Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The gift you are to me

I mean it. How many mothers get a love note written in army men from their 12-year-old son? Honestly, I sure hope every mother does.  Dominic Boever.  You know the key to my heart.  You were playing in the other room and beckoned me to come in.  You were so proud of your note written in army men.  I wish I could have left it on the floor forever.  I am overly sentimental about the gifts my children give to me. I am not a hoarder of anything but the gifts they give to me.  Vianney writes me notes all day.  I can hardly stand to throw one away.  They put so much love into their gifts.  Rose colors pictures for me all day.  How can I ever throw away her masterpieces?  Lillie writes John and I notes each evening before she goes to bed.  How can I ever throw away her heartfelt thanks for all we did for her that day?

You are a wonderful and perfect gift to your father and me.  Thank you for all you do.  You are a key figure to the harmony in our home always making sure things are running smoothly.  I woke up yesterday from a nap to a sparkling kitchen with all the dishes done and put away.  I see everything you do.  We worked long and hard on math today together.  I thank you for your good attitude and your willingness to do problems over and over until we get them right.  You are such a good leader. 
I told my own mother this evening that I was blessed to have you sit by me and enjoy the fun job of feeding Kapaun baby food. We were both laughing at his shivering and gagging on the squash we were attempting to feed him.  I loved how much you delight in him. 

One of your most popular spots. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Memory Masters 2014- Dominic, Lillie, and Rose

Each year our Classical Conversations community has a year-end celebration. We finished up Cycle 2 this past Friday and celebrated the achievements of the year on Monday. It is hard to believe that we have been doing CC for three years now.  We have gone through each cycle and will start over in the fall to where we first began CC in Cycle 3.  One of the main highlights of the evening is the presentation to those students who are known as Memory Masters.  If you are involved in CC, you know how much work and practice it takes these students to accomplish this amazing feat. 
 What do Memory Masters memorize?  A brief summary can be found HERE

A student must show mastery of each subject and "proof" four times to show that the subject matter is mastered.  John and I just shook our heads listening to all that they have learned.  It is not recommended to try for memory master until the child is in at least fourth grade.  Rose was determined and rattled off the information like a pro.  She was darling. 
  • 160 events & people in a chronological timeline from Creation to Modern America.
  • 44 U.S. Presidents
  • 122 Geographical locations, including countries in Central America and Africa, as well as countries, cities, features, and bodies of water in the Euro-Asian continent
  • 24 Science facts (in complete sentences) on ecology, astronomy, and physical science, including Laws of Thermodynamics and Newton’s Laws of Motion.
  • 24 history sentences on the following: Charlemagne, William the Conqueror, The Crusades, The Magna Carta, The Hundred Years’ War, The Renaissance, The Protestant Reformation, European Exploration, Age of Absolute Monarchs, History of Russia, The French Revolution, The Battle of Waterloo, The Industrial Revolution, World Leaders and Countries of World War I, Leaders and beginning of World War II, Formation of the United Nations, Korean War, Vietnam War, Cold War, Fall of communism in Eastern Europe, Gulf War, Free elections in South Africa
  • 6 Latin conjugations
  • Times tables to 15×15, square, cubes, unit conversions, geometric formulas, and the algebraic laws of addition and multiplication
  • Definitions for pronoun, noun, adverb, adjective, gerund, appositive, conjunction, and interjection; double negatives; types of nouns; coordinating conjunctions; adverbs telling to what extent; and 65 pronouns

Dominic was a memory master for Cycle 1 last year.  At the beginning of this cycle, several of our children wanted to attempt to become a "Memory Master."  John and I were so proud of their hard work and daily studying.  Since I was due with Kapaun last September, we began our CC cycle work last summer.  I think it really helped that we got a jump on the year. 
Our three memory masters and amazing director, Tori.

Dominic has a photographic memory.  He sees something once and it is done and imprinted into that head of his.  My mother always use to comment on his amazing abilities at a young age and tell us that it wasn't normal.  I remember back to when he was just one.  He knew all the parts of a cell and the bones of the skull...AT ONE.  He reviewed with his sisters several times and I embarrassingly asked his help to explain things more than once.  He has his mind made up to be an Orthodontist if he isn't a priest. 
Lillie's fortitude toward memory master is something we won't forget.  After an initial evaluation with Lillie, I realized we had some serious work ahead of us.  She worked so hard and practiced so much.  She was unforgettable after her tutor proof.  We got into the car and she burst into tears out of relief.  I have a visual imprint in my head of her practicing over and over in the music room.  I cried happy tears with her.  I took her to Culver's afterward and celebrated our girl. 

AND.....then there was Rose.  Her tutor was completely floored at how she rattled off all the information to perfection.  She is a sharp one and didn't skip a beat.  To be honest, Zellie was right behind her.  I think I ran out of steam, but maybe we can shoot for that next year.

Reviewing their blackline maps together.  Dominic knew them, but was so sweet to help Lillie over and over.

Working hard.

 We celebrated the following night by going out to eat.  Each year (all two of them), we let the Memory Masters pick where we eat.  Dominic chose Chipotle last year.   They tossed around Famous Dave's this year, but landed on Valentino's Pizza Buffet as it was kid's night and balloons are offered!!!  The kids were in heaven.  I am glad Dominic still gets excited about what to choose for his balloon creation.  He asked the balloon artist if she could make something from The Lord of the Rings.  She couldn't, but offered an alien instead.
 I included these next pictures because of Damaris.  She thought she was the reason we were celebrating. 

Look at her face in this picture!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The goodness of sunshine

I noticed tonight when putting Clairvaux to bed that she had gotten sun on her shoulders.  Dominic and I decided that if someone inquires about the temperature, we will boldly state that it is Happiness. The good sun came out today to play. I took this first picture standing at my kitchen sink finishing up morning dishes. I vowed we wouldn't step foot inside today except for the essentials and we didn't. The warmth of the sunshine, birds flitting about, summer clothes yanked out of tubs make any heart explode with joy. It was so good to get the garage cleaned, to sit outside and eat lunch, to ride bikes and trikes, to nurse a sweet baby on the porch swing only to have him fall asleep in my arms. I wrestled with putting him down for a nap in his bed as it was just too picturesque with me holding my sleepy baby, wind blowing ever so perfectly, and the sounds of my other children delighting in the new freedom of being outside after months of hibernation. I decided to give him a good nap inside so I could tackle a few projects outside.  It was so good to be outside.
Clairvaux captured this on my phone.  She loves to take pictures with my phone.  I should let her more often.  I love this picture.

First time swinging

There lived old Granny Griggs and her small grandson Dick.( The Good Humor Man)  Although, Rose did tell me tonight when I was putting her to bed,  "I just love when you wear the green jacket and pearl earrings.  You just look so pretty."  Thank you, Rose.  You get a doughnut in the morning.

Friday, April 11, 2014

My Boys

Dominic and Kapaun in their Sunday best.

I promise his diaper was not as full as it looks.  Wow.  I had to add this picture as he looks extra lumpy and round.  Delicious.

 John and I love when he does this face.  He does it when he is in rapid attack mode of a new object.

Little puppy at almost 7 months next week.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Happy 2nd Birthday Damaris

Why or why did I ever start blogging? I was a pile of tears looking back through pictures of Damaris. Oh, how thankful I am that I was home everyday with her. She woke up sick today on her 2nd birthday. She was throwing up all day. It was so sad. Pictures have an amazing way of moving the heart.  As I was searching through my thousands of photos, I couldn't help but say over and over how grateful I was for our time.  Time is so very precious.  What if I would have missed the exquisite beauty of watching this child grow each day?  How much daily happiness she gives our whole family!  What if I would have missed that?  From a heart bursting with gratitude, I am thankful Lord you opened my eyes to the wonder of each child you decided to give to John and I.
My mother has warned me how much these pictures are going to hurt in the future.  I already feel it.  I say it again, TIME IS PRECIOUS.
The day we fell in love.

My favorite picture of all time.

                                         And...just like that our little girl is 2!!!!!!!!!!