Thursday, October 30, 2014

Timely articles

You know the saying  about how once you have a child, your heart is walking around outside your body?  Well when two of those hearts are driving, it takes parenting to a whole new level.  One of my favorite bloggers ever, Elizabeth Foss, said it best in this article right here.   I spend so much time waiting for those texts that tell me that they have safely arrived at their destination.  I frequently hear sirens 5 minutes after a kid pulls out of the driveway, I constantly wonder how all other parents before me (and before "I'm here" texts) have even survived.  I talk to St Christopher (the patron saint of travelers) every day.  I do spend a lot of time in gratitude too, but there's definitely room for more.  I'm definitely going to work on that in November.

And speaking of working, here's another good article about the work of the default parent.  This one made me LOL a lot, and even brought tears to my eyes because it is so true.  For some reason this default job seems even bigger now with bigger kids, with their own cars, own jobs, own plans, and own lives.  When I carried them inside my body, fed them with my body, slept with them pressed up against my body, and was literally never more than 10 feet away from them for days (weeks, months) at a time it was physically tiring, no doubt.  But in those days there was a lot less to keep track of.  Now the constant who is where when stuff, makes my head spin.  Make no mistake, Mike is an awesome husband and father, and is clearly the default (read only) earner, lawn mower, and manager of those rental houses that I didn't want to buy to begin with, but all the other default stuff goes to me.  It is not just with regard to Mike either, the kids are also constantly asking who is doing what when and I am the one who is expected to know.  Sometimes I still have to remind them of their own commitments not to mention everyone else's. 

Thank you to these two great writer for writing what I am living. 


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Teenagers etc

I'm starting this post without a title and not sure where I am going.  Mostly I wanted to stop by here and say how cool teenagers are.  At least mine are, and I'm pretty proud.  And it's my blog and I'm going to brag.  Jonathan and Chloe are going to Mickey's Not so Scary Halloween party at Disney tomorrow night and guess who they're bringing...Jake!  Granted he paid for his own ticket (yay birthday money), but still isn't that nice.  It is not unusual for Jonathan (and Chloe) to do this kind of thing, but it is pretty unusual for teenagers in general to do this, and I want to remember that.

Also, Madi does indeed have a boyfriend as well.  He seems really sweet and I'm looking forward to getting to know him.  Their dates mostly consist of meeting in one or the other of the local downtowns and walking near the lake, in the midafternoon because...busy schedules.  But today they had a real live afternoon date where he picked her up at our house and everything.  Guess where they went... to Mellow Mushroom and then to reconciliation!!  Isn't that the best??  And he's coming to the theatre tonight to see her perform.

My house is nice and clean (well parts of it) because Reese was going to be coming to the door and we needed to make a good impression.  Now I can bask in the (semi-cleaness) which is a rare treat on a Saturday afternoon of show weekend.  Plus it is my favorite time of year with the windows wide open, so not only is it cleanish in here, but there is a cool breeze blowing in from the open window. 

Speaking of show weekend.  Jake and Madi are in two different casts for this because... (once again) ... busy schedules.  Madi has an opera like song (someone actually asked me if she had taken up opera), another cute song, and she does a split in her cast.  She is also ensemble in Jake's cast.  In Jake's show he falls in love with Chloe (yes, Jonathan's girlfriend) and truly steals the show with his song near the end.  Videos may or may not ever make it on here.  I'm a million years behind on that kind of thing.  My excuse is I'm busy enough living in the moment, and I'm ok with that.

I started this school year looking for opportunities to make a little money while doing my favorite thing (homeschooling).  It is really working out.  A very close friend who I've known roughly since her birth, comes over 2 hours/ day 3 days/week and we work on mostly math and language arts (that sentence may or may not be grammatically correct).  It is so awesome to see the progress she is making.  I'm as excited for her accomplishments as I am for my own kids.  I want to be a professional homeschooler when I grow up!

I've also had long (LLOOONNGG) phone conversations recently with two different moms (one of whom I've never met in real life) who are both contemplating homeschooling.  I really feel like I have significant credibility now that I've officially homeschooled a kid to completion.  My general mantra to people is that it doesn't have to be nearly as hard as you might think.  On the other hand, one thing that I'm not sure how to relay to others is how to naturally talk to your kids about life all the time.  I know that a lot of families do this, but I'm pretty sure there are also a lot of families that don't.  While it might start when they are babies in the grocery store (like "that is a red apple", "oh this aisle is cold") it shouldn't end once they know how to speak.  (Just like reading aloud shouldn't end once they know how to read.)    I get a fair amount of compliments on my kids (and sometimes, like today, I'm the one pointing out their great qualities).  Plenty of people would say I got lucky (and maybe to a certain extent I did), but an awful lot of thought has gone in to this parenting thing and probably the biggest part of it has involved lots of talking.  Talk talk talk talk talking.  

I'm starting to sound a little like those blogs I don't like that only show all the good stuff, but I'm going to trust that the handful of people who might show up in this little tiny corner of the internet know that I'm not really like that.  We are far from perfect, we are real believe me!!

 Next time I might be back here with news like Jake is still sniffing like a pig and it is driving me insane or Jonathan and Madi's bedrooms look like they belong to hoarders.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Not sad

Oh my goodness, I just had half a screen's worth of a blog post that just disappeared.  Somehow in one second I highlighted and deleted the whole thing.  That might have been the Holy Spirit protecting me from myself because I was getting as controversial as I ever do on here, but I'm a glutton for punishment so I'm going to press on.  This morning I read a popularish blogger's post refuting another blog post/ article about homeschooling.  One of the reasons given to not homeschool in the comment section brought up homecoming and prom.  I find it so peculiar when people with single digit aged kids use this excuse to not homeschool.  I mean I don't think anyone really uses it as an excuse not to homeschool, but to even throw it into the mix seems terribly odd to me.  I am not one of those "I didn't go to my prom anyway" kind of people.  I LOVED that stuff (still do actually).  When we were juniors, my friend Cindy and I referred to our upcoming junior prom as "the biggest night in our lives up to this point".  Interestingly my teenagers have each attended at least a prom or homecoming (and they each plan on more), Jake, likewise will be all over that stuff.  But number one, they've had tons of nights in their lives much bigger than those events and number two, this isn't even my point, it's just a segue (I looked that up, it should be right even though spell-check is telling me otherwise).  My actual point is this... a facebook friend who I actually haven't met in person yet (her son and Jake are in band and theatre together and she kinda does for the band what I kinda do for the theatre) posted last week that she is considering pulling her middle schooler out of public school and homeschooling him.  A mutual friend (who I actually know and love in real life) (who is firmly entrenched in the public school camp) commented "how sad".  Um, no, not sad!  A presumably well thought out decision of a family trying to do what they see as best.  This is certainly not a one-way street.  When Jake went to public school last year, there were plenty of homeschoolers (or at least one really loud one) who had the same "how sad" reaction.  Um again...NO!  Have we really come to a point in our society where if people don't make the same decisions that we do it is sad?  Really??  There are all kinds of sad things out there.  Sickness, poverty, war, etc... How a loving family prayerfully chooses to educate their children is not one of them.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Good morning!

It is 7am and Madi is already off to take the PSAT/NMSQT.  I was a little nervous that she'd be a little nervous last night, but she's got it under control.  Her feelings..."I'm not going to be a national merit scholar anyway" and "driving a friend that's more nervous than you are is a great way to not be nervous."  She took it last year too, she's not this!  I mean probably not the national merit scholarship part, but she should ace the part about going there without throwing up.

My young son, you know the one that's not yet 12.  The kid that knows every Seinfeld episode by heart (literally by heart...he replays episodes in his mind when he's nervous {like at the dentist}).  He is also very well versed in even less appropriate shows like Big Bang Theory and Friends.  You'll never guess what show he is hooked on now...Telly Tubbies!!  It is now available to stream on Netflix and he's hooked.  He's even convinced Joe to at least pretend to like it (sorry Tiffany).  I can relate a little bit though.  Guess what book I am currently reading...Starring Sally J Freedman as Herself!  Yes I do this thing where I reread most Judy Blume books once a year or so.  Silly, I know.  Sometimes adult life (or adolescent life) is hard and we have to go back to feeling like a child for a little while.  There could be worse coping mechanisms I'm sure.

Like for example the coping mechanism by which I stare at my phone like a wild woman until I get the text from the teenage driver (s) that says
or this...
That "or this..." was supposed to be in the middle of the two, but whatever!
Also now my mail photos save in downloads instead of pictures (no time or patience to figure that one out), so I almost put this picture from last year at this time on here by mistake...
Another thing...this is guy now NINETEEN!!
What I've been doing while I'm not blogging...
Teaching my kids (and talking to them every chance I get)
Spending time with Mike who is liking his new job which has him sometimes traveling and other times working from home in his jammies all day.
taking a friend to chemo/dr appts
leading two different small groups at church, plus teaching 9th grade religious ed, plus another group thing
not cleaning my house
driving Jake places which sometimes involves waiting in long car lines
praying for my driving kids
praying for hundreds of other intentions
and a thousand other things
We spent 48 hours on the road for a day and a half in Albany, NY to attend my cousin Patrick's wedding and captured the moment with this...
And finally today is take two (or sorta take three) of maybe Jake will be getting his braces off...
we don't have our hopes up...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

bad stuff

I've got a kid who's working for another hour and a half and then has an hour long drive, and my brain is swarming with all kinds of crazy, so here I am to get some of it out.  Recently I was at something at church, a specific event for people to help each other in their Christian walk, and there was this older woman going on and on about all of the bad stuff in the world (persecution of Christians, dangerous storms...) this end of the world stuff is not common in the Catholic church.  This particular woman doesn't even go to my church, and I think she's got some senility issues (and more), but was basically on a tirade..."what are you doing about this?"  kind of thing.  It was awkward and uncomfortable.  I kind of asked myself what am I doing about that?  Praying!  That's about all I can do about A LOT of the terrible things that are going on in the world.  More recently a similar thing happened on my facebook page.  Someone more or less criticized me for not doing anything about a bad situation that has happened locally.  Like the loud woman at the church, this person clearly has her own baggage, but sheesh!  I am not a fan of confrontation.  So often confrontation just comes up out of nowhere.  In this case I was totally blindsided.  I really don't want to come across hypocritically so I really analyze these kinds of accusations even when they are completely unfounded.  How can I sleep at night when there are people being beheaded?  When there are kids being abused?  When there are wars?  When there is so much suffering? etc etc and WHAT AM I DOING ABOUT IT?  Well like I said, praying.  At least most of the time I'm praying, sometimes, like today it's more of a whiney fist shaking conversation with God.  Sometimes you have to put your own oxygen mask on first.  After that you have to put the masks on those loved ones who are closest to you.  Sometimes that uses up all you have and you just have to pray that the rest of the world gets their oxygen mask.  It cannot all depend on me.  Tomorrow I am going to a funeral and a dermatology appointment.  Jake and Madi  are going to hand out food at a local food pantry.  Tomorrow night I will teach religious education to 9th graders, while my three kids will be volunteering at the theatre (well one of them might be getting paid).  On Thursday I am taking a dear dear friend for cancer treatment.  On Thursday I will also be praying for my parents who are going up to CT to be with my brother (who I pray for constantly).  Am I tooting my own horn?  Maybe, but my point is, my dance card (or prayer card or service card or whatever) is a little full.  If most of my day is spent tending to things like this, I'm kind of thrown for a loop when people accuse me of not doing more.  Maybe there is more I could do.  Maybe writing this is not the absolute best use of my time.  Maybe instead of watching reruns of comedies before bed I could do something more worthy.  But maybe those comedies are helping me to function or I'd be able to do even less than I'm doing now. 

PS I've lost track of how many times I've cried today, sometimes THAT is all you can do.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Photo dump and brain drain

I drank poison (aka diet coke) twice today so I'm awake in a quiet hotel room at almost 1am.  The funny coffee story about tracking down Night of Joy tickets after they were sold out involved only finding tickets for last night.  Even though we didn't order tickets in a timely manner (the no job thing) we did reserve a hotel room for two nights (the free points thing and new job means some traveling and more points so we don't have to hoard the ones we have).  Thus tonight I find myself in a quiet hotel room where Jake and Mike are sleeping.  Madi is sleeping at home (where Grandma is also still sleeping), and Jonathan is still working crowd control at the tomorrowland galaxy stage for another 17 minutes, then should have about a 15 minute trip to his car and 25ish minute drive to this quiet free hotel room.  By the time that transpires the diet coke will hopefully have worn off and I can get some sleep.  In the meantime, I'm making use of my wakefulness by loading all my phone pics onto my computer and maybe transferring some of them to this (maybe resurrected?) blog.  In doing so I might also clear some of the thoughts from my head, we'll see.
Madi got to play a lead-ish role in the final production of Legally Blonde way back in July.  Here's a glimpse.  (Incidentally, she rocked it!!)
Then there was Aladdin (or Jafar as it may be).
and an old favorite from Jake's first Aladdin

Jonathan had some pretty fun hands on projects for two of his summer classes Weasley twin fever fudge for his Harry Potter class and the Globe Theatre for his Renaissance class.  (he got As in both) (the projects and the classes)
A little more instagramed Jafar.
A prayer shawl made for me by a special lady at church.  Also known as the before hairdo.
The current hairdo, disregard the wideness of me.

Couples at the Dolly Awards.
The Dolly girls!
Jake's world cake for week 2 of exploring countries and cultures.
A chemistry matter experiment for the first day of school.

Jake made delicious corn chowder for week 3 of exploring countries and cultures recipe from that book.  No filter my phone, camera lens is actually missing and this is as clean as I can get the nonlens part so dirt is the filter.
Jake and Joe's first bookclub discussion for this book.
Tiffany's right, that's what Thursday was.
Which brings us essentially to the present.  Jonathan has texted that he's left and should get here in give or take 20 minutes.  I did a fair job of photo dumping, but was a little weak on the brain drain.  I'm guessing the diet coke is wearing off because I'm getting a little sleepy.
Madi bought a car (not sure if I said that already).  She may or maynot have had a date-ish thing with a (Catholic) boy I haven't met yet at Starbucks.  (she also might read this)
Jake is running lights for two weeks of a mainstage show.  Everyone in charge trusts him.  He still has this terribly annoying sniffing tick that he can't seem to stop.  Before that there was the blinking tick, and before that the weird faces, not to mention the licking of his lips (and half his face) with his monstrous tongue.  I've joked (or half joked) that it's Tourette's.  He even told kids in school last year that he had Tourette's (when they asked about the tick du jour).  Our pediatrician who I trust immensely doesn't think that's what it is.  He doesn't do the sniffing in his sleep and he had it checked out at his physical (no sinus infection or anything), but eastern air tea and natural silver shield and western nasal spray have not touched it.  And my screaming about it doesn't seem to do much good either.  This is a long way of saying I'm concerned about his sniffing in the tech booth carrying down to the patrons who pay $21 to see this show.  That and he's my kid so I'm concerned in general.  (A tick like that might be spelled tic, I don't know, but it's technically tomorrow morning already so I'm not going to look into it right now.)
In a dark quiet hotel room my computer screen is exceptionally bright.  I'm not sure how to adjust it.
I think I'm out of things to talk about.  Thanks for keeping me company in my dark quiet hotel room.  Goodnight!
I "published" this at 1:30 am so it is technically Sept 7 and my godson's 13th birthday, but blogger thinks it is only 10:30 and still the 6th.  Maybe it had too much diet coke too.

Friday, September 5, 2014

7 QTs that should deserve their own post

Years ago I posted one specific week in July that felt full enough to be a Christmas letter (I've used the blog as a Christmas letter analogy many times).  These days we've found ways to cheat on a Christmas letter by writing a short poem and finding picture cards that have a little space for a short short write up.  I guess I do a lot of cheating in the blogging division as well.  Sometimes living life is so full it's hard to take time out to chronicle it.  Anyway one week in the summer years ago it felt like we had a whole Christmas letter's worth of material, first mission trip for the kids, first exchange students, new car for Mike and probably more that I am forgetting, I'm sure there was a show thrown in there somehow.  Well this week could likely be considered one of those weeks as well.  for starters..

1. Mike got a job!!  Technically he got offered two jobs this week after a very slow summer in the job availability department. 

2. We have gone to Disney's Night of Joy for the last 6 years.  We had all intentions of going this year as well, and Mike's brother from Connecticut was even going to be joining us with his new girlfriend.  They bought their tickets weeks ago.  We did not.  Between no job etc, we knew at least some of us would go but hadn't gotten around to buying tickets.  Plus Jonathan works there so there was the whole should he pick up shifts for that night?  Does he get in free?  etc...etc... anyway... he picked up support shifts which means he should be working near one of the tomorrowland stages and maybe meet some!  We didn't attempt to buy our tickets until the 2 job offers were on the table and guess what...sold out!!!  EEnyway... we have connections (and a funny coffee story for you, Ann Marie!) and we got tickets at least for tonight.  In the meantime here's a little stroll down memory lane...
NOJ 2008
NOJ 2009
NOJ 2011
3. Why do I always blog when it's almost time to get Jake to band?  Time to speed things up a bit.
4. Rob has been doing so much better on his new treatment, but this week has been really rough, he's had a fever and had to go off the treatment for a few days.  Prayers are always appreciated.
5. We had two awesome weeks of school and then this week happened.  The first job offer (the one he is not taking) brought me and Mike to Atlanta on Monday-Tuesday which meant less school happened without mom.  Then Wednesday Jake and Madi joined other homeschooled youth from our parish for some food pantry work...better than school, but still leaves school undone.
Thursday was I don't even know what and today Madi and her coworkers took their boss out to lunch.  We won't fall behind, we won't fall behind...say it with me.
6. I have big plans of at least documenting some of our homeschool year on here, but time is running low so that won't be today.
7. "Grandma" (Mike's mother) moved down here last month (she bought a house down here two years ago), her house is getting all kinds of fixed up (tile, paint...), but we are on day 36 of her sleeping at our house... 'nuff said.