Saturday, June 29, 2013

Odds and Ends (1)

Just a space for a little bit of this 'n that. Stories that touched me. Prayers needed. Links that expose the truth. Pieces of my life. My own little Quick Takes, if you will (I just don't have a magic number and I don't have to remember to link up!).

When Unschooling Fails ... This is quite a simple, little post really, but I found it a great reminder of one reason I home school. Here's a little snippet:
"It's important to set goals for your homeschooling. The Catholic perspective is that the primary goal of education is faith formation and getting one's children to Heaven. That is the desired, end result. Academics are secondary, but they are important."
Some books to consider:

We own the Once Upon a Time Saints and the More Once Upon a Time Saints books, so I was excited to see this one, which puts stories according to the liturgical year starting with Advent in December. This book is on my wishlist to start reading this Advent with the kids!

The kids first found this on the "new" book shelf at the library. It's one of a handful Explore the Earth book series. The book was colorful and fun, with little tidbits of information and lift flaps. The boys sat for quite a time exploring it, and did not want to return the book.

The Temperament God Gave Your Kids by Art and Laraine Bennett

I am currently reading this book, and it is a fun read! The authors describe children based on four different personality types and how to bring out each type's good qualities, how to discipline, educate, etc. I find it a very interesting but easy to read. So far, I only see my oldest as a mix of two types (melancholic and phlegmatic) and possibly the baby as sanguine but the middle two, I find harder to place. Regardless of whether you "label your child" as a certain personality type, the book gives a gentle reminder that we must first look to our children's personalities in educating and disciplining them, that a one size fits all approach does not work. Really, just common sense and observation, right?


The Pagans are Happy to Socialize Your Children ... a home school mom friend shared this through an email group and on Facebook. Worth reading for sure, and is just one reason I home school. Really, though, home schooling is a personal decision. Parents need to be involved no matter how their children are educated!


Not This Family ... a blog post over at Catholic Sistas on the sexualization of our culture. I agree 100% with saying that avoidance of said oversexualization (in ads, tv, books, magazines, etc.) is not enough. I have thought a lot on this lately. I continue to do so.


Well, I am sure you all have heard the news on same sex marriage so there's no need to go there... The National Catholic Register put out a nice post on marriage. Marriage is a Path to Holiness: Practical Advice for a Happy Home. Our examples of traditional, holy marriages are so needed, and even more so as our society experiences the aftereffects of allowing the further breakdown of marriage. Oh, I just read a friend's post on their response to a beloved gay family member's wedding announcement (not invitation). It's a lovely response that I am bookmarking for the day I need it.


On a lighter, final note... I put Miss Z down for a nap and came downstairs to the sound of a young voice, reading, and to the sight of this:

I love it!

Until next time, God bless.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I'm Here... Somewhere...

The family after Skipper's First Holy Communion.

Hello blogging world!

I am still here. I thought about quitting the whole blogging thing, but realized I do like having a space that is just for me, a place I can be myself, a place to share as much or as little as I want.

I have a few posts in mind - my oldest's first communion this past spring (and a notebook we completed together), a school year in review, favorite picture books, and maybe start up some thankful posts or just odds and ends.

It seems my mind is all about odds and ends the past few months. I have thought about too many things, a lot of deep bits, and when I do that, I tend to shut down, quiet myself, and simply reflect. So, for this first post back, perhaps some of this and that?

The Family Stuff...

It's weird living back in my hometown. I am facing much more family issues and repressed emotions than I thought I would. On the flip side, I love having grandparents and other family nearby for the kids to know and grow up around (to love and know before they understand all the messed up stuff).

Skipper's First Holy Communion back in  May. That's his banner he made behind him. He was inspired by this banner.

Skipper celebrated his First Communion - yay! - and that brought up, and still brings up, issues with gluten once again. For me anyway. He's completely fine taking the low-gluten host. Hopefully his test results next January coincide. I don't know. For the most part, I was ok taking only the wine. I seem to have issue with the low-gluten host, or it may be simple cross-contamination from the priest. I would love to be ok with the low-gluten host so that I can take communion no matter where I go. For now, I try not to feel like the odd man out when I cannot take communion. And I try not to get too huffy when I hear people debating on how "best" to receive the host (tongue vs hand) or when I see so many receive the body but ignore the blood. I don't know. I feel kind of a pain inside that the Precious Blood seems inferior somehow to the host for the majority of people. Heck, I feel awkward bypassing the priest on my way to receive the Precious Blood. I make a little bow, he blesses me, and I go forth, but it's still awkward. Anyway... obviously I'm still internalizing this, if you can't tell by my rambling.

Critter lost his first tooth, which is always an exciting milestone!

Miss Bear starts her first dance class next week which leaves me feeling a little anxious. This is not my scene whatsoever and I'm not really sure how I feel about the dance scene. But somehow, she has had dance in her head for over a year so I figured a month of weekly classes would either work that thought out or spark a new love. Time will tell.

Miss Z is finally, finally walking! For the most part. She still hesitates, still prefers the weird monkey crawl, and looks like she is using a lot of brain power for a few simple steps, but she is walking! It's so strange it took so long for her to do as she climbs like a little monkey and can do so many other physical things that make it seem like walking would be a piece of cake.

The cutie pie herself, and of course she's on her hands and knees. I'd do a walking video but I don't want to do it through You Tube.

On Headaches, Depression, and Health...

Now this sounds like a lovely topic, right? Lovely or no, it's where I'm at. The good news is that the sun is out, it's warm, and the days are easy. I feel much, much better at the moment than I have in awhile. I'm on a daily med to prevent the majority of headaches. Instead of near daily headaches, I have one scary one a month (where I can't move and makes me really sick), one half-bad one roughly once a week or so, and then still plenty of "early" headaches at the "this is annoying but I can still function" stage.

Physical therapy helped so much with some of the headaches and now I have particular exercises to do that can keep a headache from getting out of control. I'm still working on certain vitamin supplements, ironing out the diet, my stress levels, diet, de-cluttering, etc. but that's a life thing. I also finally scheduled an appointment with a neurologist, at a headache clinic specifically. It's a drive to get there, but hopefully it helps. I hate taking medicine. The unfortunate part is that I cannot get in until mid-October.

Some days I feel so old. I'm only 33. I try to do simple exercise every day. I want to do more. My body doesn't agree. I love and am so thankful for the days where I feel pretty normal. I wish I had more days like that. Hopefully I will some day. Right now, I suppose, it's a lesson - that I can't do it all, that I need help, God's help. A lesson in what's most important in life. A lesson in sacrifice.

On Deep Thoughts...

I have so many thoughts flitting in and out. I need to do more writing, get these thoughts out of there. Then maybe I can get somewhere with them.

Like death. In all its generality, death is on my mind. My grandparents are at the end of their years. Have I shared God's love enough with them? Do they want to know more? What about my parents? What if something happens to me or to my husband? You know, that kind of stuff, that just kind of pops out of the blue and hits you hard.

Speaking of death, these Marian caskets are simply beautiful, don't you agree? Death seems so final, scary for so many (for a variety of reasons), and such a taboo subject. I love our Catholic faith especially in talking about death. Death is just the beginning. It gives us a clear goal for our life on earth - to live to reach heaven when death comes. How easy it is to become distracted, to lose our way, to forget, to fear. But it is not something feared in the Catholic faith. It is not something forgotten.

Just a sweet shot of two little girlies before heading into more deep thoughts.

Or how about feeling shallow? This past year I have felt really guilty on sticking close to home. I feel like I should be doing more. But knowing that by doing more, I would actually be doing less. It still doesn't lessen the guilt. I sometimes wonder if I am missing out on showing my kids faith in action outside the home. I tend to think too much about the here and now, that life will never change, that it's always this way and always has been.

Or we could talk about unevenly yoked marriages, and what a struggle they are, how much silent pain they can cause. Have I ever shared that with you? My husband and I were married in the Catholic Church (the fall after I was baptized). I don't know what happened. I grew in faith, he grew out of it. Now I'm left to raise the kids in the faith in an uneven household. And they know it. Does that mean I love my husband any less? Of course not. It just means I struggle in different ways that someone whose husband practices the faith doesn't. I'm jealous of families who attend Mass together, who pray together, who want to go on Catholic family retreats... I want my husband to show strong, Christ-like leadership, to be an example. I fear for my sons, who lack that example.

On a Lighter Note...

Now that this post is lasting a lot longer than I thought it would, and since I have shared enough deep thoughts for tonight, perhaps something a little lighter?

I love this shot of Critter. He's so skinny and lean now. It was like yesterday he was all chubs, roly-poly baby fat.

Have you ever went from one Sunday to the next and all of a sudden the kids could not fit into dress shoes and pants were too tight and two inches too short? Yeah, a shopping trip is in order this week!

Miss Bear celebrated her fourth birthday last week. She was a grouch most of the day (I love her but she is definitely on the grouchy side of personality). Her only request, outside of a receiving "a real dog" was a pink ballerina birthday cake. I reworked a favorite allergen-free cake to make my version of a strawberry lemonade cake, and it was delicious. Leave a comment if you'd like the recipe and I'll put up a post!

Speaking of birthdays, Skipper says to me: "Next year Critter will turn 7 like I was. I will turn 9. Man, I can't believe how close to ten I am! I'm getting old!"

I set up a little Lego club that meets weekly this summer. It seems to be turning into a little Lego play, and a lot of other play, including Minecraft talk. (What is it with Minecraft? For those who don't know, it's a computer game.) I told my husband the kids don't seem to want to do legos now but just chat about Minecraft while running around. My husband's response? "Well, it is legos, but on the computer!"

Finally, a little quote:
"I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, I ought to do, and what I ought to do, by the grace of God, I will do." ~Dr. Tom Dooley
I will be surprised to have readers left after my long, long absence for the fast-paced world of blogging, but if you are around and read this, God bless!