Monday, July 30, 2007

Taking a Breath

Remember where I started?

"After a very crazy weekend, (7 kids, parade weekend, plumbing issues and colds starting all around) I'm going to limit my post to what I eventually want to accomplish here:

Decide whether I am capable of, or called to, creating a web page for a group I help run.
Review books I'm reading and process what I get out of them.
Evaluate the value of the time I spend on the internet.
Record the history of our family as I've been unable to do with crafty, tedious things like scrapbooking.
Discuss the restructuring of our diocese: both the hope and the fear.
See how open I 'really' am to hearing comments and criticism.
Explore this new, post-baby world I'm entering.
Adsense or no?
And mostly, I hope, to pray more and let the Spirit move me more each day.
Peace."

Over 4 months ago I wrote a post called First Things, quoted above, and I have gone back to it regularly to see where I've been and where I'm going. I did decide I was called to start our public web page for the Catholic Homeschoolers whether I was capable of handling all the problems that would come up. We still have trouble getting the other author to post and I would love to be linked in more places. The focus will be to give a public view of the effort to create a Catholic Family Resources/Homeschooling Conference in Western Mass. and I'd feel better about the idea if the advertising and marketing had a central location. And Yes I can handle comments. In fact the friends I made over the internet are a great solace on the 'no other grown ups' days.

This goal overlaps my goal of discussing the Diocese I'm in. While I have not blogged extensively about it I will soon. I've been able to work with a unique group of women to start plans for a Women's Conference and for an Office of Women's Ministry to be proposed. The first meeting left me a little unsure but the second was so Spirit led I was amazed. God is Good.

Posting on books I've read has been both easy and hard. I absolutely could not live without books. I've realized its one of the first things my homeschoolers do. Even before they can read they are stapling pages together, drawing the pictures and asking me to spell for them.
The hard part is how changed and confused I can become. I just read a Maya Angelou, "Gather in my Name" and I'm still puzzled. The title makes no sense to me--- I missed something. "Our Lady of the Lost and Found" and
"Morning by Morning" were both extremely challenging. Maybe I'm finally ready again for the phonics readers I was sick of hearing.

Time on the internet? Well too much on the homeschooling end: our co-op has been such a struggle I won't be done planning before I start the new year of Newsletters. One thing I loved has been the yahoo group my cousin set up for the family. Most of my picture posting has been there instead of here. But I'll work on that.

So next week I'll blog about:

My Kids
Our Conferences
Re-invigorating my prayer life

After that I'll work on my school plan. I'll also write about working with the local School Dept. on changing regulations. By August we'll be starting soccer!!! I love
kid soccer in our city!

For today it was busy! I took a neighbor with us to our CSA farm run by The Food Bank of Western Mass. It is the most eclectic place in the world. She nearly cries to see women like my friend and I having the choice to stay home with our kids AND the choice to work or run triathlons. She sadly found she had a husband who would not allow her to work or take classes and would not help care for his own children. Of course she was a feminist. Of course she fought for women's rights. I so happy that women who did the fighting often break the stereotype and support those of us who stay home and mother!!

Peace.




Saturday, July 28, 2007

Seashore is summer and is Lovely!

I've finally found the Loveliness Fairs again and this week is the Loveliness of the Seashore hosted by Elaine at A Wink and a Smile.

For us 'seashore' is about visiting my in-laws at the Cape. I never remember a time when my in-laws did not want the Cape, that is Cape Cod, to be their retirement place. We are in Western Mass and the ride to the Bourne bridge is not as horrible as it could be because instead of renting we visit and avoid the traffic.
Their first place was a tiny, adorable cottage with privacy on one side because of a small patch of wetland. The kitchen was built into a hallway, so between my pregnancies and her evidence of good cooking it was often like driving bumper cars. It was a short safe watch to the beach where Grandpa gave baby David his first ice cream --with chocolate chips. One year we brought our inflatable rubber raft (a joke gift from my mother) and took turns letting the kids row. My 7 year old told me he'd take me all the way to Ireland!
When they found the place that would work to retire to they were thrilled. A lovely shake covered Cape set back on the property. 3 minutes from a pond, 5 from a marsh, and 10 from the beach. That's walking time. A 10 minute bike trip will bring you where the river meets the ocean and baby sea creatures incubate. A playground for for a kid with a net.
Best of all all the home have passed from one family member to the next with siblings sharing together. They have the same neighbors every year.
Seven years ago some of the neighbors began a Fourth of July celebration. They have all the kids decorate their bikes, wagons, helmets and parade around the block. When everyone gets back to the pond there are Hot Dogs and Cape Cod chips, musical chairs to the Marine Hymn, water balloons and prizes like Push up Pops. I've never seen so many Old Navy Red Tshirts!!!
Its a blast! Relaxing, patriotic, family time and community.
If you followed our Kitchen remodel you know my in laws took 3 of the kids for us for 2 weeks to make the deconstruction go well. We really owed them so as rushed as we were we made a point of being there. It really slowed us all down. Gramma and David played Cribbage or he worked puzzles with me. we walked and walked.
Now Mom and I don't stay up as late but we used to. We'd sit up reading for hours while they guys did early morning duty. She always had a book she'd been saving for me and for my husband and his Dad it was special time.
We do all our swimming late if we can. They play in the shade till lunch, eat, then we pack and sunscreen like crazy. I'll love the Pina Colada scent and rubbing down chubby arms and legs.

Shhh! Don't tell anyone but we've been known to put too many in Dad's car. Its 3 very quiet blocks where you can't go more than 3 miles per hour. If we have a baby I stroller them to the water so they'll have a place to rest.

Sleepy little one, a beach chair, cold drink, watching them become braver and stronger and more in love with their Dad and Grandpa every time they are swung through a wave or tossed in the air. That is Loveliness.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Nearly Done!

Dear Hubby made the many sacrifices involved in getting up early, picking up the kitchen from last nights tiling, and getting me good photos. (Well they 'may' have been to show at work) Any way he has put up the trim, we've nearly finished the tiling and we're nearly done.

This is the view from my Dining Room. The upper cabinets will be conected with the only open shelving in the room.
















This is the same area from the Galley end of the kitchen. The door you see in both pictures leads to the back porch. Where the old oven and clock are will be a wall oven during Phase II. Defined as "when the budget recovers"












When you step in from the dining room and look to the left you see the galley. The right hand side .....



















and the left........















Here's a close up of the range, new backsplash including a place to put large and/or cooling pots.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Fine

All that wit and wisdom and spiritual awareness and my 2 most faithful followers have their nose stuck in the latest Harry Potter! They won't even blog a sentence about getting their copy to give me a distraction from myself.
Fine.
Guess That will teach me not to fall fior the latest book craze.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Editing

"Feeling better? You didn't sound like yourself when I read your blog."

Actually the more I think about it I sounded more like myself in that last, unedited, rambling mess of a blog. As I told my family when they heard a tirade in a premenopausal mood swing---'Believe me its worse in here'
My nature is to react, emotionally, and respond unedited to every event, hardship, book, song, pray and fleeting thought. I was so easily distracted as a child my poor mother brought me in for a hearing test. Thankfully she was also very understanding. She noticed and shared most of my first puberty induce crying jags.
Dear Hubby also understands. When I need to talk something out, out loud, for half and hour straight just to understand what I think about something he sits and listens. I can visibly see him restrain himself from commenting. Of course like any real man he wants to fix it. His brain is off to solutions even before I know if there is something to fix or just an emotion I need to control.

During one of our Bible Studies we mentioned mood swings and I was finally seeing, after 30 years of having them, that they are a gift. When women are calm, sedate, strong and happy we can create those things in our homes. When our mind and body is stressed and seeing everything that is wrong our eyes are opened to those things that need to be fixed. Whether that is ourselves or a relationship.
It is a gift that one parent has mood swings at the same time as teens to sympathize with them while one is steady and unreactive to little things when they need a buoy to cling to in the storm.

As an aside though I thoroughly advocate getting professional help when you need it. Again a bad mood swing is a signal that something is wrong and it may be you. Did you know most thyroid problems go undiagnosed? Did you know most diets increase mood swings and hurt fertility because when we cut bad fats we often loose essential fatty acids--- which make our brain work correctly.
Mine have mostly been better but I think I need to cut the caffeine again and watch that I eat breakfast and cut the alcohol. I was mostly the 'good girl' then spent 14 years of my marriage pregnant or nursing and the rest watching out for migraine triggers. Now that my kids usually sleep through the night and I'm outgrowing migraines its a real treat to have a beer or two. A wine with dinner and one after tucking. But of course I'm not at my best in the morning, not loosing weight, not cutting caffeine and my mood swings control me instead of being a tool I can use to discern where my efforts should be.

So while the calm, collected, even funny persona is what most people see and love its the frantic, unorganized, unedited and melancholy Mary that I live with.
That's OK.
I like her.

Friday, July 20, 2007

If a was a an angst ridden teen again this would be a Dear Diary kind of day. I'm a little sleep deprived, the one where your eyes sting but closing them to sleep seems impossible. The last 2 weeks have seemed very stressful. Hurry up and wait, finally start something only to have the phone ring or a child fall off a bike: a new 4 wheeler bought 2 days after her birthday by showing up at your husband's office during lunch and mentioning for the first time that your daughter had one request.
Two weeks of highs and lows. Watching my dream kitchen come together is just wonderful its only that the last 2 weeks their is less I can do. I even have to think twice about cooking so I won't be in the way the one hour a day Steve is here.
But yesterday we did bake all day. Cakes and muffins. My offering to Our Lady. I was not up to being my best which I guess is what makes it an offering.
2 weeks of trying to pull together the school plan for our co-op and going to meetings and making phone calls.
Oh and trying to have a summer. The kid pool is broken, too much rain for using the sprinkler. I couldn't swim the week we were at the Cape and may not be able to when we go to the work picnic tomorrow. (My 7 year old told my in law's neighbor I couldn't swim because I was 42)
So I have been reading. No not Harry Potter of which I have only read one book and seen one film. Yes I was cautious at first but mostly just not interested. Everything in my life at the time surrounded children and their imagination and inklings and I need to have something to read that grows me, separates me, reminds me I have a mind and imagination of my own. No matter how much I share with others, no matter how similar I am to others, no matter how much my children tell others every minute detail of my life yet there is no way even I can fully scrutinize all the corners of my mind and no all its intricacies.
And so I had a GIANT pile of library books to read. One was excellent but very 'schoolish' I needed something different this week. I wanted to read Jane Austin--- I never have. Don't know how that happened in spite of having High School teachers that trusted us to pick well from their lists I skipped the overly feminine ones. The expected.
I had it in my mind I ought, as a former Murphy, tackle James Joyce. That was until I read the first page, or rather looked at the nonsense on the page and found my scientific side will not allow me to comprehend his attempt to write in the style of dream/stream of conscience non-constructed silliness.
I had taken out Watership Down again the way I make Chicken and lumpy potatoes when I need comfort food. But I managed to convince my David to try it and he was convinced indeed. I just got back the book.
So I took up a book my sister was attempting to return to my mother. A gift from my brother: Father/Uncle Jimmy in Toronto it is inscribed to Mum as the book that brought him closest to Our Mother.
Diane Schoemperlen's Our Lady of the Lost and Found copyright 2001 by HarperCollins Canada was winner of the Governor General's award for Fiction. Over an over I book marked pages to quote in this universe we call the Internet. Phrases that caught my eye, made my laugh or cry or pray. But of course as we keep reading and are thus changed by the reading, the ideas, the conflict they create in us about our existing view of the world and ourselves I would go back and find the phrase inadequate nest the one in the following chapter so changed was I already.
She discusses in fact this dichotomy, fact vs. history, story vs. reality, Faith vs. doubt. either/or vs Both/and past and present and future as much as she discusses Our Lady. In the book, which is very clearly labeled as fiction, the narrator is visited by Mary Mother of God with a small request. That she can stay for week of rest before the month of May.
Over the course of the stay and during time researching afterwards the woman who is an author learns about the many visitations Mary has made over Two Thousand years and the mystery of the many contradictions that Mary represents.
No other woman in History is so surrounded by story. Stories that so many want to debunk as not real.
"As I listened to some of Mary's longer Stories, the more meandering ones, the more liberally punctuated by tangents,digressions, and tantalizing asides about other saints, other shrines, other times, I trusted her in the way a reader trusts a good writer. I trusted that no matter how disparate or disjointed the stories might seem in the telling, still they would amount to something in the end. And I, like Herodotus, appreciated the impossibility of telling one story without also telling all the others, without telling what came before and what came after, what came first and what came later." History (4) pg. 170.
Not a straight line. Not truly either story or fact. Instead it is both, and more. Worth reading if you are willing to see the world differently.
I suppose many have already had these revelations. To me, this time around they were fresh, sharp, poignant.

Prayer Request

One of the local homeschoolers, the only one I know who is Jewish, lost her husband to a sudden heart attack. They have 2 very younger children. Please pray for his soul and for their family.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tag You're It.

Five Things I Love About Jesus
Michele from The Family Centered Life tagged Cheryl at My Thoughtful Spot who tagged me for this meme.
Here are the Rules:
Those tagged will share 5 things they “love” about Jesus.Those tagged will tag 5 other bloggers.Those tagged will provide a link in the comments section here with their name so that others can read them.

1. When I pray to rest in His Sacred Heart its just like resting on Daddy's chest as a little girl.
2. He gave me His Blessed Mother for when I really need a woman to talk to.
3. He is mercifully patient with me.
4. The way He has grown me by growing my Dear Husband.
5. I love the way He loves children, women, and the weakest so much.

I can't think of anyone so if you read this far you are tagged Especially if you are a 'lurker'

Lurker: one who hangs around watching without commenting.

And especially if you are a lurker who knows me!!!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Quickly!

Boy home from scout camp--- happy, dirty, tired.
Zoe Birthday--- got a 4 wheeler, happy
College kids here for weekend--- One slept 14 hours straight. One crashed the next day, Happy.
Kitchen progress ---includes stove, fridge and tool for hubby Happy!
Bible Study friends--- miss them But one is expecting Happy!

Guerss its summer after all.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

777


Well Lord's Day is upon us. I celebrated by buying the cross I spotted at the Mall and it was 25% off on clearance $9.00!! You can see that while we were gone the door was hung. Jeff also primed the shelves we haven't eliminated yet. Until the budget recuperates we'll have this little oddity.


Oh and see my curved counter top as you enter?











Steve also got in this counter and a few uppers. Doors are not dry yet. I bought a counter top papertowel holder set that came with a napkin holder and a trivet. $8 at Walmart. I also bought the non adhesive drawer liners that are more about quietness and keeping things from shifting. You don't wipe with a sponge. You pull them to wipe underneath and toss them in the wash.



See the 2 pull out shelves?








This is my L. On Monday the plumber/electrician is coming to move the gas line. Then this cabinet can go in. he'll also hook up the range as long as the part came and take care of electricity to the dishwasher. The yellow towel is protecting the counter till the door stop is attached.








Here is a close up of my granite inset. It is just slightly raised to allow the sides to get some sealant. It is the only place beside the sink and range where there is a hole in the counter. He didn't need any seams.
We had to skip having one counter lower but it was worth the trade off.


Any way--- we also sanded and primed the bathroom cabinet Jeff saved and started painting the old shelf/dry sink combo that will go in Lissa's room. I also cleaned the back porch including the rugs, disgusting!!! Swept under the new bird feeder--- never again on a porch. Next time further from where I like to sit. Tomorrow Liss starts at her college summer program. So we also went dorm shopping. Jeff goes back tomorrow and David goes to camp so he was packing today. My in laws wouldn't let Sarah come home( hi Kiddo!) so after having a very old household for 2 weeks now we will have a very young house--- just the 7, 5, and 3 year old girls.
No I did not get pics of them at the Cape except on my phone. Actually was great fun. They have an old fashioned 4th picnic at the local pond. Every kids decorates their bike or wagon with Grandpa and 100 kids parade around the block. Then they had games, hot dogs and Cape Cod chips-- the best!!!
Only one beach day-- the last one. But they had a really nice time with their grandparents.
Now back to my celebration with a nice bottle of Pino Grigio.

Monday, July 2, 2007

On Homeschooling

http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/?p=773

This article by Sally Thomas says it all. As with most great things I found it on Danielle Bean's web site. This poet from Tennessee clearly establishes the reasoning for homeschooling in light of the scripture ' to be in the world but not of it" and Christ's direction to "be salt and light for the world."
I can't do it justice: you'll have to read it yourself.