Apparently I don't even know what day of the week it is if we don't have CCE to attend (which was cancelled due to the March for Life). Thus, I'm publishing a day late.
1. Daddy-Daughter Basketball Date
After a very long day of chores and errands, Chris was spontaneously given two basketball tickets by our neighbor who owns seats and who generously gives us a pair about once a year. Given that Chris would be going on a three-day trip with John and Mary in the coming week, he took Margaret (5).
The only danger was that this child who blossoms only under one-on-one attention (of which she doesn't get much among five siblings) would positively burst with joy during those several hours.
2. Sunday Fellowship
Sunday was another big day requiring me to draw up a list of supplies by person which needed to be packed and which ran an entire 8"x11" sheet of notes.
After Mass, we attended (and John served) a beautiful baptism with so many joy-filled guests.
Then we rushed off to a pre-existing social invitation to a birthday party (for a girl) and an AirSoft party (for all the boy guests 8 and older). Among the six prolific Catholic families were 38 children (and that doesn't count 2 babies in utero and several adult children not in attendance).
This was John's first AirSoft party with other boys--as opposed to target practice at a stationary object--and Chris, who observed the boys running around the many wooded acres, said that we could take all our most fun experiences, like Great Wolf Lodge, this and that fabulous outing, yet an AirSoft battle would be four times more fun for our John than all those combined.
3. Feeling Grateful
Every weekday morning, a local public school bus idles a few houses down my street, its lights shining into my kitchen window, and I look at it while I make my coffee. It's about 6:00 a.m. when it begins rumbling down the road to pick up its first tiny passengers.
This gives me the opportunity to say aloud to any children awake with me my catch phrase for bus sightings, "School bus! Glad you're not on it!" And I am glad, I am so grateful for this opportunity to raise my children at home with me.
I was quite moved one weekday morning when I made pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream for the children. Now, our mornings are quite busy getting ready to start homeschooling by 8:00, so I don't cook fancy breakfasts every day, but I do have that freedom. I can take the extra time when I want to, and it's such a pleasure to give those small joys to the children on weekdays, not just perhaps on Sunday.
4. March for Life Washington D.C.
On Thursday, Chris, his dad, and our two oldest children headed off to the 44th annual March for Life in Washington D.C.
John and Mary were so excited that they came downstairs (unbidden, no shaking them awake that morning!) at 6:00 a.m., already dressed and dragging their packed suitcases.
|John, keeping his suitcase adjacent to him while he eats cereal--just in case|
I made the gang a hearty breakfast before seeing them off.
They stayed the night in Richmond, VA, then joined with a bus group out of a parish there, so they'd be taking a much shorter charter bus in and out of Washington D.C. on the big day. I yearned for us to go as a family, thought about how inspiring and invigorating it would be: and then I remembered our mere two-hour drive to Greenville, SC, a couple of weeks ago--the misery, the nonstop fighting, the discipline, the vomiting--and I realized that this trip up to D.C. would only be enjoyable because Mama and the little ones weren't on it!
I don't have any photos from the March because Chris was busy prayerfully marching (the gall!).
Security was much heightened to "airport-like security" because, for the first time in the 44-year history, the Vice President, Mike Pence, was a speaker at the March. In fact, the night before, Chris and I had a phone call brainstorming how to manage the March for five weary hours over lunch time when kids would be hungry without his being allowed to carry the two backpacks I'd thoughtfully packed with food, bottles of water, hand sanitizer, baby wipes, extra socks, and so forth.
Our brand new President Trump sent his pro-life representatives, and the first three speakers were Kellyanne Conway, Mrs. Pence, and VP Pence. They spoke clearly, boldly, and without ambiguity. This was truly a historic day and feels like a turning point in the pro-life movement: a turning toward light and love for some of us citizens, but I know it feels differently for others.
My favorite speaker of the lineup was Congresswoman Mia Love, who spoke on "What Might Have Been." Her speech was artfully written and moved me to tears. (You can watch it on YouTube.)
In other historic firsts, mainstream media--such as CNN--provided some live coverage to this normally massive "invisible" March.
5. Raptor Center
Meanwhile, I kept the home fires burning and met up with a friend to take our littles to the Raptor Center. I don't believe we've gone in three years (click here for a blast to the past).
The raptor center was crawling with darting lizards, and the children caught them over and over again. Really, if one had a lizard phobia, one would have had a real problem being there with so many lizards. As it is, they were cute and the moms were kept busy trying to enforce a one-time-only catch-and-release rule so no one lizard would become overwhelmed or injured by all the attention.
Then on Friday, we actually left the house on two separate occasions to run multiple errands, which is something I do not do anymore. I had so much free time being relieved of teaching duties for two days! It was a lovely break from routine.
Grandmom joined us from Atlanta for about 24 hours, and we had fun going out to dinner.
6. Thomas Comes Downstairs
|Thomas loves carrying "his babies"|
Thomas (18 months) starts out his night in his crib, but he wakes up for the day in the master bed. This week, he began waking up silently, descending from bed, and coming downstairs to find me. This is earlier than any of my babies! I seem to recall that typically during that whole year of being two years old, I'm wishing the kids would just wake up and come downstairs instead of sitting in bed, wailing for me.
7. Spring Planning
I received what I believe to be the first annual homeschooling curriculum catalog, on the cusp of the calendar turning to February. Spring Planning is one of my favorite times of year! Often, we homeschool teachers are feeling a little bored by this time of year, so getting to take spare time to plan next year is invigorating. Fun, fun, fun!
For more 7 Quick Takes Friday that are actually published on Friday, check out This Ain't the Lyceum.