Monday, November 27, 2006

A Great Advent Project: O Antiphon House

My friends at the O Night Divine Christmas blog have started a new idea: using wooden cubes to make Jesse Tree ornaments, Advent activities, and now in Texas is making the blocks into a stunning nativity centered house.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Feast of Christ the King

All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name, let angels prostrate fall,
bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all, bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

A Family Hike

The weather was warm this weekend, so we took our Florida cousin Mike on a four mile nature walk though the woods to the bay.
It's our version of "over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother's house we go"!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Our Entire Family Was Together for Thanksgiving

View this video montage created at One True Media
Thanksgiving 2006

These are my two brothers, Bill, and Rob and their families, and my parents. My husband Francisco and our daughters, Gabriela, Isabella, and Christina. I was behind the camera.
Since Bill lives in Florida, this is our first Thanksgiving together since we've had children. It was great being together, as you can see.
We are thankful to the good Lord for each other!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

As we gather with our loved ones for a memorable meal, let's not forget the Americans who aren't eating at all, or are alone or in danger in a war zone.

Look at this Masterpiece from Michaela at Echoes of Creation
She is a homesteader in Oklahoma and an incredible artist. All for the glory of God!

I'm trying something new this advent

St. Cecilia, patroness of musicians, pray for me.
I have promised my daughters, both of whom are learning to play instruments; Gaby the guitar, and Bella the piano, that I would play my violin with them this Advent. We want to play some of our favorite Advent and Christmas carols together as a trio.
It sounds lovely, but I'm a bit nervous as I'm VERY rusty on the violin. I have played since 4th grade, but, as I always used to say, "I only play when I'm lonely". I was a lonely teenager, and young adult, but since having a family, I haven't played at all. Is it because I'm no longer lonely, or because I have less time?!
So, St. Ceclia, have the Lord bless our efforts to create harmony that spreads from us to the rest of the family.

Keeping the lid on Christmas is rough

"Look, they're setting up the lights and stands for Christmas trees at Leuthardt's," Isabella said it as we were driving past a tree farm where we buy our Christmas tree.
She notices every new Christmas decoration, and can't wait for next week so that we can open the magic Christmas boxes in the attic. I have tried to keep the lid on the her Christmas anticipation until at least Thanksgiving, but it's rough with such enthusiasm. Then I relaxed,and told myself, 'just let in the joy'.
Later that same trip came the payoff. " I think I'd like Christmas just as much even without presents", she said.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Singing Nun

I just visited Blessed Among Men, and she had the same reaction to the Singing Nun's unfortunate demise as I did. I didn't know there was anyone out there who remembered the most unusual international singer of 1963.
I was pleased how many of us grew up with those lovely songs which conveyed Sister Luc-Gabrielle's deep, yearning for unity with God.

I am teaching the lyrics in French to my girls. Her songs, as well as the movie with Debbie Reynolds, and Ricardo Montalban, made me want to be a nun when I was growing up. I makes me sad when I contrast the beautiful ending to the movie, Sister Luke surrounded by singing Africans in her medical mission, with the stark reality of her suicide, and apparent loss of faith. The sixties was a terrible time for Catholics, I pray the Lord had mercy on her, and has placed her where she wanted to be:

Entre les etoiles, le Seigneur ha ecrit ton nom,
Entre les etoiles, tout la-haut dans sa maison,
Entre les etoiles, le Seigneur ha pose ta vie,
Entre les etoiles, pres de Lui, en Paradis.

Among the stars, the Lord has written your name,
Among the stars, way up high in His dwelling place.
Among the stars,the Lord has place your life,
Among the stars, next to Him, in Paradise.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Just another Sunday in Paradise

We were pushing the girls this morning (for noon Mass) to eat, shower, dry their hair, take turns dressing our pre-schooler and combing her knots, and left for Mass with damp hair and three minutes to spare. Good thing it's two miles away.
We got to church during the opening hymn, which I count as on time, and squeezed past an obviously displeased older woman who had positioned herself at the end of the last pew.
There should be an unwritten law that the last pew in a church with no crying room, belongs to families with squirmy youngsters. She left early.
And I thought it was a relatively well behaved Mass. Christina, the 4 year old, was happy cuddling with Daddy, and all I had to contend with were the 9 and 13 year old girls' quiet squabbles. Can the Sign of Peace turn into a torture session? Unfortunately, yes.
The priest in his homily reminded us that "no one knows the day or the hour when we will be called home, so live each day thankful for those we love, and for the gift of life."I looked sideways and the sunlight was beaming on my clean, well-dressed family, all together at Mass. We are truly blessed!
Later, as Christ was present at the supreme moment of grace in the consecration, I offered Him my family, such as it is, and asked Him to re-make us in His image. Again.
I had a beautiful communion, and left the church as I normally do, lighthearted and ready to do my mothering this week.
Isn't it wonderful to be a Catholic?!

Ten Things I am Thankful for This Week

1. I am thankful for anti-biotics. For all their bad press, after all is said and done, they are a miracle drug. Nothing else can take a miserable, feverish pre-schooler and make her bounce back to health in 48 hours.
2. I am thankful to live on the East End of Long Island, near the beach. I get to drive by such beautiful scenery every day, and the traffic's not so bad, now that the tourist season is over.
3. I am thankful that my parents are well, enjoying retirement, and live near enough for weekly visits to enrich the lives of my girls.
4. I am thankful that we own our home, and that I have been able to re-decorate it according to my own sense of style. I truly enjoyed the creative effort it took (and live through the slow renovations!)
5. I am thankful that, so far, our country has been spared a terrorist attack since 9/11. Let us continue to pray for this nation's security.
6. I am thankful for my gorgeous church, St. John the Evangelist, Center Moriches, brand new, but so traditional with all the 100 year old windows, statues, altar, altar rail, etc. from the old church beautifully re-furbished. The Adoration Chapel, adorned with ornately carved walnut paneling is my favorite spot to pray. I feel like a nun in a Rennaisance monastery when I go to adoration there.
7. I am thankful for a husband who asked me to homeschool while we were still on our honeymoon, and hasn't yet taken it back!!
8. My daughter Isabella is thankful for her family that takes care of her.
9. Isabella is thankful for living in a safe home where there are no hurricanes, tornadoes, or earthquakes.
10. Best of all, Isabella is thankful for her Catholic faith which gives her the hope of Heaven.

I have always loved Montessori style learning

I once visited an atrium. That's a true Montessori -style classroom, in which the lessons are prepared in advance so that the students, with very little input from the teacher, can work on the learning task of their choice.

Maria Montessori had beautiful understanding of the nature and dignity of children. She said, "the manner in which we touch and move a child, and the delicacy of feeling which should inspire us at the time, makes us think of the gestures that a priest makes at the altar. His hads are purified, his motions are studied and thoughtful, and his actions take place in silence. . .A feeling of hope and elevation pervades the sacred place. It is in surroundings such as these that a newborn child should live"
The teacher in the atrium spoke in a near whisper, and about twenty children of varying ages were incredibly attentive. They played with the Mass kit, consisting of a tiny altar, candles, chalice, and purificator. They made collage charts about the colors of the priests' vestments according to the liturgical calendar. And, they learned all this because THEY were interested. I was impressed, and took this woman's training course.
I have recently enjoyed reading "Natural Structure: A Montessori Approach to Classical Education at Home" by Edward and Nancy Walsh. I has been most helpful while I set up a cooperative nursery school for homeschool preschoolers, and for activities at home to help Christina learn painlessly.
She is quite strong willed, but will stay engaged for long periods in an activity of her choosing. She is a sensory-kinetic learner, as you can see, and forgot that I was photographing her.
The book, available from Catholic Heritage Curricula has many useful photos of learning trays, where lessons are arranged by subject, such as cutting, magnets, or, in Christina's case, transferring.

Catholic Homeschool Blog Directory

I'm pleased to have been invited to join the Catholic homeschool blog directory at Take a look at the great blogs listed by state, and country.

I saw some online friends, and was able to make some new ones.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Make Sure Your Christmas Cards Have Madonna and Child with Bird stamps

The perfect finishing touch for your cards this year is also a ministry of evangelization.It's entitled, "Maddonna and Child with Bird" from a Peruvian artist. Stock up for the whole year, if you can.

This is my second blog

I began blogging on October first of this year, at and have found it to be very fulfilling and a bit frustrating. Frustrating technically, which, little by little, I'm overcoming, but my blog had an identity crisis. Was I a Catholic Homeschooling Mom blogger, or a religion and political commenter?

Now I have a separate blog for each of my personalities. This is my mommy blog.Here you will find the day to day life of a homeschooling mom of three girls, including Christina with Down Syndrome.