breaks our hearts. Maybe now we can begin to
comprehend the great love you have for us. Amen.”

Thursday, February 25, 2010

So much on my mind...

I turned 40 yesterday. It was a day to stop all outside activities and focus on what is really important. I didn't plan on that, but when Jake threw up first thing in the morning, that's what the day turned into. Yes, I spent part of the day feeling sorry for myself, but I spent much more of it feeling sorry for Jake. Not so much for the sickness, since as far as sicknesses go it was very mild, but because he was so disappointed that he was sick. "Why do I have to have this?" "Why did God make germs?" "Why can't we just sneeze the germs out instead of having to throw up?" These and many more were the questions I attempted to answer yesterday. Jake also felt bad that he was sick on my birthday. I spend a lot of time on here harping about what I often consider Jake's downfalls, like his lack of regard for what other people think, but really his heart is so tender. He doesn't always show his tenderness, but it's in there. Sweetness from a more challenging kid is just that much sweeter. He's pretty much back to normal today (good normal), and while the other two were at PE I took him on a Mom and Jake date to eat some soup and crackers. We are having a very good day!

From the learning rooms...
I love educating the kids. I am often frustrated by all of the other incidentals in our life that take away from our time reading and learning together because that is really my favorite thing to do. Jake and I have been really enjoying our five in a row books (sometimes he enjoys my reading when he's playing his DS {on mute at least}). Last week (actually for about 2 weeks) we did The Rag Coat by Lauren Mills. We read our five in a row book everyday for at least 5 days, but I often don't do the activities the way they are presented in the manual...I sometimes don't get that book out for weeks. With the rag coat, I taught Jake to use the sewing machine while we worked on a little blanket that I am making out of some of the kids' old baby clothes. We also have a story (I guess it is a song too) by Dolly Parton about a similar rag coat, we discussed the two books. A school scope and sequence would say "compare and contrast", but we just had a pleasant conversation about the two stories. This week Jake and I are doing Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter. We also got another book by the same name (different author) out of the library that has a CD to go with it. It has the same song (an escape song used by the underground railroad to help slaves escape north to freedom), but is about a different family. Reading Rainbow had an episode about Winter's book and we got that out of the library and watched it as well. I seem to be meeting a lot of people who are new to homeschooling, and I've gotten a lot of questions about what I recommend for young kids. I always say five in a row, but it is hard for me to explain what school really looks like in my house because it is hard to see "school" it is really just life.

Jonathan had to do an experiment for science this week where he had to dissolve a boullion cube in warm water separate it into 4 glasses. One glass was the control, one went in the refrigerator, one had salt added to it and the forth had vinegar added to it. As you might have guessed the contol grew a lot of bacteria in a short period of time (you could tell this by trying to read a piece of paper through the glass), the salt and refrigerated ones grew some bacteria, and the vinegar one grew almost none. What a great and easy way to show how food spoils and why we need to refrigerate it (or salt or pickle it) to keep the growth of bacteria to a minimum. I really feel that the things we do and the products that we have found to help us are so basic and easy and yield great information with hardly any preparation. This "no preparation" is key because as difficult as it is to make time to sit down and do the basic activities, it would be next to impossible to find extra time to actually "plan lessons". That whole lesson plan question to me goes hand in hand with the how long is your school day question. The answers I tend to give for that one fluctuate between 5 minutes and 24 hours depending on what you consider school. Our life seems so obvious to me because it is the life we are living, but the more I talk to other people (those who don't really know us) the more I am reminded that what we do is "different".

From the kitchen...
We've gotten into the habit of making brownies in muffin tins instead of a 9x13 pan. So much easier! Why did that one take me so long to figure out?!

Madi has made the challah in a bag twice now and it is soo good! She also made a yummy cake for my birthday!

I've been making homemade cocoa instead of the instant stuff...also easy and without any of the fake stuff. The recipe is right on the can of cocoa.

I've seen the term "slow food" in a few different places lately. Apparently it is the catch phrase for food that you cook from scratch. I figure if little by little we replace some of the convenience foods that we still use with the slower, healthier variety, we'll get to all "slow food" eventually without a huge transition. We've been heading in that direction for years anyway.

On the no microwave front...we've not gotten rid of it, but use it much less steps.

More misc...
Mike went to a trade show yesterday and came home with balsa wood model planes for the kids. It's still the simple toys that kids like. Jake has played with his all day today...even while listening to me read.

I love facebook! I know there's a lot of "issue" with so much technology etc... but I love that so many people wished me a happy birthday via facebook yesterday. Like everything else there are negatives, but used correctly I think it's great! Jonathan does have his own account. I noticed yesterday that one of his "friends" used some horrible language. We discussed it. Not only does he know that I can go on his account he often leaves it pulled up on my ipod. I'm not "friends" with all of his "friends" and I'm nosey and like to see what's going on (not just in the "mom checking up sense", but in the I love to know about all people all the time). Today I read an amazing little story by Matthew Kelly to Jonathan and Madison. Jonathan's immediate response was..."I want to put that on facebook". [I'm trying to find a link to the story because while it is short it is too long for me to type on can "friend" Jonathan on facebook though because I think he plans to type the whole thing out later]

I just started a new is a White Mountain puzzle of VERMONT (I know Vermont is the Green Mountain State...white mountain is the puzzle company). We bought it at the Ben and Jerry's factory.

My early favorites for American Idol are Casey James, Aaron Kelly, and Katie Stevens. Who do you like?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Fun questions...

I found this on a blog (actually Carolyn-- who commented on my last post--who found me from 7QT). They seemed fun so I'm going to use them... (I'm too lazy (or maybe too hungry...or too eager to go do something with my family) to actually link to the original place where the questions originated, but here goes...)

1. Have you ever hit an animal with your vehicle?

I'm pretty sure I've hit a squirrel (or maybe about 25 squirrels), but I'm pretty sure that I've never hit a pet. (I've hit vehicals before-- usually in our own driveway...Madi, who has taken to sitting in the front seat when she's the only one with me, said the other day that she's safer in the front seat anyway since I only hit things when I'm backing up!)

2. When you see a string on your clothes do you pull it off or cut if off?

Pull it off usually. Sometimes cut if the scissors are handy, but they're usually not handy. If it is a knit fabric like a sweater sometimes I pull it through the other side. So I guess my answer is it depends. (I was going to say I'm a "DEPENDS" sort of gal, but then that made me sound older than my 40 years!)

3. Did you have your own room or share a room when you were young?

My own room. Well, I shared with my brother until I was about 8 {he was born when I was 4} (in two different houses).

4. Would you rather wear the same thing for the rest of your life or eat the same thing for the rest of your life?

I'd definitely rather wear the same thing...I almost think I might like that actually.

5. What was your favorite TV show as a child?

Depends (again) on when we are talking about, but the first thing that came to mind is Family Ties, so we'll leave it at that.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Seven Quick Takes

1. I think I found my first grey hair. I've been looking for years (and especially regularly this past year). It's been a race to see if I'd get one before I turn 40, but with just 5 days to go, I'm pretty sure the grey won out.

2. I've never colored my hair (unless you count "sun in" my teens {or was it twenties?}...I can't remember now that was too long ago!) and don't plan on starting now.

3. I'm pretty sure the color grey can be spelled grey or gray...I like GREY...just like I spell THEATRE that way.

4. Speaking of the color grey, Jonathan, Madi and I just went to see the play The Giver. (the characters in the story don't see colors, only grey) It was incredible! That is such an amazing book and everyone should read it. Lois Lowry's genius rivals JK Rowling. The book is controversial and for that reason a lot of people don't want their kids to read it (or read it YET), but we LOVE it!! We had a lot to discuss on the way home about the benefits or lack of benefits in a utopian society. Jonathan made a great point when he said the people who have banned that book or don't let their kids read it are sort of creating for themselves the community in the story, in trying to protect them; where nothing is bad, there is no benefit to the good. If you don't understand what I'm saying...READ THE BOOK!! We also talked about how important good literature is and how people (often schools, but not exclusively) place so much value on "paperwork" and test scores and so little value on real learning, good literature, insightful discussion, etc... because those things can't be quantified.

5. I went to confession feels wonderful!!

6. I wish I was having another birthday party went by too fast!

7. I was the 48th person to sign up on the seven quick takes thing, I've done this for 3 weeks and I'm pretty sure no one new found my blog from there. Maybe because I just put Julie as my link and don't have a cute, clever blog name attached like "Julie@ grey hair". If you happen to be visiting my blog and I don't know you, say Hi!

PS I'm pretty sure that you've never read a blog post that used the word grey so many times, and if you did, they probably didn't spell it the way I do!!

For more 7 quick takes go here.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Challah (or Hallah)

Here's a really good bread recipe. Madi and I made it yesterday. I was going to copy and paste it or re-type it, but then I thought why reinvent the wheel?! I made it with our wheat and I read the recipe wrong and we used too much water, but we added more flour and it is sooo good. It tastes like Hawaiian bread. We will definitely be making more!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Picture catch up

Here are just a few of the things we've done in the last few weeks. You know what, we're a busy family! No wonder I'm exhausted!!

Madi was part of a birthday surprise celebration today...

Madi and friends at another birthday party...

Valentine fun...

Hollywood Studios...

AWANA Grand Prix...

"Jake age activites"...

A visit from Grandpa Sal and Miss Carole...

Animal Kingdom with Meme and Grampa Carlie...

Annual trip to see the manatees...

The day Madi met Landon...

Madi and her acupuncture feet...

Jake after getting his molars pulled...

Jonathan after getting his braces off...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day

It is Sunday night, Valentine's Day and here are a few of my thoughts...

...can you believe I was given a surprise party on the day I blogged that I probably wasn't going to get a party?! It was so fun and went by too quickly! I've never really had a surprise party before...for my 18th birthday I was given a surprise party, but was told about it before it actually happened (I had to pretend to be surprised for most of the guest though). This time I was truly shocked! I can't believe that no one gave it away!

...that makes two surprises I've been given already this year (the decorations being the other one).

...I am helping Jonathan with his Science study guide as I type this...guanine, cytosine, adenine, thymine...remember those things?

...the group of families that was going to Animal Kingdom tomorrow seems to be shrinking by the minute. At this point I think we may be on the fence. Jonathan and I are both fighting colds...tonight I think the colds might be winning.

...because of the surprise party and my sore scratchy throat, a Valentine date for me and Mike has been postponed until further notice. We want to go see Dear John. As I type that I'm thinking maybe that isn't the name of the movie (the Nicholas Sparks one). Remember there was a TV show called Dear had that guy from Taxi in it. brother is going to be 36 tomorrow. "Papa" would've turned 90 yesterday.

...LENT starts on Wednesday. Mike and I are going to give up red meat, I'm also going to plan on going to daily Mass at least 3 days a week. AND going to work on less computer time, less TV time, less sweets, and more patience, but I haven't narrowed down the parameters of all of those things yet.

...our family has played about 10 games of QWIRKLE, since I received it Friday night. What a fun game! I just won!!

...we watched an old home video yesterday of when Jonathan was 6 and Madi 3...those were pretty calm times, but something important was missing!

...that "something" is eager for me to read to him, so I guess that's it for now!

Friday, February 12, 2010

7 quick takes

1. It looks like I have a new routine here with these seven quick takes. The last few days have been exhaustingly busy...even for us, and this is a good quick way to get some updates on here.

2. Just a few examples of how busy it has been...yesterday we had schoolwork, a friend over to bake bread, babysitting, homeschool PE, and THEN a trip to meet more friends at Hollywood Studios!! Today it is only 8:30 am and Jonathan already has a friend here because their golf plans got rained out. Madi has an acupuncture/chiropractic appointment in a little while, I hope to sqeeze in some schoolwork, and Oh...we might end up with about 50 kids here later because the same rain that ruined the golf game will most likely be ruining park plans as well. Then there's Theatre and maybe a Valentine date for me and Mike this evening. (on a side note I still laugh everytime people tell me their kids go to a "school building" school because they are so sociable...if my kids ever end up in a school building, it could very well be because we need to cut down on our socialization...we need "friends annonymous" or something)

3. There is a slight chance of snow flurries around here this weekend.

4. My kids are NEVER cold! I've been cold for weeks. Madi and Jake walked around Disney last night without ever putting their jackets on (the ones I made them bring!) I had on three layers, gloves, and a scarf!

5. I am going to be 40 in less than two weeks. The idea of turning 40, doesn't bother me, but I just realized I think I'm going to miss being in my thities. We'll see. In the last few years I've thrown two 40 year old birthday parties at my house in the hopes of getting a party for my birthday. Mike's birthday is three days after mine, so it just doesn't seem right for us to throw each other a party. I don't think I'll be getting an actual party, but when we walked in to our house after three gruelling weeks on the road, and my wonderful friends had put all of our Christmas decorations away, I considered that better than a party! (thanks again you guys!)

6. Jake and Madi raced cars in the AWANA grand prix the other night. They both won their first races! I don't think any of our kids' cars had ever won a race before so that was pretty exciting. I will get some pictures on here eventually.

7. I'm up to seven already?! I did my presentation on the Sacrament of Baptism for my Catholic Faith Study. I think it went pretty well. There was a ton of information and the hardest part was sorting through it all to hit on the most important points. It is a huge relief to be done though, and now I can relax and enjoy all of the other topics.

To read more "seven quick takes" go here.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Seven Quick Takes

1. I never even got to a daybook this week, and I think it is time for a change so this 7 quick takes just may be it.

2. We have been cleaning out a purging like there is no tomorrow. We've brought stuff to Goodwill, to the church rummage sale, we've had a lot more garbage than usual, and basically everytime I've seen someone this week, I've tried to give them something. To use a quote from my father, "When in doubt, throw it out!"

3. We are getting house guests tonight, "Grandpa Sal and Miss Carole." I think they'll get here around 8. We are going to Disney with them tomorrow after Jake's basketball game.

4. Madi is going to a mock sleep-over after Theatre and will be driven home tonight in a limo. She had her third round of acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments today. I think she's got even more energy than usual. They kept saying she'd notice a difference and I was sceptical since she didn't have any symptoms anyway, but she's been downright "wound up" (in the giddy and silly sense) lately.

5. We're three weeks into our new chore routine...I think we've found a winner!

6. I will be doing a presentation on Baptism for my Catholic Faith study on Tuesday. I'm very excited and a little nervous. (and I'm not done with it and we have a typical busy weekend ahead)

7. It is almost 6pm, I'm hungry, and we don't know yet what we are having for dinner.

For more quick takes go here.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Diary of a bad mom

I always have a plethora of blog posts when I am no where near the computer. When I finally sneek in a few minutes on here, I'm not sure if I have anything worthwhile to say, and even if I do, I'm not sure how to say it.

Yesterday was one of those days with Jake where I wondered if he needs psychotherapy or something. Today he's back to normal and yesterday is just a memory of Jake-isms. This means that whatever I say about yesterday will just sound like cute little kid issues, but in the heat of it yesterday, I felt like I was the worst mom ever. Maybe because he was telling me that I am the worst mom ever. He "does ALL of the work around here and I do NOTHING!!" He "NEVER gets to have any fun!" Today Jake's math was a couple of games of RACKO, today he got to make brownies, and when I left to drop off "little X" (our babysit-ee) Jake was standing at the sink peeling a cucumber. (He is on kitchen duty this week and the mood had struck him that 3pm, when I was on my way out the door, was the perfect time to peel a cucumber). I said I silent prayer that he wouldn't cut off any fingers while I was gone, but I didn't stop him. Jonathan had already made it clear that he didn't want any part of being in charge of Jake cutting vegetables while I wasn't home. So when I arrived back home, only 10 minutes later, I was relieved to find no blood, and hear the sounds of Lego Rock Band blaring from the family room. Today I am choosing my battles. Jake is intense. He is unique. If he were in public school he might thrive. OR he might be diagnosed with a myriad of "issues". There were times when I thought if Jonathan were in public school he might be diagnosed with "issues" too (albeit different issues). Today I'm pretty sure Jonathan has no "issues". Someday I plan to feel the same way about Jake.