Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Who knew?

Guess who likes spagetti-o's? Generic version. Every healthy offering I gave her she threw on the floor. I found one lonely can of spagetti-o's, generic version, in the pantry left over from another daughter after getting braces (I just wanted her to get calories at that point).

Anyway, so I tried the spagetti-o's , generic version, figuring if she turned her nose up at them, I could throw them away guilt free.

Well, she loved them. Happy and all smiles. And full. And sleepy.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Daybook - Transitions

Outside my window ~ the lovely sounds of late summer, cicadas, crickets, but not too many birds. A delightful cool, soothing breeze blows gently in my window.

I am listening to ~ summer sounds, and the quiet rustle of the three oldest children getting ready for school.

I am wearing ~ gray yoga pants and a white t-shirt.

I am so grateful for ~ the quiet morning, time to pray Lauds, the cool breeze, the hot coffee and my new haircut. The day has started quite nicely.

I'm pondering ~ how to make the most of some time that has been freed up from most of my usual responsibilities. I want to enjoy, but not squander.

I am reading ~ Handle with Care, by Jodi Picoult. I have heard her name for a long time, and while at the library, I gave one of her books a try. So far, it is not outstanding, but not a waste of time, either.

I am thinking ~ about the sermon we had at church yesterday. Very beautiful and eloquent, and yet what pops into my mind is my Cliff Notes Version, "Be Excellent to each other".

I am creating ~ icons, still. My Samaritan Woman at the Well received the gold leaf this week. I actually have photos, but haven't loaded them yet to the computer. One thing I hope to do with my freed up time is to finish the halo rings and border lines and maybe even varnish it. Maybe I'll get it to church by next Sunday!

On my iPod ~ nothing for a while. Silence has been my balm lately.

Towards a real education ~ well, that one is tricky for me, as my oldest three are going to a "real" school now, and will probably get a bit less of a "real" education than I had hoped when they were little. But I am continuing to teach the younger kids, and hope that I'll get enough input with the older ones to have an effect towards the real. I think I will.

Towards rhythm and beauty ~ This week the choir rehearsals kick in to the schedule, so on top of the school, and the cross country, I figure in choir. Thankfully, I don't begin the younger kids school until after Labor Day. What is beautiful about this? I am trying to work in some walks for baby and me while we are waiting for various sibling to finish their activities. We'll see.

To Live the Liturgy ~ I received an iPhone for my birthday, and have set the alarm to go off, with bells even, at 6:30, noon, 3 pm and 9pm. I downloaded iBreviary and am now able to pray with the church whenever the bells ring and I am able. Love it!

I am hoping and praying ~ for my mom, as she recovers from hip replacement surgery. For my kids, that school goes well, for my husband, that he'll find peace in his work, for my friends, that we can spend time together as our lives progressively get busier, and for myself, that I can keep on trying.

In the garden ~ Lots o' weeds. Not much else. This weeks weather is looking to be glorious, so I am hoping to get in there, week, prune, and spruce up a bit for fall.

Around the house ~ new chore chart, new schedule, and responsibility shifting down to some younger kids. My job will be harder for a while, but I have great confidence that will some training and encouragement, our home will be running smoothly by October. Patience!~!

From the Kitchen ~ not much right now, but I plan to excavate some of my cabinets, clear out and re-purpose some space. Once things are tidier in the kitchen, I'll be able to use it better when I feel the fall coolness come, and compel me to cook!

One of my favorite things ~ my new Blue Willow cups and saucers, bought at the thrift store this week, for $1. Makes my coffee taste so much better.

Melanie this week ~ She and I get to spend lots of time alone together this week. I am truly looking forward to it. She is a climber, and mover, a never sit still sort, and is very, very quiet. She does lots of communicating, but seems to have very few words. I can't remember my others at 17 months, but she seems more active, and much more silent.

Picture Thought:

In my front window, I have a collection of glass birds. I really want to try to do a painting of this one. Look at how many shades of blue there are!!

Have a great day, everyone!!

(I used the headings for this day book from Elizabeth Foss, who always inspires me!!)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Will I Ever Learn?

As my children get older, I do look back on their early years with a degree of regret. I spent many of the hours with them as small children utterly exhausted, frustrated, and discouraged. How many days did I wish would just be over, already? How many nights did I refuse to read to them, because I needed them to be in bed, be quiet, or I had a screaming baby to tend to or horrendous pregnancy nausea to contend with. How many times did they want to spend time with me while I was "getting a moment of peace", and I sent them away? How many times did I shut my ears to their stories, their questions, their frustrations? I just spent so much of my time feeling overwhelmed, and mightily discouraged.

If I could talks to my younger self now, I could set her straight on many things. But knowing my younger self as I do, she wouldn't have listened, would have continued to take on too many tasks, worries and comparisons, and would have discounted me a an old softie.

When I think back to my eldest, I try to remember him as a little boy. It isn't that hard, but what I remember most is I was always pushing him along the growing up path. He HAD to be big. He HAD to help, and he HAD to entertain himself frequently. When he was 5, he had 3 little siblings, I was trying to home school him, and as I recall, he stumped me the very first day. I'll tell that story, just for fun:

Kindergarten, day one, eldest child. First subject: Religion. Bible story, Genesis 1:1. As we go through the days of creation, he is to listen to me read, re-tell the story to me, and then draw a picture of each day for his notebook. Sounds easy enough.

Day 1, Let there be light! Cute retelling, darling little picture.
Day 2, God separates the light from the darkness. Again, all is well.
Day 3, God separates the land from the sea. Okay, easy picture.
Day 4, God created the sun, moon and stars. HOLD EVERYTHING!! My darling little newly minted home schooled child cannot go on. This doesn't make sense. Mom, how could God make light on the first day, and not make the sun until the 4th day? What was the light he made on Day 1?



Anyway, back to my lack of learning about this parenting gig.

I regret not treasuring enough the moments the big kids spent with me when they were small. The hugs and kisses, the sitting on the lap, the slow, easy intimacy that does pull back when they are teens. I didn't notice when it stopped, but all of a sudden I realized, that was over.

Now for the present. My eldest came to my room last night while my husband and I were watching a show on our computer. He wanted to use my iPhone for facebook, so he stretched out on our bed, and facebooked for a few minutes. Then he just stayed there, and was quiet. The 14 year old daughter came in, and I told her it was bed time, as tomorrow is the first day of school for them (I'll post of that later!). As a matter of fact, all the teens should be getting to bed, so we get the school year off to a good start. Daughter hugs, kisses, departs, son stays put.

I reiterated it was bed time, and he got up and went to bed.

Later I realized, he is 17 years old. He doesn't really need to go to bed at 10:30, and he was content just being with my husband and I, snuggled in, really (as much as a 17 year old can snuggle in), and I sent him away because why? Because I wanted him to do as I said, respect my authority, and have order to our days. Not a bad thing.

But how many more times will he want to "snuggle in" with us? Maybe never. I sent him off on "principle", and once again failed to appreciate that short time, the quiet, ordinary moments, that we as parents are blessed with.

This struggle has been long for me. Responsibility, duty, order, structure, versus delightful, free, unscheduled and unplanned play time.

Any way, before I faded to sleep last night, I did appreciate my son's obedience, but regretted, again, my lack of appreciation for the desire of my children to just be with me. Just be.

May God grant me another opportunity to just be with my son, and let me recognize it and treasure it. Amen.

(photo of my son, goofing off on the trampoline. Photo taken by a friend of his, as he would never be so animated with me behind the lense)

Monday, August 02, 2010

A memory to cherish

My family of origin has scattered over the last year, with two of my siblings moving south. We were blessed to have us all together for so many of our years as adults. But tonight, for my birthday, we were all able to go out, with my parents and our respective spouses, for a fabulous birthday. Here is a photo, fuzzy, but I still think it shows the happiness present tonight (my husband took the photo, so he isn't in it.)

Anyway, much to be grateful for, and may I always keep gratitude front and center in my mind!

The flip side

So, today was my birthday. And, true to the pattern of my life, full of things I had to do. But through God's grace, and probably many intercessory prayers from you all, I felt a deep satisfaction with my duties this day.

Things I love about the kids at exactly the ages they are:

My eight year old son, pounding rocks with a little sledge hammer, just for fun.
My 12 year old son, very quickly and efficiently completing his assigned tasks for the day, with a smile and cheerfulness that is a lesson to me.
My 17 year old son, tenderly caring for his one year old sister. And true maturity when dealing with the school scheduling. A long story, but he impressed my so very much.
My 10 year old daughter, being so brave as she had 3 teeth pulled today, and offering her fear and pain for the salvation of souls
My 15 year old daughter, obviously excited and delighted when choosing her school uniform today, and proudly wearing the hoodie from her new school.
My 14 year old daughter, same thing, plus her encouragement to her sister that they will fit in just fine when school begins.
My oldest three, 17, 15, 14, coming home from cross country practice, rosy faced, tired, exhilarated, and proud of the ability of their bodies. Such health!!
My 6 year old daughter, saying to me, "I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE you so much!!!"
The baby, sweet, climbing, smiling, babbling, endearing and adding such joy to our lives.

It would be a crime if I failed to embrace these blessings and consolations, and let the weariness of life snuff out the joy. Praise God for all His mercies!!