Happy first week of Advent, dear readers!
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in , in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our , and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.
It is piously believed that whoever recites the above prayer fifteen times a day from the feast of St. Andrew ( ) until Christmas will obtain what is asked.
If you have a moment, read this lead story in Time Magazine. Are you a helicopter parent? I definitely have some helicopter tendencies.
Also, I found this general societal comment interesting:
Some of the hovering is driven by memory and demography. This generation of parents, born after 1964, waited longer to marry and had fewer children. Families are among the smallest in history, which means our genetic eggs are in fewer baskets and we guard them all the more zealously.
A friend of mine stopped me today after helping to run the Thanksgiving party in my oldest son's (4.5yo) preschool class. She just couldn't stop laughing after talking with our M...
Labels: kids say
We are taking the week off to enjoy Thanksgiving. While we have done our traditional Handprint Turkeys, we are also reinforcing several weeks of reading from our Thanksgiving book basket by doing Narration work. This is a Charlotte Mason technique where the children tell back what they have read or learned. Try it with your children, the results can be cute or surprising, they remember such interesting details. I used a few prompts and had the children dictate to me while I typed their words. I asked them to tell me about the first Thanksgiving, Our Thanksgiving Traditions and what they were thankful for this year.
We are headed to New York to celebrate Thanksgiving with my brother. I look forward to cooking and having a relaxed family meal. He is a vegetarian so we are getting to experiment with some new side dishes, but I have also ordered a turkey from our local farm. I am looking forward to stuffing and sweet potatoes, but we are adding brussel sprouts and cauliflower this year in an attempt to use local, seasonal foods.
We are hoping to fit in some runs and perhaps watch the parade. I am especially thankful for my brother this year, who is a writer, a cancer survivor, a great uncle and friend. We don't agree on everything, but we choose to get along and respond to each other with love. He is incredibly supportive of me, and I try to be so of him, too.
We have been chatting about how to help our children build routines, including getting ready to go in the morning and handwashing. B-Mama told us that her boys are reminded to wash hands well because she posted the instructions that they made in school near the sink.
You Montessori homeschooling supermoms (and everyone else too) will enjoy this coverage of a wonderful new Montessori innovation for dental students.
Montessori School of Dentistry Lets Students Discover Their Own Root Canal Procedures
The Good: The Waitress at the diner where I had breakfast with my two younger children this morning. She brought the children extra crayons and coloring sheets and hot chocolate with cream as soon as we walked in. I was on the phone getting a car maintenance quote when she delivered our breakfast order. Without being asked, she sat down, buttered bagels and cut them into bite-sized pieces, moved all the hot drinks and knives, started the kids on their breakfast, and stayed with them until I finished my phone call. God bless you helping hands and kind souls of the world.
The Bad: The Stranger who cloned my credit card and charged $487 at a Walmart in California this afternoon. My bank is USAA, the military bank. My M.O. is fiercely watching every penny as we budget through graduate school. Stranger, you've messed with the wrong people.
The Ugly: My First 2009 Christmas-shopping trip this morning at TJMaxx. The heat is on, as I have one week to buy (on a budget) for many dear family members who we will see next week at Thanksgiving. Gift giving is oh-so-not my love language. It is 1 hour past naptime for my 3-year-old Bean and 18-month-old Angelina. Bean in the stroller handles porcelain trinkets as he uses his feet to push off the shelves and roll himself to the top of the staircase. I catch him just as he begins to head down. Angelina is back in the Ergo pulling my hair and tantruming, having just finished eating chocolate out of a display which I must now purchase. I am drenched in sweat, frying alive in a turtleneck sweater which I cannot remove because of said Ergo. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Maybe, just maybe, we can get this all taken care of before Advent.
For better or worse, there's rarely a dull day as a homemaker, wife, and mother of three preschoolers!
Lately, I am getting the sense that everyone is on facebook. You can stop laughing now, yes I am internet savvy, I have a blog, after all! However, until the last six months, I thought that facebook was just for people about 5 years younger than me, or for those who were really into online networking.
1. They make a size newborn diaper, which my sweet baby just outgrew. Yes, Claire is my 4th newborn. And yes, I just learned that they made a size newborn diaper. I have never before had a child small enough to fit into a newborn diaper. That cut-out thing for the umbilical cord is really cool--and beats the heck out of folding the top of the diaper down!
2. Just because my first three children are blond, doesn't mean I will always have blond babies. Claire appears to be our first brunette...time will tell if she is going to keep her brown hair.
3. A newborn baby is just about the greatest thing that can happen in the life of an almost six year old girl. It is also very exciting for my two boys, who make every effort to pay attention to baby Claire all day. I am loving it!
4. Hibernating for a couple of months after the baby is born is actually fun. I'm loving all the time with my kids, and for the first time in my life as a mother, I've actually enjoyed staying at our house for days at a time (and I'm a big time extrovert!).
5. If your six week old baby is only waking up once a night to nurse, you should thank God for this special blessing. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
6. Transitions are tough, and it is ok to go easy on yourself, relax your standards, and know that in time life will go back to normal. Take-out rocks.
7. There are an amazing number of wonderful people in my life who have truly celebrated the birth of our sweet baby. Your generosity has been amazing! The meals and gifts are all truly appreciated, and have been given with such love.
8. You will get more baby gifts when you have a baby girl. There is something about a baby girl that makes Aunts and distant relatives, who have otherwise ignored the birth of baby boys, fly to the store and buy baby clothes.
9. When you are overtired and desperate and you ask your 5 year old to get your 3 year old and 22 month old something to eat for breakfast, do not be surprised when you walk into the kitchen and see them all working hard with a pair of child-friendly scissors to cut open one cereal bar after another. Wrappers lie everywhere and the box itself was actually cut to shreads. The cheerios, your intended breakfast food, lie untouched in the pantry. Also, do not be surprised when all three children choose not to eat lunch because they have consumed about $10 worth of cereal bars.
10. Whoever said that once you have three children, and are officially outnumbered as parents, adding an additional child isn't that much more work was lying! My greatest challenge as the mother of 4 children is to make sure I am giving each child individual attention and love. An additional kid makes a big difference in this goal. It is going to be quite a transition.
12. When you do leave the house with all four children in tow, grown adults will often lose their ability to count to four, and ask you, "How many children do you have, lady?"
13. God is good. Claire is beautiful and perfect. Every time I look at her, I am reminded that miracles happen. She arrived naturally almost two weeks earlier than any of my other babies, born on the feast of St. Francis, as predicted by her big sister, Gianna. Since St. Claire was the "sister" saint to Francis, our little Claire will always know that God himself named her. I am reminded of this small miracle almost every time I say her name. Consolations like this are not normally part of my spiritual life, and so I am still thanking God for such a wonderful gift.
Living Books Curriculum, a great Charlotte Mason resource, has free "Holiday Helper" packets for several holidays throughout the year. I like them because they include beautiful poems, stories and art for a picture study. Beautiful and enticing first-person accounts for a young child. By all means, go ahead and make a hand print turkey, but try reading a beautiful Thanksgiving poem, too! You can download the Thanksgiving Helper at CurrClick for free.
Labels: Feast Days
One last godsend I've instituted is our kitchen recycling bin. It is stored in the closet and is the immediate spot for sending all mail rejects. If I can take the time to attack the mail pile, I can sort and immediately dispose of what is not needed. But what about where to put the important items??
Good Morning! I am hoping that some of you will be able to help me out. For the past several weeks, with the advice and consent of my husband, I have been getting up early to go for a walk/jog/run. Most days, I am home in time to shower and dress for the day, and this is a great luxury. Some days, however, it makes more sense for me to stay in my workout clothes for part, or even all, of the day. For example, on Fridays we have an outside gym class with the kids in the afternoon, so changing into real clothes is just a waste of time.
Since most of the playground talk lately seems to be about the H1N1 vaccine, I was interested to read this piece in the New York Times giving a pediatrician's perspective on the current climate of debate. I am not sure that I agree with him, but it is worth reading. Mostly, I wish that the doctors right now would honestly confront the fact that some people get sick from flu vaccines and try to give legitimate reasons that we should vaccinate anyway.
In the handful of classic motherhood moments, here's one you'll appreciate:
Mom and three young children are out enjoying a public place, like a plaza, duck pond, park or campus green. Behavior is good, even if highly energetic. Morale is high. All is right with the world.
Romeo and Juliet (two heated-up teenagers or young adults) lie together in the grass, or lap-sit and make out, or sway in place front-to-front as they look in each others eyes. The children's noises draw them out of their passionate trance, distract them from their public displays of affection. They eye the children with disdain, disgust even, and snicker as the family walks by. The presence of children has spoiled the heat of the moment.
What a paradox. I thought the design was Man + Woman + Passion = Children.
I'd never say anything out loud (well probably not), but I wonder if there's a perfect one-liner to sum it all up. Nothing ugly or snarky. If you can think of one, I'll store it in the memory bank for some solace, and a little internal chuckle and wink, when these situations arise.
A Quick Note: Our readers should be aware of the latest recall of Maclaren Strollers. They are recalling them due to a faulty hinge mechanism that can cause child finger amputations and lacerations. Yikes!
I love our new family. I do not love natural childbirth. One is, however, worth the other. Thank you all for prayers and words of encouragement. Tex, you cursed me. Just wait until it is our turn to guess for you!
In honor of the beginning of the second week of November - where has the time gone, and are we really already in November?! - and of course to celebrate the birth of AWOL's little guy :), I thought I would post a delicious and simple recipe. It is perfectly suited for a crowd, but I guarantee that it will also be gobbled up by your nearest and dearest if you leave it sitting around the house for a couple of days :)
It is with great joy that we welcome baby C, the newest "Builder Baby," born in Germany earlier today! In a report from AWOL's mother, we learned that baby C weighed 8 lbs, 14 oz and was born at 8:25 pm (Germany time) after "4 hours of serious labor and NO epidural," just as AWOL was hoping for :) More details, and hopefully a couple of pictures, to come!
Retreat season is approaching. I loved silent retreats in college but let them pass by for the first four years of motherhood. It's so hard to slip away for a weekend or long weekend alone with Our Lord. If mothers could leave behind the household and the kids that easily, we'd all be a lot more refreshed, accomplished in our hobbies, and well-traveled. It takes enormous preparation, sacrifice by the whole family, and a giant leap of faith to commit to a retreat.
I finally went last spring. Quite simply, it rekindled the flame of my love for Christ, like a honeymoon. It wasn't a "mountaintop" emotional experience; it wasn't even particularly emotional. It was short few days to focus soberly and gratefully and joyfully on our Love and His plan for my life. Lavish (even for an extrovert), to devote three days to complete silence, solitude with myself and God, punctuated by guided meditations, spiritual reading, reception of the Sacraments, prayer, walking and thinking and listening in God's creation. My retreat was conducted by Opus Dei at Murray Hill Conference Center in Manhattan. Non-city retreats are at least as great.
And AH YES, it was so physically refreshing to have three days off from taking care of children and the household, to eat great meals that I didn't cook, and to sleep through the night.
So, this is a quick plug and encouragement to begin looking at the December-May calendar and focusing in on some retreat dates. Brainstorm ways that family members and friends could be called upon to help your loving family survive the weekend without you. Lent can be a great time to go. Or is there a time to go after weaning the current baby before the next one arrives? Or bring baby along? Set aside some money, tithe or otherwise. Pray through the details. Again, I say this humbly, after missing retreats for several years and then finally returning to rediscover what a gift they are.
I met a stay-at-home dad today at the park. He's staying home while his wife helps her brother start his dental practice. As we chatted he revealed that he was formerly a prison guard and that his prison job was WAAAAY easier than staying at home with a 1 and 4 year old1!
It's that time of year for sniffles and bugs and other not so fun things. We are blessed with good immune systems and seem to miss many of the bugs going around, but I like to sneak in as much extra help as possible.
Sometime in October I start quadrupling the amount of garlic in everything from soup to mashed potatoes to just roasting heads and spreading it on fresh bread. We all like garlic and no one seems to notice, but then again, we are all eating the garlic.
Do you all have any immune boosting tips for us other than healthy eating, lots of water and good sleep?
Also, any natural cold/flu remedies you'd like to share?
We've had our Kindergarten kid home from school for the past couple of days, dealing with fever and cold-like symptoms, so I've been trying to come up with fun activities for him to do while our little one is napping. This activity with marshmallows and toothpicks is simple, educational, fun, and EDIBLE (well, at least the marshmallow part).
Like many of you, my husband and I debated as to whether or not to get the kids vaccinated this season against H1N1. With our children in preschool, we were more inclined to arm ourselves against the hyped virus, but unsure whether or not it was necessary due to other procedures we could take to stay healthy.
I just went to the basement to switch out the September (Apple) and October (Pumpkin) books and bring up our November (Thanksgiving) books to fill our fireside book basket. As I was going through the books, I also uploaded our Thanksgiving choices to the Amazon page. I hope you will find some new favorites for your family this month, and please let us know if you have any to recommend.