Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Happy Birthday, Eaglets!

I found out through our local homeschool loop about a live 24 hour feed watching a pair of Bald Eagles on their nest.

We watched the eagles take turns sitting on the nest through snowstorms and high winds.
 She laid 3 eggs and sat faithfully only leaving for brief periods to stretch her wings and eat.
Sometimes they added to the nest. 

A day or two ago, one of them brought a dead fish onto the edge of the nest. I guess they knew it was soon, because today two of the eggs hatched!

 And one of the eagles has been shredding the fish and feeding them!
If you haven't seen it, I recommend checking it out. They are so beautiful and it is so neat to watch.

Happy 4th Birthday, Teresa Marie!

On Saturday, my parents and James took the four oldest to see Cinderella in the movie theater. She keeps asking to go again. 
 When we asked her what kind of cake she wanted, she answered, "Pink!"
 Pink is her favorite color, if you couldn't tell.
 And she loves having everyone sing Happy Birthday to her.
 Amazing photobomb by the dog there. Apparently she knew she wasn't going to get any cake.
 She loves Lego so Duplos were a must and a welcome addition to our Duplo collection.

 A My Little Pony the original TV series DVDs.
 Books!!! "This is Not My Hat" "Giggle, Giggle, Quack" "The Grufflo" "Julia's House of Creatures" "Miss Fannie's Hat"

 Shaun the Sheep DVD Season 2.

 "Frozen" clothes from James' parents as well as coloring books and a plush Hello Kitty.
 Sofia the First Duplo set. It has a pegasus. A purple one. Couldn't resist.

 Her own sleeping bag. The next time we drive part way across the country she can use hers and I get mine back! Or Brigid borrows mine. :)
 Cecilia made minions for Teresa on Minecraft.
 My dad, James and I spent time from Thursday through Monday putting together the playground my parents had bought for the kids. It moved here with us but spent the winter in the garage.
 The kids have been having a blast on it!
 This morning we went to the Milwaukee Zoo - a perfect outing for my wild Teresa.

 Teresa and the elephants! (With Felicity in front)
 Teresa and the tigers!

 Teresa and the lions.
 Teresa and her giraffes.
 And a birthday lunch at Red Robin with singing and an ice cream sundae.
A long but very successful birthday weekend of movies with popcorn and M&Ms, swings and slides, chutes and ladders, elephants and giraffes, cake and ice cream. It might be tough to top next year, but she is worth it. Happy Birthday, Teresa!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Learning Notes XXII

I confess this Learning Notes will be less organized since I didn't write it as the week progressed but at the end of the week.

We skipped gym this week. I just needed a break and wanted to focus on getting some school work done Monday morning (it frustrates to lose all of Monday morning for gym class) but it turned out to be a good call anyway since 4 of the kids had colds.

Cecilia makes herself a salad. I have 3 salad eaters: Cecilia, Elizabeth and Brigid. It seems to skip kids. 
Cecilia, Felicity and Elizabeth completed all their math, spelling and english for the week as well their handwriting and we did two chapters in religion since we had missed religion last week. It really wasn't hard to catch up though. They focused on the person of Jesus as the Divine Son and the Son of Mary: one person with two natures and on his mission and how he demonstrated that this was true.
Cecilia is learning about predicates and direct objects.
 Wednesday evening we joined James at the seminary for evening prayer and dinner. I cannot begin to tell you how much I enjoyed evening prayer. I haven't prayed it with a group in so very long and I got to explain to Cecilia and Felicity how the two sides of the church were alternating the psalms but saying the antiphons together, etc. It was so lovely to hear it as a group again. Unfortunately we only grabbed one paper with the prayers on it so I had to pull up my iBrievery on my phone... I hope no one was thinking I was using it for anything else. Our crew can be distracting enough. But they are always very kind when we are at the seminary. Very few of the faculty or staff have young children so when we show up we attract a crowd. Quite a few of the priests, professors and deacons visit our table to marvel at the kids. The rector always stops by and held Thomas this time. One of the assistants brought out coloring books and dealt out pages to color with crayons. We've even had seminarians from other countries ask to take our picture because there are no families our size where they come from. The girls didn't care for the dinner although it was quite good (steak with gravy, mushroom risotto and green beans), they jumped from the fruit salad to the desserts. I swear Teresa must have been full of cookies. And even though they didn't have the soft-serve running, the girls found the cones and munched on empty ice cream cones. It was a long day though and a bit of a late evening but the girls loved seeing the moon and stars on the way home!
19 months apart, but is it any wonder everyone asks me if they are twins?
Brigid learned she loves peanut butter but she will only eat with with her finger off of bread.  Of course.
On Thursday, Teresa's glasses were ready and I took her to pick them up. She looks so adorable in them. On the one hand, I'm sad she needs glasses so young and will have to have them (barring surgery) for the rest of her life. On the other hand, I am so, so, so grateful she has and is getting what she needs so early and quickly and before we started trying to teach her to read. 

 My parents flew in for a visit on Thursday and on Friday we began pulling the playground pieces out of the garage to put it all together. It is like putting together a giant puzzle.
 We hung the plastic parts in the tree so Rosie couldn't chew them.
A Playground Tree!
When Brigid is outside and we were working, I leashed Rosie so her exuberance wouldn't scare Brigid but once leashed she barked continuously, so I had to muzzle her. But Teresa comforted her.
 You can see her glasses transition to shades.
 On Saturday, James and my parents took Cecilia, Felicity, Elizabeth and Teresa to see the new Cinderella movie. I stayed home with Brigid and Thomas, both of whom would have been too difficult in a 2 hour film.
The cute little beanie Thomas wore the day he was born is now almost the right size to be a yarmulke. Boy those baby heads grow fast! 
Thomas is practicing sitting up, does many more push ups than I can do, and is getting close to crawling.

Happy Passion Sunday!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Learning Notes XXI

Sunday we all went to Mass, for the first time all together since Ash Wednesday, had lunch at Chilis as a belated celebration for St. Felicity's Feast Day (we were not up for Chilis just coming off the plague on March 7th) and taught Cecilia to ride her bike, but since learning to ride a bike was its own post, I'm just jumping into Monday.

Monday, March 16th
Monday was crazy busy. We had gym class, which went well except when Teresa tried to wander out of the building into the parking lot. After Chick Fil-A for lunch, we all went outside for some bike riding and Felicity learned to ride her bike without training wheels.
For a break, we did history and went over a bit about the Cold War, the Space Race and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Cecilia did her geography and all three girls did their handwriting before heading back outside for more bike riding.

Then I took the oldest three plus Thomas to our AHG meeting where Cecilia and Felicity learned about service dogs and got to meet Pepper, a poodle service dog for an autistic boy, and I led the Pathfinders learning about the Star Spangled Banner and the American flag. We made flags of popsicle sticks and glue, listened to The Star Spangled Banner and listened as I read aloud The Biggest (and Best) Flag That Ever Flew.

Tuesday, March 17th, St. Patrick's Day
Elizabeth and Felicity each did half their math and Cecilia did her English. Otherwise they made St. Patrick's Day mobiles, watched a video on St. Patrick and played outside some more. I made potato skins for lunch and beef stew for dinner, which the kids wouldn't eat but James and I enjoyed. Honestly, I was too tired to do much. I haven't sleep well in weeks and after Monday I just needed a day to recover.

Wednesday, March 18th, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Daddy's Birthday!
Felicity and Elizabeth both finished their math for the week and Cecilia did her spelling. We went to Red Robin to celebrate James' birthday.

After we got home, James took Teresa to her first appointment with a pediatric ophthalmologist. I began noticing in February that Teresa's left eye would occasionally drift inwards and not be aligned properly. We were hoping it was simply a lazy eye but it turned out a bit more complicated than that. Basically, her left eye has astigmatism, which is genetic, and it has been causing her eye to overwork trying to focus and thus become tired and turn inward compensating. So the doctor prescribed her glasses, which we are hoping will correct the problem. She will wear her glasses for 5-7 weeks and then get rechecked and if the glasses alone don't correct the problem, she will need to wear a patch for a while to see if that will do it. If that doesn't do it, surgery will become the last resort.
When James came home with Teresa, she wasn't very fond of doctors but was consoled with chocolate chip cookies and a small birthday cake for James. We sang happy birthday and James opened his presents before he had to head to work.
Salad thief.
Thursday, March 19th, St. Joseph
Thursday I woke up to Cecilia feeling unwell. So she didn't get any school work done that morning. She rested. But Felicity and Elizabeth both did their Spelling.

Despite the cooler temperatures, the girls still tried to get out for a bit each day. I've put up a so many videos of Cecilia and Felicity... here are a couple of Brigid on her beloved train. In the first one, what she keeps saying is, "I see? I see? I see? I see!" She wants to see what I am filming.

In the afternoon I took Teresa to a local vision place to get fitted for her new glasses. She was so cute trying them on and she looked absolutely adorable with glasses. We are getting her the Miraflex frames and the works on her lenses both because we are hoping they will correct a problem so we want them to be as good as possible to give them their best shot and because this way they are warrantied for 2 years. She picked out a lavender frame. I'm really hoping they will be ready within the week or so.

Friday, March 20th
Cecilia did two math lessons and Felicity and Elizabeth did their English.

Thomas turned 5 months old. Recovering from the super-virus, I finally finished his rosary. (I make one for each child, usually while they are in the womb, but, well, last year I was fortunate just to know his name before he was born let alone much else.) His is made of tiger eye beads and his crucifix has the medal of St. Benedict in it.
It was actually just within the last month or so that we received a card of congratulations packet from our governor. Standard to be sure, with a generic vaccination chart, but it was still nice to think our governor didn't view our son as a burden on the state but rather a welcome addition.
In honor of turning 5 months, Thomas decided he could get up on all fours and might as well begin rocking back and forth like this. As any seasoned parent knows, crawling is not far away.
And he has been working on his giggles. We don't have a full blown belly laugh yet, but his giggles are contagious.

Saturday, March 21st
Per Elizabeth's request, I did take off her training wheels but, as I suspected, she is not yet ready, and I put them back on after a couple laps of trying.

I also went through the girls dresses and, now that Felicity and Elizabeth (who share a size) are up to bigger dresses, Teresa and Brigid do not need double wardrobes of dresses, so I siphoned out some and sold them to some local Catholic moms for their girls. (Brigid and Teresa had accumulated about 25 dresses each... it was nuts.) And I finally went around and measured all the girls' feet to see who needs new shoes.

And I think I figured out that, as long as Thomas' naps are reasonably timed and in his crib, he has shrunk down to 2 naps per day, and since I've figured that out, his nighttime has begun to improve. It isn't perfect yet, but it is getting there. I may sleep yet!