Friday, April 30, 2010

Flashback Friday
Today we're remembering our family vacation to Montana when Peter was two.
August 2002
Zac, Joseph, Peter and Tim roasted marshmallows at the campsite with our twin cousins, MacKenzie and Brendan, and Uncle Peter.  Our two families camped together, with the cousins in the 5th wheel, and us in the borrowed pop-up (which we found out later did have a heater!).

Mom, Dad, Grandma and Aunt Molly & kids stayed at a nice condo, where we gathered for a few wonderful meals and Zac's birthday celebration.

We celebrated Zachary's birthday, and he was given a scooter and a helmet by Grandma Patty & Grandpa Pete and cousins Niko, Mike, Kati.
Highlights of that trip:  finding a bear den on a day hike; learning how to properly tow a pop-up trailer (after dropping it on the first hill as we departed from home); vacationing with all the cousins & grandparents and great grandma from my side of the family; the big country party for the docs' & families; the pillow flying out of the 5th wheel window on the highway (MacKenzie had opened during her last nap); the visit to Old Faithful & Yellowstone... being all together was the best part of all!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Reaching for Rank {Zac's Eagle Project}

Zachary's quest for Eagle rank is an ongoing concern.
Recently, the survey crew was at the project site, marking the property lines.
Zachary was invited to try out the equipment, and learned how the survey process is done.

Here's the site where Zac hopes to build the rectory carport.

Great homeschool science lesson, and great to have progress on the Eagle project.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


If I were not a Cub Scout, I wonder what I'd be?

If I were not a Cub Scout...
 A hippie I would be!
Hey man, cool man!  Far out, wow!
Peter's Webelos den performed an old classic at last night's pack meeting, and Peter played the hippie (as you can plainly see).  Standing between the plumber (Aaron) and the farmer (Jonah), Peter shows his dramatic flair.

The anticipation of winning in the pack meeting raffle keeps the Webelos' attention.
(seen here: Enoch, Nicholas, Jonah & Peter)

The skits and songs performed by the other dens keep the Webelos giggling & cheering
throughout the pack meeting.  Rather than following the Cub Scout program 'by the book,' our homeschool pack opts for hosting pack meetings in even months (rather than every month).
Getting the entire pack (siblings, grandparents and all) together for the celebration of awards and the performing of skits, songs, and pack wide games~ is a huge undertaking.  Rather than taxing our leaders and parents with a monthly obligation, we have always opted to have our pack meetings 6x/year.  Yes, the boys have to wait a bit longer for their awards, but the anticipation builds character!

One of the highlights of every pack meeting is the 'games with Dave' segment.
One of our (great) dads sets up a pack-wide game or adventure, opening up the pack meeting for gross motor madness.  Thanks, Dave!
Pack meetings are family events, and for us it means all 5 are in uniform. 
Last night, Tim and Zac competed against one another in the 'fast hands' competition.

Cubmaster and Webelos Den Leader, Mr. M. awards Peter his Webelos rank award.
Peter worked very hard and quite of his own accord to earn this award by a deadline he set for himself.
It involved more writing than he's probably done in his life.  Peter also had to pass several conferences with his den leaders, who confirmed point by point that Peter knew and understood the Boy Scout oath, law, motto; the outdoor code and more.  Peter also had to make special commitments to his religious/spiritual  growth, and discuss those goals and their fruits with his den leaders.
Earning the rank of Webelos is a huge milestone, and we are so proud of Peter's accomplishment.

Now we have 4 men in our house who have all earned the rank of Webelos.
Peter will be joining the others 4 in earning the highest rank in Cub Scouts, the Arrow of Light in a few months.  As this is the centennial celebration year for Scouting, Peter's Webelos rank award has a special centennial design.
As a special gift for Peter, we gave him a Boy Scouts of America Centennial Silver Dollar.
Our traditional celebration of rank usually includes a special dessert or dinner out with grandparents. 
But this centennial gift is a great keep-sake, and we couldn't resist!

Congratulations, Peter!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Mountain Madness

Look at these guys...
Spring skiing at its best... shorts and T-shirts!
Peter and Joseph were thrilled for the opportunity to have another mid-week adventure with Tim.

I heard reports of lots of giggling while skiing, and shenanigans involving spraying wet snow on one another at various hockey-stops along the way.
They did wear sunscreen, but a strange red patch behind Peter's ear leads me to believe they may have missed a few spots!
Mountain closes tomorrow, so the ski gear stowing operation should begin soon.
Another season down.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Saint George, Pray for Us

Patron Saint of Boy Scouts           from
Soldier. Martyr. That’s all we know for sure.

     Several stories have been attached to Saint George, the best known of which is the Golden Legend. In it, a dragon lived in a lake near Silena, Libya. Whole armies had gone up against this fierce creature, and had gone down in painful defeat. The monster ate two sheep each day; when mutton was scarce, lots were drawn in local villages, and maidens were substituted for sheep. Into this country came Saint George. Hearing the story on a day when a princess was to be eaten, he crossed himself, rode to battle against the serpent, and killed it with a single blow with his lance. George then held forth with a magnificent sermon, and converted the locals. Given a large reward by the king, George distributed it to the poor, then rode away.
     Due to his chivalrous behavior (protecting women, fighting evil, dependence on faith and might of arms, largesse to the poor), devotion to Saint George became popular in the Europe after the 10th century. In the 15th century his feast day was as popular and important as Christmas. Many of his areas of patronage have to do with life as a knight on horseback. The celebrated Knights of the Garter are actually Knights of the Order of Saint George. The shrine built for his relics at Lydda, Palestine was a popular point of pilgrimage for centuries. One of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.

Happy Birthday to our dear nephew/cousin, Jacob!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Destruction with a Twist

Our ancient carpet cleaning machine bit the dust recently. 
We have had it repaired several times over the past 11 years, but this time it was deemed beyond repair. 

Problem: How to make it fit into our curbside trash bin.
Solution: Enlist the creative destructive power of Captain Demolition (aka 'Lieutenant' Zac).

I told him about his chore, and simply required that he wear eye protection.
"Yes, you can use dad's crowbar."
He chose to wear his Buy'ce ("helmet" in Mando'a, the language of the Mandalorians in Star Wars).
Like the Star Wars supercommandos, Zachary took to the task with his full force of will.

For Zachary; any ordinary event, task, chore, car ride, conversation or game can be made much more entertaining by adding levels, titles, theories, challenges, and of course, nemesis'.

The chore was completed, and the fragmented machine reposed in the yard in small bits.

The trash deposition and collection is now complete.
Off to Nerf battles and modifications.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Communicator in the Making

Joseph is working on a few Eagle required merit badges, incuding Communications.
One of the most challenging requirements involves writing a script for a troop campfire (or court of honor or worship service), having it approved by the boy leaders, and MC-ing the event.  Joseph and his buddy, Collin, worked together to complete this requirement, and took their show on the road to a troop camping and service event on the Olympic Peninsula.

One of the greatest features of their campfire, according to the adult leaders on site, was the fact that the material was fresh & new... rather than the old stand-byes.
Joseph memorized a captivating story about a crazy adventure through the woods encountering
Flesh-eating Rabid Zombie Mutant Squirrels! 
They also retired a worn out US flag, with a fitting, somber ceremony.

The service project involved planting hundreds of trees on the private property, which has been set aside for conservation forestry.
I will leave you with the first verse to a song Joseph and Collin introduced to the troop at their campfire:

Tom the Toad (to the tune of "Oh Christmas Tree")

Oh Tom the Toad, Oh Tom the Toad

Why are you lying in the road?

Oh Tom the Toad, Oh Tom the Toad

Why are you lying in the road?

You did not see that car ahead

And you were flattened by the tread.

Oh Tom the Toad, Oh Tom the Toad

Why are you lying in the road?

Gotta love singing with Boy Scouts!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Special Gift

Left on the counter with a Happy Anniversary card, which read:
Dear Mom and Dad,
Happy 19th anniversary and lots more to come.
I hope it is great.
God bless you.
Love, Peter

The flowers are from our yard, and the arrangement is pretty spectacular as far as I'm concerned.
Who would have imagined that our ten year old son would put this together, quite on his own.
What a gift, a treasure!
The fruits of our marriage continue to blossom.  Praise God.

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Helpful Husband

Whom I love... and I will be celebrating 19 years of marriage tomorrow!
Also celebrating tomorrow will be our friends Tom & Cindy, and our friends Kimberly & Michael.
We were all married on the very same day in 1991.
We all homeschool our kids, and we've been active in Scouts together for 9 years.

It's also the 12th anniversary of our family living here in this house. 
We moved in when Joseph was not quite 2 months old. 
Time for a walk down memory lane...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Pigeon Release

Well, sort of released, anyway!
A pair of Peter's pigeons were freed from the isolated cage in the garage into the hen/pigeon coop in the back yard.
One of them didn't want to face the other birds in the coop.

So far, so good.  There have been a few instances of pigeons getting heckled by the chickens, but so far no one's lost any feathers over it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Heroic Friend

Ane Kirstine, a postulant, with her veil.

One of our last Saturday morning coffee hours, following Latin Mass, with Ane Kirstine before she entered the cloistered community of Passionist Nuns in Kentucky.

We have had the honor of witnessing our friend, Kirstine's, entrance into the Passionist Nuns of Saint Joseph Monastery in Kentucky.  On one of her final days here before leaving for the cloister, she gave our boys her topical maps detailing the Lord of the Rings geography.  They shared a great love of Tolkien's works.

Recently, an article was published in the Lexington Herald-Leader with a photo slide show!  It's a great article, and a great glimpse into her new life in the cloister.  Read it, you'll be glad you did.   There's also a slide show with great photos from the monastery.  Truly inspiring.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Divine Mercy Sunday

Pauline adoring Christ on Divine Mercy Sunday.

Louis and Peter, friends from the south, worship with us.

Off duty altar servers celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday.

Father holds Samuel, Janell looks on.

"I shall tell you, in your charity, something which has just occurred to me.  I notice that Thomas lost his faith when he was absent, but when he was together with the believers his faith did not in any way fall short.  So I have the idea that if only a sinner will flee the company of immoral men and associate with the just, he will never be found lacking in righteousness or the resultant salvation of his soul." ~ Saint Gregory Palamas
Saint Gregory Palamas (+1359) was a monk and archbishop of Thessalonica

Friday, April 9, 2010

Mission of Love

Peter takes the newly secured pathway leading to Great Grandma's house; leveled out so that Grandma can walk up and down without the uncertain stones causing tripping hazards.
Grandma's yard and gardens are spectacular, and she's back at yard work again this spring,
despite having broken her neck 4 months ago.

Peter completes a very special knitting project, his first.

Grandma looks on as Peter "binds off" the rainbow scarf.

Peter surprises Great Grandma by presenting her with his creation.

Grandma's neck brace is a thing of the past!
She celebrated by making an appointment and getting her hair permed (the first one in 6 months).
Her health is good, and she is being lovingly cared for by her (amazing) children who visit her regularly and bring meals, supplies, and drive her to Mass.

I would have never guessed that she would be living at home again after her terrible accident last year.
The power of prayer, the amazing grace of healing... Grandma is a treasure.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

And now for something completely different:

Here's an update on Rocky, who was neutered about 2 weeks ago:
By vet's orders, Rocky has been confined to his kennel, save for his walks on a leash in the backyard to do his business.  He gets so excited for these short bursts of freedom, that he is like a bullet coming out of the barrel of a gun.  On one of these explosions in the backyard, Rocky severely damaged his cone of shame.  Nothing a little duct tape couldn't remedy!
As you might imagine, he has not been a happy puppy with this confinement.
He whines, barks (loudly and incessantly if the boys are playing in the house or in the backyard), moans, and makes loud crashing noises as he attempts to make himself comfortable in his cage of doom.
But thanks to the the strict confinement (and of course, the outstanding surgical skills of Uncle Craig), Rocky has healed from his incision, without any complications.
Yesterday we gathered forces, and with Zac, Joseph, Collin, and Ezra each holding a limb, I clipped and removed Rocky's stitches.
(Oh, did I forget to mention that we slipped him a little something?  Yes, we used some left-over doggie downers to help keep Rocky a bit more manageable during the suture removal process.)

Now Rocky is getting back to his normal activity level, chasing Charlie all over the house.
The fun never ends around here!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter Celebration

Peter receives the wine during the presentation of the gifts.

Zachary incenses Father, preceding the Eucharistic prayer.

Joseph, as cross bearer, assists Zachary, as acolyte, in preparing the altar.

Simply put, our Easter morning liturgical celebrations were amazing.
Zac, Joseph and Peter all served at the 11AM Mass, having gone to bed after 2AM due to the Easter Vigil Mass and the party which followed.
Zac, Peter and I also attended the 8:30AM Mass to witness the baptism of Samuel Jean Marie Baptiste.
Glorious Day!
Now the Easter season continues, and we look forward to the upcoming celebration of
Divine Mercy Sunday, having begun our Divine Mercy Novena on Good Friday. 

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Jesus Christ is Risen Today!

We began our celebration before sun-up, and it continues through this glorious day!