Wednesday, May 30, 2007

spelling bee time

Today was the 1st day of the Scripps National Spelling Bee with tomorrow evening being the big final televised on ABC. Last year I drove the kids down to my mother's house to watch some of the competition, but being in a different state might lead me to ask that nice homeschooling family down the street if they could possibly tape it for me. Our hometown girl, homeschooler Rebecca Willet made it to the next round so I would love to cheer her on.
Being a mediocre speller myself I feel drawn towards the perfection that these children exhibit in such a highly competitive environment. Yes, high school sports and musical concerts are difficult, but somehow they don't incite the same admiration that I muster for a 12 year old able to recall a word like ursprache, the 2006 final word. I was amazed last year at how few of the words I had even heard of, much less be able to spell. Even if we don't get to see it, I think we will have a movie night this week featuring Akela and the Bee, a fictionalized account of a girl with a gift of spelling.
Here are some interesting statistics about the competitors this year:


2 fourth graders (.7%)

23 fifth graders (8.04%)

36 sixth graders (12.6%)

88 seventh graders (30.76%)

137 eighth graders (47.9%)

School Type:

192 public (67.13%)

38 private (13.29%)

36 home (12.59%)

14 parochial (4.9%)

5 charter (1.75%)

1 virtual (.34%)

After a homeschooled student won the National Geography Bee last week, a number of media types have begun again asking why homeschoolers tend to be represented well and score high in such competitions.

What is it about home-schooled students that make them such competitive spellers?
Of the 286 students who will compete in the National Spelling Bee next week, 36 are home schooled. While only 3 percent of all students are homeschooled, they typically make up 10 to 15 percent of contestants in the national bee. And they love to win.
Homeschoolers captured first, second and third place in 2000 and won in 2001. They've placed in the top 10 every year since. And this year, a favorite to win is Samir Patel, 13, who is home-schooled in Colleyville, Texas.

My basic answer would be that homeschoolers have loads of free time to pursue whatever interests them, be it sports or spelling, music or engineering, and if so motivated, to a point of mastery. Also, homeschooling parents tend to provide an atmosphere of love of learning, rather than one emphasizing materialism or popularity. In our home Will practices the piano and both he and Mary work hard at their schoolwork because I tell them to and because they don't know that in many schools it is uncool to study hard and be smart. He is a much better speller than his sister and if he keeps up in his success in the subject next year, we might have to look into him trying out in a local bee. Who knows? He may just be the 2011 champion!
update: apparently our favorite speller was eliminated from the competition on Thursday afternoon.
Rebecca Willett was four minutes away from the semifinals at the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Wednesday evening.
All that stood between her and Thursday's televised rounds was a word that means "gathering pollen with a brush on the abdomen" and sounds like a medical condition.
The 12-year-old Virginia Beach resident had never seen the word before. She used most of her allotted two minutes at the microphone asking questions to suss out the spelling.
Then she tried it: "G-a-s-t-r-i-l-o-g-o-u-s."
The bell dinged.
"One lousy letter," said a resigned Scott Willett, Rebecca's dad.
The word, absent from many dictionaries, is spelled "gastrilegous."
Oddly enough, Rebecca's placard also was off by a single letter.
It spelled her home state "Virgina."

74th Carnival of Homeschooling

Is up at About Homeschooling with an Alaskan theme.

nature studies

Our new home in North Carolina overlooks a large pond, home of many interesting creatures. We have all been walking down to the trail after Will and Mary's schoolwork is completed for the day. There are little plank bridges over inlets, which the children have discovered are home to turtles, water snakes, and minnows. As of this morning they had spotted a dozen turtles and almost 2 dozen snakes, one of which was a big'un that Mary was bravely and stupidly poking with a stick.
Today Mary found a tiny yellow slider turtle which she proudly carried home in a jar. We made a little terrarium for it, complete with a rock to climb and rest upon. I am insisting that the animal go back home tomorrow as I have not the skill to keep a turtle alive on a 2 day car ride and realize that the poor creature will be grateful to get back to his natural serene environs after a day of peering and picking up by my little nature lovers.
update at 3pm:
Apparently Mary is an expert hunter, we are now up to 3 turtles, one of which is named "Star." Mommy had to perform emergency leech removal surgery from Star's head, which gave the children something else to study. We have fed them some raw ground beef after hunting for minnows with my brand new strainer proved impossible.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

weight loss challenge week 3

What a week of living on camping rations, lifting boxes up and down steps, and unpacking household goods will do, even when slugging down a Cocacola every day and not running!

Total weight loss: 3.5 pounds

73rd Carnival of Homeschooling

7 days of moving

A numerical list of what I have been doing since last Tuesday:

54 pieces of furniture arranged
48 boxes of books organized and put away
24 pictures hung
6 beds put together and made up
5 reptiles spotted on a nature walk around the pond
4 friendly neighbors rang our doorbell and chatted
7 sunburned bodies soothed after Memorial Day at the pool
3 movers fed and thanked (especially after bringing in the piano)
2 trips to the dump and charity bin
1 traumatized kitty patted and scratched

Next, a few days of quiet and relaxation poolside before packing preparations begin in earnest for the 2 day trip up to Maine. Then I can really relax!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

packing day

Tomorrow, while Tim is at a course up in DC, the packers will arrive to box up all of our belongings (including the computer) and put it all on a tractor trailer. Then we will say goodbye to my extended family, my mother, and our church family before driving down to North Carolina. I will then have exactly 14 days to unpack and then organize and pack for our summer up in Maine.
Can we say, "Mommy is stressed out"?

Hopefully once we get there I will have some time each day to post something, but since I also have an article due for my writing class to start (and finish) in the next month, it will be a time of light blogging from me.

Wish me luck in supervising the moving men and all the children!

weight loss challenge week 1

Here we are on the first weigh-in of the challenge (see sidebar for button) The week definitely saw some positives, with a few negatives. The first 3 days I ran over 15 miles, but didn't run at all the rest of the week. I am proud of my willpower by only having one Cocacola and managing to only have to have a chai latte once (a new record). I also refrained from going through any drive-thrus and didn't buy any dark chocolate covered almonds to snack on while reading.
We are, however, in the bounty of strawberry season with a pick-your-own field just down the road. Everyone knows that strawberries are divine on leftover buttermilk biscuits slathered with whipped cream (those nasty premade "shortcakes" are for the birds). After supervising the children pick two buckets of berries on Friday, I managed to eat at least 4-5 helpings of shortcake this past week.
Mommy's Best Buttermilk Biscuits
2 1/2 cups flour
2 Tbl sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening (I have used a soft stick of butter and found no difference)
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 425, sift dry ingredients and cut in shortening with fingers until no large lumps. Stir in buttermilk and knead on cutting board a few times. Pat out and cut with biscuit cutter. Bake 12-15 min in round pan with sides touching until tops are light brown and sides are dry. Slather with honey or jelly- Yum!

Weight status: (must have done something right) Down 3 pounds, 2 pounds to go.

Monday, May 14, 2007

church law

A blogging priest posted some new rules he devised for his parish's new sanctuary in the bulletin.
Now, being in the midst of our parish's building campaign I can understand the priest's frustration with the mess and lack of reverence for Our Lord's house he details below. However, I wouldn't feel comfortable in a church that seems this draconian about the Mass behavior of small children. If these rules were in place at our parish I would feel very hurt. We try our best to keep our little ones quiet and respectful, but some of my best tools are keeping something in their mouths and something for their fingers to do.
Our TLM parish is like all others. There are parents who keep all of their children in a row intent on the priest's gestures and their picture missal. There are those who allow their toddlers to be unattended in the pew, racing noisy cars up and down the seat, rattling keys, and distracting all around them. And there are the rest of us, allowing our littlest to color religious coloring books, nibble on Cheerios, and drink diluted apple juice so we can possibly get 10 minutes of prayer and adoration into our Sunday morning.
If you just so happen to be from Mars, you might not know about the great debates about every aspect of parenting these days, the bottle vs breast debate, and the work vs stay-at-home, ad nauseum. Equally as passionate are the Catholic Mass with children debates, no snacks vs Cheerios, nurse only in the cry room vs in the pew, coloring allowed vs no distractions... Perhaps these discussions were just as vocal in the past, but I'm of the mindset that many choices parents made about their children long ago were made privately and did not require a public defense. Somehow, "I chose to do X,Y, or Z," turned into, "I do X, Y, and Z, and therefore you are a bad parent if you do not do the same."
I don't have any suggestions to the blogging priest. But after yesterday's Mass involving 2 squirming, fussy toddlers I would have blown up if I had been handed a copy of an edict from on high of "no bottles and no pencils permitted in the door or the priest and your fellow parishioners will chew you out."
Over the last month or so, several incidents have occurred that necessitate reiterating the obligation for each parishioner to work to keep our church clean and new. Parents have allowed children to draw on the baptismal font with crayons, to draw on the pew seats with pens, to walk on the pews with shoes, to litter the pews and floor with snacks, and spill drinks with no effort to clean up afterwards. Lest you think this is just a problem with careless parents, older people have used the kneelers as foot rests, failed to replace the missalettes and hymnals in the pew racks, and left their trash in the pews.Our church is the house of God. It must be treated with care, reverence, and respect. (It is not a playground or a family room!)
Please observe the following rules:
1-No gum is to be chewed in the church.
2-Silence cell phones before you enter the chapel.
3-Save conversations for the entrance area or the social hall.
4-Please do no let children draw in the church with pens, pencils, crayons, or markers.
5-If your small child must have a snack during, it is YOUR responsibility to clean up after them. Also, no snacks that are sticky or have the potential to stain.
6-Please no juice or milk in bottles. Water only in the church.
7-Don't let children walk on the pews wearing shoes or to stand with their shoes resting against the pew seats.
8-Kneelers are for kneeling. The are not footrests.
9-Straighten up your own pew before you leave. Replace books in the rack, take any trash with you, and leave the kneelers in the upright position.
All parishioners, please help us keep these rules. If you see someone who is out of line, please gently remind them of their obligations.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

I was formally invited by post to a Mother's Day brunch at Maggie's preschool on Thursday morning. We listened to the class sing several songs, including, "Sometimes mommies say 'don't do this', sometimes mommies say 'don't do that,' sometimes they say 'kiss, kiss, kiss.'" (So, thats what she was singing it loudly all the previous week!)
We were then waited on by our oh-so-polite children and served ham sandwiches, fruit kabobs, and desert. Finally, the teacher held up portraits and read a description, we then had to guess which Mommy was portrayed. Maggie's picture of me has a tiny shock of brown hair on top (I have long dark blond hair), green ears that stick out (my ears are very small and NOT green!), and green dots all over the face (supposed to be freckles). Her description was thus:
My mom is special because: she makes lunch!
I like it when my mom: gets me a tricycle.
My mom can do many things! I think she is best at: sewing and buying roller skates.
My mom is pretty as a: dress.
My mom is smart! She even knows: that we're bringing caterpillars in the house.
I'd like to tell my mom: "No bringing caterpillars in the house!"
Signed: Maggie
I wish you a happy mother's day and hope that you don't find any caterpillars in your laundry.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

a letter from my congressman

Dear Friends,
Yesterday, I voted for two bills in the House that chart a path to end U.S. involvement in the war and bring our troops home safely. President Bush remains stubbornly wedded to his failed Iraq policy. Since he and those who continue to vote to support his position in Congress have no strategy to end the war, Congressional Democrats will lead the way out of the Iraq disaster the President has created.
The McGovern Act, H.R. 2237, requires the Defense Department to begin to redeploy American troops out of Iraq 90 days after enactment of the legislation with all combat troops home within 180 days. The bill would allow a limited number of U.S. troops in Iraq to conduct targeted operations against al Qaeda, train Iraqi forces and protect U.S. diplomats. It would also prohibit funding for the President’s ‘surge’ unless specifically authorized by Congress. Unfortunately this measure failed by a vote of 171-265.
H.R. 2206, passed by the House last night, is a new version of the Iraq Accountability Act that President Bush vetoed on May 2nd. In contrast with the blank checks Republican Congresses gave the President, it compels progress in Iraq by conditioning funding. It withholds approximately half the Iraq spending until the President tells Congress by July 13th whether the Iraqi government has met specific benchmarks and goals. At that point, Congress would then hold two votes that present members with a choice: either release the remaining funds, or direct the funds only for an orderly and safe withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq. I urge the Senate to act swiftly to pass H.R. 2206 and send it to the President. I will continue to use the power of Congress to end U.S. involvement in the Iraq civil war.

U.S. Representative
1st District of Maine
Dear Rep. Allen,
I am not pleased that you voted to "bring the troops home" from Iraq. You have shown to our soldiers, the world, and our enemies that many of our representatives want to lose the war. You would rather see that our dead soldiers and Marines have made the ultimate sacrifice for nothing than to link victory with a Republican president.
I am not happy with the way things are going in Iraq- no American is. However, defeat should not be an option. If we had the same Congress in session after Bull Run, the Confederates would have won the Civil War, and after Normandy, WWII would have been lost. We must win the war against Islamofacism, otherwise all Americans will live in fear for the rest of history.
Please reconsider your cut-and-run stand in Iraq. You owe it to our soldiers, sailors, and Marines.
Kat *
a proud Navy wife

Friday, May 11, 2007

movie meme

Go to and look up your favorite 10 movies, noting 5 key words for each. See if you can guess mine (they are very easy):

1. woman in labor scene, 2+1/2 hours, passion, Southern belle, narcissism
2. Nazi, governess, nun, music, Austria
3. romance, estate, suitor, melodrama, Britain
4. matchmaker, satire, upperclass, archery, friendship
5. good versus evil, weather, axe, hostage, villainess
6. magic, cliff, revenge, pirate, chocolate
7. rain, leech, torpedo, boat, spinster
8. love triangle, dancing, playboy, party, cooking school
9. eccentric, monk, siege, shrubbery, narration
10. despair, car accident, bathrobe, jitterbug, small town

So far, the correct guesses:

1. Gone with the Wind

2. Sound of Music

3. Pride and Prejudice

4. Emma

5. Wizard Of Oz

6. The Princess Bride

7. The African Queen

8. Sabrina

9. Monty Python and the Holy Grail

10. It's a Wonderful Life

(I changed #1 to make it a little easier)

Thank you for playing!!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

it's so hard being 2

Charlie fell several times today, resulting in boo-boos on both knees and his thumb.

Just like bread, apple juice, and jelly are automatic purchases each trip to the grocery, I think a box of bandaids are going to have to be thrown into the cart every week as well.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

save the planet, don't have kids

I remember reading back in the early 1980's of the "population bomb" predictions. There wouldn't be enough food, people would be crowding on top of one another, plagues would sweep over the planet because there were too many humans. I recall being swept up emotionally and resolved to not have any children of my own. Luckily for my family's sake I stopped believing this enviromental wacko cult religion. Unfortunately, the wake-up call did not happen to most of the educated classes of the western world and they simply stopped having children.
Now not enough Europeans and Japanese young adults exist to replace themselves and those cultures are likely to become extinct. The Communists and the Muslims certainly didn't read those books and are reproducing at a fast clip. So, it will not be the case that just Europe will disappear, but that all of Western Civilization will be overrun.
These cases are presented very well in a book I read a while back, America Alone, but some academic types are still stuck back on the 1970's model of "don't have children and somehow save the planet."
HAVING large families should be frowned upon as an environmental misdemeanour ...
"The greatest thing anyone in Britain could do to help the future of the planet would be to have one less child."

The world's population is expected to increase by 2.5 billion to 9.2 billion by 2050. Almost all the growth will take place in developing countries. The British fertility rate is 1.7. The EU average is 1.5. Despite this, Professor Guillebaud says rich countries should be the most concerned about family size as their children have higher per capita carbon dioxide emissions.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Homeschool Carnival #71

Is up at The Company Porch with a real Southern flavor!

weight loss challenge

While I am in better shape today than I have been in 15 years, I would like to lose those last 5 pounds that are keeping me from being pleased when I look in the mirror each morning.
I was known in high school as "the track star" and don't think I weighed over 100 pounds at graduation. College added more than dozen pounds, but then I had to diet to fit into the wedding gown I bought at the bridal consignment store. How could I pass up my dream dress at $80 because it was a little snug?
Every pregnancy since then I have seen gains of 40 pounds, to then lose most of it, just to begin gaining again. After Timmy's birth I was determined to be skinny and fit. I started running and lost all but 5 pounds, but have been stuck here for 6 months. The problem is my diet-I drink at least one Cocacola each day and consume handfuls of chocolate after the kids go to bed.
I swear, on this day I will try really hard, to cut out the soda, to not reward myself with sweets every other day because "I deserve it." When you have 5 little kids the days tend to grind and these little treats are sometimes the only thing that keeps me going. Perhaps one unexpected benefit of our new van is the likelihood that it is too high to fit through the local Burger King drive-thru. But I am stronger than the lure of Jr. Whoppers and chocolate covered raisins.
I have a new goal. This fall is my high school 20 year reunion and, even if I don't go, I want to imagine myself voted "most unchanged" and "most kids" and having all those snobby kid's jaws drop as I glide forward to the podium in a slinky ice blue gown that clings to every curve.

Monday, May 07, 2007

strawberry season

Nothing epitomizes the arrival of spring and is so indulgent as strawberry shortcake. My breakfast this morning was a pile of berries picked by my children, still-warm homemade buttermilk biscuits, and lots of whipped cream. Yum!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

date night

Tim and I never go out alone as we have not found a hired babysitter we could trust and the only willing family members live far, far away. So, when our parish recently held a silent auction and one of the services was 3 hours of babysitting by a reliable teen with 4 younger siblings, I put in a bid and won!
Last night Mary W. came over to play, watch Star Wars, and put the little ones to bed while Tim and I went to my favorite elegant restaurant. We have been going there intermittently for 12 years, since our 2nd date, but hadn't returned in several years. It is one of those places where the waitstaff has memorized the 8 additions to the menu and describes them in an elegant and cultured voice, "Tonight we also offer a tomato gin bisque with an she-crab base, trout almondine sauted with garlic herb butter, and a Portuguese fishermen's stew with shrimp, scallops, littleneck clams, and salmon infused with saffron and garlic."
Listening to the waiter reminded me of my last dinner in Italy with the Catholic Women of the Chapel. Even getting to the restaurant was an adventure. We whizzed through crowded and chaotic Pozzuoli on narrow, twisting roads, keeping right on the bumper of the driver in front to avoid getting lost. Finally we turned onto a dirt road and parked in a dark field overlooking an enormous extinct volcanic crater. Luckily we didn't go right off the edge, as there was not even a curb bumper to protect us from the 100 foot dropoff. Turning on flashlights that were recommended, we hiked about 1/4 mile through gardens and vineyards and trooped down a set of stairs to a cheery and brightly lit basement room. The set meal included 8 courses, and the feasting commenced until finally an elaborate dessert was set before us at 1am. The descriptions of the courses were so elaborate that we read them aloud to each other and laughed, "the salad greens are an artfully arranged blend of organics grown on our farm, topped with wild arugula plucked from 2000 year old tufa stone walls." To their credit, they grew all the fruits and vegetables served, produced all their own wine, and raised some of the meat they offered as well.
We returned home last night to find peace and calm, except for little Timmy who wanted some more Mommy milk before he would settle down comfortably for the night. If we were staying here I would think that date night would be a more frequent occurrence, but my guess is that we will likely go out for our next romantic date in another 3 years.

Saturday, May 05, 2007


the great gray ghost, the new vehicular mode of transportation for our family.

After test driving several Ford full size vans at the local "vans, vans, we only sell vans" dealer, the decision between the 8 and 12 passenger models was left solely to me. I went with more seats, rather than more cargo room, figuring into the equation the possibility of being open to more little lives in our home (just not this week, please).

Tim wasn't too keen on the 350, but now that we have it home he seems to really like our choice. I know that it will be wonderful to have more room to spread the children out, and it will work well on road trips, but slipping into a tight parking space and whipping down off-ramps are now things of the past. You just can't drive a 1 ton truck like a nimble little sportscar. However, driving it almost makes me long to be back in Jamaica. I wouldn't recommend it to wimps, since the official rule of the road there is that the larger vehicle always has the right-of-way. Watch out all you Miata and Mini Cooper drivers!

Friday, May 04, 2007

poison ivy season

After 1st Holy Communion on Sunday the parish hosted Family Fun Day complete with fried chicken and lots of yummy side dishes and desserts. It saved the parents from having to organize parties at home and after the kids all changed out of their Sunday clothes, they had a blast. The older children have built a fort in the woods and have organized themselves with mayors and guards. Will was voted 1st mayor and drew up applications for membership. "Will you defend this fort against all girls?" "Will you keep the secrets told within the circle?" The questions were all followed by little yes or no boxes to check off.

Poor Maggie trooped after the big boys to their fort entrance where she was told to scram. The evidence of her running off the path and through a large patch of poison ivy became apparent on Tuesday when welts started appearing on her arms and legs. Despite liberal application of Benedryl, she ended up with it also on one side of her face and a few bumps on her tummy (how did it get there?) While I feel sorry for her, part of me is glad it happened after we took dozens of pictures that day, rather than the week before. She will recover in a few more days and then when we get to Maine I will teach her, "leaves of 3, let it be."

Thursday, May 03, 2007

car trouble

Yesterday afternoon, after depositing Will and Mary at their homeschoolers art class I took the littles over to Mother's to visit. We chatted while I filed her nails, helped the aide get her bathed, and got soaked as Timmy spilled an entire glass of water all over me and the bed. Then I loaded everyone in the van and returned to collect my older charges, looking forward to returning home to change into dry shorts and sitting down with a large glass of ice water.
Unfortunately, the van decided to cut off about 10 times before I had driven 4 blocks. It has done this before, every 6 months or so, leaving me panicked about being stuck on the side of the highway with 5 little children and spotty cellphone service. The van never acts up for Tim, assuring me that there must be a weight device in the seat connected to a computer chip in the electronic components of the vehicle, "Female driver detected. Knows nothing about automobile repair. Attention all sensors, attention all sensors: immediately produce engine failure and battery failure."
When this happens I have learned to keep one foot on the gas with the other on the brake at stoplights so I can give the tachometer a little boost. This time though, it also started cutting off while I was driving, leaving me with no power steering as I drifted to the side of the road. Frantically, I called Tim, who dropped everything at work to come to my rescue. Of course, after I refused to set foot in the driver's seat it acted perfectly normal (remember that weight thing).
We are renting a brand-new van while the dealership figures out if the water pump, the idle sensor, or some other thingamajiggy has gone bad. I hope the problem is found, but am grateful I have a husband who says soothingly, "It's okay honey, if they can't fix it, I'll buy you that 12 seater van you seem to want so much."

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

packing for Maine

My brain is in an almost constant whirl these days as I pull items from closets and attics, pack up Christmas ornaments and dollhouse furniture, and make lists.
Lots of lists.
I have the to-do list, the what-to-take-to-Maine list, and the better-buy-it-now list. Maine summers are short I have to anticipate fall clothing needs and the fact that the children will outgrow their clothes and shoes the instant we hit the state line. This is our 6th summer in Maine and since I always pack in the heat of Virginia, I inevitably pack too many sleeveless items and never enough long pants and sweatshirts, which we need even in August.
Our town has no children's clothing stores and the closest Walmart is an hour away. I have learned the hard way that if I don't bring something, it is not easily procured. Spending the summer there reminds me of this post about a town in Vermont with no children.
I once vacationed with my three girls in a town without children. It was a picture perfect Vermont town, that could have come from Norman Rockwell, but there were no children on the street. I first noticed something amiss as we first drove through, the many art galleries had signs saying "no children" and "dogs welcome". Strange I wondered, where are the children?
Maine is a very liberal and our town is even more so with lots of left-over hippies and the occasional movie star (Kirstie Alley and John Travolta) coming over to shop in the whole-food co-op. Everytime I go to stock up on honey and maple syrup (which you can buy in bulk) I can feel the glare of the usual patrons simply because of the troop of little ducklings trailing behind me. I recall speaking with a father of 6 from a nearby town who recounted his experience when he took his well mannered children into the same store. We laughed as we swapped stories of disbelief from the locals and imagined their comments afterwards, "Did you see that breeder?" "Think of the future enviromental disaster from all those diapers." "Don't get close, children have cooties."
So, in addition to proctoring Will and Mary's schoolwork, keeping the little ones entertained, I have been spending my afternoons making lists and anticipating the growth pattern of a 10 month old chubby baby so he doesn't end up naked in September.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

homeschool carnival #70

Is up at Dewey's Treehouse. Lots of great posts!

membership has its price

After Mary's 1st confession on Saturday morning I took advantage of the opportunity to go out with Will and Mary and took them to Friendly's for lunch. We were escorted to a cubbie that held 3 tables, one with 2 small children and the other with 5 little ones. The mother and father were shoveling food into the baby's mouth while simultaneously divying up 2 desserts and making sure everyone stayed at the table. They did a great job and I told them so on my way to the restroom. Later, after they left and the table was bussed, another mom arrived with 4 little boys, the oldest about 10, and a tiny baby dressed in pink. She told the oldest child to escort everyone to the potty, negotiated their order, and nursed the baby. I made sure I told her how good her kids were on our way out. She said with a weary smile that her husband had just left for a deployment.
While both families were at the restaurant I wanted to wave my hand in the air and say, "Me too, I'm in the mommy-of-many club!" However, it was refreshing to sit and eat without having to repeat, "Stop that. Eat your food. Don't poke, kick, hit, or pinch your sister," between bites. I took little glances at these mothers and had the queer feeling that they were thinking to themselves, "She only has 2 kids, what does she know of my effort and workload? Perhaps she is one of those wackos, judging me for having all these children."
After we got home I dug into the enormous pile of laundry needing to be folded, the papers that needed to be graded, and the boxes that needed to be packed and labeled. I thought about planning dinner and ironing church clothes before it struck me why I have had so many older folks stop me in the grocery and say, "I had 9, 6, 5 children." They were telling me they were part of the club too and understood the trials I was going through. There are comrades in our lives, unknown to us by sight, who have been there, done that, and gotten the t shirt. Let us remember that we are on a single phase of our lives and one day we will, God willing, be the little old lady in the grocery smiling at someone else's toddlers, saying, "I remember those days dear. God bless you and your beautiful children."