Friday, April 27, 2012

Memorial Garden

One of my newest projects is here in my backyard.  I am building a memorial garden with flowers dedicated to special people in my life who have died.  This has been an important step in my healing process. 

I have had the privilege of knowing an abundance of beautiful people in my life. Everyone we meet has something unique to bring into another's presence. In the past 7 months 3 people dear to my heart have died and gone to heaven as I believe. One was a friend from junior high and high school, Sofia. At the time she was one of my best friends.  When collage came around we went separate ways and got involved in different things. I regret that we had not seen each other in a few years. It was unexpected and sudden and I found out via Facebook. Thankfully I was able to attend her funeral and reconnect with her beautiful family.  I often look at old pictures.  The second was Scott's grandpa who was his mother's father. I did not know him well I cherished the few times I got to visit with him or read his letters.  He was completely deaf and not always interested in being around other people.  He was very good at painting and I enjoyed learning ASL to communicate with him as I do with Scott's mom. He lived until he was close to 90. The third was a beautiful lady whom I've known my entire life and she happened to be my aunt through marrying my mom's brother Carl. Her name was Linda Marie and she was one of the kindest, gentlest people I've ever known.  She took me into her home many nights for sleepovers with my cousins growing up during the summers.  I always loved to be in their home.  She made trips to visit us for many important events in our lives growing up such as my confirmation, my brother's first communion and my son's baptism. We found out in November that she had cancer.  The 5 months after that are almost a blur.  Linda went to heaven on March 6, 2012.

 I often find myself back in the denial stage but things such as the garden bring me great comfort. Each person has flowers named just for them. 

Sofia's Roses

Linda's Roses

I also have flowers planted for Scott's grandpa Philip and am planting more for two friends from high school, Zack and Kristen. I met Zack in choir and had biology with him.  He was one of the kindest and most respectful men I have known. Kristen I met at church. I don't think she had an enemy.  She was always cheerful and kind to everyone. 

Another resource I have found helpful is the set of books from the Stephen Ministry. Although it is put out by a religious organization the information inside applies to anyone. It discusses different types of grief and helps guide people to a healthy grieving. There is a book for 1 month after the death, 3 months and 6 months I believe. I highly recommend them. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012


My mother gave Zachary this great map for his birthday. It is an FAO Schwartz item however she got it discounted online. It comes with velcro names of continents, oceans, some countries, and animals.  We could have just used a regular large world map to play with also.  It's fun to just put it on the floor or low on the wall and it probably would have been doable to print off animals, countries, and oceans from around the world and laminated them.  

All About Me Project

We are hoping to make a booklet all about Zachary. Adelyn can make one when she gets old enough also.  We will include where he is from, where his family is from, favorite foods, colors, books, movies, sports, games, activities, etc and also the places he has been with pictures of the states or cities. Hopefully we can include our great bluebonnet pictures too. 

      A School Like Mine: Europe-  We got this one at Chick Fil A There are a few other books in the    series about other countries.

   The Earth and Sky: A First Discovery Book- we also read the one like this called Musical Instruments which has some from other parts of the world. 

The Armadillo from Amarillo is a great book by Lynne Cherry where an Armadillo begins travels in San Antonio, goes to Amarillo several other states and then to the moon.

the Waterhole by Graeme Base- Has animals from different countries on each page who are drinking from a water hole which are all becoming dried up. Children learn that the rain fills up the waterhole again and takes away the dryness from the land.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Home made Air Show

We are a little bit obsessed with jets in our family. All four of us are fans. When the kids and I play in the backyard in the afternoons we all stop and look up at the sky. We live close to Lackland Air Force Base so we get to see a lot of the jets fly over the house.  I love it.  Most of the time we see the C5s and the F16s.  
So we had a play time with jets. Zachary put on an air show for us.  He had an Thunderbird from the air force and a Blue Angel from the navy.  He also had a Continental jet participate.  As you can see there were many others as well. Mostly he just flew the planes around the house making jet sounds but we had fun.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Yarn Letters

The Great Northwest Library here in San Antonio does a wonderful ABC club which we attend on Wednesdays.  We here stories and see puppet shows which are selected based on the letter of the week. The kids also get to bring a show n tell item that begins with that letter. After the story time they can participate in games and crafts that have to do with the letter.  

This week we did a craft to practice shaping the letters using yarn.  Adelyn who is now two and Zachary were both able to participate.  We did letter X and Y this week and here is a sample of the artwork.  We had a great time making them with our friends and the little ones really enjoyed just playing with a ball of yarn. Thank you to the great librarians who come up with the crafts and activities!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Children's Stations of the Cross

As we continued our Tridduum celebration this year I considered going to our church's live stations of the cross put on by our Lifeteen youth program.    I had gone last year and enjoyed it but I knew that it may still be over Zachary's head and definitely Adelyn's.  I wanted to have them participate somehow but still keep it developmentally appropriate.  

I tried to think Montessori and how kids learn the best. They would be most interested through hands on and play of course. Growing up a lot of us remember not be interested in church because taking in all of that auditory information was over our heads as little pre-schoolers.  So the following is what I came up with.

Catholic has a link to printable stations of the cross which the kids could color. I knew I wanted to do something with that but I also knew they would not want to color 14 pages of detailed pictures.  My in laws were in town thankfully and they helped watch the kids while I set up. 

I hung each of the pictures on the wall low to the ground in different areas of the house and put a number next to them. I planned to have them collect items to put in their baskets at each station which represented that particular station.  

1st Station Jesus was Condemned- I started outside in my memorial garden with the first station and put their Easter baskets there.  

2nd Station Jesus Carries the Cross- Two pieces of wood were here.  They had to carry this around the whole time. 

3rd Station Jesus Falls the 1st Time- 2 band aids were here.

4th Station Jesus Meets His Mother- A picture of Mary and a small statue were here.  We talked about Jesus and Mary comforting each other.

5th Station Simon Helps Jesus- A pair of gloves were here to symbolize hands helping.

6th Station Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus- Two towels were here.

7th Station Jesus Falls the 2nd Time- Band aids were here again.

8th Station Jesus Meets the Women- Items that women carry were here including a handkerchief, a necklace and a purse.

9th Station Jesus Falls the 3rd Time- A Large Bandage was here.

10th Station The Soldiers Take His Garments- I had two sweaters here.

11th Station Jesus is Put on the Cross- I put two large screws here because they are more blunt than nails. I did not put the stations picture from the series here. Instead I just printed the outline of a cross. I felt for Zachary he was not yet ready for what I guess I will call, "trauma" of Jesus being nailed to the cross. It was enough for him. He guessed right away what the station was by just seeing that.

12th Station Jesus dies on the cross. Two small crosses here. We discussed Mary and John standing beneath Him.

13th Station Jesus is taken down from the cross. I could not think of anything for this station except a clock for "His hour had come". 

14th Station Jesus is Placed in the Tomb- Two small rocks were here.

Zachary really liked finding the numbers.  It was like a game to him.  He commented that the wood was getting heavy which my in laws helped me to make a teachable moment.  He also did ask for more stations after we finished because he was enjoying himself so much. It worked out perfectly because my father n law said, "The 15th station is on Easter!". 

This worked out very well for my children being able to participate in the stations. I am hoping to continue this and also learn of more ideas from others out there. 

2012 Last Supper Reenactment

Since I enjoy participating in the Easter Tridduum I wanted to do something for my children so that they could also participate.  In the past I have bought a special loaf of bread and grape juice for a pretend reenactment of the Last Supper.  I would pull out the nice campaign glasses and nice plates.  We also washed each others feet in a nice bowl which I monitored very closely!! This year we invited our friends to join us.  Our great friends the Siebenalers hosted the event at their house.  We brought the bread and Becca provided the grape juice.  She had lovely dishes to use for the event and set up a foot washing station (not that nice dishes are required...that may not be at all what was used back then). We also found pictures and a developmentally appropriate story telling in one of the children's bibles.

The children thoroughly enjoyed washing each others feet although some of them did not want to have their own feet washed.  One of them was Zachary but he did love serving the other people their. We will have to work on allowing other to serve us :)

 Zachary and I attended our Holy Thursday Mass of the Last Supper which is one of my favorites.  The families from the reenactment also attended with us.  Being able to share both events with them really enhanced the night. We knew it would be long so we brought play and learn items with us.  We had crayons and printouts of the Last Supper, our miniature chalice and altar items for the kids to play with, books about Easter/Spring, a baby doll and washcloth to wash the babies feet, and a few more items.

We tried to present the idea as the importance of serving others and also allowing them to serve you too. And of course in our faith we stress the importance of being in communion with each other which we do by sharing meals at home and at Mass. Hopefully they will learn that over the years.

The day was very special to me and I hope it was for our friends as well. We are thankful to have great friends and family to celebrate special moments with.