{SQT} Homeschool changes, kid stuff, and general commotion

~1~

Whoa, it’s been busy around here. We had a good Christmas with lots of family, and we’ve been hard at work with school. This school year has easily been our toughest ever. We have had, all at once:

xmas
Merry belated Christmas!
  • The move in the summer, including buying a house, consuming 100% of my time that I needed for preparation.
  • Needed curriculum changes from our Catholic conversion.
  • The kiddos moving into a bit of a new phase where I now have 4 grade schoolers and 2 high schoolers.
  • The two littlest ones, ages 1 and 3, are both very high maintenance children, far more than most of my other ones were at those ages. The two of them are quite a team, and leave me feeling like a rookie as often as not.
  • Other significant life stressors cropped up in the past year, too, and my heart is tired. You know, because a major faith transition coupled with a midlife career change and moving a family of 10 to a completely new place within one year isn’t enough. I guess. Apparently.

It’s been the first year where I really thought we might just hang it up and send them to public school. It was definitely on the table, for a while, and that’s not something I’ve thought twice about since we decided to homeschool an adorable 5 year old Erin, 12 years ago. But, if all I can do is run around throwing worksheets at people with a shrieking toddler wrapped around my head, well, that’s not going to cut it.

~2~

But, before we quit, I wanted to try changing some things around. Sometimes that’s all you need, really, is just a new approach. Since I was getting worn out trying to keep up with all the separate coursework (plus two crazy monkeys), I decided to try some unit studies. I had done this once before when Erin and Anna were little, but neither of them enjoyed it much. They didn’t like the hands on, lapbooking type stuff, so I ditched it.

But, new times. New kids, and it turns out purchased unit studies have been a fabulous breath of fresh air. Less prep for me, since it’s all put together already, with good ideas for the projects and field trips that are so hard for me to think of when I can’t find time to visit the bathroom or throw in a load of laundry. This batch of grade-schoolers loves the lapbooking. So, we’re interspersing week-and month-long studies as a supplement to our foundational coursework.

pizza
making pizzas

We’re getting a lot more done and enjoying it more. We even took a school tour of Pizza Hut and got two free pizzas out of it, so clearly it’s a win.

So now, I’m optimistic we can carry on. It’s a relief, because I was worried about laying still more life changes on all of us.

~3~

The running…oh. That. It’s cold out there, you know? So I do kettlebell. (Sometimes). I love me some kettlebell. 10 minutes, 200 calories. Done.

The kids even get into it, now. I happened on a 3lb bell at a thrift store a while back, and now my 3 year old is perfecting her swing.

 ~4~

The kids are settling in a bit. Rebecca is doing well at dance, and has been invited to be on the Oireachtas team for this year. It’s pronounced oh-ROCK-tus, and it’s a regional competition that will be in Florida this coming December. She’s super excited. Becca has a lot of goals, and one is to go to the World Championship in Ireland someday. Who knows? If Becca can give me an excuse to fund raise for a trip to Ireland, well, hmm. I’m good with that.scouts

We’ve also started the boys in Cub Scouts. They are adorable in their uniforms, but I know nothing about scouting, or about most of the things that scouts do (which is one reason I wanted them in scouts. Right?).  Their poor leader has to talk me through everything. My hand has almost healed from helping them make Pinewood Derby cars a couple weeks ago, though, so that’s something.

And, to my complete shock, my three year old has forgotten Utah. She no longer recognizes photos of our house there, or her old room. She remembers people, friends and neighbors, but not the place.

Also, Becca is going to be an altar server. I’m happy that she can do that, both for its own sake and also as a good place to find some friends her age in the church.

~5~

We got a dog! Memargo and beccaet Margo. She’s a Great Pyrenees/Labrador mix obtained from a rescue up in Virginia. She is our second try – the first dog we brought home from the shelter sadly had to go right back the next day, after it became clear that he had an incurable taste for cat. He was a sweetie otherwise, but I do like our cats an awful lot.

Margo is another story. She is so much fun and has fit right in, and after a chilly start with the cats has become best buddies with Rhys. Erin, who has wanted a dog pretty much forever, still can’t quite believe she’s here.

~6~

Tim me
“Mine.”

Timothy isn’t really a baby anymore. He’s a tempestuous, insanely lovable and lovably insane toddler, now. The whole house has been claimed by him – most especially anything I am eating. And the stove timer, which no one can figure out why it makes him so angry. When it goes off, he becomes enraged and yells “NO! My timer! Mine!!”

~7~

While Emily has forgotten Utah, I have not. We have moved to a good place, with good people and good opportunities, and I’m grateful. But leaving Utah behind left a deeper hole in my heart than I expected. I’m finding life to be that way, the last few years. We’ve left much behind, both physically and metaphorically, and life is different than it was in so many ways.

“It does not do to dwell on dreams, and forget to live,” said Albus Dumbledore. It seems strange now, but I never realized how much that can apply to dreams of the past as well as dreams of the future. It’s always been a priority for me not to waste what I have for want of what I lack. In the past, what I lacked was stability, prosperity, plans for the future beyond getting that much-needed job. But we lived there, and made a life there, and a darn good one.

my favorite view
View from our old dining room window.

I’m determined to do that here, too. To roll who I was into who I am, and be present, and live here. Utah and its breathtaking beauty and its kind, generous, and hardworking people are stamped on my heart, as is Pennsylvania where I grew up. Starting over is hard, but I won’t waste this stretch of my life gazing back at the last one. Even if I have been very busy framing old pictures to hang up around the house.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

The Homeschool Post

{SQT} Bronchitis, strep, pneumonia. And some other stuff.

~1~

 So October hasn’t really been our month.  Unless by “our month,” you mean, “our month to get sick over and over again.” In that case, yes, it’s definitely been our month.

I love having a houseful of kiddos, especially these days when I am poignantly aware that some of them are gonna grow up and fly away awfully soon. All of us under one roof seems like a sweet, fleeting treasure that will be gone tomorrow.

But when sickness strikes the big family – well, see ya in a month, hopefully. This time we were especially privileged to get hit by

20161030_144320.jpg
Pretty, huh?

bronchitis, then a week
later, strep. Then a week later, Becca came down with pneumonia, which she is still fighting off. Had a fridge full of antibiotics, and a big, hastily-drawn, not-Pinterest-worthy dosing chart on the fridge, and really have done very little beyond push fluids, take temperatures, watch breathing,  go to the doctor, get chest x-rays, refill the humidifier…all that.

~2~

 In other news, we did finally get back to school in mid-September. Planning a new school year for 6 kids on top of the huge pile of life changes we’ve tackled this year was daunting. We ended up doing a lot with Homeschool Connections for the older three; the monthly subscription is really affordable for multiple kiddos and takes a lot of the prep burden off of me, particularly for the history and religion classes, which I wanted to have a Catholic worldview but felt underprepared to put that together myself. Uppeschoolr math is Teaching Textbooks as always – I LOVE Teaching Textbooks 2.0. Self-grading math, baby. Enough said.

For the littler ones, we’re taking it easy but hitting the biggies with Math-U-See, Apologia, Hooked on Phonics, workbooks, and some classes from Kolbe. Mostly stuff we already had handed down from the older ones. Of course, we took a lot of time off to be sick this month, but c’est la vie.

~3~

We’re continuing to settle in to our new home. North Carolina is definitely a whole different world than Utah; I’m slow at adapting. Things I miss about Utah:

  • Mountains.
  • Family and friends left behind, of course.
  • Mormons. I’m not Mormon, never have been, don’t plan on it, but I miss LDS folks and culture. I might go over and visit the ward so I can meet some Mormons. Is that weird?  “Hey guys, I’m Catholic, but I lived in Utah forever and I’m not sure my life will ever be complete without ward Christmas parties. Can I come? Please??”  If you too have a fondness for LDS culture, hop over to Twitter and check out #MormonMafia. Hilarious.
  • Fry sauce. If you don’t know what that is, I’m so sorry.
  • Enunciation. North Carolinians mumble like nobody’s business. I can’t understand anybody I talk to on the phone, here, ever. It’s kind of a problem.

~4~

Then again, there are some things I don’t miss about Utah:

  • Traffic. We kind of don’t have any, here, except for that one weekend festival, when there is “CRAZY TRAFFIC” that is kind of like average, midmorning weekday traffic around Salt Lake. Other than that, there really isn’t any.
  • Crazy drivers (of which I kind of am one, now. Thanks Utah).  Utah drivers are pretty aggressive, and I picked that up over time. North Carolina drivers are more…sleepy. They kind of dawdle along, and then sit there for a while, as though pondering very carefully what their next move shall be. Frustrating to an overcaffeinated, overly busy city mom driver? Yeah. But better than getting mowed down. And good for practicing patience. I guess.

~5~

I started running again! I totally quit over the summer, as moving craziness took over my whole world. When I started up again, I had to start the beginning program all over, and made a lot of progress. I have had to quit again for the last month while I get over bronchitis and strep, but I’m almost ready to start up again…again.

The running was made worlds easier to fit in when I realized that I could run in the evening when I habitually take Timothy for a bedtime walk to calm down. He enjoys the running, and so do I. Previously, I’d ruled out running then – aren’t you supposed to not run right after a meal? And not too long before bed?

But the last few months, I’ve gotten sick of not getting things done because of not being able to do them “right.” If my realistic options are a) run after dinner, at the “wrong time,” or b) not run, I’m ready for option a.

~6~

Happy birthday to Jonat20161029_160016.jpghan and Alex! Their birthdays are only days apart, and so far they are content to share a party. Lucky me, I hope it lasts! Jonathan’s day is today, which commemorates 9 years since the elevator incident. And, a few days ago was 7 years since Alex’s birth, which still stands as the toughest birth I have done. May it ever be so.

~7~

I organized my pantry, back in those days before sickness, now buried in the mists of time. (I think it was September.)

Do you have any idea how hard it is to keep a pantry organized with 10 people in the house? You clean that thing, and 2 weeks days minutes seconds later, boom. Totally randomized, to the subatomic level. I kid you not. My husband called it the “Where’s Waldo” storage method.

For years I have meant 20160923_094737.jpgto label the shelves, but alas. I didn’t have a label gun thingy. I had a label gun thingy in my Amazon cart for awhile, but it’s not the same.

I can’t believe it took me so long, but I finally realized that scrap paper, a Sharpie, and clear tape could do what really needed done, which was to make sure we can all find the pickles.

Not Pinterest-worthy, but it works, unlike all the elaborate projects in my head and good intentions left, unbought, in my Amazon cart.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

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Sweet Little Ones

Catholic Conversion: Seven MORE Things I was Wrong About

I used to think the Catholic Church was creepy.

Truth, friends. As a Protestant, I was immersed in my own culture, and looking in, good grief. All this praying to dead people, and burning incense, and…the bones. I went to a cathedral in Guatemala City once, and bones. People bones. It creeped me out for days.

The thing is, we shouldn’t judge Truth on whether we’re used to it or not. The biggest barrier to my conversion to the Catholic Church was the layers and layers of confusion, misinformation, and misunderstanding that clouded my vision.

~1~

Catholics are obsessed with death.

Well, you know. The relics. The crucifixes. Good Friday. All Souls Day.

Giotto. the-crucifix- c.1317 Padua, Museo Civico

I never liked crucifixes even as a child raised outside of church. I refused to believe that Jesus had really had nails driven through His hands. It was too graphic for me, I guess.

As a convert coming in from a conservative Presbyterian background, where any pictures of Christ are considered to violate the 2nd Commandment, I had a hard time with the crucifix in church. I could hardly look at it, for months.

But I’ve found that it’s not that Catholics are obsessed with death and suffering. It’s that they don’t fear it. Not just in an esoteric, I’m going to heaven kind of way, but in an everyday mercy kind of way. They feel the call to be messengers of mercy, healing, and love in the very darkest places – including the deathbed. They know that our suffering has great value in the eyes of God, and that it is a critical part of our growth as His children.

~2~

Catholics think they have to get married to go to heaven.

I didn’t think this one myself, but friends have challenged me with it. This example highlights how otherwise highly informed Protestants have been seriously misinformed aboBS001 sut the Church. The splintering that goes on and on feeds on this kind of thing. (And it goes both ways, for sure.)

No. Of course not. Priests, nuns, etc., are celibate, for one thing, so that would be an extremely odd doctrine. Marriage is a sacrament, but so are Holy Orders, so most people don’t receive all seven sacraments in their lifetime – only a rare minority, such as perhaps a widower who then became a priest. Neither is required – it depends on one’s vocation and state of life.

~3~

Catholics live in a state of medieval superstition and fear.

This one I did think. In the sign of the cross, in the incense, in the candles, the holy water, the different gestures…I saw all these things as superstitious nonsense, silly things probably done to ward off evil spirits or something. MyFitzgeraldFairyBanquet more austere Reformed spirituality seemed more logical and more Biblical, free of outward tangible signs of spiritual realities, beyond the two sacraments I accepted at the time.

But as I mentioned in my previous list of misconceptions, we are beings who are both physical and spiritual. Catholic practice is not superstitious – these practices all express and point to spiritual realities which are, for the most part, also accepted by our Protestant brothers and sisters. But, they do so in a way that understands that people are more than just a brain, or more than just a heart. We are physical beings, and our minds and hearts are informed and strengthened by things we encounter in the physical world.

~4~

Catholicism teaches that the Pope is never wrong, which is silly, because everybody knows that popes have lived scandalously and contradicted each other.

This is one I took as a given. It was incomprehensible to me that anybody could be so gullible as to actually believe that the Pope was infallible. It was patently obvious that, throughout history, there have been immoral popes who certainly weren’t infallible. And those pesky contradictions! Catholics were, to be sure, mindless automatons who never bothered to crack open a history book.

Pope Francis in March 2013 (cropped)

It was a top objection for me, in the early days. The problems here come really from two major misconceptions, not one:

~5~

Papal infallibility means that the Pope is perfect in every way. He does not forget phone numbers, and he sure doesn’t sin.

Nope. No, no, no. Here is an excerpt from an excellent article on the subject put out by Catholic Answers:

“…Fundamentalists and other “Bible Christians” often confuse the charism of papal ‘infallibility’ with ‘impeccability.’ They imagine Catholics believe the pope cannot sin…Given these common misapprehensions regarding the basic tenets of papal infallibility, it is necessary to explain exactly what infallibility is not. Infallibility is not the absence of sin…Some ask how popes can be infallible if some of them lived scandalously. This objection of course, illustrates the common confusion between infallibility and impeccability. There is no guarantee that popes won’t sin or give bad example. (The truly remarkable thing is the great degree of sanctity found in the papacy throughout history; the “bad popes” stand out precisely because they are so rare.)”

Catholics aren’t blind to the scandalous popes. They just know that it doesn’t have anything to do with the doctrine of infallibility.

~6~

Popes can’t be infallible because they have contradicted each other.

The historical record of this really surprised me.  As a Protestant, it was a wPope Saint John Paul II Statueorking assumption that popes had contradicted each other, not once or twice, but so many times that the whole doctrine was ridiculous.

 More from the same article:

“Other people wonder how infallibility could exist if some popes disagreed with others. This, too, shows an inaccurate understanding of infallibility, which applies only to solemn, official teachings on faith and morals, not to disciplinary decisions or even to unofficial comments on faith and morals. A pope’s private theological opinions are not infallible, only what he solemnly defines is considered to be infallible teaching. 

Even Fundamentalists and Evangelicals who do not have these common misunderstandings often think infallibility means that popes are given some special grace that allows them to teach positively whatever truths need to be known, but that is not quite correct, either. Infallibility is not a substitute for theological study on the part of the pope.

What infallibility does do is prevent a pope from solemnly and formally teaching as “truth” something that is, in fact, error. It does not help him know what is true, nor does it “inspire” him to teach what is true. He has to learn the truth the way we all do—through study—though, to be sure, he has certain advantages because of his position…Turning to history, critics of the Church cite certain “errors of the popes.” Their argument is really reduced to three cases, those of Popes Liberius, Vigilius, and Honorius, the three cases to which all opponents of papal infallibility turn; because they are the only cases that do not collapse as soon as they are mentioned. There is no point in giving the details here—any good history of the Church will supply the facts—but it is enough to note that none of the cases meet the requirements outlined by the description of papal infallibility given at Vatican I (cf. Pastor Aeternus 4).”

For a meatier treatment of this, try The Christian Freethinker, the much-quoted Catholic Answers article, or the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia.

~7~

Catholics have gone liberal and don’t practice what they preach anymore.

I talked about this a little in my first misconceptions post, but this one keeps on surprising me. Sure, yes, there are plenty of “Catholics” who aren’t serious. There are also plenty of Evangelicals who aren’t serious, who don’t read their Bible or take their morality or faith seriously. It doesn’t mean that the Evangelicals aren’t serious.  It just means that the Evangelical churches have, well, people, in them. Those people are not all at the same place in their journey.

Worshippers pray with rosaries. Credit: User:leba12 (Wikimedia Commons).The un-serious Catholics that I met and, even more, Knew About (through hearsay) gave me an unrealistic view of the seriousness of Catholics in general. I keep meeting an endless stream of serious, sincere, practicing Catholics; I keep being surprised when I do. It’s a lovely, heart-cheering surprise, like so many facets of the Church, but I do hope my flawed, ingrained expectations begin to catch up to reality, one day.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

You might also like:

{SQT} 7 Things I was Wrong About

{SQT} 7 Things I Didn’t Lose When I Became Catholic

Desert Children

All my kids have grown up in the desert. I’m good with that, I like the desert, and despite North Carolina being really gorgeous with lovely people, I do miss Utah – climate, friends, family – rather a lot. I’m slow to adjust to change.

The kids miss their grandparents, for sure, but they are beyond enchanted with this weird wet stuff that just keeps falling:

For me, I do love rain, I always have, so I don’t mind it. It’s just so surprising! I am not so fond of the dampness. The muggy, sticky heat, and just the general…wetness…of everything.  I hope I get used to it, but so far everything I touch feels damp. Not things that got rained on, just everything!

I left an apple core in the car the other day, a routine bad habit of mine that never seemed that bad, because when you come back, it will be bone dry, a dessicated little thing, easy to pick up and toss. This time?

Ew. Just ew. Mushy, moldy mess. The potential for life with so much water around is a two edged sword! Trees, flowers, grass with no sprinklers, raging greenery everywhere, awesome. Mold, mildew, bugs (the bugs! The ginormous spiders! I have never in my life seen bugs like they do them here)…not so much.

We did buy an umbrella, though, so we are catching up. Slowly. Now we just need to remember to bring it with us.

 

 

 

 

The New Catholic Bookshelf, vol. 3 – movie edition

Movies! There are some really fabulous movies out there that are wonderful to watch and share with your kiddos. We sometimes enjoy watching faith-related movies together, especially on a Sunday evening. I think they are a great way to spend time together and also grow in understanding some of the great stories in our family history. I have linked these to Amazon, but as always, if you want them, please consider saving resources – and a buck – by borrowing or buying used. 

1. Clare and Francis – I loved this film!  St. Francis is my oldest daughter’s confirmation saint, and is a constant inspiration for me as I struggle to balance the needs and wants of large family life, the tight budget that comes with that large family, and a desire to live a life of giving, detached from the thirst to acquire, improve, consume.

2. Restless Heart: The Confessions of Augustine – When I commented that I liked this one, but found it to be a little intense, Mark said that that was because Augustine had an intense life! This was really well-done, but does not make for light watching.

3. Jesus of Nazareth – A classic and really well done film on the life of Christ. This one is our favorite “Jesus movie” as a family. It’s extremely long – 6 and 1/2 hours! We watched it over the course of three evenings around Easter time, and it was a great way to consider the season.

4. The Chronicles of Narnia – BBC Version –  Mark read these out loud to the kids before we watched the movies, and then we watched both this version and the new ones. The kids liked the newer versions fine, but Mark and I like the old BBC ones a lot better. Especially in the Dawn Treader, we felt that they really departed way too far from the original story, without any benefit.  If you aren’t famliar with the Chronicles of Narnia – read them first!! 🙂

 

Previously – Bookshelf Vol. 1 and Bookshelf Vol. 2

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Sweet Little Ones

We made it!

Well hi from North Carolina! I had this idea that I would be super organized and have scheduled posts going up while I was moving…but that’s not really how I roll.

So here’s a quick catch-up. Ready? Good.

Our drive mostly went well, aside from the bit where the top blew completely off our top carrier out in the middle of Wyoming. That was more excitement than I hoped for, really, but it could have been much worse than it was.

We did buy a house. It all worked out somehow, and here we are:20160807_101127.jpg

We like it, a lot, and we’re happy to be here, though we miss Utah friends, family, and miscellaneous other familiar comforts. It’s an old house, which I both love and am a little intimidated by. This lifelong renter has more than a thing or two to learn (hence the new arrival on my bookshelf).

We did paint when we got here, and I am so very glad we did.  The walls were very, um, colorful. As you entered the from door, you were greeted by bright yellow walls and an orange ceiling. Up the stairs could be seen a Crayola sky blue hall (and CEILING). On the lower level, one could just make out the master bed in the back with its very, very intense turquoise walls and crazy patchwork white trim going every which way.

We got it calmed down a bit thanks to a 3 or 4 day paint fest with crazy helpful family members.

We’re in town, and an 8 minute walk to our parish in one direction and a very cute little downtown in the other. After 16 years in a major metro area, small town life is appealing – there is pretty much no traffic. At all. Of course, there are also the quirks – the only DMV around is drastically understaffed, so in spite of arriving precisely when they opened, I still had to wait 2 1/2 hours to get my driver’s license changed.

So here we are, in a blur of unpacking and finding things and paperwork and thinking we really, really need to be getting ready for school.

Linked up at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

{SQT} Moving: the last two weeks in seven quick takes

Seven Quick Takes

~1~

So obviously I can’t move and blog…or move and sleep, or move and eat…or move and anything, really…at the same time. After subsisting on potato chips and Drumsticks for a couple of weeks (I don’t think this post gets a “fitness” tag), we loaded our truck on Saturday (with most of our friends out of town. It was awesome timing), and cleaned on Monday.

It takes so little time, sweat, and tears, to write that.

~2~

But, it’s over now, and we get a little hiatus at Mark’s folks’ house for a month or so while we work on buying a house. We’re first time homebuyers, hopefully, and it’s all a little scary, so prayers would be lovely. We originally intended to rent, but it appears that, as a family of 10 with 7 pets, we have maybe outgrown renting. No rentals to be found that we can fit into without sending the landlord into hysterics. It’s been a longtime dream of mine to buy a house, and life has just not cooperated – till, possibly, now. We’ve got one under contract, and wow. It is just as exciting and nerve wracking as everyone always says it is.

~3~

13442315_10209861757084438_4948868528322850170_nIn other moving related news, my daughter Becca, who is an Irish dancer, did great in her two recent competitions. She is really bummed to have to leave her school, teacher, and friends behind. It’s hard to watch her be sad about that. The closest school to our new town is a good 40 minutes away, and we are still trying to figure out what to do.13522026_10210019086057564_7519230255893922185_n

~4~

Miss Emily, 3, got a new haircut yesterday. The fact that I had time for this reflects that moving out is over, and I officially have a few minutes to breathe, here and there. She now has the shortest hair any of my girls have ever had. It’s adorable. And brushable. We had so many battles over brushing her hair, that when she said, “Mama! Please cut it off,” I said, “okay, baby.” And we did.

~5~

Summer prep for a new home school year is always a big deal – but toss an interstate move and a major church shift into the mix, and it’s big. Really big. Curriculum changes, state law changes, moving during the time when I need to be prepping, not to mention no place to have my curriculum mailed to. Hopefully, two months from now, I will have an amazing story of how I brilliantly pulled it all together (or how it all fell into my lap in spite of me. Or how it all went wrong and we managed anyway, more likely). For now, I’m reading Catholic Home Schooling. I started 3 months ago. Don’t rush me.

~6~

Paint colors! Is having a house under contract too soon to pick out paint colors?

Don’t answer that.

Answer this instead:

Mystic Sea or Grand Hotel Mackinac Blue for a kitchen with orangey-brown tile on the counters and a brick fireplace?

And, any recommendations for an interesting-but-relaxing master bedroom color?

~7~

This was the little girls when we got to church Sunday morning after moving out the day before:

13532853_10209991811215710_8167343574350745576_n

Pretty much sums it up.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

{SQT} 36 hours of panic in 7 quick takes

Seven Quick Takes

Or, how one mom and 8 kids cleaned the whole house in a day and a half, and lived to tell about it.

~1~

Panic

This is very important. Almost as important as an extra cup of coffee and the promise of a frappe when we’re done. Because when an untidy mom has to get ready for a rental inspection complete with realtor photos 2 1/2 weeks before moving out, and it looks like this, that’s the only answer. These are uncut, folks. You may want to scroll past if you are obsessively clean and/or have a weak heart.

Honestly, the pictures make it look pretty good comparatively. Only ample amounts of adrenaline could get us through.

~2~

Delegate

I took a sheet of paper, folded it, and unfolded it to make a grid from the creases. Then I put a kid’s name in each box. I went through the house, using a random housecleaning checklist from Pinterest. (Because I don’t have one of my own, clearly.) When I saw what all needed done, I sorted the jobs into the boxes of the kids who could accomplish each one.

My 16 year old deep cleaned the second bathroom, which gets neglected – and if you are a guest, you might be allowed to believe it doesn’t exist.

My 14 year old took over general operations, like dishes and laundry. The laundry was pretty behind, and she got it out of the way and kept the dishes from piling up.

~3~

Play

The middle kids weeded the front flowerbed, picked up their rooms, and did a “penny pickup.” (That’s a game. It’s fun. They run around and pick up, and keep track of how many items they pick up and put in the right place. I pay a penny per item. We don’t do it very often, but when the house is terrible and I’m strapped for time, it’s a miracle for only a few bucks.)

~4~

Stash

I couldn’t make the whole house perfect, and I didn’t need to. I moved some bigger junky looking things like empty rubbermaid bins and a broken dresser drawer awaiting repairs out to the garage.

~5~

Detail

Once the stuff was out of the way, I ran around doing whatever details I could see – wiping walls, swiping counters, straightening slipcovers, tacking up that dang piece of trim that keeps falling down. Like that.

~6~

Rescue

At T minus 15 minutes to the arrival of the realtor, my 3 year old woke up from her nap shrieking. She had several angry looking spider bites on her arm. So naturally I ripped her bed apart and even flipped it over trying to find that thing – to comfort her, to exact vengeance on the demon that robbed me of at least an hour of sleeping child, and to affirm that said demon wasn’t the poisonous variety, driven from some dark corner by the moving. Couldn’t find it, but there is a warrant out for its arrest. And Emily is fine.

~7~

Panic

Because I was going to spend that last 15 minutes straightening the kitchen, not hunting spiders. So I frantically called my teens back to help, which they did before vanishing out to go for a nice walk in the sweltering heat in full afternoon sun in order to not be around for the inspection.

Well, it worked out. Here’s what we came up with:

My house has never been that clean, ever. It’s kind of nice, but now I have to get back to packing, sooo…see ya, clean house. Maybe we’ll meet up again someday; some other house, some other time.

🙂

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

10 Grain Waffles

Moving is getting pretty thick, here, now. We move out in 2 1/2 weeks now, and the crazy…oh, the crazy. Had to drop the running, but I did love it and I am looking forward to starting up again during our few weeks hiatus with my awesome in-laws, before we head east!

Running isn’t the only casualty of crazy. My kids have started swirling mournfully through the kitchen at mealtimes, asking why I don’t make pancakes anymore. Poor things, they are right. I don’t. It’s cereal for breakfast these days, and now our landlord is trying to sell the house…which means we need to let the realtor show the house. With 8 kids. Packing to move out of state. Getting ready for a new job.

It’s a special flavor of crazy. It makes my brain hurt.

So we aren’t making waffles these days, but in case you’d like to, here is a recipe I’m mildly proud of. I don’t make up my own recipes much, I just like to tinker with other peoples’. This one is an exception, and it’s a favorite.

10 Grain Waffles

  • Time: 30 minutes. Ish.
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Light, crisp whole grain waffles

Credit – www.greencatholicburrow.com

  • 1 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 c 10-grain hot cereal (dry)
  • 1 heaping T baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 3/4 c milk
  • 1/2 c oil
  1. Mix the dry ingredients in a medium bowl; mix the egg yolks, milk, and oil in another.
  2. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix till just combined.
  3. Beat the egg whites till stiff, then fold lightly into batter.  Leave a few fluffs of egg white.  It should look like the picture.
  4. Bake according to your waffle baker’s instructions.  Serve it up with butter and real maple syrup. Unless you like that weird fake stuff, in which case, hooray for your budget. 😉

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7 Things I was Wrong About Before I was Catholic

I used to have a lot of misconceptions about the Catholic church, back in my Protestant days. I am constantly blown away by how crazily inaccurate my ideas about Catholicism really were. These are NOT meant to be thorough arguments or really proofs of anything.  Those things are out there, but my goal is just to flesh out some common misconceptions and how I realized I was wrong.

I could do way more than 7, but that’s a nice manageable number to start with.

~1~

Catholics don’t really believe in anything. They are just going through the motions.
Mother Teresa
This gal? Going through the motions??

I really did believe this, and um, wow, I was really wrong. It was a reality-altering experience to get to know actual Catholics who actually believe Catholic stuff. Like the Bible. All of it. With great zeal and passion. Blew me away and took months to get used to.

~2~

Catholics worship Mary. Sure, they SAY they don’t, but the whole dulia/latria thing is just saying one thing and doing another. For that matter the whole saint thing is pretty much a pagan pantheon.

Yes, I believed this too. Firmly and passionately. It was a big deal to me in the early days of looking into the Catholic Church. Better writers and apologists than I have covered this well; two of my favorite resources to study this further are this article by Jimmy Akin, and Hail Holy Queen by Scott Hahn.

In my mind now, I see Mary and the saints as an invaluable part of the “great cloud of witnesses,” cheering us on and praying for us, as we pray and cheer for each other. We are part of a huge and glorious family with every imaginable kind of person in it!

~3~

Catholics think they can buy their way into heaven by empty ritual.

Mmm. That is what I saw in Catholic practice, and that is what many Protestants see: empty ritual. The problem with that is that I didn’t know what I was talking about. For one thing, nobody’s buying anything. All the merit comes from Christ. Full stop.

Eucharistic Adoration - Monstrance

Secondly, these things that Catholics do are about as far from empty as you can get; they are full to the brim and overflowing with meaning and truth. It only looks empty if you don’t understand what you are looking at – and for me, that was an understanding that had to happen in my heart, over time.

~4~

Catholics think they will spend millions of years in Purgatory to pay for their sins. They don’t understand that Jesus paid for their sins.

Ah, Purgatory. That’s a big one and honestly not really a quick take at all. I’m going to cheat a little and give you some links:

My husband Mark wrote something about this that I liked. He draws up a comparison between Purgatory and indulgences and everyday family life.  You can find it here.

Also, Jimmy Akin wrote an excellent piece on the subject. It got me through my initial (and considerable) problems with Purgatory, back in those crazy early investigating days. In that article, he starts off with a typical Protestant reaction to the doctrine of Purgatory:

“The Catholic Church has this massive doctrine of purgatory, invented in the middle ages. The Church used to even sell indulgences to shorten your time in purgatory by a fixed number of days. This doctrine is based on books that don’t belong in the Bible. There is no place or region in the afterlife for the saved except heaven. There is no pain in the afterlife, and the minute we die we go to heaven, as Paul says, ‘To be absent from the body is to be present with Christ,’ praying for people in purgatory makes no sense. Worst of all, it infringes on the sufficiency of Christ’s work. It is completely unbiblical. No Protestant could believe it.”

Then, he breaks that all down and goes through it, piece by piece.  It’s long, but if you are serious about understanding the Catholic point of view, it’s a great place to start.

~5~

Catholics think that the water of baptism saves you, and that even if you believe and then get hit by a bus on the way to be baptized, well, tough luck, buddy. You go to Hell. Shoulda looked both ways.

Water drop impact on a water-surface - (5)

Here is a longish quote from the Catechism: The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them. Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are ‘reborn of water and the Spirit.’ God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.

The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ. This Baptism of blood, like the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament. For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament.

‘Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery.’ Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.”

So, yes, baptism is absolutely necessary (John 3:5). But it can happen in irregular ways, in irregular situations. That doesn’t give us liberty to disregard it, but it does show God’s love and mercy.

~6~

Catholics aren’t allowed to think for themselves, and they don’t bother reading the Bible. They just have to believe and do what the Pope says.

There is definitely a Protestant attitude that Catholics, while not actually believing anything at all (see point 1), are also mindless automatons, a legion of robotic yes-men (and women).

Bible-706658It’s not really funny. But it sort of is, because in getting to know the church and the people in it, I discovered that Catholics are quite the spunky, opinionated lot. They also have Bible studies, where they study the Bible. (Yes they do. I go to one.) Not only that, but a huge portion of the Mass is…the Bible. Lots of Catholics read the daily Mass readings, whether they go to daily Mass or not.

~7~

Catholics think that Christ is sacrificed over and over again at every Mass.

This is a popular one. Mark the other day pulled together a compilation of quotes about that, and I am going to steal it. Way easier than looking it up myself.

ChurchTabernacle

Baltimore Catechism:

Q. 931. Is there any difference between the sacrifice of the Cross and the sacrifice of the Mass?

A. Yes; the manner in which the sacrifice is offered is different. On the Cross Christ really shed His blood and was really slain; in the Mass there is no real shedding of blood nor real death, because Christ can die no more; but the sacrifice of the Mass, through the separate consecration of the bread and the wine, represents His death on the Cross.

Catechism of Pope St. Pius X:

5 Q. Is the Sacrifice of the Mass the same as that of the Cross?

A. The Sacrifice of the Mass is substantially the same as that of the Cross, for the same Jesus Christ, Who offered Himself on the Cross, it is Who offers Himself by the hands of the priests, His ministers, on our altars; but as regards the way in which He is offered, the Sacrifice of the Mass differs from the Sacrifice of the Cross, though retaining the most intimate and essential relation to it.

6 Q. What difference and relation then is there between the Sacrifice of the Mass and that of the Cross?

A. Between the Sacrifice of the Mass and that of the Cross there is this difference and relation, that on the Cross Jesus Christ offered Himself by shedding His Blood and meriting for us; whereas on our altars He sacrifices Himself without the shedding of His Blood, and applies to us the fruits of His passion And death.

8 Q. Is not the Sacrifice of the Cross the one only Sacrifice of the New Law?

A. The Sacrifice of the Cross is the one only Sacrifice of the New Law, inasmuch as through it Our Lord satisfied Divine Justice, acquired all the merits necessary to save us, and thus, on His part, fully accomplished our redemption. These merits, however, He applies to us through the means instituted by Him in His Church, among which is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

If you liked these, you might also like Seven MORE Things I Was Wrong About Before I Was Catholic, and Seven Things I Didn’t Lose When I Became Catholic

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