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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Thankful Woman's Book of Blessings

My dear blogging friend, Judy, over at A Thankful Woman's Book of Blessings, hosts this meme every Wednesday. Simply list five things (or a prayer or any thoughts) for which you are truly thankful this week. Voicing my thanks helps put my life in perspective & realize that, no matter how bad things might be, there is still MUCH good surrounding me.

I apologize in advance if I'm a little long winded (er...worded) this week!

1) I'm thankful for the wonderful homilies HandyGramps writes. On Sunday, we went to Mass at my parents' church. HandyGramps was preaching the homily & we thought it would be the last time for a while that we'd be able to hear him since our parish's PSR program begins soon. We didn't get a good start that morning, but his homily REALLY spoke to me...he talked about the crosses we bear & how one person's cross may be heavier than another's. If you've read my post from this past Friday, you know that our school year has not gotten off to a good start. So, HandyGramps' homily was perfectly timed for me. It even brought me to tears.

2) I'm thankful for all the babysitting & assistance HelpfulGrammy has provided recently. I've been going to physical therapy twice a week & she's been so helpful in watching the munchkins for me while I'm gone.

3) I'm thankful for my sister & my "Mom Therapy" friend who have been available to watch the munchkins when HelpfulGrammy was not available. Not only have the munchkins been in good hands, they've had cousins & friends to play with, too.

4) I'm thankful for a good deed the two older boys did yesterday. They were out riding their bikes in the morning & noticed that a few neighborhood girls left a lot of trash in the driveway of an empty house. They took it upon themselves to clean up the trash, THEN came in to tell me.

5) I'm thankful that most of Tuesday was a better school day for us. They didn't complain when I had them take some work w/ them for my follow-up appointment w/ my pain specialist. The boys even decided to get a head start on some of today's work after their bedtime snack. There were a couple disagreements, but no big meltdowns until later in the evening when The Archangel was having trouble concentrating because his nose & ears were stuffy (allergies). With his anger/aggression issues, not feeling well sets him off even more.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"Tuesday's Ten" - NonFiction Books

10 Good Non-Fiction Books I've Read
In no particular order
(NOTE: Like last week, this list does not include any series or multiple books by the same author.)

The links in the following list are to reviews/reflections I've previously done here on my blog regarding that particular book.
  1. My Life with the Saints by Fr. James Martin
  2. Those Who Saw Her: Apparitions of Mary by Catherine O'Dell
  3. Travelers Along the Way by Fr. Benedict Groeschel
  4. On the Anvil by Max Lucado
  5. The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri J.M. Nouwen (Reviews: Part 1, Part 2, & Part 3)
  6. Rediscovering Catholicism by Matthew Kelley
  7. Isaac's Storm by Erik Larson (Most people are familiar w/ his book, The Devil in the White City, which I also read & liked. Isaac's Storm is about the deadly hurricane in Galveston, TX in 1900.)
  8. The Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Lisieux
  9. unPlanned by Abby Johnson
  10. Thank God Ahead of Time: The Life & Spirituality of Solanus Casey by Michael H. Crosby, O.F.M. CAP.

Friday, August 26, 2011

One Week Down...35 to Go!

aka...The Countdown has Begun!

Well, we started school five days ago & here I am on Friday wondering if we're going to make it through the school year! This was NOT a good week at all.

I'm using Catholic Heritage Curricula's lesson plans for The Prophet & The Princess, while The Archangel is using an online program through Ohio Connections Academy. He really wanted to do an online school again (we did K12 - Ohio Virtual Academy two years ago) & after researching, I found OCA to be the highest rated online school in Ohio. Also, they have a variety of clubs/activities that students can take part in once they prove they can handle the courses they're assigned. I thought it might be good for him w/ his ADHD

Our first day was full of tears, anger, emotional meltdowns, yelling, etc. Definitely NOT a good way to start out the year. They were very excited to begin on Monday & our first half hour went well. We opened w/ a prayer, talked about our schedule, started to learn a church hymn (We Have Been Told), & read about the Queenship of Mary (as Her feast day was Monday). Then we went into lessons.

The Prophet complained that his math was too hard & that I promised him it would be easier when we started this year. We are finishing his 4th grade math from last year before moving into 5th grade. He seems to have such a negative attitude towards math that he makes it harder than it actually is. He absolutely hates the math fact sheets that give him practice on addition, subtraction, multiplication, & division...things he really needs to have a grasp on. They are supposed to be timed sheets, but most times I've just had him do part of the page to avoid a meltdown or tearing up of the page. (Yes, he has done that often.)

The rest of his subjects went well...a lot of reading & self-guided lessons.

The Princess was ready & willing to start. She loved everything that I had her do. I felt bad several times when I had to make her wait because I was helping one of the boys w/ their lessons.

And for The Archangel...this is where most of the tears & meltdowns came in. At first he was so excited to start OCA & couldn't wait to get started. Their program is laid out differently than K12, so it's going to take us a couple weeks to get it under our belts & get into a rhythm. I told him from the start that he would have a lot more work, including a lot of writing, than in the past because the school has to follow state standards. I don't think it sunk in until he actually had to do the writing.

I will say that for a 3rd grade boy w/ ADHD, he has excellent handwriting. They use the Zaner Bloser method & The Archangel has done very well so far. The writing he stresses about is when he has to write a character description, answer lesson questions in complete sentences, etc.

The subject that really set him off was math. He's in the gifted & talented level for 3rd grade. (They had pre-testing a couple months ago & he did quite well.) He has a good head for mathematics, but it wasn't until Wed. evening when it dawned on me what part of the problem was. With his ADHD, the math text is too busy for him to focus. It's colorful w/ lots of pictures, charts, etc. I know that works great for some students, but I think he has trouble filtering down to the actual math problems. The concepts are not hard for him...in fact, most are review, but it just gets overwhelming for his eyes.

We are testing two possible solutions to this. 1) I will copy the problems from the text for him into a spiral notebook & he can solve them from there. 2) We will use the optional workbook that has more problems for students who might need additional problems to work on. I'm thinking #2 will be the way to go for us.

The other thing he is having trouble w/ is reading comprehension for all subjects. He reads very well & has always read several levels above his current grade. As soon as he's read (or has been read to), I've asked him some questions & 95% of the time he can't answer from the material he's just gone over. It's very frustrating for both of us. Again, I think the ADHD plays a big part in this. Unfortunately, we haven't found a medicine that works for him yet.

I've been so worn out by the end of each day this week & crashed as soon as my head hit the pillow. It's tempting to just chuck it all & send them to school, but then again that brings along a whole new set of issues. The public school they would go to is back on our city's failing schools list, charter schools' classes are most likely filled already, & we can't afford Catholic or Christian schools (which are also probably filled). I'm also worried about the boys individual issues (The Archangel's ADHD/aggression & The Prophet's anger) & how they would even adapt to a brick & mortar school. They picked up so much just from the neighborhood kids, what would school be like? Not to mention all the "politically correct" stuff (not really the word I want to use!) they'd be exposed to.

I've been praying SO MUCH lately, but I just don't feel like I'm getting an answer or solution to this problem. I know it's only been a week, but I really can't handle another week like the one we've just had. I try to remain positive & cheerful during the day, as well as preparing the night before, but each day the fuse is a lot shorter. I don't feel at peace right now & it's showing in all aspects of my life...short temper, emotion jags, my blood pressure is up slightly, the house is a mess, I'm achy all over & not eating properly, etc.

If you've stuck through this rant to the end, I thank you! I know it's quite a bit of rambling, but I just needed to get my feelings & thoughts down.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Thankful Woman's Book of Blessings

My dear blogging friend, Judy, over at A Thankful Woman's Book of Blessings, hosts this meme every Wednesday. Simply list five things (or a prayer or any thoughts) for which you are truly thankful this week. Voicing my thanks helps put my life in perspective & realize that, no matter how bad things might be, there is still MUCH good surrounding me.

For today, I am thankful for:

  • a good physical therapy session, followed by "Mom Therapy"
  • The Prophet has great cursive handwriting for a 5th grade boy...this year's lines are narrower than last year & he's adapted quite well
  • The Archangel has excellent handwriting for a 3rd grade boy...one of the characteristics of many ADHD children is a lack of good handwriting, a trait that he somehow has escaped
  • The Princess is enjoying her first grade work & doing well in her reading & handwriting
  • The Saint likes to make me feel better by giving me lots of hugs & kisses when I am down

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Tuesday's Ten"

Journal Ideas & My Own Writing for Today

I decided to split up our journaling ideas for school this year & have a theme for each day. I think the munchkins will like this a little more because they won't be stuck w/ the same type of writing every day. Here is what I've decided upon:

"Monday's About Me"
Choose a prompt & answer about yourself (past, present, & future)
"Tuesday's Ten"
List ten items from one of the suggested prompts
"Wordless Wednesday"
Share a drawing or make up a picture collage
"Thankful Thursday"
Share three blessings you're thankful for
"It's All Relative Friday"
Choose a prompt & answer about your relationships (self, God, family, & friends)

For Mondays, Tuesdays, & Fridays, I've printed off master lists of prompts for them to choose from. They can choose whichever they want each day & cross it off when done.


I thought I'd try to journal more often also, so here is mine list for "Tuesday's Ten."

10 Good Fiction Books I've Read
In no particular order
(Note: I made this harder on myself because I chose not to include any series, trilogies, or multiple books by the same author.)

  1. Twenty Wishes by Debbie Macomber (my favorite of all her books)
  2. Three Moons Over Sedona by Sherry Hartzler (Sherry is an Ohio author from the Hocking Hills area. I picked this book up in a shop when I went on one of my girls' weekends. After I read it, I passed it on to the other five girls I vacation w/ & they all loved it, too.)
  3. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  4. The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen (my favorite of her four books)
  5. The World, The Flesh, and Father Smith by Bruce Marshall
  6. Lord Baltimore by Stephen Doster
  7. Sophie's Heart by Lori Wick (a great Christian fiction author)
  8. Oceans Apart by Karen Kingsbury (another great Christian fiction author)
  9. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  10. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Next week, I've got a list of ten nonfiction books. I'm not sure if I'll post all of my journal entries, but I definitely think I'm going to post these Tuesday lists. I could use a new meme on this blog! Feel free to join if you'd like. It's pretty flexible...just choose a category & list ten items in it. Today the boys decided to list their 10 favorite GoGos. (No, not the 80s girl band! GoGos are these little toy figures that they collect.)

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Simple Woman's Daybook

Peggy hosts this meme each week. Read other Daybooks HERE.

Outside my window...dark, as I'm a bit late in writing this up today.

I am thinking...of how stressful our first day of school was today. The first 1/2 hour went well, then it all broke loose...temper tantrums, bickering, emotional meltdowns, you name it!

I am thankful...for the cooler weather we've had the last week or so. It's so nice to have the house opened up.

From the learning rooms...started today & really hoping things get better

From the kitchen...I just picked up a rotisserie chicken & corn bread at Giant Eagle for dinner this evening. Added a salad & voila! Simple & delicious!

I am wearing...pink & white flowered shorts w/ a white T-shirt (jammies!)

I am creating...a routine for school this year. It's difficult w/ all our doctor appts. & my PT, but I'm really hoping things will settle down soon & we can just focus on school for a while.

I am going...to do a lot of praying before bed this evening!

I am reading...The Life of Our Lord for Children by Marigold Hunt (read-aloud for the kids). That's about it at the moment. I've got a few books on a side table waiting to be read, but the focus right now is on school & I can't seem to quiet my mind enough to read for myself (except for a fluff novel when I'm at work on Saturdays!)

I am hoping...that tomorrow will be a better day.

I am hearing...the hum of the dishwasher & Casinodad's footsteps upstairs as he gets ready for bed...and that's where I'm headed as soon as the dishwasher is done.

Around the house...a bit cluttered, but not too bad - typical for our family as we transition into another school year.

One of my favorite things...a full night's sleep - Hey, it can be a favorite thing, even if I haven't had one in a LONG, LONG, LONG (did I mention LONG?) time!

A few plans for the rest of the week...school, PT Wed., school, prayer group social gathering Wed., school, Mom Therapy after my dear friend watches the munchkins during my PT, & more school!

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...Bigger is NOT always better! I bought these Trolli Big Bold Bears for the munchkins a couple weeks ago. They are 4x the size of regular gummy bears. They tasted okay, but the flavor just wasn't the same. It's the same w/ the larger Reeses PB Cups...the distribution of chocolate & PB just isn't the right proportion for my taste. (The orange & red ones in the photo are the standard size bears.)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Small Successes

Sherry at her blog, Chocolate for Your Brain, hosts Small Successes each Thursday. Check it out to see others' successes & share your own. Recognizing the small things we accomplish each week helps us realize that even when it doesn't seem like it, we are getting things done!

1) I replaced two of our ripped window screens AND saved money doing it! We had an old patio screen door in the crawlspace. I took it out & cleaned off the screen, which was still in good shape. Then I cut it out of the frame & was able to use it to fix two of our window screens. HandyGramps has a special tool for replacing screens & he let me borrow it. So...I saved money on materials & labor!

2) I baked up a storm on Friday! Using veggies from our garden, I made two loaves of zucchini bread, a batch of cookies, & a batch of salsa. All three were a hit at our family reunion over the weekend.

3) I've been doing lots of weeding this week, even though it doesn't look like I've gotten very far. It's amazing how fast those things can take over a yard & flower beds!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Saintly Meme

I have been doubly blessed...My dear blogging friends, Colleen, at Thoughts on Grace, & Judy, at A Thankful Woman's Book of Blessings, both tagged me in the following meme.

Assuming you are a saint, and your cause has been executed, your miracles confirmed, your date on the calendar established, all that is required is select that of which Holy Mother Church will name you Patron(ess).

For this meme, you must name your patronage and then tag 5 other people who would like to play along. Link your answer to your nominator's post.

First of all, let me just say that I am far from being a saint at this point in my life! I know I fall short of God's expectations of me on a daily basis. Thank goodness for His everlasting mercy & forgiveness!

If by some quirky chance I do become a patron saint for others' intercession requests, I think I would be the patroness of mental health & neurological issues for children. This is based on our past couple year's experiences w/ The Archangel & his ADHD/aggression issues (& more recent issues w/ The Prophet as he is closing in on puberty).

I would join St. Dymphna in praying for those affected by the MANY mental & neurological disorders & illnesses, specifically focusing on children & their parents. My prayers have increased greatly as we try to find the right "chemical cocktail" of medication to help The Archangel. Even after all we've been through & tried, I STILL do not feel at peace w/ where we are.

So, now to tag some friends. Please forgive me if you've already been tagged in this meme by someone else. Also, if you have not been tagged & want to participate, by all means, please do! I'd love to hear your patronage!

A Thankful Woman's Book of Blessings

My dear blogging friend, Judy, over at A Thankful Woman's Book of Blessings, hosts this meme every Wednesday. Simply list five things (or a prayer or any thoughts) for which you are truly thankful this week. Voicing my thanks helps put my life in perspective & realize that, no matter how bad things might be, there is still MUCH good surrounding me.

1) I'm thankful for the Sacraments of Healing. Our parish had a service last Thursday for the Anointing of the Sick & Reconciliation. Casinodad, the two older boys, & I went. The Archangel & I received both sacraments...him for his ADHD/mental health issues & me for my back. He was SO excited to be anointed. The next day, he told me he felt it was already helping him because he felt calmer & not so angry. Brought tears to my eyes!

2) I'm thankful for family! We had a great time this past Sunday at our family reunion. Unfortunately, there were not as many able to make it as in the past, but it was still a good sized fun gathering.

3) I'm thankful for a great date w/ my two older boys last Friday. I took them to Waffle House (they've been begging to go since the one near us opened a couple years ago). They loved it & the time we spent together.

4) I'm thankful for great homilies. Our parish is blessed w/ a pastor, a retired priest in residence, & two deacons...all of whom give some wonderful, thought-provoking homilies.

5) I'm thankful for a breakthrough in my physical therapy on Monday. My therapist does some resistance exercises w/ me & during one of them, there was a pop in my groin area. He said that is a good sign & that we are on the right track!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Simple Woman's Daybook

Peggy hosts this meme each week. Read other Daybooks HERE.

Outside my window...partly cloudy & very cool this morning.

I am thinking...of how much our family is going to miss my nephew when he heads off to Utah next Monday for college. That's awfully far away from us & we will miss him greatly! At the same time, we wish him well & know that he will have a wonderful experience.

I am thankful...for family - we had a great time yesterday at our family reunion.

From the learning rooms...getting ready to start on Aug. 22 - got our schedule ready; I also made up a list of journal themes for each day of the week

From the kitchen...leftovers from our reunion

I am wearing...a gray t-shirt & black capris

I am creating...(continuing to create) a home of peace & simplicity - clean & uncluttered!

I am going...to continue working through the 31 Days to Clean - Having a Martha House the Mary Way, working on upstairs bedrooms now & it's taking longer than I thought it would

I am reading...The Curious Adventures of the Abandoned Toys by Julian Fellowes (reading aloud to the munchkins), Catherine of Siena by Sigrid Undset, & The Imitation of Christ.

I am hoping...that we're finally on track to relieve my back pain.

I am hearing...the munchkins making their normal noise

Around the house...I'm still working through 31 Days to Clean - Having a Martha House the Mary Way. I love the reflections & tasks in this ebook.

One of my favorite things...opening the house to let in that fresh, cool morning air

A few plans for the rest of the week...PT today & Wed., park day w/ a college friend & her kids, Olive Garden w/ my parents, sister & her family to celebrate my nephew's heading off to college

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...This was on the counter when I got home from work a couple of weeks ago. Casinodad wanted to make sure I saw that he bought bananas for us!