Friday, September 28, 2018

Solo Parenting, Survival Skills, and Upcoming on the blog (7QT)


Solo Parenting

Stephen is in NYC for work this week, which means I have been parenting solo almost all week.  Thankfully, he gets back tonight, and on the bright side, I have had a whole lot of help from parents, in-laws, and friends!  On the dark side (literally) the rain has been incessant and kids tend to get a little fried and cabin-feverish in this environemt. The most stressful aspect of my day is a) bedtime and b) bedtime when toddlers take naps late in the day. These are the bane of my existence. On the bright side, Annabel is potty-trained It finally clicked for real while we were in San Fran, and now she is basically only wearing diapers at night. I count that as the brightest light at the end of the teething, needy, potty training tunnel.


Survival Skills

This week I bought tres cases of diet coke which were on sale 3 for the price of 2.  Hilariously, the kids woke up and watched Despicable Me 3 and each drank their own cold diet coke first thing in the morning yesterday. They had been asking and I had been saying no because the last thing I need is for them to drink caffeine with dinner when I'm putting them to bed solo.  I finally caved and this post is brought to you by bad early morning habits in the Beck household. 😁😇  Only the best entertainment within our four walls.


School Stuff

I love our routine. I especially love my second cup of coffee habit I have developed while discussing pronouns and subjective complements and the difference between those and object of the preposition avec Molly.    The other thing I love is how you can build onto and add to a specific routine.  We have gotten in the habit of read aloud, so now I do 20 minutes for all the kids, then send the littles to recess/free play while I read a longer, harder book out loud to the big kids.  They love it and I'm able to read a little longer everyday, which I like.  We have also been trying to pray a rosary as a good start to our morning/day.



Lots of Rain

As I mentioned, we have had a torrential downpour everyday this entire week.  I was hoping to meet a friend at the park and playground, but we ended up at the library.  After running through rain, that was fun in its own way, because we were able stay dry while chatting  homeschool schedule, books to read - for us and the kids- and great illustrators such as Stephen Kellogg. Amidst the downpour, I went thrift shopping for church clothes, when on Sunday I ended up frustrated that nothing in my closet for Mass really qualified as Fall weather apropo.  We are far enough South that September doesn't really qualify as Fall.  Oh well, with all the wet weather we have been getting, I'm just glad for a break in hot and humid. I will keep checking back with the thrift store when it finally does get cool enough to drink a PSL here.  ha.


I love this throwback from when Annabel was a newborn baby. My Aunt had given us these cute pjs.

One more for posterity's sake....
Agh those little smiles !!! They get me every single time. :)

Upcoming on the blog

So upcoming, in the near future I will be participating in the 31 days challenge in October this year.  I have been wanting to write and blog more, but it is easy to get discouraged and stop or stop almost completely.  I see many online influencers who say the true and actual secret sauce of growth is posting with more frequency.  I have never done the October challenge, so we'll see how this goes. I am brainstorming lots of culture-informed discussion like music, books, screen, and more books. :)

Question: What would you like to read more about in the blogosphere? Which are your favorite blogs?  Would you rather discuss kitchen basics or culture?  If you listen to podcasts, can you recommend for me a soothing voice to tune into? Asking for a friend.

Linking up with Kelly

Friday, September 21, 2018

A trip, a book review, and some thoughts on travel and culture (7QT)


We just got back from an extended weekend trip (actually it was a full week-- Sunday to Friday) and it was officially the longest I have been without kiddos in tow for literally A FULL DECADE - since the day Molly was born.  I dug deep into the recesses of my soul and rested as hard as I could while still being inspired by an awesome city.  As doting parents, we doted and doted and doted on our adorable children when we got home and were reunited. I missed these kids- each and every one- so very much. I will say that when Conrad erupted into peals of laughter (and the kid literally could.not.stop. laughing one night soon after we got home), I was downright giddy as I delighted over my sweet boy.  #thankful

Vacation away

Our trip/vacay was absolutely lovely.  Stephen's co-workers asked how I was doing, and they wondered if I was okay, as I was exploring and touring the city alone while he was job-training. (I mentioned in an previous post that we were going to Santa Monica, but we ended up in San Francisco for the duration of the week).  He said, "Oh, she is fine!" And the truth is, I was OVER THE MOON excited about the arrangements. I had a plan. Drink coffee, visit coffee shops and bookstores around the city, take an uber, explore.  I ended up walking all over the city as well as taking an uber to Haight/Ashbury, where I ended up shopping in about 20 vintage stores (AND I ONLY BOUGHT ONE SHIRT).  We went to the symphony and ate good food and drank good wine every evening, so it was like a vacation together except with lots of time for me to explore my old haunts and places I have always wanted to re-visit.

San Francisco!

In order to maximize our time there and take full advantage of this opportunity, I planned ahead a little bit by writing down areas of town I would like to see or visit again.  I then allowed myself to "get lost" the first day- AKA start at Union Square, got my bearings, wandered and explored, then wrote down a little map from what I learned about areas of town that day.  I drank a ton of coffee, and my Starbucks Americano in an adjacent hotel lobby was the best cup of coffee I have had in a year at least. Maybe more.  I visited the LOCAL bookstores City Lights and The Booksmith, trying to soak in the culture of the West coast.  I also shopped local in terms of food, clothing, and restaurants as well.  The only chain I allowed myself to visit was IN-N-OUT and Urban Outfitters because Duuuuuuuuh.   I also tried to acquaint myself with the lay of the land, by going somewhere with a good view (and almost passing out)- AKA Telegraph Hill.  I saw Coit Tower, a pretty monument to Christopher Columbus, and a GORGEOUS view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Did I mention the gorgeous view from that park made me almost pass out. (Haha) We did get to spend some time with his co-workers and eat out with them and establish some ties with them as well!


Molly has truly been obsessed with horses (toys, books, shows) since she was little.  Thus it seems her destiny that homeschooling has afforded her time to take horseback riding lessons. And wouldn't you know Frances and Madeleine were not too far behind in showing interest. (Madeleine starts her first Pony Pals lesson today).


Homeschool this year as a first timer is going really well. Seton is good and we are taking it (somewhat) slowly.  Molly has read around 11 books so far. Book girl has read Nancy Drew, A Little Princess, Geronimo Stilton books, and she is re-reading Percy Jackson! Phew!  Leisure time and love of books seem to go hand in hand. At least in this girl's world.  We found the Geronimo Stilton tv show via Amazon Prime, and now we are using that and education videos on Youtube (Davy Crockett anyone?) for our educational screen time. We watched the Salt and Light video on St. Kateri Tekakwitha and it was a hit with our kids. And now I know how to spell it. Hahaha. If you know of any other educational videos or youtube channels to recommend, hit me up!! I'm @tacywb on instagram.

Lesson planning

What I am enjoying about homeschool is the sense of purpose it gives to my days.  I may not be passionate about some aspects, but what I am passionate about is inspiring others to love reading and to love to learn. In this way, homeschooling is very satisfying.  I love to sit with coffee, my lesson planner, and the Seton texts and plan out a fulfilling, productive homeschool week.  Despite my anxiety over the less-than-ideal aspects of homeschooling- namely dying to self and sacrificing some of my me-time, I can see why this is a fabulous choice for our family. It continues to feel like the right decision for us right now and for the foreseeable future.


A book review!

Not to drastically change the subject, but I wanted to include in this post a review of an excellent book I was able to get my hands on this week.  Bloomsbury press sent me this lovely picture book, Pope Francis: Builder of Bridges written by Emma Otheguy and illustrated by Oliver Dominguez. This is one I would whole-heartedly recommend for children of all ages, and even particularly the 5-9 range, judging from the reaction of my children.  Each page has an absolutely lovely, intricate illustration of the Pontiff (a word meaning bridge-builder), with a stunning telling of his history, his witness in the world, and his goals as Pope.  Jorge Bergoglio is illuminated as a strong believer; this book demystifies him as someone who cares for the earth as we see in his encyclical Laudato Si, and the people and animals who live here.  Children will learn that his heart is especially, deeply with the poor, something he has demonstrated time and again.  This lesson comes to the wealth-permeated West with a vigorous staying power.  What I really like about the un-sentimental telling of his life and work, were the specific examples throughout his life and papacy that have again and again pointed straight to God, and to his love for the poor. The end of this picture book includes a timeline and glossary, denoting the moments of ministry for which Pope Francis has come to fame, using it for God's glory.   Read it! Buy it!  It comes to you highly recommended and I give it 5 stars.*

A lovely view

The GOLDEN Gate Bridge (Using the Golden filter from A Color Story)
The Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi in SF, pray for us!

I'm thankful to be back to blogging. If you read to here---  Thank you! I appreciate you visiting and reading my little corner/space on the internet!  Please come back!  God bless.

*Although I normally do blog promotions, I jumped at the chance when I was offered a complementary copy of this book from Bloomsbury Press.  The opinions are my own.

Linking up with Kelly!