Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas morning

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Merry Christmas to all...

On the way to Christmas Eve Mass.
And look who we passed on the way! 
Mass was beautiful.  Madi and Jake sang wonderfully.  A group of kids acted out the Gospel story of Luke (and I couldn't help but give a dirty look to the man behind me who complained that he couldn't understand the kids and said they should have adults up there doing that (seriously??)).  Father Robert's homily was about how Jesus came to "spoon" with us, he used two big serving spoons as props and showed how from far away you can't tell if there are one or two.
back at home...The guys checking out the golf course they are going to play in Hilton Head.
Meme's loving the mug that Jake made for her!
...and to all a good night!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

It's almost Christmas-- a mini-daybook

Outside my window... It is so warm out we actually have our AC on right now, it's not really THAT hot and normally we'd never have our air on when it's 84* out, but there's far too much cleaning, baking and Christmas prep to do and being hot would not be good. I'm glad it's going to cool off by tomorrow!

I am thinking about... The Polar Express.  Jake and I just watched it, he said, he'd never seen the whole thing before.  I cried at the end.

From the kitchen...This morning I prepared pineapple casserole and mac and cheese to go with the ham and vegetables for Christmas dinner.  I also put together hash brown casserole to go with the eggs, bacon, and skier's french toast for Christmas morning.  We are also making and eating tons of cookies.  I've cooked so much today, Jake and Madi and I are gonna hit up Chick fil a on the way to choir in a little while because I just can't cook any more.

I am creating...A bunch of cute little ornaments for some people at church.

I am reading... This and this and a lot of blogs.

 I am praying...  For a lot of people everyday.       

I am hearing...Jake and the neighbors playing outside, and the washer, dryer, and dishwasher.

Around the house...We are almost ready for Christmas.

One of my favorite things...Christmas Eve Mass!

Another one of my favorite things...Christmas cards!!

A few plans for the next week...Christmas!!!  Then we are heading to Hilton Head, SC with my parents for New Year's week.

A favorite quote for today…

A picture thought ...An instagram Advent...

Friday, December 20, 2013

7 QTs

1.  Having homeschooled my kids for over 12 years, I've studied my share of science.  Over and over again!  Well this year with Jake in school and the 5th grade science fair looming on the horizon right after Christmas break, I finally have to admit to people outside of my own home, that while I think I'm pretty smart, I cannot for the life of me figure out which is the dependent variable and which is the independent variable in a science experiment.  I just don't get it.  I can even use my last year's knowledge of chemistry to have some vague idea about things we didn't include in Jake's balloon, baking soda, vinegar experiment, like how many moles of each substance we used, and that we could have experimented farther to see which substance, the baking soda or the vinegar, was the limiting reactant in the experiment (I had to ask Jonathan was about the term 'limiting reactant', but I knew the idea of it), but to figure out if the air in the balloon or the vinegar or the baking soda is dependent or independent, is beyond the scope of my knowledge.

2. On the subject of homeschooling vs being a public school mom, I can comfortably say that I am a really good homeschooling mom, but I'm still learning the ropes when it comes to being a school mom.  It took me a couple days at the beginning of the year to follow the drop/off pick up procedure rules, specifically not getting out of line and passing the other cars.  This week I had one job (well for the whole year so far, I've only had this one job), it involved providing yoohoo for Jake's class's craft day on Wednesday.  #1 I've never purchased yoohoo (this is no way implies that we don't consume large quantities of junk, just not yoohoo).  In the second place, I actually thought I was supposed to bring it for today (Friday) for the other "fun day" this week.  Thirdly, I was also supposed to get the next door neighbor to also provide yoohoo for the same day.  I mentioned it to her once weeks ago and never got further than that.  On the way home from Disney (see great homeschooling mom, Jake skipped school that day) on Tuesday after receiving the reminder text that the yoohoo was due the next morning, I stopped at a super Target in a big fancy plaza... no yoohoo, I even asked.  I immediately texted the mom in charge of this, she's a good school mom.  She was on her way to Publix and offered to pick up all the yoohoo (the 20 I was supposed to provide and the 20 I was supposed to get the neighbor to provide) (his class isn't that big, I guess it was for the whole fifth grade) (oh and good news, someone else brought water bottles so my own kid, actually got a drink too) (again, Jake is the king of junk food and has spent a small fortune in the cafeteria on chocolate milk this year, but he is as much afraid of yoohoo as I am) (in spite of the fact that the bubble boy's father drives a yoohoo truck) (Seinfeld reference).  Needless to say, I failed in my one job as a school mom.  I did immediately send Jake and Jonathan to the good school mom's house with the $$$ to pay for the yoohoo though (she had already left it on our doorstep, even before we got home).

3. Jake and Madi had a Christmas tour performance at a camp for terminally ill children a couple weeks ago.  One of the theatre moms made a comment that we don't appreciate how lucky we are that our kids are healthy.  I've been thinking about that a lot lately (well more or less for the last 18 years).  I really really do appreciate that my kids and my husband are healthy!  Most of them have almost died at one time or another, or in Jonathan's case three different times.  Generally my kids are healthy (Jake the junk food king has never been on antibiotics in his life, not just because we've refused them, but he's actually never had anything that needed them), but starting out parenting with a kid in ICU with undetectable bloodsugar, a stroke at 3 days old, and possible brain damage, affects the way you look at your kids forever.  I appreciate health every second!

4.  I think I might update the 'about me' section of my blog.  I'm slowly preparing for an influx of readers, who knows maybe in the coming year I'll have a post that garners five comments!!

5.  I just googled the word garner to make sure I used it right!

6.  Speaking of words, I think I just realized that antidote and anecdote are two different words.

:  a remedy to counteract the effects of poison
:  something that relieves, prevents, or counteracts antidote
to boredom>
a short and amusing or interesting story about a real incident or person.
"told anecdotes about his job"
7.  How about some pictures?  Christmas tour performances, and St Patrick's St Nicholas breakfast (where we provided Christmas presents for 150 kids,  filled over 200 bags to hand out to homeless people, and made Christmas cards for people in nursing homes).

For more quick takes, visit Jen.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

"Most" posts of 2013

In the spirit of kicking it up a notch, I'm linking with some of the popular kids for Sarah's most posts. There's a Seinfeld episode where George points out if you take everything he's accomplished in his life and condense it into one day, it looks decent.  Maybe the same can be said for my blog.

Post with most clicks...this might be cheating because it is from a little more than a year ago, but it looks like my post with the most clicks is this one Talk talk talk.  Interestingly, with 128 clicks, I only got 1 comment.

Most comments... I actually have a few posts with four comments.  Is that the saddest thing you've ever posts with the most comments this year have FOUR comments!!  I'm going with this one for most comments...  Parenting... a work in progress.

Post with best pictures is probably this one... 7 QTs The Little Mermaid edition.

Hardest post to write was maybe this one... Not sure what this will be about because I'm still not really sure what it's about.  Or this one because I'm having a hard time with how fast my kids are growing up!!

Personal favorite is... probably this.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Year in review January 2013

I'm starting to feel all year in review-ish.  Since I blogged almost nil this year and have big plans to blog more in the future what better way to start than to blog the year in the rear view mirror?  Facebook and Instagram will help me immensely with this project.  I've been "gramming" for exactly a year because my first picture was this one...
And tonight I took this picture...
Thus begins the series of 2013.  The year began with us and my parents in chilly Williamsburg, VA.

We also made our annual trek to see the manatees.  It was a warmish day and I'm pretty sure the only one we saw was this fake mosaic one.
We celebrated this guy's 3rd birthday.
After two years of having his permit, Jonathan got his license.
Next up...February!

Friday, December 13, 2013

7 QTs

I'm going all out, in honor of blogging more, linking to the popular blog crowd, and mentioning my "friend" Jen  yesterday, I'm doing the mother of all link ups today!
1. I just realized that I have 45 minutes in which to shower and get to the theatre (remember I shower at least once a day!), so this will be short and (maybe) sweet.

2.  Few things make me as happy as clean carpets!  We have used the same carpet cleaning guy in all the years we lived in Florida, he's great!  Jake wasn't even born when we first had him clean our carpets at our old house.  Wednesday when the guy was here, he was telling me about his 27 year old daughter's new baby.  He was also marveling at how grown up Jonathan and Madi are.  It occurred to me later that while my teenagers were toddlers when we first got our carpets cleaned, his daughter (now grown with a child of her own) was just a child of 13 or so at that time.  Time flying makes me crazy!!

3.  Jonathan's college classes are done for the semester and he got all A's!  He's got a 4.0 in college!  I am not a fan of putting an apostrophe somewhere that doesn't show ownership (A's what?  you might ask), but otherwise it would look like he got all As which doesn't make sense either!

4.  Madi signed Silent Night for our church's St Nicholas breakfast while Jake and friends sang.  I just shared it here, but it will show up as a separate post.

5.  I've had butter softening on the counter for two days just waiting to make Christmas cookies, aka Jello cookies, aka pastel fruit cookies.

6.  We already made oreo truffles, they are just about gone.

7.  Gotta get to the theatre, two performances of Annie today, Jake is Rooster and Madi is Grace both times.

Go here for better (and probably less quick) takes. 


Thursday, December 12, 2013


Someday I will have a lot more time to write.  When that day comes will I have as much to say?  Between college classes, a kid in school, and extra kid (in a different school), a trip to the Florida Theatre Conference, Madi's trip to Indianapolis and the National Catholic Youth Conference, our family trip to CT and New York City, even our normal days haven't been normal.  Today though I've had my two teenagers here plugging along on a little virtual school while I attempt to put the house back together after having the carpets cleaned.  After our fourth or fifth time of dropping all we were trying to do to have deep conversations about Advent and our Catholic faith, or less deep conversations about Disney and Christmas presents, I was reminded that this is my favorite part of "normal life".  In those interrupted conversations, part of me gets all stressed because there are educational things that need to be checked off.  Another part of me knows that these conversations are what real education is all about.  At one point Jonathan told me I need to write some of this stuff down.  That sounds a little like a compliment and a lot like a challenge.  Mike has been saying for years that I should write a book, but my immediate reaction is that I'm not even the best writer that I know.  Like somehow I could only begin writing something after said best writer writes her book.  (interestingly that best writer is also one of my very few readers)  I'm not sure where I'm going with this because it most definitely is not some kind of a kooky way of saying I'm going to write a book (cause I'm not).  It's more like my way of reminding myself that I should at least attempt to blog a little bit more.  If my 18 year old son thinks that what I have to say is noteworthy, maybe it is. 

So I may be on a slow journey back into blogging on a semi-regular basis.  How's that for commitment?  Of course last week I told Madi I planned to go to the gym twice that week, and two weeks later, I haven't even been in the parking lot.  On the other hand, I have been beating myself up for not being consistent with my daily readings and prayers, but I had a revelation in the shower this morning (at noon),  I take at least one shower every single day.  Yesterday I did so at 7:30am, and today it was lunchtime.  Guess what, I still get clean.  This is a huge revelation for me as far as prayers go.  I am doing the daily readings most days, I just don't have a set quiet time in which to do them.  That's just my personality and my phase of life.   There's not some unwritten rule that says quiet time has to be first thing in the morning.  As for getting to the gym, that's a whole other story!

I have never been a talk radio person, but I am currently obsessed with the Catholic Channel on satellite radio.  This morning I stayed in the car much longer than normal because
Jennifer Fulwiler was on there!!  As a blog groupie I sorta feel like I know her, so that was cool.  Sometimes I want to blog more just so I can do more link ups with the "in crowd".

My brain is not empty yet, but as usual my time is running out.  We'll end with a picture.  I'm a little envious of the families and classrooms that have the elf on the shelf because I like fun things like that.   I recognize that it may not be the most holy of Advent activities, but if I had younger kids, I'd have one.  Well then I saw this idea about ADVENTures of the Wisemen, and while it didn't solve my, "I don't have little kid"s issue, it was something I already had, and the wisemen are searching for Jesus not just getting into mischief.  The idea is that the wisemen are in different places every day searching for Baby Jesus.  Mine will probably just stay where they are because I'm pretty sure I'm more excited about this activity that anyone else in the house.  I can say that because see those two empty playmobil advent sets... it's December 12th already and no one has opened a box yet.  For more Wise Men ADVENTures go here.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Every hour

There's a blog link up somewhere that involves 10 pictures on the 10th similar to the every hour instagram fun.  I took 9 every hour pics today so that I could have a pic of my pics like this.

Starting from the bottom right and going completely backwards they are...

1.  Coffee with pumpkin spice creamer at 8:45 (I had already been up for two hours).
2.  World History with Madi at 9:45
3.  Addressing Christmas cards at 10:45
4.  Reading Economics to Jonathan while he hung more outside lights at 11:45
5.  An embarrassingly unhealthy lunch at 12:45
6.  A picture of the ceramic tree with the unseasonable warm weather coming in the window, I opted for this view as opposed to the computer screen as I was at this point wasting time on the computer. (1:45)
7.  Checking out the FPEA website about Jonathan's graduation (and crying) at 2:45
8.  Jake doing math homework 3:45
9.  Jake made me take 4 more pictures because he has all of a sudden begun acting teenager-like and didn't like the way he looked.

Now my day actually gets busy... I need to drop Jake and Madi at theatre (Jonathan has been there since 1:00), pick up Mary and three more Chinese kids, drop off other kids, then head to the airport to pick up Mary's mother.  Until an hour ago I thought this last part was happening tomorrow...such is the life with a Chinese teenager.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Christmas List link

I recognize that I have my standard 3-5 readers, and I often think if I could get into the flow of linking up with some of the big dog bloggers, I might actually get some comments.  Since I am such an old mom with almost grown kids compared to most of the big dog bloggers that I am referring to, I may have something to say that is worthy of being heard.  So when I came across the link up for Christmas lists and Jake's list has been staring me in the face every time I go to the refrigerator, I figured this was a no brainer.  Without further adieu here is Jake's list.  At the present time, I am fairly certain he still thinks it is Santa who is going to bring some of this stuff.  Every time I attempt to bring up the subject, he shuts me down, clearly not ready to hear it.
Visit Colleen for more Christmas list.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Will wonders never cease?

I had to google that phrase because I wasn't sure if it was "will wonders ever cease"  or " ...never..."  Apparently it is the latter.  I'm still not exactly sure what it means, but it seems fitting for a blog title, when I'm on such a role and posting two days in a row.

Speaking of not knowing what something means, I came across the word 'sanguine' twice recently on the internet.  I've know for quite some time that it is a temperament word (I thought that would didn't have an a in it, but it does...temperament I mean, not sanguine).  Anyway... sanguine means confident.  I always thought it meant melancholy.  Doesn't it sound melancholy?  Actually I'm not even really sure how to pronounce it, but the way I say it in my head sounds melancholy.  Am I making a point?  Not sure, but in the two ways that I saw the word recently melancholy didn't make sense so I looked it up, and lo and behold,  it means confident. 

Interestingly while spell-checking 'temperament', blogger told me that 'internet' is wrong.  I was pretty sure it wasn't, but I searched it in my trusty paperback dictionary that helped me with 'sanguine'.  I thought this dictionary might predate the ole internet (sad huh?), but actually it is there and it's supposed to be capitalized.  I'm not doing that, it doesn't seem like it should be capitalized.

Would you believe I actually had an idea of something to write about today, and none of the above is it?

Remember how yesterday (well really the night before into yesterday) Jake had a party?  He's on a Hunger Games kick so the plan was to play that game at least in the morning.  The neighborhood version of Hunger Games is basically multiple house hide and seek with a few plastic swords and back packs that may or may not have bananas in them.  No one gets killed, no one is even supposed to get hurt.  Why do I say 'supposed to'?  Maybe because as the game was winding down and Jake and a friend were running to pick up some nerf bullets, they tripped over each other's feet.  Jake fell on top of his friend more or less smashing the poor friend's face into the road.  It was a very sad scene and like Jake, this poor guy is also in A Christmas Story which opens in just a few days.  The poor kid's face is all scraped up, and Jake feels horrible about the whole thing.  I don't feel very good about this either.  For one thing as the mom, I of course "knew that something like this would happen".  I also know however, that Jake could not wait to have more than just the neighborhood kids here to play this fascinating game.  So I allowed it.  How many times do we as parents let our kids do things that may be fraught with danger?  Basically after being a mother for 18 years, I can confidently answer, "ALL THE TIME!"  Ugh, life is hard!!  Really, REALLY HARD!  Sometimes you can just be running along having the time of your life and all of a sudden your face (or someone you care about's face) is dripping with blood.  Sometimes it's enough to make you want to stay on the couch all day.  There are too many dangers out there, between falling and getting hurt, or saying the wrong thing and beating yourself up for the rest of the day, or finding out that someone's cancer has taken a turn for the worse, or finding out that people whom you respect are not nearly as charitable as they profess to be, or finding out that people aren't as loyal as you thought they were.  It's just a mess sometimes.  People are flawed.  I don't want to get hurt and I certainly don't want my kids to get hurt.  It's painful.  Seriously life is painful. Love is painful.   Pain and love are two sides of the same coin, I think.  If we don't open ourselves up to love, there may be a lot less pain, but what would be the point of that.   Even the guy with the bloody face thinks that the game was all worth it in the end.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Jake and stuff

I guess since Jake is finally having a birthday party tonight, almost a month after his birthday, the timing is probably right to put up a little birthday post for my 11 year old! 

This picture is Jake's head shot for the Christmas Story program.  He will be playing Schwartz in A Christmas Story when it opens in a few days.  Schwartz is the kid who tells the other kid (Flick) to lick the pole.  Since I need to kill three birds with one stone, this is actually Jake's "school picture" turned black and white via instagram, and his 11 year old picture.

Jake is really thriving in school.  We really are homeschoolers at heart, and he will definitely be home again next year, but I'm really happy that he is going to that sweet school this year.  They put on a really touching Veteran's Day program on Friday that Madi and I went to.  Jake and his classed 'signed' God Bless the USA and sang the Armed Forces Medley. 
 Now it's the next day.  I had planned to write more, but that's not happening, so I'll leave you with a few more pics...

and remember when...

Leaving the sideways one, it's an illustration of my lack of time and energy.