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Homeschool Highlights

Lucy and her friend were practicing multiplication tables this morning (not my idea – I love having extra kids around sometimes!) and they decided it would be fun to make it into a Go Fish! game.  So they did.  And spent half an hour or so playing 6 Times Table Go Fish.

Just caught Clare explaining to another friend about how difficult it was for Michelangelo to carve David (“and if he made a tiny mistake, just this big, the whole thing would be ruined!”) and retelling the story of The Library Mouse.  Narration?  Done.

And as I type, Isaac is trying to put an apple slice in my pocket.  Earlier he was working on building train tracks.

In other news, I should be putting my first children’s book manuscript in the mail in the next couple of days.  Pray hard!  Asking St. Therese of Lisieux for special help, since it is about her, after all.  (And if you want a preview, let me know and I’ll send the text along.)

Homeschool…it’s been a while

So it’s been a while…like almost three years…but yesterday morning was too much fun not to record.

Samantha was up before 7 asking for paints to finish the canvas she’d drawn on. (It’s a split image of a Holy Spirit dove and a crucifix.)

We got dressed, had breakfast, etc.

Then came the morning routine of Book of Saints (St. Jerome today!), Life of Fred, and today’s special: “How are mammals and fish different?” More work to do there the next couple weeks. And Story of the World part III starts next week, if the book ever gets here. My fault – I sent it to the old address and the post office can’t seem to forward it very quickly.

Then I came in from trying to change the alternator in the Honda (success! In case you were wondering) and found:

Clare running a ballet class (including stretching) for a 1-, a 2-, a 3-, and a 4 year-old,
Samantha engaged in Legos with a 5- and a 6-year-old,
And Lucy (who only does math with moping and sighing) happily doing Saxon math with her 9-year-old friend.

And apparently the older girls had the little girls color drawings of their hearts for the life-sized human body tracings they made of them. I know this because Clare’s heart was left out on the homeschool room table.

And the older girls are also on a crochet kick, which has taught them hand-eye skills, and taught Samantha that there is an end to the length of tape measures. And that they don’t work well anymore if you pull them too far.

Now the crochet chains are going into the tent plans.

Week Three: The Letter C

Well.  We’ve made it through another week, somehow.  It was actually pretty laid back until today.  Took the girls to run errands, then the nurse called back and said it might be a good idea to bring Lucy in for the swollen bump on her arm (just a little infection, nearly healed, so no need to worry), and so we spent two hours at the urgent care clinic.  At lunch time.  And I still have to go pick up the medicine, since it wasn’t ready when we went and I wasn’t up to entertaining the girls any longer.  But we made it through lunch, and I’ve got the cranberry cookies in the oven.
Next we drop the girls with “Aunt B” so Craig and I can go to the first True Fasting meeting, which will be our Friday afternoons pretty much until Thanksgiving.  Then it’s to the Verrett’s for a back to school party.  If I’m still awake.  But like I said, the rest of the week was calmer.
We made C’s and clouds out of cotton balls (Sam made a bird nest instead.  You know Sam!)  Lucy worked on writing out number words and cursive, which was her favorite thing to do this week.

This week’s reading included:

illustrated by Barbara Cooney-

Emma by Wendy Kesselman

And we’re back

A tablet computer has reappeared in our house.  I am ambivalent about this, but it means I don’t have an excuse not to write anymore.  So we’ll see how I do.  For now:
Why I think I like Louisiana better than Texas:
Two words: heated restrooms at the rest stops.  Stop calling Louisiana backward, y’all.  At least we’ve (mostly) moved past outhouses.

The Gift of Compassion

I wrote once, years ago now, about an article in America Magazine called “A Fiery Gift,” in which the author argued that there are important spiritual insights to be gained from a natural birthing experience.  Essentially, she claimed (and I agree) that the pattern of birthing occurs often is our spiritual lives, and having the experience of physically birthing a child gives us a context against which to compare the movements we make toward growth in our souls.

In our Engaging Spirituality group we have discussed the different kinds of deaths we face – of ideas, dreams, plans, youth, etc., but birth has been largely left out until tonight.  But one of our group members, during centering prayer, came to a very similar conclusion to the author of that article.

Which got me thinking.  We try so hard to avoid suffering, or anything messy, really.  So much of life is messy!  Especially some of the best parts – birthing, making love, making mud pies.  And women’s bodies are messy, so we try to control them and clean them up.  Heaven forbid we be too smelly, or hairy, or anyone find out we have our period.  But like with birthing, when we push this all away, what are we missing?  The whole world works on beautiful, simple cycles of birth and death.  It is the Pascal Mystery – life, death, resurrection.  And our bodies do it every month, if only we allow them.  We complain about the discomfort of PMS or cramps, or crying for no apparent reason.  But what if God has really just given us a gift of tears that we aren’t humble enough to accept?  What if the “no reason” that sets us off at “that time of the month” is really the greatest reason of all – compassion, true suffering-with, for all those unnamed sufferers in our world?  Our ES group has been learning about the importance of holding the world in all its suffering in our hearts and lifting it up in prayer.  It sounds like a daunting task, but what if God created women – mothers all of us, biologically or not – to do just this caring, comforting, weeping at the foot of the cross, and to do it naturally, easily, every month?

I have to admit, I am more stable emotionally when I am pregnant or nursing than when I am am cycling.  And as I move back towards those constantly changing hormones, I feel the mood swings and sudden onset of tears acutely.  But I am grateful for the insight this prayer group, these readings, and these fellow sojourners in faith have gifted me with.  So that maybe, instead of cursing my body for being so inconvenient, I can now learn to welcome and bless God’s gift of tears as the opportunity for a deepening compassion.

From the Catholic Worker Journal

How to peel garlic in 10 seconds???!!!

We just came across this amazing technique on NPR this evening on how to peel a whole head of garlic in under 10 seconds…


How to Peel a Head of Garlic in Less Than 10 Seconds from on Vimeo.

Somebody could have pointed out to me…

I guess I’m supposed to keep up with these things, but I just realized the About page hasn’t been updated since I started this blog 2 1/2 years ago.  So now it has.  Tempus fugit!

Pictures and Video of Clare Anah


Clare Anah Baker

I will post photos as soon as I find my transfer cable, but Clare Anah was born this morning (early due to a 3am bleeding episode). Mom and Clare are doing well and resting. Thank you for your prayers!

UPDATE:  Thanks to Justin’s IPhone for the first photo: