Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Madi's 14th birthday party

A dance at the theatre...
The DJ!

Willy Wonka (2 months ago!)

Mrs. Bucket
Mike Teevee

Monday, July 23, 2012

Chipping away at this catch up thing...Madi's Confirmation

Remember this lawn because when I catch up to now, you will be very impressed!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real

All of these events deserve their own post, but this just might be the best way to catch up on pictures...4 at a time... Pretty

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Here's a good article for discussion. I think because we homeschool it is sometimes assumed that I'm trying to protect my children. In some ways, yes of course I am, but in other ways, not at all. I want them to be self sufficient and independent. This article is timely since we currently have a girl from China (who is younger than Madi) staying with us. I enjoy my kids (and my husband) way too much to be comfortable with them being away from me for long periods of time (like weeks, I'm talking...I'm good with the quiet hours this summer, see how it affords me the opportunity to blog?) I never want to let my enjoyment and discomfort hinder their ability to grow though. Maybe for good measure, I'll call the kids and tell them they need to walk home from theatre!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Another quiet morning

I am currently googling the health benefits of coconut oil. Madi and I both had some in our coffee this morning. Yes, coffee (Butter toffee coffee in the keurig), that machine is making coffee drinkers out of all of us. Jonathan came down this morning with his eyes half closed saying, "I'm not awake yet, I need a cafe mocha!" What he really needs is to not stay up until midnight (and I told him that) {But the next three nights he'll be at the theatre until almost midnight, so my point is pretty much moot}. Since I can't seem to skip lines on here anymore, I'm not going to worry too much about punctuation either and this will be like one really long boring run on stream of consciousness thought. Anyway back to coconut oil, I read yesterday about it's benefits for thyroid function (we are way overdue on checking Madi's, but last month the pediatrician agreed with our reasoning), and overall health, so we're adding it to our diet. If I could put it in those chocolate oatmeal peanut butter cookies I've been making every other day around here, we'd really be on to something! Our Chinese exchange student (her American name is Grace, her Chinese name is Zijun Yan {but doesn't sound anything like it looks}) had a friend over last night (her American name is Alice) and they cooked Chinese food for us. Real Chinese food, not the food we call Chinese food. One of the dishes was really good, it was pork, potatoes, and peppers. I think I'll be making it (I can stir fry it in coconut oil!), some of the other foods weren't as good, but mostly tolerable. Cucumbers in soy sauce, tofu and scallions in soy sauce (that was the cold, eat first food, Grace told us, like our salad), chinese noodles with more pork and tofu and egg (kinda blah, but ok (even Jake managed to eat a little, he played along well by using chop sticks and eating really slowly), and then this tomato and egg thing, that I didn't like at all, but Mike actually did. It had ketchup in it, and both girls kept calling it checkup. It was a funny night! I took some pictures and video, but the kids took the camera to theatre, so that's just one more thing on the "someday I'll catch up on..." list. Madi had a consultation with the oral surgeon yesterday, she will be getting her wisdom teeth out in September. She is dreading it! Jonathan did really well with his though and I love everyone in that office, so it shouldn't be too terrible. Jonathan had his out in October, and the docotor and all the staff remembered me, partly because of our name I think, but also because their clientel seem to mostly be people getting actual teeth removed (like elderly and sometimes not so elderly people). I am in total summer mode around here trying to tackle some bigger house jobs (like the pantry which is on my mental list for today). I'm also doing a lot of thinking about what our school year is going to look like. I can't believe that Jonathan has only 2 homeschool years left! And a large amount of that will probably take place at the local community college. We're pretty sure he's not going to start that until the spring though, so I've got one semester with him here anyway (here being a loose term since so much of his time is spent at the theatre anyway). Madi is most likely going to take a class at the local high school in the fall (fall being actual fall though, not when school starts because we first have a potential trip north in the works and then the wisdom teeth situation, so we may just put her in a month into the school year), we'll see. With all this brick and mortar school talk, sometimes I think maybe Jake could/should go to school too. Then I remember a few things... just because I feel that it's necessary for my high schoolers to take the same classes (more or less) as their college bound building school peers, that is not the case with 4th grade. My high school kids are a good example of that. Plus Jake is more academically advanced and behaviorally challenged than the other two anyway. At church a few weeks ago the principal of the closest (still far) Catholic school talked about what a great place it is. She had me thinking for a few minutes then I thought better of it, in addition to the LONG bus ride, time spent waiting for kids to take out pencils, lack of one on one/ teaching to the majority, trying to get Jake to fit into a box, etc, etc, oh, and we'd have to pay a lot of money for this... nevermind! I'll take my quiet mornings in the summer when the kids are creatively engaged at theatre camp, and I can go out for coffee and lunch and tackle projects, and read in peace, etc etc and I'll be more than happy to have the kids back for the start of school. You know those commercials about where the mom can't wait to send their kid to school as "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" is playing, well, the start of school with all of my kids (mostly) home is the start of the most wonderful time of the year! And reason 101 to homeschool comes from a local news story about how so many Central Florida schools are going to add an hour of extra reading instruction to the school day because of low FCAT scores. Mike and I had a good laugh about that, the premise being "What we're doing isn't working, so let's do more of it".

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Quiet house rambling

Yesterday's post seemed pretty lame to me, and I'm finding myself in a quiet house once again and since the laptop just happens to be right in front of me, I figured I could try again. The big kids are at the movies and Jake is at Joe's. The laundry is still (mostly) caught up, and I even changed our air filters today (It had been 10 months! {gasp} Gross huh?). Pinto beans are in the crock pot (that is not a yummy smell) for refried beans for Taco(ish) Tuesday (I think I'm making chalupas actually). I realized that when I bragged about being all caught up that was really just a perspective thing, but the house is still pretty fair, so I'm calling it caught up. We get a houseguest from China for 10 days starting tomorrow. It is through the same program that we got Mathilde and Christina last year. This girl is only 13 and I think China is going to be a whole different ball of wax than France and Spain, but it is a very short time. It is sure to be educational! Tonight is the All Star Game (for those of you like Madi, that's baseball {as of this morning she didn't know what the All Star Game was}). When I was a kid, each year I wore all of the American League hats that our family owned on the night of the All Star Game (yes all on my head at once, even a Yankee hat). This morning I brought the kids to theatre (they had auditions for Into the Woods Jr today), went to daily Mass, chatted over tea with some lovely ladies, went to an hour body flow class at the gym, catted with another friend, talked to a few friends on the phone, did a little dusting, ate a peaceful lunch, and made cookies (and ate a bunch) all before picking up the kids at 2:00. It made me realize all of the things I could do if I didn't homeschool. The thing is though, I could really do most of those things anyway (and I often do). I want to be with my kids as much as possible though. We have occassional arguments "discussions" over Madi's time with friends and Jonathan's time at the theatre, but it's not because those aren't great things, it's because I know how fast time is flying and I'm still trying to hang on. I don't mean hang on in an unhealthy way. I'm pretty sure I'm not stunting their development in anyway (I know this because we say yes just about every time). Recently I was having a discussion with someone I'd just met (who doesn't homeschool) about Madi's plans to take a class at the local high school. I'm fine with this, but she is wanting to do it sooner and I'm a fan of later. I mentioned to this woman that I wasn't ready to be tied down to the school schedule and she laughed. It made me realize that I've been a parent for almost 17 years and haven't had to be tied down like that yet. The majority of families get tied down by that within 5 years of becoming a parent. We've got a pretty good thing going here, I recognize that.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Summer day

I have a cuddly sleepy baby at my house this morning. He will be one month old tomorrow. He is currently making those grunty baby noises that so freaked me out when it was my own baby almost 17 years ago, but now just sound so sweet and lovey. To my defense, I was freaked out by a lot with my first baby because he had a stoke when he was three days old. Way back when we were told that 1/4 of his brain was (or might be) damaged. We really have no idea if this is true today or not. He seems to be doing pretty well with it regardless. This is on my mind lately because a baby whose mom I know just had half of her brain removed last week. She had a seizure condition that would have eventually damaged her whole brain if the bad part wasn't removed. The good half should be able to take over most of the responsibilities of the missing half and this baby has a great shot at a good life. Thanks to facebook (see how I slip facebook into every blog post these days) I'm getting many reports on this little girl and just days away from surgery, she seems to be doing really well. Interestingly enough, when I was in college, I knew a girl who had had this same sugery. She attended the afterschool program that I ran. She was 12 at the time and had had the surgery when she was 8. She was a walking miracle. I googled her and found her blog (but she hasn't updated it since 2009), she is on twitter, and has been mentioned in different books and magazine articles, but sadly is not on facebook! Actually she works (or volunteers) at the school in Connecticut where my aunt works, so I have another connection with her, but school is out for the summer and trying to find people through technology is kind of fun. This is not at all where I thought this blog post was going to go, see how baby Dawson's grunty noises got me all off track? Anyway, I came on here to remark about what a productive day I am having. I did a fair amount of clean out last week (Jonathan, Madi, and Mike were on their Catholic Heart Workcamp Mission Trip in Charlotte), so starting out with a relatively clean house, it's amazing what can be accomplished. I got my kids up, made sure they ate breakfast, packed their lunches, and got them off to the first day of theatre camp (since Amanda picked them up that wasn't too hard). I cuddled, fed, and changed Dawson, got two meals in the crockpot (one for us and one for another family), read the daily readings, finished the sudoku and jumble, and folded the caught up laundry. I say all this because this is probably the first time in 17 years that I've been this caught up. Also being this caught up it seemed like there was no excuse not to update my blog. There is so much updating I could do like about California, and our church's VBS that the big kids helped run, and Jake's amazing time at kids' college, and the mission trip, and the fun 'staycation' week Jake and I had, etc etc. I think the best shot at all of this is with a mega picture post, maybe a slideshow like the California one. I've been unable to upload Jake's kids' college video to facebook and I have grand plans to get all my videos onto youtube (then I think it'll be easier to get them posted other places too). I also have big plans to get Jonathan's transcript in order, as well as Jonathan and Madi's volunteer hours, but those are all plans for another day. Today I'm going to just revel in being caught up, and I'm going to cuddle Mr Grunty.