Friday, August 12, 2011

7 Quick Takes: the Panic Edition

So, I guess it's Friday.  Again.

But this time, I'm blogging.  Win!

Go visit Jen for some more quick takes linky fun!

 So, in order to get ready for the school year, I need to:

1. Order syllabi for my new classes.  This is good because the new classes are a direct result of people liking me and wanting me to teach their kids for another year.  But it's only good if I'm prepared to do that.

2. Order books and supplies for my own kids' school year.  It's all on Amazon, so, that's a start, right?

3. Get my fancy headset in the mail to teach my online classes.  WHERE IS MY HEADSET?  TRAINING IS ON MONDAY!

4. Assemble book shelves and rearrange the office to resemble a space that a child would find conducive to learning peacefully in.  

5. Start lesson planning for my brand new job, actually teaching on-line classes.

6. Listen to many, many hours of overviews on how to teach what I'm teaching.

7.  Breathe.  It's important.

I guess what it boils down to this year is getting ready to TEACH ALL THE THINGS!

Here goes nothing.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Kids do the darndest things...

We took our kids out for a rare meal at A&W the other night.

They were fascinated by the juke box, and, despite hoppin' and boppin' in the booth to whatever song was playing, nothing got spilled!

The funniest part, though, was how Martin like the root beer.  Or, rather didn't.  At all. 

My kids don't get soda except as a very special treat.  We almost never have soda in the house except for grown-ups when Husband at Law needs a kick to stay up and do work.  My parents rarely have soda at their place either.  So, we figured that root beer would be a huge treat.  Robbie and Bri slurped it up.  Marty didn't.  Every time he took a little sip, he made a face.  I thought the first couple times he was just suprised by the carbonation.  But he didn't stop making the "ew, what is this face."

Finally, he took one sip, reared his head back, looked at my husband, opened his mouth really wide and said "ACK!"  It's the same reaction I have to Cod Liver Oil. 

I broke down and got him a water.  He was happy. 

I don't get it.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Seven Unairconditioned Takes

So, our home is cooled by one brave little window unit in the kids' room upstairs.  I've finding that most of that cool, dry air is sucked through the broken window downstairs.  So, here's what we can do today:

Go play in the air conditioned mall playground.

Play in the wading pool.

Go shop in airconditioned stores.

Huddle in the darkened house and watch movies.

Go play in the fountain downtown. (It's one that's meant for playing in.  It doesn't have a pool, but the water jets straight up through the boardwalk.)

Go play in the air-conditioned library.

We won't be cooking, cleaning, or doing anything that expends energy or creates heat.  So, that should appease the global warming folks, right?  We just piggy-backing every one else's energy consumption.  ;-)

Go visit Jen for more 7 Quick Takes fun here.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Counting today's blessing

Last night was miserably hot.  Pretty much too hot to sleep.  I woke up in a bad mood.

My kids, on the other hand, woke up full of energy and high spirits.  Maybe it had to do with the fact that the air conditioner resides in their room.

Anyway, after clamoring for what we were going to do today, I growled that they should put their clothes on, so that we could go to story-time at the library.  One thing led to another, and they went from insisting they needed help putting their clothes on (they don't) to volunteering to put their clean laundry away.  And they did.  Rob and Bri took three trips up and down the stair to collect their clothes and put them away.  And then Rob said he would put Marty's clothes away.

And somehow, just having the one laundry basket taken care of turned my day around.  Well, that and a cool shower.  But mostly that. 

And so, today's blessing was willing little hands.  I count them first.


I was introduced to the idea of each religious order having their own charism in the book Black as Night.  It's kind of  a throwaway conversation in the book and doesn't have anything to do with the plot.  But the idea fascinated me.

In case the idea is new to you, too, it goes sort of like this: each religious order has its own set of virtues and talents, known as its "charism." That's why the Franciscans are different from the Jesuits are different from the Salesians.  It's why a young man with a vocation might decide that being a Domincan suits him, personally, better than being a Benedictine.

Or, if you like to look at the world through the bright colors of fantasy (like me), the charism is like each order's set of super(natural) powers. 

I love this idea.

I think the idea could be more widely applied as well.  Whenever anyone makes a generalization, there's always a modifier, "Not everyone's the same, but..." lest the maker of the generalization has an angry someone pop with an exception to their rule.  Even then, generally someone angry pops up, because lots of folks seem to like being angry.

But, I digress.  I think everyone, without exception, has a personal charism.  That is, the set of virtues and talents that makes them unique.  I think each family has a charism in the strengths and activities that they as a family excel at.  I think each couple has a charism that is firmly cemented in place by marriage.

I am going somewhere with this, I promise.

I hear many people, when confronted with a talent that not their own or a virtue that doesn't come easily, say "Oh, that's not me.  I couldn't do that.  I'm not like that."   That's a lot of negatives.  It seems to me that people would be less frustrated with their own short-comings if they said "that's not part of my charism" -- reminding themselves that they have a whole set of superpowers, just not that particular one. 

Or maybe that's just me, frustrated because I've only had one cup of coffee so far. Going without coffee is not part of my charism.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Betty Beguiles Post

So, it has become apparent that blogging is not part of my charism.  I don't have the stamina to come up with something new every day.

However, I am eternally grateful for those ladies who are great bloggers that I can visit often and see something new up.  I love you, ladies.

One of my favorite gals, Hallie Lord @ has started her own personal shopping service.  She has impeccable taste and is my go-to girl for fashion advice.  Show her some love and head on over!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Lent meatless meals.

Come see my seven Quick Takes here.  We all need a little inspiration at this point, right?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

10 Facts about Me and My Better Half

We probably met when we were toddlers, where his uncle worked in the department where my mom was a secretary.

Our song is "Back to December". We discovered this a few months ago.

He's a great dad who often takes the kids during the day so I can get a break.

We knew within the first week we dated that we were going to get married.

He moved from Texas to Wisconsin.  For me.

Our third baby was born before our midwife arrived.  Daddy was the only one there for the delivery.

I took the LSAT when he did as encouragement.  I'm not sure that it was, though.

He learned how to cook waffles and fondue to impress me.

He eats whatever I cook, regardless of quality.

I can see us growing old together.

This was inspired by Betty Beguiles

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Joy of Vacuum Attachments

Ever since my oldest was able to find them in the closet (about ten months), his favorite toys were my vacuum attachments.  They would keep him quiet for longer than any other toy he owned.  Two siblings later, and the vacuum attachments still hold the position of "most played-with toy" and, occasionally "most fought-over toy."  And this mystifies me.

When I look at vacuum attachments, I see undone chores.  When they look at vacuum attachments, they see swords, telephones, exotic implements of I'm not sure what, and, get this, vacuum attachments.  R will put them together sans vacuum, and pretend to vacuum the floor.  Because they see the world through a fresh light, everything is new.  Even chores can be fun and exciting (though, for the record, if I ask the kids for something specific that doesn't involve motorized parts, the chores go undone).  Vacuum attachments can be magical and full of endless possibilities. 

And it can be like that for adults, too.  All it takes is sitting on the floor next to a couple of toddlers and just listening.  They will narrate what the vacuum tube is now and what it's going to be in five minutes.  They'll talk about how the soup you threw together from leftovers smells great.  They'll ask if you can help them with a task, which, to you, seems simple and even onerous, but to them is an adventure, like baking bread.

If we can learn to be small enough and simple enough, we can recapture that sense of wonder in the world around us.

"Behold, I make all things new."

Magic soup

Come see me at my other blog to see what we had for dinner today. It's my special variation on stone soup.

Magic soup for hungry kids

Friday, March 18, 2011

Seven Quick Takes

This is my first time doing this, so thanks for your patience. I'm going to write about something I have an almost infinite store of.  Goofy parenting anedotes.

Our little B was chipper in the car yesterday. She was chattering up a storm. At one point, she said, very emphatically, "I have an idea!" "Really, sweetie, what's your idea?" "I don't know!"

I have become firmly convinced that potty-training is the perfect Lenten activity.  It's an exercise in patience, with a heaping side of humiliation.  What could be more penitential than washing an endless stream of soiled training pants and any other casualties?

And the 10 month old, M, is cruising.  He'll be walking in week or two, but right now, he moves from furniture piece to furniture piece, like a monkey swinging through a jungle.  And, like a monkey, when he's not swinging from furniture piece to furniture piece, he's clinging to mama.

4.  Daylight savings time = fire drill for us.  Sunday morning, I was dosing, listening to the pitter patter of little feet that were up too early and suddenly realized that it wasn't six, like my watch said.  It was seven.  And we were going to the eight o'clock Mass.  We were out the door in record time.

5.  I'm outnumbered.  When R is in trouble, B will come running up and insist "He's a dood boy!"  If everyone's taking sides, whose on my team?

6.  I used to be a really fast typist.  Now I have to hunt and peck with one hand... 'cause there's a baby in the other.

7.  I'm glad Lent is six weeks.  Not because I'm in love with penance, but because it takes me that long to get it right. 

My Half-Way Lent

When I was a crazy college student, I was a “go big or go home” kind of person. Everything, including Lent, was a big deal. One semester, my Lenten discipline was to fast on Wednesday and Friday. Not the two-little-meals-one-regular-meal fast. The old-school no-food-for-24-hours kind of fast. It was an interesting semester.

I held myself to a very high standard, higher than I held anyone else, at least. I wanted what I did to be grand and perfect and illuminating. I wanted to be Joan of Arc and Therese of Lisieux at the same time. At the same time, of course, I wanted to be Einstein and G. K. Chesterton and Shakespeare. College was a confusing time.

Fast-forward to the present. I’m now the Mama to three kids under the age of four. Gone are the days of grand spiritual gestures and staying up all night to go to three Easter services in a row. Now it’s as much as I can do to make sure everyone is fed and reasonably clean.

What’s an arrogant perfectionist to do?

Since I’ve been married and blessed with motherhood, I consistently let myself down during Lent. I still try to make the grand spiritual conquests, but I fall woefully short.

So, this Lent, I’m approaching it from a different angle.

This year, I’m doing Lent half-way.

I can’t do a rosary novena every day. I can teach my three-year-old to do a single rosary decade with me.

I can’t give up coffee entirely, as the withdrawal migraines would leave me non-functional for days. I can give up milk and sugar in my coffee. This turns my morning beverage from a sweet form of comfort food to a dark, bitter witch’s brew.

I can’t give up internet access because I need it for work. I can give it up when my kids are awake.

I can’t make my house perfect. I can make sure I make my family comfortable.

In the past, my Lenten philosophy was “give until it hurts.” At the time I didn’t realize what I was practicing was “give until it hurts other people.” There were times when my stringent measures made me a bear to be around and those around me suffered.

By letting go of my pride and allowing myself to go “half-way,” I know I can keep my penances to myself. By accepting this humble substitute, I have to believe that, if I go half-way, God will come the other half.