My Beamish Brood

My Beamish Brood

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Life of Learning

I have spent a lot of time lately feeling like a flunky homeschooling mom. Ever since preparing to put our house on the market (back in July, was it?!) I have been playing catch-up. I have always taken an unstructured approach to homeschooling, following the interests of the kids, with a heavy dose of reading aloud. But without a structured curriculum to follow, it's easy for me to look back and think that we have accomplished nothing this year. So in this post, I will attempt to remind myself of the great amount of learning that has gone on this year in spite of a lack of consistency.

 My children have learned:

The importance of setting goals and working hard to achieve them, as their Dad has trained and run in several half-marathons this year.

The beauty of God's creation, and the spectacular show we have been given the privilege of witnessing.

The reality of God's mercy, especially to their sometimes over-stressed Mama. The importance of saying sorry and asking for forgiveness.

The reality of hard work around the house. It's not fun, but somebody's gotta do it... and it can't all fall on Mom.


The harder reality that sometimes, a person's gotta clean up a mess they didn't make.







The fact that sometimes Mom is just going to lay around and do nothing, so they'd better come up with something to do on their own. (They've sure gotten good at this one!)

The beauty of a call to the religious life (after attending the final profession of Sr. Nikopoiea)

An appreciation of the outdoors, and the endless possibilities for creativity found in a pile of sticks, rocks, and dirt.


 But especially the importance of looking out for one another, because family is here to stay.

Even though they spend 90% of their time together (or maybe because of that exact reason!), they are the best of friends. They miss each other when they are apart for even a short time. They can't wait to see each other every morning. They play together for hours on end. They truly know and love each other, and I couldn't ask for anything more!

If they have learned nothing else this year, they have learned to love more deeply. And they are simply bursting with excitement to shower that love on their newest little sibling in September!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Bread of Life

On Saturday, Max received his First Holy Communion! I am almost at a loss for words to describe the feeling of this day. Max has a joy and a love of life that are contagious, and when he is excited for something, he nearly vibrates with anticipation. He swept us all up in his excitement and carried us through an amazing, beautiful day!

His preparations included a full day retreat at our church on Friday, so I dropped him off in the morning and picked him up six hours later. Six hours! It felt like an eternity to me... but my husband reminded me that if we weren't homeschooling, he would be gone that much every day. Ha, good point honey. During the retreat, the second graders had prayer times, craft times, work time in the Atrium, and the opportunity to go to confession again. Max told me he went, but "I don't think I had any mortal sins to confess, Mom." No, sweetie, you probably didn't.

We filled at least a whole pew at church with family and friends who were there to witness and support Max; Auntie Monica and Uncle Glenn, Paul's parents, my parents, all of my grandparents, Uncle Tony and Auntie Catherine, Uncle Ben, Godparents Aaron and Emily... and of course, a bunch of kids and cousins.

All throughout Mass, Max kept leaning over and asking, "When is it time for Communion?" even though he knows the Mass like the back of his hand. When the moment came, he approached the Deacon and was handed the host. For a minute, he held it up and just looked at it, as if he was unsure if he was actually allowed to do something so special... He looked up at me and I gave him a nod. With a big grin, he received Jesus for the first time!

After Mass we took pictures and then went home to continue the celebration. Max kept telling me how exciting Mass was, how he wants to start going to daily Mass, how "It didn't look or taste very special, but it WAS SO special! It was really Jesus!" His continued excitement had a profound impact on me, one that I'm hoping will last. It is easy to forget how great is the gift we receive each Mass, but seeing the Eucharist through the eyes of a child was a powerful reminder to me. Thank you, Max, for your witness! Thank you, Jesus, for your gift to my son and to his whole family!



Saturday, April 2, 2016

Hurricane Edith

My spunky little gal has been keeping me on the run lately! The great loves of her life include destroying everything in her path and climbing up onto every surface in the house. At times it seems she has a death wish; if she happens to make it into the front yard, she will wait until someone is watching her, look that person in the eye, smile, and then book it directly for the road! I was bringing in groceries the other day when this exact scenario played out. I saw her looking at me, just waiting to see what I would do next. I didn't move, knowing she would take off. But she began to move toward the road anyway, just as a car was coming around the corner. I bolted, waving my arms wildly as she tore into the middle of the road. Thankfully we live on a slow, quiet street and the driver saw me in plenty of time. But I honestly don't know why I'm not going gray yet...

While part of her destructive nature is personality, another part is simply greater opportunity to create chaos. She manages to wander off unsupervised much more often than the others did; in our old house we were generally within eyesight of each other at all times. If a kid was missing, it took a matter of seconds to locate them. Now we have more square footage, many more little nooks and crannies, more bathrooms (!!!), and a lot more ways to sneak away. Plus, with three older siblings there are more craft supplies, more bathroom supplies, more toys with small parts, more markers falling onto the floor just waiting to be uncapped. More books just waiting to be pulled off the shelf. 

But the worst of all is the bathroom. She has learned how to open all of the drawers and cupboards, which hold such treasures as makeup, lotion, band-aids, toothpaste, toothbrushes, feminine products, and toilet paper, all of which have been poured out, unwrapped, squeezed empty, chewed on, or thrown in the toilet at some point or another. And then there is the toilet itself! I have found her washing her hands, dipping her toothbrush, wetting down her hair, attempting to drink the water... And it's always a toss-up whether the kids have remembered to flush or not. The worst, by far, was the day I caught her in the bathroom after a sibling (who shall not be named) forgot to flush a big job. She took it upon herself to "clean up" by throwing the mess from the toilet bowl into the bathroom garbage can! I caught her red-handed (well, not red-handed... you know what I mean), and I nearly died of shock and disgust before I was able to call in my dear husband to help with the cleanup.

But in spite of all the craziness, she is still the joy of my life. She keeps me laughing when she's not screaming at me, and she gives me the greatest snuggles in the world! Just a few days ago, she looked at me during dinner and said "Ya you, Mama" (which translates to "I love you, mama"). Melt my heart. Yes, you can have whatever you want!


And the joy it brings me when I see her siblings dote on her is indescribable! They love to read to her, hold her, chase her and sing to her. They can't get enough of her budding language skills; they constantly ask her to repeat phrases to them and then laugh at her attempts to say "Minecraft Creeper" and "Ob La Di, Ob La Da". They always want to be the first to offer her a banana and yogurt in the morning because they know that food brings her such joy.


She is growing up as the fourth child in a growing family, and in that place she has learned to make her needs known. Her screech could break glass, and when she throws a fit she will wail on anyone in sight. Paul has nearly gotten his beard ripped out on occasion. But she is well loved and she knows it. She is going grow up to be a strong and capable woman with a heart of gold. Just don't try to take her blankie.