Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Smile...Or Not

My view this morning when I gave up.  The sign below the clock says "Smile."

Some days are just hard.  Honestly, if there wasn't the anxiety about whether or not we'll get Coronavirus or if the food supply will give out or if we'll ever get to go to Mass again, I could do this stay home thing for a very long time.  That's just my personality.

But those extra anxieties are catching up with me.  There are days like today where I have nothing to give and everyone needs something.  Where even when I throw my hands up in frustration and give up and tell everyone I'm off limits for a bit, the reality is that I am still needed.  And at some point, I will have to make dinner.

My mind battles with itself.  "Get it together!  They need you to be cheerful and present!" "Yes, but you can't be cheerful and present right now and you are crashing everyone's day.  Find a place to be alone so you can get it together."  " There is no place to be alone!  They will find you no matter where you hide (so true).  So you might as well just stubbornly plow through the day to get to the end."

And even when I do finally settle the argument in my head (in favor of giving in because I truly can't today), I'm left with the frustration that we only have four weeks left of this school year and if we take today off it will be another day we'll need to finish.  And we were going to do an art project!

I don't have any smart help for anyone on this post.  Only a raw, honest look at how somedays are hard, and if you are having a hard day, maybe there's some solidarity for you.  Tomorrow likely will not be as rough (perhaps the baby will sleep tonight.  That could help and explain some of today's problem).  I have yet to understand how to redeem days like today. My own immaturity means I can't get out of my own way.

I think for the rest of today I'll reread an old post from Leila on bad days, have the kids do their independent school work (because we all know that if I stick them just in front of the tv or set them free to do as they will, it will backfire), read my book that I was supposed to have finished last month, perhaps crochet a bit while listening to an audiobook.  In the midst of my fit, after sending certain bickering children to their rooms, I read this from Sally Clarkson.  Yes, that's another hard thing about lockdown.  I would really like to disappear into a coffee shop and the adoration chapel for a couple of hours.  I really, really miss that.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Sacraments Delayed

Today was supposed to be her day. She was supposed to have received her first Holy Communion and been Confirmed today. We've done ok staying up-beat with this Coronavirus thing. She's been strong and trying hard to offer it up for a special intention, but today was hard. If you are reading this would you say a little prayer for her? Thank you!

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Updated daily routine

Click to enlarge

Can I suggest something Mama's? Sit down for an hour with a cup of something warm and hammer out a daily routine for your family.  Even if you already have one, things have changed and you'll need to be intentional about work and play. This applies whether you are home all the time, homeschooling, but especially if you are not used to everyone being home all the time. So much of home anxiety comes from not knowing the right next time to do.

Sprinkle prayer throughout the day. Watch a daily Mass from your living room, take your freed evenings and reintroduce the family rosary. It doesn't have to be picture perfect. Especially if it's something new, it's not going to look pretty. But you will be building your family up in a time of great anxiety. Read a book out loud together. Listen to an audiobook. Make sure to build in plenty of outside time. Put in a quiet afternoon time where everyone must go somewhere alone to read or think or work with their hands (no screens! This is time to really breath!). Bonus if you can figure out how to do quiet time outside.

Make one of the weekdays slightly different. An extra craft a few more chores, whatever. Make Saturdays a day of real housework, where everyone helps. I make a list of chores and assign some and have volunteers sign up for the rest.

 Take back your Sundays. Be sure to watch Mass. Maybe even get dressed up for it. Have a special meal (but don't over do it, our pantries are limited). Play a family game or watch a family movie. Limit screen time, but, I would argue, allow it at the right times. It's a relief to get your mind off the world and each other for a little while. Not even everyday, but a well timed movie can be balm. Remember Mama's, you are in charge of the atmosphere of your home. And it needs you now more than ever. ❤️

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

St. Patrick's Day on Lock Down

My little leprechauns. We'll have Lucky Charms for breakfast and corned beef and cabbage and Irish soda bread for dinner. The kids are breaking their screen fast with the CCC St. Patrick video. We'll cut out clovers and talk about the trinity and copy St. Patrick's Breast Plate. We'll read every book we have that has a slight Irish feel to it, and tonight after Rosary we'll watch the Quiet Man.

We are on lock down. The Mass has been closed to the public. The world is a crazy, scary place right now. But here, in this little home, we have each other and we have our faith. We'll get through it together.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Friday Introduction: How We Met

I first posted this on Instagram, but thought I'd cross post it here for the record book.

It was 2003.  I was beginning my 4th year of junior college.  I had just switched my major (again) to engineering.  I was sitting in the front row in physics class with my nerdy little glasses and my "don't mess with me face" (as my hubby calls it).  I had colored pens and planned to color coordinate my notes.  I was one of two girls in the class.  He walked in and didn't want to be "that guy" so he sat one seat away instead of right next to me.  His friends were willing to be "those guys" and sat on either side of me.  I ignored them all.  (Except from the corner of my eye.)  

Our teacher, Dr. Ben, had various things for us to try to explain different aspects of physics, including pushing his little car through the parking lot and using a hose to show projectiles.  I hung back, too unsure of myself to participate and really good at making myself disappear, so I thought.  But I kept the corner of my eye on "the cute, cocky guy".  He was way out of my league for sure.

We became friends, mostly from studying for our ridiculously hard classes together (Statics and Dynamics anyone?!)  He was competitive, and I was very good at taking tests and doing the math and balance of forces, and I beat him in every test, both in time and score.  Not that I really understood why I was doing any of it.

I had been beating around the bush that I liked him, but I was too shy to admit it, and like I said, he was way too good for me.  One evening, I was waiting for some girlfriends to have a late dinner with.  He knew I was going to be there, so he came before they did.  He asked me straight forward if I liked him.  I said I did and probably turned as red as a tomato.  We decided to date.

He was coming back to his faith and I was curious about it.  He knew what he wanted out of life.  He was strong and cute, and I knew I could be safe with him.  I was head over heels from the beginning. He says he knew I wasn't manipulative and he could trust me with his heart.

1 year later we were engaged, 9 months later we were married.  And now, almost 15 years and 6 kids later we couldn't be happier.

Tune in next week for A Dating Story.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

The Story of Civilization - The Ancient World

I have found the history curriculum I have been dreaming about!  Tan Books has published the most wonderful curriculum I could have ever wanted called The Story of Civilization.  There are four volumes (The Ancient World, The Medieval World, The Making of the Modern World, The History of the United States) but this review will focus on the first volume, The Ancient World.

The complete set comes with the text book, an activity book, a teachers manual, a test book, the dramatized audio book, access to the video lecture series and a wall timeline.  The series is meant for use through eighth grade.  We will be using it with 8th, 6th, 4th, and 2nd grade this coming school year.

This program is completely open and go, making life easy for mom.  Our plan for each week will be to read the chapter (or listen to the audio book and have the kids read along in the text) while coloring the page from the activity book.  The next day we will do narrations and the questions for review from the teachers manual.  Day three we will watch the video lecture and do our map activities from the activity book.  On day four we will enter dates into our personal timelines, do any craft projects I feel we can get to, and the older kids will take the test from the test book.

The text is well written and is truly a "living" book (as Charlotte Mason would call it).  Author Phillip Campbell is knowledgeable and obviously excited about the subject of history, and that excitement and interest comes through in the book.  Included in the book is also small bits of historical fiction to really bring the subject alive, and the text clearly states when that transition happens.  The dramatized audio book is well produced and I can see us listening to it many times over.  You can hear a sample at Tan Books.  The video lecture is definitely worth purchasing, as Mr. Campbell not only reviews the text, but adds other interesting information as well as showing maps and other images as appropriate.  Each video is about ten minutes long.  The activity book has maps, crafts, coloring pages, mazes and other puzzles.  It's a great companion to the text.  You will need the teacher's manual to use the activity book.

The only thing I wish could have been included is a book list for further reading.  It's easy enough to pull one together though, and that is my plan for the coming year.  The Ancient World covers "from the dawn of history to the conversion of Constantine".  Ancient Egyptians, the Greeks and Romans, and the early Church are all included.  Because of this, and depending on ages of the kids using it and other books added in for further reading, I could see spreading this course out for two years.  We are planning on trying to do it in one, but we'll see how it goes.

I'm very grateful to Tan Books for sending me a complete copy of the program for an honest review.  I'm thrilled with it and excited to use it as well as the other volumes in future years. Pick up your copy here.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Walking Plan OR Planning to Walk

Planning out my walking plan on the boogie board. Figured I'd better take a picture before it got erased and I have to start over again. My goal is to walk 3 miles a day and do the MuTu core everyday.  Our days are so full (it's a good thing!) that adding something new in takes thought and planning. But honestly, our priorities have not been completely in order. Can I really say doing Math takes precedence over daily Mass? Or Morning Time is more important than our health? But this is essentially what I've been saying when I say I can't find time for these things. There has to be a way!

So here's my plan. We've already been working towards daily Mass on Mondays and Tuesdays. We don't manage it every week yet. So many things have to work together for it to happen! Like finding shoes for the three year old. I can't be the only one with this problem!

Shoeless Imp.

Exercising is a problem for me. MuTu says I need to get in at least a 30 minute walk, a 10 minute core, and a 20 minute intensive workout. How?! We've always had a walk in our plan, and I can generally manage the core exercises in the evening. But no matter how hard I try, I cannot figure out how to squeeze the intensive workout in. Honestly, a 20 minute intensive workout is much more than 20 minutes. It requires a change of clothes before, and a shower after. And at some point we do have to do Math and Morning Time (we call it Symposium actually because it never happens in the morning).

So I've decided that what I can do is get in more walking. Walking doesn't require a change of clothes or shower, even if I'm walking fast. We already do a 30 minute walk after lunch. I used Maps to figure out that it's a 1.2 mile walk. If I walk the street in front of my house down and back it's .3 mile. I can do that three times in the afternoon after Tea Time and bring one kid with me for each pass while they narrate their readings from the day. Then if I do an after dinner walk with my hubby (now that we have older kids we are doing this more often!), we can get in another mile. If I do three miles a day plus my core exercises in the evening I think I will feel a difference.

And this is the point. It's not so much appearances that I'm concerned about. I'm not yet even 40 and I ache all.the.time. I have struggled with a diastasis recti since pregnant with Bear, and now my core is a mess. I want to be strong. I need to be strong to keep up with this crew.  So, this is my plan for getting there. I think it's doable. And that's the key.