Sunday, June 22, 2008

SCHINGOETHE CENTER for Native American Cultures

All of the kids in front of the Schingoethe Center Museum.

My friend, Becky told me about this museum. Were you aware that this museum is at Aurora University?? I had no idea. Lucky for us, Becky's daughter went there on a class trip last year.

With Brandon and Chase in town I thought this would make a great day trip (and an educational one, too!). Anywhere I can squeeze in learning, you bet I'll take advantage of teaching the kids.

They had plenty of hands-on activities. Look for yourselves...

Joshua and Chase are grinding corn to make flour for supper later on.

Anna weaving like the Indians.

A giant puzzle of North America showing where the tribes lived with images of the different types of homes they made.

Here are all the kids posing! We were able to watch a video of an Indian tribe in action. How they built winter and spring wigwams, how to make baskets out of tree bark, women vs. men traditions and how to fish. Most of the kids said that this was their favorite part of the museum.
Family photo in front of the wigwam.

The tee pee was a lot of fun for the kids to put together. Once they were able to get it to stand correctly, the kids went in, out and around playing with their new home.

David was a special treat!!

I was talking to him about a future field trip with my homeschooling group and he told us about his talents! He grew up in Chicago and once he became an adult he wanted to learn more about his ancestors. His mom is Choctaw and I forgot where his dad is from :(. He shared that he learned to play the drum and sing like his ancestors. Here is a short clip. I was truly amazed. I think the adults were more interested in the music than the kids. He shared stories, the meaning of the music, the different ways to vocally sing and his own story.

We will be going back again this fall!!

Thursday, June 19, 2008


I received an email today with the poem attached (below). I just love to see how God works in each and every one of us. Some of us are gifted with words, hospitality, organizational skills (I missed this gift :), we have been blessed differently/individually and here I sit gleaming from all of you! I am in awe of the gifts of the Lord.

I wake up each morning thanking the Lord for another day. To be able to see the gifts of the Lord in my children and husband. Sometimes, when I wake up I forget that we are blessed and LIFE happens. Anger creeps in or the overwhelming feeling of cleaning, cooking, picking up, laundry and getting through the day before my husband gets home.

This poem is what I needed today. I had a lot going on not just home stuff but emotionally. It was nice to know and be reminded that WE can give it up to our Father. To be able to look to our Lord for Guidance! I hope this will 'guide' you the way it has 'guided' me. ~God Bless You

When I meditated on the word Guidance, I kept seeing "dance" at the end of the word. I remember reading that doing God�s will is a lot like dancing.

When two people try to lead, nothing feels right. The movement doesn't flow with the music, and everything is quite uncomfortable and jerky.

When one person realizes that, and lets the other lead, both bodies begin to flow with the music.

One gives gentle cues, perhaps with a nudge to the back or by pressing lightly in one direction or another.

It's as if two become one body, moving beautifully. The dance takes surrender, willingness, and attentiveness from one person and gentle guidance and skill from the other.

My eyes drew back to the word Guidance. When I saw "G" I thought of God, followed by "u" and "i". "God," "u" and "i" dance." God, you and I dance.

As I lowered my head, I became willing to trust that I would get guidance about my life. Once again, I became willing to let God lead.

My prayer for you today is that God�s blessings and mercies be upon you on this day and everyday.

May you abide in God as God abides in you.

Dance together with God, trusting God to lead and to guide you through each season of your life.

By: Elaine L. Guercio

Friday, June 13, 2008

Jesse and Kish together...ONCE AGAIN

Karl just emailed this to me and I had to share. As the tears are streaming down my face with the memories of my brother, Jesse and Kish. We had such fun. Jesse passed away 5 years ago this July. You can see Kish's spunk above. In the middle is Rocco, he lives with mom, Brandon and Chase in MN.

You both are dearly missed; until we meet...ONCE AGAIN! (to listen to the song click on once again)

Thursday, June 12, 2008


17 years old

One of our other dogs, Gunnar snuggling with Kish.

Today is Thursday and I wanted share what we are doing. I will blog Wednesday's activities another day. While Brandon and Chase are town, Karl and I felt it was 'time'. For a year in a half we have tried to make a vet appointment for Kish. It just never felt right. To some degree it does feel right, with my kids and my brother's kids.

My brother, Jesse and Kate originally bought Kish and I believe they had him for 6-8 years or so. Brandon and Chase grew up with him maybe 5 of those yrs. (don't quote me on this, I am really bad with time). Karl and I (before we had kids) had taken over guardianship. So, our kids have had a chance to love Kish for the past 8 years. This puts Kish at 16 to 18 years old. He is well loved by all!!!!

Today the kids are drawing pictures and writing what is on their hearts. My loving husband built a special box for Kish. The kids will dedicate a side of the box with their drawings and words. I get the lid.

Chase drew this picture (above) and painted the box (below).
It represents the family standing around Kish.

Anna (above and below)
Brandon (above and below)
Joshua (above and below)

Chase chose our processional song, "We Are The Reason". Click on the words so you can listen to it. It is a Christmas song but Chase said it represented Jesus' love for us all and for his creatures. He chose the perfect song!

Kish is a gift to us and boy, we really enjoyed him. We had a lot of laughs, cuddling, fun time with this little dog. He did bless us all. He also had a lot of spunk!!!! We love you KISH!!!

With much love, we know you will join Jesse in Heaven.

In Your Memory,
Kate, Brandon, Chase, Karl, Lisa, Anna and Joshua

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


We begged and we pleaded for them all to say "cheese"
But only the eldest were aiming to please
So how many more years do you think it will take
Until all of the cousins cooperate?
Shirin Schneider

TUESDAY - We picked up the boys at noon from my parents. Joshua and Anna were so excited to see their cousins! They ran over to them so fast they were a blur. We had a picnic lunch over at Oma's. After lunch we were off to Morton Arboretum in Lisle. They had a 'giant bug' display around Meadow Lake. When we got there we found out that they had an official 'Bug Detective Guide' for the kids to search and learn at each 'giant bug' display.

Did you know we have 'assassin bugs'?? Ever heard of a 'damselfly'?? I had no idea. I can tell you that Oma and I learned a lot that day; the kids...not so sure. We had such a beautiful day. It was hot but we also had a real nice cool breeze all afternoon.
Can you identify this bird??
As we were walking we noticed this neat looking birdhouse and then a bird popped his head out.

As you can see Joshua wasn't being very cooperative in this photo.

Big, strong cousin, Brandon.

We also saw this bird perched up in a tree.
He didn't seem to be bothered by us onlookers.

(Anna, Chase, me, Joshua and Brandon)

We are in the children's section of the arboretum. I had no idea that they had a tadpole pool (catch and release). At first I wasn't sure what the kids would do, well they all jumped in. Joshua was a little skittish at first but then he gave it try. He even held one in his hands. The rest of the kids had no problems catching them by the handfuls.

Anna with her catch.

Joshua encouraging Anna.

Oma even jumped in with the rest of the kids.
She even caught one, too!
Way to go, Oma.

We have made it a tradition to eat at Al Capone's Hideaway Restaurant in St. Charles. Brandon and Chase's dad, Jesse (my brother) loved this restaurant. Since, his passing (5 years ago this July) we have taken the boys there for dinner at each of their visits (they live in MN). It brings back great memories and we have a great time together.



The kids outside the restaurant. This is also a tradition. We have a photo of Johsua barely one sitting on a barrel. Each year we take a 'cousins' photo outside the restaurant.

My dad with all of his GRANDKIDS!!
(He isn't showing it but he truly is happy.)

Anna added her two cents below:
by Anna

Thank you Lord for today. It is such a blessing to share Your joy with Your children. If it weren't for my faith, I know I truly wouldn't see Your Blessings each day that You have blessed me with. You have only loaned us these bodies until it is our time to join You. Thank you Lord. Amen.

Friday, June 6, 2008


Here is a family photo of us in Chicago. A few weeks ago we stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel in downtown Chicago. It was a really neat place. The kids and I went up early on Thursday to take advantage of the day. We checked in and then walked 4 blocks to the Art Museum. Sorry, I didn't take any photos.

What I did do was stop at the gift shop and I had the kids pick out their favorite postcard. Once they picked out their postcards, we then went on a scavenger hunt. We needed to find their paintings and find who the artist was. It was a lot fun. I was surprised that the kids really enjoyed the museum. I even picked colored pencils and art pads to do some drawings. I didn't take a picture of them drawing!!! Argh!!! Apparently, I was thinking.

Photos from our room!

As you can see we had a beautiful, windy day.

Karl took the train in after work and met us at the hotel. We went out to dinner at Shaw's Crab House to celebrate Anna's 8th birthday! She was definitely spoiled this year. After dinner we took a walk around Buckingham Fountain and at the Millennium Park.

Most of you have probably been to Millennium Park during the day and had your kids play in the water. Doesn't this photo look cool at night? We had such a wonderful evening. It was nice to get away from home and do something spontaneous.

The next day Karl left early for work and the kids and I had to fend for ourselves. We checked out, had breakfast and figured out public transportation. I had to make sure we were on the right block, right side of the street to get on the right bus to the Field Museum.

The Field Museum had a hands-on room downstairs for the kids. As you can see above, Joshua is picking corn.

They are learning how to stone-grind the corn into flour the way the Indians use do it.

Now, we are at Millennium Park under the 'bean'.

We also stopped at the Chicago Cultural Center (my favorite place) to listen to some free blues music. I was surprised that the kids sat and enjoyed the music! The woman playing the sax was phenomenal.