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Sorry for the choppiness of my last post.  DS(14) Young Edison does have a lot to share, but it is so hard to post some days .  He is very excited about his work and what he has done in the past and what he wants to demonstrate to the younger ones now.  He is becoming a great teacher. He works slowly with them and lets them wonder about what they are doing and come up with their own solutions to scientific problems..etc. It is so nice to watch.  Can you see me beaming?  A lot of work has gone into this young man.  I am astonished to see what and who he is becoming.

I am nearing the end of my first trimester…yippee!  I have been feeling so GREEN but not getting sick.  Which means I have been putting on weight…ick.  I know that will work itself out once the GREEN period passes and I can be more active again.  I plan on stepping up my walks to 2X a day.  Preparing for Labor and Delivery after all of these pregnancies/  is akin to training for a marathon.  I plan on doing as well as I can with a minimum of interventions!

Slowing down lately has given me plenty of time to think about what school looks like to us.  I have become much more comfortable running my 10 ring circus, highschool is looking so much less intimidating and my 14yo ds is doing more chores with noooo complaining….woo-hoo! We made a deal…he works on something resembling laundry and the dishes and I will bug him less and give him quality time with dh and the twins(16) after the younger kiddoes are in bed…whether that be playing a game, or watching old movies or just talking…it is so nice having a male older child.  Did I tell you that I am proud of this young man?

Because Young Edison is helping me out more, I gotta tell ya…what a load of stress off of me.  The twins run circles around me and with him pitching in….sweeeet is a good word.  Things are still hard but much,much more tolerable.

Well, I am off to shear another son.  Young Edison has a head of brown wavy hair that any woman would kill for….and it takes quite a lot out of the life of the clippers…LOL  Before I took the barbering home, the barber told me that it was like 3 boys worth of hair on the floor, and I can believe it.  Clipping his hair is a wonderful way to spend one-on-one quality time with any of the children.  I really look forward to our special times together.  Someday I have to get a picture with me doing it.  I know it will be one of the things that the children remember most about childhood….time spent with mom while she made them more handsome in the bathroom…sigh…TIME…goes waay fast.  It is worth all the aggravation. …remind me this next week, will ya??

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….for almost 2! years I have been walking.  Not just a little stroll in the park, mind you.  I have been WALKING in the rain, in the snow, in the cold wind, after a good day, after days that hit so hard that I could barely breathe, while I was pregnant, and while I was greeen with morning sickness, and with muscle aches and pains, and when I was in LABOR! I have been walking for 1.5 years…every night…5 miles a night after the kiddoes are in bed and with a sitter.

The police around town know us…

The people that I see in the supermarket point and say “hey!  its them! and boy is that baby getting big!”

Do I know these people?  Nope.

But I have prayed for them.  Round and round our town past their houses and cars …with a friend from Church and my dh.   We have been walking, and talking and praying and trying to make sense of our world, our vocations, our gifts, our unique calls, and whenever possible…to laugh…out loud! ….for a loooong time….YES! Even in LABOR! (although I am sure it made our friend a little uneasy as I thought the laughter would just evict that little man 2 miles in the middle of no where..and me gasping for breath as my stomach shook up and down and my eyes rained tears for the unexpected joy of friendship!   I tell you, that boy should have been named Issaic!

Today we tested our commitment a bit…

We followed the Letter Carrier’s creed.  We put that to the test.

Neither rain nor gloom of night kept us from our appointed rounds. AKA: “THE Walk”

The rain (I should clarify that, the word DELUGE comes close) was unabaiting, coming sideways…the wind pushed us off course (ok, so there was no wind)

walking-with-GodThe first thought I had was rather girly of me….“Oh no, my hair!” and “Thank God I didn’t wear a white shirt!” But, once I was in that shower for about 5 minutes and nary a bar of soap in sight,  I started wondering how hard God was laughing….pride be dammed, I decided.  I was going to ‘test the waters a bit’.  We walked on…we took that walk God was leading us on.  We didn’t want to stop.  We wanted to stay strong and finish strong.

…no hat, no raingear, no umbrella to block the view(not that I could keep my eyes open too much).  The puddles turned into rivers (and some nice swimming holes).  Something funny began to happen as the icy rivulets seeped through our soggy clothing and down our necks.  We lost our stress of the day…we lost many years and tried every forgotten yearning of our childhood.  “let’s check the depth of this puddle now…!!” We learned how to play again.

Can you imagine what people were saying??  Here it was 9 something at night…. “why are you doing that??!”

“Because we can!” (and because our kids weren’t with us.)

Truth be told, I had to imagine that I was my 10yo son to figure out what to do with those puddles.

the_promise_zoom_777I have to say our friend from church has been such a bad influence on us.  No matter what the stress, what weirdness this world has thrown at us during the last year and a half, his laughter has made it all so much more bearable.

We thought many a day “HOW can we do THIS?”

I think that the correct answer is what we told people in the rain…

“because we CAN!”

and

This is COMMITTMENT, Baby!”

These beautiful pieces of art work are among my favorites by Morgan Weistling:  Walking With God and The Promise

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Darn those kids!  They show you so many things about yourself that you have to work on.  I am so old…(ok I only feel old)…that I find I want to throw a temper tantrum like a three year old when it comes to too much change.  What is wrong with me? 

Growing pains.

The house is getting too small…What’s wrong?  Weeeelll….I need to seriously re-look at my surroundings and declutter.  (and include a novena for a larger home 😉 and try not to feel claustrophobic while we are all in the same room.

My little kids are now getting to be BIG kids…the little kid noise…down there, has become the NOISE up HERE and over my head!

I feel tired…what’s odd with that?  Well,  I am doing so much at once trying to “better myself”…

…that the inner me…again

…wants that darned tantrum.  It is begging for some GOOD chocolate now...

(woah…hope that isn’t addictive behavior there)

and the inner me says..who cares?  I WANT IT NOW

….hmm inner-problem child??

rose clip artI can’t tell you how much I have grown in the past year.  God has had His hand on my back propelling me through the last year saying “Good job (or read Job as in the Old Testament), but you need to be holier…faster…THEY need you to be…how about this wonderful method of sanctification….the refiners fire

gulp…the “they” is my family.  We had so many changing needs this year…lots of unexpected medical bills, a new baby, new growth in body (13yo ds is now 5ft8 1/2″!!) mind and soul.   We have to make do with less money, although we are eating more (see last sentence), and the bills all around are so much larger??  I needed heroic virtue to do my job.  I would rather prefer just plain virtuous now and then, just for the break!  Heroic virtue takes so much out of you…eventually you grow into a new normal…but you FEEL like giving in or giving up juuust before the JOY hits (yes Job, you have learned this lesson before 😉

I have learned SOOOO much.  I can’t tell you how creative I can be …even in the kitchen.  With a few onions, some garlic, cilantro, lime and ginger…..think cilantro pesto-type sauce…and herbs are my best-friends..they can add pizazz to any bean to make it sing for joy!  (I finally made my peace with beans after many fouled attempts, although dh claims that it wasn’t THAT awful…)

Dh is praying the rosary with us now… I can tell you one thing, the evil one that deserves no name, hates it.   he lets me know here an there that I am on the track where I need to be…LOL…those unprovoked attacks are a dead give-away….and it only took me some thirty some odd years to learn that trick.

I have good days and bad days.  Three gallons of tears today have passed and later I can tell you I feel a little better.  God is asking me to change so many things at once that sometimes the lack of “MY” control bothers me and I want to do something impulsive…like delete this blog…or paint the livingroom red(oh, only 1 wall over the fireplace…)..or scour clean the basement steps (to which the kids replied:

“Wow, I never saw her do that before!” …ouch!

(btw, the only impulsive thing I did was the stairs…not the other 2…)

…and  I am praying like mad, even though the words are dry as toast in my mouth and I can’t pay attention no matter how hard I try.  I figure that I couldn’t be doing anything better at the moment so praying done however badly is better than none…

…and I am praying through my work.  My work comes close to an escapist job but it isn’t…I am finding God there.  I have to make hard choices de-cluttering our learning spaces…it is a penance and a mortification that frees me…oddly enough.    I thank God for the gift of things even though I cannot afford to purchase the curricula that I really want to get this year.  I have to rely on the library even though I hate the looks they give me when I am there…we are just plain odd ( I mean why be so picky about a book about the life of a plant?  Umm…the book that you have is rather..boring and the one I am looking for isn’t?)… another mortification…arg  So it looks like I need to be HEROICALLY creative…even with our curricula!

…and I am smiling at the baby a lot!  He is so funny and sweet and innocent and he gives unconditional love…even while he is pinching my skin reaaaal hard trying to get my attention while I blog….

so I am off to do the right thing…cuddle my little man…and pray and work..and pray and work and find peace amongst the chaos of trying to put my heart and home in order.

what did I start off saying??  oh yeah…kids.  They show you the things about yourself that you have to work on. Ds(6) came up to me as I was upset today.  He wrapped his arms around me. “It’s ok mommy.  You are my best girl.  Now, do you want me to show you how to play?  I will teach you how to play with my cars. Don’t worry, Mom.  I will go slow!” The lesson I learned is this:  I can’t get so caught up in my own inner struggles and growth that I forget what is important…passing time with a child.  I think I learned more in my son’s arms today than I have in a long time.  Through the heart of a son, this foolish woman learned much today.

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I have been thinking a lot about who we are as a family. I really do think that each family has a unique charism. It seems to be a theme that has been coming up so much that I am starting to take notice…like the Holy Spirit is tapping me on the head…

I really do think our unique charism is a homeschooling one.. one where we live a Eucharistic-centered family-centered existence in which we participate in life’s events in a wholistic way. We involve everyone from the 3yo to the 14yo twins….mom and dad too. the more we do this the more we learn and grow and glean from each other. We learn so much more from this environment than when we are segregated into age-appropriate peer-centered groups. Life seems more balanced and more interesting to say the least…lol.

I mean, think about it.

We eat together, play together, pray together, learn together…. and all that we do when we are together is the best that we can do…we eat holistically using living food…we read living books,…we make the best use of our time that we can..even when relaxing. we have found that our experience as a family to be a richer deeper version of the lives we lived before we started this magnum opus of a homeschool family. The kids ‘get’ things that dh and I were clueless to at the same age. They are well grounded. They have a deeper sense of who they are and what they are about. They, in general, go deeper with many things…live more on-purpose than we ever did at that age. they know and love and learn more about their Catholic faith than we EVER knew at their ages. They are pretty good barometers when it comes to “fluff” …I have heard more than once…”Mom, we could do this BETTER”…

I see much much good fruit here and much food for deeper thought….peeling back the layers (ok bad pun) we found that there is something in front of us that we are still trying to understand. There is a force at work when we work as a UNIT that dh and I just don’t seem to get yet. I like what I see. I am ever seeking the definition of it. We compliment each other well. We balance each other out. We each have a unique contribution to make….not that all we do is perfect, but our time together is always a good opportunity to work out whatever kinks we have ;o)

So then we reach out to our local parish. We attend Holy Mass. We are the altar servers, we volunteer for seting up and cleaning up after various events. We are the faithful ones that show up. We kneel down when everyone is making the mass-exodus from the church to say a few prayers of thanksgiving together… just to spend a few moments more with the God we love and love to serve. We are instrumental in planning, and running our parish picnic. No half-stepping here. We love being family-centered and volunteering in a family-centered way.

We don’t participate in CCD…

We felt so out of place with their “confirmation prep

and now there is something else that the 3 eldests and I have been mulling around in our heads and it involves our newly established youth group…

For the first time in a long while we have a youth group at our church for jr-sr high. I have 3 children that fit into this age group so I decided to attend a meeting with them…I told them that the kids were coming and btw..so was I…

The general format was ok…kinda..
they were given a pocket bible that was a poor translation that had my kids rolling their eyes in my general direction and they used this bible during a discussion of who they were. The theme of the night was “who am I”. It was ok but felt too …dunno…dumbed down? On the plus side, after this evening the girls spent the weekend with this bible open and compared and contrasted its content with our bible at home…made for some very interesting discussions…

anyhoo
it had its good moments…the kids played together. some of it was a bit hokey…
the plus was that over 1/2 of the kids there were our homeschooling friends so we kinda converted the place into an interesting social event.

They were told that each time they met they would learn a new song that was like pop Catholic music. After listening to one song the leader said “Isn’t this a cool song? I mean this would be GREAT to hear in Mass!” I interjected …nooo…I really don’t think that would be a good idea…
She asked why not…
I said, because Holy Mass is something so very special and sacred and God deserves music that goes deeper than this does. and I did mention that this kind of music is great for a campfire or a dance or something..it had its place but Holy Mass was not one of them.
So we agreed that we disagreed…

I don’t know how comfy my kids feel about going. There are good points…but why do I feel so weird about this? I know they want to do good service type projects. I don’t think they will end up doing anything that we wouldn’t be doing with our local homeschool community though. We live such a meaningful existence when we homeschool…when we play…when we pray. I know we are not “better” than anyone…but we do choose to live deeper. I think we found this get-together to be strangely wanting of what it could have been. The kids feel a strange nagging feeling and we still wonder…is this something that should be worth our time? It is so hard to find good groups to belong to. Maybe we should start something on our own??

and then my parish priest asked me what I thought.
after my encounter with the parish over the weird confirmation retreat I was wondering if he really wanted to know or not…I have a tendency to be the orthodox meter as of late….lol what a distinction…sigh.

What is the push lately for each INDIVIDUAL to be more involved with “parish life” …kinda like that children’s liturgy thread at 4 real….golly i loved what Macbeth had to say on page 2…my feelings exactly!! Mentoring through mass…expose the children to things bigger than themselves…the Holy Mass is bigger than all of us!

what about Christ-centered things that are not dumbed down that suit the family as a whole instead..could that be a do-able thing?

I like to live on-purpose. I like meaning…I love going deeper. so do the kids. When things tend to be wishy-washy I feel like I have no time for them. Life is so short. I would much rather do one thing really well than stretch myself and my family thin doing some things that are moderately ok.

The family that prays together stays together. Just because the child receives the Eucharist at 8 doesn’t mean that NOW he should be attending mass….we always attend the ENTIRE  Mass together because it is the essence of who we are and what we are about.   Just because a child recieves Confirmation doesn’t make him an adult either….we are always learning and growing and celebrate each sacrament as a sacred moment in that journey… they are steps on the journey and we celebrate them with the child as a family …these sacred moments are moments that we cherish in the heart of our home. What about the men being the spiritual head of their homes? doesn’t this translate well as he leads them into worship in church and volunteer life within the parish? St Francis said preach and only when necessary use words…random thoughts but the same theme keeps popping into my head…we allll have a contribution to make. I really like the fruit of being family-centered…we all have something to offer.

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One of the things I really need to have as part of our family’s diet is raw foods…and fermented foods.  I am trying extra hard to put more veggies (raw and fermented) in our diets.   I know that fermented foods really help with digestion and healing the body of a multitude of woes…which is what this pregnant mommy needs.  I have 2 boys that also seem to need this kind of food.  The funny thing is, we CRAVE them.  It may take a taste or two to decide if you like it (just because it is a little different but not because it tastes bad),  but when you keep going back to the bowl for more, it can’t be all that bad.

One great book that helps you make yummy fermented foods is Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.  The recipes are clear and couldn’t be easier to make.  You just have to start thinking about it ahead of when you want it.  I have gathered so many mason jars very cheaply from garage sales for this purpose and I love to have them sitting filled on the shelf ready to go into a meal.  We have gone very slowly with this.  We choose one or two recipes a week and we are starting to amass a nice collection of filled jars to chose from.  I love to add some of these to dishes that we are already planning on serving…like salads.  It gives a new name to convenience food.

My 12yo ds(young Einstein)  loves to make jars and jars of the various fermented foods recipes located in the pages of this book.  We have been enjoying the ginger carrots in many salads and it goes great by itself with fish.  I have even added some to soups as they were done cooking.    (Having the mix of raw and cooked makes a nice treat for the palette.)  Young Einstein is also in the process of making lacto-fermented pickles and ketchup.

No GMO altered foods for this family if we can help it!  (see link for a list!)  We plan on gardening and buying from local trusted sources as much as we can.   There are many articles on this subject…this one in my inbox this morning.  What are we doing?!

I found this site recently as I was clicking from blog to blog.  I was clicking so rapidly that I have no idea who to credit with this!  Anyhooo…

We tried this raw kale salad last night.  I ran out of tomatoes so I substituted small diced apples and we also added raisins.  I had no idea kale could taste good if eaten raw!  I am a convert!  We made a big batch and it is all gone!  I enjoyed watching the clip…it makes food prep more of a no brainer.

Making foods like this is easy…just do it ahead of when you need it.  When I realized how much I was trying to cram in at the end of the day between food prep, dishes, laundry and the general management and upkeep of kids  it was a relief for me to relocate food prep to the after breakfast chore.  I am glad I have something done at that point of the day  and it seems to make my whole day a little less stressful…we could all use that, couldn’t we?

Tonight we are having this sweet and sour cole slaw recipe.  I have sampled some already and I know this will be a big hit.  In place of the carrots, I substituted some of Young Einstein’s fermented ginger carrots and  think it is a wonderful addition!  I plan on serving this with some baked chicken with fresh herbs from our garden sprinkled liberally on top! yummmm!  I plan on serving left-overs as chicken salad with home made mayo, fresh herbs and thick slices of tomato tomorrow night on thick slices of this EASY camp bread (already sitting on the counter fermenting).  We will be baking this tomorrow after lunch.  The kids really love the crust on this loaf…mmm.   I spread butter liberally on top as it emerges from the oven.  It melts in your mouth, I tell ya!

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I think I am back…

Thank you so very much for all of your prayers and well wishes!

KEEP PRAYING!!

I have to say that I am feeling much better but I still am not 100% yet!

keep praying!!

Your prayers are working and so very much cherished!

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Today I saw a very beautiful and precious sight…

a very healthy baby squirming and stretching…

a very beautiful SON

The children are OVERJOYED

We just tied the ranks…4 boys, 4 girls!

Please keep me in your prayers.  They are helping.  At least I am having some good nights instead of all bad ones.

Please keep praying!!

May God bless you all abundantly!

(I will try to write all of you who were so gracious and left comments.  I just need a bit of time as my family needs every good moment I can give them.)

I pray for all of you!

{{{{HUGS}}}}

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