Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fun and Meaningful Life Night!

My kiddos were as happy as ever as we prepared for LifeNight on Sunday night. I helped secure 10 grocery carts from the store that Pooker works for. We used the carts to collect can goods for the food pantry.
This LifeNight united our group to those around the country. This night was to discuss local hunger. Our teens learned that our own parish supports the pantry for our surrounding area. The teens worked hard to gather and sort the food.
The big posters made the job of sorting very easy. Our teens are reportable still bringing in food.
I am so proud of all those teens. Our parish is so blessed to have such an active large group of teens wanting to gather to learn about the richness of our Catholic faith. I think there were around 280 teens that night.

After taking a group picture we lined the kiddos up and we passed the food from person to person from the grocery carts down to the pantry.

We did this through the gym, out the door, down the hall, outside, down the driveway and into the pantry store room.

This was a huge chore but I saw so many fruits. I overheard some of the kiddos talking and introducing themselves to their neighbors. I heard one girl say, "No, I am new here, I don't know anyone!" She does now.
I heard laughing and talking and realization. "I can't believe that our little pantry feeds that many people!" One group was talking about coming back to volunteer.
I had to post this picture because this young man is one that I always catch when I am holding my camera.
Good luck counting all that stuff.
The end of the night came and we had to get the carts back to the store.
The girls with the truck returned the last four carts.

Thank you for such a wonderful night with 300 of the best teens around!

Weekend with Family

God allows us time with each other to rejuvenate. I had a hard summer. I still am mourning the loss of our little David Patrick. I wasn't even that far into the pregnancy but I felt close to him. I am now trying to reconnect with each member of this big family.
We missed two parties this weekend because we just wanted the family time. I was sorry to miss the events but I am so glad to have had the family time.
One of the activities that we enjoyed together was visiting the drive in. We arrived just in time to see a beautiful sunset!

The smiles all weekend were just as beautiful. I wasn't able get pictures of all those smiles. I sat back at one point and just watched the kids interact. BEAUTIFUL. Most of the time they bicker and argue like the rest of us but this was a great weekend.

Often I am asked, "How do you do it?" in regard to everything from laundry, to meals to even movie going. We start out by going to the drive in. Cheap, two movies for one cheaper price.

The best investment J and I have ever made was the purchase of our 15 passenger van. We just back it into our spot and remove a few of the benches. This gives seating outside and a resting spot for the little ones.

We really did have fun this past weekend! Fun with each other.

Look at that hug!

Bear's friend joined us for the drive in and it is always good to see the teens having a good time!

A rejuvenated dad is a good thing for this family. After a weekend of family activities we all feel better and closer. I love the bonding and am most thankful for all the time we were able to spend together.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

PE Days in full swing again

I love our homeschool group. I know that I say that all the time but it is such an important part of our success. I don't worry about the socialization of my children at all. I would worry about them more if they were in any form of traditional school. That being said I do desire friends for my children. Our homeschool group is centered around our dear Catholic Faith. You don't need to be Catholic to join but you would need to understand that we are a support group for Catholic Homeschooling moms. We begin and end each activity in prayer. My children are growing up knowing that God can be the main focus on their lives and that does not mean that they will never have fun, play sports, or get out of the house.

We have now had two PE days with our Bread of Life group this month. I help organize them. They are nothing fancy. Last year we were super organized and it was fun but too much work for the moms. This year is a tad more laid back and it seams to be working well. We get together at a park for one hour every other Friday with the the intention of "playing" the listed sport. One mom in the group was a physical education major and instructor before having children. She has guided us when we have needed it. The kids of all ages get together. After the planned sport we have a picnic lunch and park time. This time is crucial for friendships for my children and for myself. Sometimes I think the moms need this social time more than the children do.


We started with kickball. It is a simple game that many of us that went to traditional school remember playing. It is easy to take it for granted. We get older children and young ones alike. For kickball we divided into "know how to play" and "no idea what to do" groups. Another mom took the older kiddos that had a clue and most of the moms stayed with me and the younger ones.
That week was a very low turnout. It could have been because it was our first meeting or because it was raining out. One highschooler with the younger ones. That was until Pooker showed up after her classes. We started in prayer and then an hour later made the older ones stop to pray to end the official game. The older ones went back out and played a little more before calling it a game. The younger ones were not that self directed. We struggled a tad to even get a fame going but eventually they "caught" on. We got a chance for everyone to kick and run the bases one time before we moved onto some running games and then we gave them chalk and time to color.
With the younger crowd this was a very hands on activity. It took all the moms to "play" along. We started with just running the bases and calling them by name. The little ones enjoyed this.
I can't say that it was that helpful. Here Princess with the help of another mom is trying to convince Bagel that she needs to run and which way she needs to go. This was our "second" base notice the other runner is walking away in the other direction.

The mom's love the talking time that came with chalking. We all love this support group so much.

Frisbee Gold and Parachute Play 9-24

This day was chosen by the older crowd. They love to play Frisbee Golf. We had a large turnout for this one, especially of the highschool and older crowd. No pictures of them though. They did their own thing in a safe environment. They were happy. Hours later when another group came and our bigger kids came back over the hill to leave I overheard anther homeschool group comment that we had so many older children. They wondered how we got so many of them to come. I smiled to myself because I know that offering the PE is something that the middleschool and highschool kids needs. Those that were in traditional school miss that kind of stuff.
The younger crowd was larger this time as well. I am so thankful for the moms that step forward again to help offer something for the younger ones. This group broke down again and the pre-schoolers and kindergartners grouped together. They might not get much out of "PE" time but they are learning listening skills. I saw lots of smiles as well!

What I love about this group is that there is no wrong way to do this. We just all try to get together to enjoy each other. So much fun!

I love seeing all those smiles.
A Parachute is a silly simple thing to do with a group of kids. The colors seam to brighten the mood though. We had a blast.

Thanks to all of my Bread of Life people. I am so thankful to God for all of these children and moms. They keep me sane. I love you all!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

We love the Rain!

It has been such a hot dry summer that I wondered if we would ever have rain again. I am happy to report that the past few days the weather has been a little cool mid- 80's(big improvement). The sky is cloudy. There is a drizzle in the air. After all that sunshine I must say that this is wonderful. It was great until I fell walking out of grocery store. Other than being embarrassed I am fine. The young ones played outside and enjoyed the drops. Yes they came back inside extremely messy but if I had the time I would have been out running in the ran with them.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Computer and Camera Woes

This past month has been one of disappointment in regards to broken technology. The main computer is the one that I keep the books on. I pay bill with the main computer and I use it for school planning. This computer also holds all the family pictures. A few weeks, as my computer started moving very slowly, J encouraged me to get an external hard-drive with lots of memory. This proved to be a perfect move. I was able to store all my pictures and when the computer completely crashed I wasn't a complete mess.

So I took the now dead computer in to our friend to be worked on. He did his "repairs". I put that in quotes because he replaced tons of things but wasn't able to really repair. Now the computer works great until you turn it off. I haven taken it in several more times with now luck. We are now looking at a computer that will only turn on if EVERYTHING is unplugged out of every port to turn it on. What a pain! I am thinking that we will be purchasing a new apple soon.

None of this even address the trouble j is having with his work computer. His business is set up that everything runs from that laptop. The sad thing is that those laptops are old and crash all the time. He also has an external hard-drive but can not move his information to another working computer because of security issues. The poor guy has picked up a ton of work and now the computer is dead. A dead computer makes it very hard to get his work accomplished effectively. It takes twice as long to get anything done.

My two good cameras are shot. The really good one is completely broken. It was fixed for about 20 hours when it broke again. I figure it just isn't meant to be right now. I will put it up on the shelf and wait until the little ones are a tad older. I love my camera, I really do, but it isn't worth being mad at the young ones all the time. Then the back up, nice camera is cracked right down the center. I sent it off to be repaired. I suspect it will not be worth it or be covered by the warranty. I am very hard on cameras. I use them constantly.

I got myself a very cheap substitute the other day. I need something for goodness sake. I had to do something considering even my back up was broken. UGH! I will probably discover I take better pictures without all that technology. I hope not, cause I love all that stuff. Anyway, enough of my woes.

God is good! I am so glad that He is better to me than I am to technology. Here is to you and your "luck" with computers and cameras. May you have the golden touch and not my touch.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Fine Arts Study & Nature Study

Our Homeschool group made some changes this year. We tried to get most of the extra stuff set up for Fridays. If we can meet on Fridays only then more people can add it into their schedules. Like most groups Bread Of Life is mostly made up of Elementary age children. My middle school and high school kiddos were the only ones there today. It didn't matter they still got in on the action. We had prepared and studied the artist and composer in advance. They were actually then able to walk from group to group and help teach and learn as they walked. I love homeschooling and having a big family.
The pre-schoolers were so much fun. They learned as much as they could about DaVinci. Bagel is in the Pink shirt in the middle with Sugar to the far right.
Princess is at the perfect age for something like this. We had talked about the artist quit a bit in the days before the "class". She took it all in and now got to look at a print with her friends. They then tried to copy it.
Bear was caught by the camera (picture taken by Goobers) looking at the art work also. We all enjoyed this study. Art has been something that we have not looked at too much. We have practiced technique but not art appreciation. This was fun and each month we will dive into a new artist and a new composer.
Pickle also enjoys the time with his friend. He copied a pretty good picture but then turned it into a vampire. I am not sure why but we will work on another copy page next week.
Moogie excels at all she does but again worried that her work wasn't good enough. She finished and then crumbled her page to be thrown away. The mom that was working with her group uncrumpled the page and then said she was going to save it. Moogie was so moved by this.
It was hard to keep the pre-schoolers sitting for too long. We read a story and talked about all kinds of facts about DaVinci.
We then worked on getting the kiddos moving by talking about flight. The artist was fascinated with flight so was practiced being birds. Then our discussion moved onto the Last Supper.
Bagel worked on her piece longer than those around her.
After lunch we moved onto nature study. This is something that I have started again and again but struggle to follow through with. I hate the Houston heat so I often avoid a true nature study. I kept my kiddos in one group and we sat and talked about the day. We talked about the nature around us but didn't take notes. For us the time together talking was more important. Maggie did have fun looking at her own legs with the magnify glass.
I can't say that our nature study was that great. We watched an ant carry something on his back until we dropped the magnifying glass on him. Bagel liked the flowers.
The rest of us liked sitting still to avoid getting too hot.

I do plan to continue doing nature study. Maybe we will get the notebooks to sketch what we find. Maybe next time we will actually walk a hiking trail. Maybe next month it won't be 90 degrees outside still. Time will tell but I am very thankful for the BOL homeschool group. It is a wonderful group of people. I am also very thankful to the moms that organized Fine Arts Study and Nature Study. These were two areas that we have not dived into as of yet. I am glad that we are now.