Friday, March 10, 2017

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. "This Is the Day the Lord Has Made"

Mary (8) surprised me one day this week with a theater set up so she could perform a song originally composed by her called "This Is the Day the Lord Has Made." She had hired her four-year-old brother for a bite of chocolate to be her drummer.

The song was really quite delightful and I thought she had been taught it somewhere until she said she made it up herself. I won't share the video because she is shy, but it is a treasure.

2. And Then There Are These Moments

Precious, godly moments like the above help make up for horrible child rearing scenes like the afternoon I took all five kids with me across town during rush hour to the YMCA to sign up for a homeschoolers' Physical Education class. Their behavior was across-the-board so publicly humiliating that I can assure you, I have no belief that I'm some amazing, wonderful Catholic mother.

3. Making Meals and Sewing Nightgowns

In a wonderful moment of serendipity, I discovered that Thomas (20 months) will be occupied by playing with the kitchen toys for hours, a discovery made on a day I wanted to sew all day!

I had two sick kids last Friday (and I had caught the yucky cold by the end of that day), so we stayed home from CCE with no plans, so I grabbed the opportunity to sew nightgowns for Mary and Margaret, my having bought patterns and fabric a couple of weeks earlier. I could send kids outside to play, but what could I do with a toddler too young to go outside without my constant shadowing?

I locked Thomas into the girls' and sewing room with me and noticed he set up a little "tea party" all by himself. He'd arrange the food, then he'd pray (fold hands together and mumble), and then he would pretend to eat! Especially because he says so few words, seeing sophisticated play really eases my mind.

I proceeded to sew for most of the entire day and Thomas spent long stretches of hours next to me, quietly playing kitchen.

I finished Margaret's nightgown in time for bedtime, and almost Mary's as well, but Mary's needed some more thinking time to finish up because I accidentally cut the bodice too small.

After three tries, I ended up cutting and sewing together an appropriate "extension piece" for the bodice, then adding lace to cover up the oddly placed seam.

4. New Lawn Service

Guess what strapping 10-year-old is taking over our lawn mowing this spring?

Checking out the new mower

Engine not running, just posing . . . no child of mine will mow with exposed feet

5. New Wheels

Click here to read all about our new-to-us Big Van and the road trip to Florida to pick it up!

6. Mama's Free Time

While the gang was in Florida and I was relieved of teaching duty for two school days, I had the best time with my two littlest boys.

Once I saw the family off, I fed the littles lunch and put them down for rest. Simultaneous rest. The four-year-old actually napped for once. The one-year-old napped for three hours. PEOPLE: I HAD THREE HOURS OF SILENCE TO MYSELF.

Has this happened once in the last year? Two years? Maybe, but maybe not.

We took an afternoon walk in the gorgeous sunshine. Thomas toted along a slice of bread and his water.

I cleaned out so much paperwork from the house, throwing away old, expired paper left and right. I got my email inbox down to about 20 emails needing my attention. It was glorious.

I treated the boys to a little dinner out, where their behavior was complimented. I picked up some summer clothing for the kids at the consignment store and meditated that--except for shoes--I might not have to spend much more than that $37 to equip the five of them for the warm months. Yay.

I listened--actually listened--to my four-year-old and all his questions, which so often get ignored in the hustle and bustle. Why do birds have yellow beaks? What do birds eat? What do ants eat? What is inside chocolate? What number comes after this one, and what color comes after that one?

Thursday was much the same, with my productivity through the roof because the duties of teaching were relieved.

I had exercised and fed us breakfast by 7:30, mopped the kitchen floor by 8:00, and has us dressed and ready to leave by 8:30, so we showed up at the grocery store upon opening at 9:00 to do our week's shopping (in person! unheard of!), and were home by 10:00 so I had time to supervise the boys playing outside for an hour before lunch. They had had a rough night's sleep, so were yawning and I put them down for (SIMULTANEOUS) nap at 11:30, which meant I got to lay down for an hour  (resting my body, resting my mind, refreshing my attitude for the afternoon) before doing chores in blessed silence for two more hours. The afternoon was more of the same: really efficient housecleaning and organizing before being free to take the children on an afternoon neighborhood walk. Such a beautiful day of childhood.

It was just glorious and a travel back in time to those halcyon days when I felt like a Good Mother and a Good Homemaker. When kids are so little, playing with them outdoors and taking them to the grocery store and just talking to them all the time is so good for them and counts as great teaching: they don't need formal preschool whatsoever to blossom. But now my time is eaten up from 8:00 to 3:00 teaching Latin, composition, spelling, and so forth, and, just like a real teacher in a classroom, I can't be simultaneously teaching my older grades while housekeeping or taking my preschoolers on springy walks. So, then my ego takes a big hit as I feel like a Bad Mother and a Bad Homemaker both.

I wouldn't trade homeschooling, I really wouldn't, but it does have its trade-offs.

7. Thomas Speaks

The current expressive language of Thomas (20 months):
  1. Mommy
  2. Daddy
  3. Wow!
  4. Cheese
  5. Dah-dah for diaper
  6. Ball.
  7. Wah-Wah for water
  8. Weesh-weesh! for sweep--new this week!

For more 7 Quick Takes Friday, check out This Ain't the Lyceum. (Her post on "7 Things that Are Working in our Homeschool Right Now" is very similar to a post I've been drafting about our homeschool! I hope to publish it soon.)


  1. Mama's Free Time sounds wonderful! I'm so happy you were able to have that time with your littles. I always feel so guilty over how little attention I am able to give to Alice, since I'm always so busy with the two older ones with school.

    Homeschooling indeed has its tradeoffs.

  2. I think you did nicely working in the lace to cover the mistake on Mary's nightgown. And the two days off teaching duty went divinely.