Monday, April 30, 2007

Great Weekend!

What a Weekend!!! On Friday night my 17yo daughter was Confirmed. It was beautiful! Her sponsor is a friend with no daughters who has 'adopted' her. Its been a blessing for me that she has another strong, Catholic woman to talk to when its hard to talk to Mom.
Saturday AM my oldest son had an interview to get into the college prgram he is interested in and He's In!!!! This summer he attends for free working on 8 credits. With last summers program he'll start a semester ahead in fall.
Then was set building and costume work for Arsenic and Old Lace. DH was given the wrong measurments but he made it work. We still have lots to talk about for costumes because he's moving the play forward in time.
I went in the evening to wait for my daughter's Challenge Club to return from a Video contest in RI. They won 5th place. Challenge is a prgram run by Regnum Christi. Youth go through 4 stages of spiritual devolopment aimed at becoming leaders who serve. I love how Christ centered it is.
And I love going to my friend's house on Saturday night for Lord's Day. Lord's Day is a grace for meals on Saturday night that welcomes in the Lord's Day and consecrates it to God. Families that participate share a meal, good times and prayer and then try to truly honor Sunday by working as little as possible. Sunday is a time to visit the sick or relatives, play with the kids, rest.
We did this every Saturday for a decade but life has a way of pulling you in many directions. When God was calling them to form a covenant community we discerned it was not what we were supposed to do. Or marraige group One in Christ was also hard to attend. This is part of why we have returned to Cursillo. It works with our crazy life.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Catholic Mothers Online

Those paying attention know I've made loads of changes in the last week--- all 3 of you!!! This is my next, best change. I'll be listed on a blog roll called Catholic Mothers Online and have their link in my sidebar. I was drawn into trying this by seeing the good of this new 'neighbor' of moms helping moms. Young moms getting ideas, help or just a listening ear (OK Monitor). Experienced Moms getting a rejuvination or at least a use for this vast store of experience that our own children may not appreciate yet. This is the new evangelization.

Fr. Murphy Sings Karaoke

This my brother last year enjoying the cruise his students took during a Band Competition. Our family email loop was busy talking about cookies and the bridal shower I missed. He says, "Greetings all,

I'm sorry that my posting here has nothing to do with mac and cheese,
cookies, or any other food. I don't cook, but you should see what I
can do with bread and wine."

If you are ever in his classroom remember Rule #19: Respect spontaneous dancing.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Second Things

One of the First Things I knew I needed to do with this blog was to evaluate the time I spend on the computer. I definitely have spent more time but I certainly have learned a lot as well. For one thing I am typing quickly, my searches are more successful and I do have a web page put together as a plan for our homeschool group, (no, its not public yet)and I found a place to learn HTML. I even manipulated HTML for the site I'm building.
There are a lot of things I need to do that are not on the computer and I need to make them happen. One is my quilting that will take up the whole dining room for a couple days. I can't seem to steal the time out of our schedule. One is getting the junk and extra tables out of our bedroom. I don't know where to put it! and I can't do it without DH. (Let's just say we haven't seen each other awake very often lately.)
Another is getting my daughter drive time and I think its cruel for their time to learn driving to be when Mom's are hitting Pre Menopause. Just cruel. For Mom and the Teen. Poor Kid.
School? I need to put more fun in our day. Music, Art, hiking, anything. And I need a different Math program. I love the ease of using Saxon. Its spiral, has loads of word problems, speed drills, and mental math all included. But we need to try Math U See with its videos and manipulatives for a while and maybe Teaching Textbooks CDRom program which walks students through problems and lets them work at their own pace.
These take one Math subject at a time and teach it thoroughly and from many angles till the student really has it down. This has advantages as long as past topics are not forgotten.
The other 2 school things I need to prioritise are Phonics and the end of year 'stuff'. If I can get through the phonics with M and Z I can have 2 more independant learners next year. That is always a bonus.
End of year'stuff' includes testing, book selling and buying and dealing with the school deartment.
This year that means helping them rewrite the homeschool police for our City. (Massachusetts is an 'approval' state: each superintendant decides how approval will be given. If approval is not given burden shifts to the state to prove that your curiculum is not complete in scope or sequence so they ask for a lot of unnecessary, sometimes illegal information.) Luckily they are finally ready to work with us and realize they have no time to argue points they have in the past. So if we give them a plan that is complete and legal and covers them from future problems I'm sure it will pass.
So I gues these are my Second Things, Things that must happen thsi year even as I work on my other priorities.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Last Time I.... Meme

My Thoughtful Spot

I'm fighting a migraine so I gave up on doing the bills. Checked out Cheryl's Blog and got tagged--- now you are too.

When was the last time I ...

1. kissed someone? Good Morning kiss to 4 out of 7 kids

2. drank coffee? an hour ago, hoping the extra helps my head.

3. read a book? Working on Arsenic and Old Lace as I expect to help with costumes.

4. cursed? I didn't when I grounded 2 of them this week. Good enough for me.

5. had a nightmare? last week I dreamed I was not a good guest at my friend's sister's in NJ.... I don't travel well.

6. checked your email? Just a few minutes ago.

7. had a crush? high school

8. drove a car? 9:30, birthday gift for Sarah's friend

9. rode a roller coaster? 12 years ago, on a date with hubby, never again

10. took a nap? car ride home from Boston

11. went to the movies? Can't remember.

12. drank alcohol? Last night, 1 beer with a late dinner

13. went to a party? missing a shower right now :(

14. said “I love you"? Late last night to DH? maybe this morning too but I'm not a AM kind of person so I don't remember.

15. cooked a meal? yesterday chilli

16. exercised? Yesterday, walking to and from having van get an oil change.

Leave me a comment if you do one, so I can link you!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Carnival of Joy: Week 1 at Three Plus Two

Three Plus Two: Carnival of Joy: Week 1

This is a Carnival I could use! My mother has a quote, "Seek out JOY! Its better than happy and it defeats sad." Dianne E. Murphy. My mother is brilliant but I know its hard won wisdom to seek Joy rather than just expecting it to find you. Our personalities and the natural tendency to want to get things done gets in the way of enjoying the doing. I want the art lesson done, the laundry finished (and to stay finished.) I want school finished before I cook and rarely enjoy cooking anymore.
What a strange experience to have a slow, enjoyable, evening of dinner during our recent business trip. To discuss which wine and taste it rather than slug it down before a kid spills it. ( BTW Conundrum Chardonnay is lovely) To share platters of appetisers, seafood of Boston Harbor, and layers of adult conversations. I want to bring that sense of relaxation, of having the time to sit for hours, and bring it to our family dinner. Maybe its not practical more than once a week but it would be so nice.
Way back in the '2 kids' days we would practice going out for dinner. We'd dress up, put on music, DH would make them a 'cocktail' with a slice of orange for garnish in a real glass. We would serve the food in courses. Daddy and Mommy might even open the dance floor.
Of course our Kitchen remodel will be a real inspiration to enjoy the cooking again, but for now I'm going to find more Joy in the people who eat it, a whole Carnival of Joy.

Wowimo: 10 Things to Do When You Set Up Your Blogger Blog: A Tutorial, The Introduction

Wowimo: 10 Things to Do When You Set Up Your Blogger Blog: A Tutorial, The Introduction

Its breaking the rules to post before I've really done all her suggestions I'm sure, but this is just wonderful!!! She assumes you want traffic and comments and has really researched how to get your blog doing what you want. Can't wait for all Ten ideas to be posted.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Catholic Conference was a definite Three Star Event***

C.H.A.P.L.E.T is a home school support group for Catholics in Southern New Jersey. Besides their web site they run a private Yahoo! group for members, field trips, First Friday, classes, co-ops etc. I have been to the large Christian Conference MassHOPE but never a Catholic one.
First of all yes it was a long drive. We went the night before as 2 of us have family in New Jersey--- Thank you to Bill and Jean and their many children for their hospitality! Unfortunately because of the drive we did not attend Mass but arrived about 9:30, 1/2 hour late for Conference Hall opening. Many in this organization are able to attend Indult Tridentine Mass every week. It is rare for us to even see one. Therefore the Conference was held at a church that is still set up primarily for this Latin Rite and it was a treat to see. After Mass Holy Eucharist was reserved in the Chapel where Adoration of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament was available all day. This left the church available for the speakers. The Parish Hall with the displays and Food Area is attached so everything was very convenient.
Every participant was greeted with a packet full of information from various vendors including catalogs of vendors and schools that could not send a representative. In it was our agenda, a map, membership application, a helpful hints page and a survey form. You could also order a CD of all the talks.
I have ordered copies of the talks that I will share with friends. I did miss 1 talk and the panel discussion but I enjoyed the other 2 speakers. First was Rob Evans "The Donut Man" He is a regular on EWTN's children's program and has spent 20 years in children's ministry but in April 2006 he and his wife and daughter were received into the Catholic church. He spoke about his conversion, ministering to children and shared some of the new, decidedly Catholic, and completely engaging songs he's written since beginning his conversion.
The three of us were able to speak to him personally and I can't wait for him to come to MA! He makes an excellent point about the fact that in the Catholic church Christ instituted our physical being is integrated into the life of the church through the gifts of the Sacraments. He quips that "If you are going to believe at all you might as well believe it all!" He is looking forward to continuing his ministry among the Evangelical church with his new fullness of Faith.
The other speaker we heard was Deacon Eugene McGurik, a deacon for 19 years, married for 30, he is the father of 4 homeschooled children. He is the Director of Academic Counseling at Seton Home Study School, one of the largest Catholic Homeschool providers in the nation. His topic was "Why Homeschool"
He began a little nervous and dry, not just because he followed Rob, and I was a little frustrated as I tried to take notes that they flew by so fast and furious. But after the first 10 minutes he settled into a rhythm and reached what must have been his favorite part of the talk. He became interesting and engaging and made the Canon Law regarding the responsibilities and rights of parents within the church accessible information. Then he provided copies of the Canon Law paragraphs pertinent to parenting and education and gave reprint permission-- which I'll take advantage of later.
He also included wonderful information from John Taylor Gatto. This 20 year Teacher took the opportunity of receiving Teacher of the Year to resign and to point out the many flaws in the NY public schools of 1970's. Since then he has written about Outcome Based Education and its flaws.
The vendors tables were complete and the selection of booths were varied. Publishers and Book Distributors included Catholic Books Publishing, Pauline Books and Media, Arx, TAN, Adoremus, Math-U-See, Bethlehem Books, Scepter, Catholic Heritage Curricula. ,Emmanuel Books, Family Centered Press and Our Father's House.
Schools included Seton, Mother of Divine Grace, Thomas More College of Liberal Arts, Ave Maria University, and Christendom College.
Spanish Language Materials were available through Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother with Lumen Entertainment/Ave Maria University in Florida.
Other vendors were Miles Christi Priests and Brothers Retreats, Illuminated Ink, Nest Entertainment, Blessed Imelda Veils, My Mary Doll, Guerrilla Apologetics, J. C. Rosaries ( and the local Catholic Gift shop Padre Pio Shop.
A special surprise for us was seeing the sisters from Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary from Still River, MA. My friend's sister is a sister there. (If they each known about the other the sister Sister might have been there) They run the Saint Benedict Center, summer camps, and a school.
Our greeting bag also included information or a full catalog from Our Lady of Victory Home Study Program, Our Lady of the Rosary School, Kolbe Academy Home School, Leaflet Missal, Pro Multis Media, Rafka Press, and Memoria Press.
I have to say I was impressed with the job they did and hope to use what we learned from them to create an equally helpful conference for the New England area.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

First Things First-- 1 down!

I do not have to start a web site for our group!!!! Yeah!!! Well Maybe.

First the Yeah!! Several of our local Homeschoolers belong to a Covenant Community. This means they have formed a special bond, a covenant promise, to support each other in their Catholic Walk. My husband and I gave it serious consideration joining. They are some of the best and most prayful people I know. Careful in their formation, complete in worship, exhuberant in God's Praise, trusting their Lord and all while faithful to the Magesterium and our Pope.
Unfortunately God didn't seem to call us to join.
However on of their members has a domain and web site and gave a section before. well it was down but they are up and running again !!!
Plus its very secure because you can only sign up and have access to the important pages if they know you when you email them. their main page does not even show that there is a homeschool section if you don't have special permission to be on that page, just as I'll be able to see that page but not the Covenant members page since I'm not a member.
It means all our field trips, classes, co-ops can post sensitive information safely.
But then there is the face of Catholic Homeschooling. Should we have a page that the world can see? one that lets young moms consider the option of Catholic Homeschooling? one that lets us evangelize? one that connects us to other Catholic Homeschool support groups across the nation? and that lets those moving here know where to get answers?
Well maybe not now, but maybe soon.

C.H.A.P.L.E.T. was great!

Just had to tell you all that the Catholic Hoemschool Conference was great but I am convinced we need one in the New England area. Maybe there has been one I didn't know about but the last one I remember was in CT years ago and I couldn't make it. For some starnge reason, hopefully grace and not insanity, it doesn't seem impossible. There group isn't much larger than ours and I saw them actually have time with the vendors, even the ladies doing the most work.
My great thanks to them for their welcome and I'll do a proper write up ASAP. Unfortunately I came back to illness so it will have to wait. Peace.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Catholic Homeschool Conferences

Today 3 of us are leaving for New Jersey to attend one of the Catholic Homeschool Conferences. In all these years I had never been to one. I hear there had been one north of Boston and one in Connecticut but the most popular one on the east coast is in DC. Here in Massachusetts there is a huge Christian conference called MassHope which I have been to several times.
The speakers are always uplifting and you can compare prices on things like the more expensive Math programs or talk to the author of a text you’ve used to get clarification or help in placement level for your particular student. I do have to watch out for vendors that are anti-catholic however. I don’t mind opening dialogue but this is usually not the setting to change hearts in this matter.
The one we are going to is run by C.H.A.P.L.E.T. It is just one day, has 2 speakers, plus a discussion panel, plus the vendor room where you can see and buy curriculum. One of us is fairly new to homeschooling and wants to see things before buying. One knows what she likes but is curious and she knows New Jersey. I tend to be more of a relaxed/eclectic homeschoolers who happens to be Catholic. Religion and prayer are part of our everyday but I would homeschool even if I could afford Catholic schools. I really love the lifestyle and relationships, the ministry moments we are led to, but yes, its all from a Faith perspective, so I really want Catholic books.
I’m going knowing the Spirit has put it on my heart that Massachusetts needs a Catholic Family Convention. It couldn't be just about homeschooling—there aren’t enough of us in my mind. (Although CHAPLET has 30 families) I’d love to see a row of booths about shrines you can visit in a day trip. One of resources to supplement the Catholic life. The third row could be homeschool resources.
I’d love something encouraging to come out of our diocese that is so big that the other encouraging things get noticed. Everything is about dwindling numbers or the sex abuse scandal. What about the great youth ministry, Rachael’s Vineyard, Cursillo, our strong Charistmatic Renewal? Our award winning newspaper, The Observer, and our weekly broadcast of Real to Reel?
Pray for us, for the Convention, and for my Diocese. I’ll pray for you and yours.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Creative Minority Report: An Indecent Family

This is a have to read for those with big families and especially for those without.

Creative Minority Report: An Indecent Family

Best Family Ever!

OK I'm finally in a better mood. I wasn't As bad about eating candy and leftover cheesecake yesterday, I got a little sleep, and I found an excuse to waste more time on the computer!!
My cousin started a website for our family and we have representative cousins from 6 or the 7 sibling parents..... my Dad is #2 of 7. My Pepere would be so proud! We have pics of new babies, recipes, loads of banter. Most of them were 8 and under when I got married, including 2 of my sisters. But now I'm not the only grown up!
I normally only get see them at weddings and showers and funerals so we never have something to talk about that's real. Its all catching up.
The idea first started brewing when we were at a wedding and realized a shower needed to be planned for one cousin. It was my chance to do something nice for her mother, who had given me a nice baby shower. It became a 'cousins' shower by the end of the wedding. Everyone got in on the act and it was fabulous. It forced the sharing of email which got us beyond caught up for the first time.
I can tell its a joy for the ones living far away and the ones at home with baby, for the ones with a OK job, but especially for this computer junkie.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Reprise: First Things First

Time to look at my plan and evaluate the progress.

Decide whether I am capable of, or called to, creating a web page for a group I help run.

Well I've managed this so far but I just found out how much I'd have to spend to get a pass word protected page. Back to the search engine.

Review books I'm reading and process what I get out of them.

Its starting and I started database of book recommendations of the Yahoo group my cousin started for our family.

Evaluate the value of the time I spend on the internet.

Way to much. Especially when I'm in a bad mood. Keeps me out of everyones way.

Record the history of our family as I've been unable to do with crafty, tedious things like scrapbooking.

Eh.... not so good yet.

Discuss the restructuring of our diocese: both the hope and the fear.

Had a meeting about the upcoming Parish Breakfast Town Meeting. It could be good.

See how open I 'really' am to hearing comments and criticism.
Moot point, no comments except for a lovely email from DH, (my biggest fan) and a couple close girlfriends/ sisters.

Explore this new, post-baby world I'm entering.

I gave away the last of the baby stuff. except the high chair. Lots of nieces and nephews.

Adsense or no?

Trying yes. No offensive ads showed up. I'm probably loosing them money.

And mostly, I hope, to pray more

Well not bad during Holy Week....

and let the Spirit move me more each day.

Definitely following His prompting on a few things. Could do better.

Room Sharing- Pros and Cons

Danielle Bean is helping a cyber friend stand up for her decision to continue having her kids share bedrooms. In todays culture with 6 bedroom McMansions with 4 people living there part time its hard for most people to imagine living in the consatant presense of another person. Here was my contribution:

"We've done a little of everything,(as always) since I can never leave well enough alone. I was the oldest of 8. There were 5 girls and a boy when my parents gave up and made the living room there bedroom. When expecting 'good ole #7' She had the 3 oldest of us--all girls-- take the livingroom and said she wouldn't deliver till he'd turned the attic to bedrooms. She did deliver in June although the bedrooms weren't ready till Christmas Eve. We slept on the floor that night, well, actually we talked half the night which drove daddy crazy!
When he was done I had a room and the other 2 shared but he never finished. We never got doors. Then when I was 19 #8 came around and everything changed. Both the younger ones were girls so the boy had his own room. I now had to share since I was in college and so only home half the time. And yes my sisters and I love to have a girl's night. Mum comes too. Its fabulous. We argued like crazy back then but now they are my best friends.
Currently our 2 boys share our attic, the 17 yo girl has her own room but its the size of a closet. and the 4 little girls have their bunks and clothes in one room with all the toys in another. For sleepovers we can take over the toy room.
I have noticed in families where everyone has there own room a tendency to allow gathering in bedrooms. It may be OK for a sleepover but with a boy and a girl teen I don't allow much of hanging out upstairs. its just not modest. We've tried to make the first floor very available. Living room, study, DR, kitchen, and to make the porch and back yard good places to hang out. I want their friends over BUT...
One idea I saw was to have a guest room double as something useful like a study area or craft area. This way you don't feel you've wasted space.
Another was abig family with one full bath set up the closest bedroom as the laundry and dressing room. All Dressers, the washer and dryer, the iron all in one place. You came out of the shower, grabbed your clothes changed behind the curtain and hung your towel. It left the bedroom with more room and eliminated season change over problems, (Like packing up the mittens the finding Easter colder than Christmas)
Our room plan will change when my oldest are at college most of the year and the oldest of the little girls becomes a teen 3 years before the rest.
Anyway sharing rooms really does great things for kids."

Beyond that I think its great for society. Most kids grow up in a public school and with age segregated activities after school and never learn how to deal with other ages. We learn compassion helping a little one with shoes or making beds. We learn vocabulary when an older person reads to us or tells about way back when. We see they struggle to learn something and learn to be patient with ourselves as we learn something new.
It seems to me we need more ways of bringing our kids together not more ways to give them privacy.

PS Danielle has been nominated for Funniest Homeschool Blog! She gets my vote.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Now she tells me! ; )

Two things we'll do next Easter.

Holy Saturday Praise Walk! at By Sun adn Candlelight

and an Easter Monday Joy List to help fight off burn out from Real Learning.

Such smart ladies out there! Wish I had time to read them all.

Higher Up and Further In

Higher Up and Further In

The list of blogs I hadn't visited on the nomination list at The Homeschool Blog Awards was SOOOOOOOOO tempting. Like a plate of chocolate covered truffles just waiting to be explored and tasted. The names of the blogs range from the mundane to the silly, like which reads " insert witty blog title here".
But this one really caught my eye because my family and I are CSLewis's Narnia junkies. We have been know to spontaniously recite the begining of our favorite:"There once was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb. And he almost deserved it."
'Higher up and Further in' is Lewis's way of explaining an eternity of freshness, newness, the joy of discovering what heaven holds. The blogger is discussing the answer to a question she received about what it looks like to have Heaven in mind for all you do. It really is our home, our goal. Treasure on earth will fail and leave us missing the greater gifts.
I will enjoy this woman!

So Why do we keep searching, teaching, trying, believing, putting Heaven first? I think the quote from her profile says it. ts from CS Lewis,
THE SILVER CHAIR "... Suppose we have only dreamed or made up all those things--trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that in that case the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that's a funny thing when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game if you're right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play world. I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia ... We're leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland. Not that our lives will be very long I should think; but that's small loss if the world's as dull a place as you say." -C.S. Lewis

Homeschool Blogs

One of my friends, a new friend and fabulous Mom, has bend nominated for Best Cyber Buddy on the 2006 Homeschool Blog Awards! She has a blog called MY Thoughtful Spot and it is Lovely!

It may be just the day after Easter but we are going to be on the ball this Spring. We are meeting tonight to plan co-op opportunities for next year. We had some this year and it was wonderful. I have to say I was less excited by the ones I wasn't teaching and thrilled with the one I taught. More and more I know this Homeschooling is God's way of getting to me, molding me first and then the children. Maybe when mine are up and gone I'll keep teaching.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Blessed Easter to All!

Today was Egg Day. Everyone brings their kiddos to my Mum's to decorate Easter Eggs. It was a wonderful day. Most everyone was there except the far away sister and my brother: Fr/Uncle J. We heard from them by speaker phone. Everyone had messy hands, too much to eat, and a turn snuggling the newest. I love this tradition.
Tonight something new. I'm singing the Easter Vigil with 2 of my girls and my husband is going to brave the vigil with the little one. I've heard this can work well. My favorite blogger had a long thread about it - how tired and quiet and co-operative her kids are at such a late service. I have my doubts but think I have him set for success.
First they have tubbed, which makes them sleepy.
Second Mass starts at 8 which is bed time.
Third is the Capes. you see I was in quite a mood at Christmas and no matter how busy I was I was determined to make something dressy for the little girls. I figure capes were a good choice especcially since Easter would be early and therefore cool so they'd get more use.
Wellthey weren't actually worn for Christmas. I had to leave early to sing and had forgotten to tell DH and the girls which was which. So they wore the old coats. Of couse we had a warm week so I packed them up in the attic. Now its cold .
Ok I managed. they are out and ironed and all that is left is getting myself ready.
with time to spare!
Sohave a beautiful Easter. Holy and grace filled. the whole season of it.
Peace, Mary

Thursday, April 5, 2007

"Not in possesion of one's senses"


"non compos mentis
The term non compos mentis comes from Latin, non meaning "not," compos meaning "in control," and mentis, genitive singular of mens, mind. and means not having a sound mind; not sane.

It is most typically used in its negative form, non compos mentis, that is, not having control of one's faculties, as in a phrase such as "It was determined that the criminal was non compos mentis" (i.e., insane); one might say the criminal was compos mentis, i.e., the criminal had full knowledge of his/her acts and is competent to stand trial.

Although it is used as a legal term, it can also be used colloquially. In its colloquial form the expression is often less severe than the strict legal sense. For example, "He was not fully compos mentis as he was still suffering from a hangover" means he was not fully in charge of his faculties. Another example, using the negative form, is "I'm feeling a bit non compos mentis today," meaning "I'm feeling a bit out of it" or "...a bit spaced out".

The colloquial word nincompoop = "stupid person" may be (authorities differ on this) a distorted form of non compos mentis."

This must be what's happened to me: I am Non Compos Mentis. First of all because I took a chance yesterday and told a few people about my blog. It could be a dangerous thing for my sisters and friends, who know so much about me, to add comments, (and corrects?) to my entries.
Then I looked for Widgets to add to my site. Specifically Catholic ones. (Oh a widget is an addon to your site like the ads, daily readings, counter etc.) I was sure I'd a site that had a rotating Saint of the Day. Well I found one but the link has an error in it. I also found one for Catholic Tidbits. Sounded harmless enough. The example was a quote from GK Chesterton. I've never been brave enough to tackle his work so I'd look pretty smart right?

Then I see the first one today: Non Compos Mentis. Yep that's me.
I'm just not in possesion of my faculties. I've been blaming it on turning 40, that was a while ago now. I often feel like my brain fell out of my head that day and hasn't returned. The reality is that I'm thinking about too many things at once and think about them in a deeper way. It can take a long time to sort through a problem from all angles. I'm usually too quick to share a new idea and then when I've thought out all the angles realize it was a bad idea.
Keeping this blog as a secret for a while was a step in the right direction for me. Its an understanding of myself. I need to put words to things in a concrete way in order to better understand them, organize them and then decide if its worth pursuing, if the timing is right.
Its also an understanding of the people around me and the effect I have on them. I can be a 'twirl a whirl' of a ride. It is unsettling for others and sometimes I have to curb my enthusiam for something until I have really thought it out.

DH is great about dealing with it. He knows now when I need a sounding board. I've seen him fold his hands and just wait. I can almost here the mantra, "She just needs to talk, she does not want me to fix this for her"
I think this writing is helping keep me from dumping on him. For one thing there is something about posting to the Universe that inspires one to actually edit first, or at least go back. I've even remembered to spell check;)
But also I know anyone can just click onto the next site and never come back if they don't want to and I'll never know and be hurt.

The flip side for me is that when I lose the enthusiasm, the absolute certainty that my latest project HAS to happen, the it doesn't. The slightest discouragement, the realization that I don't yet have the talent or training to do something well, and I find all kinds of excuses not to finish.
Currently it's my quilts. There is just one part that's hard for me. The machine quilting is difficult only because I need to take over the dining room and that kids use that as our school room/craft room. I can give them other things to do but its always dirty. By the time its clean its lunch time. So maybe I'll wait for a week of good weather. Then the kids can eat outside, play, draw nature etc. They'll be happy And I'll finish. Yes that will work. No more guilt that its been a while. Its just not the God Ordained time.

There! I'm Compos Mentis now.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Here is where to get answers!

American Catholic - A Roman Catholic Church site from the Franciscans

Links for Saint of the Day, Meditations, and the Why's of the Faith.
all in one place.

How do you do it?

One of the most common questions those of us with more than 2.5 children here is "How do you do it?" I usually answer that I don't and its true. My house is picked up and not unheathy, but I wouldn't call it clean. My kids are good but they all have something to learn about manners. Homeschooling here is awkward this time of year as I decide what I can reasonable finish and cringe at what I know has to what for September.
My favorite blogger, Danielle Bean, is answering this question right now. Not for someone with no kids but for a young mom in the trenches. That really hard stage when the oldest isn't old enough to help, the younger 2 are really both babies but you've been married long enough that your husband hopes you're are starting to get good at this SAHM stuff. The writer's husband at least is asking for her to get some help but like most women she is not comfortable having another person in her house 'helping'
I get that. When we first got married and would clean my husband would start with my things, since I made the most mess, but then I couldn't find anything. My brain works so differently than his I could not figure out where he might have put things. I finally stared to be more diligent when I was pregnant but since I need a CSect I had to let people help me.
Luckily I got used to the idea and set out to make sure my kids learned how to help. They liked feeling competent and helpful. But back then we thought we be a 2 career 2 kid family. Taking the leap of staying home, living simpler (read: more work to save $$$) then braving the world of a larger family.

And how did we do it, say yes to a bigger family? One kid at a time.

In fact it took me 8 months to get use to the impending arrival of some of them. Simply because I became more fully aware of what was being asked of me.

So what advice would I give this woman, or any, who is struggling to keep up the house?
here is what I posted at Danielle's blog:

" My husband is far better at organizing, cleaning etc. He's also better at having fun with the kids. He's patient with me but certainly has been frustrated. I tend to clean things very well- then when it gets dirty again I don't bother with it for a while. Or I do something more productive-- like sewing that has a finished product at the end I can see and feel and keep.

Some things I've done:
Clean only 3 times a day in bursts. Just after Breakfast we clean enough to sweep downstairs. (Then they do school or play upstairs.) Just before lunch we clean up school enough to eat at the table, then after we clean up lunch they play outside. (Then I tuck little ones while big ones do more school) Just before Dad comes home we do a quick pick up of the rooms that matter to him, and set table. This might be the entrance, living room, my room if there if still a pile of laundry there whatever makes coming home to us easier. After dinner if you start tubs and stories quick enough they don't have time to make a mess.

I've said it before: pack up a box of things you hate cleaning. Dust collectors, small toys, anything, either save it or give it away. Its amazing how clean a place looks when there is less stuff. Need an incentive? Pack one box every fasting day, or everytime there is a fire in your community. (If you wouldn't run back in the burning house to save it- you don't need it.)

For Mother's Day ask for something that helps keep the house clean. One year my husband filled the dirt path into the house with a brick path! It was amazing how much less dirt came in the house. Last year we worked on our porch and he covered it in astro turf. again it stops all the dirt from getting in.

Simplify the wardrobes. Jeans and polo's Jumpers with polo's or Tnecks. Put up hooks for the Jeans or Jumpers to hang on to wear again: Its only going to get dirty again!
I know sometimes a batch a day keeps the laundry monster away and allows you to have fewer clothes and dressers and neater closets. ( I can't do that now that mine are old enough to have opinions about the clothes)

A tough one to learn is that it does not have to be cleaned the way you clean to get rid of the dirt. I wash floors with a sponge mop and just enough water to do the job, I don't want to get puddles. My husband had done National Guard that made them SOAK the floor with a rag mop. Drove me crazy. I was sure the cellar would flood, it didn't!

Danielle is really smart, sounds just like my closest sister, and she's right, "Let Go" and I'd add "Let God!""

Monday, April 2, 2007

Using the Web

In First Things First I mentioned that I'm think about starting a web page for a group I belong to and in fact I have become a leader. It is our local homeschool group. There is a larger group in the area with a web page and a downloadable monthly newsletter. The newsletter access is for members only so names and addresses are protected. They have a great plan for the site as a whole.... but it doesn't seem to get a lot of use except for downloading newsletters. I am assuming this, based on how few changes have been made since it went up. I really have no need to look every week. I only need to look once a month.
So I'm not sure it would be worth my effort. Then, there are the women in our group that HATE computers! and I really mean that. They prefer books, (so do I) dislike the arguements over whose turn it is, (it always my turn here) feel insecure about what their children could be exposed too. (real concern)
On the other hand there is a great concern on my heart that new homeschoolers find help information and support. The first few years are often frightening because it is still such an unusual undertaking. There are those who decide to homeschool from the begining but more often parents feel they must pull their child from a certain school because of problems not being addressed or values in contrast to their own. We often feel we must defend ourselves against critics and smooth the ruffled feathers of relatives who made different choices.

Our parents were supportive but felt they had made a good decision to send us to public school---shouldn't we?
Catholic schools are available with financial sacrifice--- should we?

Of course making my 'availability to help' public knowledge on the web is a small step. I'm already on a regional email list and a state one and in every newsletter printed locally. But there are others in the newsletter that would not want personal information passed around.
Any ideas would be welcome.
Passover and Easter Blessing during this Holy Week, Mary