Saturday, May 31, 2008

Mary Mother of God

On this, the final day of May, I am posting a picture of Mary.

This statue was a Mothers' Day present from my parents. I placed it in the copse of trees visible from my kitchen window and planted blue and gold flowers at her feet.* It makes makes me smile (and pray) each time I glance out the window.

In case you didn't realize it, Catholics like Mary.** We do not pray to her like a god; we pray with her.*** The statue is a sign of respect and a reminder to us of the most excellent model of human virtue.

This area of the yard will need to be landscaped in the next year because the trees are beginning to lean toward the house. When we do, I think I will have the children help me plant a Mary garden.

Then we can have a May Crowning on May 1st.
*Yes, the blue and gold reference is to notre dame -- our Lady, not the university. Blue and gold have traditionally been associated with Mary, and many Catholic schools use this color scheme to honor her. These include my elementary school as well as colleges like Notre Dame, Merrimack, St. Edward's University, College of St. Elizabeth, St. Joseph College (x2), St. Mary College (of Kansas San Antonio, and Maryland, but not the one in Indiana [which is blue and white also in honor of St. Mary]), College of St. Mary, St. Scholastica, St. Theresa, and St. Thomas (x2). If I had included all of the schools that use blue and white to honor Mary this list would go on for pages.****

**Sounds like a future post for Stuff Catholics Like?

***Sister Mary Martha has a post on this very topic.

Yes, I did do a search for "Saint" on a sports uniform site to find most of the schools on this list.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Happy Memorial Day

The Agents marching in a Memorial Day parade this afternoon.

Let us remember all of those that have sacrificed their lives for our nation.

Is it Blasphemous ask the children to put their arms out "like Jesus" so that I can apply bug spray?

Books of the Week

Harry the Dirty Dog and Green Eggs and Ham have remained at the top of the "read-me-book-please" pile. They have been joined by some new (and returning) favorites:

It always surprises me how much the kids like Berenstain Bears books. Agent 004 in particular will ask me to read and re-read our entire collection. As a kid I considered them long-winded and preachy, but I never refuse to read them to her; the books contain good vocabulary and solid moral teachings. The Berenstain Bears Go to the Doctor has been one of the Agents' long-time favorites.

Since one of our goals is to learn about the months of the year, I was happy that Agent 004 also pulled out Chicken Soup with Rice this week. The rhymes are so much fun and it will sure help us learn about the months and seasons.

I have written about Duck on a Bike before; it is one of the true classics in our collection. The illustrations are beautiful and the story is the perfect blend of silly and believable.

We ventured out to the library yesterday so we should have lots of new favorites next week. Cousin F is already in love with If You Were My Bunny In fact, she is napping with it as I type.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Peanut Butter and Jelly

I've always wanted to post a picture of my lunch on the blog.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I Need my Coffee

It is Works for Me Wednesday, when women around the web share their secrets for making their worlds go round. Today's tip is such a simple one that you may scoff, "Doesn't everyone do that?" But there are others out there who will blush and wonder, "Why didn't I ever think of that?" I am also aware that there is the third possibility that you will consider this a very bad idea.
I am one of those people that does not function before my first cup of coffee.

Which makes it awfully difficult to actually prepare that first cup of coffee. I just am not capable of pouring water or measuring coffee grounds when I first wake up. At least not without turning the kitchen counter into a sticky mess.

The solution? Set up the coffee-maker the night before! After breakfast each morning, I rinse the pot, refill the tank, and measure out the coffee grounds. The next morning I flip on the power switch and voila -- hot coffee with no fuss.

Simple, neat, and dependable. Works for me!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


My summer "academic" goals for each of the kids.
**This post may be updated over the next few weeks as goals are revised.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Unplugged Child Labor

I might have mentioned once or twice that we have been trying to finish our mudroom.

The doors are in, the walls are painted, and the floor is complete.
Almost done.
All that is left now is the woodwork.
Then we move in the bench, hang the coat rack, and put shelves in the closet.

This has been a long process.
We have done the work ourselves
(well Grampy too),
in our spare time.
The spare time in a life with a job
and small children.

At times it has been stressful
and we have been impatient with the Agents.
But on the whole, it has been good for them.
They have worked right along with us --
using those metal tools
to the best of their 3- and 6-year old abilities.

And we appreciate their help
and have enjoyed spending the time with them.

I hope that as they smear mud on this beautiful slate floor
they will remember all of the hard work that went into it.

And be proud of our accomplishments.
Go check out the rest of the Unplugged Projects at Unplug Your Kids.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Day at the Lake

My brother hosted the first cookout of the season at his lakefront bungalow.

We brought along patriotic cupcakes and spent an afternoon enjoying the beach.

It is starting to feel a bit more like summer.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Dating Scene

I thought that we would be done with dating once we got married.

We didn't date at all the first five years of our marriage; we just did stuff together and called it our life. In retrospect we were just on one extended date.

Then the Agents came into our lives and our lives and enriched our lives in ways that we could not have possibly imagined.

But making time to be a couple is still important.

So we went on a date last night. Dinner and a movie*, just me and my man.

*I give Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull two unconditional thumbs up.

Friday, May 23, 2008

In the Book Basket

Book Posts

I am constantly inspired by my bloggy friends' book posts. I often consult Kate's, Heather's, and Jenny's blogs before choosing library books.

In the past I have tried to review of books on one theme (see ducks and construction), but have been overwhelmed by the time required to write these posts.

Instead (both as a service for my preschooling readers and as a record keeping mechanism for myself), I will post a list of the children's favorite books once per week. These may not be the highest quality books on our shelves (I could really do without Curious George myself), but they are proven winners with my crew of mini bookworms.

I will keep the books up on the sidebar (look left) for a month as a quick snapshot of what we have been reading.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Some Call Them Weeds

We call them beautiful.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Simple Exercise Plan

Once upon a time, I was in shape.

I exercised every day -- not out of duty, but because it was fun or because biking was the quickest way from here to there.

But then I got a car. And a job. Then graduate school on top of a job. Then kids. Then daycare on top of my own kids. And I was always able to find an excuses to avoid exercise.

I don't have time.
I'm too tired.
The gym is too expensive.
The gym is too far away.
The weather is too yucky to run outside.
We don't have any weights.
I don't know how to workout.

I knew that I had to do something. I NEED exercise -- it gives me energy, patience, and perspective.

I needed a plan that would actually follow through on. Something simple, quick, and fun. And it couldn't cost money.

Which led me to circuit training.

I do a routine with four exercises in quick succession that combine strength training with aerobic intensity.

I currently complete three full circuits, which takes about ten minutes. Over the next month, I want to incrementally work up to a fifteen-minute, five circuit routine.

I have no reason to avoid exercise. I have a plan that can be done anywhere with no specialized equipment in a very short window of time. It is not affected by weather, location, or kids' napping schedules. No reason not to do it, and plenty of reasons to do it.

Works for me! For more great ideas, visit Works for Me Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Life is Good

The sun is shining.
The lilac is blooming.
The baby is sleeping.
The girls are playing nicely.

The house is clean.
The bread is baked
I got me some exercise.

Loving spring fever.
Loving it.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Day in the Life

Or, what we have been doing when not doing the Unplugged project

  • Wake up (about 6:30am)
  • Cousins arrive (7am)
  • Breakfast
  • make lunch and snacks; kids play
  • Baby P takes morning nap
  • "homeschool"
  • Lunch (10am)
  • play outiside
  • Agent 002 leaves for school (11am)
  • story time
  • Agent 004 and the Cousins nap
  • Mama folds laundry, works on projects, tidies house, blogs
  • Girls wake up --> put laundry away in bedrooms
  • snack
  • Agent 002 returns from school (3:15pm)
  • play outside
  • Cousins go home (about 4:30pm)
  • snack
  • tv/indoor play
  • mr warillever arrives home (about 6:15pm)
  • dinner
  • bath
  • the Agents go to bed
  • Mama tidies house

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

While I Have Been Away

One of those ironies of blogging is that when life is most interesting I have the least computer time to jot it down for posterity.

Cousin A made his First Communion this past Saturday. Mr warillever's entire family came up to Massachusetts for the festivities, and some of the guests continued the trek up to our place to continue the party.

Grandma and Uncle Ichabod stayed at our house. We had a pleasant Mother's Day breakfast after mass, then went to a flea market. I bought books (surprise, surprise), and Agent 004 spent her $1 budget on a beautiful bracelet.

Since none of the warillever clan had seen Agent 002 for his birthday, he received another deluge of presents including Lincoln Logs, sidewalk paint, and a Hess monster truck.

Mr warillever and I have been very busy working on the mudroom. We are hoping for an early summer opening. The tile looks incredible. Once I find the camera cord I will share his handiwork with the world.

Mr warillever has been tying up the computer every evening, dreaming up a sumer adventure. I won't release the details until we study the feasibility a bit more, but rest assured, we plan on doing this up in true warillever fashion. Just hope we don't end up abandoning our vehicle in Iowa like we did on our last roadtrip.....

Don't expect me to be gone so long next time..... working on a WFMW post about our "new-and-improved" daily schedule......

Friday, May 02, 2008

Look, Mama - I Made Art!

Three-year olds can be so literal sometimes.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Snowmound's Last Stand

It is May, and the snow has nearly been defeated.
'Til we meet again, mighty winter!

Word to Your Racecar

Is this the 6-year-old equivalent of pimpin' your ride?