Friday, June 16, 2017

{SQT} Movin' and Groovin'

1. Saturday Potluck

I have no photos to show the great fun our family had at a potluck with some fellow church families. Boys ran off into the woods to play AirSoft guns (where most of the tough guys got stung by wasps and returned smiling with pride), girls were running around barefoot playing Princess, and kids of all ages were playing lawn games, such as badminton and bean bag toss. The food was plentiful and conversation refreshing.

2. Mother-Daughter High Tea

On Sunday after Mass, The Daughters of the Virgin Mother hosted a reflection followed by a high tea garden party at the men's seminary (the men having absented themselves) and Solemn Vespers sung in the church.

I took Margaret and Mary to the event, which was lovely. At the seminary, various rooms were festooned with tables of fancy tea and foods, and the garden (which I didn't photograph) was decorated so beautifully with the same, it looked ready for a posh garden party or an intimate wedding reception.

Unfortunately, being "on the go" (as it were, you know, my leaving the house) two days in a row was too much for this 30-week mama, who swelled up, got a headache she couldn't kick, and generally felt sick from it all. Being pregnant at 40 is not the same as ten years ago. I felt like I needed all Monday to recover, which goes to show me how I'm going to be even more prudent about what events I attend . . . the wee soul is worth it, but it's humbling.

3. Climbing Trees

I let my children climb just about anything, and they generally start that before 12 months old. A rule that has served me well is that they have to climb under their own steam because even a toddler or preschooler generally does not have the strength to climb high enough to get into trouble: and if he can climb that high, he's probably pretty safe and strong.

Well, the kids took pity on four-and-a-half-year-old Joseph, who hasn't yet figured out how to climb trees: they affixed a rock climbing harness to him so they could assist him in climbing up the trunk ten feet high. They were all so happy with their sneaky accomplishment!

Meanwhile, Margaret says: who needs no stinkin' horizontal branches to climb way up?

Margaret (6) ~8 feet up

4. Movement Break

Upon being inspired by a fellow homeschooling mama at my parish--mother of six active boys!--this week I experimented with adding a Movement Break to our school mornings. One could call it simply P.E.! She calls her Composure Time--as in composing oneself, and a play on words with a Composer.

Now that my oldest is ten-and-a-half, I'm starting to see that formal P.E. actually is important. The bigger the kid, the less cardiovascular exertion or strength building is obtained by simply noodling around casually on the driveway with a basketball or roller blades. I can see a fast journey down the road to a sedentary lifestyle.

So, I've made it my goal to have a Movement Break most school mornings, combined with Scottish Dance class on Thursdays, perhaps Track Class at the YMCA on Tuesdays, and we're considering YMCA Soccer for the boys in the fall. As I anticipate having a new baby and perhaps not being able to lead Movement Break for a while, I could also assign the older kids to ride bikes on the quarter-mile loop in our neighborhood, or to jog the same loop, or I could assign little kids to run laps around our house.

Here's the idea of a Movement Break: First, roll the dice (one or two of them).

The first roll determines what classical composer we're listening to today. I took about two minutes to craft a list of twelve composers to start.

Roll the dice
1 = J.S. Bach
2 = Beethoven
3 = Mozart
4 = Chopin
5 = Handel
6 = Brahms
7 = Haydn
8 = Liszt
9 = Schubert
10 = Bernstein
11 = Vivaldi
12 = Schumann

Second, I'm letting my children from youngest to oldest roll the dice, and we can get through two rounds of rolls (8-10 exercises) in half an hour. The roll of the dice determines what exercise we're doing. (If one number is rolled repeatedly, the child gets free choice of exercise.)

Roll the dice
1 = Jumping Jacks
2 = Wall Sits
3 = Burpees or Mountain Climbers
4 = Planks (Regular or Side)
5 = Balancing movements on one leg
6 = Push-Ups
7 = Lunges
8 = Squats
9 = Crunches
10 = Side Leg Raises
11 = Butterfly Kicks
12 = Bear Crawl (crawl on all fours, on hands and feet only)

The children are having a whole bunch of fun doing this half hour Movement Break! It really has been a big success and a source of much-needed laughter during what can be stressful, stern school mornings. The 22-month-old is absolutely adorable trying to imitate all the exercise moves.

As I'm six months pregnant, I do the exercise if I can, or I have my 10-year-old show an example. I'm also showing easier modifications for the various exercises because maybe I am the one who needs the modification, or maybe a really young kid is the one who needs it!

5. Preparing for the Total Solar Eclipse

I will be a few days or weeks postpartum when the total solar eclipse occurs on August 21, so I'm preparing now. It seems like solar eclipse glasses are already slow to deliver or running out, so one might want to order now, like we just did.

Click here for a link to a short read about proper solar eclipse glasses. Apparently, only four companies so far have been ISO-certified.

This is a really special event, as described by NASA:

When was the last solar eclipse seen from North America, and when will the next one happen?

The last total solar eclipse viewed from North America was on July 7, 1972 whose path went from Northern Alaska to Nova Scotia. A second, more recent, total solar eclipse was visible on July 11, 1991 from Southern Baja California to Panama. After the August 2017 total solar eclipse, the next annular solar eclipse that can be seen in the continental United States will be on October 14, 2023 which will be visible from Northern California to Florida. Following this, we will have a total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024 visible from Texas to Maine.

Here is more info on my neck of the woods:

Like Georgia, only a small part of the Tarheel State will experience totality. The path of totality will slide across the western end of the state, passing over the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge mountains. A large part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is in the path. The center of the eclipse track crosses through Graham, Cherokee, Clay and Macon counties. Most of the towns and communities up here are rather small, which is why the number of people who fall within the path of the total eclipse in North Carolina is only about 175,000. Franklin, the county seat of Macon (pop. 3,900), is the largest local city in the eclipse path and is surrounded by beautiful streams, waterfalls, mountains, hills and valleys. There are plenty of trails for hiking as well as plenty of fishing, hunting, rafting and kayaking, and the views are said to be breathtaking. Franklin will experience 2 minutes and 30 seconds of daytime darkness, starting at 2:35 p.m. EDT. The largest city in western North Carolina is Asheville, but it is 25 miles outside the eclipse path, so the 92,000 residents will see the moon cover 99.2 percent of the sun at 2:37 p.m...
The total eclipse will turn bright day into near-night for up to 2 minutes, 36 seconds in heart-of-darkness towns of Andrews, Brevard, Bryson City, Cherokee, Franklin and Sylva and S.C. cities Greenville, Columbia and Charleston. Stars will come out. Birds will stop singing. Temperatures will drop. Motorists will turn on headlights.
Falling on a Monday, the eclipse will begin around 1:05 p.m for the Carolinas. Outside the path of totality, people will see a partial eclipse. Most of the Carolinas will get a 90 percent or greater obscuration, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. During the eclipse, Earth, moon and sun will be in direct alignment. In Charlotte, the moon’s shadow will cover a maximum 98 percent of the sun at 2:41 p.m. In Raleigh, coverage will be 93 percent at 2:45 p.m. The eclipse ends about 4 p.m. 6.

 6. Miscellaneous Moments

Altar Boy Training followed by pizza and football . . . 30-week midwifery appointment . . . Esther musical rehearsal . . . making strawberry shortcake when we had our beloved former nanny over for dinner . . . taking a meal to a postpartum mama . . . rediscovering forgotten origami supplies . . . John working his lawn mowing gig at 7:00 a.m. before his school day . . . family ice cream night at Mr. K's . . . older kids' movie night last week (for D-Day) of "The Longest Day" (1962) and a family movie night this week of "The Fighting Sullivans" (1944)--which we highly recommend to families with all ages of kids, down to tiny tots, and as a movie especially endearing to Catholic families!

pick-up football

Shortcake baked by Mary (8), whipped cream made by John (10)

7. Bonus Reading

"Don’t Judge Homeschooling By Summer Break" by Purva Brown--Good reading for those who say "I could never homeschool! I can hardly get through summers with my kids at home!" Spoiler: Summer break is not the same as homeschooling, as we homeschoolers have learned that idle hands are the devil's playground, so kids need to be kept occupied, and not because mama is always running a summer camp of fun for them.


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


  1. I have the same tree climbing philosophy - if you can't climb up in the tree yourself, you can't climb the tree. I will not boost you up! Meanwhile, my girls have started boosting each other up by getting on hands and knees so they can use each other's backs as stools! It's good problem solving, so I allow it 😉

  2. It was so interesting to read your section on Composure Time. I instituted Movement Time last fall, which sounded close, with the listening of Classical music and various stretching and strengthening exercises. I also added a lesson in comportment of the body in which the kids learn to stand, sit, and run and generally move themselves about with mindfulness about their proximity to others, and see if they can conduct their limbs with some grace. It has been fun and quite hilarious at times!
    I bet all of the Lauer Ladies had a memorable time at High Tea. What a special event to attend together!