Friday, January 31, 2014

How to Respect Your Children While Using Social Media


Anyone else completely torn over how much of their children they should put on social media?

 I love sharing pictures of my children, I love sharing their cute stories and things they say.

I know my friends and family like to read it.  I know my friends and family like to see it. I know cute kid pictures and posts gets tons of comments and likes and views. 

Everyone wants to show off their kids, and share their funny sayings....because well, it's fun.  We love our children.  We're proud of them.  Everyone thinks their kids are the cutest, the smartest, the funniest.

We want to share it and people like to read that.  And, that is a good thing. 




But, the thing is, children are people too.  And they don't stay small forever.   They grow up, and then they have to live with whatever their parents posted about them forever. 

And, I'm really, really wondering how this generation of children is going to feel about having their entire childhood blasted over social media.....blogs, Facebook, Instagram, etc., etc, etc. 

How are they going to feel about the fact that we may spend a considerable amount of time, talking and writing about them, in a public forum.   Even Facebook and things like that are more public than we like to think.  Nothing is really private anymore.  Nothing. 

Laura wrote about this a few months back, and I really appreciated her excellent post, but it dealt a bit more with safety issues.  I'm talking more about how our kids will feel.  I don't want my kids to ever look back at this blog and cringe or feel violated by the stories or photos I post of them. 

Some bloggers avoid talking about their kids at all, some bloggers don't call their kids by name (using things like #1), and some bloggers, like Jessica, come up with totally super awesome pseudonyms for their kids. I honestly wish I had thought of that before I started this blog.   But, I didn't.  I use my kids' real names, which are great names, if I do say so myself. 

I'm not saying this is perfect, but, I've come up with 7 rules for myself, to respect my kids while still sharing them on social media.   If you feel differently, that's okay.  And, I apply these rules to all social media....blogs, Facebook, Instagram (not that I use Instragam, but if I did, I would apply them). 

1. The older they get, the less I talk/post about them.  This blog probably has the most pictures and discussion of my one-year old on it.  Why...because she's just a baby/toddler and it's hard to imagine anyone being embarrassed by baby/toddler pictures or funny stories.  Everyone knows babies/toddlers do cute/funny things, and things that could be embarrassing when a four year old does it are not that embarrassing for a one-year old.

2. With my older kids, I ask them before posting pictures or stories.  Usually they are all, yes, yes, post this picture or share my story on your blog. I want to be famous!  Well, this blog is far from famous, so they may be waiting quite a long time for that to happen..   But, sometimes they say no, don't post that.  And, I don't. 

3. I only post flattering pictures.  Before I post a picture, I think about if I would be okay if this picture was printed in the newspaper.   The printed in the newspaper thing is my personal gauge for if a photo is okay.  So, pictures of my kids playing chess...totally okay.  Pictures of them half-naked, covered in marker....that personally crosses the line for me, even for toddlers.  

4. Only fully clothed pictures.. even with babies and toddlers. I'm just not comfortable with naked, half-naked or semi-naked pictures.  Goes back to the whole printed in the newspaper thing...would not want a picture like that (even of a cute little baby) in the paper.   My only exception to this would be birth pictures of total newborn (as in just exited the womb within the last 30 minutes) babies. 

5. I don't post naughty or bad stories.   Okay...maybe a  few of the young toddler/baby (goes back to the whole age thing)...but the older they get, the less likely I am to post their escapades.  By older I mean even like 4-5.  I feel that a teen or adult is more likely to be more embarrassed by their 4 year old self than by their 2 year old self. 

6. I don't post anything that could be embarrassing in the future.  This is just me...but I try to steer clear from talk about bodily functions, potty-training mishaps, or things like that.  I know that stuff is funny, but I'm just personally not comfortable with it, and I have no idea how my kids will feel about it in the future. I don't want them to ever feel violated in the future by what I wrote/shared about them. 

7. I try to avoid talking too specifically or too much about my frustrations with my kids, how they drive me crazy, how I can't wait until bedtime or how I want nothing more than to ship them off to boarding school (if you are reading this children of mine, rest assured, I don't/didn't want to send you to boarding school). Some venting is okay..but I try to stay away from mentioning specific children or giving the impression that I find them a burden (I don't for one thing).  And, I don't want future kids to come back and read this someday and feel badly about themselves...that they were too much of a burden, that they drove me crazy or anything else.  I do vent sometimes and try to be realistic, but I also try to keep in mind that someday my kids might read this.  I don't want to make them feel badly in the future about what I'm writing now.  

Navigating social media is a new thing for all of us.  Sometimes I wish the internet and social media had existed when I was kid (there would be more of a record of my childhood, more pictures, more stories, etc.), but sometimes I'm awfully glad it didn't.   It really does remain to be seen what the effect of all this public documentation will have on our kids.   This is what I do, to try and prevent it from having too much of negative effect on them.   Maybe you do it differently...and that's okay.  No one really knows what the right way is, because it's all uncharted territory. 

And, since there are 7 rules I try to follow, I'll link up with Jen for 7 Quick Takes Friday

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Barnyard Nun, Barnyard Fun.


It's been a few weeks since I've linking up with Cari for Theme Thursday.  Today's theme is barn.  We are covered in snow here...so there will be no driving around looking for photogenic barns (who picks a theme like that in the middle of January, anyway?)   But, I love barns, so I couldn't resist participating.  I have degrees in animal science and reproductive physiology of cows, so I've always felt very at home in a barn. I spent many of my high school, college and graduate years in barns...taking care of horses, cows, goats, sheep, chickens, you name it. Horses are my favorite of course, but I love all animals   So, I decided to pull these photos out from last summer.

They are from a family reunion on a farm.
Who can resist a picture of a nun in a barn...petting a sheep?

Nice friendly cows, my favorite. 
I love barnyard smells.  Crazy I know...but I really do.  The hay, the animals...even the bad smells.  I love them. 


Here's an outside view...taken during a rainstorm.   Just ignore the port-a-potty there, that was brought onto the property for the family reunion.

Go see more barnyard photos. 

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Future Bloggers and Book Reviewers of America

There's snow covering the roads but school is still going on here at our house.  I'm letting the future bloggers and book reviewers of American write these book reviews.

Note: There books are "below" the reviewers respective reading levels. I grabbed the Zita book at the library because I recognized the author.  The kids didn't want to read it at first, but once they started reading it, they LOVED it.   They loved it, loved it, loved it...and since I hadn't read it, I assigned writing the book reviews to Heidi.

Greta wanted to review John's books (to be read to him, he can't read that well yet), so that is what she did.

1.

Zita the Spacegirl 

by Ben Hatke (who is a good Catholic and has a daughter named Zita).


A Book Review by Heidi (age 11)

Zita the Space Girl  is about a girl who accidentally sends her friend through a space portal to the the Planet Sriptorus!  Zita has to save her friends.

I think the book was showing what friendship really is, and that everyone has a good imagination.  It kind of reminded me of Star Wars. 

It was very well-written.  The characters are almost real. The illustrations were colorful.  If you love space adventures, aliens and suspense, you will probably be one of those people who blast off so they can read it. 

P.S. Everyone should read it. 


2.



A short book review by Heidi

In this book Zita has to find her way home, except there's one problem.  Her space adventures have made her a megastar!  And to make things worse, there is a robot taking her life away.  In other words....a robotic Zita.

I love it!  You have to read it.

3.
Writer's Express


Someone gave us this book a few months ago, and Heidi took the initiative to open it up all on her own and find the page on writing book reviews and book reports.   This is a good little handy guide that young writers will find useful.  The book is divided into different sections and has different lessons, but it's not real textbooky.   The nice thing is that it includes lots of examples, which helps demonstrate the concept they are trying to teach.

4.

Fairies! A True Story



A book review by Greta (age 9)

I like this book because it is about fairies and it sort of is history, my favorite school subject. You should read it because it is a beginner reader book.  You could help your child read it as one of their first books in level three.  It is also history, so children can do history as well as trying to read it and they could double learn.  Older children who already know how to read can learn history, even though it is about fairies that are fairy tales.  I won't give it away, but it is a good book.  Children can learn and enjoy it at the same time.

I warn you, you have to have talented children in order to read it because some words are hard, like the words "believe", "fairies", "people", "dance", "children", "place", "Africa", "Ireland", "helpful", "errands" and "brownies in England". But if your child can't read you can read it to them.  It even mentions Elsie, although fairies really aren't that real it is still a true story because it is about people who think they saw fairies and it is about fake fairy photos.  That is a word in the book, P h o t o s.  That is a hard word to read for beginners, so help your kids read that word, if they are six and under.  If you read it,  I would like you to tell me if you like it. It is a short book.If you don't like it, I don't want to know. Above is a picture of it.

5.

Grizzwold



A book review by Greta

This book is about a bear named Grizzwald who lives in the woods. Some men chop down trees and there are none left. Where will GrizzWald live? The story is mostly about him trying to find a new home. I warn you ,that you may not like this book very well, but for kids around six and five, four, and three, I am sure it is a treasure.  They would like it. They should read it. But if they don't know how to read it, you can read it to them. They would like it, like I said before. It has pretty pictures with a talented author and artist who drew the pictures. Above is a picture of it.

(Linking up with Hallie for 5 Favorites and Jessica (who has a new snazzy blog look) for What We're Reading Wednesday.)

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Advantages of Picky Eaters....and How We Deal With Them




Picky eating....it's a topic most parents struggle with.  How to deal with it?  Do you allow it?  

Picky Eating Has Advantages....Yes, it really, really does.  At least in my very, very limited scope of experience.  My children who are picky are naturally thin and more in tune to their body's natural feelings of fullness and satiation than my child who is not picky.  I've seen these children (on occasion) leave the bottom half of an ice cream cone because they were full.  They frequently leave food on their plates.  I consider that a good thing, because they don't overeat...ever.   Even if it's their favorite food, they don't overeat. In our society nowadays, that is big. That is HUGE. That ability to be in tune to your own body and not overeat is major.  Maybe if we lived in a society where food is scarce, this would be a disadvantage.  But, in the land of the plenty, I consider it to be an advantage. 

My experience with adults is even more limited, but I think adults who tend to be a bit picky may be a bit less likely to overeat and a bit more in tune their body's natural feeling of satiation.  Just a generality and there are a million and one exceptions, but very, very generally speaking the people I've have known who have been on the picker side, tend to be a bit on the thinner side.  Again, there a million exceptions, or course.

Since some kids are naturally choosy about what they eat, we only let them choose healthy foods.   We generally eat a very whole foods, natural diet.   My kids can't be all, I'm only going to eat frozen chicken nuggets and Kraft Mac N' Cheese and Lucky Charms, because I never buy those things.  Never, ever, ever.   Our weekly grocery shopping cart generally consists of things like milk. cheese, yogurt, meat/fish, eggs, butter, oatmeal, whole grain bread, peanut butter, "natural" jelly, pasta, rice, beans, nuts, baking supplies, large amounts of fruits and vegetables and of course ice cream (which is only for Sundays). 
  We don't buy convenience foods or packaged foods or things like that.  So, my kids can't decide to only eat crackers and chicken nuggets and peanut butter fluff sandwiches because we don't buy those things. 

I try to make at least one thing each person likes at each dinner.  Our dinners generally consist of meat/starch (rice or pasta or potatoes)/vegetables or something meatless like homemade macaroni and cheese, homemade pizza or bean dishes.   Each child does not have to eat everything, but they have to eat something and they have to eat at least a very tiny portion of vegetables.  

If they are still hungry after dinner.  If they absolutely don't like anything (besides the vegetables), they can choose to eat an acceptable dinner alternative, but they have to get/make it themselves.  The choices for this in our house are pretty much yogurt (whole milk, plain, organic), oatmeal, peanut butter sandwich, cheese sandwich or eggs.  I don't cook a second dinner, but I don't prevent them form making their own healthy alternative either. 

I don't make them clean their plate.  If they don't finish everything, I put it away and usually Ben or I will  eventually eat it as leftovers.   I'm not picky that way. 

I make sure they are hungry. I've found that not allowing snacks in the 2 hours before dinnertime encourages better eating at dinner.  If they're hungry, they eat more, eat better and are less picky. 

I don't sweat it. In my experience, most kids do outgrow picky eating and become a bit more adventurous as they get older. They may still not eat everything, but they eat more and more. 

Some big parenting expert...can't remember who...(maybe Dr. Sears?  maybe Ellyn Satter? anyone know?) once said something along of the lines of your job is to provide healthy foods, your child's job is to eat it.  It was something like that anyway.  The gist is, the parent decides what is served and when and the child decides if they want to eat it or not.  And, that is what we do.   Starting with babies.  I basically do child fed weaning, which means I let my babies self-feed themselves, starting with table food, right around 6-7 months.  They basically feed themselves from then on.  Yes, this is quite messy, but they get pretty adapt at feeding themselves and using utensils earlier than they probably otherwise would.  And, since they are given table food right from the beginning, they never have to transition to it, they just start eating it. 

This is what we do.  It remains to be seen of course, but I'm hopeful that our children will continue generally healthy eating habits once they are grown.
How do you handle picky eating in your house?  Any tips or tricks?  What works and doesn't work for you. 
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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Come Home


There are two ways of getting home; and one of them is to stay there.
The other is to walk round the whole world till we come back to the same place. 
                                                                                       -G. K. Chesterton


I don't have a home.  Not really.  I mean I have floors and a roof over my head and walls that surround me to keep out the cold, but it's not a home.  It's just a house. I don't own these walls or this floor. We most likely won't be living here even a year from now. 

In the last 13 years, I've lived in six different states.  Six states in thirteen years is a lot.  It's a long and rambling story of why we've moved around so much, but suffice it to say, I'm tired. I'm tired of moving.  I'm tired of making new friends and leaving friends.  I just want to to settle down, to stay someplace forever.  Most of the places we have lived, we thought it would be our forever home.  But, it didn't work out that way...life has a way of not working out the way you want it. 

I don't even have a hometown anymore. I no longer have family living in the place I grew up, so going back home isn't likely.  We're just pilgrims on a journey...making friends and leaving friends everywhere we go. 

But, we do have one forever home.  


No matter where we go or what we do, we are thankful to always be at home in the Catholic faith.  


Whether you've always been home, or whether you've walked round the whole world....you can come home.  You can come into the faith, you can come to the sacraments, you can receive forgiveness.  Everyone needs forgiveness.  You can go to Confession.  Confession is good the soul. 

No matter how you got wherever you are, you can come home. 

And, since it is Sunday, here is what I wore today.



The sweater is from ThredUp (if you sign up, you get a $10 credit!)

The shirt and skirt are old and thrifted

Tights are Wal-Mart

Boots are Qupid

Linking up with Sarah for weekend with Chesterton and Fine Linen and Purple for What I wore Sunday.

Friday, January 24, 2014

I'm smart, I'm smart...really, really, I am...with a side of big chicken.

1.

You guys (or youse guys as they say where I come from)  I can't believe it.  Someone actually nominated ME for a Sheenazing Award

So apparently these awards are some sort of thing done by Bonnie at A Knotted Life.  



I was nominated in the Smartest Blog category.  So to whoever thinks I'm smart....thank you!!  That was very sweet of you!   I've never been nominated before and totally wasn't expecting it, so it was a super nice surprise.   If you click the link, you can go and vote for all your favorite blogs. 
I definitely don't think I'm the smartest, but I'm smart enough to take a compliment when I get one!  Thanks!
Too bad there was no category for... most likely to misuse the ellipses...I'd be a shoo-in.

2.

Maybe people just think I'm smart because my kids play chess in chess tournaments. 

Greta is staring down her opponent...gonna whip that little whippersnapper.

Occasionally they win.  
Occasionally.  

3.

And speaking of chess, just to show you how smart I am (so you'll all vote for me), I won the bronze medal in the 2002 Kentucky State Women's Chess Championship.

(I'll just conveniently not tell you that the bronze medal really meant 3rd place out of 3 competitors and I lost every single game.  We won't mention that.)

4.
So, here in VA, we got a mere 2 inches of snow and Ben's school was cancelled for 2 3 days.   

Everything was closed....everything, libraries, museums, churches, schools. 

Snow removal strategy in the south consists of everyone staying home and just waiting for the snow to melt. 

Which it inevitably does.  Yet there are still a few patches of snow on the ground. Somewhere, somewhere on some total back country road there might be one tiny little icy patch..and they can't risk that, so no school. 


5.

So, you want to know the real reason why Catholics have so many kids?

It's because, unlike people like Amy Glass, who are going to contracept  themselves into oblivion, they realize that on the evolutionary scale of things, he or she who procreates the most, wins the biggest.    

Or maybe it's just because they realize that raising the next generation is one of the most important things a person can do to benefit society.   Eventually we will take over the world.  

6.

Speaking of having lots of kids, Kendra says that this is the (other) most wonderful time of year because it's Sheenazing Awards time. 
Personally, I say its the (other) most wonderful time of the year because it's TAX time. I'm just nerdy enough to love doing our taxes and just poor enough to be really looking forward to a nice refund, thanks to our 4 wonderful tax deductions   kids.

7.

You know how every family has their own unique way of calling certain things something different and unique to their family. Everyone in the family just calls it that, even though it's weird. 

Well, when John was about 3 or so, he started called any chicken with chicken skin "big chicken."




And, chicken without skin is "little chicken."



So, now everyone in the house calls it that. 

Kid: "What are we having for dinner."

Me: "big chicken"

or 

Kid: "What are we having for dinner."

Me: "little chicken."

Guess eating little chicken is better than eating Chicken Little.

So, what are some weird names your family calls ordinary things?  I know you have them, I know you do, I know you do.  Share, share. 

Now, go see Jen for more quick takes. 

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Why I Hate Football


Photo by Ed Yourdon.
Okay, okay...hate may be too strong a word.  My husband informs me that ennui is the word I'm looking for, but I told him I like to keep this here blog simple.

I just don't get football.

And, even more, I don't get watching football.  I mean, I might as well just watch paint dry or my cat lick himself for the ten-millionth time.  He claims there is action, drama, compelling story lines.  I say rubbish.

No matter how much my Peyton-Manning-loving-husband tries to explain it to me.  I.just.do.not.get.it.

I recognize that I might not be in the vast majority here.  All sports fill me with a sense of meh.  My poor husband cried when I nixed buying Denver Broncos Superbowl tickets. 

I am totally unable to muster up even one iota of caring about who wins the Superbowl.  Not even one iota.  Not even one iota of an iota. 

Why should I care about a bunch of guys WHO I DON"T KNOW throwing a pigskin around? 

Let me repeat that..I DON'T KNOW them.  Never met any of them.  Don't know them from Adam.  And, frankly, I could care less which ones of them are better at throwing a football around and running into each other, patting each other on the behind, and generally just acting weird.  Because look at that photo up there. A bunch of grown men running into each other is weird.

Weird, weird, weird. 

So what if their team happens to be from the same geographical location as me...whatever.  Still totally do.not.care.

And, watching football is torture.  Especially at the end of the game.

There are only 5 minutes left in the game, honey!

are the most DECEPTIVE words a man ever said.  

5 minutes left turns into at least 25 minutes.

The guys run around for 3 seconds.

The umpire* blows his whistle.

He starts yelling something.

They all run back to a line and kick the ball again.

The umpire* blows his whistle after 4 seconds this time.

He starts waving his arms and yelling something.

Everyone runs back to the line.

Another 3 seconds of play...another whistle blow....more arm waving.

Repeat ad nauseum until you FINALLY get to 0:00.

But then, there's overtime.  Which is agony...because then the whistle is blown approximately every 1.5 seconds until FINALLY someone scores and the game is finally, finally, finally over.  And everyone cheers that they didn't die of boredom during it.

Or...maybe that's just me.

Because this is what it all sounds like to me.

*I have been informed that the correct football term is referree.  Whatever.
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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

5 Favorite Pro-Life Books


Today marks the 41st anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade Supreme Court Decision.

We were planning going up to D.C. for the March for Life this year, but we ended up foiled by the flu. 


Image Source

Okay, okay...the snow and the cold was  a bit of a detriment too....we're not as hardy as these folks.

This is the one time of year I write about abortion on this blog....usually I tend to shy away from REALLY controversial topics. Last year I wrote about Unplanned Joy.

This year, I'm just going to direct you a few of my favorite books that deal with the topic of abortion or life before birth or crisis pregnancy or anything remotely related to that. 

1.


by Madeline Pecora Nugent
(who happens to be my mother, but nepotism played no part in the choosing of this book).


Even though this book was published almost 20 years ago, it still has relevance today.  While some of the resources in the appendix are out of date (it was written before wide-spread Internet use), the encouragement and information contained within is timeless.  Written in an easy-to-read style, it contains many short quotes and stories from countless women who have experienced crisis pregnancies.   It is written in a very compassionate and loving way towards women who are dealing with crisis and would be a great help to anyone who is dealing with a crisis pregnancy or helps women in crisis pregnancies. 

Just to give you a hint of the awesomeness contained within, I present to you my favorite quote.

M.D. does not stand for Mostly Divine. - M.P.N.

How can you NOT love a book that has a quote like that in it. 

2. 


Also By Madeline Pecora Nugent


This book is written for parents who have received a serious prenatal diagnosis...perhaps they were told that their child had a genetic disorder, perhaps they were told that their child would not live long outside the womb. Most likely there were told to terminate the pregnancy. 

This much needed book contains countless stories and inspiration for mothers who desire to continue their pregnancy and allow their child to live as long as possible....no matter how short or long that might be. 

While the stories contained within are sad...they are also inspirational..  This is a book that will touch your heart and probably make you cry...but in a good way. 

3.


by Regina Doman
Illustrated by Ben Hatke


This is a beautiful children's book...the pictures are gorgeous and it is a great view of life before birth. 

4.

I checked this book out of the library and devoured it rather quickly.  It is an easy read, and is both fascinating and interesting.  It gives an interesting view point from someone who has been on "both sides".  My only complaint is that I felt the book ended rather abruptly.  Maybe because Abby Johnson's story is still unfolding, but the book felt unfinished to me. 

5. 


by Marvin Olasky


To be honest, I haven't read this book, but Ben read it and he highly recommends it, so that's good enough for me to include in my five favorites.  It is a very balanced view of the history of abortion, without any bias from one side or the other.  All stories are backed by historical evidence and written within the framework of a Judeo-Christian value system which was in place in America at the time.  I don't think this is an easy read, it is a more academic book, but if you like that thing and are interested in the history of abortion in America, this it the book for you.

Linking up with Hallie for Five Favorites and Jessica for what we're reading Wednesday.
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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Mirrors and Glass: Weekends with Chesterton and WIWS



Also, she (Cinderella) had a glass slipper; and it cannot be a coincidence that glass is so common a substance in folk-lore. This princess lives in a glass castle, that princess on a glass hill; this one sees all things in a mirror; they may all live in glass houses if they will not throw stones. For this thin glitter of glass everywhere is the expression of the fact that the happiness is bright but brittle, like the substance most easily smashed by a housemaid or a cat. And this fairy-tale sentiment also sank into me and became my sentiment towards the whole world. I felt and feel that life itself is as bright as the diamond, but as brittle as the window-pane; and when the heavens were compared to the terrible crystal I can remember a shudder. I was afraid that God would drop the cosmos with a crash.     The Ethics of Elfland., Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton 
Link to entire chapter.

This is why I love reading G.K. Chesterton.  I never really thought about the significance of glass in fairy-tales...but imagery of glass and mirrors seems to pop up over and over again.   I love how he talks about how life and happiness is bright and beautiful, yet fragile and brittle and can be gone in an instant. So true, so very, very true.

And yet...there is hope.

For, if we read on.

Remember, however, that to be breakable is not the same as to be perishable. Strike a glass, and it will not endure an instant; simply do not strike it, and it will endure a thousand years. Such, it seemed, was the joy of man, either in elfland or on earth; the happiness depended on not doing something which you could at any moment do and which, very often, it was not obvious why you should not do

It seems to me that so many times, sin, brings us unhappiness, yet it is not immediately obvious why we should not do that very thing that we so want to do.  Of course, lots of other things bring unhappiness as well...but doing what we should not do, almost certainly does.

And, that is the extent of my Chestertonian thought for the day.

Linking up with Sarah at Amongst Lovely Things and Fine Linen and Purple for What I Wore Sunday.

Sweater:  not sure...maybe Wal-Mart
Pants: old and thrifted
Shoes: sorry...can't see them.

This is what I wore to Mass this afternoon.  I skipped this morning when everyone else went because that toddler in the mirror up there is sick.  We'll see if I make it all the way to this afternoon without getting puked on again.
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Thursday, January 16, 2014

7 Reasons I Love Staying Home With My Kids



Staying home with kids is hard.  I get that, and I read a lot of blogs where moms complain about how hard it is.   And, it IS hard...I get that, I really do.

But then working outside the home is no walk in the park either.   I've done both.   I had the yelling boss from hell that convinced me that I NEVER wanted to be veterinarian.  I've dealt with co-workers that I didn't really fit in with.  I had the demanding graduate student advisor that made us lowly grad students spend all night at the barn so we could draw blood from cows every two hours.   Being up at night with kids is a piece of cake compared to having to draw blood from ornery cows at 2 AM.   And, let's not even talk about putting on long gloves to stick your hand where no human hand should ever go.

In a totally different career field,  I spent a year teaching in a Catholic school where I had one third-grader who did not talk to me or anyone else outside her immediate family. Yeah...that was challenging.

So, I've done the working thing.  And, I've spent the last 11 years doing the stay at home mom thing (or at least work at home mom thing).  Both have their upsides and downsides...but I really, really love being home with my kids. 

Here are 7 Reasons Why I Love Staying Home

1.
For the most part, I'm autonomous.  I have a lot of freedom to go where I want and do what I want when I want to.  Granted, I have to drag kids around with me to do it, but I can do it.  I can eat lunch when I want to.  I can go grocery shopping when I need to (as long as I bring kids). I can take walks or go hiking or visit the zoo.  Sure, I maybe have to work around nap schedules and walk at my kids pace and there are costs to consider, but there is no one telling me I CAN'T do those things.  I plan our days totally. I get to decide where we go, what we do and who we spend time with. 

2.
I can sleep a bit later. My husband has to leave that house no later than 6:45 AM.  That's EARLY.  I don't have to get up that early or be out of the house that early.  We homeschoool, so I don't even have to get the kids off to school.  We can pretty much leisurely wake up every morning.  Granted, I have to wake up when the baby wakes up...but since we co-sleep, we pretty much wake-up at the same time. Love it!

3.
I have more freedom to pursue my interests.  If I wasn't a stay at home mom, I doubt I would be as into natural health and home remedies as I am. I wouldn't have had the time to research or read or write about those things.  Have an ear or sinus infection?  I have a home remedy for that.   You see that website, I WROTE that.  I doubt I would have had the energy or time to do that, if I was working outside the home.  Nor would I have the time to blog, or be a La Leche League Leader....all things I am passionate about and love doing.  But, I know myself well enough to know that I have a limited supply of energy and working outside the home would suck a lot of that up.  Plus, I'm able to pursue a wide variety of interests. If I had stayed in the field in which I got my master's degree, I would probably know a heck of a lot more about the reproductive system of the dairy cow, and a heck of a lot less about everything else.  It's a toss-up...really...I mean cow ovaries are fascinating and all...but..you know, so is other stuff. 

4.
I can't get fired .  My kids can't fire me if I burn their grilled cheese for lunch or get behind on the laundry or serve up a late, burned dinner.  Not that I ever do any of those things...I'm just sayin'.

5. 
Everyone loves me.   Even my preteen. No matter that I yell and make them do school work and okay, okay....occasionally burn dinner.   Because I'm da' mom, I'm da' bomb.  Really they all do think I'm the greatest.  I don't have to deal with coworkers or bosses or customers who don't like me.  Around here, everyone loves me...even the cat. 

6.
We do lots of fun stuff like playdates. I LOVE hanging out with other moms at playdates or home school park days or during homeschool coop or while our kids are at P.E. or whatever else we do.  I love taking my kids places and getting to hang out with other moms and talk.  I  love meeting friends at the zoo or for field trips and other fun stuff.  It's just fun...and it's all part of the job. 

7.
I get to enjoy the outdoors more.  One of the things I hated most about working was not getting to spend significant amounts of time outside during the day.  I'm definitely an outdoorsy person. Spending all my time with kids forces me to get outside more, because kids need lots of outdoor time.  And adults do too, in my opinion, they just have a harder time getting it.

So, those are my 7 Quick Takes about why I love staying home.  And, I didn't even touch on all the mushy stuff like seeing my kids learn to read and watching their first steps and all that.

Now, go see Jen for more Friday Quick Takes.

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Health, Housekeeping, Holiness, Hippos and Holmes


1.
Health


by Matt Stone




This book is written in an extremely casual tone (warning..even contains some vulgarities) and Matt Stone is not a doctor and makes no claims as such.  That said, this book makes a ton of sense, in some ways.  It's basically a recovery book for people who have ruined their metabolisms following different health diets (paleo, vegan, low-fat, low-carb, low-calorie, eating disorders.) and rails against the commonly accepted advice to drink half your weight in water a day.  Which when you think about it is fairly ridiculous, because no other animal drinks that much water.  The gist of the book is that that you need to have the correct blood concentration for proper health (proper balance of water and salts/minerals) and that many people in the name of health are drinking too much water, consuming not enough salt and their blood is chronically too dilute which lowers their metabolism. 

Some of his advice is really crazy (he even advocates drinking SODA), but if you can get past that and see what he is really advocating (consuming fluids and foods with a proper balance of salt/sugar) it starts to make more sense, health-wise and you can implement the strategies while still following a whole foods lifestyle.

I definitely think we are a beverage-obsessed culture...coffee, tea, soft drinks, water bottles...many people find themselves unable to do anything without some sort of beverage in hand and all that fluid consumption may not be the best. 

Matt Stone advocates using your own feelings of health and wellness to gauge how much you should be drinking, instead of blindly chugging down water just to get a certain amount in each day.  Whether you agree with him or not, it's a quick, casual, easy-read and gives any health-obsessed person something to chew on.

2.
Housekeeping

No Time to Clean

I posted yesterday about cheerioes on the bathroom floor, so it seems appropriate that I'm reviewing this book today. 


I picked this book at the library on a whim and it has some good information in it.  I hate cleaning and I especially hate cleaning schedules, so this book caught my interest.

It has some really practical advice..keep cleaning supplies handy, clean as messes as they are made and ways to eliminate the need to clean and cut down on messes in the first place.  I especially like how he talks about keeping cleaning supplies handy and just cleaning whenever you notice a mess or  notice something needs doing   I like how he doesn't talk about schedules or making Saturday- bathroom cleaning day, Monday-dusting day, Tuesday-mopping day.  That doesn't work for me, instead he talks about building cleaning into your daily routine and keeping supplies handy so you can do it as you go along in daily life.  I suspect that his ideas and tips are things that people who are naturally neat and organized do anyway...but the rest of us have to be told what to do. 

For example. I think I need to buy some more small brooms and dustpans and start keeping them around the house, so we can sweep quickly when needed.  Or, I can keep magic erasers handy in every room to easily clean marks off the walls or doors whenever i notice them.

3,

Holiness



I'm reading this as part of a group to which I belong.  It's not something I would normally read, but so far, I am finding it to be inspiring and encouraging.  The language is a bit dated (I think it was originally written in the 50's), but it manages to be both practical and spiritual.  Overall, it is a great spiritual guide that helps you incorporate prayer into daily work

4.

Hippos



Switching to non-fiction now, this is a cute, fun little book and my kids love it. Even the big ones...enjoy it! And, it's fun to read out-loud, which is important to me. I hate reading boring book out-loud. 

5. 
Holmes



I can't wait!!!

Linking up with Hallie for Five Favorites and Jessica for What We'r Reading Wednesday.

(Disclaimer: Contains affiliate links.  Buy and make me smile!)


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Cheerio on the Bathroom Floor




A few weeks back I attended a mother's group/night from our parish.  It was basically just a bunch of moms that got together one Friday night for rosary, conversation and wine.  It was absolutely wonderful...a much needed time of prayer, adult conversation, fellowship, chocolate and wine.  What more could a girl ask for?

Yet, the next morning when I woke up, I felt discontented and out of sorts.  The hostess (a mom of several young children) had a gorgeous house.   There was beautiful furniture, marble counter tops, a gorgeous Christmas tree and organic milk to go with the fair-trade organic coffee.    I looked around at my small house, dusty baseboards, yard sale furniture and non-organic milk and just felt the ugly green sting of envy.  I spent the next day cleaning like a madwomen, all while realizing that all the cleaning in the word isn't going to make my house look like hers. 

A few days later, I attended a Christmas Party at a friend's house...another mom's night out...at another much nicer/bigger/better house than mine.  They had a beautiful Christmas tree, cute decorations, nice pictures and nicer furniture.   It was a great time with friends, but that sting of jealousy started to creep in. 

Until I went into the bathroom, and what to my wandering eyes should I see, but a tiny cheerio on the bathroom floor right next to the pink singing potty.  A cheerio....on the bathroom floor!! And, my heart sang because someone else has cheerios on their floors too.  They aren't a perfect housekeeper...must have missed sweeping up that cheerio.  I have missed MANY a cheerio when I was sweeping my floors.   I was so relieved to know that I wasn't the only one with dropped cheerios on the floor. 

Over the years, we've been over many friend's houses.  And, I am always grateful to be invited anywhere...I love the friendship, I love hanging out, I love talking while our kids are playing...I love all of it...sharing friendship and fellowship.  But, I especially love it when people invite us over even though their house isn't "perfect".  They may have some clutter (who doesn't?) or a few piles of books lying around, or maybe a few stray cheerios on the floor, And, I love it. I really do.  I love it when people feel comfortable enough to invite us over, even if everything isn't perfect.  Likewise I know I feel most comfortable with a friend when I feel comfortable having them over, even when I haven't spent the day cleaning madly.  

I think most of us would be a lot happier if we were more social and spent less time worrying that our house is too small or too cluttered or not finished or the colors aren't right or whatever. I know this is a big thing for me.  I don't want to invite people over because we have a small house or I think our furniture is ugly.  But really...most people don't care about that.  And, if they do, I probably don't want to be friends with them anyway. 

 So, the next time you have a friend over, don't worry about the piles of books on the table or the toys in the corner or even the stray cheerio that got missed.  They probably have cheerios on their floor too. 

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Weekends with Chesterton: Hope (and WIWS)



A lot of bloggers are talking about a word of the year.  At first, I was thinking my word would be trust and patience....but to be honest I hadn't really prayed about it, that was just the first thing that came into my mind.

Then, I decided to actually pray about it and the word hope sprang to mind (one would think that would have occurred to me before...but nooooo) so Wishy-Washy Bentrup is going to try to focus on hope this year. 

"Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances that we know to be desperate."- G. K. Chesterton.

"In the struggle for existence, it is only on those who hang on for ten minutes after all is hopeless that hope begins to dawn." -G. K. Chesterton

"Hope is a very dangerous thing to lose."- Sayid on Lost. (sorry, couldn't resist throwing that in there). 

I often feel that if I could just be cheerful and not worry I could handle anything.   I'm more worried about the fear and anxiety surrounding something like cancer than of the actual physical pain that would be involved.  

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." -Franklin Delano Roosevelt.   

 I spend a lot of energy worrying about being worried.   Right now, my worries focus on our future.  While my husband has a job now, it's not permanent and it's not in the field he wants to be in.  We are praying super hard that he finds a lawyer job in the right place.   And, we don't know where that place will be or where we will end up.   Which is a place we've been in many times before, but it's still a frightening place to be.  We want nothing more than to settle down, get involved in a community, make friends and stay in one forever place.  We don't know where that place will be.  Will it be here or there or anywhere? There are important decisions to be made and time is zooming forward at an alarming speed.

So, I need to focus on hope...on maintaining good cheer and having hope that everything will work out.   I need to focus on continuing to pray for our needs while not letting fear of the unknown take over my mental state,

  As I was typing this, lo and behold, what should show up in my Facebook feed but this photo.  If this doesn't imply hope, what does?

Everyone is on Facebook these days...even St. Jude.  This photo is from his page.  


And, since it's Sunday, I'll also link up with FLAP so you can all see what I wore today.



The sweater and the skirt are thrifted.  

Same ole' boots and same ole' tights as every week.  

Happy Feast of the Baptism of our Lord!
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