Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The pediatrician

YDS had his annual physical today. I don't really believe an annual physical is necessary, but last year he had not been there in 3 years and the docs freaked out a bit, so I brought him in this year just to allay their fears that he might not be growing properly or something. Of course, if there was a problem, as his mother, I think I just might notice! DUH! Of course, once the fact that we home school came up, the questions about socialization begin....
Doc: "Does he get a chance to socialize with other children?"
Me: "He plays with other children in our neighborhood and we participate in co-ops."
Doc: "Oh..good."

I wonder if he expected something like "No...we keep him locked in the house away from all other people"


All the while, I was thinking about a great home school comic strip I had seen this morning here.

The doc also said "You have four children? You're crazy." He didn't say it in a derogatory manner, more in an incredulous manner. He then proceeded to tell me he has three but 2 children are enough. I told him about my friend who has 7 children, 5 of whom were born by c-section, and her sister who has nine and is contemplating ten. My parting shot, though, was "Saying there are too many children is like saying there are too many flowers. Mother Theresa said that."

Of course, the doc's son just turned 7 and YDS will be 7 in a couple of weeks. YDS told the doc he is in second grade. I wonder if the doc will figure out that YDS would only be in first grade in "regular school." LOL

By the end of the physical, the doc looked at me and said, "You're right to not have him in school. He wouldn't do well there. They'd dumb him down."

I replied, "I have no doubt that he would not be reading if he were in school." YDS is a very active little boy. A "regular" school would want to drug him into zombie hood so he would behave like a little girl....(my 2 cents on public school)

Lord,
Thank you for the opportunity to provide my children with an education that is centered first on you. Please continue to guide us on the journey. Please open the eyes and hearts of those like the doc who believe that children who are schooled at home "lack socialization" or receive a less than adequate education. YDS is a very busy boy, but he is also very bright. Thank you for the allowing him to grow and develop as You would have him. He is 100% boy, made in Your image and likeness. May he shine with the light of Your love.

Amen.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The car

Well, ODD now has her own car. Memere's car to be exact. It is a 1985 VW Golf with 85,000 miles on it and my lovely daughter is the second owner. My parents bought it from Memere for her. Since Memere could no longer use it, being in the nursing home, it was just another thing of hers that needed to be sold or donated. ODD is quite happy with the car. I have mixed feelings. I no longer need to worry about hurrying home so ODD can use my vehicle to go to work, but on the other hand, she has more autonomy now....It can be so difficult to "cut the apron strings," so to speak.

Lord,
Does every mother worry about their children the way that I now worry about ODD? Did MY mother worry that way about me when I got my first car? Please protect ODD as she spreads her wings a bit, Lord. Keep her safe, and keep her driving safely. Help me to give her enough room to test her wings without giving her too much room that she may become intimidated.

Amen.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

"The Pill"

I have read two posts in the last 24 hours regarding the new birth control pill that suppresses women's periods. Margaret in Minnesota had this to say. While over at Vox Nova, the true essence of womanhood was addressed.

As a nurse, I believe that putting these types of chemicals into our bodies is foolish at best, and downright dangerous at worst.

As an avid reader, I believe it is all very Brave New World.

I am not as eloquent as either Margaret or Katerina Marie at Vox Nova, so I will end here.

Dear Lord,
I do not understand why women would want to make their bodies behave like men's bodies. You are the Way, the Truth and the Light. Help those of us who see the evil to shine forth with Your light that those whom we meet may turn away from the dark ways of the world.

Amen

Why I will no longer refer to a quiz as a meme.

I received this comment on my post below. I don't think many of us think about the power a word caqn have, especially if a word may have more than one meaning or context.

xenspirit3 said...
"Whew!
Well, meme came into the lexicon by one Richard Dawkins in his book the Selfish Gene to explain away the existence of God, while simultaneously explaining the persistence of the idea of God. ( A meme is analogous to a gene.) So that was when I was beginning to lose my ardour for evolutionary theory. Not so much because of his statment, examples and so forth, but because the way he was saying that everything was just a meme which could no way approach the realities of the natural word. Well, I'm sort of an absolutist, and although I know that God is not approachable as one can approach the natural world, I know he is for real a person (albeit a type of person and unique in that personhood i.e., purely divine) I know that there is a structure and order to all of His creation, and we just can't go around nilly willy making anything up about it as the whim of our unguided and unprincipled thoughts shall carry us. I remember the moment exactly when I decided Richard Dawkins was a farce, because it was a moment of the obvious-ness of the frivolous underpinnings of the approach and gravity of his arguments. I remember thinking you can't sit here and make me slog through 3/4 of your book about gene replication and the body being just a vehicle and tell me this whole theory of yours is a metaphor, and not only that you will introduce the word meme to describe God as simply a metaphor. And if you are so into biological natural understandings of God, why do people like you in every natural book I read have to take a swipe at Him?
So that was where I was coming from. Well, I don't use those words in connection with the Mother of God or with God or the Faith; I was wondering what the Catholic Church was doing over there. Anyway, thanks for humouring this very long response. I've been a Christian in the Eastern Orthodox Christian Faith for 5 1/2 years, and I'm still a bit of a zealot. A grateful zealot.
May God answer the prayers of this poor sinner and Grant you peace."

Dear Lord,
Thank you for this insight into the word "meme" I am uncertain as to how it isnitially came into use in the context of "quizzes", but I will be careful not to use it in relation to You or to Your mother. I meant no offense, but I have learned that words can be taken in a context different than intended. Listen to my hear, Lord, for there are all the words that I am not capable of speaking.

Amen.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

What book are you?




You're The Dictionary!

by Merriam-Webster

You're one of those know-it-all types, with an amazing amount of
knowledge at your command. People really enjoy spending time with you in very short
spurts, but hanging out with you for a long time tends to bore them. When folks
really need an authority to refer to, however, you're the one they seek. You're an
exceptional speller and very well organized.



Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.



I found this at Paula's blog.
I am laughing at my result. Paula got To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

Mother of God Quiz

What is your favourite image of Our Lady? My favorite image of our lady is from The Passion of the Christ when she recalls Jesus falling as a child when He falls during the long walk up Calvary. This image brings to mind all those times that I, as a mother, have done the same. This brings me closer to my spiritual mother.
What is your favourite Marian feast? The Feast of the Annunciation is my favorite. Mary's sacrifice in saying "yes" to God is huge. She risked everything and trusted God! What a wonderful example.
What is your favourite Marian hymn/anthem? I love the Ave Maria and the Hail Mary sung
What is your favourite Marian place of pilgrimage? I don't really have one. I am working on developing my relationship with Mary...I could use suggestions.
What is your favourite Marian devotion? I like to say the rosary with Mother Angelica on EWTN. The narrative at the announcing of each mystery helps me to really focus.

If you read this, Tag!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Blessings

My YDD sent me a link to this page.

Enjoy!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Confirmed

Well, the confirmation Mass was nice (even if at 5 P.M. it was early). The Bishop had the kids smiling. He knows how to break the ice. My daughter took her given name as her confirmation name.

There was a reception in the church hall after the Confirmation. My ex-husband and estranged son attended the Mass and came down to the reception afterwards. Every time I got anywhere near where my ex was standing, he would move away. My son made a point of saying hello to ODD's BF who was standing next to me, and just ignored me. This was supposed to be a celebration of my daughter's confirmation. I tried to not let it get to me, and brought YDS home and prepared the food for when ODD and her friends arrived. They ate and chatted and laughed and then went out for the evening.

Dear Lord,
I love my daughter. Thank you for giving me strength tonight to not become weepy. It was difficult. I miss my son terribly. It still breaks my heart, too, that I am divorced. I expected my marriage to be "Until death do us part." Lord, you know all of hearts. You know the circumstances. Bring healing.

Amen.

Confirmation

My lovely ODD is being confirmed tonight. I am such a great mom that I don't even know which saint name she has chosen.

Dear Lord,
Bless my lovely daughter with grace this evening. Pour out the Spirit on her and fill her with the fire of your love. Only you can reach her heart in that way, Lord. I surrender her to you.

Amen.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Memere

My Memere is 90 years old. She has been living in her own apartment until very recently. About a month or so ago (right before Easter) she hurt herself when she moved some furniture to mop her floor. She went to the ER and was sent home with a diagnosis of muscle strain and a UTI.This was on a Friday night. They also sent her home with medications for both the UTI and the "muscle strain." The wonderful doctors in the ER apparently had never heard of drug interactions...or they didn't bother to check the list of medications she was already on for various conditions of old age. My father caught the duplication of some things and pulled them out.
On Saturday and Sunday my parents and uncles and I took turns sitting with her as she could not even stand. On Sunday evening, my uncle and I stood her up so I could change her and clean her up a bit before I left to come home and care for my family. She was in such excruciating pain that my uncle had to hold her up and her whole body shook as he did. By Monday morning, she had called an ambulance and returned to the hospital.

Lo and behold, her "muscle strain" was actually a fracture of the sacrum. No wonder she screamed in pain and couldn't stand up. She stayed at the hospital for a couple of days and then went to rehab in a nursing home. She did very well in rehab and was sent home. She promptly fell and landed back in the nursing home for rehab again.

I am saddened by this next part of the story even more than I was by the rest. My uncles and my father have decided that she can no longer live on her own. They feel that there is not enough money to have help for her in her apartment. They have decided to keep her in the nursing home. My Memere is not a very social person. She likes her privacy and her space. She will have to share one of these very small nursing home rooms with someone else. I cannot see this as a good thing. Granted, she will not be alone, but I think she will be miserable. She has always (in my memory) been a bit cantankerous. She wants what she wants. I am so upset because I feel like she is being pushed aside because of the inconvenience of caring for her. My parents participated in the care of my maternal Grandmother in her own apartment with PCAs until her death. She could do even less for herself than my Memere can. My Grandma had sever rheumatoid arthritis and was crippled by it all my life. She was a tenacious person, and worked as a PCA herself until she could no longer work at all. She also was a gentler spirit than my Memere. Maybe that is why Memere is being cared for in a nursing home. I feel like I am letting her down. I have a very small house and there is barely room for my family. I wish I had an extra room so I could take in my Memere. We are not close. We never have been. It would be difficult. It would mean even more sacrifices. It would be such a wonderful learning experience for my children.

Dear Lord,
I am attending the meeting at nursing home in the morning. Help me to advocate for my Memere. Give me the questions to ask that will guide the caregivers to give here the care she needs. Help me to let her know that she is loved. It is so difficult to get up to see her as she is almost an hour away now. Help me to make visiting her a priority. She has so much to offer if we can only coax her to talk about it....

Amen.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A Case of the Weepies

After my son moved out in 2005, I spent the next several months crying uncontrollably....but not in front of my other children. My friends saw me cry and lent me their shoulders. I have become more accustomed to his absence since then, so I do not cry as much. The past 24 hours, however have been very difficult. I have seen my neighbor's children coming and going today and wondering if they are missing their mother today. She was killed in an accident several months ago. I have seen my YSS struggling as he spent the weekend with us knowing that he is not going back to his mother's house after he leaves us, but rather back to foster care as social services has removed him from the physical custody of his mother. I have seen my own beautiful children minus my oldest son trying to be loving today, and I have been grumpy and weepy. I cried through most of Mass this morning. I cried off and on all day yesterday and today. I try not to cry in front of my children. They have been through enough without having to wonder why mom is crying. I am not sure why I am crying. I just am.

My children are the greatest and most challenging gift God has ever given me, and I feel like such a huge failure. My oldest son does not speak to me and my youngest is frequently bratty. My 2 girls are moody. How could God entrust these treasures to me?

I know that without God I am nothing. I know that through Him, all things are possible. How can I possibly convey any of this to my children?

Dear Lord,
I know that my older children have thought of me as a hypocrite at times. They don't understand that people can change and that I am trying to be the woman that You have called me to be. Help me to forgive myself for all my past indiscretions and shortcomings. Please, Lord, give me strength to continue to grow in faith and love and to serve you better. Please help me to mother the children you have entrusted to my care, whether by biology or by marriage.

Amen.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Which Jane Austen Heroine are you?


Which Jane Austen heroine are you?
created with QuizFarm.com

Thinking about this:

This post over at Creative Minority Report really got me thinking.

Creative Minority says: “Look at our movie stars of old. Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Crawford, and Garbo. People love to say they were ahead of their time. I don’t think so. They were in a time when we were comfortable with big strong women. Compare them now to who? Demi Moore on a stripper's pole? Lindsey Lohan in...does she even act anymore or just bar hop?”

Today’s “starlets” don’t compare in talent to those mentioned above, however, Joan Crawford had her share of scandal (Can you say Mommy Dearest?). The humanitarian actress Audrey Hepburn is missing from the list. Not only was she beautiful and talented, but she spent time and money to care for others. In my opinion, Susan Sarandon is the only current actress with any true talent. She has played many diverse roles. Susan Sarandon, however, is not someone I want my children to view as a role model.
Personally, I would rather my children view Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta as a role model. She exemplified the Christian life. She did not pursue anything but service to others. She “died to herself” every day.

Our political figures are even worse than the actors and “sports heroes”. They can talk a good talk, but they do not walk the walk. There are very few people in politics who have earned trust. More over, they don’t seem to care. They promise us the sun and moon and don’t even try to deliver a moon pie. Voting frequently consists of holding the nose and choosing the least offensive person for the job.

Creative Minority Report asks, “Could you imagine Lincoln waffling on slavery like Rudy Giuliani contorts himself over abortion.”

I am imagining Lincoln scratching his head in perplexity at the current “politically correct” society. Lincoln had a backbone. Politicians do not have backbones now. They have polls. They flip flop on the issues according to the whims of those whom they have polled. I wonder if the polls were taken at any of the more conservative churches on a Sunday morning if the results would be a little different. Of course, I over heard a parishioner in my own church state that the Catholic Church makes too much of abortion. My reply was, “If we do not have respect for the sanctity of unborn life, we do not have respect for life at all.”

When I look around at what our world has become, and at all the moral relativism (I’m ok, you’re ok), I am astounded that God has not slain us all. There must be some of us who still love and revere Him, and He must be hearing from us, because He has not done to current society what He did to Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot’s wife was turned to a pillar of salt for looking back at what she was leaving behind. We must try to move forward and teach our children to move forward in the world without being of the world, and without looking back.
The things of this world are temporary. We must truly focus on the eternal. Of course, that is easier said than done.

Dear Lord,
Please help me to live as You would have me live. Help me to stay within Your will. You have made promises to us in Your word. I believe that You keep Your word to those who believe. Help me, please to teach my children to be more selfless and less selfish. Help me to also be less selfish.

Amen.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

Before I was a Mom I never tripped over toys or forgot words to a lullaby.
I didn't worry whether or not my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunization.
Before I was a Mom - I had never been puked on. Pooped on. Chewed on, Wet on.
I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts.
I slept all night.
Before I was a Mom I never held down a screaming child so doctors could do tests. Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.Before I was a Mom I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't want to put them down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn't stop the hurt.
I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.
Before I was a Mom - I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside my body.
I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.
I didn't know that bond between a mother and her child.
I didn't know that something so small could make me feel so important and happy.
Before I was a Mom - I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth, the joy, the love, the heartache, the wonderment or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much, before I was a Mom.

I don't know who wrote this, but it certainly gets to the heart of motherhood in so many ways.

Lord,
Thank you for giving me the awesome opportunity to be a mom. Please forgive me for all the times I have not taken this responsibility seriously, and all the times I have failed you by failing my children. Thank you for all the wonderful women in my life who are moms. Please bless them this Mother's Day.

Amen.

I've been tagged for....


The Thinking Blog


Begun in February 07 at the above link to The Thinking Blog (after discussing the problems with Meme's)ilker yoldas has created a great way to find Blogs with real content. Ilker's thought: Most meme's just reveal personal information and don't bring you to blogs of great thought or at least not ones you share an interest in. Of course for me blogging is a way to connect with adults in the longer hours of SAHM Homeschooling. Don't get me wrong I Love my kids, love having them home, but since my teens are at a public school and work---most of my day is with kids 12 and under. You can only teach phonics and addition so many times before you NEED to expand your mind. I love exploring the many ideas out there and the safe place this creates to look at things from a new perspective.
Here are the rules:
If you get tagged with a Thinking Blogger Award, you are then supposed to do the following:
1. Write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think.
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.
3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote.

My choices are as follows:
1. Crunchy Con-Rod Dreher is the author of Crunchy Cons, and always has something that makes me think.
2.I.T. Catholic Mom-Brenda is a cool IT chick who also teaches CCD...what's not to love?
3.Leonie and her family are Living Without School and inspiring all who visit!
4. Rocco Palma in Philly has this blog which usually has some interesting Catholic information.
5. And last, but definitely NOT least, I will tag Minnesota Mom. She is interesting and inspiring.

Now to go inform all these lovely people that I have tagged them......

In Christ,

Christine

Bowling

I took my children bowling with our home school group today. They had such fun! When we arrived, there was a public school field trip going on there. There were children running around unsupervised, and they were extremely loud. The adult "chaperones" were not chaperoning these children. They were sitting around chatting and pretty much ignoring the students. The students were spending $$$ on junk food in vending machines and running through the bowling alley. I understand that not everyone can home school, and that some people feel that they are called to educate their children in public school. I am so grateful today that I am not one of them. The behavior I saw from these children reinforced that we have made the right decision for our children. I am so pleased with the attitudes of sharing and getting along between children of varying ages that our home schooled children demonstrated today.

Dear Lord,
Sometimes I get discouraged and think that I am not doing as good a job as you would have me do with these children with whom I have been entrusted. Thank you for the grace to see the love ands acceptance between them and their home school peers. My heart is lighter this afternoon for the vision of these children aged 1 month to 14 years old all getting along and playing together. What joy!

Amen.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

New clothes

I took YDS and YDD shopping on Saturday for some much needed new summer clothes. I always wash new things before I allow the children to wear them. One of the "skorts" I bought for YDD fell apart in the wash. This frustrates me. Now I have to return to the mall (I HATE THE MALL!!!) and try to find a parking space and return the skort. I do not want another one because of how it fell apart. One of the biggest issues, though, is the fact that decent girls clothes are so hard to find. There are all kinds of tops and bottoms with rude sayings that do not cover the body, but to find cute, modest clothing is next to impossible. The older the girls get, the more difficult it is to find nice, practical clothing. If I were a better seamstress, I would sew more. Even finding decent patterns, though, can be difficult.

Lord,
Please guide me as I search for clothing for the children. Help me to find decent, modest, practical things. So much is over the top "fashion" in dry clean only fabrics, or there is a tiny square of fabric that does not cover a young lady properly. You know our needs, Lord. Thank you for providing for them.

Amen

Sunday, May 06, 2007

What to do?

I have a beautiful 17 year old daughter. She got a job last fall (finally). Since then she has come to think that because she goes to school and has a part time job that she does not need to contribute to the household. She also seems to think that because I am her mom, and because I do not have a job outside our home right now, I am supposed to do everything for her. She came home tonight after working and was hungry. We had only had left over spaghetti for supper, and I had saved some for her. She proceeded to complain about there being no meat. I told here she could could cook a hamburg if she wanted. There was meat sauce to go with the spaghetti, but she "hates sauce." She then proceeded to ask me to make macaroni and cheese for her. I made her cook her own.

I guess I am frustrated at her lack of contribution to family life at this point. She does not want to do anything at home, and has been neglecting her chores (laundry) so that I wind up having to do them. I don't mind doing chores around the house for my family, but I do mind being treated as though I am a slave here to do other's bidding. Does anyone else ever feel like this? What do you do?

Dear Lord,
I try to provide service to my family without grumbling, even though I may not be cheerful about it. I am at a loss, however, as to what to do in this situation. Please soften my daughter's heart to see that her behavior is denigrating. Please open her eyes to see and her mind to understand that household chores are something she will soon enough be responsible for as an adult, and that learning to budget her time to accomplish all her responsibilities helps both her and the rest of the family. Please help me, Lord, to be a loving mother who can teach and mold without resorting to pettiness. You know how I have difficulty in this area, Lord, and I know that you can help me to re-train my own heart.

Amen.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Seeking to borrow or buy

I thought I would post a list of curriculum I am interested in using in the fall. If anyone has the following available for sale, please leave me a comment. Like everyone else, money is tight and if I can buy used....

CHC:
A Year With God
(Little Acts of Grace)

Faith and Life Series:
(Grade 2) and Grade 6

Image of God:
Grade 6

Seton:
Maps, Charts and Graphs Level B
(second and third grade readers)

(The Old World and America Rev. Philip Furlong )
(Answer Key for The Old World and America)

(Teacher text for Sadlier-Oxford Vocabulary Workshop New Edition Level A (orange grade 6) )
(I have the 2005 printing of the student book)

Those things that have been placed in parantheses have been found. Thank you all!

The week in review

Well, we survived the week. YSS was removed from his mother's and is safe in a program that will transition him into our home (supposedly anyway....with the government who knows). OSS says he wants to come live here before social services decides to "yoink me out" in his words. MSS was moved from the juvenile detention center he was in to one in another city. He called DH today to give him the visiting hours and telephone number.
YDS had two teeth pulled yesterday. He did very well, and has not complained of pain at all.
YDD had four tubes of blood drawn on Thursday. She is being tested for arthritis because of some symptoms and a strong family history.

I went through all of YDS and YDD's clothes. We got rid of everything that no longer fit from YDD's drawers. YDS has several pairs of pants that are on the short side, but it has been so chilly that I am loathe to get rid of them yet. I really don't want to buy any long pants or long sleeve shirts until the fall....they just grow like weeds.

My next project is to get my portfolios together for the school department to demonstrate "educational progress over the past school year." and to start planning for the fall. Planning is the easy part.....LOL

Dear Lord,
Please guide me as I put together the portfolio for the school department. Guide me also as I begin to collect curriculum for the fall. It can be so easy to become overwhelmed by these tasks. I know my children have done well this year, and that they are gaining proficiency in all areas. I know they are more respectful than they were, and more obedient. Help me to put together the right things in my documentation to demonstrate this.

Amen.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Going to the dentist

Well, this morning we are off to the dentist to start dealing with YDS's teeth issues. He will have 2 extractions. I had planned on attending First Friday Mass, but I will have to see how he fares after the extractions.

Dear Lord,
Please help YDS to be calm in the dentist chair this morning. Help me to be calm as I look on. Bless us with your peace. Please bless MSS and OSS as they go through their days today. They are both hurting right now. You know their needs better than anyone. Thank you for all the blessing you have given us, Lord.

Amen

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Upheaval

As a result of errors in judgement and lack of seeking God's will in the past, we now sometimes have to deal with situations which are physically, mentally, and spiritually draining. Many of these situations are related to former spouses and children from previous marriages. We have a blended family and we are seeking to be within God's will for our lives, even as before, when we were not walking with the Lord, we ignored his will. Times like these, however, create in me a dryness of prayer life, like a desert. Yesterday and today are days like that. I don't know how or what to pray, and at my most desperate points find the only thing I can do is call His name, Jesus, over and over again. I find myself praying today, "Thy will, not mine be done."

Lord,
I believe, help my unbelief.

Amen.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Winding Down

As we wind down our school year, I am humbled. I had grandiose plans for how much we would accomplish this year. We were going to study Latin, we would listen to Classical music while my children calmly did their work. We would look at art masterpieces and appreciate all the differences in texture and color. We would even create a few masterpieces of our own. Things went along swimmingly for about the first 5 minutes of the first day. LOL Then reality came crashing down. Latin was put aside, we went backwards in Arithmetic to get over the "mental block" YDD had to get over before she could achieve in that area. YDS has learned to read, and he is working on a second grade level. Now if I could only get him to be more quiet.....or to stop climbing on everything in sight...when he is supposed to be working.

On top of all that, we had emotional upheaval with MSS assaulting DH, OSS staying here for a week after Christmas and YSS coming over sporadically. I am certain that all the uncertainty that my step sons have in their lives affects my children. I know Mondays after a weekend with DH's boys are very difficult (more difficult than a "regular" Monday).

All in all, I think we have had a very productive year. We may not have finished the Unit Study on James and the Giant Peach, but we did get used to working together and playing together. Latin didn't really get studied this year, but we have not given up on it. We are interested in pursuing it further next year....or maybe over the summer...we'll see. Both children learned to color better, and YDD's handwriting, while still sloppy, has improved immensely. She is learning to take pride in her work.

Most of all, I think we have all come closer to our Lord. While we have not been great about praying together every day, we pray together more frequently than we ever had before. We say Grace before meals, and the children will remind the adults to bless the meal if we forget in our hurry and busy-ness. I have seen the greatest change in YDD. Bringing her home has changed her heart. She has softened and become more obedient. She understands better that she cannot have everything or do everything. She is kinder to her brother. YDS has learned to behave more respectfully at Mass. He longs to join in the Eucharist. He loves Jesus and is not afraid to tell anyone. He can still try my patience to no end, but he is learning and growing and changing, perhaps sooner than I am truly ready for.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for the gift of children. I am learning patience (I think). You have said that the kingdom belongs to such as these. Help me to rekindle that child like faith. Help me to stop over analyzing everything. Help to just "Let go and Let God."
Please help me to recall that my main goal for my children is the attainment of heaven and that it is by my example that they learn how to get there.

Amen