October 15, 2011

Dodging Cars

Zipping down the road on the way to five-year-old Therese's "Junior Saints" class yesterday, this is our discussion.

     Therese:    "Are we going to be late, Mommy?"

     Mom:        "I hope not, but we're not going to be early today."

     Therese:    "I don't want to be late, Mommy."

     Mom:        "I"m doing my best, Therese."

     Therese, shouting now: "Go speeding, Mommy! Go, speeding!"

     Mom:        "Honey, I don't want to get a speeding ticket. Besides it's not very safe to 'go speeding.'"

     Therese:    "We'll be fine, Mommy. Just dodge all the cars!"

     Mom:        "Did you just say 'dodge all the cars'?"

     Therese:    "Yep!"

Well, okay then.

Next time I If I ever get pulled over for speeding, I'll try to mitigate the penalty with the ol' "dodging cars" plea.


See Kathleen Play

At the request of my brother, I am posting a couple clips of Kathleen playing the piano.

She didn't have time to brush up these tunes which she can play flawlessly, but she rocks out anyway. Kathleen's been too busy working on her new Sonatina Festival Competition piece to focus on keeping old pieces polished at all times.

To hear these pieces, you'll need to scroll down and PAUSE the "Playlist" music at the very bottom of the blog.

Babies, Babies, All the Time

As if this blog didn't already have enough baby pics, I have to post some more. It's the supreme cuteness that drives me.

Lucia (or Cheetah, as Marguerite calls her)
Sweet Lucia Rose
Sisters—Lucia and Marguerite
Pretty Lucia

Beautiful Hair

Marguerite has some beautiful hair.

Learning how to care for it has been a huge learning curve for Yours Truly. Sometimes it even requires two of us. But I am constantly in awe of the beauty of this tightly-coiled mass of hair which looks so exotic when in an afro and so sophisticated when tightly corn-rowed.

Marguerite, you are beautiful!

When time is tight, it takes both Mommy and Daddy to work through my hair.
Check out my freshly-combed hair.
Twenty-one months old, and I have a lot of hair! 
When Mom pulls my hair straight, it's down to my shoulders.
Braids are nice, but it feels good to have my hair "loose" once in a while.

Lucia Rose

My beautiful, smiling, Lucia.
Look at those eyes!

Learning All the Time

Therese made a Rosary this year in her Religion class, counting the beads to make decades and figuring it all out on her own. She also sewed a matching rosary pouch.

Stringing her own rosary.
Andrew and William involved themselves in a rocketry project with homeschooling friends, measuring the degree to which variables (psi and water quantity) affected the resultant height of the water rocket. The project was wild and wet—and a ton of fun.

Little Andrew tries to build up the requisite pressure under the rocket.
And the water rocket is off with a huge spray!
(William is holding the rocket launcher.)
Andrew builds the pressure for the next launch.
William (in blue sweatshirt) and friends launch another rocket.

Scaring Mom

Do I dare post what the kids have taught Marguerite to do?

For the record, I knew nothing about this until after the fact.

And the Fingers Fly

In our homeschool, we usually begin teaching keyboarding around third grade—after handwriting skills are solidified.

Andrew, however, broke the mold. He's been ready for a while, and we decided to start him officially at the beginning of the school year. We use Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing—a program geared for adults. I like that it is no-nonsense and just teaches typing without all the fluff found in some of the kids' typing programs.

Since the school year began, Andrew has gone from being a beginning typist to an intermediate typist in the Mavis Beacon program. Amazing stuff for a second grader with small hands!

Go, Andrew!

Check out the message on-screen... ready to move out of the Beginner Level.
New message... Welcome to the Intermediate Level! Woo-hoo!

A New Look for Kathleen

Kathleen, before...

Beautiful with long hair.

Kathleen after...

Beautiful with short hair.

Cute Baby Updates

Since we don't have nearly enough cute baby pics on this blog...

Lucia - 4 months
Lucia - 4 months
Lucia and Marguerite with Baby Doll Janie.
Marguerite at HFH classes.
Marguerite with her pouty face after a hair detangling session which made her particularly unhappy.

Doin' the Strut

Look what we saw strutting through our backyard the other day.

Gobble, gobble. 

The Little Red Fan

Once upon a time, a little red desktop fan sat on the shelf at a local Target.

With every visit to Target, a little boy named Andrew would beg his mother to buy the little red fan for his bedroom.

With each visit, little Andrew would leave Target disappointed, knowing his bedroom would not bask in the stirring breezes of that tiny desktop fan.

Oh, it's not that we don't have central air. We do.

It's not that it's a steamy time of year. It's not.

It's merely the coolness factor of a personal red fan for a seven-year-old boy.

That coolness factor led to unflattering begging behavior with each Target shopping trip.

And then, Red Fan Day dawned. No one knew yet that it was Red Fan Day, but the stars were aligning just so.

On what was anticipated to be just another ordinary shopping trip, young Andrew entered Target with his mother, plodding along beside her as she bought socks and underwear for Big Brother, acne wash for the household Teens, and cat food for the Nellie the Cat.

Nearing the red fan aisle, Andrew made a sudden dart for his treasure. Toting the red fan behind his mother, the badgering began:

"Mom, can you buy this red fan for me, please?"

"No, Andrew, we've been through this already. We're not buying a fan."

"Please, Mom? I'll put it in my room, on my nightstand. It won't be in the way."

"No, Andrew. We don't need a fan." [Mom proceeds to push cart toward the other end of the store.]

"Please, Mom, please?"

"No, Andrew."

[Long pause. By now, Mother and Son are on a completely different end of the store... far from red fan aisle, with Andrew still traipsing behind Mother, fan in-hand.]

"Mom, listen. I'll clean my room if you buy me this fan."


"Mom, I'll clean my room, AND I'll clean the whole basement.


"Wait a minute. I'll clean my whole room, AND I'll clean the whole basement. AND I'll clean out the van for you—if you buy me this fan."

[Excuse me? Cart slows.]

With all the earnestness a seven-year-old can muster,
"Okay Mom, I will actually work for you for three hours today—if you buy me this fan."

[WHOA. Cart slows. Mother's ears are way-perked-up.]

"No, no, Mom, actually...listen... I would work for you for A WHOLE YEARif you would just buy me this red fan."

[Cart comes to a sudden stop. Mother's feet come to rest. Mother wheels around for a discreet glance at the price tag on the little red fan. Clearance marked: $1.67. Angels start singing.]

In the blink of an eye, Little Red Fan had a new destiny, indeed a whole new identity. It was now the bedroom-cleaning, basement-cleaning, van-cleaning, work-for-a-whole year fan.

The little red fan found a temporary home in a shopping cart, took an adventurous romp down a check-out conveyor belt, and found its way that afternoon to the nightstand of a little boy named Andrew.

Mother never spent $1.67 so well.

Son felt like he'd never made a better deal.

Andrew's bedroom, and the family basement and van never looked so good.

There are deals.  And then there are deals.  This was a DEAL.

Just don't ask about the insanity-provoking rattling sound coming from that little red investment.

You KNOW you'd work a year for this fan...

Aunt Margaret & Uncle Tony Pay a Visit

It's always a festive day when Aunt Margaret and Uncle Tony visit.  With no children of their own, Margaret and Tony have dubbed themselves the favorite aunt and uncle. Indeed, the kids are entertained to no end when Margaret and Tony are anywhere in the vicinity.  It's usually chess, Uno, or puzzles with Uncle Tony and primo baby playtime with Aunt Margaret.

Aunt Margaret gets primo baby-holding time.
Uncle Tony & Andrew duke it out in a game of chess.
Watch out, Uncle Tony!
Lucia basks in the glow of Aunt Margaret & Uncle Tony's visit.


We always figured Marguerite and Lucia would develop a special bond. We just never imagined we see it so early. 

Upon awaking, Marguerite's first activity is to peek into Lucia's bassinet and make sure she is "awake, awake!" 

While we change Lucia's morning diaper, Marguerite strokes her face. 

If Lucia is fussy, Marguerite takes her own pacifier out of her mouth and puts it in Lucia's mouth.  (No, we do not encourage the pacifier swap, but it happens.)

If Lucia is crying for long, Marguerite runs to her side, exclaiming, "Don't kye, Cheetah! Don't kye!" 

These two have a bond that is intense and something to behold. How blessed we all are to be able to watch them grow up together, these two beautiful girls.

Physics in the Family Room

Kathleen learns about cantilevers while constructing with blocks...

Our Pianist

Kathleen came home from her music studio's awards night with...

not ONE...

not TWO...

not THREE...

but FOUR awards.

Out of a large music studio, earning just one award would be a special accomplishment.

But this music studio has only one KATHLEEN.  And Kathleen stacks up accomplishments like a lumberjack stacks up wood.

Our Kathleen is the most driven musician I have ever met. Homeschooling is such a great fit for Kathleen, because her drive and determination means that she can get all her school work finished early, and have all the excess time to pursue her passion—piano.

Ask Kathleen to play for you someday. Pretty amazing stuff. (Do I sound like a proud mom, or what?)

Kathleen wins her studio's "Insatiable" award—for her insatiable love for creating music.
Kathleen wins the "Mega Chops" award — for tackling difficult songs and blowing them out of the water.
Kathleen wins the coveted "MPH" award — for her ability to learn with lightning speed.
Last, but hardly least, Kathleen wins the studio's "Hardest Worker" designation.
Go, Kathleen! You amaze and inspire all of us!