Sunday, April 29, 2012

How We Spent Our Saturday

I have been a member of a wonderful e mail list, maryskeys, for about ten years. It is a list of Catholic women from all over.  They have seen me through everything over the last decade of  my life: wedding plans, early married life, years of infertility, miscarriage, they all kept vigil upon the birth of my first little miracle baby, and through all of Anna's ups and downs.  Even though many of us haven't met in real life true friendships have been forged.  One MKs member is Ben's Godmother and another is Beatrice's Godmother.

Every now and then the women of Maryskeys are able to get together in person.  We had one of these occasions yesterday.  One of the very dearest members of MKs, Cecilia, is from Italy where she is a very well known art historian/restorer.  She is in the US for a few months on a fellowship.  So we were able to all get together at another MKsers home to finally meet Cecilia and all have a day together.

The day was perfectly relaxed with plenty to eat, plenty to share, plenty of kids to run around.  Time flew by I thought.

Cecilia LOVED to hold the was a nice treat for me and a nice treat for Cecilia!

The beautiful wonderful Jessica holding the beautiful wonderful Beatrice!

Baby Regina getting SOOOOO big!  The last time I saw her she was 7wks old and the tiniest little thing!  Now she is crawling and sitting up and even more gorgeous than before!!

A most charming couple, Alfonso and Cecilia.

Cecilia so kindly saved my kids from Maximus, the Brons's very very large Golden Retriever.  My kids have an absolute terror of dogs, but if  you saw Maximus you would have to laugh.  He is the most docile and lovely dog.  A big mush of a dog with lots of fluff.  The dog would sooner lick them to death than bite them.  But either way Cecilia was there to protect them from ferocious Maximus!
the darling husband

And with what I can only assume are magical powers she got the very cranky strung out Annabella to sleep peacefully in her arms.  A true miracle.

This is little Jack Brons and Ben.  This Jack is a really special character.  I wish he lived right next door because I can see him becoming a dear friend for Ben.  He is quite charming and had such a knack of getting shy Benjamin to talk and play.  Outgoing but just in the right amount to please Ben and therefore please this mama.

And all the MKs ladies in attendance!

Thanks Lynn and family for such a wonderful day!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Seven Quick Takes

Every week I mean to participate in 7 Quick Takes but the thought of this computer moron figuring out how to add the button to my blog gave me cold sweats.  So I decided that the button isn't mandatory (I hope that is true) and as long as I mention the delightful Conversion Diary blog that that would be sufficient.  And it really is beyond delightful.  She is inspiring, brilliant, faithful, AND beautiful.

But enough about her ;)

1. Is there anything more delicious, heart warming, perspective giving, comforting than the first time you pick up your baby each day?  It nearly takes my breath away.

2. We got a lot of interesting child related medical news this week.  Ben:  all of his bloodwork came back normal...YIP YIP!!  And the results of his bone age xray showed "growth delay".....almost 2 years worth.  My 4yr2m old is comparable in size to a 2yr8m old!  This may sound awful, but it was actually great news!  His bones still show heaps of growth potential and he is likely a "late bloomer". Anna: in a strange twist of your new insurance company refusing to cover anything fate Anna isn't having to use her tube for overnight feeds.  Instead she needs to drink at least 4oz of a high calorie shake....and she has been doing it.  Prayers that her weight stays up and we will be tube free soon! Beatrice:  had her first visit to CHOP this week to visit a GI.  Because she is tiny....SURPRISE!  Anyway, the doc changed her reflux meds and gave us special instructions on how to concentrate her formula for extra calories.  Not sure if it coincidence or what but this girl is CHOWING down on this stuff now!!  So hopefully that will do the trick and our adventures into FTT with Bea will end here.

3.  I got new glasses.  They are PURPLE!!

4. When I had my eyes checked the Optometrist informed me that I no longer needed bifocals (which I have worn since I was 15).  I was VERY happy.  After 20 years of wearing bifocals I NEVER got used to them and I HATED to wear my glasses.  As I did a happy dance the doc informed me that the vision change was likely due to my AGE!!! Thanks lady.

5. I have a slight obsession with Gotye and his song: Somebody That I Used To Know.  I only liked him more after I heard that he was annoyed that Glee covered his song.  As far as I am concerned that just gave him more street cred.  I DO.NOT.GET.GLEE!!!!  Terrible, obnoxious versions of already sub par songs with a good dose of bad plot lines thrown in for good measure....what is the draw?!

6. In case you don't know the song I am talking about.....for your listening enjoyment:

 7.I am sitting here staring at my screen trying to come up with #7.  So I figured that can be my #7.  This is proof of my terribly addled mind.  I can't even think of 7 THINGS.  What I CAN tell you is this is taking way too long and my children are running wild.  Except for Beatrice who is in an exersaucer and looking pretty adorable exersaucering.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Get Your Act In Gear - Homeschool Style!

 This is definitely a post of random pictures.  But it is Homeschool Conference season again!!!  The time of year where all young homeschooling moms nearly give themselves a coronary trying to navigate through the endless mountains of programs, books, curriculum, education philosophies.  Only a homeschool mom can make Kindergarten seem like the most momentous event in a child's life.  Talk about making a mountain out of a mole hill.  And no one is more guilty of this than me!  I admit it.

The first conference of the year is our hometown Catholic Homeschool Conference.  The CHAPLET conference is run by my local homeschool group at my parish, so it is always a favorite.  My husband's publishing company, Arx Publishing, is a vendor.  And this year Beatrice vended as well *achem* LOL

So, after several mini coronaries on my part I think I have finally wrapped my mind around our homeschool plans for the rest of the spring/summer and next Fall:

-26 Letters to Heaven: A really sweet PreK program new at Hillside Education.  Saints and virtues with fun crafty activities to tie in Math, Science, and Literature.
-Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons- Pretty self explanatory.  Ben is doing a great job with the reading so we are getting a head start on some Kindergarten work now.  I have heard good and bad reviews of this program.  So I figured we would use it for the spring and summer and we can reevaluate closer to fall if we want to continue with it our swap it out for a different program.  Plus I received it free from a friend so why not give it a shot.
-Bob Books, Set 1: Beginning Readers great little set of VERY beginner readers.  They are really cute and crack me up.  Highly recommend these
-Seton Workbooks: A friend recommended these to me and after looking through them seemed just right to help Ben with the writing skills he REALLY needs to work on.

Come Fall I am hoping the Seton workbooks will have Ben's writing skills caught up enough (and when I say caught up I mean he can proficiently hold a pencil...yeah it is that bad....can competently trace letters, numbers, shapes, and can basically write the letters and numbers on his own with some semblance of legibility.) that we can start Mother of Divine Grace Kindergarten Program.

In another one of my efforts to get our tiny, storage deficient home to be more functional I rearranged the dining room yesterday.  With moving the dining table to another wall (and yes we pathetically must keep the table against the wall for more room to you...ya know.....walk!) I was able to move an unused bookcase into the dining room to store the homeschool materials that didnt really have a home.  And this also meant our fish were able to have a new home in the dining room instead of the basement!  And in case you wonder why their water is so dark it is from the tannins in the piece of bark that is in the water.  Over time the water will lighten up.  Yes, the water is clean.

And last, but not least.  A bit of advice for you moms out there that either 1. are just starting homeschooling and are overwhelmed by the choices and not even sure where to start or what their child needs at what age or 2. are thinking, "I can't bare the thought of sending little Jimmy off to that school, but homeschooling seems IM-POSS-IBLE!!! Talk to as many homeschooling moms as you can (trust me they generally love to talk about what they do).  Eventually a plan will start to make sense and things will come together.  And if you think you can't homeschool, too hard, too weird, to fringe....go to a conference and check it out.  These are families just like yours just trying to do what is best for their kids.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Update On Ben's Appointment

snuggling Beatrice while watching Fantasia (the Disney movie not the American Idol winner)

Ben's appointment went really well yesterday......probably because we didn't do the bloodwork yet.  The doctor said that we can confidently say that eating is no longer his problem.  That he is a good weight for his height.  This was such a relief for me after almost two years of him eating SOO minimally.  And worrying and worrying.  So, glad we took him off dairy.  I feel like one issue is finally positively resolved!

He is having bloodwork done to check his growth hormones.  Assuming those come back fine he will just be monitored every 6 months to see how he is growing.

I left actually feeling GOOD...instead of worry and anxiety.  Plus, Cla agreed to take Ben for the bloodwork for me.....TRULY a relief.  But prayers for a brave Ben please. 

Wordless Wednesdays

Monday, April 16, 2012

All The Randomness That's Fit To Print!

Oy! We have been busy living life here. A mix of nothing new, more of the same, the more things change the more they stay the same..

We had a lovely Easter and Passover with my family.  We were supposed to go to my BIL for Easter, but at the last minute my nephews got sick and between having an infant and a tube dependent child on the cusp of weaning we just didn't want to get into the gooks right now.  So, my cousin and his family gratefully saved Easter for us and invited us to their house at the last minute.

 found this Easter dress at a local consignment store for $8 brand new with tags.  I am SO in love with this dress!!

We are having another heatwave here.  Hit the 90s today and I broke down and turned the AC on and we set up the kids big blow up pool today.  Before that they make due with this tiny wading pool.

Anna had a great follow-up with the Feeding Team last week.  She had gained over a pound and is now between the 10th and 25th percentile for height and weight.  This is mind boggling to me!  I have NEVER had a AVERAGE!  So we have started weaning her from her tube.  She is down from 7hr feeds overnight to 5hr feeds.  The process is slow...just a few hours at a time every month or two.

AND Anna is potty trained!!  She was SOOOOOOOOOOO much easier to train than Ben...I think I have post traumatic stress disorder still from potty training Ben.  Anna took a day or two and other than an accident here and there she does great! SOOO proud of her and so happy to only have ONE diapered child!!

this little lady just LOVES to sit up so I broke out the Bumbo to see how she would do.  She sat here observing for over a half hour before she made her displeasure known.
impossible NOT to kiss and tickle those feet!!
Well, little Beatrice had her 3M weight check today.  *sigh* She is 9lbs9oz and she is 3M old tomorrow.  So far my tiniest baby.....which means she is super tiny!  She has dropped below the 5th percentile and so she will be seeing a pediatric GI at CHOP.  Sound familiar?  She just doesn't eat very much.  She is a happy, sweet baby girl, but.....not hungry?  So the testing will begin.  I am grateful that we will deal with any issues so early with her and hopefully be able to avoid any long lasting side effects like those that have plagued my older two. (and before anyone thinks it or says it..the issue isn't that she is a tiny baby, it is that she consistently loses curve on a growth unable to maintain herself).  Prayers appreciated.

it amazes me the things I find when I come downstairs in the morning...did you know some My Little Ponies have magnets in their feet?  Me neither.
Benjamin is learning to read!  He is amazing.  He brings new meaning to the term "slow and steady".  He knew his letters and letter sounds before 18M.  Then somewhere along the way he figured out how to sound words out but was completely incapable of then putting it together and figuring out the word he was sounding out.....even the simple idea of rhyming seemed to elude him. Then just a week or two a lightbulb went on he suddenly figured out how to sound a word out and then "put it together" as he says.  He can get through a few of the first BOB books and he is sounding words out wherever he can find them.  The same with numbers.  Number literacy is blossoming as well......all the way up to 100 with a few prompts from me here and there. 

Tomorrow he is seeing an endocrinologist to have an xray done to measure his bone age....and talk about possible endocrine reasons for his short stature.  He and Anna are currently wearing the same size clothing....and where Anna is growing by leaps and bounds Ben grows at a snails pace.  This is sort of the end of the line for him now that we have his food allergies under control and his eating so improved.  Prayers for him as I am sure there will be bloodwork involved.

Friday, April 13, 2012


Just a quick note to say I am a featured commenter over at Cynthia's wonderful blog Finding Great Joy.  She did a series this week on keeping the home organized with littles running around.

Thanks Cynthia!