Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Its that time of year again!! I am bubbling over with excitement for the holiday season. I just love this time of year. So much to be thankful for and we love to see the excitement and anticipation on our childrens faces!!! The house is almost funny decorated for Christmas. (I am ordering a few more decorations online today) Sean and the boys just need to go pick out a tree next weekend. Half of our Christmas shopping is finished, for the kids that is. Life is wonderful!!

I don't know what it is about Thanksgiving, but it is by far my favorite holiday. Maybe its the food? Football in stunning HD? The first time we play Christmas music, or my favorite, watching the first showing of A Christmas Story (on Blu-ray this year!) after dinner. It could also be all the baking and cooking, but this year we ordered our entire meal from (Sean wanted to just relax and enjoy the holiday rather than rush around the too.) I am baking 3 homemade cranberry breads for breakfast in the morning. The smell in my kitchen is fantastic right now! Whatever it is, it brings out the best in all of us.

Last year I wrote a Thanksgiving post about family traditions. To continue with that, we have several Thanksgiving movies we enjoy every year. Maybe some of you have seen them and enjoy watching them as well....Here are a few of our favorites....

Dutch, starring Ed O'Neill (Al Bundy) and Ethan Randall (Randy, from National Lampoon's Vegas Vacation). Without giving away too much, the movie is about a spoiled boy who's father would rather spend Thanksgiving with his girlfriend than his son. So his mother, who wants nothing more than her sons love, sends her boyfriend to pick him up from private school and bring him home for Thanksgiving. They go through a wild road trip in the process. This movie is hilarious and yet touching. A must see.

Our second favorite is a classic. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, starring John Candy and Steve Martin. I can't think of anyone who hasn't seen this movie, but just in case. Neal (Steve Martin) is trying to get home two days before Thanksgiving when he runs into Del (John Candy). The two of them are thrown together on a wild trip From New York to Chicago, where anything and everything goes wrong. Another hilarious yet touching movie. (Not totally appropriate for the entire family, the "F" word is used A LOT in one scene.)

Our third favorite, a must see classic for anyone with children....A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. My parents watched it as kids, I watched it as a kid, and so on. I don't need to to give a rundown, we all know the story. Always touching for young and old!!!

Last, but not least, after dinner when all is clean and settled down, we cuddle up on the couch with the kids and watch our very first showing of A Christmas Story. The Christmas season officially begins with the opening music of Deck the Halls. Just writing about it gives me the chills. A great movie for the whole family about a little boy who wants nothing more that a Red Rider Bebe gun for Christmas. What makes this movie special, its a true story told by the actual man it happened to. Such a funny movie, from a kids prospective. TNT plays it all night starting at 8pm on Christmas Eve until 8pm Christmas night.

Well, I have enjoyed writing this post, but I must get back to baking. Sean will be home from work early today, in time to watch the Celtics!! From our family to yours, have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving! God Bless

Monday, November 15, 2010

Long Week

Wow, it has really been a long week. We got through another week of school. Still reviewing with Declan, but I think I'm going to start blowing through it. He seems bored and I need to have school finished by the beginning of June this year. We will be moving that month, along with a few other changes. Cian continues to do well too. He has learned both letters T and B, he knows the sounds and can recognize both in words. A good start, I just hope it keeps being this easy with him.

Sean has been working his butt off at work. Lots of people on PTO, so he has been pulling a lot of hours. In fact, yesterday and today was his first days off in almost two weeks. (Cut short this afternoon due to a call from his boss. An employee was caught using his login to rack up thousands of dollars in credits for he went in to give the staff a royal ass chewing.....sigh.) Its been rough on me because I haven't been feeling well the last two weeks. I'm hoping it will go away soon.

We started breaking out the Christmas decorations this weekend. I have been checking through them for spiders and taking an inventory. Sean wants to buy new decorations this year. We are planning on decorating the weekend before Thanksgiving. Its been so hot here, it doesn't even feel like November. Its been 80 or so all week. This year we also decided not to waste an entire Thanksgiving cooking, so we ordered our entire meal from Honeybaked this year. Sean also ordered our pies from this world famous shop in LA. The pack it in dried ice and ship it to you. We are so excited to watch the Patriots and not have to worry about cooking!!!

That's pretty much all that's been happening this week. Hope everyone is having a week!!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Kitchen Sink Update

I have a few minutes between school and deciding what to fix for dinner to post a quick update on the kitchen sink dilemma. As I said in my last post, the faucet broke off and water went spraying all over my kitchen. I called our landlord and she called her fix-it guy. Unfortunately, he was out of town and couldn't make it until today. So we had no running water in the kitchen all weekend. To make matters worse, my dishwasher backed up again......sigh.

So, after determining that the entire garbage disposal and faucet needed to be replaced, here is the finished product. The faucet can either spray or pour out, and you can pull out the head to move it around. It works great!!! It only took them two hours too. Not too much school disruption this time. Now all is right in the O'Donnell Have a great Monday!!!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

2010/2011 School Year Begins!

Its that time of year again. We started another school year on November 1, 2010. We have stayed with Setons, since it seems to work well for Declan. This year I have gone ahead and started Cian in Kindergarten. Setons curriculum is a bit advanced for him, so I did not actually enroll him. Instead, I bought all the books and decided to let him work at his own pace. So far so good!

Here is a rundown of Declans classes:
1. Religion 2 for Young Catholics
2. Math 2
3. Phonics 2
4. Reading (This is a new class this year)
5. PE
6. Spelling 2
7. History of the Saints/ Maps & Charts
8. English 2
9. Handwriting 2
10. Art 2

So far, Religion has been a review of his prayers, which we are currently helping Cian to learn, and a review of Creation. (God created the heavens and earth etc.) Math has also been a review of Addition, Subtraction and Time. All easy stuff he just blew through. Cian has been learning simple directions like inside, outside, on top of and below. He is also learning the same and different and identifying the three basic shapes (He actually already knew those). These are all things that come a bit slow for him. It requires more attention and patience. (If he were enrolled in a public school, he would have been put in a "special" class. That's not acceptable to me or Sean). Little by little, he is starting to get it.

Phonics has also been a review for Declan. Identifying an image and writing the word below it. Again, all stuff he blows through. Cian learned the letter T and its sound this week. He is slow at remembering letters, if give a worksheet. I think he finds them boring, so I use a few online games for him. He responds to that better. Its funny, he remembers the sound T makes, but always forgets what it looks like.

Reading is a new subject for Declan this year. The class consists of using a reader Mon-Wed (These Are Our Neighbors.) He reads a short story in the reader each day and answers questions. On Thurs-Fri, He has to do a book review. (See photo on left) He reads a book and then has a list of questions he must answer about the book. (Title, Author, when and where it takes place, main characters, order of events and critique of the book.) He did his first review this week. Lets just say, he's not thrilled. He had to finish his review today since he didn't get it done in class yesterday. Sean and I like this subject because it makes him think about what he's reading, and not just blurting out the words. He has to then remember what he read and put that in his own words, in complete sentences. He hates that, lol.

The first week of Spelling were really simple words that he could spell in his sleep, So I skipped ahead to week 2. He knew 5 out of ten of the words. He's a very good speller. He usually sees a word once and remembers how to spell it. Wish I could do that. I can't spell

History is different this year. He is learning about Saints in History. This week was St. Anne, the Mother of the Blessed Mary. He also has Maps and Charts. This week was all about pictures and captions. he likes this class and does well in it.

Cian doesn't have any of these classes, so during this time when I need to give Declan more attention, he his either playing a game online or coloring in his Art book. Sometimes, Mary even comes in to join him.

In English, Declan is learning to use a Dictionary. How to put words in ABC order. Not a favorite for him as well. He gets it, but gets a bit frustrated at times. So that is what we worked on this week.

Handwriting is the last class of our school day. Declan has been reviewing A-E, which he really needs. His handwriting has something to be desired. He is his Fathers son. This class is my biggest challenge with Cian. He cannot write at all and has not shown any interest in learning until this year. He started this week with basic downward stroke letters, l, i, and j. He did great with the l's, but he had a hard time with the dot above the i. He is not use to writing in lines either. The j's, well lets just say he needs a lot more practice. Not too bad for his first week though.

All in all, it was a good first week. At least until today....the faucet on my kitchen sick broke off and sprayed water all over the ceiling and kitchen. Our landlord can't have someone come out to fix it until Monday, at the earliest. The whole faucet needs to be replaced.....sigh. So I am without a kitchen sink. Ever see the episode of Steinfield where Crammer does all his dishes and cooking in the shower? That's where I'm Hope everyone had a great week!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Halloween Mishap

Well, this Halloween didn't go as planned at all. The day started out pretty good. We watched the Patriots and hung out as a family, eating lots of yummy appitizers. When the game was over, we dressed the kids in their costumes and headed to the mall for trick or treating. Loaded all the kids into the quad stroller and tried to push it into the mall. Something wasn't right. Sean couldn't push the stroller. He checked all the breaks, all unlocked. Then I noticed something wasn't right with the front right tire. OMG, the plastic joint that attaches the wheel to the stroller completely split apart. (I contacted the company that makes the stroller and they told me we had to go through the company that sold us the stroller. Well, apparently they were a factory that was putting the stroller on auction. Sean bought the stroller on Ebay. The seller said the factory they got it from went of business. Still waiting on what to do next.) We weren't going anywhere. So, how do you tell 6 kids they can't go trick or treating this year......sigh.

We had to make a quick decision as the mall trick or treating would be ending in about an hour. So we quickly drove home. Sean dropped off Mary, Lizzie, Liam and I at the house. He took Declan, Cian, and Fionn back to the mall. I felt so bad, so I put on Planet 51 for them and they got to help me pass out candy to the delinquents children in our neighborhood. We had pizza and candy for dinner! Sean and the boys came home with sword balloons and and a half bag of candy each. All was not lost, at least they had fun. Here are a few pictures of the kids in their costumes. To the left is Liam the Gorilla. He had a mask but refused to wear it. Sorry for the blurry photo. He has never stood still for a moment in his life.

Mary was Minnie Mouse. The kids have all been obsessed with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on Disney, so Mary picked Minnie. She was sooooo cute. Fionny Bear was Charlie Brown. He loves all the Peanuts cartoons and asked if he could be Charlie Brown after watching The Great Pumpkin. I do say, he made a very good looking Charlie Brown.

Sean took Declan and Cian to the Halloween Superstore to find Star Wars costumes. They had every character you could think of, but when Declan saw this Mario costume, he just had to have it. Of course, anything Declan wants, Cian wants too. So, they were BOTH Mario....sigh.

Here's Declan, hamming it up for the camera.