Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Faith and Investing

Did anyone catch Phil Lenahan of Veritas Financial Ministries on Relevant Radio last week during Morning Air? A woman nearing retirement called in and posed a very interesting question. She asked:
Given the volatility of today's stock market, was the timing right to transfer her assets from her various 401K plans to a more stable mutual fund--and specifically, to one of the Catholic funds (such as Ave Maria or Epiphany).

One of the main reasons I like listening to Phil Lenahan is that he gives good, solid financial advice tempered by his understanding of the Catholic faith. And his answer to the woman's question pointed her to an article that he asked the good folks at Catholic Answers to write.

I had never heard of either of those funds before. An important point he made before the call ended was that funds will not necessarily perform any worse or better whether or not they are following Catholic Christian principals.

So, armed with that knowledge, I wonder how successful these funds are compared to traditional, secular funds?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Lenten Pretzels

For a fun multi-age, interdisciplinary Lenten activity, we made Lenten pretzels. We learned the religious history of the pretzel, made our own homemade pretzels (recipe and pictures below), and did a little Lenten reading to make a well-rounded activity.

(From The Year of the Lord in the Christian Home, The Liturgical Press, 1964)

"Pretzels were made in the fifth century as a Lenten food in Austria, Germany, and Poland. People began to make them on Ash Wednesday to prepare for the very first day of Lent. During this time, the faithful kept a very strict fast all through Lent: no milk, no butter, no cheese, no eggs, no cream and no meat. They made small breads of water, flour, and salt to keep with the fasting and abstinence laws. To remind them that Lent was a time of prayer, they shaped these breads in the form of crossed arms since in those days they crossed their arms over their chest while praying. Therefore, they called the breads "little arms" (bracellae). From this Latin word, the Germanic people coined the term "pretzel."

Thus, the pretzel can be an important food symbol in Lent. It still shows the form of arms crossed in prayer, reminding us that Lent is a time of prayer. It consists mainly of water and flour, therefore proclaiming Lent as a time of fasting and penance."

Bread Pretzels

1 1/4 c. warm water
1 T dry yeast
1/2 t. sugar
4 1/2 c. flour
1 egg yolk
1-2 t. water or milk
coarse salt

Let yeast and sugar dissolve in water for one hour. Add flour to yeast mixture and beat until smooth. Knead mixture for seven to eight minutes. Place in a greased, covered bowl and let the dough rise until double in size.

Divide the dough in half; then divide each half in to smaller pieces of equal size.

Roll each piece in your hands to make pencil shapes twelve (12) to fifteen (15) inches long.

Shape each length of dough into pretzels. Place on a greased baking sheet. Brush with egg yolk and water or milk mixture. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake at 325 degrees until lightly browned on top. (Ed. Note: As long as they are cooked through, they will be done in about 20-30 mins depending on your oven)

Before you eat, say the following prayer together:

Dear God, we ask you to bless these pretzels, which remind us that Lent is a sacred season of penance and prayer. Each time we eat a pretzel, may we be reminded that this is the season of Lent, a time of prayer. Help us to remember to pray for those who need our prayers each day. Keep your loving arms around us, O God, to protect us. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Somebody Had a Birthday

I can't tell you who, though. You'll just have to guess!

But I will give you a hint, the birthday person laughed his way through the birthday video from Grandma and Grandpa that showed him with Dora the Explorer. And...he passed on birthday cake to go outside and shoot baskets with his brother.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Catholic Company Photo Contest

Win $100 Gift Card for the Cutest First Communion Photo!!

The Catholic Company, the market leader for online Catholic books and gifts, has just announced a First Communion Photo Contest. What a great excuse to pull those photos out of the photo book and show them off again.

Oh--and if that isn't enough--bloggers, podcasters, and webmasters can win a $50 prize for referring the winning entry! What great motivation to help spread the word!

For a look at last year's winner and other entries click here.

Good luck!

I Hear We're Expecting Snow This Weekend

But that didn't stop me from taking this Spring-y Quiz!

You Are Blooming Flowers

You are an optimistic person by nature. In even the darkest times, you are hopeful about the future.

You feel truly blessed in life and can sometimes be overwhelmed with emotions.

You have an artist's eye. You are always looking for beauty in the mundane.

You have a good sense of aesthetics, especially when it comes to shapes and color.

Any other late-bloomers (big groan) out there?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Congratulations Miz!

Pittsburgh's Perfect!

But don't take my word for it. Listen to this guy...

Way to get it done! You are now officially the most edumacated one in the family. You're so smart, I can't even figure out the topic for your doctoral studies---because you just know I want to link to it...

Updated: Thanks for sending the link, Miz!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Book Review: Graced and Gifted

Sometime last Fall, (yes, last Fall) I received my copy of Kimberly Hahn's new book, Graced and Gifted to review for The Catholic Company. And it sat on my shelf for a while. Some of you might remember it was rather busy around here at that time. I peeked inside once or twice, but was not drawn into the book as I originally thought might happen.

At some point I took the book of the shelf and moved it to a more approachable side table certain that simply seeing the book would make me inclined to read it. Unfortunately, its new location did little more than give me a new spot to rest my nightly cup of tea.

In December, when Baby Girl headed to the hospital, it seemed the perfect time to finally read.that.book! Once the nurses were done poking and prodding at her, I would slip out the book and get to it. Sadly, as soon as Baby Girl was resting comfortably, I would arrange myself on the sofa/bed in her room and cuddle up with my crisp, white hospital sheet to read. And promptly fall asleep. I did manage to read a few pages while I was there, but all in all, the book was not what I had expected.

I should start by saying I love Kimberly Hahn. I have her CD series A Mother's Rule of Life in the Domestic Church and the book Life-Giving Love both of which I couldn't put down.

Then, this February, Kimberly and her husband Scott came to speak at our parish. I wasn't planning to go due to a scheduling conflict, but decided it might be the shot in the arm I needed to get motivated to read this book.

Their talk--especially hers--was wonderful. (Scott Hahn was wonderful, too. I just forgot to finish my doctorate in Theology before attending.) But she was as gracious and spirit-filled and wise as I remembered from her earlier works. The stage was set to finally begin the book! So, for Lent, I promised myself to work through the book little by little until it was finished.

A few chapters in, however, my motivation started to lose steam. The book was more Scott Hahn and less Kimberly Hahn in many places, becoming less a cozy, women's bible study book and more a theology student's text book in parts. Not what I expected, or desired from one of her books.

This is not to say that the book isn't full of wonderful biblical wisdom for women.

It is.

But the style is not what I was expecting. I don't think I would select it for use as a bible study either, as it is quite lengthy. Although, there are wonderful lists of chapter discussion questions (more than you could ever topple in one bible study meeting) in the Appendix.

Most disappointing to me was the lack of "Kimberly-ness" in the book. At times, her vibrant personality shined through, but at other times the book seemed flat. Perhaps it is just that I like listening to Kimberley Hahn more than I like reading her? That being said, there is a Graced and Gifted Book and DVD series also offered by The Catholic Company which promises, "Kimberly Hahn's lively presentation of the Graced and Gifted material to a seminar audience." which is where, in my humble opinion, she does her best and most passionate work.

This review was written as part of The Catholic Company product reviewer program. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Graced and Gifted-Biblical Wisdom for the Homemaker's Heart.

Monday, March 23, 2009

A 4ever Family

One of the best benefits of our adoption agency is the online support group. It is a wonderful resource for the before, during and after stages of adoption (and a most excellent place to get pictures of your children from traveling parents!)

Recently, one of the parents shared a website that offers an in depth look at attachment and bonding specifically in children who have experienced trauma at a very early age. And as has been said here before, no matter how perfect the adoption situation---nor how terrible the original family life, the loss of a first family is traumatic for a child.

From the website:

Welcome to A4everFamily! We’re glad you’re here. If you are a parent or will soon be a parent of a child (including an infant or toddler) who has experienced one or more of the following, we especially welcome you!

In-utero stress (which may include birthmother's stress over pending adoption)
Foster Care
Sudden separation from primary caregiver
Moves between families
Move to a new country
Unresolved pain issues such as reflux or ear infections
Neglect (including unintentional, due to orphanage stay)

Adoption aside, one could argue that Baby Girl's first year was chock full of trauma. Between the myriad of illnesses she faced and the multiple doctor visits which prompted an array of invasive procedures, we wondered aloud, "Can a baby suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome?"

And wouldn't you know it?

This website had an answer. If you are the parent of a child who has experienced trauma early on in life, I highly recommend taking a look at this site. You'll be glad you did.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Processing Grief and Children

When Amy Welborn shared that people continue to ask her, "How are the kids doing?" since her husband Michael died, I felt a funny sort of camaraderie. Although we have only exchanged the briefest of online dialogue, I was no longer a bystander, but a participant in this intimate conversation.

Hannah and Mr. T lost their first mother to illness about 3 years ago. When they came home, she was 8 years old and had limited English, but it didn't take a translator to know when something had touched a nerve that was still very raw and painful for her.

We allowed her to talk as she wished, to cry and gave her lots of hugs and kisses. We reassured her that her mother waited for her in heaven and that we would all be together again someday there. And there would be great rejoicing and much happiness. More than might be thinkable to a newly orphaned eight year old or the mother trying to navigate parenthood through this murky sea.

Is that not the most amazing gift of our faith?!?

Anyway, just the other night, she shared with me stories about the actual night her mom died that I had never heard before, and how it affected her. Having parented Hannah and Mr. T for a few years now, it is easy to forget this primal wound my daughter (and when he is old enough to understand, my son) carry. But it is important not to let that happen.

For all of us.

Even now, three years later, there are still stories to be told, tears to be cried and a very special birth mother to be remembered in heaven.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Not Just for the Birds

Don't forget to share the miracle of the swallows at San Juan Capistrano today.

You can find this wonderful story by Leo Politi available here.

Feast of Saint Joseph

As a child, I always associated this feast day with the festival of San Giuseppe at the Catholic high school my dad worked at of the same name. Now, as an adult, but especially as a wife and mother, St. Joseph holds more meaning for me than the cannoli-laden plates of my youth.

What a role model our sons and husbands (and fathers) have in him. Given a culture that belittles the role of authentic fatherhood, St. Joseph is a beacon for those men, young and old, trying to find their way. Two wonderful articles are over at the Catholic Exchange. You can read one article here, and while you're at it, this is an oldie (from two years ago) but a real goodie!

Blessed Joseph, we come to you in our troubles and humbly beg you to help our family in our needs.
Watchful Guardian of the Holy Family, protect us from every worry and difficulty.
As once you rescued the Child Jesus, so now protect us. Shield us by your constant care so that we may be able to live with peace of mind and obtain eternal happiness.


As a mom of many, I often think I have perfected the art of multi-tasking. You know, returning phone calls from my mobile office while driving kids from point A to point B. Or fixing meals while carrying a crying baby and helping with Math homework all at the same time.

But apparently I am not the multi-tasking goddess I once thought. It seems Baby Girl has cornered the market in that department and I ought to take lessons from her. If I only knew how to eat and sleep at the same time, think of the time I could save...and how well-rested I would be!

Monday, March 16, 2009

To Tell the Truth

A few mornings ago, I sat on the floor in the little girls' room, mental checklist in hand, making sure everyone was prepared for the day.

  • Teeth brushed?
  • Clean clothes?
  • Clean clothes that match?
(Brief interlude while I explain that just because clothes were clean yesterday does not mean they are still clean today.)
  • Clean underwear? (repeat same explanation above)
  • Hair brushed?
  • Bed made?
Naomi and Candace were finishing this morning routine, while I dressed Baby Girl. Candace quickly made her bed and presented herself for inspection. Satisfied, I sent her downstairs. Naomi was still looking in the mirror, trying on different headbands, petting the cat, "brushing" her hair when I called her to come in and finish making her bed.

Then, I turned my full attention to the task at hand of dressing Baby Girl, which is a little like trying to fill a straw with jello. I don't know why it surprised me after several minutes of intense concentration to look up and find that Naomi had disappeared without my knowledge.

And that the bed was still unmade.

As she made her way back upstairs (how had she gotten so far in such a short period of time?!) I asked her, "Was there something you were supposed to do here before going downstairs?"

Looking around the room, her eyes darted from the bed to me, "Ummm...I don't know."

Right. Knowing she knew full well, I said to her, "What about making your bed?"

Twisting her left foot around almost 360 degrees (is that a sign of lying that I don't know about?) she said, "Oh. Right. I just forgot." She then started on the long, slow journey the next five feet to her bed to finish the job. Two feet away from the bed, she turned back to me, "Mommy," she pursed up her lips and spoke in a low voice, "I did remember. I just didn't want to do it."

"I know." I replied quickly, with one hand on Baby Girl who was making a hasty retreat to the upstairs hallway and the flight of stairs outside the door, "Please go and make your bed now."

And she did.

I've told and re-told this story to the Captain (who is convinced that her strong-will is a good thing and that we simply need to harness her powers for good--not evil), to her grandparents and any one else willing to listen. And a funny thing happens each time I tell it. It becomes less a funny Naomi-anecdote and more an allegory about forgiveness.

This time, her strong will was used for something very good. It reminded me of the importance of God's mercy and forgiveness. When we find ourselves caught in a sticky mess of our own sin, it is never to late to stop, acknowledge what we've done and make a sincere apology with a contrite heart.

Our Father already knows our weaknesses. And He sits upstairs calling to us, just waiting to forgive.

Friday, March 13, 2009

March and Maple Sugaring

According to the calendar and (more importantly) to the mallards and robins who have returned to the Ark, Spring is just a few days away!

Dawn from At Sun and Candlelight shares The March Sap Moon just to get you in the spirit!

And, you'll have a chance at an Ark-on-wheels sighting next weekend at this awesome, FREE Maple Sugaring event!

Hope we see you there!

Pssstt...looking for a unit on maple syrup? Dawn (my homeschooling partner-in-crime) sent this great link to me. Definitely bookmark worthy.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

On the Road With the Ark

I wish you could all have joined us as we traveled to Wisconsin last month for a little family getaway-Ark-style!

For Christmas, the Captain and I gave the arklings a group gift--time away as a family! We planned a two-night stay at our favorite hotel/waterpark in the Wisconsin Dells (who was offering midweek room rates that we could not pass up---$124/night for 9 people including the daily water park passes!) Since we were not out to break the bank on this trip, we packed a cooler and filled our little hotel kitchen with breakfast and lunch items so that we only ate out twice for dinner--a treat in and of itself! During the day, we spent the majority of the day at the waterparks (there are several indoors) and brought a few favorite board games and DVDs for the evenings.

Heading off the first day, the children heaved a dramatic sigh as we rolled right on past the Dells and continued North.

Our destination?

The Shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

But before that, because we're just that type of family, we drove past that destination and clear across the Mississippi River into Minnesota.


Because we'd never been to Minnesota before. And let me tell you, the first few miles of I-90 West are terribly exciting. Perhaps next time, we'll even let the kids out. (All kidding aside, we'd really like to make a trip up to "the cities" as our Minnesotan friends call Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Maybe next time.)

Unfortunately our wanderlust threw a little kink in our schedule, and we arrived at the shrine at 3:30 only to find it closed at 4:00.

What terribly scatterbrained person would have scheduled out a million and one details only to neglect the hours of operation? I don't know, but it sounds like the same kind of person who would schedule a trip to visit Caddie Woodlawn's homestead and realize, while driving, that the directions were oh-about 200 miles or so-off.

Note to self: do planning for next trip while awake.

Anyway, we finally made it to the shrine, and to the Dells and even squeezed in a field trip on the ride back home.

If you're ever in Southern Wisconsin, be sure to stop by the Milton House to learn a great deal about the Underground Railroad and Midwestern life during the late 19th century. If you think your kids might not be interested for the hour or so long tour, the promise of actually walking through the underground tunnel that was used to shuttle fugitive slaves along on the Underground Railroad will definitely hold their attention.

"Runaways entered through the cabin to the rear of the inn and then through a trap door in the cabin's floor to the dirt tunnel that led to the basement of the inn. "
from the website

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

How'd You Get Here From There? Part XIII--English Language Learning

Let me preface this by saying that I am by no means an expert in teaching an older child to speak English amidst the multitude of adjustments happening in an international adoption. It just so happens that I have experience in doing so one time.

With one particular child.

From one particular country.

You might even read my painful attempts to speak Amharic and wonder if I know much of anything at all. So, read on, but don't say I didn't warn you.

In a previous post on Language and Adjustment of older adopted children, I opened with the caveat that
"each child will have his or her own unique timetable regarding adjustment and language. This will be dependent on a number of things: age, emotional condition, ease of adaptability in general, and with regard to acquisition of a second language (in this case English) the level of acquisition of the native language (in this case Amharic). "

If you are seeking to understand language acquisition and the theory behind it, that post is chock full of excellent links to people who are much smarter than me giving their two cents on English Language Learning. But today, let's talk about the nitty-gritty "How do you do it?" or "How do you make it through each day communicating with a child you barely know, whose dance you've yet to learn, without (either one of you) going insane?"

I think the first and most important thing to understand is that learning a new language is difficult. It can be easi--ER for some people, but in general, it is a process that takes time. In fact, the average length of time for fluency ranges from between 3 years to almost 7 years! (I like to remind myself of that fact when I am still correcting subject-verb agreement in an eleven year old. I think it makes both of us feel better.)

Another important thing to remember is (particularly if you have other children or have ever been a child) is that people have been teaching and learning language inherently in their families for, well, forever. Unless your family lives in complete silence, moving silently from one moment to the next--in which case, I might like to vacation in such a peaceful surrounding--your home is probably rich with language--spoken and written. So, just as you learned English, and as you taught your babies English, you will also teach your older adopted child English.

  • As you did with your babies, you will start small. Begin with letters, sounds, sight word and rhyming words. Sing the ABC song and read bedtime stories. It may feel quite normal to do all of these things with a chubby little bundle of a 1, 2 or 3 year old, but it may feel mighty awkward at first to do these things with an older child. But guess what? That's one paradigm parents of older adopted children need to break--and break early. There will be moments, trust me on this, when you will be embarrassed in a public forum by the toddler language spewing from the mouth of the 'tween body of your newly arrived child. Parenting is the best slice of humble pie you may ever be served and with older adopted children the waitress just keeps dishing them up!
  • You will worry about having speakers of their first language nearby--like sitting at your kitchen table ready to interpret, explain and reassure your child. We knew a few native Amharic speakers--but not well enough to have regular contact with them. We kept phone numbers from family who remained in Ethiopia and other age-mates from the orphanage who were adopted into American families. After a short amount of time, however, the Amharic conversations were replaced with English and when that wasn't possible, conversations became photo exchanges.
  • You will feel torn between ensuring your child learns English and understanding that in order to do so, slowly her first language will retreat to a less-often used portion of her mind. It will make you wonder if it is a fair trade.
  • And you will be frustrated by their seemingly slow or stalled progress. In case you hadn't heard this newsflash...

The feeling will be--without question--quite mutual at times.

The good news is when progress comes--and it will--you will both understand and appreciate how far you've come.

Another blessing of an older child's language learning process?

An older child will come with a pre-made template that enabled her to learn her first language, which will aid an older child in learning a second language (and will remain in place should your child choose to "re-learn" her native language someday). A child who is proficient in her native language will have an easier time acquiring a second one. Also, one great benefit to our little Ethiopian-English phrase book was that we could point to the word or phrase in English and Hannah could read the Amharic translation to understand what we meant. There were some haphazard pantomimes which occurred, but eventually we understood each other. But these first stories are part and parcel of the process. And they are priceless in creating memories necessary for bonding.

Like I said, language acquisition is a funny thing. It takes years for fluency. And while I fully believe that speaking correctly and teaching our children (whether first or second language English speakers) to speak properly is important, I have come to appreciate not acting as the grammar police on every.single.occasion. Because language is more than a Pygmalion-perfected speech. And sometimes, when you're not paying attention, you learn a little something along the way, too.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Veni Sancte Spiritus!

Confirmation Day

Sharing the day with the sisters. The other little ones were home with a favorite babysitter (who even came while Naomi was sick!)

The Boy and his good buddy from Arizona--these boys have been friends since preschool!

The Boy with his sponsor (who is the dad of his friend, Candace's godfather and an all around good-guy!)

Confirmation Day March 8, 2009

Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit,
that my thoughts may all be holy.

Act in me, O Holy Spirit,
that my work, too, may be holy.

Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit,
that I love but what is holy.

Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit,
to defend all that is holy.

Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit,
that I may always be holy.

Saint Augustine of Hippo

Sunday, March 08, 2009

The Hypnotic Spell of the Shamwow

You thought it was just me.

But oh-how-wrong-you were...

Seems everybody is jumping on the shamwow bandwagon.

Now, I'm off to learn the lyrics.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

The Holy Spirit, The Radio and Catholics Returning Home

I had approximately 9.3 minutes in the car alone this morning.

My alone time was sponsored by a drop-off of a "sample" for Baby Girl at the lab. Lovely thought, huh?

Anyway, I've been taking my alone time in the car either in complete silence (a novelty!) or in prayer (a blessing!) or listening to Relevant Radio without distraction (ditto BOTH above!)

Tuning the dial to 930 AM, I was able to catch just one complete segment before my garage door lifted and little faces peeked out the door to welcome me back. (It wasn't even ten minutes, people!) And when the speaker gave the web address for the organization he represented, I think the Holy Spirit might have smacked me. At least that's what it felt like. I was met with an overwhelming thought to make sure I shared this site here today.

So, I'm sharing it.


I don't know why.

But maybe one of you visiting here today does.

Saturday Silly

From Fran via Email



If you are travelin soon, consider Lutran Air, the no-frills airline.
You're all in da same boat on Lutran Air, here flyin is a upliftin experience.

Dair is no first class on any Lutran Air flight.

Meals are potluck. Rows 1 tru 6, bring rolls; 7 tru 15, bring a salad;
16 tru 21, a hot dish, and 22-30, a dessert.

Basses and tenors please sit in da rear of da aircraft.

Everyone is responsible for his or her own baggage.

All fares are by free will offering, and da plane will not land til da budget is met.

Pay attention to your flight attendant, who vill acquaint you wit da
safety system aboard dis Lutran Air. Okay den, listen up; I'm only gonna say dis vonce:

In da event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, I am frankly gonna be real surprised and so vill Captain Olson, because ve fly right around two tousand feet, so loss of cabin pressure would probably mean da Second Coming or someting of dat nature, and I wouldn't bodder with doze liddle masks on da rubber tubes--you're gonna have bigger tings to worry about den dat. Just stuff doze back up in dair liddle holes.

Probably da masks fell out because of turbulence which, to be honest wit you, we're gonna have quite a bit of at two tousand feet, sorta like driving across a plowed field, but after a while you get used to it.

In da event of a water landing, I'd say forget it. Start saying da Lord's Prayer and just hope you get to da part about forgive us our sins as we forgive dose who sin against us, which some people say 'trespass against us,' but what can you do?

Da use of cell phones on da plane is strictly forbidden, not because day may confuse da plane's navigation system, which is by da pants all da way. No, it's because cell phones are a pain in da wazoo, and if God had meant you to use a cell phone, He wudda put your mout on da side of your head.

We start lunch right about noon and it's buffet style wit da coffeepot up front.

Den we'll have da hymn sing; hymnals are in da seat pockets in front of you. Don't take yours wit you when you go or I am gonna be real upset and I am not kiddin!

Right now I'll say Grace:

Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest
and let deze gifts to us be blessed.
Fader, Son, and Holy Ghost,
May we land in Dulut or pretty close.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Keepin' Up With Miz

75,000 people came out to voice their concerns against massive cuts in NYC's budget--including (but not limited to) the termination of 15,000 public school teachers and the closing of more hospitals.

And ONE of those social-justice minded people was my card-carrying activist baby sister, who filmed this brief clip of the event.

The magnitude of this protest was demonstrated in the breadth of people stretched from City Hall all the way to Canal Street!

Toddler Magnet

Ancient Chinese proverb:

"One cabinet without child lock negates one hundred cabinets with them."

Just the same ol' same old around the Ark...

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Free Waterpark Passes!

The newly-opened waterpark, Raging Waters, located in Yorkville has a great offer for active kids. Here are the details:

Take the Plunge - and Receive a Free
Day Pass to Raging Waves
Plunge Into Fitness Raging Waves announces "Plunge into Fitness," a new exercise program for local schools. From March 16 to May 1, children in kindergarten through 5th grade are invited to exercise 30 minutes a day, keep a fitness log, and submit their parent-signed forms to their classroom teachers. (Homeschoolers can submit forms directly to Raging Waves.) Any physical activity may be logged: biking, skateboarding, jump roping, and even playing team sports. Over the seven week period, students will have exercised at least 25 hours - and will earn a free day pass to Raging Waves. Check our website on or after Monday, March 9 to download "Plunge into Fitness" forms.

H/T super-neighbor Denise via email

Shoot Me Now

Or please, for the love of all that is good, help me hide Baby Girl's new favorite toy.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

New Book Giveaway!

Mary Ostyn, who blogs from the Owlhaven and is a fellow adoptive mom, is about to debut her first book(including a minor contribution from yours truly), The Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family.

Visit her this week (as well as the next three!) for a chance to win a copy!