Thursday, August 31, 2017

monthly recap vol. 47~ August 2017


The month of August was mostly a whirlwind. Our kids started school, so we've been busy, and Summer's def. over. :(  #mixedfeelings #mostlyrelief

We decided after a lot of looking and a lot of talking to realtors that we would rather renovate than move.  I have so many house projects on my docket, but the first one is finishing our attic. We plan to put a bunch of work into it, so that we will have three stories. We'll use the finished attic for bedrooms and use the current bedrooms (3) for playroom and nursery.  There just is nowhere to store the *stuff* of six kids right now. But six kids it is. :0) We had the contractor come out to measure so now we wait!


Amidst all of this crazy, we also found a kitten and tried to take her into our care.  #adorbs #thecrazyneverends #longstory
always one for communication :)

The news about Charlottesville entered my consciousness in a very deep way. I'm trying to find the words and the prayers for that situation.  Also, #hurricaneharvey hit me pretty heavily.  Praying for everyone without a home or just living day to day.


And finally, we experienced a beautiful solar eclipse! Now *that* was delightful! I loved experiencing that at home with my family. God's creation takes my breath away, but this experience was a world apart! Seriously. What. (!!!)


~Reading~

My reading has slowed waaaaay down since having a baby in May and getting the kids on a new routine for the school year.  I have tried to read in little snatches, (my evening routine still includes walking, reading, showering, and playing solitaire/dots on my iphone) but honestly, this is what's on my list/bedside; it's not exactly what I have finished. Just being honest.

Loving My Actual Life by Alex Kuykendall

I did finish this book! It was good. Alex takes a different project to focus on each week in attempt to savor her real life, all while spending less time online and especially staying off of FB. She is involved with MOPS in Colorado and she has 4 little girls.  I found this book inspiring but I wouldn't say it was spectacular.  If you need a nudge toward productivity and a humble, faith-filled perspective, I would definitely still recommend this book. I wrote a more thorough "review/reflection" of it in this blog post.

They Say We Are Infidels by Mindy Belz

Mindy Belz, editor of World Magazine (reformed news source for world events and pop culture), wrote this book after following the persecuted Christians in the Middle East for many years in her columns.  I think what stood out to me was her strong faith, attention to detail, and her friendship with Insaf (a former Catholic woman who returned to Iraq after fleeing to Canada during the persecution). You know how sometimes you think, "Well, I only read 40 pages, but it was a *good* 40 pages!" That's what this book was like. I'm about halfway finished at this point. She has a sense of gravitas rarely seen in news columns/foreign affairs these days. Anyhow, it is well-written and worth checking out!

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

I haven't finished this yet, but it is good so far!  I wouldn't say great, but Jeffrey Eugenides liked it so that's something! (someone)

The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks

After a beat, I fiddled with my hat, then decided this book wasn't for me. Again, I haven't finished this one yet. I'm waiting until that magical time bomb goes off and I have 4 extra hours in my day! It is 471 pages! #tired #sleepdeprived #noendinsight #maybearoutineinsight  The Chattanooga Times (Free Press) wrote of Sparks' book The Lucky One,  "A tale of redemption... holds readers in suspense until the final chapter... it will test the readers' beliefs in the power of destiny and fate, and how they relate to choices one makes in life."

I did really enjoy the movie, The Notebook, though!   :-)

~Reading with the Kiddos~

We have been reading the Poppy books aloud.  I was very frustrated, however, that I couldn't buy them in order.  I found Poppy's Return at our used bookstore, so I looked up the books online. Having heard much about this "Poppy series" and how good it is, I ordered Poppy, <--super confusing) assuming that was book one and Poppy's Return was book 2. Well, thanks to Dimwood Forest I had to go back and buy Ragweed, which apparently is actually book 1 I had to search and search on amazon to figure out the correct order.

#{search, search, search}
I've been an Avi fan for a while because I read The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle as a child, and I fell in love with that book. I like the writing style; I know he's amazing! I believe Amazon could market them better without the publisher and Amazon and the author conspiring together to make the titles confusing. It should say (Book 1) in the title, rather than (Tales from Dimwood Forest).


Avi
Why would anyone *want* to read them out of order, Avi?
#thankyouverymuch #sorrynotsorry

~Writing~

I won't link to everything I wrote this month, but you might want to check out...

Big Thoughts About Discrimination in Charlottesvile

~Listening~

Thomas County Law
This newish song from Iron & Wine is a game-changer! Check out these lyrics! #swoon


~Watching~

Mr. Bean

Stephen enjoyed watching Mr. Bean growing up, so we have watched some of his old movies and we tried out his spoof of Oceans 11/ 007.  I guess his humor resonates with a certain type. I'm not sure his humor is 100% my style, but a few of his gags are hysterical.

Zach King (youtube)

Molly has become fascinated with the youtube sensation, Zach King.  He is a {I'm pretty sure all the way clean!} magician who has figured out a way to edit short videos to create a "magical" effect. It is basically special effects for youtube, but I have to say, his work is really impressive! We had to put him on the big screen. :)

~Linking~

Eradicating People, Not Disease @ Catholic New Agency

My Stitch Fix Keeps @ Wife Mommy Me (aka the great Stephanie!)

Melania Wore Stilettos to Texas and People Lost Their Minds @ Buzzfeed

lol

lol... hoo to the ray
does anyone want to be my personal cartoonist? I like Dilbert, and the type of you-mer you see here....

happy september all!


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Saturday, August 26, 2017

weekly minutiae vol. 28~ a solar eclipse & 99.4% darkness


Moon Pie shop was selling eclipse glasses, so of course... :0)
#bakedinchatty

Despite having to get some unwanted dental work done {for me, not my kiddos}, this has been a good week. #novicaineismynemesis #dontpanic #staycalmandgetworkdone

It started off with a bang, because Stephen finally did something he has been wanting to do for a while. He took it into his own hands to get this project done-- a new grilling patio! woo hoo! #epic!

I think it looks amazing! He did such a great job!

I think you could also say this week started off with a bang, because we had an almost total solar eclipse here in TN.  We are in the 99.4% coverage area, so around 2pm on Monday, the sun was eclipsed by the moon from our viewing!

All of the kids had solar eclipse glasses! Stephen took a pit stop at the Moon Pie shop, then had to drive to Rossville to get enough glasses for all the big kids.  Annabel slept through it. But what an amazing experience.... I can't explain looking at the sun in a whole new way, but let me put it this way: it does something crazy to your brain! :0)

99.4% darkness  :0)  #weirdlight  #nofilter
We made sure the kids only glanced up at it a handful of times during the whole process of the eclipse. I heard about a girl who stared and her glasses melted to her face? what. (??)

I took this picture at the height of the eclipse.  It wasn't actually total darkness, but then again, we didn't have totality here, so I'm not sure how it would have looked otherwise. Maybe my friends who saw a total eclipse can fill me in! For us, the shadows went wonky, the crickets starting chirping, and the birds were singing in a weird way and flitting around worriedly.  It just sorta looked like twilight to me. :) I couldn't believe how skinny all of our shadows looked on the ground! :)
My mind was blown.

{funky light}


Molly: Some people believe that there was a solar eclipse when Jesus died, because the whole world turned dark. Darkness covered the whole earth!
Stephen: That's possible, but it overrides the fact that it was a miracle, right?! The darkness happened because God wanted it to and willed it to be so.

#suchaninterestingconversation #suchanimportantconversation

Like I said, I didn't expect the solar eclipse to be such an amazing and humbling experience, but I suppose nature is here to humble us, don't you think? We are spinning in space. (Makes me think of that oldie "Do you realize" by The Flaming Lips!) God's works are displayed in the heavens; they declare his glory! Incredible to think of the millions who all shared something special on TV together that day. haha :)

Otherwise, we have had an uneventful week. haha. #nevercalmwithbabies #squishy
We love our walks! :)

Did anyone catch Bonnie Tyler's performance of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" on youtube? You can watch all of her interviews, and various perspectives of her performance.... just search Bonnie Tyler eclipse 2017 or click here.  My favorite interview was with CNN, ("Bonnie, you have given us more than we could have *ever* hoped for.")  I was cracking up!



I have been listening to some really good music this week; it's a good way to distract the baby in between eating and sleeping and swinging! The kid loves him some good music:)  If you haven't, you need to check out the following KEXP concerts on youtube:
Iron and Wine @ South by Southwest
David Bazan in studio in Seattle
The Lumineers singing Hey, Ho



Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Big Thoughts About Discrimination in Charlottesville



I sent out a couple of tweets about what happened in #Charlottesville, but when I did, I realized that my thoughts on bigotry just kept coming. I then read this positive piece about the events in C-ville and our approach as citizens working toward a civilization of love (a la Pope John Paul II) .. And, my ideas just kept swirling, until I discovered that I had to write a post about my thoughts!

I read some Nietchze in college, whose atheist ideas were impactful on Hitler.  It is shocking to learn that people like David Duke still live and breathe and walk around among us today, in 2017. I thought we all read the right books- Number the Stars, Night by Elie Weisel, and of course The Diary of Anne Frank. I thought we all visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. (!!!) This empty philosophy comes straight from the Devil, and it props itself up on atheism at its very core. But the truth is, white supremacy is somehow still alive and kicking, as we learned last weekend. #=

Huh?!

How do we respond to this as the Church? What should we say? What should we do?



The truth in this case, since it's my turn, is this:

1. Discrimination is inside all of us.

ex. in humility: Almost everyday someone tells me that I don't look old enough to have six kids. Just last week, a woman on the elevator at the mall asked if they were my kids, or if I was just babysitting.

When people treat me differently for looking young, I think about two verses: Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, and do not eat food sacrificed to idols.

Children are colorblind. They play with other children no matter their race.  Racism exists because someone taught that it was ok to look down on someone for their differences.  Often, we don't see the problem inside ourselves and the issue is that we simply need to wake up to the truth.

We all know the meaning of the first verse: we should stand up for ourselves if someone laughs at us for looking young. But taking it further, why are people so rude?  #UGH

Food sacrificed to idols is anything that the Devil would put his stamp of approval on. Anything that raises a red flag in our minds and hits our conscience all wrong.  Of course this includes David Duke's uncivilized inhumanity. Does it sow division?  Is it nourishing a nasty idol? Cut it out and throw it away; cut off that hand. If something ...or someone* is making you resentful, set up boundaries. It might be a nasty TV show or a book or a store at the mall or *an organic grocery store.* Food sacrificed to idols is that which should be rooted out.  It isn't necessarily any of those things. But if it is... then try to work on those areas...


2. Discrimination is more common than we think.

When someone rubs us the wrong way, we may revile them simply because of the culture like an American might scoff when Canadians boast of their culture.   If what is "en vogue" contrasts with a person right in front of us, we should choose the person every time.  Love, no strings attached, no fingers crossed behind our backs. #livebythespirit #holiness

Discrimination is like the sun laughing at the moon for its size. It's unfair.

Do you discriminate against the young, the overweight, the handicapped? Then suggestion: maybe stop judging racists and instead repent and then seek healing in your own heart. #division

However...

3. The Church is intolerant of division like this.

That being said, the Church is absolutely intolerant of racism.  Just the fact that this is still an issue makes me sick to my stomach.
Catholic means universal.
Perhaps we say we aren't racist, but we still make comments about "white trash" or we make fun of someone who talks differently: with an accent, with an inflection, or "ghetto."  We sing their songs only to make fun of them, not to respect them.  This attitude is empty.

This prejudice arises from self-loathing more than anything else. We condemn to relieve us from being self-aware. We don't have to address the things about ourselves and our own culture that we hate.

Clear Air

Charlottesville, Virginia is a beautiful town. I lived there for a semester during college. It has some of the best coffee shops and bookstores in the states, and the leaves of the Fall are simply put, gorgeous. UVA is a very good school offering a fantastic education. Ask me how I know!! :)*  It breaks my heart to see this stuff coming out of one of the greatest small cities the U.S. has to offer.  The air up there is very clean.

We can do better.  Stuff (Heather Heyer's um, death) happens to wake us up and help us to stand up for what is right even while arrogance, violence, and hatred brews in many hearts.

May it never be.

Perhaps what is even worse than racism is hypocrisy... we judge racists as evil, but we cannot see the evil and the sin living right inside our own bosoms.  #bodies #humans #abcsofevil

See your form of racism and the intolerance inside your own heart, before you go around saying this makes you sick, you can't believe it. The Church is the only answer; the Scriptures and the words of Jesus our only hope.

What we do next, what we say next.... is everything, but what we say *especially about racial division* has to spring from a place of love. I choose unity over jealousy... Discrimination in absolutely any form is /harmful.\  And reading books - the right books- is so very serious. May we seek that which unites rather than that which di.....vides.

*My Dad went to UVA for undergrad
cross-posting at the ACWB


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Friday, August 18, 2017

weekly minutiae vol. 27 ~ a baby kitty


This week we found a stray cat.  I was out for my evening walk, when I ran into this adorable kitten who looked *just* like our cat, Yo-Yo, except with brown paws instead of white. I told Stephen she looked like a dirty Yo-Yo.... :)  I took a picture of her so that I could show the kids the amazing resemblance!
]




The next night, I was out for a walk again, and this time she came up to me and was being so sweet. She let me pet her. She seemed hungry, so I decided to try walking her back to our house. She complied. She was so sweet; she put her paw on my chest as we walked back home- about 1 1/2 blocks.

We became a temporary pet shelter/foster home for this sweet kitty from Saturday until Monday night.  Ironically enough, the Pet Shelter we visit doesn't open until Tuesdays, and our little kitty who we named Chloe (after my childhood cat), had disappeared overnight Monday!

The kids have really enjoyed taking this kitty into their care. They have fed her, loved her, petted, her, given her towels to sleep on and even some of their most beloved stuffed animals to be her friends! We gave her so much water.  I complained to Stephen that if we took her to a shelter, she would be couped up in a cage, and perhaps the home they find for her wouldn't be as nice as ours'! Maybe we could teach her Ballet?


He kept insisting: "No more pets!!" To which I think is wise, but we were all trying not to fall in love with her!

Wednesday rolled around, and still no kitty. I had a dentist appointment, so I was otherwise engaged and the kids had a babysitter. Thursday we slowly drove around the neighborhood to make sure she wasn't lurking where she had been when I found her on my walk.


Perhaps she went home to her owners. I don't know why she seemed homeless and hungry, though!  I hope she didn't go back to a bad or unhappy situation!!!!! We think she may have even been pregnant. :-)

Poor baby.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Taking charge: one month to a cleaner home, with a playlist!



Do y'all remember when Barbies and American Girls were the only toys? I guess they dominated my childhood, so maybe I just assumed that?  I try not  to clean bathrooms everyday; some days I'm happy to add mopping to my daily routine of shining the sink and doing laundry before 9am. Bake a loaf of bread and call me Martha D. Stewart. However, if I have to add clutter to my daily routine, you can count on it: I'm running out in circles like a headless chicken once again. My girls may as well be Addy for the way they imitate my ways.  #barbies #americangirls #minifashionistas

Anyhoo.... I'm currently reading Loving My Actual Life by Alexandra Kuykendall*, and in it, she takes on one experiment per week, in order to live her own life to the fullest (all while trying to stay off Facebook. lol:).  One week she focuses on exercise, one week she focuses on home, one week meals, one week she identifies her passions, so that she can stay true to the way God created her in the way she uses her time.

This concept inspired me.  Lately, it seems that toys and especially unwanted ones have been recently taking over my house. Six kids with birthdays and Christmas every year is starting to (majorly) add up to clutter...**

I found this post on Passion for Savings about taking charge of home organization over a period of 8 weeks.  Because that would take until mid-October (uhhh, no... ;), I decided to up my game, thus improving our living space in less time and with less headache.  We have a few home projects on our agenda for this Fall, so I need to get things organized a bit sooner than that. Thus, my interval required is one month. One month of intensity, rather than procrastination. One month to home organization will look like this! :)

-Week One: Closets and Bathrooms (eat that frog! #bathrooms)

-Week Two: Bedrooms and Play Areas

-Week Three: Kitchen and Office

-Week Four: Laundry Room and Shed

Before we start, we are taking a trip to the dump this weekend to get rid of any unwanted clutter right off the bat. We already had this planned, but it just makes sense to start with a clean, uncluttered state. I'm going to try to do the bulk of the work after the kids go to bed, so that I'm not trying to reach perfection. However, the fact that they will be in school over the course of the next month will improve my mood and and my efficiency tremendously, I'm sure.

I'll make a list to make sure I'm not forgetting anything. I'll do the cleaning required. :) Then, at the end of the two months, I'm sure we'll have to take another trip to the dump as well as a trip to Goodwill or Salvation Army to donate unused items!!!

1. C/B (refer above)
Take everything out.
I'll start with closets and bathrooms by taking everything out, making sure our closets are completely cleared out then put back together in order. I will scrub down our bathrooms, toilets, showers, sinks, and bathtubs. I'll give these things a deep clean and a fresh slate.

2. B/A
Take everything out.
Then, I'll tackle all of the areas where kids play and we have heavy Kid-Traffic.  We'll take a trip to the dollar tres every Friday to get any needed organization bins or other supplies.

3. K/O
Take everything out.
Third, I'll clean out the spaces where we keep school supplies, as well as office items. I will completely clear out the storage areas and the kitchen and put back only the things we have used in the last year. Everything else will be put in the donate pile and I'll take to Goodwill.

4. LR/S
Take everything out.
Finally, I'll deal with our storage areas: namely, laundry room and the garden shed (as we don't have a garage).  Again, I'll clear out anything that we don't use.  I'll take it all out, get the needed supplies or shelving for organization, clean it, and put it back in neatly.


I have an awesome Spotify playlist to accompany me on this journey. 'Songs That Are Slow.' Want to see it?



I'll come back in exactly one month (in September!) to tell you guys/ya'll how it went!
*MOPS director in Colorado
**Insert never enter Dollar General again

Friday, August 11, 2017

weekly minutiae vol. 26~ school starting!


Pre-K, Kindergarten, First Grade, and Fourth Grade :-0

Well, it finally happened. School started.  I remember this time last year, I was so nervous for Madeleine as she started Pre-K. This year, I wasn't nervous at all sending Anders to Pre-K. I think he is so ready, and he will adjust really well. His personality is such that I think he will adapt to the routine smoothly and without nerves. I'm so happy for him! He is going to learn so much! We are already talking about shapes, sight words, and what to eat for lunch in the cafeteria! :0)


It was a very good Summer. The kids participated in two VBS programs, they attended camp in Nashville, we went to the beach, we did a bunch of reading, we played in the splash pads, and we drank a lot of coffee. But not too much. #tallplease


As for Molly's Summer reading.  Stephen bought the Kindle for Molly in June (as I mentioned in this post here) and helped her to load the games and books she was interested in reading.  I have to admit,  a lot of the things she picked fell into the "entertainment" category.  She was reading, which is good, but a lot of the books were entertaining more than educational! :)

When we finally got down to brass tacks and made sure she was doing her Summer reading, she read two books -- Ramona Quimby (this one) and Percy Jackson- The Lightning Thief (from the list)-- and planned to read the Poppy series by Avi to round out her five books.  Then we found out (by finally actually printing off the list for her to fill in) that she had to read three fiction books and two nonfiction books.  She read Geronimo Stilton as her final fiction book, and then read two of the "Who Was.." series of books to fulfill her nonfiction requirement.  I have to say, I think these books are commendable. We picked them from her School Summer reading list, of course, and I couldn't be happier with their content. I had sort of written these books off as too simple for Molly, but it turns out they were just great.

All in all, her Summer Reading couldn't have gone better. Of course I could fall into the comparison trap and wonder why she wasn't glowing with joy to read long, educational books all Summer long, but let's be honest. I rotate between entertaining reads and educational books myself! I honestly think that's ok. I try my hardest not to read crap* ... but I honestly, I think some easy reads can improve reading speed, and perhaps almost as importantly, it can do wonders for confidence.  A lot of what I read has to do with keeping up with pop culture. While that shouldn't be our primary source of nourishment, there is absolutely nothing wrong with knowing what's going on in the world and in our country.  That is not limited to politics only- it also applies to culture!!**

I'm not going to lie or pretend and say this Summer was without trials and struggles.  Why would I do that?  But consider: I had a brand new baby (just in May...), I have six kids nine and under (5 of them 6 and under!!!), and I am JUST ONE PERSON.  The pressure we put on ourselves, people!

I'm excited (truly) about having Annabel and Conrad at home and focusing on them for a while. I love the 2's and the 6 month ages so much. Fun to hold a little baby, and fun to have one you can talk to.  And I love play-doh!  Bring it on!
outtakes: 
"what grade are you in this year?"
"say, monkey lunchbox!"

Funny Things They Say:

conversation at dinner that night:
Madeleine: I didn't like Kindergarten, I loved Kindergarten!
Frances: I didn't like First Grade, I loved First Grade!
Molly: I didn't like Fourth Grade, I loved Fourth Grade!

Anders: I think I left my nap buddy at school, but I will *not* cry.   #lol

Annabel: With a ba-ba here and a ba-ba there....


My number one goal for this year is to just enjoy it.  Some days I'm so focused on the roadblocks in my life, that I'm a slave to my bad attitude. Instead I'll take them in stride and enjoy the days and myself in the midst of the struggles. I know I can do better. I think being organized has a lot to do with it. My theme verse for the fall has to do with not worrying, and trusting in God to take care of me, my needs, our needs. God's hand, and protection.  Chip Gaines has said that he likes to treat everyday like it's Saturday. I am going to live everyday like I'm on vacation. Relaxed, no worries. Be happy.... :) :D

So... anyway.. We did it. We bought the shoes. We did the doctor visits. We got the school supplies. We got our hair did.

Time to learn!

*or sh**
**duh

Friday, August 4, 2017

weekly minutiae vol. 25~ getting ready for school!



So, I have been walking almost every night for the past year, minus the couple of weeks after Conrad's birth. It has been so nice to get back into that routine! This week, I saw a rabbit, a beautiful sunset, and green peppers growing in our neighborhood community garden.
two months old! :)

This is our last full week of Summer, since school starts for four out of six of our kids next Wednesday.  I'm excited about the upcoming days; the weather getting cooler, having just Annabel and Conrad at home most of the time, and seeing my children flourish in their school. I'm actually behind where I was at this time last year for getting the kids ready.  Last year I had their school supplies, shoes, and backpacks all ready to go, but I have been overwhelmed by birthdays, travel catch-up, and Conrad just in general!

Molly has been working hard to finish her Summer Reading list. We checked out a bunch of picture books from the lists to get Frances and Madeleine back in the game for starting First Grade and Kindergarten, respectively.  I seriously cannot believe that Anders will be in Pre-K this year.

I made this gift basket and shared it on instagram as a gift idea for a new Mama. It is actually for a friend of mine who just had her eighth (!!!) baby, a little boy!


Anders turned 4 this week, so we celebrated with friends and family by the pool and at Chuck E. Cheese.

I'm so glad it's Friday and the weekend, ya'll.

I'm still reflecting happily on our trip to the beach last week.  It took me about 3-4 days to catch up on laundry and house chores, but the pay-off of a relaxing trip like that will be radiating in me for a long while, I'm sure. The memories can't be priced.
car wash, vacuum out car, errands, tired baby!

Now, to crunch-time: chores, errands, doctor's appointments, buying shoes, etc!  I will breathe a huge sigh of relief come next Wednesday. To all of the teachers out there: We all owe you big-time, and you definitely deserve all of the credit, honor, kudos and more!! :)

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Changing Goals: New {School} Year's Resolutions


Changing Goals

Almost every year, I like to write a post chronicling my new (school) year resolutions. Although I haven't started shopping for Fall clothes, I have started mentally preparing myself for the upcoming year.

I know now that my goals have changed since Molly was a little girl.  At that time, I was attempting to homeschool her (for her Pre-K 3 & 4 years), and I had a notebook keeping track of our goals and progress.

When I Was a Homeschooling Mom...

I just found my notebook from when I was homeschooling her.  Here were some of my entries:

-My homeschool planner

As you can see, I got this free homeschool planner print-out (worksheet) from the Life Your Way collection of homeschooling printables ~ recommended! ;)


-My mission and goals

a little cheesy, slightly embarrassing, and very idealistic!


-My Weekly Cleaning checklist

never bored, I tell you!!! :)


-the I'm Bored antidote list

livin' la vida crazier than thou ;)


-Theme verses for the Fall

Perfect for rainy days and copywork!:)


-morals a la Charlotte Mason

I love this list! :0)

This notebook also included...
-Scripture memory work/verses
-lesson plans with counting (math) and reading (spelling)
-DIY ideas
-places to go- landmarks, historical sites, religious sites, etc.

Now...

Now when I look back at my notebooks, I see two things. I see idealism, and I see ignorance.  Why?  I see idealism because it surely made God laugh back then when I was trying so hard to be a perfect Mom to just Molly.  My list of personal improvement was a mile long. My desire for her as a baby was a mile long. HA! "Just wait.." I can hear God saying. "Wait until you have 6 kids."

And I see ignorance because ... well, there is no such thing as the perfect Mom.  My goals have changed so significantly, that, I guarantee it is because I have more knowledge and understanding now. I kept adding more burdens to my ever-growing list of "accomplishments" in the flesh and my accomplishments in the Spirit.

So how have my goals changed since having 6 kids?

I don't say or think, "A picnic in the park is the same thing as an education."  I try to say, "Here are my goals for enjoying my area-- visit a park, go shopping, visit a cupcake shop downtown, visit a historic location, do some home improvements, enjoy my friends, visit other churches, go creek wading, go to Ikea." :)

And I also say, "My goals for the holidays are -- have organized decor, organized craft supplies, DIY whenever you can, make home improvements."

And then I say, "My goals for education are..."

Because in between Summer and the Holiday season? Crunch time.  Intensity.  Lots of reading. Lots of words. Lots of spelling lists. Lots of math sheets. Tons of growth time in the Spirit.  (School is learning curve for us Moms too, isn't Moms?!)  It isn't a walk in the park. An education is a full-time job.  Homework, errands, supplies, to-do's.  It's intense because it matters.  It's a delicate balance of fast and slow. You try to fit it all in, yet you try to practice the virtue of patience. It's intense because the repetition and work required to learn to read, write, and do real math is HARD.  Having the accountability to stay focused isn't an idealized version of Family Matters and it isn't a 5 minute youtube video.

If I were still homeschooling, I know what I would prioritize more than the nature walks and the acting clubs.  I know what I would write other than a shopping list for Target. I would prioritize the long books, the writing of 1,000 words to be successful, the internalization of Scripture. You cannot put a price-tag on wisdom. And that's why I have to be organized. That's why this bears repeating. Because this is a serious business.