Saturday, February 14, 2015

Learning Notes XVIII

I'm sorry this post is so long and with so very many pictures but it has, once again, been a very long week. Maybe next week will be more laid back. Next week begins Lent, so it has to be calmer right?

Sunday, February 8th
We went to Mass at our usual 10am and the girls were surprisingly not bad, despite having missed Mass the previous Sunday. I even got to hear part of the homily, which had something I loved in it. He talked about how everyone has a calling, a universal vocation to solitude and while people can be called to varying degrees of solitude, everyone is called to some degree of solitude with God, to appear naked and alone before God and be transformed by Him.

After lunch at Chilis, the girls showed Grandpa some of their video games. They tried to get him to play them with them but video games are not his forte. And he had to catch a plane back home that evening.
Monday, February 9th, St. Apollonia
Monday was busy. We got the laundry sorted and started and then went to gym class. While the oldest three were in class, Teresa played with a group of other littles
and Brigid pretty much clung to me like glue. There is one little boy there that has really taken a liking to Teresa. He isn't in this shot, but he is the one that invited her to play with them. And last time Teresa was sitting pouting about not playing and he came over and asked her to play and she got up and hugged him. It is too too cute!
Anyway, one of the things all the girls like to do at gym is pop quarters in game machines and get bouncy balls and bounce them all over the place. Unfortunately one little boy's bouncy ball bounced particularly well directly into Teresa's eye. She didn't take it especially well, so once their class was over, we went to the car and to perk Teresa up, I picked up Chick Fil-A on the way home.
After lunch I sat the girls down and had them do their Geography, Handwriting and History. They are starting to get a bit tired of WWII, but there was one half of a chapter left I wanted to touch on, specifically the creation of the modern nation of Israel and why there is such conflict about it. They colored a picture of the Israeli flag while I read.
Thomas got a bath and I kept the laundry moving. When James got home I ran out and got the extra ribbon I needed.

Tuesday, February 10th, St. Scholastica
I had plans to get more done today than I did but a rude headache hit me midday and lasted until evening. Cecilia did her English focusing on verb tenses and one math lesson. Elizabeth wowed me sitting down and doing all 10 pages of her math for the week. Felicity struggled but she finished the math from last week, which was 3 pages. She really didn't seem to be feeling well. I was very patient, never scolding but only encouraging and she was still on the verge of tears. So I took the 3 pages and let it go hoping she wasn't getting sick or anything. Maybe just those 7 year old mood swings? I did get all three of the oldest girls to sign a birthday card for their cousin and another for James' dad and make him some pictures to send him for his birthday.

After lunch I had planned to do religion but my head hurt so much I just let it go. I took two ibuprofen, got some hot tea and a shower, which helped enough that we got all the laundry put away, but after Teresa screamed at me for about 20 minutes it was back again as though I'd never done anything to get rid of it. I made the girls leftover spaghetti alfredo with broccoli and peas and read Pajama Time to Brigid more times than I can count. It is one of her current favorites along with The Going to Bed Book and I Like it When. Although just before bed she found the Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? book and seemed to enjoy it dancing as I read it.

Wednesday, February 11th, Our Lady of Lourdes
I was shocked that Thomas slept 8 1/2 hours and woke to James' alarm at 5, which annoyed me (I can usually sleep through such things) but I took the opportunity to grab Thomas and give him a much needed feeding before I fell asleep again for a little bit. I woke up at 6 when Teresa came to our bed and I could hear another alarm, this one much louder. At first I was worried it was one of the girls' alarms but it was coming from downstairs. On the kitchen table was Cecilia's new meteorological device with the alarm beeping so loud it was very audible even upstairs in our bedroom. Fortunately it didn't wake anyone else, though I still wonder if it woke Teresa.

Elizabeth finished her English and Spelling completing her individual work for the week. Cecilia did two math lessons, and Felicity did 9 pages of math. Felicity really hasn't been feeling well but I don't think she is sick. She has no physical symptoms. She is just very sensitive and emotional. She hid under a blanket and said she didn't want anyone to see her and began sobbing. When I asked why and what was wrong, she couldn't articulate an answer. She knows she doesn't feel happy but she has no idea why. Explaining hormones and mood swings to a 7 year old isn't easy but it does seem to start when my girls are 7. Nine pages of math though was pretty impressive, so I was happy she got that done.

After lunch, Brigid fell asleep on the sofa and I got Thomas asleep for a nap and then I ducked into the basement to clean some. The entire basement is an absolute mess from the kids lego-scattered corner to the toys and laundry to my fabric scattered project table and boxes added and moved and opened and Christmas stuff not yet put away. I spent about 2 hours putting away all the Christmas and Advent stuff nicely organized and labelled and reorganizing any and all boxes and sweeping about a third of the basement. The girls picked up some of the lego zone. Basically I got about 1/3 of the basement cleaned and organized which is a huge improvement.

Around 4 o'clock we sat down to do religion. We went over Commandments 6-10. We did 6 and 9 together focusing on marriage, family and purity. Then we did commandments 7 and 10 focusing on property, jealousy and respecting others and being grateful. Then we did commandment 8 focused on lying and loving the truth.

Thursday, February 12th, Lincoln's Birthday
Today was a field trip. We drove south passing the ever amusing sign:
 to visit Marytown, the Shrine of Saint Maximilian Kolbe. Since James has students from here, we got a guided tour, which had its pluses and minuses.
 On the upside, he was very informative, friendly and interesting. He showed us around and answered our questions about the shrine and the museum and the Franciscans there.
 This is barbed wire from Auschwitz.
 And one of the very few bodily relics of St. Maximilian Kolbe. Since his body was burned by the Nazis, his shaved beard was the only bodily relic left and it survived because he was shaved before entering the camp and the man who shaved it off, knowing of Kolbe's reputation, tried to save it. Kolbe actually scolded him not to make a Saint of him and ordered him to throw it into the fire, which the man did, but since the fire wasn't lit, he went back for it later.
 Having been studying WWII, I thought this would be a good field trip for the kids since it focuses on a Saint. I liked this reference for all the different badges the Nazis used.
 And I thought it especially interesting and fitting that the same company that made the deadly gas used in the gas chambers is the same company that today makes the Plan B abortion pill.
 A brick and mortar from Auschwitz.
 The only downside to the tour is that it was harder for us to control what the girls saw and didn't see and there were just a few photos of piles of dead bodies that Cecilia saw that did upset her, understandably. I wasn't really intending for her to see that yet and I wish she hadn't but I think having daddy there helped her recover better.
 They have an impressive collection of dolls in all sorts of different religious women's habits. Some are antique dolls, some are cheap recycled Barbies.

 The Friar who gave us our tour said they could do a collection of monks but they just aren't as fun as the women have much more varied and beautiful habits.
 The chapel is simply gorgeous. It is loosely based on the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.
 In the back are statues of St. Francis and St. Benedict.
 And hanging in 8 frames around the back half of the church are dozens of relics. They had several from our girls' patron Saints but Cecilia was bummed she couldn't find one of hers so when I saw this one I snagged a picture to show her later.
 There are two side chapels, of which this is the larger and both are exquisite.
 It had life size statues of Our Lady of Lourdes flanked by St. Jude and St. Kolbe.
 A mosaic of St. Kolbe
 Around the inside of the main chapel are beautiful huge mosaics of Saints, this one of St. Elizabeth of Hungary and St. Louis.
 Many of the mosaics and paintings are lined in gold and the detail work I could gaze at for hours.
 Elizabeth along side Pope Francis in the gift shop! :)
 Brigid found the carousel of crucifixes and could not refrain from grabbing Jesus. "Jesus!"
 And there were so many Jesus' to be had! "Jesus! Jesus! JESUS!"
 I almost felt bad making her put them back. (Why are nice, simple, wooden crucifixes so insanely expensive? I mean, these are pretty simple and yet each is over $50.)
Before we went to lunch, we drove around the campus of Our Lady of the Lake Seminary, also known as Mundelein Seminary. It is a gorgeous campus but, alas, we did not run into Fr. Barron. If we had I would have spared no humiliation to ask for a selfie with him but we couldn't even get out of the car to see the chapel as all the girls were hungry and Teresa was having a bit of a meltdown. Although I suppose wandering around the seminary with the kids like that might help cement some vocations. But I'm a huge fan of Fr. Barron's preaching and really enjoy listening to him, so some day I hope I can get down there to hear him.

After we got home, I cleaned another 1/3 of the basement.

Friday, February 13th, St. Catherine de Ricci
Cecilia jumped in during breakfast to finish her Spelling and be done for the week. Felicity did her Spelling and last page of Math before taking a break while I vacuumed James' office and the living room. Then when Thomas went down for a nap, I snuck down to the basement and began working on the final third that needed unpacking/cleaning/organizing. I made about an hour or so worth of progress before Thomas woke up and it helped that Felicity came down to help me. Once he got up, Felicity and I got to work on her English, which she finished.
The afternoon scored the victory of a shower for me and the finishing of the cleaning of the basement.
Lego Heaven
The atrium finally unpacked and set up. 
Pictures still packed, spare boxes and boxsprings, holiday decor, etc.  
The dog cage, my project table and craft supplies storage cabinet. 
Can walk to the laundry without tripping now!
James' extra books, keyboard and exercise equipment.
Train/Block/Remote-control Car station (with Felicity's art projects waiting to be begun.)
A few weeks ago we began making Friday nights our family movie/game night. This week we watched Despicable Me, which the girls really enjoyed. They LOVED the minions.

Saturday, February 14th, St. Cyril, St. Methodius, St. Valentine
This morning I had arranged for Cecilia's Explorer unit and our one Pioneer girl from our AHG troop to receive a lesson at the Kenosha Bowmen. All the Explorers earned their Archery badges and had fun learning about bows, arrows and shooting about 20 per girl of their own. Afterwards the Bowmen provided cupcakes and a pin for each girl and they got to take their targets home. I'm so thankful it was a very successful outing and I'm going to look into maybe Cecilia and I taking lessons together.

There were 5 extra cupcakes leftover that were bequeathed to us, so the girls shared them when we got home as well as some candy treats I had prepared.

Happy St. Valentine's Day!

More Learning Notes at Melanie's!

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