Some days…

I’m not sure where the day went. We played outside a little, I managed to mostly keep up with the dishes, and then went to work for a few hours. 

Pumpkin and her Grandpa went to a string quartet concert, which she mostly slept through, and at bedtime, Pumpkin asked for help writing the playbill for her play “Fairy Knight.” 

Peanut had some potty training successes and some fails. 

Some days are just getting by. 

And Peach smiles and coos to help us keep our smiles!

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Bugs, bags, and inspiration

6 weeks ago, we had to bag up all our clothes and almost all our earthly possessions in order to have our house sprayed and eradicate a certain pest…

For 6 weeks, we’ve had almost no toys. Two baby dolls, some of our books, and a few toy kitchen appliances. And the kids? Today they’re making fancy fans out of napkins.

When shredded napkins didn’t work quite right, we found a YouTube video on how to make a fan, and then we made several together!

I love the creativity they have! And I hope that I can get rid of some toys so we have more freedom from stuff as we unpack our house again!

The only toys I’m excited to see again are the duplos and building blocks. And our art box!

 

Timeline and future learning

Yesterday, the kids played outside a lot, and I got carried away making a timeline. It goes back as far as 0 A.D. 

It’s old scratch paper and some lines, but each page represents 50 years. Simple, not incredibly pretty, but so far, we have these dates noted:

0: Jesus is born (I know not technically, but we’ll go with it for now!)

33: Jesus died and rose again

325: Nicene Council

476: (ok, might be off a hair, I’m not looking at it right now) Fall of Rome 

590-604: Pope St. Gregory the Great

800: Charlemagne crowned Holy Roman Emperor 

1252: St. Elizabeth of Hungary died

1373: St. Bridget of Sweden died

(Those two dates? Requested by Pumpkin since we talked about holy queens/royalty the other day!)

1492: Columbus discovered the Americas (we’ll add the Vikings living in North America at some point too)

1620: Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock

1776: Declaration of Independence 

1814: Star Spangled Banner written 

1861-65: US Civil War

1867: Laura Ingalls Wilder was born (we’re reading Little House in the Big Woods so this was of interest!)

In the 20th century we include: the Great Depression, WW I and II, landing in the moon, fall of the Berlin Wall, St. Gianna’s death, Mother Teresa’s death, great-grandma’s birth, all grandparents’ births, parents’ births. And in the 21st century: 9/11, death of John Paul II, parents’ wedding, sibling births–and that brings us to today!

Learning with the Hunter

Aside from taking Pumpkin hunting for ducks and doves, which provides opportunities to discuss conservation as well as other wildlife sightings, the Hunter watches documentaries with the wrapt attention of Pumpkin and Peanut. Some of our favorites include:

BBC’s Planet Earth and an awesome new favorite: Orbit: Earth’s Extraordinary Journey.

We’ve also watched and loved some of Peanut’s favorites: Wild Kratts and Octonauts! These shows have developed a love of wildlife and an understanding of species and habitats far beyond what I knew as a child!

Our days

I have a new and simple goal for this blog: snapshots of our days and what we learn as we live.

Yesterday: Columbus Day. We discussed with 5yo Pumpkin that Columbus’ goal was India. He was mistaken in the size of the earth and thus discovered continents otherwise unknown to each other. We also discussed how the people living where he landed lived and ate as well as how people lived in North America where we currently live (BISON as clothing, tent, and food). We discussed where our ancestors lived at the time of Columbus’ discovery (Italy, Ireland, and Germany to name a few). We talked about the ships that Columbus sailed and alternate routes to India.

Google Maps helped visualize and we googled for images of natives in the Bahamas, Great Plains of North America, as well as life during the late 1400s in Europe.

Social Studies: check.

Today: while pretending she was a queen, we discussed the stories of Queen Elizabeth of Hungary and her dedication to the poor (this would actually make an awesome Disney princess movie complete with evil queen and all). We talked about Queen Bridget (Brigitte?) of Sweden as well and her dedication to the poor and her many children.

In a little bit, we plan to make banana bread. Always a lesson in chemistry and math.

Pumpkin and Peanut (2.5yo) almost always manage to do the 100pc Poland puzzle from their aunt on a daily basis. Shapes, patterns, and geography in one!

Helping take care of their baby sister, Peach, has to count for something too!

Preschool

It’s preschool at home these days. And already, people are surprised that we’re homeschooling. “Well, that’s alright, preschool isn’t actually required…” was one answer I got. 

After all, preschool is about playing and developing, from what I can tell!

Here’s what my preschooler has done on her own today:

  • Listened to a book on people in different times and places
  • Built a sand castle
  • Picked, cleaned, and arranged in a serving dish cherry tomatoes
  • Built a tower and then a castle from blocks
  • Decorated for the feast of the Archangels and found the story about St. Raphael in her picture Bible

I’d say we’re doing alright just living and playing together!

Basilicas and Berlin

Yesterday, November 9th, was the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

688px-Berlin_1989,_Fall_der_Mauer,_Chute_du_mur_18 It was also the celebration of the Lateran Basilica.

How have I never seen the connection? Two physical structures. Two symbols of world views.

According to Whitaker Chambers’ Witness, “The Communist vision is the vision of man without God.” Communism is Man vs. God. Man without God.

What is the significance of the Lateran Basilica? It is the Cathedral of Rome. The symbol of the Church, the Papacy, the Rock, and God’s promise to never leave His Church alone.

Who triumphed over Communism? God. Who will always triumph over evil and man’s pride? God.

The Berlin Wall stood for all the evil of Communism and it fell on the feast of the Lateran Basilica–which stands for God’s Holy Church. How can we take this symbolic correlation into our own life? Listen to the words of St. Caesarius of Arles from yesterday’s Office of Readings:

Lateran_basilica

“My fellow Christians, do we wish to celebrate joyfully the birth of this temple? Then let us not destroy the living temples of God in ourselves by works of evil. I shall speak clearly, so that all can understand. Whenever we come to church, we must prepare our hearts to be as beautiful as we expect this church to be.”

“Rabbits?” We’re never supposed to be like animals

There’s so many reasons NOT to get overly excited over every little thing that Pope Francis says. First of all, he’s just expressing his own opinion–not everything that any pope says is actually “infallible” unless explicitly spoken “ex cathedra” (more on that here). Secondly, the media is always misconstruing what’s being said! It’s useless going into a frenzy unless you take the time to really read the text and context of whatever the Pope says.

"like rabbits?" photo by Andre Mouraux via flickr

“like rabbits?”
photo by Andre Mouraux via flickr

In this case, was he saying we shouldn’t be open to large families? Was he saying that NFP should always be used to avoid? No, he said that the Church doesn’t require people to constantly have children. He was saying that we are human beings, called to exercise responsible parenting. In context: the Church doesn’t say the poor in the Philippines have to have children–then he adds that the poor in the Church often see children as their greatest treasure. It’s beautiful!

Once again, Simcha Fisher has provided great explanations and some of the full text to provide context.

About the Pope’s “don’t be like rabbits” remark

Gender reveal and baby names

Our Pumpkin had her second birthday last month, and it just so happened that we were able to see our Baby #2 on Pumpkin’s birthday.

The following weekend, we had a birthday party, and Pumpkin got to unwrap a big box of…

Pumpkin's birthday present--pink balloons because a little sister is on the way!

Pumpkin’s birthday present–pink balloons because a little sister is on the way!

…pink balloons!

With both of our pregnancies, we’ve found out the gender of our little one at 19 weeks. I’ve heard that the surprise at birth is amazing, but I love the surprise at 19 weeks.

Why do we find out early?

One reason is the help in preparation… Such a relief this time around to know that all the pink clothes from the first time can be handed down to the next baby!

But, beyond a doubt, the biggest and best reason in finding out our baby’s gender during pregnancy is that we avoid referring to our baby as “it.” Not only can we call Baby, “her,” but we also start calling her by name and tell everyone what her name is.

We’ll still be surprised at birth when we get to see our little girl for the first time, but for now, we have a little idea about who she is–and we can’t wait to meet her!

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