Thursday, April 29, 2010

Small Successes

For more small success stories click on the link above.

1.  Found the Algebra test answer key that has been missing since I moved all our school books.  No more taking the time to correct on my own!

2.  A few days later I found the Jensen's Grammar lessons answer key and tests.  An even bigger YEAH!    This one I was going to re-buy, and there's only 5 weeks left!

3.  I ran (literally - in fact, while I was doing it I was thinking this is so funny) to tell the kids that the fire hydrant at the end of our cul-de-sac was being flushed.  It was nearly rest time and I was so trying to stay on track with this, everyone is happier when rest time is consistent here.  But, the hydrant is only flushed once a year or so and it's nice to be home when it happens.  The kids all ran out the door in their rain boots and played in the "floods" for about 20 minutes.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Funny signs of spring

  1. The ducks swimming in our pool (since our pool is busted and set for destruction in a few weeks - I don't mind).
  2. The robin making a nest on our basketball hoop.  Guess we'll play after they hatch and fly away.
  3. The kids running across the pretty green lawn to me....carrying the dandelions they collected from the empty house/yard next door :)  And, lots of little vases with dandelions in my kitchen.  We need to collect them everyday you know, they don't last long.
  4. The pile of wet clothes and rainboots in my laundry room.  I guess I WAS the one who let them know the fire hydrant was being flushed.

What interesting signs of spring have appeared at your house this year?

Monday, April 26, 2010

This birthday present was a HIT!

In case anyone is looking for a unique birthday gift idea.........

Elizabeth turned 5 today.  Her 4 oldest siblings gave her a gift that they have spent the last month or to working on (pretty much every time she was gone for her swimming lessons).

The read/recorded one of her favorite stories, The Princess and The Kiss.  Then, they burned it onto a CD and added a very pretty label to go with it.  She was thrilled!

This gift cost virtually nothing (except lots of time) but it means a lot to her!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Small Successes....THE "and sometimes they are very small edition"

For more small success stories click on the link above.

1.  Finally went to the doc and got antibitoics for a nasty sinus infection.  The success here is that I went, finally.  Don't we moms tend to take care of our kids' medical needs but just keep thinking ours will go away.  Usually they do.  This time it didn't.  (But, I've been on 3000 mg/day of amoxcillian since Sat. and I feel GREAT!)
2.  Sent in necessary college/PSEO forms for my 10th grader.

3.  Last but not least, started my spiritual reading up again.

And, it's OK that it's a really small list.  Too busy preparing for Anna's Confirmation and Henry's First Communion.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

More on Cheerfulness...or not putting the kids in a box

I started my spiritual reading again.  I used to do it "religiously" but life has a way of getting busy.   Anyway, I think it's very important to take a few minutes every day to read something useful to help you grow beyond just practical helps with homeschoolings, etc.  In fact, I find it so helpful I even encourage my non-religious friends to read something good for 15 minutes a day.  It doesn't have to be difficult, but pop magazines doesn't quite cut it.  The book I am currently reading is called Your Vocation of Love by Agnes M. Penny.

Well, yesterday the chapter I read was on Cheerfulness.  Is God trying to tell me something here?  (This is the 3rd time in a month or so it's come up - and I've blogged about it each time).  I don't really consider myself a crabby/grumpy person - but I know that I can and should be more cheerful.

The author of this particular book said something that caught my attention, "...even less negative labels can be harmful; introducing a child laughingly as "my shy one" or "my whiny one" or even "my pretty one" teaches the child to identify that characteristic with himself, and he will not attempt to overcome faults that he equates with his own identity (bolded by me)....."

My husband and I have always been very careful to not put our kids in a "box".  My reasons for not "boxing" our kids had more to do with how others view them than how they view themselves.   I've always been leary of the comments.....she prefers to read...we won't bother asking her to join our game.  Or he likes to draw a lot in his spare he would definitely prefer a trip to the museum to a trip to the zoo so we won't even ask.  People can get pigeon-holed. 

But, even though we are careful about how we talk about or think about our kids.....I somehow forgot what they think.  We hear it often during the day..."I'm just not good at math so why even try, I won't get it" or "I'm just not good at reading" (drawing) (folding clothes) (whatever).  I think it 's important to understand character traits and also strenghths and weaknesses.  Strenghths can be used for the Greater Glory of God...and so can weaknesses.  What a prayer to offer up studying in a subject on is "weaker" in?  We as parents can help our kids overcome their weaknesses; some will disappear (often a struggling reader..given a few years of extra help...will be back on par with everyone else), some will be a lifelong struggle (as a quick temper, or negative thoughts, etc.)  But, just like none of us would ever accept, "I'm no good at math so I'm not going to even try to get a good grade."  Neither should we accept a child's vice as simple matter of fact.  While it is very helpful to understand their temperments and vices...we help them by working on the associated virtue.  For example,  if a child does have a tendency to be slothful and's helpful to understand that...but you wouldn't stop'd work with them on diligence. 

And...the whole reason I started this super long post.....we have to be careful our children don't label themelves and accept that as an excuse (I am not talking about disorders here....although a lot of it probably would still apply, I just don't have experience there and won't go there).  We need to encourage them to get beyond that.  To try their hardest.  Like the child who gets B's without really trying (gee - with a little effort could it be an A?)  and the child who get's C's by putting in a lot of effort.  Obviously we know which is more commendable.  The hardworker.  The one who didn't just go with the idea "this is hard for me so I won't even try".

So, like I said, I've never been one to "put my kids in a box", I am going to be a little more attentive to the labels they are giving themselves.  Sometimes those can be just as harmful....sometimes more harmful.

(Disclaimer:  I have never forced my children into a box....but the toddlers choose to play in them....but Anna said, "You really have to do something about the titles on your blog...they just aren't that interesting"..  And...she's really good writer.  Some labels aren't bad.  I'll take her advise).

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Who forgot something? maybe the first letter of my name?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Hijacked and Heroines

Hello all. This is not RealMom4Life. This is her daughter, the oldest one anyways. This is Anna. Ok, so that's not really my name, but on this blog it is. Plus, I like the name. It's a very nice name, don't you think?
Anyways, I'm hijacking my mom's blog. Why? I wanted to say something about heroines. Something very important that you'll all want to here. I recommend that you keep reading.

To all moms:
I've been thinking lately, and I've realized that I'm surrounded by heroines. Moms, of course. You all knew you are heroines and aren't usually recognized, I know, but I figured you'd want to hear it from someone else. Someone who's a kid (or teen) who noticed it and who is baffled, astonished, and grateful.

Now does the laundry shrink like that when I'm not looking?
How do all those baskets of clothes get folded?
How does it happen that dinner magically appears on the table?
How do you keep everything straight?
The laundry, the food, the dishes, the vacuuming, the dusting, the cleaning, the everything. Not to mention the time you spend with the kids just being there with them, even though you have things that must get done. Those nights you stay up late to finish something, yet still wake up the next morning and somehow manage to keep smiling even though you're about to fall over from exhaustion?
How do you manage to give really good advice when it is asked for and still juggle everything else?
How is it that the house is run, run smoothly, and everyone is happy because they get enough attention?

I am sure that you have graces given to you from God to help with all this. And I am sure that if your vocation wasn't really to be a mom, well, things would be harder. But somehow this all works out. Somehow, everything works.
I don't get it. I don't want it explained to me. I'd rather think of it as the mystery and miracle that it is. Admit it: you guys are amazing! And I haven't even written about half the things you do! What about the car-pooling, the driving kids to friend's houses, the rides to classes or sports? The homeschooling? What about continuing with life when you're sick? Because you know all too well that life does not slow down for you as it does for us kids when you get sick. The list goes on forever. Which is why I won't keep going, because I'd write way too long. I have a tendency to write very long things. And I do mean very long. But I won't get into that now.

Why this post? Because I've been thinking some more (I've been thinking a lot lately). I've come to the conclusion that even the best of people, even the strongest and most heroic, need someone to say "Wow. You're doin' great. Keep it up!" I know from my experience (small as it is) that this is required at times. At times you feel like giving up, right? And then someone says, "Look at you. You're so awesome." and you can keep going again.
So I figured sure, you get this from each other. You know what it's like to be a mom, and I'm guessing that you encourage your fellow moms. I hope you do :) And you probably get this from other people too.
But it most likely does not come from kids and teens. They don't usually see it. And if they see it, they don't say anything. And if they say anything, it is usually not by way of hijacking their mother's blog (which makes this post so unique). So all I'm really here to say is: Moms are AWESOME and amazing and SUPER and a lot of other good things.
See? I told you I tend to write long things. I could have this post about 3 paragraphs (or more) shorter by just telling you this. But I didn't want to. I wanted to really really 'rub it in', so to speak.
Have a wonderful day, all of you!
God bless!

Mary, Virgin Mother of God, pray for you.
St. Monica (St. Augustine's mom), St. Helen (Emperor Constantine's mom and the woman who found the Cross of Christ), and St. Gianna Molla (mom, doctor, pro-life witness) PRAY FOR THOSE MOMS! Please.

That is all for now. I am done hijacking this blog. Do remember that at least someone out there knows you're a heroine. Do remember that you're awesome.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Excuse me, but I think we might be related

"Oh, I thought you were an only child." I have heard this phrase a million times in my life and often from people I have known for a long time. My only sibling is a brother who (or is it whom?) is five years my senior. Jake and I could not be more different. Our similarities end with we are both parents. But even with our children, our styles and level of commitment are totally different. Jake turned 40 last year and since then he has been making the effort to call or text once in a while. While I greatly appreciate the gesture, I am at a loss as to what to talk about once we have covered "How is work?" and "How are the kids?" Jake is great at answering any questions I may ask with the most laconic answers. Honestly, his terseness is putting me at a loss for words!

Does anyone have any ideas on what else to chat with someone you do not know all that well about?

Real, guess your hubby was right; I am not so good at chatting after all!


My notes from the Opus Dei Recollection I recently attended.

Divine Filiation:  This is where our joy and hope comes in!

  1. Forget about ourselves by thinking of others.
  2. Live the presence of God - say little aspirations throughout the day.  Keep Holy pictures, crucifixes, etc. around to remind us.
  3. Doing our work really really well and offering it to God (do it cheerfully even when tired).
  4. Smiling even when you don't feel like it (helps us and helps others).
  5. Detach ouselves.
  6. Offer our sufferings up - we all have them. 
  7. Putting ourselves out for others even when not convenient.  (We do this often for our children - changing diapers, etc.  but do we apply 1-6 when we do it?)

Nothing earth shatteringly new here.....but I think the reminder/nudge is so important as we go through our (somewhat) mundane days.  It ALL matters!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Small Successes - being sick version


1.  Gathered the kids to clean up the basement last Saturday. 
2.  Did NOT freak when I entered the kitchen or the laundry room this week.  The kitchen has NO available counter space - the island is loaded with mail, etc.  that the kids really don't know what to do with.  The laundry room - let's just say it looks very scary.  Normally either one of these would put me over the edge...stress me out....make me yell....even when I am sick.  But instead I was able to look at the big picture and see how much my kids have done for me this week and be thankful.  Nathan and Henry made home made soup, Terese made home made breakfast puffs.  Henry and Wyatt cleaned up the family room and folded the towels in the laundry room.  Nathan has done tons of cleaning up.  Terese has been very patient in taking care of crankish/not feeling well younger siblings.  Anna has been pretty busy and exhausted but is great about setting things aside for a few minutes to just dole out some extra hugs or get someone situated with a reallly cool activity at her desk while she's working.  And these are just the things they did to surprise me!    So, this mamma is finally (after many years) learning to appreciate the smaller things in life and realize the kitchen and laundry room will look better next week.  They always do.
3.  Managed to finish some money type stuff that HAD to be done.

OK - This is NOT a successes - but it is just kinda funny.  I took Wyatt and Logan to the grocery store yesterday morning when I was feeling somewhat human (no I was NOT trying to get people sick...but we ran out of a few essentails).  Well, I bought a couple extra things.....I watched as the items we bought went down the belt toward the cashier.  Juice, chicken nuggets, ice cream sandwiches, ice cream, ice cream bars, dairy free ice cream sandwiches, dairy free ice cream, popsicles, 8 boxes of poptarts (they were on SALE and we let the kids eat them on Sunday mornings)....I was feeling kinda like a bad mom.....Then came the ogranic milk.  I just wonder what that cashier was thinking.....LADY!  Why do you bother spending money on organic milk when you feed your kids all this junk!  You'd be better off buying non-organic milk and maybe some fruits and vegies and you'd still spend less!  But instead he was quite polite.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Things I've learned in the last 24 hours

1.  It is NOT a good idea to take non-drowsey Sudafed Sinus at 2 am (unless you want to be exhausted and unable to sleep the rest of the night).
2.  It is probably NOT a good idea to watch TV during this semi-foggy state and see an infomercial for a buy one get one free G2 Swivel Sweeper (we've worn one out and had been meaning to replace it).  Because you might go online with the intent of buying 2 and accidentally buy 4.  I'll save a couple for nice gifts I suppose.
3.  I'm not a great bookkeeper.  (This always becomes obvious when my husband prepares our taxes).  Fortunately my husband is a great tax accountant.  And...he understands my ineptitue in this area and explains things with a smile.
4.  My 12 year old son makes great pancakes for dinner when all I want to do it curl up and hide.  (And just so you don't think my 15 and 10 year old daughters were slacking.....I had them on laundry duty.)

I just have a sinusy cold thing (or maybe the flu since I don't think you get fever and chills with a cold).  Nothing major.  But unforunately I didn't kick into high alert don't spread the germs mode.   I thought it was just my allergies....until the fever and chills...and until I shared it :(

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Small Successes

For more small successes (and a great blog to boot) click on the link above.

1.  Packed away the rest of our winter clothes, went through all the old ones, and now have a huge pile to donate.
2.  Finally made it to an Opus Dei recollection.  I used to go every month but in the last 2 years I probably went twice.  You know how you're trying to get somewhere and it seems like every obstacle gets in your way?  Well, I had told my husband before (when I was trying to get to a daily Mass) that it probably means I shouldn't be going right now.  His response, "If you're trying to get to Mass (or a recollection) who do you think is putting those obstacles in place?  Don't let the devil win."  Well, hopefully I can make a post soon about recollection.  Let's just say that it was something I needed to hear.
3.  Made a tiny (credit card sized) medical information card to fit in our wallets.  Hopefully this will eliminate the need for me to yell out to my husband, as he's taking a child to the doctor on a Saturday morning, .....remember he's allergic to Zithromax.  And it will eliminate the dumb look on my face, when asked "Any allergies?", while I'm sitting in the doctor's office after having not for slept for two days while stuff is racing through my head.....someone is allergic to it her?  What is it?  

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Small Successes this week.

1.  Have kept up on entering my receipts weekly - for a whole month so far!
2.  Mailed a pack of T.P. to an old neighbor just in time for them to receive it this morning.  (The kids used to gently T.P. each others houses every April 1 when they lived here.  One caveat though...whoever T.P.'d had to clean up what they did at the other house.) 
3.  Allowed my kids to stay up late (and get up early) in order to organize a few April Fool's tricks.

Bonus:  Surprised my dh with these scared/sad little when he pulled the egg container out this morning. :)  Anna helped decorate them.