30 July 2014

Happy Birthday, Gus!

Today is Gus's birthday! He is twenty-two. So old! In addition, he is recently engaged! Yay Gus! Here's to a great year!
    It's gonna be an awesome wedding!

          Out to lunch to celebrate!

29 July 2014

McCrory Gardens

Today Katie came early in the morning so we could get lots of Latin done. (And we did!) After lunch, we went to a park in Brookings that Claudia had not yet been to. It is called McCrory Gardens. There are flowers, trees, bushes and bugs all over! It's really pretty. Claudia and Isabel were experimenting with a special lens on Claudia's camera. Gorgeous results!

We have been asked if we were twins before!

24 July 2014

A reflection on temptation

This morning, during Adoration, I was reading The Imitation of Christ and The Friendship of Christ. Usually, be it mere coincidence or something more, the chapters of each book treat on somewhat similar subjects. Today what I took away mostly from my reading involves temptation. 
The first thing is that our temptations do not define us. We are all too hasty to judge our fellow humans. If someone admits being tempted to do something horrible, or just having temptations I don't, it is easy for me to think of myself as better than that person. Of course, this is not true at all. It is not our temptations, but our sins and good deeds which make us who we are. After all, Jesus was tempted while on earth, being just as human as you and me. (I have been planning to some to post about a book that taught me this concept. Remind me!)
So. Second thing. And here, I remember something I read in St. Thérèse of Lisieux's Story of a Soul. I don't remember the exact quote, but basically she said that one of the reasons we should welcome suffering is that God, Who knows us better than we know ourselves, would never (ever) give us a hardship we couldn't endure. The same goes for temptation. God wants us to get to Heaven. He is on our side. So, He would never give us a temptation if He wasn't sure we could overcome it. It may be hard, very hard, but it is a comfort knowing that it is possible. Think of it as a test customized to fit a person's abilities so that, with a little effort, they are sure to pass.
Now let's go back to the subject of hasty judgement. If someone admits a temptation that seems worse than our own, does it make that person worse than us? On the contrary, it may imply that the person is spiritually stronger than we are, and thus can resist worse temptation. 
Let us try to look upon our fellow man with admiration, not disdain!

23 July 2014

We walked to the park...

...And Claudia took pictures! 

My hair was going wild.

Tessie is braver than I am!

They matched colors!

21 July 2014

Summer Stuff

July is passing so quickly! I can't even fathom how it's already the 21st. The school year is just around the corner! (Yikes.)

So... what have I being doing with my summer time?
-Taking walks
-Reading Agatha Christie
-Practicing voice (and not piano...)
-Pretending not to be behind in Latin
-Making mousse au chocolat
-Putting off that last essay from literature class
-Reminiscing about the awesome stuff that already happened
-Going to Adoration every Thursday morning
-Looking forward to the trip to Morocco/Amsterdam/Germany/Paris
-Looking forward to Family Camp over labor day weekend
-Doing art with my wonderful sisters
-Hanging out with my friends
-Not blogging very often!

Claudia was the gracious photographer. 

18 July 2014

And now, meet Antonio!

You've been introduced to Sebastian, and now you must be dying to meet his cousin! (I'm dying to tell you about him, anyway.)
Antonio Rivelli is fifteen years old. He is in tenth grade. I told you about his parents living situation already.
Antonio is...not as smart as his cousin. He has never had much of an interest in academics. He thinks life is too short to waste it on things like factoring trinomials or character analyses. Antonio's real passion is music. He has been taking cello lessons since he was five and dreams of playing in a world-famous orchestra. He knows how to play the guitar in addition to the cello.  He also does a little composing on the side, making Sebastian plunk out the notes on the piano for him.
Another thing he likes is watching weird sci-fi tv shows. Sebastian doesn't understand his obsession with science fiction. Then again, the only thing Sebastian watches are mysteries.
Antonio has very dark curly hair which grows way too fast. He has chocolate brown eyes and loves to smile. He is flamboyant, funny and confident, and loves pushing his shy cousin into things. He's very popular.
Antonio is fluent in Italian since both his parents are Italian. Before he came to the States to live with Sebastian and his dad he traveled across Europe with his parents. Consequently he loves traveling and dreams of seeing every wonder of the world. He also knows a lot about foreign cultures and languages.
Antonio annoys Sebastian sometimes with his sheer exuberance. He also tends to be loud, disorganized and lazy. Nevertheless, the two cousins are inseparable, and treat each other like best friends.

Now you know both of the protagonists for my next book! As you can see, the characters are pretty well fleshed-out. Now all I need is a plot to match! Comment your ideas!

15 July 2014

Meet Sebastian!

I shall now introduce you to another character of mine: Sebastian Joseph Williams.
Sebastian is fourteen years old, and in tenth grade. He is very smart and typically goes to summer school to get ahead on high-school credits. He is doing pre-calculus as a sophomore. His dad has an important position in a successful software company, and as a result is often traveling. Sebastian has a nanny named Leah.
Sebastian's first cousin Antonio lives with him. Sebastian's mother (who died in a car accident when he was eight) and Antonio's father are brother and sister. They are from an Italian family, and Antonio's father married an Italian lady he met on a vacation in Italy. Antonio's parents are in show-biz and travel all over Europe. When Antonio was eleven his parents sent him to the states to live with Sebastian's family so he could have an American education and a stable home life.
Sebastian's interests (besides school) include music, reading, running, and photography. His daily routine: he wakes up at 6:30, goes for a run, takes a shower, and goes to school. After school he goes to the local university for some classes, then goes home to do homework. Antonio, who is fluent in Italian, teaches him Italian. After homework he has free time until bed.
Sebastian is short for his age. He has dark-brown wavy hair and blue-gray eyes. He is shy and quiet, and his boisterous cousin often pushes him into things. His favorite time of the year is Christmas, when Antonio's parents and his father are all together for a time to celebrate.
Sebastian's favorite color is gray. (Boring, I know.) His favorite food is grapefruit and his favorite drink is almond milk. He eats a lot of fruit and nuts. (Antonio thinks he's weird not to love meat.) He is really good at making delicious smoothies, and sometimes makes dessert after dinner. He wants to get a job at a bakery or coffee shop.
I think that's everything! It's hard to tell, because Sebastian is a very real person in my mind. Tell my if I missed any important information!

10 July 2014

Claudia is here!

After a few days of preparations on our end, Claudia arrived here late Sunday night. Both she and Isabel sleep in my room, so it's rather a tight squeeze, but thankfully there's some walking room still. We've done little but art so far, because Claudia is working for Dad this week.

But...we managed to go out for sushi and frozen yogurt. (Everyone else had eaten dinner.)

We have big plans for the rest of this month! We will do lots of art and shopping, I expect. And perhaps some reading in French? 

06 July 2014

July 4th/5th

For the 4th we went to our friends' house in Valley Springs. They live in the country (like a city-block away from the tri-state marker) and usually host a big party for the homeschool group. It was piles of fun! We got home at like 12:30.
The next day some friends came because they needed to pick up their food from Bountiful Baskets, so they stayed for the evening and after dinner we did the leftover fireworks.
No pictures of the 4th, but here are some from the 5th.

Finn using a beer bottle for bottle-rockets.

Gus and his girlfriend Emily :)


Emily, Eleanor and Gideon

...Needless to say, we had a lot of sparklers!

03 July 2014

A Day at the Lake

Yesterday some friends and I went to a state park near here called Oakwood Lakes. It's gorgeous and quiet there, and we took a picnic. There was a hiking trail we went on, and we took bazillions of pictures! I think the ones here are less than half of the total. As you can see, it was a beautiful place, beautiful friends, and a beautiful day!



Susannah and me

Maren, Katie, Cecilia, Nicole, Susannah 

A cool thistle flower

Tessie and her friend Hope

Elizabeth, Katie's little sister