Thursday, September 29, 2011

Moving along...

I keep neglecting my blog.  I know this, and there's been no help for it save for me to put some strict limitations on other things that have kept me occupied in ways I perhaps should not be.  Prudence, self control, and the other good virtues in which I seem to be lacking these days, have nudged my shoulder.
This is a good thing.

Interestingly, though, I seem to have lost the list of blogs I've been following all along--I'm not sure why this has happened.  But I wonder if it's something tied to my inability to comment on any blogs as well.  There has been a lot I've wanted to say in response to some excellent entries over the past few months, and every time I have attempted to do so, I'm hit with the "choose an account"--and when I do, nothing happens.  It's as though I've no account and am thus unable to sign in at all.

Home schooling is going better these days.  My little ones are loving their binders, which I've outfitted with plastic page protectors covering pages of letters, numbers, shapes, names, and words for them to trace or color or circle or outline.  My Squash is reading, however haltingly, the short stories which begin with Dick and Jane and Sally and Spot and Puff and Tim...and of course, Mother and Father.  It's what all of my big kids learned with, and Squash seems to really enjoy himself when he realizes he can recognize a word from a previous page.  I love this stage!!

Even Cuppie is enjoying tracing the things in her book, and naming the shapes and colors, and learning the letters in her name, and counting things all over the place.  I was thrilled to find some math manipulatives in the dollar section at Target, and scooped up a bunch of different colored foam shapes for sorting, counting, adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, making patterns and so on.  Cuppie and Squash have loved using them.

And Reepicheep, as my last big kid at home, has been working on things like sketching, investigating botany, reading like a fiend, knitting, and writing stories.  I know she'll learn whatever she needs to know as she needs to know it, so it's been a blessing just seeing her gravitate toward things which truly interest her.

We're also working very hard toward temperance.  I think it's the virtue left behind sometimes; it's almost as if it's expected for a "tween" to be sassy and short-tempered.  What a perfect time to work even harder at holding one's tongue, carefully thinking before speaking and acting, and always with charity as our goal!  It's definitely not without challenges, and I've found myself having to grit my teeth mightily more than once.  We'll get there, though.

My little Gingersnap grows at a pace.  She has begun to get beyond even squunching (which some people call creeping, but we've always said "squunching") to nearly crawling.  She's been saying "Mama" quite intentionally for weeks now, generally when she is not in my arms and wants to be.  And I have on my hands my very first ever baby who fits into the size clothing which manufacturers deem age-appropriate: at not quite eight months old, she fits neatly into 6-9 month sizes.  She's loving whatever we give her to eat, but only if she is allowed to feed herself.

Having my two eldest both in school at the Wonderful Catholic School which we are so incredibly blessed to have available has been a true mixed blessing.  On the wonderful side, they are learning so much from an incredible faculty!  And the focus that is required, the self-discipline and time management--that's all definitely fantastic.

They are also both running with the cross country team, and doing unbelievably well.  I've always known that junior high boys are ridiculously fast--like fleas, really.  But I had no idea how, with some intense coaching and conditioning, that my Pickle boy could be hearing things like, "You have the ability to become a truly great cross country runner."  I had no idea that by watching my boy run, I would be so inspired that my entire understanding of who he is and what makes him tick has changed dramatically.  And watching the Frog improve her time, meet after meet, mile after mile, has been inspiring, too.  She has been able to change her attitude from, "I'm running well and that makes me happy," to, "I'm running well, but I know I can run faster, so I'm going to work really hard toward that."  That inspires me, too.

We've been going to all of the meets as a family, which enables us to spend a great deal of weekend time together.  We have a family habit of praying the Rosary whenever we're in the van for any length of time--which is usually the case, since we're roughly half an hour from most of our destinations.  It's been truly bonding for the kids, to cheer for one another, to know that their family is literally backing them every step of the way.  And it's been one step in this stage of life which sees us with kids in junior high and high school who have found a niche where they are more than comfortable, they excel.

We bring our big water coolers and a little folding table, two big canopy tents with sides and tarps for the ground, and a few camping chairs.  We get to the meets early, which really does mean early--most meets are on Saturday mornings, with the runners needing to report in time to walk/jog the course, stretch, warm up with their team, and prepare mentally and physically...which means they're usually arriving about 90 minutes before their race begins.  We get things set up for them so that when they arrive, they can relax, get into their warm up shoes, and stay warm while they wait to run their respective races.  Last year, when I was carrying my little Gingersnap beneath my heart, I stayed home with little ones (or sometimes alone!!), and now I see what I was missing out on.  Even with a very small team (we have about 15 runners all together), the kids have a wonderful time.

And so we're all just going along, day by day, trying to hang in there with the intensity that beginning the school year brings with it.  Some activities have been set on hold until a good pattern is established, or until cross country season is over, or both.  Some activities have been stopped all together in the interest of more family time.

Though I've said it before, I really do hope to come back to writing here with some increasing frequency.  I've written many posts in my head, and at some point, I need to make room for other thoughts.  :)

Prayer requests:  Please keep in your prayers:

* Kate and her family, who are dealing with a terminal illness within their family.

*Mary and her family, who recently welcomed their fifth child.

*Our neighbors, who could just really use some prayers--and I'll just ask the Holy Spirit to use those prayers in whatever ways are necessary!

*My Grams, who celebrated her 96th birthday this month, thanks be to God, and who is just always wonderful.

*All those suffering from depression, anxiety, stress, or any other mental ailment, especially those who are negatively affected by the change of seasons--those silent sufferings can be so terribly crippling, even though the one bearing them does not look sick.

*All those suffering with health issues which result in seasonal flare-ups, like arthritis, fibromyalgia and others--for the same reason as above.

Always know that I pray for those who ask me to do so.  Your intentions are always brought before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament when you ask for my prayers.