Thursday, June 30, 2005


It's 6:20 on a Thursday night.
I have cleaned the top of my desk. It's BROWN!
We have finished dinner.
We have conducted a "Ten-Minute Tidy" that took care of the worst of the mess in the family room, and all of the mess in the living room and dining room.
I have vacuumed the living room and dining room. (Little Brother has been eating Rice Krispies this week. I've been wondering why he bothers with a bowl. Why not eliminate the middleman and just pour them directly onto the carpet?)
The Big Kids have taken out the trash, as it is Trash Night.
Now I can revel in my clean, orderly house....for as long as it lasts (probably about three minutes).
I have a great need for order. Entropy is the enemy. Yet with children around, entropy is reality!

Friday, June 24, 2005

It's not easy being Mom

Sr. Lorraine discusses our human tendency to avoid people who wrong us in some way, rather than trying to find a way to see the good in them, and do good for them.
BOY does she have me pegged! And even worse, I am guilty of teaching my kids to do that too. I tell them to stay away from the kids who hit, or call names, or cheat in playground games, thinking that I am protecting my children. Of course, I want to protect my children as much as I can! I'm the mom, after all!
Am I really doing them any favors? Or am I just teaching them to take the easy way out? Am I showing them to avoid problems rather than to face them in a charitable, thoughtful way?
This job is tougher than I thought.

Wet Sock Moment

My socks are wet.
When I opened the front door just now to get this morning's newspaper, and stepped outside, I saw two bunnies quietly munching on their breakfast in the grass at the top of my driveway.
They calmly looked back at me. Surely I wouldn't come their way and force them to hop to a hiding place in the neighbors' flower garden!
I couldn't do that, but I wanted my paper. It just isn't breakfast without the paper. So I trekked across the front lawn, dew and all.
I managed to get back in without scaring the bunnies away from their meal of clover and dandelion leaves.
I have to change my socks now, but I think it was worth it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

What I'm Reading Now

Right now I am thoroughly enjoying Philip Gulley's Life Goes On. Once I get past the little digs at political conservatism, I really love the book.

Here is a great thought from page 60:
"Maturity isn't about doing what pleases us, but bearing with good humor that which annoys us to no end."

So I end the day resolving to try to be a little less immature....

Monday, June 20, 2005

There's Nothing Like a Three-Year-Old

It's a good thing, too. If everyone was like that ALL the time, we might all lose what's left of our minds.

Three-year-olds can jump from topic to topic with a mental dexterity that is both amazing and confusing. To wit:

Me: "You have a VERY dirty face. After dinner, guess where you're going?"
Little Brother: "Where?"
Me: "The BATH!!!"
Little Brother: "No! No! I'll take a bath SUNDAY!"
Me: "But you're dirty today. You need a bath today."
Little Brother: "But I ate ALL my grapes!"


Obviously if I am going to be forced to have conversations like this one, I'd better have a whole lot more coffee than I'm currently consuming.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Check out what the Happy Catholic found....

Scroll down a bit to Weekend Meditation to see a wonderful quote from Pope Benedict XVI.
I'd love to have little cards made containing this quote placed in every pew.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Things only parents say....

"HEY! Get this hockey stick off the organ!"


This post at Danielle Bean's site really hit home for me today.

I've been interrupted more times than I can count just this week by family members who need me to apply a band-aid, listen to a story, fill a sippy cup, find a missing shoe, read a book or give a hug or three.

I am not a gracious person when interrupted. The call, "Mom!" is often met by an Archie Bunker-eque "WHAAAAAAAAAAT???!" after a while.

I don't want my kids answering me that way when I call them.

After I read what Danielle had to say I started thinking about the meaning of the word "obedience." It really has more to do with listening.

If I expect my children to obey me, then I need to listen to them and respond nicely.

They may be interrupting me from planning dinner, cooking, mopping, vacuuming, reading, making a bed, folding socks or whatever. But the band-aids, hugs and sippy cups are also part of my job.

Thanks for the food for thought, Danielle.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Why English Teachers Retire Early

English teachers never retire. According to legend they just live on, correcting others' grammar and spelling in their emails.

In one of my B.C. (Before Children) careers I was an English teacher. My mom is still an English teacher--she hasn't retired early, despite this:

Hat tip to Minivan Mom for this laugh.

Wondering too....

Danielle Bean has a great post today about things a mother wonders.

I have a few of my own.

I wonder why my children NEED to keep such things as a key lanyard that has lost its hardware, rendering it useless for anything but a shoelace.

I wonder how Little Brother knows the precise moment I "dispose" of some tiny plastic unidentifiable toy and picks just that moment to require it.

I wonder why there are still three Easter baskets in my living room (one still containing treats!)

I wonder how Big Brother and Middle Sister got to be so patient and kind with Little Brother even when he pesters them.

I wonder how long it will be before my living room is once again a Toy-Free Zone. I'm sure, once that happens, that I'll miss the plastic hockey stick, cards from "Arthur's Memory Game," little tiny army guys, little tiny cars and trucks, crayons, Handy-Dandy Notebook, Hess helicopter, dinosaur, light saber, broken tiara and one of Robin Hood's Merry Men.
I guess I won't rush that one too much.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

My grandmother prayed at the kitchen table

I think she must have been onto something there.
If you spent more than a few hours at my grandmother's house, you probably would hear her say, "I'm going to say my prayers." She'd disappear into the kitchen if she wasn't already there, sit down at her place (near the stove) and take out her envelope of holy cards and quietly read the prayers on the back.
It didn't matter about background noise, who was there, or what else might be going on around her.
I am finding that I've been guilty of being too perfectionistic about prayer.
If I can't do the Liturgy of the Hours perfectly (total quiet, no distractions) then often it doesn't get done at all.
I have one husband and three children. "No distractions" just doesn't happen in my world, or in most worlds.
In this house there is no room for a prayer corner with a candle and all that. But there is a kitchen table with a chair, and my memories of my grandmother's devotion to her prayers no matter what. For right now, that is good enough.

The Real Thing?

Jim Tucker writes that the German government, to protect itself during World Youth Day from immigration opportunists, will be administering a catechism test at the border.
I have my very own Catholic Young Person right here and I am proud to say that, having almost completed seventh grade in a Catholic school, he scored near-perfect on the test (and knew an answer I did not!)
Jim has a link to the test (and the answers) if you're interested. #5 is the one that tripped me up.
You learn something new every day!

Friday, June 10, 2005

Myers-Briggs Redux

My Bloginality is ISTJ!!!

Different web-based test, different results. In this case, I think it may be the more accurate results!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

I Need Something Good to Read

Last night I started reading "The Last Pope" by David Osborn. It's fiction. I have my MA in English, so I think that at this point I can tell the difference between fact and fiction, and give in to the Willing Suspension of Disbelief, and all that.
I don't get a lot of time to read, ordinarily, and this afternoon just before dinner I made it to page 53. That is probably as far as I get in this book.
I can see where it's going. The hero of the book is a figure much like the "Joshua" of the late '80's and '90's, the Feel-Good Messiah who tells everyone that rules don't matter, you can do what you want and think what you want and still consider yourself a part of the Church, and so on.
Osborn seems to be a good writer, but I'm just not in the mood to read anything schismatic at this point.
Isn't there any good Catholic literature written after the 1950's?

Big Brother's Observations on Life

Upon hearing my reaction to Middle Sister having brought home two paper plates that had been used for food at a school pizza party, then decorated on the back:
"'That's disgusting' is Momish for 'Throw that in the trash!'"
(He's right, too).

Not two minutes later, as he watched Little Brother charging around the house yelling about Darth Vader:
"In the eyes of Little Brother, Darth Vader is a Good Guy."
We have to fix that. I think I'll delegate the job to Big Brother.

Boy Mom vs. Girl Mom

Recently a friend said to me, "You're such a BOY MOM!" This was after I had encouraged Little Brother to defend the backyard from the "bad guys" by racing around with his toy sword.
I have 3 children; 2 boys and a girl in the middle. But I do seem to be more comfortable with play activities stereotypically associated with boys (involving trucks, dinosaurs, knights, pirates, etc) rather than girls (dolls, hair, makeup). I love to cook, though! Maybe it's just that I had a boy first and got used to things....I don't think she meant it as an insult, but it did get me wondering if I'm somehow failing my daughter because I really don't engage in those girly things with her--and she wants to--I am just clueless about them, always have been!
I try to make it up to Middle Sister by taking her shopping occasionally, just us girls, including a snack afterward. It's always a nice time. I hope that my girly daughter enjoys those times as much as I do.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Star Wars Fever

Star Wars fever is in full swing here at my house. We are once again being accused of having named Little Brother after a certain character in the movie.
BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZT! Thank you for playing! The correct answer here is, NO! He was not named after a Star Wars hero. I picked the name, and I have never even watched any of those movies!
My husband and children are definite Star Wars fans, though. The other day Big Brother found a number of his old Star Wars figures and some vehicles and generously let Little Brother play with most of them (he kept R2-D2 and C3PO for himself). Little Brother took two vehicles to the choir party yesterday, where Music Teacher impressed him by correctly identifying the X-Wing.
This morning I told Big Brother, "You'd be amazed at how much Music Teacher knows about Star Wars vehicles."
He responded, "Vehicles aren't important. It's Yoda that counts."
My guess is, Yoda would be proud of that answer.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Hail alert

We are under a thunderstorm warning with the possibility of large hail.
As Himself is a meteorologist, by training if not by trade, storms at our house are at the very least a cause for great interest, never fear of thunder.
The Big Kids are eagerly awaiting the hail. Middle Sister treats the weather forecast as a promise rather than a prediction and does not understand why I keep telling her that there is no guarantee of hail.
Big Brother is more pragmatic. He just went rummaging through Little Brother's toybox and triumphantly produced an Authentic Hard Hat (adult size) to wear as he romps among the hailstones. Once he locates a ruler, his equipment search will be over.
I am thankful that we don't live in Tornado Alley, or the entire summer would be spent reliving scenes from The Wizard of Oz. "Dorothy!.....Dorothy!" "Auntie Em! Auntie Em!"

What's on the menu?

I have gotten quite good at planning a menu for a week or so. Mainly I would do that so I could make my grocery shopping list. I generally shop with at least one child in tow, so organization is key.
Some of my fellow moms at Family Corner have been discussing how they make a menu for two weeks or even a month at a time.
I really wanted to try that, because it would free me from doing this planning on a weekly basis and help with the grocery lists. But it took me several weeks before I finally was able to get a whole month's menu together. I was very proud to do it.
I printed out the menu in calendar form and posted it inside one of my kitchen cabinets. The Big Kids were thrilled. They are used to monthly menus from school lunches, and look forward to the new menus. They pored over my menu and pointed out where their favorites were listed.
The menu was a source of confusion to Himself, though. He didn't get it and wondered why I was bothering.
What he doesn't see is that what looks to him like unnecessary structure is actually freedom to me. I only had to make this plan once. I can change it if necessary. I know that I have most of the ingredients for these meals in my freezer and pantry already, except perishables. And in the morning before I have consumed the vast amounts of caffeine necessary to get me going, I don't have to think too much about what to defrost. The menu is there to tell me.
Sometimes structure is freeing. Order can be a Good Thing.
Maybe he'll see the light when he walks in the front door tonight and discovers that on the menu is his favorite dinner, Chicken Parmesan.
Yes, order can be a Very Good Thing.

Friday, June 03, 2005

You know when the house needs to be picked up when... find the following items:
- child's snow boots in the master bedroom (it's JUNE, and we live close enough to the equator that there is generally not snow here in June)
- dictionary on the living room couch
- schoolbags on the living room couch
- no less than 3 pairs of shoes in the living room (one of them mine--oops!)
- lunchbox in the living room
- 2 empty Easter baskets and one, belonging to Himself, that still has treats in it (just how long am I supposed to avoid THAT Near Occasion of Sin?)
I could go on, but you get the idea. It's getting late, and tomorrow is another day. When everyone is awake I will turn on my "Sister Act" CD and be a "White Tornado" (remember that commercial?) My favorite song on that soundtrack is "Rescue Me" and it does get me going when I'm just not in the mood to do dishes, clean toilets or other such tasks.
The Big Kids will roll their eyes, but the Girl Group Music will help me get the job done. The louder, the better. When they ask me to turn it down, I tell them, "If it's too loud, you're too old!"