Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Timmy might be our last baby so I have tried to snuggle and enjoy his baby antics and sweet smell, his wispy blond curls and tiny toddler teeth, his eagerness to ride piggyback down the stairs and his fetching our shoes to show how much he wants to go outside. Of course there are some things I won't miss such as washing all those sippy cups, changing nasty nappies, and the constant vigilance required to make sure he doesn't wander off into the street or into the pond. But just as Will is always going to be my "Babydoodle" and Maggie will always be "Baby Gator", little Timmy likely will always be my "Baby snugglemuffin."
Even when he is 32.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I was just about to get off the highway when I heard, "I don't feel so good," from Charlie. Of course I didn't make it to a place to pull over before he got sick all over himself, the carseat, and the towel underneath. I stripped him down and tried to mop up the mess in the carseat, but it was just hopeless.
Fortunately for all of us I have a handy-dandy bin with extra wipes, diapers, and clothes for just such a circumstance. I said a silent prayer for the homeschooling mom who wrote about her emergency bin's supply list on her blog and inspired me to do likewise.
After cleaning everything up, dressing Charlie in new duds, and switching seats around we made it to Mass on time. After I dumped the nasty one into the dumpster, we swung by Wallyworld in the next town. Whatever bad things you may say about big box stores undercutting local stores and underpaying its workers, the big benefit is that you usually find what you need. This is the second carseat that Charlie has caused us to toss. Maybe I should keep a stash of doggy bags in the fancy cupholder so I don't have to buy him yet another.
I won't post a picture of what I looked like afterwards, I'll leave that to your imagination.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Both series focus on family and friendships, life in a small town, and how everyone needs an outlet for their creativity. While I may never move across the Atlantic or host hordes of quilters on our farm, I would like to settle down roots in a small town and find a business opportunity that gives release to my passions and creative juices.
What have you been reading lately?
Sunday, April 27, 2008
After reading some Catholic blog a month about the history of headcoverings, I learned that most British and American Catholics before Vatican II didn't wear veils, but hats to Mass. Off I trooped to Sears and Macy's where I found two lovely numbers, a red felt for winter and a white straw for summer. However, this morning when I went into the closet to pick out a blouse and skirt I was drawn to a taupe linen skirt with embroidered flowers and a short sleeved lilac cotton blouse with taupe sandals.
Neither hat would do.
I did recall seeing some old straw hats in the dress up bin so I imitated one of my favorite children's literature characters, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. "She wears felt hats which the children poke and twist into witches' and pirates' hats and she does not mind at all. Sunday mornings she takes one of the hats off the closet shelf, gives it a few thumps, pulls it firmly down fore and aft and wears it to church." A good thump certainly put my hat to rights and with a dash of lipstick I have to say I looked pretty glamorous, not the least like Mrs. Piggle Wiggle.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
I guess I have been overly sheltered, I hadn't met any folks who turned this most special and holy day into a freak show. Apparently I just hadn't been Catholic long enough. Or maybe it is because I usually socialize with homeschooling moms who place much more importance on spiritual readiness than on the externals.
Our other activities are winding down as well: 5 piano lessons, 3 Cub Scout events, and 3-4 more weeks before the babysitter moves away. I wanted this year to be a quiet one, spent mostly at home doing school. What I didn't expect was a complete lack of other moms around who are homeschooling, orthodox, and/or welcoming. It has been tough and I've been very grateful for the friendships I have through my homeschooling boards and this blog. While I am glad that Tim did this fellowship, I will be very grateful for the upcoming move and its increased opportunities, both for the children and myself.
Friday, April 25, 2008
"Alaskans know I am pro-life and have never wavered in my belief in the sanctity of every human life."
Palin expressed disagreement with the Alaska Supreme Court when it overturned a 1997 parental consent law in 2007."She feels parental consent is reasonable because it is required in nearly every aspect of a child's life. It's a parent's right and responsibility to be involved in their child's life," spokeswoman Sharon Leighow told the Juneau Empire.
Palin stated her decision to give birth to her child is unusual, since currently more than 80% of children with Down Syndrome are aborted.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Unfortunately in my enthusiasm I forgot one essential ingredient: cash. We live in such a "charge it please and thank you very much" world that I can go for weeks without seeing a flash of green in the wallet. Luckily the folks were very nice and understanding as I popped everyone in the van to swing by the grocery. All the way home the kids pleaded for shortcake after supper. Of course I need to stop by the store again to get buttermilk and whipped cream. When we go back down on Tuesday for Mass and another strawberry picking day I will try extra hard to remember the $$.
added: less than 24 hours later we have eaten 2/3 of our harvest, mostly due to the fact that I allowed the children to eat strawberry shortcake for breakfast. Instead of the dry Bisquick shortcake my mother used to make or the sponge cake you can buy at the grocery, I prefer a no-fail buttermilk biscuit. Will makes these for breakfast often with honey or jelly smeared inside, so if a 9 year year old can make them, anyone can.
2 1/2 cups flour
2 TBL sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup buttermilk
mix the dry ingredients well, add shortening and mix with fingers, add buttermilk and stir and turn out onto counter. Pat out to 1-2 inches high and cut out in circles. Put in pan touching and bake at 425F for about 12 minutes or until sides of biscuits are dry.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
So far the realtor sends me daily updates on all the local rentals, I have set up a trip up in about 3 weeks staying with my SIL, and have designated a special notebook to list all the houses that fit our criteria and location, rent, space, acreage... On top of these basics I have printed out a map of the county and marked out the train line and am in the process of plotting via MapQuest the 35 houses on my short list. By the time I drive up to tour and select a house I will have at my fingertips a page for each listing the benefits and downsides and take notes as I go.
One of the houses is on 2 fenced acres surrounded by an estate with a lovely view of a pond, however, it also is very far away from Tim's work and the master bedroom appears to be lavender. A new listing is closer in to town, on 3 acres, but is on a main road and with no pictures posted it could turn out to be a really horrible house. While the looks don't matter much, the layout, the amount of space for the kids to play outside, and a schoolroom are important. The funny thing is that after all this planning and research we will leave within days of moving in to spend the summer in Maine and won't return for 3-4 months.
Michelle, over at rosetta stone, is PCSing to the same general area as we are, but instead of doing all the above mentioned junk, a perfect house fell into her lap. I don't want to covet her good fortune, but I sure do want this over so we can just get to the fun: summer in Maine!
Our government should be more concerned with global starvation since this man-made food shortage has already caused more anguish and destruction than Al Gore's made up global warming crisis.
Experts told The Times yesterday that prices of rice, wheat and vegetable oil would rise further. They also forecast that high prices and shortages — which have caused riots in developing countries such as Bangladesh and Haiti — were here to stay, and that the days of cheap produce would not return. Food-price inflation has already pushed up a typical family’s weekly shopping bill by 15 per cent in a year.
The price of rice, which has almost tripled in a year, rose 2 per cent on the Chicago Board of Trade yesterday as the United Nations food agency gave warning that millions faced starvation because aid agencies were unable to meet the additional financial burden.
Gordon Brown responded to mounting concerns about the global rise in food prices by signalling that he might scale back Britain’s commitment to biofuels, which critics say has exacerbated the food crisis because land has been given over to grow crops for energy rather than food.
Monday, April 21, 2008
This was from Mary, a reminder to her brother.
I guess he was listening when I told him he could get one when he proved he was responsible. This scrupulosity has shown that all the hours we spend memorizing the Baltimore Catechism are paying off. However, we need to spend a little more time on the 5th Commandment, which includes not being mean and cruel to your siblings.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Perhaps it was a good thing that the Pope, who gets to attend daily TLM with Gregorian Chant, has to suffer through what the average Catholic does every Sunday. Maybe he will get fed up and actually use his power to force some change rather than speak in diplomacy gobbledy gook. "Please," "It would be preferred," and "One should do..." don't cut it in today's world. "You will do..." "This is forbidden..." stated forcefully to bishops and priests might get us somewhere though.
I am just saddened to see an apparent disconnect between Pope Benedict's words and actions. This is from an article Friday: "some Catholics believe they have "a right to pick and choose" in the faith, "maintaining external social bonds but without an integral, interior conversion to the law of Christ.""We have seen this emerge in an acute way in the scandal given by Catholics who promote an alleged right to abortion," he lamented. It is this internal betrayal by Catholics that seems to most deeply distress the Holy Father. Besides the much publicized cases of sexual abuse by priests, and the proliferation of homosexuality within certain seminaries, the scandalous behavior of a majority of Catholics in political life also gives rise to the Pontiff's deep sadness. However he personally allowed Nancy Polosi, John Kerry, and Ted Kennedy to receive Holy Communion at the DC Mass. What does this show bishops who have refused Communion to pro-abortion politicians? What does this show to the average Catholic?
Friday, April 18, 2008
Well, I couldn't find the book on Amazon because I couldn't remember the exact title, but happened to recognize it while browsing the shelves at the local library. After reading as much as I could stomach I realized that my homeschooling neighbor surely didn't read the book, just assumed from the title that it was conservative and morally acceptable. However, it is graphic and is very liberal/leftist in terms of giving children explicit information at a very early age. Their main emphasis is that educating children about sex will magically produce morally responsible adults. They claim that sex-education reduces teen pregnancy, STDs, and fosters a sense of responsibility. Well, since 1983, when this book was published, almost all public schools have adopted this sort of sex-education curriculum and now we have an epidemic of teen sex, 25% of teens have had an STD (some of which will give you cancer and/or are not treatable), modesty is almost unheard of in high schools, and dating has become so disturbed as to include sending potential dates nude phone pics.
I think the Gordons (the authors and my neighbors) have helped foster this sexually explicit atmosphere by their writings. In the chapter pertaining to young children they state, "We've rarely met children of school age who were not aware and exciting, interested in and affected by the sexual aspects of their lives." They suggest telling preschoolers about sex, about how erections feel nice and proceed to encourage teachers and parents to tell 6-10 year olds about birth control, tampons, incest, and explicitly describe sex. While I am less concerned that my 85 year old neighbor is a sexual predator, I worry about the world that he has helped promote, a world obsessed with sex, with no controls, and too much information.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Virginia Tech is pausing to remember the victims of last year's massacre that left 32 victims dead.
A sea of people wearing orange and maroon flowed onto the school's main lawn, some clutching single roses, on the first anniversary of the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Virginia Tech President Charles Steger told the crowd, "We remain deeply and profoundly saddened by the events of that tragic day."
Virginia Governor Timothy Kaine ordered state flags flown at half-staff, as well as a statewide moment of silence at noon followed by the tolling of bells. A candlelight vigil is set for the evening.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
Father's homily reflected on the question, "Which is the greatest Commandment?" Jesus' response, "Love the Lord your God with your whole mind, soul, and strength, and your neighbor as yourself," is about having an ongoing conversation with ourselves, God, and our neighbor. Examining our conscious, praying, and exhibiting the fruits of the Holy Spirit are evidence of a strong faith. I think that, while I have a very, very long journey to Sainthood, I have become less inclined to sin, feel closer to God, and exhibit perhaps a few of those precious fruits of the Holy Spirit. When we feel like we are on a treadmill going nowhere, it is good to look back and see our long term progress.
Friday, April 11, 2008
The little boys took advantage of my combining sale prices with coupons to construct a huge tower out of some of the 20+ rolls of paper towels I bought.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
I have done what I feel is right by talking on the phone with a committee member as well as Father Parent and getting answers to some of my questions. What will happen is dependent on many factors, but I will contine to pray with hope for a Latin Mass parish in Maine for our family. May God bless this chaplaincy.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Monday, April 07, 2008
...the desire to have another child opens one up to charges of elitism and status consciousness. In many major U.S. cities and their suburbs -- especially New York, where I live -- having three or more children has now come to seem like an ostentatious display of good fortune, akin to owning a pied-Ã -terre in Paris. The family of five has become "deluxe." Last year, novelist Molly Jong-Fast mused in the New York Observer, "Are people having four or five children just because they can? Because they feel that it shows their wealth and status? In a world where the young rich use their $13,000 Birkin bags as diaper bags, one has to wonder."
His idea to recreate the Command Module in baked goods was a total flop thanks to me. I tried to make it out of cupcakes and glue it together with icing, but it was lumpy and collapsed in the middle almost before it was finished. It was laughably the ugliest cake I have ever seen. In Will's old pack the cake baking contest rules stipulated that only males could participate so I suggested that we pretend Will made the whole thing by himself, but that didn't fly. Will still won an award for most creative which was very generous of the judges.
Sunday, April 06, 2008
While we were waiting for everyone else to show up at the Blue and Gold banquet last evening I wandered through the halls of the local Catholic school and peered in the doors of some of the classrooms. If I had an extra $24,000 I might be tempted to enroll the three big kids and have some free time, but then I would miss out on so much. I wouldn't know what they were learning and wouldn't be learning so much myself. After all, my knowledge was lacking in such topics as Napoleon's reign, the shortcut in dividing 3 digit by 2 digit numbers, Saint Josaphat's miracles, how an engine works, and how to diagram a complex sentence, but we have learned these things together. While I am looking forward to a summer of visiting, moving, reading, and exploring, I am excited about where our homeschool journey will take us next.
Friday, April 04, 2008
After reading the commentary by Elizabeth Foss of another mom's housekeeping deficiencies I have vacuumed 4 rooms and the stairs, cleaned one bathroom, and picked up an untold number of toys.
Looks pretty good.
At least until Will and Mary get home from Enrichment and the movie the littles are watching gets turned off.
Housekeeping is a touchy subject in homeschooling circles. Keeping up a home seems an impossible task for one person, especially since the mom essentially has 3 full time jobs: teacher, mom, and housekeeper. When is the laundry going to be folded when a 4th grader needs help with math and the toddler just spilled milk all over the kitchen floor? Every minute seems to be accounted for in a large family, simply getting everyone up, dressed, and fed can take almost 2 hours. It always seems that when the living room needs vacuuming the toddler is spreading toys out faster than you can pick them up.
Some moms hire help, I did this for 6 years, and it helps tremendously but is very expensive. Some moms are so ultra-organized that the house seems to clean itself, but I personally don't know any of these! Other moms just let it all go to pot and the bathrooms look like they haven't been scrubbed in years, yuck! But there is, I believe in the majority of homeschooling homes, a balancing act between clutter and obsessiveness. It involves just doing it, not going up the stairs or down with empty hands, having one job going on constantly, enlisting the kid's help, and a myriad of other tricks to have a house that is clean enough.
One day I will have a clean home that is decorated just right, but I think it will happen when all the children have moved out. Until then I will just practice my housekeeping tightrope walk.
"But you didn't say we couldn't!"
I guess I need to make up a new list of rules for our house after this week, including:
Do not jump in mud up to your eyeballs (above culprits)
Do not play games involving racing laps around the house at top speed with the swinging doors closed (Will, Mary, Maggie, and Charlie)
Do not stick your fingers in the holes in the ends of the Brio train track pieces (Charlie)
Do not play surgeon with your doll baby using a real needle (Maggie)
There are quite a few bruises and hurt fingers around our house, but so far no trips to the Emergency Room. Let us try children, with our new rules in place, to keep it that way.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Last evening I went to listen to 3 homeschooling moms talk about homeschooling on the road, some in Cadillac style and others using more modest transportation. We heard about great places out west to collect trilobites and petrified wood, as well as the best place to watch free movies when it rains for 9 straight days (Hingham, Mass. public library). After my initial interest in setting off to study American History by actually being there, I decided that I don't really want to spend hundreds of hours researching places on the Internet, buying a motor home, making camping reservations a year in advance, and sharing a bathroom the size of a mouse hole with 6 other people. I think it is great that some homeschoolers travel with their kids, but my crew will have to be content with textbooks, living books, and movies to learn their geography and history. I've had more than my share of travel adventures and don't want to purposely create any more.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
However, the series originally continued to volume 40 and I wanted to know "what happened" to John and his fellow villages in Mantongu, as well as reading the hilarious rhymes on the back cover about naughty children like Thankless Theodore and Licking Lilly. Luckily for us, a friend in Maine found a box containing the original #21-37 at a yard sale and allowed me to xerox the whole stack. It took several hours to copy and collate the issues, all the while trying carefully not to damage further the delicate paperbacks.
Every 6 months or so we reread the entire series, giggling at the crafts made from such obscure items like bottle caps, plastic fruit baskets, cigarette boxes, and toothpaste tins, as well as repeating the prayer of St Therese, "I want to do what God wants." I really do see an increase in virtue among us all after reading these wonderful books and encourage mothers of little ones to buy a set to read aloud.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
While I was sitting in the lobby I was startled to find my grandmother. Apparently Grandfather had had a episode of not being able to breathe (he had Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and was being worked on. She was scared, so when I was called to go in to be scanned, I invited her to come along. Just before we went it the CO of the hospital came over to ask about Grandfather and say hi to me (he was our previous CO in Naples, Italy). When he followed us into the examining room I was worried that he might stay and watch! But he took his leave and Grandmother and I soon were happy to see a little embryo bounce around the sac, heart beating wildly.
After I was released we were told that Grandfather was stable and had been moved upstairs to a room and was likely to be able to return home after a few days. By now my mother, soon to be step-father, and his sister (my mother's best friend) had joined us in the hospital lobby. It was decided that the wedding was going to go on, but with relatives descending from out of town the wedding was going to be a little bigger than the 5 people originally planned for. I, of course, was not invited since I had 2 little children in tow. Since I was worn out already I left them to the planning and went home. The ceremony went off without another hitch, but the morning's events produced a wedding day that was certainly memorable.
Since then Maggie (the dancing embryo) has grown to be a twirly 5 year old who bounces to music whenever she can. Grandfather succumbed to COPD a mere 3 years later, and Mother died of ovarian cancer before her 6th anniversary. She has been gone now for 6 months and a day doesn't go by that I don't miss her and wish I could call her and tell her about our latest adventure. I will be sure to call my step-father today and give him my sympathy. I'm sure the overwhelming feeling of loss and grief will fade over time, but for today I will look back on that April Fool's Day and be consoled by the love shown that day.