Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Ladder of Divine Ascent

Lent is marching onward. Last Sunday was the Ladder of Divine Ascent Sunday. This morning our priest sent out a quote from the book Ladder of Divine Ascent by John Climacus (c. 579-649). He was abbot of the monastery of Catherine on Mount Sinai. His Ladder was the most widely used handbook of the ascetical life in the ancient Greek Church.

I really like this quote and thought you might like it too. 

"The first step toward freedom from anger is to keep the lips silent when the heart is stirred; 

the next, to keep thoughts silent when the soul is upset; 

the last, to be totally calm when unclean winds are blowing."  

Monday, March 23, 2015

Moses is 9

Moses is lucky enough to have his birthday on St. Patrick's Day...his brother's patron saint. Fun day!! It's all about green....and celebrating.

Cam took Moses's bike into the shop for a surprise make-over. I wasn't too sure about the orange tires on the yellow frame but...WOW....Moses loved it!! Also new hand grips, water bottle holder with Ethiopian flag water bottle, and a tune-up. 

The good thing is he is highly visible....you can see him from the moon!

Moses chose pizza for dinner! This was great for multiple reasons....pizza is not a restaurant that's crowded on St. Pat's Day, it's delicious....especially in the middle of Lent, and it was fun!

Our favorite part is the basket of BlowPops. Everyone enjoyed some sugar on the way home. It was a dessert warm-up. 

Birthday dessert is traditional....mint ice cream pie with chocolate crust. Yummy! And yes, I am wearing a nightgown to serve dessert....I guess I forgot that I'd be in the photos. 

Happy Birthday to my sweet mild tempered easy going helpful kind hard working talented 9 year old! You are a delight to have as a son and a sibling! I can ALWAYS count on you to help me...willingly and happily! You have a kind heart and I am proud of you. "Be a good neighbor" is a lesson you have taken to heart and strive to live out each day. You are a talented artist and have amazing agility in sports. You are strong and dedicated. I love you my precious Bear!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Dancing Boy

This handsome guy went to his prom. He knew it was coming up and was really excited!! He kept saying, "shoes" and pointing at his feet. He knows he gets some new clothes for the big dance. 

I bought him two shirts and bow ties and let him choose which he wanted to wear. He LOVED his blue shirt and fun tie. 

He also got a new haircut. After years of keeping his hair really short I've been letting the top grow out. He is much better about letting me fix it now and it looks SUPER cute!! He goes around pointing at his head and showing off the new do!

He had a fantastic time dancing the night away!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Art Docent Georgia O'Keefe Flowers

One more Art Docent post to get me caught up. We learned about the American artist Georgia O'Keefe and then made O'Keefe style flowers. The flowers were done in chalk on black construction paper. 

They turned out AMAZING!!! 

I had to show you which flower Mr. P drew. Isn't it lovely....and frame worthy! The pic below is just a fun one of him with his good buddy. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Art Docent Moon Scene

Moon Scene:

The next lesson I did was a moon scene and tree. We learned about color value. We used tempura paint on black construction paper. The lesson begins with a white moon and then by adding small amount of blue the rings around the moon become darker. Next, purple is created by adding some red. Finally black is added and then just black is used out to the edge of the page. The tree is a bare winter tree and is painted on with the same black paint and a smaller brush.

They turned out beautiful!!

It was a fun...and messy project. Next time I'll have the kids cover their desks with newspaper first. But...then I would have missed the craziest cleanup...and a lot of fun.

The kids used shaving cream to clean the paint off the desks. Who knew?! It worked really well...and then they had a ball "shaving". What a fun group of kids!

Art Docent

This year I volunteered to be the Art Docent in Mr. P's 5th grade classroom. I am not an artist but I decided to step out of my comfort zone and do it. I'm so glad I did!!

It has been SO FUN!! The kids are a great group!! I teach one lesson per month. Mr. P helps me choose what I will teach. I wanted to share what we've done so far. I'm so impressed!! 

Lego Person:

The kids each made a Lego person of themselves. The head is squarish, the body trapezoid, legs rectangles and the hands claw like. They had to add details that represent their interests and style. They used pencil to draw it out and then colored it in using markers. They background had to be filled in also using a bold pattern. They turned out amazing!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Lenten Journey

The newness of Lent has worn thin. We are in the thick of it now. The excitement I felt at the start has gone missing. Time to regroup and continue to press forward. It's easy to become discouraged but I'm no longer a Lenten rookie so I know if I carry on I will be grateful for my effort.

Fasting: I reminded the kids at the start of Lent that our meals would not be their favorites. That they would like some but not all of them. I told them that fasting isn't Cam and I's favorite meals either but it's what we do and we weren't going to complain.

The kids have done really well! I try to put at least one fruit on the dinner table. This year I bought applesauce and canned mandarin oranges (even though they are from China...which gave Cam a stroke). But, that little bit of sweet seems to make a difference. I told the kids that Lent is somber and yet there is a sweetness to it. Just like our meals! Also, the kids know they can have a PB&J any time instead of the offered dinner. But, so far nobody has chosen that.

I have enough recipes in my Lenten repertoire that cooking is much easier than it was years ago. Even with lots of recipes it's not our regular meals. To tell you the truth...the food gets bland...and boring...and old. But, I guess that's the point. I keep reminding myself to keep it simple. I naturally love to cook and I truly LOVE yummy food....but I have to constantly redirect my desires. Again, that's the point.

Services: We have a special Wednesday night service during Lent that we go to as a family. The first week of Lent we couldn't attend it so last week was our first one. To tell you the truth I wasn't wanting to go. It's really hard for me to leave the house after the kids all get home from school. I'm tired and my day feels done.....pj and slipper time. Cam was working later than usual so we opted to meet him at a parish closer to his work. I gathered up the kids...meaning frantically fed them, and hustled them into the van.

Once we arrived and I walked into the nave I was glad I had come. Standing in church with my family is one of my favorite things...albeit one of those things I forget that I like so much. It's like exercise....I like it once I do it! Going to church is exercise for my soul.

The pic above is so precious. Moses was feeling sleepy and he laid his head on Tuba's lap. Tuba was rubbing his head. Standing in church together is a great time for us to show affection to one another. It reminds us that we are there for each other. That we are connected.

Prayer: We say the Lord's Prayer together on the way to school each morning. Sometimes I add a few things that we are thankful for and sometimes I remind the kids to act with courage and love. We talk about ways kids can do that at school...things like comforting someone, stopping bullying, standing up for what they believe in. In the evening we pray together as a family. Truthfully...it often feels rushed and chaotic. It's the END of the day after all and we are all tired and Cam and I are anxious to see the kids off to bed. During Lent I've begun standing with my eyes closed. It helps me to focus...and not notice EVERY LITTLE THING going on around me.

I am working on letting some silence in. If I am home alone or in the car alone I am forcing myself to notice the view and sit with the silence. I spend some time saying the Jesus pray...Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me. It is very calming to soak in some silence.

That Let It Go Thing: I'm sure I am much better at reminding my kids...or Cam to Let It Go than I am at doing it myself. But, I have had a few successes this Lent. I tell myself that if I still feel annoyed/bothered/driven to comment after a few hours...or a night's sleep...then I can say it. But what do you know...most often I forget or it just doesn't seem as important anymore. So,  a few small victories over my mouth are good. I'll persevere and continue to zip it/clamp it/stow it. After all...I am the example that my children are watching. Plus....it's good for me too.

Screen Time: The kids aren't having any video game time and very little screen time at all for Lent. They have watched a couple movies so far on the weekends. It has been AMAZING!!!! They did this amazing thing called.....PLAYING TOGETHER!!! On Saturday morning they were all building Legos together and then they went OUTSIDE to ride bikes at 9:00 am. Whoa!!! I am not going to give them back video games! Shhhhhh......don't tell them!

Cam and I are screen limited also. Facebook is such a temptation for me. I like to plop down when I'm tired and check out what my family and friends are doing. I had to delete the app off of my phone.  ...that will help me not be tempted.

I'll leave you with this Kairos moment. I went for a walk with Mr. P the other night. God's creation is splendid!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Tuba News

Tuba is loving his first "job" this year. The above pic was taken at his job. He is still at the high school but now in a program to learn about and try out different jobs. At age 21 he will exit this program ready to work.

He is currently working at our school district headquarters. He LOVES it!! He shreds paper, stocks paper in the copy machine, cleans tables (okay...he doesn't like this task), and delivers interoffice mail. 

The employees all know Tuba and they love having him working at the office. It's a perfect job for him as he loves to socialize and feels comfortable in the environment. 

His class takes lots of community outings too. They shop for groceries and make their own lunches. Tuba really likes the grocery store and is quick to say, "EWWWW" to a food he's not fond of. 

His seizures have been much better. Thank you to everyone that prays for him! He has only had a large seizure about once a week or every other week....instead of several a day. So glad!! He does have a few small quick ones a day (they look like a startle and last only a second).

Tuba lost about 20 lbs. when the seizure activity increased and his meds had to increase. One of his meds was subsequently decreased. He has now regained most of the weight. He is always saying, "eat"and pointing at the fridge....a true teenager bottomless pit! 

Cam has decided to do some triathlons with Tuba! We already have the bike trailer to pull Tuba in and now Cam bought a special needs stroller. Cam runs and pushes Tuba! The man is crazy....and fit....and crazy. Tuba LOVES it and yells "faster, faster" at Cam. For the swim portion of the event Cam is going to pull Tuba in a raft that's tied to himself. They haven't tried that portion yet. 

A finally....a funny Tuba story. Tuba has a couple naughty words or phrases he says. It's really embarrassing because he says them VERY clearly. His favorite thing to say when he's mad...or just trying to get attention is "ass". Then if he's really worked up he likes to say "ass balls". Now, I'm DYING to even tell you this. I can assure you that nobody in our house goes around yelling, "ass balls" so he didn't get it for one of us.....Okay, maybe the ass part but not the two together. Ugh! He made up this little creation all on his own. If he's SUPER MAD he will string together "poopy ass ball". Oh.My.Word. I don't even know what to say to that. 

I will admit that secretly Cam and I laugh about the Ass Balls phrase. If one of us is having a bad day we will send a text saying Today is ASS BALLS!! It makes us laugh. I told my friends at book club about Tuba's phrase. They loved it. They all started saying it to their husbands...the husbands all started saying it too. For a surprise my book club had t-shirts made that have a donkey (ass) and a bunch of soccer, football, and basketballs on the front. I about died laughing! They totally "get" Tuba which made me get all teary.

So...the funny story part. At Tuba's IEP meeting his speech therapist and I were talking about ways to redirect and get him to stop saying his naughty words. She has been working with him to be polite....say excuse me, etc. 

The other day I was coming up from the basement with a  big basket of laundry. Tuba wanted to come down so he says to me, "MOVE!". I kindly told him that he needed to be polite. He responded so nicely with, "Excuse me". I was so thrilled and praised him. Then as he passed me he belted out, "ASS!!". Of course I couldn't laugh so I held it until I was in another room. Well, at least he got the polite part right. It's a work in progress.

That's my Tuba. He's a gem. He regularly comes to get me to look at the sunset. He's my built in sunset alarm clock. Love him!


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