1. Travel Over the Hill and Dale
It's inaccurate when someone like me kvetches, "I feel like a single mom!" It's not true because a single mom has to bring home the bacon, too, but I will say it is very challenging during this stretch of what will be something like six weeks of Chris traveling weekly, being home only a couple of days at a time.
2. Ants, Ants, Everywhere Ants
While I was managing the homefront, all alone on the frontier, so to speak--exaggeration for effect--I had to deal me with some varmints.
On Monday night, I gathered up the children to drive to church so I could drop off John for his final altar server practice of the year and a special dinner and talk by a visiting priest: lots of fun! He didn't want to miss it.
Little did I know that some other "little friends" were loading up with us too. Two nights prior, Chris had taken five children to dinner, so had borrowed two car seats for his own vehicle. Then when he departed on his business trip, he had taken the crumb-laden car seats out of his vehicle and set them down in our garage, where a swarm of ants had taken up residence inside of them, enjoying a feast in undisturbed silence.
Lo, came that Monday when I took those two car seats, installed them back into my van, and drove down Park Road at rush hour.
About two miles down the road, I heard the first cries of, "Ants! Ants!"
The black ants--and I thanked God that they were black and not red--were swarming out of their car seat nests and onto my children. This was basically like some torture practice of strapping down a person onto a giant ant's nest, but in modern form!
I pulled over as fast as I could as the screaming was reaching a fevered pitch. Kids were panicking!
Armed only with a pack of baby wipes on the side of Park Road at rush hour, I unbuckled the children and tried to wipe the ants to death as they came streaming out. I had nothing else!
I remained calm, and I knew I was going to have to strap the children back into the seats in order to continue driving down the road, whether I drove on to church or turned around to go back home. And, unlike the children at that point, I knew there would be more ants hiding.
Poor kids. Poor ants.
We did manage to drive on and drop off John at his event. Each time my two-year-old would call out that another ant was crawling on him, I'd hand him back a fresh baby wipe to battle it.
Thus, we found ourselves at the car wash establishment that early evening. Normally I leave the car washing to my husband, and neither one of us would take five children with us for the task, but I felt it was urgent to vacuum out the van.
Weren't we a sight! My nine-year-old helped while my five- and seven-year-olds wandered too far. My baby remained strapped into his car seat and screamed bloody murder the whole time. My two-year-old had to be unstrapped to vacuum out the car seats, so, with the loud vacuum sound as cover, he escaped out the rear van doors and wandered into the parking lot a bit before I found him and caused a scene as a Panicked, Flustered Mother.
All around me were solitary adults, dressed in professional garb, vacuuming out their sedans on their way home from their careers, while we were a scene of Great! Bustling! Life!
All the crumbs, trash, and remnants vacuumed away, I went to find the 5- and 7-year-olds, who I immediately discerned had bulging pockets. There was no patience left inside of me, so I demanded that they empty their pockets. When reluctance was shown, I reached into the pockets myself and pulled out all the contents without ceremony.
They had been going around to all the car washing stalls and collecting the trash other drivers had thrown away.
I know that one man's trash is another man's treasure, but all I could think of were GERMS and YUCK, so I threw away all the colorful bits and pieces in the nearest garbage can with exclamations. My 7-year-old could handle this with merely some resentment at the injustice of it all, but my 5-year-old was crushed deep in his soul. Big fat tears began to flow fast down his cheeks and he wailed in sadness, such that I had to take him by the hand and guide him to the van so we could make our final bow and exit.
In the last week, not only has Margaret learned the basics of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and "Lightly Row," but she taught herself by ear "Good King Wenceslas."
4. Reading Aloud
I do not take it for granted how much our family enjoys reading aloud good books. It's a culture we've built up for a decade, and I still thrill that most nights of the week, even while we're still cleaning up the dinner dishes, some child or other will ask if I will have time to read aloud to them that night.
Lately, one child has been building me these Reading Thrones, as I think of them--complete with a fresh glass of ice water and our book set out--for me to discover when I finish tucking in the younger boys.
Since last winter we chose "David Copperfield" to read aloud (for the ages 7, 9, 11), and it's a hefty tome, I feel like we'll take nearly a year to get through it. I keep thinking the kids will get bored and want me to skip to some shorter read-alouds, but they don't. And they know exactly where we are each time we sit down to read anew, recounting the plot line and characters!
To the 2- and 5-year-old boys, I'm almost done reading aloud "Old Yeller."
5. Scholastic Scenes
A quiet moment when the 11-year-old was studying grammar, the 9-year-old was studying Latin, the 7-year-old was playing violin, the 2- and 5-year-olds were playing outside, and the 9-month-old was napping. I take these organized moments and embrace them!
I'm planning for my oldest to do the IEW Speech and Debate Boot Camp video classes over the summer and, given missing a few weeks due to travel, that means starting the 11 lessons this week.
Younger sister has determined to join in as well, and in the background of the first video lesson, I was teaching them how to take notes while somebody is lecturing.
I love that time of year when we start finishing books right and left!
|Latin went from a subject Mary "hated" to one of her favorites.|
Bonus Reading: "It’s time for the checklist homeschool moms to stop apologizing" by Pam Barnhill. I'm a checklist mom all the way and it has saved my sanity (such that it is) and our homeschool, making our time spent much more efficient and freeing us up for other pursuits.
|Example of my third grader's weekly assignments|
|Thomas (2-3/4) said, "Take picture me, Mama!"|
When you wait until Mama steps away momentarily to scoop yourself half the jelly jar into a bowl and eat its entirety neatly with a spoon, you and your full belly get to spend some minutes in timeout.
Thirty seconds of a laughing David worth your time, I think . . .
For more 7 Quick Takes Friday, check out This Ain't the Lyceum. Read her ideas for how to celebrate Memorial Day as a Catholic! We have typically gone to a cemetery to pray for the dead as well as have a picnic there.