Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Years ago I remember telling people that Florida does indeed have a change of seasons; there's hurricane season, lovebug season, orange blossom season, etc...people weren't buying it. That's my story though and I'm sticking to it! I do, however, have a few amendments to the original story. The first one being that over the past two years we really have a had "winter" which is very distinct from our other seasons. Anytime you have to have the windows closed because it is too cold, that's winter! When you find yourself outside in biting wind attempting to cover plants that will ultimately die anyway...winter! Now it is time to prune away the dead branches as the new buds are beginning to bloom. The current weather is definitely different from the weather 2 months ago and the weather 2 months from now. There is no question that Florida has a really long summer (like 6 months long), but in the other six months there are definitely changes, you just have to know where to look. This post isn't about weather though. It's not even about new flowers blooming. It's really more about the pruning away of the dead branches. It's about Lent. I've always been a big holiday decorator. I've always said Florida had a change of seasons. I've always been aware that a homeschooling mother's perspective is very different in September than it is in March. I've always been very attuned to the "feel" of different seasons, the "feel" of Christmas, the "feel" of summer. I've always been Catholic. Until a few years ago though I'd never appreciated the Liturgical Seasons. It seems to me it is human nature to long for subtle changes, to long for seasons. If it weren't then wouldn't everyone live in Florida? Isn't it so cool that the Church gives us the opportunity to make these subtle changes? People prepare for big events in their life don't they? Moving into a new home, having a baby, even a birthday party, all of these events require preparation. Just like Advent is a time to prepare for the joy of Christmas, Lent is a time for us to prepare to celebrate the joy of Easter. I will very much enjoy eating a bunch of chocolate eggs on Easter morning after 40 days without chocolate. More importantly though, I'm trying to prepare my heart for the realization of Easter. The small sacrifices that I am attempting are nothing like Jesus' sacrifice. They aren't easy though and they are real reminders for me. If I didn't have this opportunity that is build into the Church year, would I take the time to make sacrifices on my own? Maybe, maybe not. I do generally try to improve myself fairly often, that's what comes with being friends with a bunch over overachievers (also known as homeschooling moms). A new school year is often a time when I try to impliment new ideas. January 1st is another time where I might try to make things better. Every Monday or even every morning can be a time to try again. There are always so many different things to improve though, eating habits, workout habits, housekeeping, patience, etc etc. I really appreciate that the Church gives me and my family this season of Lent to really focus on the most important preparations of all.

Friday, March 11, 2011

No title

I have too many thoughts, not enough time, and even less of a functioning computer, sooo I have no idea where this post is going to lead. (or if it is even going to get off the ground) Our regular computer seems to be completely shot. A lot of pictures are on there and they may or may not be lost for good, who knows, ugh! This "second" computer is only slightly better, but it seems to be living on borrowed time as well. Jonathan's laptop, you know the one he spent his life's savings on when he was 12 years old, well it's seen better days as well! The charger doesn't work at all and his the wireless internet isn't working either. He can charge it with Mike's work laptop charger, but Mike was out of town all week. I'm sure some of you are thinking you see me on facebook and commenting on blogs an awful lot for a person with 1/2 a working computer. All I can say to that is my ipod and I are pretty much joined at the hip. Needless to say this computer situation doesn't bode well for kids taking online classes though! What a pain! We're really trying to make a conscious effort to "schedule" who is going to do virtual school when on this only slightly functioning computer. They're inching along, but it would be so much easier with the right tools. Especially because Jonathan seems to have moved in to the theatre. Yeah, I know Phantom ended so he should be home more right? Wrong! He's there ALL THE TIME!! I miss him! He is basically the second in command light guy in the whole theatre at this point. I'm not sure when it happened, but my kids who always seemed to be underfoot are now very busy with things that have very little to do with me. It's crazy! My word for the year, HOME, is working OK for me, but I forgot to give the kids the memo! Especially the older two! What was I thinking trying to raise them to be competent, contributing members of society? Now everyone wants them for something: lighting, sound, babysitting, nevermind just hanging out with friends.

Along the same lines as my general theme of "the kids are growing up too fast", I am trying to read every great children's book that there is to read with Jake because before I know it he'll be out running a theatre too! Some new ones we've discovered recently are The Purple Coat, Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge, Climbing Kansas Mountains, and Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse. Some old favorites I've resurrected include Clown of God, Mrs Katz and Tush, Daniel's Duck, and The Salamander Room. I'm pretty spoiled because often Jonathan and Madi still enjoy listening to these kinds of books too (especially instead of doing dishes or geometry), but I really want to make sure we've left no pages of any great books unturned because like I said before time is marching on. I often find myself in conversations with people where they say things like "it's just important that they know how to read well" or "I just want her to read on grade level". Since this is my blog let me boldly state... I don't really care what grade level my kids read at and while I LOVE to see them reading, what is infinitely more important to me is that they love good stories. So far so good!

I substituted today today at the preschool Jake went to. After Disney, that just might be the happiest place on earth! I love it there. Everyone who has ever gone in there loves it there. More than once I've been offered a job there. I am so tempted every time. I was a preschool teacher in my former life and may just grow up to be one again, but like I said I'm spoiled. I want to stay home with my own babies (even though they are now 15, days away from 13, and 8 they are still my babies!) I liken it to Toy Story 3. When the day care toys are telling Andy's toys about how when the kids grow up new ones come. There will always be preschoolers somewhere, but my own kids are getting older by the second and I don't want to miss a thing.

Speaking of that, I'm loving American Idol this year!! (did anyone follow my train of though there or did I lose you?) There is some amazing talent this year! I loved last year's top ten, but so far (they're down to 12 right now) these people are even better. Especially the guys! They are all so different and soo good. I was going to link to you tube videos of some of them, but low and behold it's not working on this, our one working computer! Do yourself a favor check out James Durbin. If you have some more time try Scotty McCreary and Casey Abrams too. Then there's Jacob Lusk and Paul McDonald, good stuff!!

Well, I'm on my third day of being chocolate free. I think about it a lot, but I'm getting by by the grace of God. I am thinking all of the pre-Lent cleanout is making it harder for me to rummage up 40 more bags of stuff to get rid of though. I did clean under the hutch yesterday. I threw away some wedding and shower favors from couples who have been divorced for years. I was going to say something derogatory here because it is my blog, but it is also Lent and I'm going to try to hold my tongue more. I'm noticing this is getting to be an issue for me. The ashes were still fresh on my forehead, when I said a snide comment to a 12 year old girl Wednesday after church. I could give you an excuse that she was in my CCD class last year and was a trouble maker, but there really is no excuse for a grown up still in church to be annoyed with a child just because she said to Madi in a whiney 12 year old way, "I didn't know you had a little brother, I thought you only had an older brother." I mean we have gone to church with this girl for all of Jake's 8 years, and oh did I mention she did a theatre summer camp where my family is generally pretty visible. I have a problem with ignorance. I guess she must be so focused on the Gospel and Homily during Mass that she doesn't pay attention to families around her. Still I know, no excuse!

There's often a lot of talk in real life and in blog world about how much is appropriate to share about our families. On the one hand I often try not to share too too much of the good stuff because no one wants to hear all that. On the other hand in trying to keep it real, I don't want to go too far airing my family's dirty laundry. (Like I did with myself in the above paragraph) Mothers are such a funny bunch. Homeschooling mothers in particular. This week I made a lot of people feel good in real life when I shared a big "losing it" moment that I had. There are a few things that I've learned over the years regarding this. The first one is we are comparing all of our own yucky insides to the neat and pretty outsides that other people choose to share. We know our own deep dark secrets, we only know the cute crafts and yummy recipes that mommyoftheyear at blogspot chooses to share with us. I mention this a few times a year, but I distinctly remember a conversation with a friend who wished she had the energy or this mom, the patience of that mom, and the creativity of the other mom. She was taking the best qualities of many different people and beating herself up because she, one person, didn't have all of those! We all do that to some extent. Blogs make that kind of thing even easier (harder?). I never want my blog to be the one that makes people feel bad. Real life is pretty messy, we're living a real life over here.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ready for Lent and other morning thoughts

Lent is very late this year. I'm ready for it. I actually started some of my Lenten plans already because I just couldn't wait. I got this book last week and there was no way I was going to wait until next Wednesday to start reading it, it is so beautiful! Also I am knee deep in cleaning out. This process seems to never end around here. Last week Jonathan and I took 9 bags to Goodwill and yesterday I easily filled 5 more out of Jake's room. When Lent officially starts, I will probably be able to be down to getting rid of one bag a day like this challenge from last year. Where did we get all this stuff from?! I'm tired of stuff!! One of my all time favorite speakers, Matthew Kelly has a quote about how we were made to love people and use things, but so often people love things and use people. Here's my dilemma. I know I love people more than things. My challenge is getting rid of THINGS that were given to us by PEOPLE we love! Especially relatives who have passed away. Sometimes I just close my eyes and throw the Moosehead Lake shirt in the donation bag. Other times I think, I really need to keep this Valentine card. Help me, I'm getting buried over here! I pride myself on being frugal, this is another problem. Random playing cards, buttons, marbles, crayons (and more and more crayons!), not to mention aluminum pie tins, it seems inappropriate to throw this stuff away. Saving them is not very appropriate either...ugh! I imagine we'll get to Easter with still more than we'll ever need or use in this house, but like I've said before, I'm a work in progress. So besides the reading for spiritual growth and trying to rid the house of everything that doesn't breathe, I am also prayerfully considering giving up chocolate for Lent. I've never done this before. I'd been thinking over possibilites like no sweets, but then realized I'd quickly rationalize my way out of that one. Chocolate chip pancakes, scones, and banana bread are BREAKFASTS not SWEETS. I could see myself going down the slippery slope long before it started. Then Madi mentioned she was thinking about giving up chocolate. We could do this together. Of course it will basically mean the whole family giving up chocolate because we really couldn't have it in the house. This would mean hot chocolate and dark chocolate peanut butter too, everything with the word chocolate in it. It would not mean peanut butter cookies or cinnamon chip scones or lemon bars or or or... Again, I am merely a work in progress.

Matthew Kelly, who I just mentioned, also speaks often of the genius of the Catholic Church. This genius was blatently obvious to me on Sunday morning. After a 14 hour day of performing Saturday (parade at 9 am followed by two performances of Phantom), Jonathan was in no shape to go to Mass at 9:30 am on Sunday. For one thing he was fighting a cold (or allergies) and had taken Benadryl at midnight, he was not only coughing and sniffly but in a serious Benadryl fog. He had a commitment to be in the last show at 12:30 followed by his commitment to run sound for another show in the evening. It would be another long day (thankfully the last really long one on the calendar). My mothering instinct told him he could stay home and go back to sleep. He did, and slept until I called him to get up at 11:45! He needed it badly, God understood! Not only did He understand, He hit me over the head with understanding!! Because now here I was, leaving my first baby at home while the rest of us went to church. Worrying if he would be alright, worrying if I'd done the right thing, worrying that maybe it wasn't just the Benadryl and he was coming down with mono or something. Worrying Worrying Worrying!! What was Sunday's Gospel? Matthew:

Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?

Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.

Just what I needed. Now maybe I'm thinking I might also be able to give up worrying for Lent. If I can do chocolate, trusting should be a piece of (vanilla) cake!