Friday, December 21, 2012

Quick takes

1. I just realized I didn't post any pictures of Advent week 3 on here, so how's this...
2. Jonathan got home at about 11pm last night from a five day trip to a cabin in the mountains of Alabama with a great family that we've known for over 13 years. He had a lot of fun.
3. Doesn't Jonathan look exceptionally old in that picture? You know what? He is pretty old. In fact he is on a date right now. I know dating is a touchy subject, for some people, but I'm good with it. It is a Friday afternoon, they are at a geriatric mall seeing a Disney movie and I think it's the cutest thing. This morning Madi said to Jonathan, you should maybe buy her movie ticket, his response was "Well, duh!" I'm very proud of my boy! 4. Looks like we've got a Jonathan theme going here. He got the results of his second round of SATs today. He went up considerably. It isn't at the Bright Futures 75% mark yet, but it's definitely within reach. For a kid who has limited (read: no) classroom experience this is really great. Proud again! 5. I'm not ready to attempt to write anything about the Sandy Hook tragedy, I may never be. 6. Jake and Madi and some friends sang at a nursing home yesterday.
7. St Patrick's had a St Nicholas breakfast at the beginning of the month which included collecting and wrapping presents for needy families in our parish, collecting and making food baskets for tons of people in need, and collecting and assembling homeless bags to pass out as needed in the community. The bags have granola bars and water bottles in them as well as information about where to find help and our church's free Christmas dinner open to everyone. We've had the opportunity to pass out three bags this week. It's great to have these bags ready in the car instead of our typical seeing someone in need and frantically searching under the seats to see if we can find anything resembling food or drink. They have also come in handy when I picked Madi up from her class on our way to Orlando and forgot to bring her breakfast. They can easily be replenished. There was some entertainment including Jake and Madi and some of that video may someday make it's way on here. St Nicholas was even there.
I think I'm a binge blogger, when I was at #3 or 4 I didn't think I had anything else to say, now I've met my standard seven and have all kinds of thoughts. Like I'm heading downstairs in a few minutes to make my new favorite treat dirty snowballs (crushed oreos mixed with cream cheese and dipped in white chocolate). Or about all the events and pictures that I'm behind on documenting. Or about how the world didn't end today (even though I keep thinking about how it ended for all those victims and their families last week). Or about how I'm glad that it is finally chilly here again. Or about all of the good, bad, and ugly thoughts that swim around in my mind all day and show up all convoluted in my dreams at night. Or about how much I love my children. Or about how I've seen more than one comment about people fearing for their kids safety that ends like this "I mean what are we supposed to do HOME SCHOOL?" In the comments I'm talking about it definitely comes out like it's a dirty word, also it is written as two words because it hasn't found it's way into their normal vocabulary. I have soo many thoughts on this, but there is no way I'm ready to articulate them, so they'll just have to keep swimming in there a little while longer. In the meantime I'm off to crush some oreos. After hitting publish I did the typical quick peak on facebook before heading for the oreos and saw this.
While I'm under no dilusion that I said anything similar to this in my post, this is what I meant to say.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


I got an oil change this morning. The vehicle I drive has a sensor that tells you when it is time for an oil change... oil life 15%, oil life 5%, oil life -27...that's how low it got. The plan was to bring the car to the local Honda dealership and get all of the recommended maintenance done, but since a free half day to sit at the car place is not really an option at this time of year, and the flashing -27 was stressing me out, I took a short-cut. I pulled into the local quick lube place and was out of there in 7 minutes. I am a big fan of short-cuts. Sometimes that's the only way that things can get done. Lest you think I am a complete loser driving around in a timebomb, the oil life was 5% yesterday morning, the usual daily in town driving brought it down to 0 and then the negative numbers started racking up really fast -3, -4, -10, -11, which brought me to -27 by the time I pulled into the lube place. On my way there I first had to drop off the overdue car payment (not too overdue, don't worry) (and it's not for the vehicle with the -27 oil life so don't worry about that either), and then I hit the library where I paid for my overdue fines with can goods for the needy (a December tradition around here). Are you starting to see a trend here? Jake is currently in the driveway cutting his fingernails, an activity that was way overdue. Jonathan and Madi need to finish up their online PE class this week so we stop getting the automated emails and phone calls about them needing to finish the semester (the actual teacher things they are amazing and is totally fine with their timetable, but the automated overdue notices stress me out like the flashing -27). It is a well known theme among homeschooling moms (and probably all moms) that you can't do everything all the time. Either the house is clean and the kids aren't getting taught, or the meals are super healthy and from scratch and the laundry is overflowing, or you try to some extent to keep up with all of these things and car maintenance, bills, and fingernails are neglected. There are only so many hours in a day, no one can do it all. Every minute of a mom's life is met with decisions, do I vacuum or read the history lesson with my child? Do I cook a healthy dinner or run errands? Do I pay bills or play a game with my son? Some of these decisions and responsibilites have easy short-cuts, like today's oil change. Some are more important. I recommend short-cuts when they apply so there's more time for the really important things of which there is no short-cut.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Talk talk talk

According to a recent survey, the average married couple in America has only 30 minutes a week of communication outside of exchanges that take place at the dinner table, and between parent and child is only 14 minutes. I just copied and pasted this from a facebook post from Catholic Heritage Curriculum, I have no idea how true it is, but it seems like a good place to start a blog post. Lately, in our family, we've been talking about how much we talk. It is very common for me to say something like "ok everyone get to work," or "go do your math" or whatever and then two minutes later be like, "Oh Madi did you hear about blah blah blah?" or "Jonathan what time do you need to get to the theatre today?" inevitably these conversation starters will morph into long discussions. I'll eventually end the discussion with, "How come you aren't doing your work?" only to start in a few minutes later with something else. Jonathan is currently on the Civil War both in History and in his English virtual school class (American Literature), almost daily our History discussions will bring up current topics so that we'll go from how split the nation was during that time (brother against brother and all that...cue the song from EPCOT's American Adventure) to how split the country is today, to how people are not necessarily being heartless when they don't understand that a baby really is a baby from the moment of conception, and how we can teach people this, to the fact that I had an ultrasound when I was 6 weeks pregnant with Jonathan and I got to see his heartbeat before you could hear it. This was something I apparently had never told him before and it came out because we were discussing the Civil War. A few posts back I talked about stories and how listening to stories helps students' writing skills. We have now spent a good amount of time discussing this very thing in our family. I am now even more convinced that Jonathan and Madi are both great writers because we talk and listen so much. No, they don't listen so much to things like "clean your room" and "put your laundry away", but truly listening to things like that probably doesn't do much for writing skills anyway. They listen intently however to any family story about the past, or any book read aloud to anyone else in the house, or any book on CD. It has even occured to me today that the Catholic Mass is a great place to hone one's listening skills, especially when you are an active participant like an altar server, choir member, or the guy running the powerpoint. Back to that original quote about how infrequently families interact, I'd venture to say with every school subject that my kids do each day we take at least 14 minutes per subject out of actual book learning to actually discuss something usually completely unrelated to the subject. This adds up and when you combine it with the conversations we have between home and theatre and home and church and theatre and church etc etc, it really adds up. This is good since our dinner interactions very often involve Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer, at least cumulatively we're trying to stay ahead of the average family.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Advent week 1

From the Heart Giver of all good things, teach me to give as you do, abundantly and without price. May my gift-giving come from the heart and reflect your holy name. Amen. — from Sharing the Word