Friday, April 15, 2011

Weekly Accomplishments ~ A mixed bag of blessings

Life snuck up on us this week.  Took us by surprise.   We were not ready for it.  It brought us to our knees.   My sister-in-law passed away suddenly last Thursday, April 7th.  Family from far and wide traveled to share in the condolenses that were being given to my husband’s brother.  Plans were made for a memorial service.  Our life slowed down to a snail’s pace.
We visited with family.   It was a blessing to have the girl’s grandparents in CT again.  They were here the week prior for a first communion and a confirmation and upon their return home, repacked their bags, filled up their car with gas and hit the highway again.  It will be months before my girls see them again.    We traded time for lessons for time with family.  There was laughter through tears.  Joy in the pain. 

Grace walks the dogs every morning
We did discover a few things...
Have you played with the scrabble app - Words with Friends yet?  You have to!  Greg uses his ipad and the girls use their itouch to play a game against one another.  Moves are saved and the game can be played over the course of days.  It is like leaving a scrabble board on the dining room table and having a non-stop scrabble marathon.  The cost is $2.99 and it is worth every penny!
our poetry anthology/cursive writing practice

Grace attended her first book club meeting.  They discussed The Homework Machine.  The consensus was that they all enjoyed the book but not so much the ending.  They met at the library and as a group searched the stacks for the next selection.  They chose Loser by Jerry Spinelli and Graveyard Book by Neil Geiman.  I have pre-read them both.  I liked Loser although I fear that Grace may not enjoy it as much.  It is more about character development and less about plot.  I enjoyed the main character tremendously.  His unique spirit, sense of adventure, loyalty and individuality.  We all know someone like him.  We all have seen the struggles they face to move through school and society.  I am curious to see what Grace thinks.  I am going to check out the library in hopes that they have this one as an audiobook.
soaking up the Vitamin D with Daphne
The second book selection is Graveyard Book.  I was unsure about this one as well.  Similar to Harry Potter there is a murder, Bod’s entire family is killed because of a prophecy.  The baby Bod escapes as a toddler and wanders into the local graveyard where he is adopted by the ghostly residents.  Despite the violence at both the beginning and the end, this book has beautiful moments and messages.  Family.  What makes a family.  Friendship.  What is the true meaning of friendship.  Community.  How we must care for those in need.  The chapter Danse Macabre is writing at its finest.  It would make a fabulous movie and when I googled it, there were plans for a movie that seem to have fallen through.  No worries since the movie in your mind will far surpass the one on the screen.  Grace began reading this to me.  Lilah crawled into bed with us.  Now it has become our shared read aloud.  
there was cooking...

Something else was shared this week ~ sickness.  A highly contagious stomach virus was passed around my husband’s family.  We all gathered two weeks ago for my nephew’s first communion.  Since then fourteen of us have had the stomach flu.  Lilah was not feeling well on Wednesday so she and I stayed home while Grace went to her friend’s house for the day.  Wednesday was a wash....I did about 10 loads of laundry and amazingly put it all away!  I cleaned out the girl’s sock drawer and loaded a contractor bag with things for Goodwill.  I washed windows and cleaned out the dog’s kennel.  Lilah rested on the couch.  Thankfully she never developed the full effects of the virus, unlike her father......  Greg came home last night with it.  He was fearful he would not make the train ride home.  He does not seem as sick as his siblings have been but I do not suspect I will see him downstairs today.  I keep knocking on wood, hard!
and writing...

Our slow week gave us time to finish up some work that was outstanding.  Grace edited, revised and published her newest story called Friendship.  Lilah wrote two more chapters of her story about a boy’s crush and a mixed up journal that was given as a gift.  Math was done.  Grace learned about representing fractions and mixed numerals on a number line.  Lilah has hit a wall with multiplication.  In order for her to progress and finish level 3 by June, she has to memorize her facts.  We had the same experience with her and the +/- facts.  Weekly quizzes are a drag but they are effective.  
work continued on a sewing project ~ a cat pillow

We made plans for Sturbride Village, Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island and a trip to learn about bee pollination.  We already have plans to participate in a homeschool art show, visit the Monet exhibit on display in Hartford, attend our favorite (my favorite) Renaissance Faire, participate in Grace’s best friend’s cancer walk, and visit our cousins in Massachusetts.  Whew!  Bring it on!  

at work in my "office"!
I am looking forward to the start of a new week, a holy week.  This week gave us mixed blessings.  Family and friends, laughter through tears.  It was both uplifting and extremely taxing.  Now that the friends and family are beginning to return home, my thoughts and prayers are with my brother-in-law, as he grieves privately.  

I am home in Heaven, dear ones;
Oh so happy and so bright!
There is perfect joy and beauty
In this everlasting light.
All the pain and grief is over,
Every restless tossing passed;
I am now at peace forever,
Safely home in Heaven at last.
Did you wonder I so calmly
Trod the valley of the shade?
Oh, but Jesus'love illumined
Every dark and fearful glade.
And He came Himself to meet me
In that way so hard to tread;
And with Jesus' arm to lean on,
Could I have one doubt or dread?
Then you must not grieve so sorely,
For I love you dearly still,
Try to look beyond earth's shadows,
Pray to trust our Father's will.
There is work still waiting for you,
So you must not idly stand;
Do it now, while life remains,
You shall rest in Jesus' land.
When that work is all completed,
He will gently call you Home;
Oh, the rapture of that meeting,
Oh, the joy to see you come!


Jen @ Forever, For Always... said...

So sorry to hear about your SIL. She and your family will be in my prayers.

Theresa said...

I have always wanted to go to Sturbridge Village. YOu will have to let us know how it is!

School Library Journal is recommending Loser as a family book and that libraries have a family book club for it...I have to read it before I plan that!

I love your kitchen, btw!

Helena said...

Ah, what a week. I'm so sorry your family has had this difficult time. I am also filled by the sense of things learned, connections made and kept, support given, and LOVE above all, that has come out of it. Bittersweet and beautiful.

It's funny, isn't it, when life slows down, how full it can become? I loved all your pictures here. I would love to read some of your girls' stories, too. You know how much I love stories! :)

I have been really enjoying your posts, Jessica; they always make me think so much. Though I don't always comment, please know that I read all your words, and am richer for them, EVERY time. Sending warmth and smiles your way…

Jessica said...

Thank you my friends for your thoughts and prayers.
Theresa~ Loser is a good family read. There are MANY things to discuss.
Helena~ Thank you for your kind words. I hope my girls will post their stories. They are pretty terrific if I say so myself!!

Jen @ Forever, For Always... said...

Thanks for linking ups this week :)

Patty said...

I'm stopping in from Jen's again. I'm so sorry to hear the sad news of the death of you sister-in-law. You have our deepest sympathy and we will keep your family in our prayers. Try and rest up over your weekend.

GARY said...

Thanks so much Jess, Jan would have loved the poem as do I.....

Love you guys,

Karen said...

Jess, so sorry about your sister in law. I am glad you found some smiles in the midst of the grief.

I love the star pillow! I liked hearing about Grace's book club meeting. We have discussed doing that her...something along the lines of Mother-Daughter. They actually have "Live" Classes for that too.

I love your kitchen and Lilah looks SO TALL!! Sorry you got the bug. But isn't it lovely not to worry about makeup work?

I just wanted to tell you, that 10 times in the last week I have thought about what you wrote about Grace not returning to PS and smiled. When I first started reading your blog, you wrote like she would be returning and it just makes me giddy that she is planning to remain a Homeschool Girl.


Marcie said...

I am so sorry to hear about your sister-in-law. You and your family are in our hearts and thoughts.

Thanks for the sneek peek into the new kitchen. I can't wait to see a before and after. (hint, hint ;))

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