Thursday, April 30, 2009

Our Virgin Mary Painting

Our topic at our Schoenstatt couples group this week was Mary. Sometimes people misunderstand the Catholic devotion to Mary. So just to clear it up--here is the scoop. We do NOT worship Mary--we honor her and ask her to pray for us. Because she was chosen to be the Mother of God, we believe she is God's most perfect creation. Honoring her does not take away from the glory of God--instead, it gives Him MORE glory because we honor His creation because He obviously did such an awesome job. ;) It's like looking at a Picasso painting and praising Picasso for how wonderfully he painted it. This does not "take away" from the praise to Picasso, it adds to it!

Speaking of Picasso, I've been wanting to let the boys paint for awhile, but I'm always SO afraid of painting with them, because let's face it--they can be walking disasters. (I mean that in the most loving way possible.) So I was just waiting for inspiration to strike, and our couple's group was it! We were encouraged to invite Our Blessed Mother into our house--not as a guest, but TO LIVE HERE with us! And she would be delighted to intercede (pray) for us and help us accomplish (through Christ--don't get nervous) anything we need to get done.

I LOVE Mary, but I often forget to keep her very close to me, especially in my day to day life--things like paying the bills, making supper, cleaning the house, and raising my children, etc. BUT she wants to help with all of that! So I decided to have the boys help me paint a picture of our Blessed Mother to help remind all of us how much she loves us. The boys have a special love for her too, so they were delighted to use the paints, especially "Blessed Mother Blue." :) It was a great time, and I really didn't lose my patience much with the boys....must have been Mary!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Pizza Friday

On Friday, we try to have "Friends and Family" Day, an idea I'm sure I copied from somewhere else. We were going to try and write some letters, but unfortunately it didn't happen. So I combined learning with our family supper, and the boys were able to assemble our homemade pizzas. They loved it! We made a mushroom pizza for the boys, and a bell pepper and onion pizza for the parents. :)

We have really been trying to work on colors with Joey, and every time you ask him a color, he still says white or orange. :) Funny. So the bell peppers were a lesson in themselves. He really liked the red ones. Daddy helped him spread them out.

Making homemade pizza was very nostalgic for me...I remember how my Mom used to roll out the dough and let us help spread the sauce and sprinkle the cheese. I hope that this is a tradition that I can keep up with my family. I love traditions!!!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Friday for the Boys

Today, Mommy took the day off from anything educational! Pete had off today, so he took his little fellows to the park and on a hike in the woods. Apparently, they had a blast, and they came back dirty and tired, the best way to end a day if you're a little boy. I heard about a squirrel, a goose, a stream, and a really big hill. I guess John Paul ran really fast down the hill....until he fell right on his face. "I only cried a little bit," he told me.
Joey decided not to nap today, and instead spent the better part of an hour singing Old McDonald and the 12 Days of Christmas as he lay in his bed. Oh Joey, what a sweet boy you are!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Stringing Beads

I wasn't sure what kind of educational endeavors we'd end up with yesterday. It was a busy day, full of doctor visits and music classes. So I pulled out some stringing beads, made by Melissa and Doug and thought I'd let the boys play with them.

It turned out great! They were able to do their "own thing" at their own levels and both of them benefitted. John Paul really enjoyed stringing the beads onto the cord, which is good because sometimes I worry he doesn't get enough hand-eye coordination activities. But he did really well, and especially enjoyed swinging his finished product around like a weapon. It became his "lucky letter lasso" like on Super Why, his favorite cartoon. Then he insisted I call him WonderPig for a while. I had no problem with that. :)

Joey enjoyed sorting the shapes and colors, although every time I ask him a color, he responds with "White!" Unless it's orange...that seems to be his favorite color and he associates it with the fruit. He is really getting his one to one ratio down...which means that he can count objects and actually attach one number to each object, instead of randomly spouting off the numbers. He can get up to four or five before he starts to get a little crazy.

I would have taken more pictures, but my dear sweet sons were both pantless. It was one of those days...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Some Lessons Learned--Earth Day!

Yesterday was Earth Day. And because Joey was sick, we were quarantined to the apartment, which meant lots of time for educational fun. I really like flannel board activities because they are so cheap and easy and there is so much flexibility. I love not having to buy anything for activities!!! I decided we'd study the weather, so I made pictures of a sun, clouds, wind, etc. (Have you ever tried drawing wind?) Then I made separate pieces with the words "sunny, cloudy, windy, etc." Then I showed John Paul which ones went together and then mixed them up. He did REALLY well! He used the first letter of the words to match them with the picture. Like when he looked at the word "Sunny," he knew it started with an S and could match it up with the Sun, which he also knew started with an S. I was very impressed!

Then we played "Plant or Animal." I made two headings and eight small pictures of plants and animals. We talked about some of the differences between plants and animals, and John Paul was easily able to make the abstractions and separate them. Woohoo!

Meanwhile, Joey played with a flannel board "puzzle." He also loved making the noises of the animals I was drawing. He did a pretty good job of not distracting us too much!

Above all, we tried to stress that God made all of creation for us, and we focused on the first part of the Baltimore Catechism: Who made the world? God made the world! Who is God? God is the Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things!

Last night, after a long day, John Paul put hand soap on his toothbrush and tried to brush his teeth. I think he learned more in that instant than he had all day. Lesson learned. I hope.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Today has been brought to you by...

1. Today has been brought to you by Children's Tylenol.

John Paul and Joseph woke up horribly cranky today. I wasn't surprised--we'd been fighting a piddly spring cold/flu for a little while and it's now starting not to be so piddly any more. I'm pretty sure Joey has an ear infection, but thankfully the Tylenol really seems to help with the pain and crankiness. John Paul, being the little drug seeker that he is, really wanted to join Joey in the 'sick' category. Now, I am not nearly as savvy as John Paul--he has shown on more than one occasion that he is very capable of outwitting me. So I faced a conundrum. Do I give him the medicine and meet his drug seeking tendencies, or deny him the medicine and possibly have him endure some real discomfort? (This option would also produce some real discomfort for this Mommy.) So I left it to Pete, who of course, decided to go with giving him the medicine, like any good husband should. So we are in a productive and happy drug induced place. :)

2. Today has been brought to you by Folger's Coffee.

Not specifically Folger's, actually. We're trying our tastebuds at the WalMart brand, and it's proving itself to be severely lacking--even for me, and I put enough cream and sugar in mine to singlehandedly support the dairy and sugar cane industry. (I'm new to coffee and kind of feel like a poser.) But today I sucked it up and had two and a half cups because last night, I was surrounded by my three loving, loving children who all had the same intense desire to be as close to me as humanly possible. They wanted nothing to do with Pete, who was actually alert enough to care for them. He found himself exiled from the bed by shouts of "No! I want Mama!" Of course, it ended up being a blessing in disguise because I was able to feel that Joey's temperature was reaching epic proportions (over 102 under his arm!) and we could deal with that before he got inconsolable. So hooray for coffee after a long night!

3. Today has been brought to you by the letter O.

O is for Onion rings, which we had for lunch today. Only I don't call them Onion Rings, because someone who shall remain nameless thinks that he doesn't "wike" onions. So they are Os. And I even put the ketchup in the shape of an O. Because I'm awesome. And that's what awesome Mommys do. Except maybe the fact that I viewed onion rings and ketchup as a complete lunch makes me a bit less awesome. Oh well, you do what you can! ;)