Friday, May 28, 2010

My Country, 'Tis of Thee

My country, 'tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims' pride,
From every mountainside
Let freedom ring!
Our country is not perfect. That is one of the great beauties about it. We can argue and debate and go back and forth on what things mean and what it should all be about. 
One thing I know for certain: men and women, like my friend Sandy's nephew, Joe Lewis, who gave his life in Afghanistan this past year, who went out to willingly serve for a country he believed in and loved - these brave people have given me the ability to walk free in my country. Young people like my husband's cousin, Zach, who is training with the Marines, make it possible to continue to live in this sweet land of liberty.
I have had the privilege this past semester to study the Constitution with my children. It is breathtaking. The vision for this country was something that had almost never been done (successfully) before. There have been historical flaws in living out this vision, but the idea behind it is staggering: 
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome laid many of the foundations of democracy, but were never able to hold on to it for long. Sooner or later, some crazy dictator or emperor or senator would come along and take control. We learned much from these cultures, but they did not do what we did.
At the same time our country was being founded, France was undergoing severe trials and rebellions. Many dreams died there, many people died there. Young Americans learned a great deal from France, about what to do and what not to do.  Robespierre spoke loudly and passionately. The founding fathers of America were quite aware of what he said. Some of it was inspired, while some of it was the ranting of a cruel, merciless dictator. "Not only is virtue the soul of democracy; it can exist only in that government," Robespierre proclaimed. Too bad he followed it with "Terror is nothing other than justice, prompt, severe, inflexible; it is therefore an emanation of virtue; it is not so much a special principle as it is a consequence of the general principle of democracy applied to our country's most urgent needs". You lost me at the whole terror=justice thing, Robespierre!
No, as imperfect as our country is and its people are, the principles we are founded on are amazing. Looking into the workings of our government inspires a sense of awe. Yes, there are many problems with politics today. Many! But the idea behind creating a government of checks and balances, and watching it play out in front of our eyes - not many countries have that kind of transparency!
I get very frustrated with my government and the feeling that I am a little person who the Big Guys in Washington are happy to step on. However, I am truly, truly thankful for the beauty of our country and its ideals. And extremely grateful to all those who serve this nation, so that my family and I may live in extraordinary freedom.
Happy Memorial Day!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Swimming Week

The Mad Toddler had a short and early nap today, so we headed out to the pool around 2pm. This is the second day in a row we got there before school was out, and apparently, between lunch and 3pm some younger adults take that "kid-free" time to soak up some rays. They looked pretty displeased to see four boys show up!

Too bad! We homeschool!!!Surprise! I instructed the boys not to splash by the three or four adults, since there was plenty of room for them to spread out and play where no one was sunbbathing. The Mad Toddler actually decided to feel more brave today and did not cling to me like a monkey! He hung on, but not as tight the whole time.

Swimming nearly every day has us all worn out!

We are having a more relaxed schooling week. Next week we take a break! Hooray!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Good Food Ahead

(Citrus Chicken, Vegetable Rice, and bread)

I live in a house of males who are not real particular about their food. They have, shall we say, plebian tastes. Advantages: I can get away with a lot of simple meals. The nights I am tired or worn out, no one expects food magic. Disadvantage: complicated meals are not usually appreciated a great deal.
Case in point:  This happened years ago, but it highlights what I am talking about. I made a dinner of stuffed pork chops and some complicated side. I thought it was delicious and was proud of my work. ArtGuy responded with, "It is good". Next night I serve Hamburger Helper. The crew dug in, exclaiming, "Wow, this is really great!" So, I decided I was not going to sweat the whole cooking thing too much!
We have officially been eating on our new plan for 8 days now. Last Tuesday, I spent all afternoon cooking, and froze a bunch of meals - 12 to be exact. It was a lot of work, but totally worth it. One mistake I made that I will not make again - I made "almost" all the meals last Tuesday. I had to leave a few to do later. And frankly, that "later" is a big pain. Next time I devote a whole day and get it ALL done at once.
                     (Meatball Pot Pie - there was absolutely nothing left approximately 15 minutes after this picture was taken)

As far as costs go, I am going to reserve that judgment until the four weeks are up. I think it will be cost effective. I have tried many things. I did the whole coupon thing for a while. I saved a ton of money - like $100 a bill. However, I often ended up with more junk food and convenience food than I intended. Not to mention that really doing coupons takes a lot of time, even if you use a site like The Grocery Game. It is like another part-time job. Now, I just use what coupons I have when I happen to purposefully by that item. 
I only have main entrees frozen. I am pairing them with pastas, rices, vegs, breads, and fruit salads. Most meals take about 30 minutes to reheat and have on the table. Easy-peasy!
                                              Apple Meatloaf 

We are eating healthier and defintely eating better! The food has all been ultra-delicious! This will work great for summer. Fall might be harder, as we often have several days when we have activities that do not allow much dinner prep. But 30 minutes seems reasonable.
I have planned 3 of these meals per week, plus one day each week for leftovers. The other three days are for pizza, mac n cheese,  other easy meals,  for eating out, or for whatever comes our way.
The Chicken Manicotti was scrumptious. I forgot to take a picture - maybe next time around!
                  (Shredded Beef Tacos with Mexican rice - yuuuuummmy!)

ArtGuy finished the garden this past weekend. We went to Calloway's Sunday morning to pick our plants. It was fun and luxurious to choose things to plant. It really looks lovely, and makes me smile when I see it! This is our third house, and with each home our backyard has gotten smaller. We  now have a teeny-tiny backyard, but that doesn't mean it can't look nice!
ArtGuy also made a nice path using the stepping stones he and the boys have made every year for Mother's Day for the past 10 years. In the first one we made, The Young Adult was 2 and Cookie Boy was 6 months old! Aaawww! Teeny-tine hands and feet. Now The Young Adult wears the same shoe size as ArtGuy! Ah, how time flies!

Today is Wednesday. The sun is shining, was promises a walk to the pool this afternoon. Yesterday was just cool enough for me to say no! The water was freezing Monday and Momma don't do cold water! Otherwise, just a perfectly normal, ordinary day!
Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Two Fruits

This past Sunday was the wonderful feast of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles and those around them heard the apostles preach, each in his own language. Deacon Jack gave a great homily at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Plano this week, reminding us what the fruits of the Holy Spirit are.

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control."  Galatians 5:23

ArtGuy and I decided to do a family project this week. We sat down as a family and read this verse to the kids. Then, each person drew the names of two of the fruits from out of a hat (except me- I get one!). Each night this week, two fruits of the Holy Spirit will be presented. The presentations can take any form, but must be actually worked on and not thrown together last minute. Presenters will go in order of the fruits in the verses. In addition, each person will draw a piece of fruit and cut it out to go in out "Fruits of the Holy Spirit" fruit bowl.

First up tonight were love (The Young Adult) and joy (Cookie Boy). Cookie Boy memorized his presentation, which is not his comfort zone. He got a bit flustered, but hung in there to deliver a short, but sweet, discourse on joy.

The Young Adult had us all foaming at the mouth, as he delayed our dinner in order to print out his presentation. We were all hungry and wishing he had been a bit more responsible and  prepared. However, he finally finished and came down to read us what he chose to do - a short treatise on love. It is, in my opinion, very beautiful. I was moved to tears.
Here it is for your edification from the 12 year old Young Adult, with his permission.


"Love - a warm affection."
This is the definition of love in the Webster dictionary. There are many different kinds of love. From love of God, to mutual attraction, love is always important.

It is easy to think of there being one kind of love, but there are many different kinds. For example, you can love your mom, love your favorite game, love God, love your favorite singer, and love your crush. Each of these "loves" is a different kind of love.

First there's parental love. This means you love a parent, aunt, grandmother, or another older sibiling because of the care they give you. Then there's favorable love. This means that you like something. This is usually directed toward a favorite object. For example, you could love a teddy bear or a certain movie. Then, there is idol love. This is often like favorable love, but more or less means you look up to a person or thing. For example, you can love a music star or a football player. Also, there is mutual attraction. This is the type of love when you see someone beautiful. God gave us this love so that we can give birth to children, after you have married someone. And last, but never least, heavenly love. This is the adoration of God, Christ, and all other saints. This is the easiest love to forget, but the most necessary. 

Love is the first gift of the Holy Spirit, and an important one. so let us not forgt to use it in many, if not all, ways.

"Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud." (1 Corinthians 13:4)

Monday, May 24, 2010

It's Not Personal

I was never good at learning new languages. I studied Spanish on and off and did a fair job of it, but never excelled. More recently, my quest has been Latin. Not only is it interesting, I will need to have it under my belt if I ever go on for a PhD or an STL. This summer I am going to work hard to at least try to catch up to my kids!
Now, however, I find I must become quickly fluent in "Grunt", the universal language of teens the world-over.

Grunt consists of sounds, such as "grunt", "huh", "mmph", and "hmmm". Grunt is not strictly a verbal language, however. In order to truly understand this language, one must also become well-versed in translating eye-rolling, shrugs, sighs, slumping, and door-slamming.

(I understand girls get a head start on the non-verbal portion of this language. I can remember my own days, so this makes a lot of sense.)

My eldest son is almost entirely fluent in this language. This child, who spoke early, who had the alphabet down cold by 18-months, who told his first joke at age 2, whose favorite game at 3 was to pick a letter and then name as many words as he could think of that began with that letter - this son has apparently gone beyond the need for mere human words and prefers Grunt to any other language.

Knowing Grunt usually indicates an intelligence superior to 75% of the planet (the other 25% knowing Grunt, of course). Grunt is the password to a world where it is clear you know far more about say, childbirth, than the woman who bore four children, including you (and not to mention you are a boy and will never in your life bear a child yourself). If you speak in Grunt, you show that the opinions of the world are simply that - opinions, and have no influence on the vast amount of knowledge you have spent 12 back-breaking years accumulating while watching Spongebob Squarepants and learning how to make awesome arm-farts!

If you meet someone who does speak Grunt, it is easy to feel offended. First, you may not understand what the heck they are saying. Second, they display signs of frustration if you do not bow to their superior knowledge.
If this happens to you, do not take offense. It really is not personal.
But then, you wouldn't understand....You never do.....sigh.....grunt....

Friday, May 21, 2010

This and That

First - what do you think of the new look to the blog? Better? Worse? Doesn't matter 'cause no one is reading it????

Second - let me tell you that the Cheesy Chicken Manicotti from "The Everything Meals for a Month" cookbook was YUMMY! We dug into it with relish, moaning and smacking until we were all very full. I filled one of the manicottis with cheese only for Cookie Boy, our resident vegetarian. It was scrumptious, and we cannot wait to try more!

Third - our eyes are gazing into summer. It is so near! The temperatures are heating up here in Texas, which isn't bad, as they can do this as early as March or April.
Every year I plan on stopping school at the end of May, right before Memorial Day. Every year I poop out early May, not to give it another thought until August. Until this year....
The boys will not be lucking out this go around! Bwah haah haaaaah! This year we will go until Memorial Day, take a week off, then continue. I am still working it all out, but we WILL have some form of summer school. Perhaps the term "year-round school" would be more accurate. We will take some weeks off this summer, but school will not stop for long periods of time. The Young Adult needs to keep trudging along in math and grammar. Cookie Boy will be joining in the grammar portion.
I am thinking we will focus more on basics. Like a "Basics Boot Camp". Drill fundamentals in math, geography, Latin, and ancient history. In August, we will begin our study of American history, which we have only really had in snatches so far.  am really excited, because ArtGuy and I were talking last night about the possibility of some travel as we study US history! Not much travel, as our ancient minivan is not in primo health, but travel nonetheless!
We will begin, as we study early north American history, with a trip to Oklahoma in August. We will enjoy the wonderful cold spring-fed water near Turner Falls, and visit some of the Native American historical sites (that would be reservation-related sites, and not the casino-related sites. Although my family do descend from the Choctaws, so I wonder if we could get a piece of that action!).
Sprinkled in there are, we hope, trips to Austin to see little bro' and family. And who knows what else!!!
How is your summer shaping up?

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Every day there are countless choices that we make - do I wear the black shirt or the red one? Do I get gas now or can I make it until the next exit? Do we tackle the grammar lesson  or do I have time to take a nap? Should I order pizza or the grilled chicken and veg? Do I really want to open this bill or can I keep living in ignorant bliss?

Some choices are big, some are small, and some are in-between. Yet each one affects our lives. Sometimes in ways we cannot see.

ArtGuy and I try to make the best choices we can for us and for our family. We re-evaluate every once in a while. This has been one of those times.

I just passed up the opportunity to work in a great parish. The job was right up my alley. Everything about it sounded exciting and challenging in just the right way. ArtGuy and I talked and prayed a lot about this. Part of us wanted me to do it. But there were also very good reasons not to. In the end, we were in complete agreement: this was not the right time for me to work full-time outside the home. Instead, I will take a smaller writing opportunity that has come my way and work on other writing projects that were laid aside for the past two years while I have recovered from the Mad Toddler's annihilation of my body and an appendectomy (and the selling of a house, the buying of a new one, the falling apart of that deal, the buying of another house, and an eventual move - it was a busy 2 years!).
Oddly enough, I passed up a similar opportunity three years ago. I had the chance to work in a different parish, but this would have required a long commute or a bigger move.

Will I regret it? Sure - when I am reminding the Young Adult for the tenth time in 30 minutes to clean his room, when I am standing in front of a mound of laundry that just materialized even though I have been doing laundry for days, when I am trying to ignore the Mad Toddler's shrieks of displeasure because I will not give him jelly beans (he has a good memory of Easter), I will probably think to myself, "I could be working with mostly reasonable adults, getting a paycheck, feeling like I am useful and productive".
Will I regret it? No, not really. For now, once again I have made a choice that the direction of my life is to continue to be a homeschooling mom of four boys. Some people think I am crazy for doing this in the first place, some think I am crazy to consider anything else. It does not matter. God has given each one of us our own lives and our own calling. Mother Teresa said "We do not know what way God is appearing to that soul and what way God is drawing that soul, and therefore, who are we to condemn anybody?" (Hunt, Dorothy S., Mother Teresa. Love: A Fruit Always in Season. 4th printing. San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 1987. 133. Print)
Decisions require choices, and we must be willing to make choices. We often think, "If I could just see where I am going...". Choices provide us with steps to follow. 

Choices - they define our lives. They define who we are. Let us have the grace and strength to stand behind each choice we make.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Day After


Yesterday was a lot of cooking! I started at 3pm and ended around 11pm. Thank you, ArtGuy for helping get the kitchen cleaned up! I didn't think I would cook everything yesterday, but once I started, it was much easier to just keep going.
 I did not plan meals for a whole month, but I did make 12 meals. It seemed like so much more! Of course, these would make more meals if we had a smaller family!
On the menu:
Shredded Beef Tacos - 2 meals
Cheesy Chicken Manicotti - 3 meals
Citrus Glazed Chicken - 2 meals
Meatlball Pot Pie - 3 meals
Apple Meatloaf - 2 meals

They are all happily nestling in my freezer! Well, except the Meatball Pot Pie. I didn't have the pie crusts, so the meatballs are made and in the fridge until I get some crusts.  These meals, plus the usual pizzas, mac and cheese, soups, and so on ought to keep up going.

ArtGuy took all the boys to Romeo's end-of-season soccer party. They celebrated a season with no loses. These boys are really fun to watch! Congrats, Blue Knights. And thanks, Coach Steve for being the best soccer coach ever! Jonathan has had three wonderful soccer coaches, but Coach Steve is really, really great! We feel truly blest to have landed on this team after our move last summer.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Dinner Impossible

Ugh! Days of a headache and not feeling perky and now there are too many thoughts swirling around in my head!
Thanks to Patty over on Reasons for Chocolate, I have been pushing my new dinner plans into "drive" (as opposed to "park" or "just not ever going to happen"). For weeks now, I have been trying to regroup my meal efforts for the family.
ArtGuy will eat just about anything (except mushrooms), The Young Adult will try anything once and eats most anything he tries. CookieBoy does not eat meat, and has a very limited palate. Romeo is moderate in his tastes. The Mad Toddler grazes all day, in his toddler way. I am a pretty picky eater.
It can be difficult to find food that will please most of us, is reasonably inexpensive, is simple enough for me to cook, and does not take all day. Lately, I have not been doing well in this area.
I am going to try a plan from "The Everything Meals for a Month" cookbook. I am not actually cooking for month, but I will try preparing about 15-20 meals to freeze. The recipes sound easy and exciting. I have made a few from this book before, and they were very good. the ones I making this time are new for us! I am hoping this will work.
The Mad Toddler and I went out for a two hour shopping trip this morning, and came back loaded. I hope to start today and get things done. Saint Pascual, pray for me!
                                                 (the mounds of meat in the fridge!)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Babe Magnet

When ArtGuy and I realized we were in the business of having boys, we were fine with that. I remember we jokingly said to each other, "Well, one thing we will never have to worry about is dance lessons"!

A few years ago, one of our coop moms, who was also a Scottish Highland Dance teacher, offered to teach Highland Dancing for a semester at coop. The Young Adult and his best friend were the two boys (among some girls) brave enough to try it. The Young Adult technically took a second semester, even though he really never danced, as he had a severely sprained ankle at the time. A little over a year ago, The Young Adult decided to continue to take Highland Dance lessons from Mrs. Murphy. We were thrilled with his decision.

Our oldest son is not skilled in traditional sports. He thinks outside the box most of the time. This really fit him.

Highland dancing requires tremendous physical strength and control. If you have ever seen a man perform Highland Dance, you will first notice his very well-developed leg muscles! This type of dance demands its competitors to be fit. Here is an example from youtube, if you are interested!

First, a little history. This comes from the Houston Highland Games website:

"Scottish Highland Dancing is traditionally a man's dance, used by Chieftains to keep clansmen in good shape physically and mentally. It is considered an athletic event. During World War II, Scottish soldiers in prisoner of war camps did reels to maintain physical strength and mental stability. The Reel of the 51st is a dance choreographed by some of these men. This approach to survival worked so well, soldiers of other nations joined in. "

So, Highland dancing originated as a man's dance. Women only danced the social dances. Of course, today, the majority of Highland dancers are female, which is shame. Not a shame that girls and women dance, but that so much fewer males Highland dance. Highland dancing is a considered a sport officially in Scotland.

On to The Young Adult. He has been taking Scottish Highland dance lessons for over a year now. We just went to his first competition, at the Houston Highland Games in Houston, Texas. This is a big Scottish festival that takes place over 2 days. There were kilts galore there, including many boys and young men proudly wearing the plaid. However, there was only one male Scottish Highland dancer - The Young Adult.

For his first competition, he did well. He came in pretty much last in almost every dance, but as there were only three or four competitors in his age and level, he still placed. It was a good showing for his first time, especially considering 12 is not the age of grace and physical control!

First, let me just say that everyone there was so nice! We have been involved in t-ball, baseball, soccer, and karate, and these are competitive sports with competitive parents. During this weekend at the Highland Dance competition, I was able to experience a setting where the competitors are gracious, where courtesy is expected, where parents root for all the children. One younger girl was dancing the Sword dance quite well, and doing a good job. Everyone was holding their breath. I know this because towards the end she did kick her sword, and the entire crowd on the bleachers said ,"Aaawwwwwwwww".  We all knew how much work these kids had done and how difficult it is to get up and dance demanding, intricate steps. Extra applause were given to the group that did not stop or falter when the electricity went out (bad weather) and to the group who were not fazed when loud feedback sounded from another sound system near-by. The audience jumped, but the dancers continued. It was a very positive athletic environment.

Second, let me say this. Scottish Highland dancing is a great place to meet girls! When you are the sole male dancer (and in my humble opinion, a good looking guy), you get quite a lot of female attention. One of the organizers told our instructor that she was concerned that the dancers would not be concentrating on their dancing as well since they would be distracted by the good-looking lad in the kilt joining them. The Young Adult was surrounded by girls from age 4 to age 16 or so. Many were near his age. This kid is on to something - he is going to have many, many opportunities to get to know cute girls. If his friends mock him for dancing, they are going to be jealous when he never wants for a date in a few years!

 Lastly, let me say that it was fun to watch so many people walk around in kilts. Kilts are magical! I saw people at the hotel the day before who looked normal. Some were old, some were large, some were cute, some were not-so-attractive. But the next day......put a kilt on these people, and voila! Instant character! Honestly, everyone looked so much more interesting and actually much more attractive!

So, if you are in the DFW area, consider coming out to the Arlington Highland games June 4-6, 2010. It will be a great experience, and you might even see a cute lad dancing the Fling or the Sword dance!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Challenge

Today I feel properly humbled.
First, I decided to pick up and read a little of Br. Lawrence's classic The Practice of the Presence of God. Then my husband sent me a link to an article I needed to listen to.

Going backwards - the article.
It talks about the bad habit some of us moms have of comparing ourselves to "others" and falling short. The "others" being those that always seem to be put together, so perfect. How this leads to despair.

It rings so true. My life is a testimony to imperfection. My house - always a mess. My laundry - never done. My patience - always thin. My plans for those fun, lively lessons usually fall apart and end with me shouting and dreaming I was alone, in Hawaii, with a cool drink and a bowl of M&M's. There are a few blogs that I have found that are beautiful. The pictures are so lovely, the ideas and crafts are amazing, the words are inspiring. I read them and weep. I weep because I cannot measure up. I weep because I am such a failure, a traitor to the ideal.

I have learned that as lovely as those women probably are in real life, I cannot pay attention. When I do, I am miserable.

Same thing with writing. I love to write. I find life in it. I actually have potential. I have a few small things published. Yet it has been 2 1/2 years since I have written anything for publication. I took a long break and am now feeling the itch to get back to work.

But what if I fail? What if I stink? What if I have nothing to say and yet say it terribly anyway?

My biggest fear in life is to have no purpose or meaning to my life beyond boring, menial tasks.

Enter Br. Lawrence.

The Practice of the Presence of God is a very, very small work. Its size is deceptive. Every word is packed full of meaning. Br. Lawrence's message is very similar to the words of the Little Flower and Mother Teresa. Love, love, love. Above all, love in small things, in small ways. Abandonment to love to such a degree that all things are done in love. That most classic message of the Little Flower is echoed in the thought of Br. Lawrence - the way to true life, to Love, is in living love at all times, in small ways. Nothing is too small or menial to offer to God.

Do you realize how scary this line of thought is? Do you know how far against popular thought this goes?

It is terrifying!

In a world where we feel validation when we are noticed, in a time where celebrity is success (whether that be being known by power, wealth, knowledge, accomplishments, or appearance), Br. Lawrence dares to challenge us to find fulfillment in our lives, as they are now, imperfect and messy.

"That our sanctification depended not upon changing our works but in doing for God what we ordinarily do for ourselves. That it was a pity to see how many people always mistake the means for the end, attaching great importance to certain works that they do imperfectly for reasons of human respect.
     That he found the best way of reaching God was by doing ordinary tasks, which he was obliged to perform under obedience, entirely for the love of God and not for the human attitude toward them." (Fourth Conversation)

  Doing ordinary tasks? In quiet? Not even drawing attention to the fact that we are being HOLY, dammit!

We have people in our lives who I am sure are well-meaning, who feel like every thing they send us or our children must be religious in nature. ArtGuy and I wonder if they think we are pagan or not religious enough, and we need help.  They must not realize that even small, everyday things are sanctified through love. Even something as mundane (gasp!).
When we live our lives in love, for Love, everything around us becomes transformed by that love. That love is a truth-magnifier and will show us what passes the test of worthiness in our lives and what crumbles into unimportant dust.

So today begins with a challenge - to love. To offer all things in love, even if I want to wail and gnash my teeth. To offer the best of who I am. This is not perfection. The challenge is to do this knowing it will not be perfect. Can I offer my small duties in love, even when I feel like I amount to nothing important in life?

I am ready, Thursday - bring it on!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Many, many things are changing. The Young Adult is now 12. Lately, life has been rough for him. Like many kids his age, school has become a chore, and life is always unfair. Not to mention his parents! We have had a major overhaul of his schedule. Before, we were up when we woke up; started school about 10am, breaking for lunch at noon; afternoon school until 3pm; homework as the day allowed time.
After the recent rebellion and spate of missed work and dropping grades, The Young Adult now rises at 7am, begins school at 8, and follows a carefully crafted schedule throughout the day. It is much more work for us both, but we are also much happier. Thus proving again that children tend to thrive when they understand the boundaries and what is expected of them.
We have had to pull out the parenting books again. We used them often when the three big boys were little. Things settled down into a routine and we felt we had the hang of things. Adolescence has thrown us for a loop. One important lesson we are learning: changes in our children require changes in our parenting.
As The Young Adult approaches the edges of growing up, we are all entering new waters. From the beginning of his life, we have called him our "guinea kid"! He breaks us in as parents.

One of the joys of homeschooling is taking advantage of good weather. This morning was nice, so we got ready and headed out to the park. It was a good way to start the day! I had fun continuing to get to know our new camera!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What if......?

What IF today I just relaxed?

What IF today I let go of all my expectations and greeted each moment as a surprise?

What IF I don't try to clean the house (which is a losing battle)?

What IF I let myself enjoy the small moments and let the schedule go to heck?

Will I implode? Will the world stop? Will everything I know and believe turn to dust?

Or will all be well?

Today I went to CVS for a few small items and saw the Crayola aisle. A lot of things were 50% off. So, I grabbed some! Things we cannot usually stick in the budget, like Blendy Pens and Pip Squeeks and Crayola Color Surge coloring systems. The boys dove into them. The past 30 minutes have been artistic bliss. The school schedule is abandoned for the moment.