The Dizzy Disciple

Who you are is God's gift to you. Who you become is your gift to God. As a homeschool mom, I am both teaching and learning everyday. May I always be a disciple who is unafraid to have her light shine!

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Location: Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, United States

I'm a Catholic homeschool mom with two daughters, one husband, and four cats. In addition to being the "teacher" at home, I teach weekly at our area learning center, as well as work at our local YMCA a few times a week. Occasionally I take to the stage and have some fun on my own!

Sunday, May 29, 2005

A couple of fun things...

Spending my weekend catching up on favorite blogs, and found both of these that
looked fun. Thanks, Alicia for posting have fun!

Mindless trivia #1 -- The ABC's of Getting to Know You

A is for Age - 46
B is for Booze – strawberry daiquires
C is for Career - mom; part time religious ed. database manager
D is for Dad’s name - Bernard
E is for Essential items to bring to a party – my watch
F is for Favorite song at the moment – "Mr. Mom" -- Lonestar (guaranteed to change in the NEXT moment!!)
H is for Hometown – Concord, MA
I is for Instrument you play – Piano...guitar is collecting dust
J is for Jam or Jelly you like - Raspberry, strawberry
K is for Kids - 2 girls
L is for Living arrangement – old, little, rundown farmhouse...lots of potential until we started having kids!
M is for Mom’s name - Helen
N is for Names of best friends – Mary, Judy, DeDe, Beth
O is for overnight hospital stays – 2 baby deliveries...exactly 5 years and 23 minutes apart (makes it easy for mom to remember their birthday!)
P is for Phobias – FROGS & DENTISTS....together OR apart!
Q is for Quote you like – Who you are is God's gift to you; who you become is your gift back to God....wish I knew who said it.
R is for Relationship that lasted longest – I'm assuming that means romantic...I guess my husband of almost 15 years would win that one!
S is for Siblings – 1 Sister, 2 brother--oldest is severely retarded and lives in a group home...have only seen him a few times....hey, it was a different world back in my mom's earlier days!
U is for Unique trait – I tend to be an optomist...that's relatively unique these days!
V if for Vegetable you love - Asparagus, spinach
W is for Worst trait - perfectionism, pride...and I do guilt too well!
X - is for XRays you’ve had – Chest xray once; teeth xrays LONG ago...
Y is for Yummy food you make – family birthday cake recipie, Swedish meatballs, chicken wings....I like "down home" cooking
Z is for Zodiac sign – Pisces, although I'm not too big on the whole thing!

Mindless Trivia #2...
"What five things are the people you know well crazy about that you just don't get?"
1. American Idol -- Makes me glad we gave up television years ago.
2. Any Survivor show -- see above
3. Perfect landscaping -- an advantage of an old, rundown farmhouse is that the
"rustic" look works! Doesn't help that I'm allergic to most of the outdoors!
4. Any big name department store -- did I mention I live within 2 miles of FIVE
different dollar stores?? I also have a hard time walking past a used bookstore!
5. The Academy Awards -- alot of hullabaloo over not much at all!

And now, MY contribution...I'm actually STARTING one!

Mindless trivia all fairness--
Name five things that you ARE crazy about that most people would think you're wierd for:
1. CBS Soaps -- It's my hour and a half of escape every few days...even I think
I'm nuts, but I've been watching these two shows since they started!
2. Homeschooling -- Maybe I AM crazy!
3. Iced coffee -- (especially Dunkin Donuts!)...drink it all year long!
4. Libraries -- we have cards to three so far...I don't dare get anymore!
5. Jesus Christ -- this is a serious a pagan turned Protestant missionary
turned avid Roman Catholic, some folks still think I'm nuts (not to mention most
of the world), but my faith is by far the most important thing in my life!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Child, go to bed!!

It's now 10:30pm and I finally got my storm queen to sleep...she was so excited about the fact that as of tomorrow at lunch she'll be a "second grader" that she even cried a bit....and then bounced around on her bed, on her sister's bed, off the walls, and almost into my coffee cup for the next hour or so. I'd forgotten about the "last day of school--beginning of summer vacation" excitement of a child.
Now I've come downstairs to find the Equestrienne happier than I've seen her in days. Good evaluation, you say? was the best dad in the world buying her the DVD of Harry Potter III for her to watch. Now that it's over, she's saying she's not tired--nope, not one bit. Mom, on the other hand, has been up since 6:00 and has a chest cold, and I AM tired. Granted, the coughing might keep ME up, but aren't children supposed to go to sleep before their parents??!!

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy burdened...and I will give you rest"
Now why is that one of my favorite Bible verses?

Last day of school tomorrow!

The equestrienne had her evaluation today, and it went really well; not only did the evaluater NOT cringe at the width of the portfolio, but as she also loves to scrapbook she thought it was all the more wonderful (I hope content counts as much as presentation!! :O) !!). I also learned that until the evaluation is over, I doubt myself as a teacher. Really, I do. I think the evaluation is more for ME than the student. I've been so nervous "trusting my instincts" in regards to math, and she said that it sounded like just the right thing to do for the STUDENT. I guess that's where the educational system just CAN'T compete with homeschooling. We can cater our curriculum to exactly what the student NEEDS, whereas in most classroom settings the student has to conform to the curriculum...whether or not it works for them. I also have a hard time admitting that my child isn't "perfect" in every subject...that maybe not doing the grade level math right now, but switching to a slightly less difficult curriculum that gives her the learning approach that she succeeds with, is actually smarter in the long run. So today I feel like we had a successful year. Granted, until the Stanford test results come in and show that she hasn't dropped 67 points in every subject I will still be a bit fretful--SOME of the time! For now, I look forward to our last day of school tomorrow, with a closing prayer service, lunch out with Dad, and then later on the movie "Madagascar".

I'm also almost done with next year's lesson THAT'S a change!! After two years of doing EVERYTHING myself, it's so nice to just mix and match the different weeks to match the liturgical year, and pick and choose the seventh grade subjects and follow the guidelines for schedules, and voila! I'm almost done! The workload seemed like alot more while planning, but in the end I think it will come out to be just a little more time spent doing work for the girls (and I've already told her that in 7th grade she SHOULD be doing a bit more), and the added structure will help.

I'm currently reading a book entitled "A Mother's Rule of Life", which promises to bring "order to the home and peace to the soul"....I was skeptical when I started, but already it's making so much sense. One of the reasons I think our house tends to be so chaotic is that we don't have ENOUGH structure. The girls have grown up more or less having to do nothing, and I'm beginning to see the consequences--and it's not a pretty sight. I also believe that the Catholic curriculum will help them in learning about carrying their share of the household responsibilities. In the last week I've begun giving them some chores, and they seem totally receptive (well, MOST of the time!). This summer we'll have little checklists and charts all over the house as we ALL do a little behavior management (my forever friend is smiling as she reads this as that's her profession!)....and hopefully we'll all enjoy the positive benefits of less stress and more free time. Sort of a paradox, but it makes sense.

Oh, well, I've gone on much too to give the storm queen her bath!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

YAAAAYYY! The portfolio is done!!

As a homeschool mom, nothing is more exciting than to finally finish the portfolio for the year...especially with the Equestrienne's evaluation just two days away! :O) I find that there are two types of simple type that shows what learning has taken place, and two--the "so-thick-that-I-needed-to-go-to-Staples-to-get-the-widest-binder-allowed-by-law" type....guess which kind we do?? :O) I suspect that our evaluator cringes when we walk in, but when I asked my daughter if she'd prefer a shorter version, she replied quite passionately that she LOVED the thick portfolio..."it's my MEMORY of sixth grade, mom!". When I started thinking about it that way, I realized that I feel the same way. I include photos, little keepsakes, and probably more writing samples than I need to...but it's a memory of the year, and shows alot more than just what's been learned academically. It shows her emotional growth, her spiritual maturity, and even the little things that she loves (for example, the "theme" this year is Beatrix Potter since she loves rabbits right now). I also find that the process--which involves a fair amount of scrapbooking--is very relaxing for me. Down the road we may take out alot of the odds and ends (like MATH sheets! :O)), but the "memories" will remain.
Now that the required one is done, I can start finishing up the Storm Queen's (I don't legally have to turn one in for her until she's 8, which will be 3rd grade). She's been sick the past couple of days, but at one point asked for her kindergarten portfolio to look through...and then "reminisced" her way through "when I was younger" days. She must be starting to feel better, for she's getting a bit more argumentative!
Friday is our last day of homeschool for the year. We'll have a short closing prayer service, promotion to the next grade, and then pick up Dad for lunch. I think afterwards I'll treat them to seeing "Madagascar"...not a bad way to end the year! :O) Okay, that's it for now...I"m off to finish up the schedule for NEXT year! I hope that my blog life will get back to normal in the next few weeks! I"ve missed so many of you!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Counting days....

I apologize for my absence of late...with the homeschool year coming quickly to an end, I seem to be busier than usual. I envy all of you who are managing to post on a regular basis and do portfolios, too!

Although my daughter has actually hit her required 180 days as of yesterday, we are going two more weeks to end at the close of this month...with the last week being "fluff" days, as we call them (at first I felt a bit guilty scheduling only fun and field trips that week, until I remember just how much she used to do in SCHOOL during the last few weeks of classes!)....

My six year old storm queen will come close to the 180 days (not required here in PA until age 8), and hopefully over the summer will lose some of this new-found openly defiant attitude toward the big, bad mommy...gray hairs are popping at an alarming rate just this week alone!! Today I can count not one, not two, but three of these "big" blowups (the little ones I gave up trying to keep track of!!), and I look at her and wonder what alien being has just taken over her body. Within an hour or so she has usually apologized and had her cry session for being such a "bad daughter".....and then I pray that a new storm won't erupt when the consequences are brought forth. I don't remember my oldest being this stormy. Storm queen, Blonde Fury....take your pick--I love my little strong willed daughter SO MUCH, and I guess God gave her to me knowing that it would ensure that I stay on my knees!!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Anyone for some Myers-Briggs?

Your #1 Match: ESFJ

The Caregiver

You are sympathetic and caring, putting friends and family first.
A creature of habit, you prefer routines and have trouble with change.
You love being in groups - whether you're helping people or working on a project.
You are good at listening, laughing, and bringing out the best in people.

You would make a great nurse, social worker, or teacher.

Your #2 Match: ISFJ

The Nurturer

You have a strong need to belong, and you very loyal.
A good listener, you excell at helping others in practical ways.
In your spare time, you enjoy engaging your senses through art, cooking, and music.
You find it easy to be devoted to one person, who you do special things for.

You would make a good interior designer, chef, or child psychologist.

Your #3 Match: ESFP

The Performer

You are a natural performer and happiest when you're entertaining others.
A great friend, you are generous, fun-loving and optimistic.
You love to laugh - and you like almost all people equally.
You accept life as it is, and you do your best to make each day fantastic.

You would make a good actor, designer, or counselor.

Gee.....I'm a homeschooling mom who accompanies a chorus and teaches a drama class to homeschool kids....I also work at church to "nurture" the faith of many. But interior design?????? Unless that includes the use of duct tape, I'd never make it there! Seriously, any other Myers Briggs fans out there? I tend to test as either an ESFJ or an ENFJ every time, so I guess this is on the money again.

God bless More modern mammographies!

Okay, if anyone had told me even yesterday that I'd EVER be praising the process of having one's anatomical parts being squished like a pancake, I'd have laughed. But this morning I drove for my long overdue mammogram, and found a brand new kind of machine awaiting me. The machine did NOT make me practice Lamaze breathing, or even remotely desire hitting or kicking the just did enough of what it was supposed to do to take a picture. Not just a PICTURE, but a 3-D version that pops up on the computer screen....was that really ME? The pictures are supposed to be the best around, and it doesn't hurt. Well, that's all I need to say that I'll go and do it again next year, and won't even complain. I also am 100% certain that this new machine was invented by a woman.

Although I'm not a radiologist, I didn't see anything in the screen images that looked like something to worry about...I'll wait for the report to arrive in the next few days or so. On a serious note, I urge all my female comrades out there in the blogosphere to think about whether they are due for this delightful test...even with the OLD machine, if it can save a life by early detection, then please don't hesitate! It may be your life you are saving!

Monday, May 02, 2005

Lessons learned from the Laundry...

Inspired by a recent post about the "summit" by
Chris in The Big Yellow House,
I offer my own list...

1. The missing matched sock will show up the day after the
trash man takes away the one you finally threw out.

2. Summer clothes breed in the closet during the winter and
spring months, and often in sizes that are too small for the
upcoming season.

3. The number of hand-me-down bags of clothes that one
receives in a year's time is inversely proportionate to the
amount of any available space in one's closets, garages,
and other "storage" areas.

4. Those same bags of clothing always come in a dark, non-see
through plastic, and therefore occassionally get mistaken
for a regular trash bag and thrown away....guaranteed to
have the ONE article of clothing that was absolutely, without
question the "favorite, I must have it, I can't believe I finally
got one" item of your fashion conscious six year old daughter.

5. The one bag that comes in clear see through plastic has all
the inappropriate items that your pre-teen falls in love with
and is not allowed to wear.

6. As soon as winter clothes are finally sorted through and
put away, the spring temperature drops to the 50's and the
weather man smiles as he mentions that "S" word as a late
night possibility for early May!

7. Any laundry basket that is filled with clean laundry and not
covered with a towel or other item immediately has a black
cat curled up in it.

8. Conversely, the dirty laundry NEVER does.....nor the basket that
you DO remember to cover right away.

9. The day you run out of laundry detergent is the day your preteen
announces that she MUST have a certain item to wear that day
for many various reasons....most of which involve either a boy's
name or a shopping mall.

10. As soon as clean laundry is all folded and put away, you enter
the girls' bedroom and pick up a new load full off their floor.

11. Laundry never ends. Never.

End of Year "Martha" magnitude!

I've been too busy to even READ many blogs this week, let alone post! (And I STILL feel like I've been on the computer too much!!) At work, we've had one of three first communion Masses, and the other two are this weekend...I've been printing out certificates and helping with odds and ends; I served as Eucharistic Minister both during the communion liturgy and the following day, and I got the "Holy Spirit goosebumps" watching these little ones receive our Lord for the first time! It saddens me sometimes to see so many coming up to receive like they were standing in line for a free cookie....and I pray for each of them to FEEL Him enter their bodies and nourish them like nothing else can. It also seems that every time I serve, I am at some point just overjoyed and enveloped into the realization that I am holding Jesus, and that each and every person is part of that body of Christ...such a mystery, and yet so simple a truth.

I'm also busy finishing up the homeschool year, which is no easy task as my two are not unlike any other child in regular school at this time of year. "Mooooooom....I'm TIRED of learning!" I heard from my six year old last week. And then the next day--a scheduled "day off" for Mom to work on portfolios--she was asking for some math to do. Go figure! (I'm STILL trying to figure out why anyone would ask for MATH of all things!!!). I just finished ordering items for next year, and I know that once they arrive I'll want to sit right down and get every lesson plan done out right away (yeah, RIGHT!!). Okay, so maybe it's more accurate to say I'll want to sit down and "play" with the new toys while neglecting some of the necessary items that still need doing. Portfolios are probably 60% percent done by now, but it's amazing to me how quickly those piles of paper add up! I also have alot of photos to put together, and whereas I tend to do those scrapbook style, they take longer.

I'm also entering into the final two weeks of the homeschool coop teaching, so I have report cards and final papers to grade, and a final class to prepare for. And finally, this weekend I play in a concert for a small community chorus that I accompany, so I guess I should TRY to sit at the old ivories a few times between now and of the pieces is a Gershwin medley including a piano solo of parts of "Rhapsody in Blue", so I have some incentive to practice!

When I'm done with all that, I can get to the laundry piles, the summer clothes that beckon from the closet to be sorted through and washed (after doing the same for all the late winter/spring clothes in the bureaus!!), windows to wash, a kitchen floor that's getting stickier by the day, a new oven that was just splattered with it's first roast chicken that now needs cleaning, old homeschool books to price for an upcoming book sale, shopping, vaccuming, and who knows what else? But Lord, I really DO want to just sit at your feet!!! Help me to have at least Mary's heart while the rest of me is running around like Martha at full speed ahead!