Friday, January 29, 2010

7 Quick Takes

Charlie and Kaveon
Jackson's photos from the March For Life. Hoardes of people ignored by the media!

Noah at Little Round Top in Gettysburg?

1. It's weird not having to ask Gabriella if she needs a diaper change. Weird in a good way.

2. I watched a movie called "Housewife 49" last night. Tim took most of the kids to a basketball game. It was thoroughly delightful. About a woman in England who wrote a journal about daily life during the second World War. I also watched "Mrs Miniver" which was along the same lines. Don't know why this theme has snuck into my life lately. I think I must be turning into an Anglophile because I almost can't watch movies with American actors in them anymore. Why do the British have such talent ( or really, most Europeans) for understatement in acting. I loved Victoria Wood. On that note I am highly pleased at the large selection of great movies and non fiction dvds I found at the Rochester library this time around.

3. I just came in from outside and noticed there was a deer in the yard staring at me. I can't get over the novelty of this. :) Although, I would like to try a garden this summer and know that all these critters are notoriously pesky for chewing up gardens.

4. Been reading "Mother Teresa, In Her Own Words" which is unsettling, at best. Unsettling because her words penetrate your very soul, and make it re-evaluate dearly held beliefs and actions, especially toward the poor.

"Do you not believe that it can happen, on the other hand, that we treat the poor like they are a garbage bag in which we throw everything we have no use for ? Food we do not like or is going bad- we throw it in there. An article of clothing that is not in style anymore, that we do not want to wear again, goes to the poor. This does not show any respect for the dignity of the poor;..... but to consider them less than our equals. "

5. Manny needs to have a filling. I've never heard of a 5 year old needing a filling. I really don't think he eats more sweets or brushes less :) than any of his siblings who have been mostly filling-free throughout the years. Except for a notable exception, big brother Zak. Who Does Eat A LOT OF Sweets. :) Another thing to add to my "Mother Guilt" list. :)

6. I walked 2 miles in the cold this week. I'd do it again if it wasn't quite so cold. Under 30 degrees makes things rather unbearable.

7. In that same vein, when it was a bit warmer last week, I started having terrible allergy symptoms. My eyes and nose were running like a faucet, but stopped abruptly once the temps went below freezing again. I am new to all this allergy stuff. Never was bothered by it until a couple years ago. I wish I knew what exactly it was that causes the problems. Not that I could conceivably avoid them. :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Outside my window: Dark, but expected to be 43 and rainy today! Woot!? ( in January? In Michigan?)

I am thinking...still trying to figure out our many blessings. Probably should just be grateful and not try to analyze.

I am thankful .....boys who were able to go to the March 4 Life due to the generosity of family and friends.

From the schoolroom..... determined to stick to a better routine this week, although I know certain parties are going to be whupped and out of it for the first couple days due to their travels.

From the kitchen ...need to remember not to make certain things that only "I" will eat, like blue cheese-mushroom quiche ( that also has bacon in it). What was I thinking?! ;)

I am reading and watching and listening to:

Listened to:
Honolulu by Alan Bennett

So-so. There were a lot of interesting facts about the Asian population in Hawaii at the time.

The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene

What is about Graham Greene? Even though his main characters are middle aged men I can always so relate to the inner turmoil they are going through. Probably because they aren't endemic to only men, but for all. After reading "Brideshead Revisited" I understand the comparisons between he and Evelyn Waugh. Those British, Catholic-converts. They know how to tell it like it is. No sugar coating the truths of life. I always find that refreshing. I know Mr Greene had some unorthodox views, but unlike some of his novels, he came full circle by the end of his life. I seem to "feel" that in his novels, even the ones written well before his death. He is grappling with but knows the truth. And in his case, the truth won out.

"a Jekyll and Hyde character, who has not succeeded in fusing the two sides of himself into any kind of harmony." Malcom Muggeridge

It was both apt and prophetic that Greene should have taken the name of St. Thomas the Doubter at his reception into the Church in February 1926. Whatever else he was or wasn't, he was always a doubter par excellence. He doubted others; he doubted himself; he doubted God. Ironically, it was this very doubt that so often provided the creative force for his fiction. Perhaps the secret of his enduring popularity lies in his being a doubting Thomas in an age of doubt. As such, Greene's Catholicism becomes an enigma, a conversation piece - even a gimmick. Yet if his novels owe a debt to doubt, their profundity lies in the ultimate doubt about the doubt. In the end this ultimate doubt about doubt kept Graham Greene clinging doggedly, desperately - and doubtfully - to his faith.

From "Graham Greene, Doubter Par Excellence" Joesph Pearce


The Tea Rose by Jennifer Connelly

Jury is out on this one. I sniff an agenda, although it is certainly entertaining.

Around the house.. Warmer temps gave a chance to go and somewhat organize the garage, which has become a collecting place for odds and ends. At least we can walk through it in a straight line.
One of my favorite things: a walk on a country lane. I wonder if the novelty of living out here in the quiet and beauty of nature will someday wear off?

What will we do this week: Nothing out of the ordinary. Catechism, classes, indoor soccer.....and another winter birthday. ;) A trip to IKEA on Saturday for some bunkbeds ( yay! for tax refunds ;) ( yes I know it is madness to go to IKEA on a Saturday ;) We made a family trip to the "Y" yesterday. After getting three littles suited up, showered ( besides myself) and ready to swim we hadn't been in the pool 3 minutes when they announced they were closing for 45 mins to clean the pool. ?-- why can't that be done BEFORE the Y opens? And why can't they put a sign on the locker room door stating they will be doing this at such and such a time? ARGGGGG!
On a happier note I like the scale at the "Y" much better than ours. It must be more accurate.....right? ;)

Pictures I'm sharing....Manny got a "Potato Head" playdough set in his stocking. This is what we came up with. Winter arrangements with dried bounty from our marsh.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Note to self:

Before. Mom gave her a fairly decent "Madeline" type bob.
After the little stinker found the scissors and decided to improve upon the job. Grrrrr!

Don't do a haircut when you are rushed. Of course you would think that for obvious reasons ( ie: you might do a bad job) but even though I am a notoriously poor beautician, the real problem was "forgetting" to put the scissors away in the heat of the moment.

Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! I'm not sure even a professional can fix this mess. Hat-shopping anyone? ;)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

For Dad, Mom and Nan....and Aunt Becky :) A New View

Original dining area that we are using as a music room right now.
This is what you will see as you first turn in the driveway....our address :)
The driveway
The house from the front drive
Deer droppings are a novelty to a girl who has lived in the city for the past 10 years. :)
The marsh
View from the front porch
Inside the marsh ( you can do that when it's below freezing ;)
More marshy-ness

One of the many empty birdfeeders.....poor little birds!
Back of the house
Living room and stairs going upstairs
Living room
Office aka "dumping ground" for things we aren't sure what to do with.
My little corner of the office, it's a pretty shade of blue/turquoise
Dining room
View from the back of the dining room looking into the kitchen

Didn't do the upstairs or downstairs, but this was overload enough for one post :)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Sacrament of the Present Moment

I hope this is not a heretical view, but I sometimes wonder if the Holy Spirit doesn't send out "group" inspirations to various contingents of the faithful. Sort of like a "group" e-mail from a higher up to his underlings. I was perusing some blogs and came upon "NOW" by Elizabeth Foss. It's often been the case that I've found that other homeschooling mothers of large families have had the same things on their minds.

There isn't much I can add to her piece. I just had a few further thoughts. Mostly that "now" usually isn't so bad. "Now" can actually be quite good, even in the midst of suffering or uncertainty. There are so many little graces throughout the day, the week, the year if we can just get our minds off our troubles and focus on "now". The soft cheek of a cute little girl, a witty teen, a beautiful view, cooking a nice meal, a good book or movie, even the ability to do laundry. So many times lately when uncertain thoughts have crowded my mind I've had to stop and tell myself "But what about right NOW? It's good, it's great even!" Why do I let what "could" happen cloud the joys of what is happening right "now"? There probably are a variety of reasons for it. One is that if you try to be a responsible person who like to have a contingency plan for anything that might befall you. I don't think that is all bad, but there is a fine line between trying to find solutions for problems and letting the "what if's" of them overcome you.

I haven't, of course, plumbed the depths of human sufferings, so maybe I will have to come back and revisit this :), but it has seemed to me lately that most of the difficulties of hard times is our inability to not focus on them. It's a tough one. No doubt about it.

I like what Fr Solanus says:
Worry is a weakness from which very few of us are entirely free. We must be on guard against this most insidious enemy of our peace of soul. Instead, let us foster confidence in God, and thank Him ahead of time for whatever He chooses to send us.
Venerable Solanus Casey (1870-1957)

and the ever "to the point" Elisabeth Elliot; "Worry is forbidden (Matthew 6:25, Phillipians 4:6, Psalm 37) It is useless, a colossal waste time. Still we carry on as if it's unavoidable."

I wish I could remember the author and what exactly what was said ( the travails of being middle aged! :), but it was something to the effect that you should treat worrisome thoughts the same as any other tempting thought. Get rid of it ( or distract yourself from it) as soon as you realize it is there.

So, since the message for the New Year seems so very clear, it is my prayer that I will make real strides at taking heed. :)

(The Sacrament of the Present Moment is a translation of a devotional book by Jean-Pierre de Caussade)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Christmas and New Year's Part 2

Manny turned 5 on January 2nd!

He's not trying to burn his hand :) Naomi was telling him to show five fingers!

His new bike from m/m and papa!
We've got the wagon ( thanks Nan!) we've got the ZOO PASS ( thanks m/m and papa) now we just need some warmer weather! :)
Our Christmas season centerpiece.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care!
Complete with name tags made by Jed. ;)

Streams of consciousness from a mother of 10 who usually can't collect her thoughts and finds commas a nuisance.