It has been an entire year since I started this blog, and I managed to post a whole 4 times. Wooohooo!

I'm taking it as a good indicator that my life has been so full that I haven't had much time to post. Yeah.....that's it.

Let's see, how can I sum up this past year?

Well...........here are some highlights since the last summary of "happenings" in Sept. '05:

****In September and October we had lots more first-hand hurricane education via Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma.----We felt so awful for the Katrina victims. We had to do SOMETHING, so the kids and I made "Health Kits" to send to the victims, that contained essential toiletries in individual zip-loc bags. We hoped it would help some people feel better. Then we had our own experience evacuating to Grandma's again, this time for Hurricane Wilma. We lost power for about 5 days, but fortunately had little damage to our home and we were safe. We went through the FEMA help lines to get water and food the first few days, and got to experience MREs, which Angelica & Joseph thought were really cool and kinda good!

****We attended the annual Live&Learn Unschooling Conference in St. Louis in early Oct. It was extra special this year because we had friends from home join us there as well, AND we were the winners of the raffle prize for free registration for next years conference! Angelica and her friend performed a ribbon dance to a Green Day song in the talent show, and Joseph showed some of his newly aquired Karate moves to the always appreciative crowd. We also saw some amazing sights in the St. Louis area, including the St. Louis Zoo(www.stlzoo.org), the Cahokia Mounds(www.cahokiamounds.com), the original Big Foot truck(www.bigfoo4x4.com), an awesome skatepark in nearby St. Charles(www.historicstcharles.com), and the unbelievable City Museum(www.citymuseum.org).

(the St. Charles Skate Park)

****We celebrated both Angelica's and Joseph's birthdays in November, since we didn't have our power back yet for Angelica's birthday. Tom had completed building his half-pipe in the backyard and was skating it almost daily. We went to see "Break! The Urban Funk Spectacular" at the Kravis Center with Grandma. That spurred quite a bit of dancing around here.

****December was dominated by Christmas preparations and celebrations. Angelica went on her annual trip to NYC with Grandma and her cousin. She loved ice skating at Rockerfeller Plaza. One of the most exciting gifts this year was the 14ft. trampoline from Grandma & Grandpa in NY. It has been well used and enjoyed ever since we got it. We spent Christmas eve at Grandma and Granpa's house and the kids performed with some friends, as is our tradition. This year MAGIC was the thing. Joseph performed a bunch of tricks from his new magic kit, and Angelica did 3 tricks which she learned from a Christmas Magic book from the library. Then there were the usual songs and jokes, and Grandpop telling "The Night Before Christmas".

****January was spent enjoying all the new toys and gadgets from Christmas. We also went to a local Greek festival, where the kids learned that they really like gyros and greek pastries. It is also the month of my birthday, the month when I received my new laptop computer that I'm typing on right now! Yippeeeeee!

****Hmmmm, what was notable about February? I can't really remember. I think I was probably on the computer whole bunch, LOL. My daughter had been introduced to www.whyville.net, and by Feb. everyone in the house had an account except DH. Then we started with www.piczo.com.
I'm learning alot about computers by just following where my kids lead and helping when they ask. It's been a blast.

****In March, Tom was confirmed in the Catholic Church. It was a rocky road to get there, with his first teacher resigning, and Tom unsure if it was what he really wanted. The Bishop's talk at the ceremony was so awesome. He told the teens that "......from the beginning of time until the end of time, there was no one else exactly like them." (not sure if that's word for word) He told them that they should not feel inadequate by looking at others, because they have shoes that no one else can fill, and if they try to be like others they are giving up what is so special about themselves. Also in March, Tom and Joseph went to Maine for snowboarding and skiing, respectively. It was Joseph's first time, and he loved it. He came back saying he wants to go to Utah skiing because, "that's where the best skiing is." "How would he know that?" I asked Grandma and Grandpop. :)

****May - this is getting too long.

****June-We went to CT to visit Grandma and Grandpa's at their new house. We also got to see our new nephews/cousins, who were only a month apart in age but so different yet both adorable. While visiting, we went to the CT Children's Museum(www.TheChildrensMuseumCT.org), The Rainforest Cafe(www.rainforestcafe.com), Dinosaur State Park(www.dinosaurstatepark.org), UConn's Dairy Barn at Storr's Campus, the Fish Family Farm, and we made our own soda at Avery's Soda Factory(www.averysoda.com). We spent a day in NYC, and visited the Museum of Television and Radio(www.mtr.org), St. Patrick's Cathedral(www.stpatrickscathedral.org), Colony Music Center(www.colonymusic.comCenter), the giant Toys-R-Us in Times Square, the Hershey Store, Beard Papa's Sweet's Cafe - specializing in cream puffs(http://www.muginohousa.com, and Ruby Foos.

There you have it. A summary of the some of the most noteable. Now I will try to keep up with the more mundane, yet often more meaningful things that happen, or happen to cross my mind. ;)



This is certainly an ideal most of us would admit to striving towards. Who would honestly want to use people?! But, alas, who can help but falling in love with their "things"? (Especially with the nearly limitless number of wonderful "things" to own in this day and age.) It is so incidious, however, that most people don't even realize that their things have become more dear to them than people.

As a mother of small children, I frequently get to witness how much more value "things" hold than people, especially if they are little people. The things take on even more importance if they are threatened by the little people. People feel hurt and disrespected when their "things" are not respected and "loved" by others as they think they should be. The owners feel that this gives them free license to disrespect the offending child, and the child's feelings are irrelevant.

My children understand about being careful with other people's property. They know that they are responsible for fixing or replacing something of someone's if they break or lose it. They do not purposefully set out to damage other people's property. So, if in their energetic youthfulness they accidentally damage something, I will not berate them for it. I will help them find a way to remedy the situation and to avoid a recurrance. I don't expect them to respect other people's "things", OR to respect other people who DON'T respect them.

If someone loves their things more than my children, even though they profess otherwise, my kids can see right through their actions to their heart. They will ask to leave places when they know they aren't respected and valued as much as the furniture, and I can hardly blame them.

This is yet another one of the MANY ways in which the simple wisdom of my children is re-educating me daily. Their unpretentious honesty keeps the heart at the heart of ALL matters.