Friday, January 30, 2009

7 Vignettes of the week

  • Becky made a beauty parlor in the basement. She made tickets for everyone (inscribed with the letter H for hair) and gave each one of us one. You have to give her your ticket when you want to get your hair washed and styled. She actually did a pretty good job on my hair! This whole thing was so cute I couldn't stop laughing (unless I was squealing because she was pulling my hair). So far Sean is her only other customer.
  • Sean to Becky: "You take so long when you get in the shower. It's like it turns you into a slug and then you slowly crawl away. Or like a raisin and then you just stay there."
  • Sean is going through a lot of moody ups and downs lately. He went on a crying jag on Thursday where he couldn't understand why he was feeling so blue. I think he's getting a little bit chubbier (just a tad) and I wonder if he isn't going to start growing and changing soon. He's only just 10 but he's acting more like he's 12. Anyway, I held him and then I read to him from Henry Huggins (about the guppies) and he cheered right up.
  • Rick and Hannah went on a date together Sunday night. Rick said he never sees her anymore at home so he wanted to schedule some time together before she left for Dallas. I think they both felt a lot closer afterwards.
  • On Thursday, Hannah had her first flight all by herself to the University of Dallas. She was so excited and nervous about going. She comes back Sunday evening.
  • I asked Josh about how he wanted to do high school next year. Did he want to be more unschooly about it or what? This question was fueled by discussion on the Unschooling Catholics list. After joking around that he wanted to spend the next four years playing videogames, he said he just wanted to do things the way we were this year, that is following Kolbe. That's what I thought, but I just needed to verify it.
  • One of the nicest things this week was watching Will play Oh Darling by the Beatles on the guitar while he, Hannah and Angie sang the words. They were having so much fun.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Journal 1/28

Yesterday was a snow day, so the kids played in the snow, drank copious amounts of hot cocoa, watched a lot of tv, played on the computer and wii and generally relaxed and enjoyed themselves!

Today dawned very gray and cold. Everything was coated in ice. So no more fun snow for us!

  • Said a rosary with everybody (except Rick!) that hasn't happened in a long time. Each kid took a turn reading from our scriptural rosary book (I helped Becky) and leading a decade.
  • Sean and Becky resisted mightily doing the itty bitty bit of copy work I asked of them today. Put me in a royal snit!
  • Josh sequestered himself away all morning and finally finished reading Tom Sawyer which he announced rocks!
  • Will practiced songs for the house band.
  • I have no idea what Hannah was doing for most of the day. She did come down and make those pop and bake crescents (which I personally think are horrid). I did at one point take Huck Finn up to her and remind that she needs to read it now!
  • Sean, Becky and I played 'smaths which is like a math scrabble but my brain was so fuzzy I couldn't wrap my mind around it. After awhile we decided it was an incredibly boring game and gave up.
  • Sean has been creating so many funny little cartoons on his pivot program. He loves it! He spent the bulk of the day doing that.
  • Cancelled the VT appt. My driveway is still a sheet of ice and is my street. Too chicken to try to venture out.
  • Becky has watched: The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Yogi Bear and Pink Panther. She just announced she is going outside to play and I can hear her velcro-ing on her boots and singing to herself as she prepares for her outing.
  • Josh and I had a nice catch up session doing Confirmation prep. I read to him from the St. Joseph's Catechism. Man, does the SJBC make faith dull!!! And the art is horrible! And today we were giggling over the comparison of being confirmed making you into a soldier for Christ. One of the illustrations has a picture of different guns and over each gun was something the Holy Spirit would give you to make you strong. So there's a picture of a revolver and then it says 'encouragement'. This cracked us up. "Yeah, I'll encourage you allright. Bang!' Over the rifle it said "good example." Can you believe this???? Oh my, how pathetic! We also read from the Gospel of John and discussed the Holy Eucharist.
  • Rick and Hannah went and got carry out for dinner.
  • I read next chapter from the Wanderings of Odysseus about how he gets away from Calypso. Rick is really getting into the story! Read a bit more from a book about colonial life on a farm in Pennsylvania in 1766.
  • Rick, Sean, Josh and Becky watched The Last Mimzy.
  • Rick is still reading Twig to Sean and Becky
  • Said prayers with Grandad on the phone, cell phone that is, our phones seems to have gone out for some reason.
  • Hannah baked peanut butter cookies to take to her friend Katie tomorrow. Hannah is flying to Texas tomorrow for a long weekend visiting Katie and Phil at U. of Dallas.
  • Hannah and Rick are watching Lost and they've captured people who speak Latin. How sinister! I can't understand a thing they are saying. Is it classical or ecclesiastical pronunciation?
  • I'm going to bed and reading more Huck Finn.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Odyssey and a dream about my mother

Last night I had the most vivid dream about my mom. I can't remember the circumstances within the dream. I do remember that I was hugging her and I remember how smooth her cheek was. She always had such a beautiful peaches and cream complexion. She never got any wrinkles even though she was in her early seventies when she died. My mom passed away almost nine years ago, yet the dream was so exquisitely real. I could hear her voice so clearly and touch her skin. Wow, it was powerful.

The funny thing is, I think what triggered the dream happened a week or so ago. Ive been reading the Wanderings of Odysseus to the youngest two. There is a passage in the Odyssey where Odyesseus has to go down to Hades in order to be able to sail home and learn how to appease Poseiden, whom he has angered because he blinded the Cyclops. And when he goes down to Hades he sees his mother. He hadn't known that she had died while he was off fighting the Trojans for 10 years. He talks to her and and tries three times to take her in his arms but each time she fades away. The scene is so poignant that it brought tears to my eyes. I remember when I read the Odyssey 4 years ago with Hannah, that same scene touched me so deeply.

I feel like my whole day will be haunted by the melancholy and the sweetness that dream possessed.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Journal 1/26/09

  • Becky said a rosary with me this a.m. We talked a bit about the Joyful mysteries.
  • Will gave Becky his ipod to keep her quiet while he worked on his Math/SAT prep. She walked around the house singing the Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B very, very loudly
  • Josh woke up in a terrible mood but he finished all his math homework last night, so he could proudly show that to the math tutor.
  • Sean and Becky very reluctantly did a little copywork. Actually Sean happily tried to memorize his poem but really dragged at copying it over. His poem is:

If no one ever marries me,

And I don't see why they should,

For nurse says I'm not pretty,

And I'm seldom very good --

If no one ever marries me,

I shan't mind very much,

I shall buy a squirrel in a cage

And a little rabbit hutch;

I shall have a cottage near a wood,

And a pony all my own,

And a little lamb, quite clean and tame,

That I can take to town.

And when I'm getting really old --

At twenty-eight or nine - -

I shall buy a little orphan-girl

And bring her up as mine.

By Lawrence Alma-Tadema

Becky's poem is:

Father is pater and mother is mater

Sister is soror and brother is frater

All children should obey both his father and mother

And brothers and sisters should love one another.

(Now I can't seem to turn off the block quoting. Hmmm.)

  • Anyway, Becky actually did a reading page from the Little Angel Readers TM.
  • Both Sean and Becky played with pattern blocks
  • Then they set up a whole village out of blocks and little figures on the floor of the basement downstairs. They set up a store where they can buy seeds for their crops and have run a railroad from it to the town. They are also planning to live on fish and crabs as the town seems to be located near a lake. The lake also has a hot dog stand which they have high hopes of making lots of money. Nothing like unschooled economics and urban planning!
  • Sean created stick figure cartoons on some new program Rick downloaded for him, called Pivot. Becky is avidly watching.
  • Mom, Josh, Sean and Becky did a little Greek.
  • Read And Then What Happened, Paul Revere? aloud to Sean and Becky and they were actually interested in it!
  • Josh did his Kolbe vocabulary and started an essay on Tom Sawyer
  • Hannah and Will are reading Huck Finn
  • Will wrote a new song on the guitar and played it for us at lunch.
  • Hannah slept until 1:15 or something! Slug!
  • Sean got really into making animated cartoons using the Pivot program. He had a blast all afternoon with it. Didnt have the heart to make him study Latin.
  • Hannah did some grocery shopping for me. That was very nice!
  • Took Sean to piano which was later than usual than both he and Will had Music theory.
  • Hannah went to work at 5 and worked til closing
  • Josh and Becky stayed home and watched TV/played on computer
  • Came home and did most of Latin homework for tomorrow's class with Will and Josh

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Georgette Heyer

It is embarrassing how much I'm enjoying reading these Georgette Heyer novels. I can't eat chocolate though; gives me migraines. So maybe Heyer's books are my longings for chocolate transformed into good reads. Last night I went on a binge and started reading The Convenient Marriage at about 5 in the evening. Had various interruptions (had to make dinner and say prayers with the family!) then stayed up until 1:00 a.m. reading. Got up at 7 this a.m. and finished the book.

Things I like about her novels:

  • They are mostly set in the Georgian/Regency era (the Romances are) and so are very reminiscent of Austen's books.
  • They are laugh out loud funny.
  • Even though she reuses very similiar plotlines and characters in all her books, they are just different enough that they are still satisfying.
  • There is always some unexpected plot twist.
  • The characters are wonderfully developed.
  • The dialogue is wonderful. They really should make movies of these books! You can picture the scenes so easily.
  • They are clean!

Things I don't like about Heyer's Novels:

  • Unfortunately, the local library only has a couple of her books.
  • You have to go into the Romance section of the bookstore which has scores of cheap novels with embarrassingly erotic covers on them. Really, I blush to do it. Much better to order from Amazon.
  • I neglect my family and responsibilities once I start one.

Sourcebook Casablanca has been busy republishing her novels, both the historical ones and the Regency romances. And they seem to have started to republish her mysteries as well.

So far of the Romances I have read:

  • Cotillion
  • Regency Buck
  • Friday's Child
  • False Colours
  • The Reluctant Widow
  • Frederica
  • Faro's Daughter
  • The Convenient Marriage

Of her histories I have read:

  • Royal Escape
  • The Spanish Bride
  • An Infamous Army

I'm saving the other histories for the summer. Right now I'm deep into American History and don't feel in the mood for English history right now.

I'd love to start on her mysteries, since so many of her Regency romances have an element of mystery to them anyway.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Seven vignettes

At the blog Et tu, Jennifer does 7 Quick Takes on Fridays which are very interesting to read. But in my head I've sort of morphed it into seven vignettes of life with children. I have these little incidents running around in my head. I've been really bad at recording learning we've been doing all week, so I thought I might try to remember 7 little happenings of my life with children.

  1. Becky made a house out of a big cardboard box (see, it's good not to do your cardboard recycling right away. It is good to wait months and months until it takes over your garage!). Her brother Will helped with the cutting part, but she decorated it, complete with a ceiling light made from a flashlight stuck through a hole in the top of the box. This a.m. while Rick was taking her to ice skating, she suddenly stopped and said, "Oh let me make sure I turned off the lights in my house before I leave!" Rick said, "Remember to turn off the oven too!"
  2. Why is it that when the kids are copying over their poems into their copy books, they hem and haw. They love the memorizing but hate the writing. But for Friday Freewrites they write steadily and with great concentration and then beg for more time when the timer goes off!
  3. I had just been thinking about giving up meat for Lent and looking through cookbooks to see what recipes I could find. Then I went to pick up Will from his guitar lessons. He got into the car and apropos of nothing said, "I think I'll give up meat for Lent." Mental telepathy?
  4. Will has been picking out Beethoven's Fifth on the piano this week.
  5. Hannah made me join Facebook this week. I fear it shall eat up my life!
  6. Yesterday Sean was playing a game with a new kid at our board games meeting. I saw him get up and walk to the end of the room looking like he was fighting tears. I called him over to ask him why. He said some new boy had been mean to him. He'd asked Sean how old he was and when Sean said 10, the boy said, "You act like you're 3, are you mentally handicapped?" I was appalled and said' Which boy?" But Sean refused to tell me. Instead he gathered up his courage and went back and played again with the boy. After a while he came back and again and said, "Can I just go look at books? (we were meeting at the library) That boy is mean and I don't feel like playing with anyone anymore." I was amazed that he was willing to play with the kid again. He gave him a second chance but that boy is out of a friend, I fear.
  7. Gosh, I can't think of any vignettes that involve Joshua! He did his math and audited the economics class and he reads and plays videogames. He went to the March for Life with his older siblings. His friend came over to play on Friday. I think I'll focus on Josh this coming week as I feel like I've had very little real interaction with him.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Obama reverses Mexico City policy

One of the few good things Bush did in office was reversed today by Obama. So now our tax dollars get to help fund overseas abortions.

No matter what good Obama might do, it will never justify sacrificing innocent lives that could have been saved.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

This is too funny!

I wish I knew how to put the actual videos in this blog. Oh, well!

My respect for John Stewart just quadrupled!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Martin Luther King weekend

We've been kind of loghy this weekend. Is that a real word? I don't even know how to spell it. It is with a long o and a hard g. So it wouldn't be 'loggy'. Anyway, I think Rick made it up. It means when you don't have any energy and you just kind of lie around in a daze. Rick has been pretty loghy. He napped a lot and watched lots of football. He and Becky did attempt to build a catapult but the boys were pretty much glued to the computer screen and didn't take much interest. Sean has discovered puzzles at the miniclips site. The catupult building came to a halt when we realized that we didn't have any string. How can there be no string in the house????

Saturday night Rick took me out to dinner at this high end steak house. I assumed because it was high end they didn't use MSG. Wrong!!!! I was sick, sick, sick all night Saturday and had a bad migraine until Sunday afternoon. I've eaten there in the past and don't recall any problems. Hmmm. Anyway, we didn't make it to Mass until 5:30 at a different parish. That means that we've only gone to our own parish once for the teen mass since New Years. I hate it when we start doing this. I like going to my own parish. It makes me feel part of it. But since we keep going to Sunday evening masses we tend to roam around to various other parishes. Next week I'm determined we'll get back to Sunday morning masses at St. Mark.

Today, Monday, Becky and Rick made dog treats. Tillie loves them! I have never seen Rick do any baking before!! Becky is such a competent little cook. She loves baking and cooking.

Rick took Becky and Sean to see Dog Hotel which they loved. I haven't heard any detail from Rick about it yet.

I cleaned out (somewhat) the boys' room. There must have been a hundred books shoved under their beds. I also did lots of laundry today, maybe six loads so far.

Will and Josh had math today with the tutor in spite of the MLK holiday. And we started working on our Latin homework tonight. Latin is usually on Tuesdays but this week it is moved to Wed with much homework to do.

Okay, that's all I can think of right now. I'm boring myself!!!!!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Life is rich and my internet connection is quirky!

The days have been so full. Sometimes I'm wearing my LCC hat (Latin Centered Curriculum) which really energizes me. Other times we are unschooling which delights me! In between both, days are packed with all sorts of goings on.

I managed to record Monday and started to record Tuesday but never finished and now somehow it is Saturday morning. The internet connection keeps going out on my laptop and it is hard for me to get in here to the study computer.

The kids are excited about this coming weekend. It's going to be a 4 day weekend with Daddy! And he's promised them that he'll play with the new Chemistry set the boys got for Christmas AND he'll help them build catapults (from kits they got for Christmas). Monday is Martin Luther King Day (Becky wondered aloud why he was the only king that got a holiday. . . . so I guess I better teach her about him, so she knows he wasn't an actual king!) Then because of the inaugaration, Rick's office is officially closed and he's not venturing downtown at all. We'll watch it all from our warm family room, thank you very much! I was so depressed after Obama won but he seems like he's attempting to be president to us all. And frankly, I'm so happy to see Bush go (Don't let the screen door hit you on the way out!!!!) so I'm wishing Obama well and I do hope the weather warms up and all goes well. I do wish his transition team would stop cluttering up my e-mail. I have sent several e-mails asking him to not support FOCA and now they think I'm part of his fan club or something.

Highlights from the week:

  • Will joined the house band at School of Rock. This way he'll get to play more venues. He told me he had 3 types of goals: spiritual goals, musical goals and academics goals. That was his reason for not participating in the One Act Play competition that he and Hannah did last year. Our parish actually won the Diocesian competition last year, but Will says he doesn't have time this year.
  • Sean got another Diary of a Wimpy kid book and read it in about a day. This is amazing for kid who took so long to read and hated it so much up until a short time ago. Last night he was looking for a book and I handed him Gwynna. Josh had recently reread that book. Sean read the first two chapters last night and pronounced it very good! Sean has been doing lots of profound wondering about life this week. He really is a deep little guy.
  • Josh has been his usual quiet self. But he's funny as anything. He's been cracking me up week.
  • Becky has been lost in pretend play. Goodness just cleaning up after this one child would keep you busy all day long. She is so bursting with creativity and energy.
  • I hardly ever see Hannah. It hurts a bit but she is busy being 18 and between work and her social life she just doesn't have much time for us! She did take Becky skating on Friday. Oh that reminds me Becky has skating lessons today! She is so thrilled! Hannah starts at FUS (Franciscan U.) on 8/20. Something about having that definite date really jarred me. She's going away. Sniff, sniff, not that I see her much now anyway, but I wonder what changes it will bring around here.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Journal 1/12/09

  • Got up early but somehow managed to fritter away the time doing nothing. Only got a decade said. Took a shower.
  • Will got up to do lots of math homework he didn't do last night when he should have.
  • Josh only had a little bit to finish up.
  • Josh and Will worked with math tutor this a.m.
  • Both Becky and Hannah did not get up until after 10:00. Hannah needs to clean her room, read Little Women and go to work. She's got a long shift today.
  • Had a fun morning with Seano. He copied over a little RLS poem. We reviewed his Latin sayings and 1st and 2nd declensions and 1st conjugation. We also listened to the Latin for Children vocab cd for review. We got silly attacking each other for oppugno and such. It was fun to giggle over Latin. He finished the chapter of Henry Huggins in the reader. He also practiced piano a bit this a.m. Then he wanted to draw. He's decided to be a cartoonist after the Pearls before Swine guy. Spent quite a bit of time working on his cartoon drawings. I worked on drawing faces. Can't do chins.
  • Becky got up and started right in playing with Molly. It is 11:54 a.m. and I've yet to do a lick of work with her.
  • Tidied up basement and two loads of laundry
  • Did a bit of Greek after lunch. Becky did some copy work.
  • Did a bit of math with Sean but he was not focusing so gave up.
  • Read 1/2 of George Washington by D'Auliare's to Becky and Sean
  • Josh did his Kolbe Vocab and grammar; he's thick into his book Marlfox. I love the way he just hides away and reads. That's exactly how I was!
  • Took Sean to piano lessons
  • Interesting conversations: Will told me I should punish him more. He's convinced that only punishment will motivate him but apparently I'm falling down on the job. I just get mad or disappointed but don't actually punish. I tell ya, you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't! Sean: He's decided he wants to have a beautiful wife and lots of kids when he grows up. He's looking forward to growing up, he says, because kids are immature and tend to be jerks. He reasons that grown ups are more mature and therefore behave better. I didn't bother to burst his little bubble!
  • Did some Latin homework with Will and Josh.
  • Rick called, he was coming home early and he's been craving this grilled salmon at a restaurant at the local mall. So instead of making dinner (which is just as well, I forgot to get the meat out to defrost again!) we went out to eat!
  • Took Sean and Will to music theory while Rick took Becky and Josh to B&N to find the next Nicholas book. Hannah's at work.
  • Came home and finished up Latin exercises. Still need to do reading in the a.m. before the class.
  • I'm doing a 30 day flylady challenge at the yahoolist for unschooling catholics. I didn't really do anything today though except that my kitchen is wiped down and my sink is clean.
  • It is 10:16 and I am ready to hit the sack. Wish I had a Georgette Heyer to read but instead I'll read my Paul Johnson Am. history book. He really makes it read like a novel.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Journal 1/9/09

  • Got up early and went with Will to the 6:15 a.m. teen Mass. I hadn't gone in over a year. It was a very small turn out. Hannah didn't want to go because she's been fighting insomnia so she's trying to get back to regular sleeping hours. It was nice. Stopped at Dunkin' Donuts and brought home a dozen.

  • Sean really likes his new piano piece Bye, Bye Blackbird. He's got everybody humming the tune. He practiced it some this morning.

  • Rick had a make up Econ class for Hannah, Will, Josh and David.

  • During the class Becky and Sean did a Friday Freewrite. I am feeling so free from not having to go to co-op on Friday mornings anymore! Yippee! Becky insisted on making a study carrell out of a cardboard box and then decorating it like little schoolroom. It's cute! Sean's freewrite involved writing out the words to Bye, Bye Blackbird!

  • Sean read aloud lot from the 4th grade Faith and Freedom reader, This Is Our Land. He read the first story which is taken from Henry Huggins and Ribsy. He was so proud of himself for reading so much so well! He kept stopping and saying to me, "Aren't I reading well?" He announced he loves to read and he wants to be like Rick and read out loud well. I could tell he was trying to read with expression just the way Rick reads to them at night.

  • Becky did a little worksheet on alphabetizing words from the Little Angels Teacher's Guide. She got a couple wrong and there is no rhyme or reason for how that happened. I didn't bother to correct her though but I felt it would simply put her nose of out joint.

  • Did a tiny bit of Shiller math with Becky and a bit more with Sean.

  • Sean did a little bit of review in Latin for Children. We seem to be stuck on 2nd decl Neuter. And I feel we need to go back and review everything prior as well.

  • We've taken a break and some kids have been playing Maple Story while Becky watched cartoons on Boomerang.

  • Read Sunday's mass readings aloud at lunch. Read a couple of stories from the CHC's Devotional Stories. Led to a discussion about the differing attitudes towards such books as Harry Potter. I take a different point of view from the writers of the story. I also read the 3rd chapter in Rosemary Sutcliffe's The Wanderings of Odysseus. The kids protested against me reading it to them, but I said please just humor Mommy on this one! So they've listened begrudgingly though I do think they are beginning to become intrigued.

  • Becky has made up a game using the electronic key finder Grandad gave me for Chanukah. She hides the key and then I have to use the little remote thing to find it!

  • Hannah hopefully is reading Little Women. She is going to write her Am. Lit paper on it and its role in reflecting and developing the American Identity.

  • Will got his Steely Dan album and is listening to that.

  • Josh finished all the Redwall books we have in the house. Now needs to get to library to see if he can get out Marlfox and Lord Brocktree. He's been reading Tom Sawyer for Kolbe and has started in on the Moomintroll series.

  • Took a nap

  • Practiced Menuet in G Major. I haven't practiced in a few days because I was getting so frustrated by my very clumsy fingers. But today I played the first half very slowly and haltingly but mostly(!) without error. So now I feel a bit more confident about continuing my efforts. I get so envious of Will and Sean who can play both hands together so quickly in learning a piece. That, to me, is so hard. I can feel my brain groaning with effort. Their fingers just fly over the piano and once they learn a piece they don't make many errors.

  • Josh did some Kolbe vocab and some math homework.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hospital Stay

My youngest sister has Downs Syndrome. She lives in a group home not far from us. Well, she apparently came down with a nasty bug last week. The caregivers at the home took her into the ER and it seems the antibiotic some doctor gave her caused her to vomit so much she became severely dehydrated. So she went back to the ER on Monday when they admitted her to the hospital. I share guardianship with two of my sisters. However, one sister was out of commission. She lives way out in the country and there has been so much rain and icy roads, in addition to the fact that she watches her three stepgrandchildren, that she couldn't help out. So the remaining guardian and I took turns staying at the hospital.

So I spent all day yesterday, last night and this morning at the hospital. Then since I slept hardly at all (and when I did sleep it was more like a very uncomfortable doze) I came home and napped all afternoon. Basically that means both Tuesday and today were lost days here at home. It has been raining cats and dogs and so dreary out! The kids just watched lots of movies. Will formally announced that he is sick of doing nothing!!!!

Anyway, I was very glad I could be flexible like that and help out with my poor, sick, defenseless sister. When the kids were younger, I would never have been able to, but they are all getting older (sniff, sniff!) and held down the fort without me (with Rick's help of course.)

So my sister went home to her group home this evening definitely on the mend.

However, I have to plan an American History/Lit class and a Blue Knights meeting for tomorrow. Plus I have Mount Washme to tackle.

On the bright side, I did finish The Man Who Was Thursday. It was a very surprising and exciting book that got more and more outlandish as it goes along. I found the very end unsatisfactory though; it was one of those endings where you don't know if the guy just dreamed it all or what. I'm too tired to analyze it now.

Must. do. laundry.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Journal 1/5/09

Sigh, this was a running in deep, loose sand kind of day! So let me think about what did get done:

  • Hannah cleaned her room (somewhat), cleaned out her car, said she was interested in learning about Aristotle and asked if there was a Teaching Co. series on him. She also wants to learn more about Darwin. She worked from 2:30 to closing.
  • Will had his lesson with his math tutor and did some SAT practice. He said a rosary with me this a.m. He also did a little copy work. Actually, his copy work was writing out the lyrics to that Steely Dan song, Peg. He did VT homework with Sean, practiced guitar, did Latin with me and Josh, went to Music Theory class. Took out the garbage.
  • Josh had his lesson with the math tutor; continues to read the Redwall series. I think he's on Book 8, maybe. In the middle of doing Latin he asked me what a pine marten was. I knew he wasn't focusing on Latin!!!!! He did some copy work. He is going to memorize Jabberwocky. He was supposed to start Tom Sawyer today. Wonder if he did? He also was a huge help to me this a.m. I decided to break down all the boxes that were left over from Christmas and stashed in the master bedroom. He broke them down for me, which was a formidable job and he was very pleasant and cracking jokes the whole time. What a nice boy!
  • Sean did a little copy work. Actually his copy work was writing his own silly rhyme. He practiced piano and played a lot with Becky this a.m. He also read some more of The Last Little Cat. He did VT homework with Will and then went to his piano lesson. He was very proud of his jury comments which said he did a very good job but needs to curve his fingers more! He played videogames in the afternoon. Went to music theory class where he says he never learns anything.
  • Becky slept in very late. She drew pictures and wrote the beginning of a story for her copy work. She played happily with Sean a lot this a.m. She kept herself busy between playing on the computer, watching Wordgirl, coloring, building obstacle courses all over the family room, etc, etc. She was busy, busy. I feel like I ignored her pretty much all day!
  • Today I tidied the basement, got rid of the boxes in my room (with Josh's help), prayed a rosary, remember to tell the kids about St. John Neumann whose feast it was, read The Man Who Was Thursday during Sean's piano lesson and did Latin during music theory class. My poor sister Eileen is in the hospital for dehydration. Noel is spending the night with her. I may go early in the a.m. So I must go to sleep now.
  • Oh Rick is reading another book to Sean and Becky, Hans Brinker was boring them. This book is called Nicholas and apparently it is the first book in an English translation of a French book about a funny French schoolboy and his antics. The kids are loving it. Sean got it for his birthday from friend. I read some Enyclopedia Brown to Becky. She's been asking me to read those stories to her a lot lately.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Chesterton Society

Today, I and a friend attended our first meeting of the local Chesterton Society. They meet at a local restaurant on the first Saturday of the month. There were 16 attendees, including us. It was quite fun! I started reading The Man Who Was Thursday a couple days ago. It has been awhile since the last time I read any Chesterton. I think it was last spring when the teens and I read The Blue Cross in our British Lit class. The people were all lovely and full of good humor and obviously loved to discuss all ideas Chestertonian.

I came home and joined the American Chesterton Society. The local chapter often discusses articles in their magazine Gilbert! They are also slowly working their way through Common Sense 101 by Dale Alquist, which is published by Ignatius Press.

I am finding The Man Who Was Thursday very enjoyable. I had no idea what it was about but it is quite a page turner so far and, as always, seems remarkably modern. It is chock full of those funny Chesterton lines. When describing why the policeman Syme doesn't like anarchists he explains about his upbringing:

"He came from a family of cranks, in which all the oldest people had all the newest notions. One of his uncles always walked about without a hat, and another had made an unsuccessful attempt to walk about with a hat and nothing else."

(I wish I knew how to block quote on this blog!)

Anyway, Sean and Becky are getting quite rowdy and need my help getting to bed. We've been staying up so late and sleeping in so late over the holidays and now we've got to switch back to a more regular rhythm. How painful it is to get back on track!

Low Mass

Yesterday, we attended a Tridentine Low Mass that a parish near us has on First Fridays. I have been meaning to do this since September but never have gotten around to it. It is at 7:30p.m. Just Will and I went. That fact alone made me feel very blessed. How many people have a 16 year old who voluntarily wants to attend a Latin Mass with you on a Friday night? Praise God!

Anyway, we got there a few minutes late, unfortunately. Must. work. on. punctuality. I am habitually 5 or 10 minutes late for everything it seems. The number of attendants was quite small and the church so quiet. I was terrified my stomach would growl loudly!!!! It took me a while to find my place in the missal provided. Since it was a Low Mass it didn't have any of that glorious music that made the High Mass so sublime. I found it awkward and kind of uncomfortable, truthfully. I know that it probably takes some getting used to and also perhaps a better frame of mind than I had last night. During the Mass three different cell phones rang! I couldn't believe it! It was quite mortifying. One could only be glad the priest was turned away from the congregation so that he couldn't send a withering glance at the perpetrators.

We saw our Latin teacher there! Her son was one of the altar boys.

The Low Mass, from what I gather and what I experienced last night, is a time for quiet prayer and meditation and worship. It does not have the feel of a seder Passover dinner which I feel the Novus Ordo mass conveys so well. I have to say that I can appreciate both types of Mass and don't favor one over the other. I have always loved any kind of Mass. To me it is all about the Eucharist and all the other stuff surrounding it is just trappings. Sometimes beautiful, sometimes amateur, sometimes well meaning but missing the mark.

I like the Novus Ordo. I like that it goes back to the roots of the Last Supper Passover meal. I like the congregation participating. I like, dare I say it, the 'community' feel to it.

I like the Latin Mass too. I like the richness of Catholic heritage and tradition it honors. I love that it is in Latin. I appreciate its aesthetic appeal.

But I can't say right now that I'm in one camp or the other when it comes to the different liturgies. I think they both have their place in Catholic worship.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

  • Stayed up way late until the wee hours of this morning. Rick watched Mary Poppins with the three youngest, played poker with them (Becky got a flush her first hand, a straight her second hand, then won the 3rd hand with a pair of kings, thus winning all three hands proving that beginner's luck does exist!) and then watched the ball descend in Times Square. I read my book until about 11:50 and then came down to drink champagne and kiss in the new year. Hannah and Will had a few friends over. I don't think they went to bed until 2 or 3.
  • This a.m. everybody slept in very late except Sean and me.
  • Cleaned kitchen, did laundry, made waffles and bacon for brunch
  • Spent most of the day in bed reading my book, Frederica
  • Went out to dinner to a barbeque place. Father Pat and Monsignor Tom came in right after we were seated. Rick said they were in disguise because they were wearing flannel shirts instead of their collars! Becky was fascinated! Sean kept saying things like "Look, Father Pat is eating corn." And, "Monsignor Tom is eating ribs!"
  • Stopped by Starbucks to see Hannah who was working a 7.5 shift today at time and a half!
  • Will and I said a rosary and vowed to go to more daily Mass more often in the new year.
  • It is 9:05 p.m. Time for bed!