Friday, February 3, 2017

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. Epiphany Blessing

We finally got to doing our own Epiphany blessing at the house, although still in plenty of time, given that we were still in the Third Week after Epiphany. (Note to self: start planning, as Lent begins in four weeks!)

2. Anniversary

Chris and the kids returned from the March for Life on Saturday, and I had no meal plan for the week or groceries in the house: thus began our 11th wedding anniversary! It kind of reflects our blessed but busy, zany life at this season. We ended up getting take-out dinner for ourselves (and served frozen pizza to the kids!), then ate the chocolate-covered strawberries for dessert that Chris had sent to me.

3. Sewing Classes

This week, Mary began a series of sewing classes, which we arranged and her grandfather paid for as a Christmas gift. Week 1 was Machine Familiarity. I very much wish I could join her as a mother-daughter thing, but this works because Daddy can take her and he can work on the cell phone and laptop from the car. If I went and left the other four children with him, he couldn't work at all.

Coincidentally, I read an article called "Is it Still Important to Teach Children to Sew?" this week.

4. Morning Prayer Time

We've been attempting to do some morning spiritual reading and prayer for several years now, as I try to inculcate this habit in children that should be a lifetime habit of all Catholic adults. (I've been in the practice since about 2011, and the children began in 2014--read here--and I wrote about their progress one year later here.)

Mary and Margaret in their bunks doing morning spiritual reading, prayer, and writing in their journals

Now it is early 2017 and I made a few adjustments this week, which I hope will help. I still wake up early and exercise, which usually means turning on a babyish cartoon for my two early birds who are one and four years old. If an older child wanders downstairs, he or she is immediately sucked into the TV trash and doesn't do the holy reading or prayer time. The morning starts to slip away. Or I force the holy reading and prayer, and the child is resentful because of missing "Barney" (?!).

I consulted with a mom who has instilled this habit in her large brood for more than a decade. She knew the problem and immediately knew her solution: she moved her children's holy reading time to their beds before they even come downstairs!

So, the new plan:
  • I printed out instruction sheets made individual for each child and taped them by their beds. 
  • I moved their spiritual books onto their beds. 
  • For the 8- and 10-year-olds, I gave them each a blank journal in which to write anything--even just one phrase--documenting anything they got out of prayer that morning, or that they felt God was communicating to them.

One week in, and the new system is showing good fruits. Sometimes I go to wake the children and discover they're already quietly awake and doing their reading or prayer. They're spending this time without complaint now, they're not as distracted by TV or eating cereal, and they accomplish one of their most important goals before even coming downstairs for the day.

The only "problem" we had was on the first day when one particularly enthusiastic child spent an hour in this pursuit, too much time in prayer and too much time writing in a journal about God for this child's station in life. There was nagging and a missed breakfast, plus a late start to school! Later that night we had a gentle talk about having to fit in this worthy pursuits to more like 15-30 minutes, or the child could choose to wake up earlier, but that breakfast is at 7:30 and school is at 8:00. After that, it went more smoothly!

5. "Why Latin?" Class

On Wednesday night, I took John and Mary to a Mass, dinner, and lecture entitled, "Why Latin in the Liturgy?" by Fr. Jason Barone. It is so rare that I go out for evening events, so it was emotionally refreshing to get out, but by 7:30 I was wishing I were getting ready for bed, and it was a couple more hours before I could get home.

6. Mama's Birthday

If you missed it, you may read about my wonderful fortieth birthday by clicking here.

7. Miscellaneous

John had a baby tooth that was fused to the bone and not going anywhere extracted this week. All went well and he was sore only for about a day.

Recess: Eating lunch outdoors in 70-degree weather while reading "Ask" magazine

Belated birthday gift: Joseph's first Nerf gun from Grandpa!

For more 7 Quick Takes Friday, check out This Ain't the Lyceum.

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