Disney Dreamin’

1971 was a great year.  On June 3rd I was born and on October 1st Disney World opened its doors to an adoring public.  Although I was not in attendance on that first grand opening day, I was there soon after.  My parents, married less than two years , took their first and might I add adorable baby for their first visit to Disney’s Magic Kingdom.  At the time there wasn’t an Epcot, Disney Studios, or Animal Kingdom, but there was magic as only Disney could do it.


See I told you too cute! :-)

My parents continued to take me and eventually my sisters to visit this world of magic many times.  It is a wonderful thing to only have happy memories for a place and time.  I do not remember ever being in any way unhappy at Disney.  All of my memories of our trips to Disney are happy ones.  I remember waking up in the cargo area of our station wagon, still dressed in my feety pjs, snuggled into blankets.  We would stop at a rest area on the Florida Turnpike to change and eat the bowls of cereal my mom had packed for our travel breakfast. I have so many wonderful pictures “safely” packed away under a ton of boxes in my closet :-( .  I will find them and post them side by side with pictures taken of my children in the same locations.  Oooh I like this mommy project idea.

I have a clear memory of the time we stayed “on property” at the Polynesean. Goofy was on the beach dressed in an old fashion full body bathing suite.  Over the years I had begun to think I dreamed the event until I recently saw an article on a Disney blog reminiscing Goofy’s beach trips. Ugh, I can’t find the article to link to:-)

I also remember staying at the Holiday Inn Maingate.  There was a pizza place or something similar with a huge talking monkey who played the drums (I think) and did a little comedy show. I remember one trip when my parents thought I was too old for mickey ears with my name embroidered on the back, but they got it for me anyway :-) .  I remember throwing a penny in one of the ponds, making a “wish” and having it come true.  It had something to do with either us visiting my grandmother or her visiting us.

Being from Florida, Disney was a normal part of life, even school life.  My eighth grade class trip was to Disney World.  As I remember we spent most of the night riding Space Mountain over and over again.  My Senior Year class trip was also to Disney, but my memories are all Epcot.  I was with the people who had been my closest friends during the hardest time of my life.  Even then there are only happy memories.  Even the memory of poor Vikki being so sick by the end of the day that she could hardly walk, brings me warm fuzzies.  We really cared so much for each other.

Years went by.  I met my prince, Patrick.  Who by the way, leaves Princess Aurora’s Prince Philip in the dust, and from me that is saying a lot :-P .  Anyway, Patrick wanted to get married in November, when his friends and family could escape the Buffalo, NY winter and enjoy the sun of South Florida. Haha, we were married the weekend of a tropical storm. Sadly Pat’s friends and family did not get to see much sun.  It did work out great for us.  For our Honeymoon we went to…..yup, Disney World.  We stayed in what was at the time their newest hotel the Caribbean Beach Resort.  With the rainy weather the lines were short and the rain gave us good excuses to return to our hotel for afternoon seistas.

I love you Pat!!!

When Aubrey was little we took her to meet her favorite Disney Character Goofy.  Her fist meeting did not go as she had planned.  On the car ride home she kept lamenting “I scared of Goofy mom.  I scared of Minnie too.”  So cute.  Sadly pictures of that trip are “safely” buried in my closet under too many pounds of stuff to find for this post :-(  Trust me she was unbelievably cute.  Really not just as her mom :-P

We have only been back once or maybe twice in Joshua’s almost 10 years.  Joshua was scared of fireworks, so that night Pat “hid” with him in one of the shops while Aubrey and I ooowed and ahhhhed at the beautiful display.

Anyway that brings me to the point of this post, Our Year of Disney!!!  Over the last 3 weeks I have been obsessed with preparations for my dream year, a year of Disney!!! We are purchasing Seasonal Weekday Florida Residents Passes.  They are financially an awesome deal, well as much as Disney could be considered a deal.  Anyway our first trip of our Disney year is coming up next month and I am getting ready.  I searched everywhere online looking for a ready made Disney unit study.  I could not find one, well one that I liked anyway.  With some of the ideas I found, I made my own.  I am posting it here for others who may be looking for ideas and I selfishly hope others may have ideas I have not thought of that they can share with me in my comments section or email.

Walt Disney World September 2011 – September 2012

Things to research and write about over our Magical Disney Year:

  • Walt Disney Biography – When and where was he born and raised?  What was his childhood like?  What was his family like?  Was he married, did he have children?  What motivated him to design and build Disney Land in California and how did that lead to Walt Disney World in Florida?
  • Animation – What is the history, science, and evolution of animation?  How did animation lead to computer generated animation?  Create a simple animation sequence.
  • Fairy Tales – Compare the Disney version to the “original” story.  What changes did Disney make?  Were these changes beneficial to the story or did they detract from the moral of the story?  What would you have done different?
  • Plants – What are their parts, needs, and reproduction?
  • Dinosaurs – How do we know about them?  What kinds have been found in the USA?
  • Birds – What are the different types?  How do they fly?  How do they reproduce? What makes them a bird?
  • Mammals – How do they live, eat, breed, raise their young and what makes them Mammals?
  • Marine Life – Mammals, how do they survive in the water? How do they live, breed, eat, and raise their young?  What makes them mammals?
  • Marine Life – Fish, how do they survive in the water?  How do they live, breed, eat, and raise their young?  What makes them fish?
  • Thrill rides – How do they work?  Are they safe?  Why do we like them?
  • Stocks – How does the stock market work?  What influences stock prices?  How to purchase and sell stock?  Compare Disney stock to other industry stocks over the course of this year.
  • Geography – What countries are represented throughout the parks?  What languages, money, climate, terrain, exports, politics and other information can we discover about them? Where are the located on the globe? Color their country flag and label capital on their map.
  • Book reports – The Swiss Family Robinson and Tom Sawyer
  • Florida – What made this area appealing to Walt Disney?  What natural elements draw people to vacation here?  How many miles is it from our home to the Disney property by car or “as the bird flies”?
  • Draw maps of each park labeling favorite rides or shows.
  • Complete word searches, mazes, and other fun coloring activities.

Things to learn, discover, take note of at the Parks

  • Hidden Mickey heads – Keep track in our Hidden Mickey App
  • Sketches – At least one quick sketch per park per day or one detailed sketch per visit.
  • Sounds – Sitting quiet for a few minutes listening for the most interesting, loudest, quietest, most surprising, and most enjoyable sound.
  • Daily Journal – Date, time entrance time, exit time, parks visited, rides visited, weather, mood, best part of the day, least magical part of the day, most memorable moment, and any interesting facts shared by Cast Members.
  • Autographs – Of any characters or particularly magical cast member.
  • A sentence translated in writing by a cast member at each Epcot Country.
  • Cultural hat pictures
  • Detailed info on several rides/shows per visit
  • Daily record of Date, weather (as it varies throughout the day), ride name, time, ride wait time estimates, real ride wait time.
  • Kidcot masks or autograph books stamped with country stamp in Epcot

Resources: Videos

  • The Science Of Disney’s Imagineering – Friction     (AWESOME!)
  • The Science Of Disney’s Imagineering – Magnetism     (AWESOME!)
  • The Science Of Disney’s Imagineering – Gravity     (AWESOME!)
  • The Science Of Disney’s Imagineering – Newton’s 3 Laws of Motion     (AWESOME!)
  • The Science Of Disney’s Imagineering – Energy     (AWESOME!)
  • The Science Of Disney’s Imagineering – Electricity     (AWESOME!)
  • The Science Of Disney’s Imagineering     (AWESOME!)
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy – Flowers     (Too much adult stuff innuendo for my taste)
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy – Science of Music
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy – Marine Mammals (Nice)
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy – Inventions (Nice)
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy – Light Optics (Nice)
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy – Dinosaurs (As a faithful, bible believing Christian I do not believe God created the Earth in seven 24 hour days. That is not the point He is making in the Bible.  It is, in part, about how much love and attention to detail He placed on creating a perfect environment for His Children, us, whether he spent 7 days or seven billion years. That said, it was annoying to have this video focus more on overcoming creationists than it did on Dinosaur science.)
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy – Sound
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy – Birds
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy – Gravity
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy – Fish
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy – Plants
  • The History Channel – Walt Disney World (Very nice)
  • Frank and Ollie – Biographies of Disney Animators (Nice, but a bit slow for the boys and I wish it had more animation creation information.)
  • US Geography for Children – Florida (Very Nice)

Resources: Books

  • The Story of Walt Disney: Maker of Magical World      by Bernice Selden
  • Who Was Walt Disney?     By Whitney Stewart (Not very impressed)
  • The Imagineering Field Guide to the Magic Kingdom: An Imagineer’s – Eye Tour
  • The Imagineering Field Guide to the Epcot: An Imagineer’s – Eye Tour
  • The Imagineering Field Guide to Disney’s Hollywood Studios: An Imagineer’s – Eye Tour
  • The Imagineering Field Guide to the Animal Kingdom: An Imagineer’s – Eye Tour
  • The Official Encyclopedia Disney A to Z     by Dave Smith
  • Birnbaum Guides 2011 Walt Disney World: Expert Advice from the Inside Source
  • One Tiny Turtle     by Nicola Davies (OK, but nothing to oo and ahh over)
  • Designing Disney: Imagineering and the Art of the Show     by John Hench
  • Science Disney Style     by Disney Youth Education Series (Very Nice!  I wish these were available without paying for the whole class.  We got ours years ago through the wonderful Disney Homeschool Day.  The classes are about $70 with entrance to the featured park included; however pass holders do not get any discount, so we will not be able to do this again.)

Resources: Websites

http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/theme-parks/

http://www.themouseforless.com/downloads.shtml

http://www.justdisney.com/walt_disney/timeline/index.html

http://teachyourchildrenwell.org/?p=112

http://corporate.disney.go.com/investors/annual_reports.html

http://www.crayola.com/free-coloring-pages/print/norway-coloring-page/

http://hsfellowship.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=ooother&action=print&thread=1805

http://www.dragoart.com/tuts/5863/1/1/how-to-draw-mickey.htm

http://disney.go.com/disneyinsider/history

http://corporate.disney.go.com/corporate/overview.html

http://www.disney.go.com/disneyatoz/familymuseum/museum/galleries.html

I will try to update our list of resources and add opinions as we go through them.  I hope to occasionally put up some of our finished assignments (yes, to show off :-P ).

“Now its time to say goodbye to all my company.  M – I – C see ya real soon.  K – E – Y Why? Because I like you. M – O – U – S – E!”

Posted in Aubrey, Family, Homeschool, Homeschooling, Joshua, Local Attractions, Max, Papa, Patrick, Sussette, Travel | 4 Comments

So Many Leads to None.

There have been so many wonderful posting opportunities that I have not had time to post any of them :-( .  I hope to put up a post with a layout of this years huge Unit Study around Walt Disney World Florida.  I am so excited about this project and all the great resources I have found.  I am almost regretting buying my children, at least the boys, science books.  Between the four parks we will be ooozing science all year.  Well, more on that soon.

I wanted to put up a quick post tonight because I shamelessly want a chance to win a $50 amazon gift card.  Anyone who knows me though, knows I would never advertise for anything I do not believe in.  That said, I have often been inspired by the free resources provided by the wonderful people at http://thatresourcesite.blogspot.com/2011/08/50-gift-card-giveaway.html.  If I am ever looking for an idea to go with this project or that feast day I know where I can find help.  This week they are having a giveaway and I thought it would be fun to put my name in the hat.  I hope if you get a chance you will take a look at all the hard work that has gone into the projects and printouts these wonderful people create and share for free.

OK, posting time is over. I need to get sleep.  As unbelievable as it sounds it is way after my bedtime.

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Happiness

Posted in Joshua, Max | 1 Comment

Ha, I am not the only one!

Today I googled for any other preying mantid enthusiasts and I found http://mantidforum.net/ .  I have enjoyed looking around at some of the other posts, blogs, and youtube channels by these neat people.  I was excited to find so many other “normal” people enjoying the incredible diversity of creatures the Lord created for our amusement.

You may remember my post about Joshua’s awesome gift to his mom http://thewebsterfamily.com/2011/03/27/joshuas-gift-continues/

Those itty bitty mantids have thinned in number, but have grown huge.  One of them is almost done growing another is close on her heals and the last two could be identical twins. Here are some recent pictures of one of my “babies”.

Have I mentioned we have another new cool critter?  If it is a girl (too young to tell) her name is Shelob…..can you guess what it is?  If it is a boy we will call him Mirkwood.

She is a chaco golden knee tarantula.  She will eventually look like

This last picture was taken at a great pet shop in Gainesville http://www.hogtownreptileshop.net/ They host a monthly children’s “open house”.  It was great fun.  We saw and held everything from huge scorpians to the most adorable kikachu (sp?) as seen here The pictures of my kids holding it are all blurry :-(

Anyway, the staff was very knowledgeable and friendly.  I love this shop.

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Long Time No Post

Where to begin? Well summer here is well underway. We have already been away on a wonderful vacation to KY and SC. I celebrated my 40th birthday. I “babysat” my friends’ 4 horses, 5 dogs, 3 rabbits, and a bunch of chickens. Attended an art class at the library. Hung out with new friends. Barbecued with “old” friends. I have also managed to keep my mantises alive and added a sling (baby) tarantula to the menagerie. Tonight I sleep!

I have many wonderful pictures I would like to post, but I am posting this through my “new” to me iPhone. I am going to see if I can at least post pics that were taken with my iPhone.

I hope to get on my computer and add a few pictures from there soon.

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Mother Day Reflection

The post below from Julie at Brave Writer, is wonderful and honest.   She speaks about the real joy of motherhood.  There is truly no other career I would want to do, not even for all the money or excitement in the world.

Honestly, there are careers I would love to try, but on a weekend warrior kind of way.  I would love to be Bear Grylls and live off the land in some remote location… for a weekend (OK, I wouldn’t drink urine, but otherwise I would love to have some of his roasted snake, raw fish, make my own snares and traps, eat exotic weed tea, and sleep in a makeshift tree house, made from and in a tree).  I would love to be Andrew Zimern from Bizarre Foods… for several weekends (I would love to try all the exotic foods he does.  Yes, I would try tarantula or armadillo or any other, not your typical American, ingredient).  I would have loved to have been Steve Irwin’s best croc catching pal… for a few weekends (Eternal rest, grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.  May he rest in peace.  Amen.).  I would love to be a cast member in charge of ensuring a magical visit to Disney World’s Magic Kingdom for everyone who comes through those spine tingling gates.. for a few weekends.  I would love to travel the country speaking at huge conferences surrounded by people who through the Lord have come home to the Church with the help of something I said, did, or wrote.

None of these dream jobs hold a candle to the time spent, to the resources shared, to the energy given while living my vocation as Patrick’s wife and the product of that vocation, Mom to Aubrey, Joshua, and Max.  I am living a fantasy life (even on the days it feels like a nightmare :-P ).  Dear Lord thank you for placing me in such a place as to have all my dreams come true.  Aurora aka Briar Rose aka Sleeping Beauty eat your heart out my Prince is real and he loves me for real (for bigger, for older, in silliness and in health).

Through my life as Mom all my above dream jobs are a reality.  I have slept under the stars after counting shooting stars with my kids.  I have tasted weird and exotic foods traveling to… Ft. Lauderdale, Florida for a “Bugs” exhibit where there was a tasting presentation with chocolate covered ants, meal worms and crickets.  I have caught and released huge yellow rat snakes with my children to protect our little chickens.  I have opened the world of Fantasy up for my children through Tolkien and CS Lewis.  I have given my children magical fun visiting my childhood love, Disney World.   I have, through homeschooling, had the opportunity to share my faith, to inspire my children in their faith by the things I have said done and written.  I have also had the opportunity to teach others about Christ and the freedom found in His Church through Religious Education, RCIA, Baptism Preparation, and CUF presentations.  Why would I ever want to settle for one career, I love living them all.  Enjoy your visit with Julie below at her blog Brave Writer.

http://blog.bravewriter.com/2011/05/08/happy-mothers-day-on-being-mother/

In April of 2009, Oprah featured an episode on mothering that ran so counter to my personal experience, I felt the need to write about how I understood mothering. Today, as we celebrate our mothers and are thankful for the chance to be mothers, I share it again with you. (The original posting of this blog entry yielded 73 comments! Clearly the most popular blog entry in our history.)


From April 27, 2009

Oprah featured moms on her show a couple weeks ago. The two “experts” who “wrote the book” were bubbly, sharp, blond business-type women who wore chic outfits that had never seen spit up or spaghetti sauce stains. They rallied the audience into a frenzy of confessions about motherhood which variously decried the hardships of this “first order of creation” occupations.

“I hate the fluids of babies: pee, spit up, spilt milk, snot.”

“I cried the day I drove to the car dealership to buy a mini-van.”

“There were days I wanted to ’send them back to the hell from whence they came’.”

On and on the tales of woe pored from the mouths of devoted parents. Video clips of small kids on bikes, disastrous laundry rooms, “stuffed to the gills” cars with seats and sippy cups floated by, making one wonder why anyone would sign up for the task of mothering, let alone sustain it for decades. Moms confessed things, too, like the one who said she didn’t want to wake the sleeping baby by stopping the car for a potty break, but she needed to pee so badly, she took a Pampers diaper, stuck it between her legs and let it “go” as she drove. Yeah, I thought that was way more information than I needed to know about her, too.

There was a surprising lack of joy represented in the discussion of mothering. Mostly being a mom was held up as the hardest job on earth, the most demanding, the most self-sacrificing, the most misunderstood and overlooked work on the planet. A kind of shared martyrdom, underdog status united everyone and Oprah, never having mothered anyone, had to declare that indeed, they were right. Mothering equalled sainthood (which we all know implies burning at the stake and smiling through it!).

With my kids in the room, listening to the pain of childbirth and engorged breasts, the relentlessness of little voices, the demandingness of the small child’s need for food, sleep and comfort, the annihilation of a woman’s identity and sense of self, I couldn’t take it any more. After all, far from being the hardest job in the world, mothering has been the happiest, most satisfying, life-giving, joyful, rewarding, fulfilling and (dare I admit it?) easiest job I’ve ever had. Oh sure, the hours suck, there are anguishes deeper than the ocean, there are seasons (years!) of such utter exhaustion you can’t imagine ever being rested again… but all those discomforts are easily and unequivocally overturned by my children, themselves.

I punched pause on the DVR to set the record straight:

“Being your mother has been the single greatest joy and privilege of my life: not a burden, not a perennial unrelenting source of emotional and physical agony, not the ‘hardest job in the world’, not the knee-capping blow to my ‘adult individuality’ nor has it been the thankless, under-appreciated, most overlooked profession these mothers would have you believe. In fact, my sense of personhood, identity and self-knowledge has grown more through mothering than any business I’ve started, any degree I’ve earned, any relationship I’ve pursued. I thank YOU for being the best people to ever happen to me.”

Then I spewed in bullet style the privileges and unique joys that came with mothering them (all five of them, each one popping into my life like a fresh daisy, every two years for 10 years).

Cuddling: Being your mom means I got to have someone to cuddle non-stop for 12 years while sleeping with at least one of you at a time, nursing you, carrying you, holding you, helping you in and out of car seats, and backpacking you.

Sleeping together: There is nothing more divine than a baby who falls asleep on your chest while you fall asleep and the whole world stops while mother and tiny child become fused as one content, quiet, shared being. No meditation, yoga, prayer circle, private retreat has ever come close to providing me with the depth of peace, pleasure and abiding hope that sleeping with a baby has given me.

Playing: Board games and hopscotch, dress-ups, face paint, finger paint, walks in the woods, trips to the zoo, picking up bugs, rolling down hills, blowing bubbles, eating too many cookies, watching Arthur on PBS, rewatching Disney movies, cards, chasing a dog in the backyard, trampoline jumping, creek splashing, snowman building, skiing, middle of the night slumber parties, bike rides, soccer in the backyard, soccer on the official fields, ultimate frisbee… What adult gets to do any of this on his or her 9-5 job? Talk about luxury!

Conversation: Oh it starts off good – Why do bubbles float? How did I get red hair? Why doesn’t Santa Claus visit Moroccans, too? But boy does it keep getting better!? I’ve learned about human rights, veganism, Role Playing Games, Shakespeare, Klingon, fashion, exercise, lacrosse, birds, fantasy novels, conspiracy theories, atheism, feminism, linguistics, alternative monetary systems for world peace (seriously!) and more by talking to my kids.

Mothering is the job that means taking the dog and kids for a walk in the woods is on task. It’s the one where teatimes and picnics are considered achievements worth trumpeting to friends and family. It’s the job where even on bad days, someone tells you “Hey, I love you Mom” and then hugs you so tightly, you believe it.

There is no comparison to the jobs I’ve had in business and writing. Sure, affirmation and personal achievement are nice… but they are nothing like the bond that comes from the devotion of loving people who live every day looking for you to see them for who they are. I’ve found that the easiest thing in the world is to love my kids. All it takes is entering into their lives on their terms and giving all I’ve got. I get it all back and more.

Yes, there have been nights where I cried myself to sleep over a non-stop crying toddler or a teenager’s emotional pain. There are times when I feel out of control and invisible and fearful for my child’s future or welfare. But the rewards of mothering so far outweigh any of its challenges, I can’t relate to the repeated refrains of “how hard I have it” simply because I chose to have five kids. Instead, I just feel perennially lucky that my lifestyle has included such richness, tenderness and connection to immortality through my children.

I think it’s time we blew the whistle. Mothering isn’t a job. It’s a privilege.

This entry was posted on Sunday, May 8th, 2011 at 3:09 pm and is filed under Brave Writer PhilosophyHomeschool AdviceOn Being a Mother. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Posted in Aubrey, Family, Joshua, Max, Patrick, Prayer, Sussette, Travel | 3 Comments

The Lord Is Risen!!!

Holy Week, I love Holy Week.  It is by far my favorite week of the year.  Although I usually have grand plans for Lent, seldom do I follow through, seldom do I get past the first 2 days before I forget this devotion, or we don’t have time for that one.  Holy Week however is different.  Maybe because it is really only a few days.  For us the focus begins on Wednesday when we make our annula pilgramage to St. AUgustine, to the Catherdral where we have the opportunity to participate in the Chrism Mass.  This year was extra special because it was the first year Joshua was there as an altar boy.  In our Diocese any altar server that would like to participate is welcome to come dressed in their parish altar server robes and process in before the priests of the Diocese and the Bishop.  Joshua was so cute, he paid careful attention to everything happening, not to mention he looked adorable. (see pictures below)   After the Mass we ran into the Shrine of our Lady of La Leche’s gift shop.  Sadly there were too many of us hungry to spend much time shopping.  After that Lunch at Denny’s.  St. Augustine has a very friendly Denny’s.  No matter how many children we bring in all the waitresses smile and seem happy to see us.  Next, the Beach!!!  (See pictures below)  We did not get home until after 10pm :-)

Holy Thursday we participated in the Lord’s Supper Mass.  Joshua had the opportunity to serve and loved every moment ( I wish I could explain more but I am starting to run very behind my Ham will never be done in time for dinner if I don’t hurry this up a bit.)  It was an beautiful night.

On Friday, day 2 of the Triduum, Good Friday, I was listening to the local Christian music radio station and was saddened to hear the lady say “Imagine where would we be without Easter”.  Why was I sad?  Because here it was Good Friday, the day the Lord Jesus said is why He came into the world, to suffer and die for our sins, yet on the anniversary of this unimaginable sacrifice, not by some regular man, but by God Himself for us His mere creatures there was no mention of the cross, there was only happy anticipation of the Resurection.  Without Good Friday there would be no Easter.

Dear Jesus, thank You for Your sacrifice, for Your gift of the cross.  Thank You for Your Church, the Church that does not pick and choose the “fun” things to celebrate, but by example calls us to remember, to celebrate ALL that God, the Holy Trinity has done and said.  Dear Lord we love you.  Dear Lord we need you.  Dear Lord Jesus thank you.  Dear Lord Jesus come in glory.

Good Friday was greeted by the arrival of friends we have not seen in 6 years and Kim and her crew :-) .  All of us, including Papa, enjoyed the fruits of Spring, that’s another post :-) , the Stations of the Cross, and then we caravaned to St. Madeleine’s for the Veneration of the Cross service.  What an awesome day!

Thank you dear Lord for sending us these wonderful friends.  I am so greatful that you sent Kim to me this year.  Although we had been “friends” for years, I thank You for sending her back into my life, that our friendship fills my life with joy.  Thank you for her children that are such special friends for my boys.  Thank you for the gift of old friends refound.  I am especially grateful that although they do not live locally, they do live close enough that we can arnge to meet up occasionally, giving Aubrey a chance to have some “girl time” and Joshua to have some “big boy time”.

That brings us to today, Easter.  Happy, holy Easter!!!  Last night we went to the Easter Vigil.  Funny how all year I remember the Vigil Mass as being soo long.  Maybe it is because the last Vigil Mass we attended I had a very young Joshua and baby Max.  Anyway this year, although the number of minutes was the same, it seemed to pass quickly, with each moment as precious as the moment before.  The children and I loved starting Mass outside with the fire and the lighting of the Pascale Candle.  The procession in and the Old Testament readings in the dark were powerful reminders of the darkness in the world before the coming of Christ Jesus, the Light of the World.  The powerful image of the lights coming on as we sang the Gloria and celebrated the coming of Jesus! Wow!  Awesome!  Joshua again had the opportunity to serve our Lord at the Altar and again was mesmerized by all the activity, all the love offer to God through the Liturgy.  Again see pictures below.  I would gladly explain every moment but my ham is still in the refrigerator and none of the bread are even on their first rise.  Between Joshua serving our Lord sooo reverently and Max falling asleep, heehee, it was incredible.  Aubrey is not pictured because, well, she behaved as awesomely as she has her entire life :-P

Posted in Aubrey, Catholic, Faith, Family, Friends, Homeschooling, Joshua, Local Attractions, Max, Papa, Prayer, Sussette | 2 Comments

Lent Project Complete

This year’s Lenten Project again involves the Stations of the Cross.  In previous years we have created a indoor Stations involving a beautiful piece of wood, images of the Stations, 12 candle stick holders, 12 candles, a small wooden cross, and a nice rock.  This year we went all out and made outdoor Stations of the Cross.  It was a family project.  The children and I colored the pictures, painted posts, and varnished the Stations, Dad bought the supplies, and Papa prepared and set up the posts and gave great lessons on painting and varnishing.  Hopefully Father Sebastian will have a chance to stop by and bless our work.

On Good Friday we will have some friends and family over to pray the Stations with us.  We will be using a wonderful little devotional of the Stations that I “fond” this year, Walk New a Way of the Cross For Teens.

Sadly, we have done very little of my planned Lenten acctivities.  This week, however, begins my favorite week of the year.  From Palm Sunday to Easter everyday has wonderful opportunities to worship and adore God, love, enjoy, live, and teach the faith, and powerful moments to encourage true conversion of hearts.

Monday evening we will attend our parish “Seder Meal” this meal is run by an incredible man, Deacon Zmuda.  He presents to us the symbolism in each moment of the Passover as Jesus would have experienced it.

Tuesday we will enjoy time with our friends and continue our book, The Imitation of Christ for Children.

Wednesday, is, woohoo, the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral in St. Augustine!  We will participate in the Mass (it is the first year Joshua will be able to process in with the other altar servers), enjoy a nice lunch, visit the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche at Mission de Dios (not to mention shopping in their “gift shop”, and end the day running through God’s beautiful creation at the beach.

Thursday will begin with Easter food shopping and house cleaningthen to celebrate the Mass of Our Lord’s Supper.  I hope/assume their will be Adoration afterward, so that we may follow the request of Christ to His friends, that we spend one hour with Him.

Friday we will have friends and family over to enjoy a lunch of pretzels, pray the Stations of the Cross, and end with going to church to participate in the Lord’s Passion Liturgy.

Saturday, other than a baseball game, will be a quiet day to rest in the Lord and a relaxed day of preperation for Easter’s joyful celebration.  We will end the day preparing our yearly “Empty Tomb” cookies.

Sunday will be a joyful celebration with family and friends beginning at Mass, worshiping God with our parish family.  Continuing with food, fellowship, and fun at our house, including an Easter egg hunt.

May God bless you all with a prayerful, holy, peaceful, wonderful, joyful Holy Week, Triuium, and Easter.  Amen

Posted in Aubrey, Catholic, Faith, Family, Home Projects, Homeschool, Joshua, Local Attractions, Max, Papa, Patrick, Prayer, Sussette | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Joshua’s Gift Continues

Last fall Joshua caught a gift for me.  He caught a preying mantid, my “favorite bug” of all time.  Anyway, within a few minutes of her captivity she began to lay a beautiful egg sac.  As soon as she completed it we released her on the chance she could do it again in the wild, providing us with more “prey” for next year.  Anyway, I kept her little package safe and comfortable all winter.  On Wednesday or Thursday after a few weeks of warmer indoor weather I put the jar in the window and……woooohooooo!!!  They hatched on Friday!!!

We immediately ran into Gainesville for food to feed our new pets and discovered a great little reptile shop right next door to a nice fish shop.  We went into the fish shop first because we were there 10 minutes before the reptile shop opened.  Anyway,  at the reptile shop, we enjoyed meeting Flash the tortoise and we enjoyed watching a huge African BullFrog eat a dead mouse.  After a thorough tour of the store we took our flightless-fruit-flies home to meet Manny and Mantida 1-50.

We released a few Mantids into the yard during the transfer to a new enclosure and the feeding process.  They are now “happy” in their new, temporary home (as they grow so will their home).  I witnessed one of them enjoying his/her first, out of the egg, meal.  He/she seemed very pleased with the menu.

Here are a couple of pictures.

Thanks Joshua!!!  I love my newest critters!!!

Posted in Critters, Homeschooling, Joshua, Local Attractions, Sussette | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Repost “Little Sins”

As I was typing up my previous post I came across this post from Sept. 2009 and thought I would like to repost it as part of my preparation for Lent. :-)

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I hope that when I am tempted to commit “little” sins I will remember this story and repent from even having considered them little.

http://www.conversiondiary.com/2009/09/of-cat-ownership-and-little-sins.html

Thank you Jennifer for reminding us how big little sins really are.  How we must use true charity when dealing with our neighbor.  How often do I justify harsh language or body posture because so and so deserves it?  How often do I deny someone a kind look or word because they are not living up to my expectations?  How often do I miss an opportunity to bring comfort to the suffering, because I consider their suffering self-inflicted and so undeserving of my comfort?  How often am I impatient with others, blinded by my own self interests that I am oblivious to the heavy cross they are be carrying causing them to stumbling in my way as I am speeding along with my light load?

Charity does not mean sharing with the less fortunate.  It is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for His own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. (CCC 1822)

Lord, open my heart, mind, and body to the suffering of those around me.  Give me a heart of compassion and true charity for my neighbor.  Please protect the suffering souls around me from being further burdened by my words, body posture, actions, or lack of action.  Help me to always be sensitive to the needs of those with whom I come in contact.  St. Joseph Cupertino, pray for me. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Posted in Catholic, Faith | 1 Comment