Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Oh, when the Saints say "trick or treat"

I have finally finished up the world's supposedly easiest Halloween costumes, but making Will look like he has been shot full of arrows has proved to be a difficult task. I started with dowel rods with paper feathers glued on, but couldn't figure out a way to attach them to his tunic. Plan B,C, and D were all discarded after failing miserably (I didn't want to put holes in the fabric so I could use it again for someone else). Finally I sewed straws onto the tunic, filled the ends with glue and stuffed the dowel rods down the holes. I am waiting until they dry to see if they look realistic.

Our traveling evangelization team this evening: St. Stephen with an aluminum foil rock sewed on his shoulder, St. Agnes holding her lamb, St. Sebastian with the cursed arrows, an angel (for the 3rd year), and a little bumblebee (left over from our pre-Catholic days).

Hope your little ones don't bounce off the walls half the night from a sugar rush just in time for Mass tomorrow on All Saints Day.

good news coming from the Vatican

Since the issuance of the Summorum Pontificum there have been many bishops who have tried to squash the Pope's mandate to free the Traditional Latin Mass. Some of their tactics include demanding priests to take Latin tests, insisting on hundreds of petitions from parishioners, and trying to squeeze modern practices such as altar girls and communion in the hand into the old Mass. Having the Pope say the TLM and a clarification of some of more vague language in the original document would go a long way to help spread the liturgy. So it comes as a great delight to hear the following rumors from the Vatican:

Rorate Caeli

(1) a document is being prepared by the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" explaining some points of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, including what criteria may be used to identify a stably existing group (no specific minimum number) and clarifications regarding the differences between the calendars of both forms of the Roman Rite - the document may be published, accoding to Ingrao, "in the next few days"

(2) the possibility of a traditional Mass celebrated by the Pope in December (according to Ingrao, not in Saint Peter's, but maybe in Saint Paul Outside the Walls)

(3) the probability that the excommunications of the Bishops involved in the consecrations of June 30, 1988, in EcĂ´ne, Switzerland may soon be lifted.

Monday, October 29, 2007

garage progress

This is the view from the second floor apartment on the farm. Underneath is a 3 bay garage presently housing the tractor and the truck. In July after we PCS to our next duty station, we will be moving in for the summer and early fall. There are certain issues that concern me like only having 1 bathroom for 6-7 people, but I have to contain my excitement about getting back to Maine. I certainly don't want to wish away 3/4 of a year away because there will be many fun times in between, but...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

change in Mass

This morning, instead of the usual 4.5 hour excursion to attend the Traditional Latin Mass, we instead went to Mass in town. With a myriad of afternoon scouting activities we decided it would be the only way we could fit everything into the day. I prepared myself as best I could, but I couldn't help gritting my teeth throughout the service.

While I am certainly not a Dressing With Dignity aficionado by refusing to wear anything other than skirts or dresses, I do think it appropriate to wear one to Mass. However, I counted less than 20 women wearing something other than pants in a crowd of 350+. I didn't realize how radical it is these days to look feminine, even to church.

The songs were the same dreary old 1970's stuff and the whole congregation blessed the children and the RCIA candidates with a Heil Hitler looking salute. The homily involved much audience participation, with the priest asking many times for people to raise their hands and mentioning several times that we needed to watch more TV. There also seemed to be two additional portions of the Mass: the lengthy offertory add-on where an army of little children fought to take up the money baskets, and the liturgy of the announcements, which took more time than communion itself (since they used an army of EEMs). After Communion the church was half empty with folks that mistook partaking of Our Lord Jesus's body with the drive through at McDonald's. Before Mass it was chat, chat, chat, and afterwards was the giant sprint for the door with little time for reflection or prayer. All in all it was pretty awful, but likely typical for today's suburban American Catholic Mass.

Next week we will resume our cross-country journey to attend Mass with prayerful silence, the recitation of the rosary, a solid homily, and a beautiful church with not a felt banner in sight. Unfortunately the parish seems to have its own share of problems, one of which is a dislike of any noise, especially from little children. Our next duty station will have multiple options for attending a Latin Mass, I am sure we will find one that is like St. Benedict's in Virginia. Sure, I appreciated our old parish, but it took today to make me realize how much I miss a community of like-minded Catholics who take their faith seriously as well as have smiles on their faces.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

spelling lesson needed

Michelle's post over at rosetta stone involving her daughter passing notes reminded me of Will's recent spate of signs on his bedroom door. Note "No Fiting" and "No Litering." There were also "No Smoking" signs on every door in the house last week, but since no one in our house smokes and I doubt Will has ever seens anyone smoke, I am still trying to figure out its origin.

(sorry for the non-rotated photo, I tried for 40 minutes to fix it, but as I have said, I am not talented with such things)

Friday, October 26, 2007

playing tourist

The children and I have been so focused on school the last month that we have done outside our little sphere of home other than grocery shopping and going to the library. Last week several of the children's aunties came for a visit and we got our of our usual boring routine to play tourist.

Here are the giant lily pads at the Sarah Duke Gardens. They reminded us of the maze in Puzzle Island. The koi silently gliding underneath were also a source of amazement. The children ran and hid among the banana tree grove, the bamboo forest, and walked precariously along the edge of a little bridge. Maggie has begged to go back on Monday for her birthday treat so this time we will take some bread for the many ducks.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

new year, new organizational method

For the past 4 years we have been enrolled in Seton, but have not really utilized the lesson plans. After my student teaching days of frantically trying to write lesson plans from scratch on the weekends perhaps I felt that being sent instructions for each day was cheating. I religiously rewrote all the assignments in planning books and checked off each assignment. This job alone took hours of precious time, but I felt it was important that I had a book in hand if some "authority" ever came to the door. This year however, Will's 4th grade assignments were more than "do pages 45-46" so I had to come up with a better system. Of course I realized this after I had spent upteen dollars buying rubber stamps for the planners.

I think the system I have come up with (actually many other Seton moms have recommended this, but I felt like I had to reinvent the wheel) is to have a small 1.5" binder for each child. The big kid's binders contains an attendance record and the lesson plans for the current quarter. The pocket in the front is for finished work and tests that need to be completed that week and the one in the back is for me to organize the quarter's packet to send in to Seton. Each day's work is highlighted in the lesson plans and then scratched out with a marker as we complete it. All the rest of the material: lesson plans for the rest of the year, progress sheets, tests... are all in huge binders on the shelf. Maggie is also affected by this sudden disregard for planning books, I haven't checked off an assignment or kept attendance. She is happily doing as many pages as I will let her and not being officially old enough for Kindergarten I am willing to let it take as long as necessary to get through the books. We certainly don't seem to be as overwhelmed by the volume of paper and work that needs to be accomplished by June and I haven't lost anything yet!

This method seems to keep everything accessible and is much more workable than rewriting all the lessons in the planner. It also seems to be less likely to result in a lost folder than the every subject in a separate folder method. It only took me 5 years to get to this point of not having to do everything they way they taught me in grad school. Maybe by the time the kids are teens I will progress all the way to unschooling, but I doubt it.

Moral of the story: learn from other's experience and strive to make mom's work easier. Both will lead to less hassle and more time to teach and play after the schoolwork is finished.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I would lose my head if it wasn't attached

Recently I have been losing things at an amazing rate. First it was my little calender that I recorded my running miles each day. Then I left my to-do list at Kroger last week. Today I was going to drive over to the course of a local race and check it out, but unfortunately my keys were nowhere to be found. The last time I had seen them was the afternoon before when we went to get the mail.

I then realized with horror that I had let baby Timmy play with them and watched him drop them in the front yard. Yesterday. But they certainly weren't there today and the babysitter clock was ticking away. (at $10 an hour I don't want to waste a minute) I badgered the children about what might have happened to them. I even bothered Tim at work and asked him if he had seen the keys. Nope. So, I bagged my plan and ran a loop around the neighborhood. Again. The loop is not long enough, well, it would be if I ran two loops but it is way too tempting to stop at the 2.6 mile mark to run past our driveway. On the way back in for some water and a shower I saw them. In the wagon.

Where I put them yesterday.


Today, in the Tridentine Rite, is the feast day of St. Anthony Mary Claret, the founder of the Claretians. I know that the patron saint of lost items is St. Anthony, very likely a different saint entirely, but thanks to them both for helping me find my keys. Now if that running log would just turn up...

update 10/27: running log turns up in Will's Webelos book. Yeah!

Carnival of Homeschooling

This week is hosted by At Home With Kris.

last night at supper...

During the usual discussion of how school went I have recently started mentioning what writing assignments the children completed each day.

Me: "Will wrote middle sentences about a priest who worked with the lepers."
Maggie (interrupting): "I remember when we had leprechauns in preschool once. They knocked down all the chairs and tables."
Me: "There is a slight difference between lepers and leprechauns, dear."
Will: "That didn't REALLY happen, there are no such thing... are there?"
Maggie (very indignantly): "I'm thinking about it right now. So it IS true!"

Tim and I looked at each other and tears started coming out our eyes we were trying not to break out laughing.

A 4 year old's logic seems to be similar to talking heads on the TV, "I'm thinking about it, so it MUST be true."

Monday, October 22, 2007

comments again

Oh! I am sooooo sorry that I haven't been moderating very well. I assumed that the only comments I was getting were coming to my email box, so I published those. However, there were tons sitting in the moderate comments box in blogger. I'm not the most computer literate person around so please forgive me.

Isn't it true that we only learn from our mistakes?

Sunday, October 21, 2007


I have wrestled over the past few months with trying to fulfill all the children's reading needs, but I was overwhelmed. Maggie and Charlie love to sit and listen to picturebooks, the more familiar the better, but Will and Mary are only interested in are chapter books, such as Little House, but for the most part they have determined that because they cover the pages so much faster when they read silently, listening to Mommy read is BO-RING.

The obvious solution would be to read to the little kids and let the older ones read Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys to their heart's desire, but it always seems to be Charlie's bedtime just as I finally make it to the sofa with a stack of books. Tim has come to the rescue by taking over putting Charlie to bed and giving him his own story time before he turns out the light and says, "Good night, sleep tight, see you in the morning." Apparently the preferred book this week has been The Little Puppy, in which the main attraction is a brown and white floppy eared Spaniel named Charlie owned by a freckled face boy, Tim. Charlie loves seeing his name in print so much that he has taken to sleeping with the book under his pillow.

Since I recall this book and the others in the series (Kitten, Bunny, Pig, Duck) when I was about 6 or so, Tim and the other children are likely now in their 40's and all the pets met their demise long ago. Still, they are appealing in that they show animals growing up and the mischief they get into, just the way our little ones grow and mature over time. Puppies become dogs and toddlers become adults, though it takes ever so much longer than 1 year. Still, I am beginning to see what older moms mean when they say, "They grow up so fast." Will and Mary don't want to hear about The Little Puppy anymore, they are closer to being adults than infants. Part of me wants to turn back the clock, while the other part longs for the day when the little ones won't be so physically demanding.

Enjoy these years of storytime, don't let them slip by without many nights cuddling on the sofa together reading a worn copy of a childhood favorite.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Is this what they mean by sex-ed?

Parents want to protect their babies and toddlers. They buy baby gates and pore over safety catalogues to find the best latches for their kitchen cabinets. They strap their children into car seats religiously and keep a monitor on hand to hear if Junior wakes up from his nap a little early. Rich mommies interview nannies while the rest of us interview preschool teachers and pediatricians as if we are on the college admittance committee.

But when our precious little ones turn 5 or 6 and the yellow bus pulls to a stop in front of our house, why do we let down our guard? Besides the bullies and foul mouthed teens on the bus, and the cruel cliques of the popular girls, there are sick teachers who prey on the children put in their care. While I am glad that my children are not likely to be molested simply because they are not sent to school, I worry and am saddened about the thousands of American children who will be assaulted or seduced by their teachers.

Do you know where your children are and who they are with? Are you sure?

An Associated Press investigation found more than 2,500 cases over five years in which educators were punished for actions from bizarre to sadistic.

...a seven-month investigation found 2,570 educators whose teaching credentials were revoked, denied, surrendered or sanctioned from 2001 through 2005 following allegations of sexual misconduct.
"From my own experience - this could get me in trouble - I think every single school district in the nation has at least one perpetrator. At least one," says Mary Jo McGrath, a California lawyer who has spent 30 years investigating abuse and misconduct in schools. "It doesn't matter if it's urban or rural or suburban."
...the perpetrators that the AP found are everyday educators - teachers, school psychologists, principals and superintendents among them. They're often popular and recognized for excellence and, in nearly nine out of 10 cases, they're male.

Friday, October 19, 2007

do toddlers try your patience?

Children have a natural tendency to aggression and need to learn to control it in the pre-school years, says a leading Canadian child psychologist. Toddlers do not learn aggression from other children, TV, video games or adults, claimed Prof Richard Tremblay in an address to the Royal Society in London. Instead, most are naturally belligerent and reach their peak of aggression between 18 months and 42 months. If parents fail to intervene at this stage, it could mean the difference between a child growing up normally or turning into a violent adult. (Daily Mail)

As a parent of 15 and 40 month old boys I am in the midst of trying to curb all the aggressive behavior in our house. Between the screaming and fussing to try and get their way and screaming and fussing because they can't use/find the right words, it seems like a mad house most days. Luckily it is only temporary because otherwise I would go mad.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

good morning?

What kind of day is it going to be when a little voice stirs you out of a sound sleep, "Mommy, I'm poopy. Change me please?"

It didn't get any better after the same child hopped down the stairs and proclaimed, "Yuck! The cat threw up down here!"

On the other hand, we now have 1 dreaded book report out of the way and the other almost finished.

Here's hoping your day has more ups than downs.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

modest expectations

I asked Maggie what she would like for her birthday coming up.

She said, "purple cake with brown frosting."

"Well, what about a present? A toy or something?" I pressed.

She put her finger up to her temple and said, "Think, think, think," while tapping. (a la Winnie the Pooh) "Coloring books! That's what I would like. Coloring books."

Can do little one. Mommy is on the hunt for your birthday gift.

Carnival of Homeschooling

The 94th edition is up at the The Thinking Mother.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

school handing out birth control to 11 year olds?

First it was teaching students about sex instead of leaving it to parents. Then it was teaching them about pregnancy and birth control without permission, then distributing condoms and counseling about abortion to teens. Now it is dispensing pharmaceuticals to 11 year olds without parental permission. Schools want complete control over our children-I don't plan on giving it to them, do you?

Students who have parental permission to be treated at King Middle School's health center would be able to get birth control prescriptions under a proposal that the Portland School Committee will consider Wednesday.
The proposal would build on the King Student Health Center's practice of providing condoms as part of its reproductive health program since it opened in 2000, said Lisa Belanger, a nurse practitioner who oversees the city's student health centers.
If the committee approves the King proposal, it would be the first middle school in Maine to make a full range of contraception available to some students in grades 6 to 8, said Nancy Birkhimer, director of teen health programs for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. Most middle schoolers are ages 11-13.

little mother

Overhead while the little kids were eating their waffles,

Charlie: "I have to go potty. I'll be right back, don't eat my food".
Maggie: "Timmy! That is NOT yours!"
(tinkle, flush, water running)
Maggie: "Baby Timmy wanted some waffle, I gave him some of yours and mine."
Charlie: "That's MY waffle, you hear me."
Maggie: "Would you like me to get you some more waffle, Charlie? (sound of plastic crinkling) You can't eat them frozen, they are almost as hard as rocks". (long stretch of quiet) "Timmy, don't stick your hand there."
"Mommy, I need help!"

Monday, October 15, 2007

Happy Birthday Tim!

To my dear husband on his birthday:

Thank you for your kindness, your devotion to our family and God, your strong work ethic, your daily Rosary, your gentle spirit, your generosity, your unselfishness, your willingness to pitch in, and most of all your love.

I am glad God helped us find each other and for me to recognize the best man in the world. Thank you for being my rock, my love, and my soul mate.

I love you and so do all your little children.

strong pro-life message

The bishops in the Philippines are to be commended by showing how the Catholic position against artificial contraception and abortion are good for women, families, and the economic future of countries. These good men's voices are a strong contrast to the wishy-washy teaching we have become used to in the past 40 years. May more bishops stay true to the teachings of the Magesterium and let their voices of reason be heard in these difficult times.

The Philippines Congress would be better spending money alleviating hunger and poverty and giving free education to extremely poor children than on contraceptives and abortifacient drugs, says the head of the country’s Catholic bishops’ conference.

The Archbishop’s statement also was careful to clarify that the objection to artificial contraceptives was not merely a matter of Catholic Church teaching, but of the moral law that applies to everyone. “They are wrong,” he said, “not because the Catholic Church forbids them; rather, the Church forbids them because they destroy the fruitfulness of human reproductive capacities given by the Creator and hence are morally wrong.”

With its birth rate and youthful workforce, the Philippines will likely avoid the economic problems that are starting to be felt in Canada, China and the countries of Western Europe. After decades of contraceptive use and abortion, most western countries of the world are facing a massive demographic implosion from below-replacement birth rates and aging populations.

“Praise the Lord!” Aniceto, who heads the bishops’ Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, said. “You do not eliminate poverty by weakening and killing the poor.” Life Site News

Sunday, October 14, 2007

new girl

Friday afternoon I took Mary over to the local Catholic school for her first Brownie troop meeting. There were about a dozen little girls milling around wearing matching green and navy plaid jumpers. The scene was even a little intimidating to me, so I completely understood when she clung to my skirt like a bashful 3 year old. She then began to cry, begging me not to leave her alone, but I firmly told her, "All these little girls want to be your friend, you just have to let them," and walked out.

Cruel right?

I waited in the car for 5 minutes and snuck back up to the window to see if she was sniveling in the corner, but found she was snuggled on the sofa between 2 little brownies obviously finished with her shy act. When we came back a few hours later to pick her up she was having such a good time playing red light, green light that I practically had to pick her up and shove her in the car to get her to leave. The leader said she had a lovely time and the pink flamingo on her cheek that her new friend Margaret painted had to be carefully preserved from the bath water that evening. Next week's meeting is a trip to the pumpkin patch and corn maze and I think she will be eager to join her new friends without looking like an "unsocialized homeschooler."

Friday, October 12, 2007

stressed out kids

National tests for seven and 11-year-olds are putting children under stress and feeding into a "pervasive anxiety" about their lives and the world they are growing up in, according to an intimate portrait of primary school life published today.
Primary-aged children worry daily about global warming and terrorism as well as their friendships and passing the next exam, according to a report based on 700 in-depth interviews with children, their teachers and parents, which will feed into the biggest independent review of primary education in 40 years.
The findings echo a report from Unicef which this year placed Britain at the bottom of a league table charting the well-being of children across the developed world. Guardian

One of the things that reassures me about our decision to homeschool our children is that they don't worry about grown-up issues. They don't stress about bogey men, big mean bullies, the ice caps melting, high pressure tests, or missing the bus because they have to go potty. We are trying to keep our children innocent and concerned with important childhood issues such as designing the world's fastest paper airplane, the most fashionable way to wear a purple boa, trying to break the speed reading record for a Nancy Drew mystery, and how to stay up late reading in bed without getting caught.

Sex ed? Will finally got around to asking last year how babies get inside and come out. When I gave him the most simple explanation possible he seemed satisfied and hasn't brought it up again. Maggie still thinks that babies come out of the Mommy's belly button. "Ouch"! They don't need to worry about diseases, predators, or teen pregnancy, at least not before they are teens.

It is our job as parents to protect and shelter our children from the big bad world as long as it is necessary. They have decades to worry and fret about madmen and moral decay, but only a short time to daydream and play without a care. Let us fight to give them a childhood they can look back on with nostalgia.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

what would happen if you died?

Due to the recent death of my mother I have thought a lot about what would happen to our family if I were to pass away in the next 10 years. As a homeschooling mother I don't bring in any income that would have to be replaced, but I provide child care and educational supervision that by a rough estimate would cost over $55,000 a year to replace. And in the unlikely event Tim was deployed again it would cost even more for full time care. The $500,000 policy I purchased cost about $28 a month and covers the children as well.

I highly recommend all homeschooling mothers to ask about and consider life insurance for themselves. If nothing else, it provides peace of mind when thinking, "what if?"

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Carnival of Homeschooling

#93 is up at Apollos Academy. I'm looking forward to reading lots of intriguing titled posts.

the grocery buying blitz

Yesterday I printed out my grocery lists for 5 stores with coupons stapled to the top, piled all the children in the van and hit the road in a massive food shopping marathon. We first went to Harris Teeter where, after writing a check for $38, the cashier pulled the register recipt to do her automatic, "You saved...," her jaw literally dropped, "$31. You did good girl!" In the afternoon we hit CVS, Food Lion, and finally Kroger, where we again saved 40- 50% off the total bill.

We didn't get home from our second trip out until 6pm, a miscalculation on my part that led to an apology to Tim for the chaos of bags and boxes, crabby children, and no dinner simmering on the stove. Within 20 minutes though we sat down to grilled cheese and tomato soup and with my little calculator figured out our savings. We bought our weekly $250 worth of groceries for just $150. Not exactly worthy of those magazine headlines, "I bought 9 carts of food for $.45," but not bad either. The only thing I needed that was forgotten in the rush were those pre-made pie crusts that you just roll out.

Perhaps this week my chicken pot pie can be topped with homemade crust since I certainly don't feel like stepping foot in another grocery store for at least a week.

Monday, October 08, 2007

the homeschool parent's balancing act

How much help do you give your 6 year old in learning to write her letters?
Easy: as much as necessary.
But, how much assistance does a 9 year old need to write book reports?
I have no idea, but I'm learning.

Homeschooling allows parents to assist their children and gradually wean them off dependence on mom, but the details of how much tend to swing between gut instinct and a willingness to dare to try. A child who couldn't write a simple paragraph a few months back can suddenly and surprisingly write a 3 page long letter to his auntie with beautiful and coherent paragraphs. One day it just clicks and you think, "that wasn't so bad."

These days I am waiting for that moment in teaching two reluctant children to write Seton's book reviews. Every week I grit my teeth and say, "I am NOT going to write this FOR you, I passed ___ grade already. Now, let's get started." I don't really know how much help I need to give. Do they need me to supply ideas because they are just learning or because they are lazy? Would they perhaps be better writers in a classroom with 25 other children and no individual help? I doubt it.

But, just as they gradually learned to feed themselves, get rid of the pacifier, use the potty, and began to read, I am sure that they will not go to college needing Mommy to sit beside them taking notes and typing out their paragraphs. They need to be independent by the time they get to college so they are not among the 30% of college freshmen who drop out.

We, as homeschooling parents, have a wonderful opportunity by teaching our children ourselves but we need to gradually shift the responsibility of their education to them. I am sure that sometime this year I will be able to give Will a sheet of paper and say, "Write a paragraph about xyz topic," and just listen to the sound of the pencil scratching away.

Gary Waller, vice president for academic affairs at Purchase College, said the students who seem to have the greatest difficulty adjusting to college are those who coasted through high school.

David Ward, retired chairman of the counseling department at Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua, agreed, saying that children of highly involved parents tend to shrink from challenges. ''The real risk for students not finding their college experience satisfying is doing too much for them,'' Mr. Ward said. ''Part of the experience of college is the struggle as we know it. We grow most from experiences that are difficult. When we do a lot for our kids, we make it easy or easier in some way to somewhat disable them as opposed to making them have to deal -- to do it on their own.''
New York Times

Sunday, October 07, 2007

race results

Running with over 1000 women, including many breast cancer survivors, was quite an emotional rollercoaster for me. Today Mother has been gone one month and it hit me hard, especially at the 2 mile mark for some reason. But, I ran for her and didn't stop, even when I thought I was going to collapse if I didn't walk.

Final time: 24:20, 5th place in my age group.

Next race is in 3 weeks, but only a 4K. MUCH easier!!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

the grocery bill

While my friend Genna and I were chatting (gossipping) about our post-college lives she mentioned that in addition to several part-time jobs she is really into couponing and rebating to lower their household expenses. She showed me the pantry, fridges, and freezers chock full of food that she bought for almost free using double coupons with sale items. There were boxes and cans under the bed, stacked in the closets, all on less than $300 a month.

When I confessed that I spent over $900 in groceries last month she promised to help me pare down my budget by sending me updates on coupons. I am going to really try to work on this aspect of our money management, and to help I have decided to sign up for 4 weeks of the grocery game. I'll let you know how it goes in my transition from commissary to civilian shopping mama.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Women's only 5K race

Tomorrow is my first 5K in quite a while. It has been so hot that I have had to stop at about the 2 mile mark every day and walk for a bit before forcing myself to start again. Luckily the temps are much cooler in Greensboro than they are here.

Mary and I are making it into a girl's overnight, staying with one of my sorority sisters while Tim stays at home with the rest of the tribe. Genna and I have been writing back and forth for years now, humorously attempting to one-up each other in the horrible things our children have done. Some days we both feel that we are going to pull our hair out from frustration with babies and toddlers. I am looking forward to the gossipfest and hope that I won't have to make a fool out of myself and walk during the race.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

blog quiz

Here's a quiz especially for Catholic bloggers.

1. Do you attend the Traditional Latin Mass or the Novus Ordo?
Tim and I converted to the Catholic Church in 1999. By 2002 we were frustrated and disgusted by the liturgical abuses and priests who's homilies did not align with the Magisterium. We started attending St. Benedict's Chapel in Virginia and could not be more pleased with both the majesty and sound Catholic teaching at Mass. The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP) ordains wonderful priests, we are blessed to have gotten to meet so many of them.

2. If you attend the TLM, how far do you drive to get there?
Currently it takes us a little over an hour to drive to Mass.

3. If you had to apply a Catholic label to yourself, what would it be?
Grateful convert

4. Are you a comment junkie?
Not really, but I do like getting other people's input.

5. Do you go back to read the comments on the blogs you’ve commented on?
Usually, though I do remember once on Open Book writing a response to what seemed like a crazy person going off on the TLM. I went back to find that he had been doing a sarcastic bit that I took seriously. The next few posters laughed at my naivete. I never commented on that blog again and still cringe at the memory.

6. Have you ever left an anonymous comment on another blog?

7. Which blogroll would you most like to be on?
Curt Jester and Danielle Bean

8. Which blog is the first one you check?
Danielle Bean , Rosetta Stone, or Mama Says.

9. Have you met any other bloggers in person?
My husband Tim of course, and Tracy who has since stopped blogging.

10. What are you reading?
I just finished The Dallas Women's Guide To Gold-Digging With Pride. It was certainly not the most erudite tome, but hysterically funny.

Bonus Question! Has your site been banned by Spirit of Vatican II?

I pass this quiz on to: Mama Says... and Slightly Crunchy Catholic, as well as anyone else who wants to partake.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

breast cancer and abortion link

The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons published a study yesterday entitled, "The Breast Cancer Epidemic." It showed that, among seven risk factors, abortion is the "best predictor of breast cancer," and fertility is also a useful predictor.

The study by Patrick Carroll of PAPRI in London showed that countries with higher abortion rates, such as England & Wales, could expect a substantial increase in breast cancer incidence.

In four countries - England & Wales, Scotland, Finland and Denmark - a social gradient has been discovered (unlike that for other cancers) whereby upper class and upwardly mobile women have more breast cancer than lower class women. Carroll suggests that the known preference for abortion in this class might explain the phenomenon. Women pursuing higher educations and professional careers often delay marriage and childbearing. Abortions before the birth of a first child are highly carcinogenic.

Carnival of Homeschooling

This week's carnival, #92 is up at Tami's Blog.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Let's all sing the clean up song, shall we?

Yesterday I had a real "Mommy meltdown" between feeling like a slave to 5 messy tyrants, Tim working 12 hour days, and an extremely painful mystery ailment I have had for the past 3 weeks. I ordered all the children to sit at the kitchen table and gave them an ultimatum: they could live in squalor, starve, and be uneducated while I stayed in bed with the covers over my head OR they could pitch in and help. Will, Mary, and Maggie gulped and said they would help, Timmy gurgled and smiled, and Charlie whispered, "Yes sir."

We made up a chart with times for each child to do a chore as well as making the rule that no child can put one foot on the steps unless they have brushed teeth and hair, gotten dressed, and made their bed. Prayers are at 8:20 and school begins at 8:30 promptly. Chores at 10, after lunch, and at 4pm. It is not overwhelming, but since I was doing it ALL while the older children curled up on the sofa all afternoon reading the change will be a big help.

I also made a weekly meal chart so I can easily figure out what we will have for each meal and to make grocery shopping easier. Our food trips have gone from once a week to 3 times a week and partly for this reason our food costs have doubled. The other reason is we have no local commissary.

Hopefully between our new charts and another trip to the doctor today I will get back on an even keel.

Monday, October 01, 2007

realistic homeschooling

Here is an article about some of the reasons, joys, and trials parents have in homeschooling. Unlike another blogger, I find it good to explain some of the difficulties we face in educating our children ourselves. It is a lot of work, it is overwhelming at times, and there is no free time in the day to be alone.

When parents who are contemplating homeschooling only hear the rosy glowing stories of how much fun it is all the time and how the children are so motivated to learn quantum physics in 3rd grade it sets them up to fail when they sit down on the first day of school and the children say, "I don't wanna do that!"

It is much better for parents to compare the educational options with all the facts. Having children is a lot of work no matter what you pick: homeschooling, private school, or public school. For some of us the extra work load is worth the improved educational opportunities, the opportunity to finely develop a moral code, the proper socialization, and the fun of being together.

Yes, homeschooling is fun too. But some days you just have to work at finding it.