1. Organizing and Nesting
If I were 36-37 weeks pregnant, I'd take all this organizing I've been doing as signposts of imminent labor. Since I'm only 33 weeks pregnant, I'll interpret it as the rational preparation for when I know my life is going to be thrown into postpartum chaos as we integrate a new, wee being into our family.
Better straighten and clean now while I still can.
This week, I took a box full of all our topsy turvy personal papers (e.g., birth certificates, sacramental papers, social security cards) and organized them into a large binder, with labeled tabs for each family member and each personal paper carefully stored in a plastic slip sheet. The binder went back into our super strong, fire-proof safe.
After at least a year, I filed a big box of important papers into Chris' office.
A bunch of donations to the thrift store are awaiting drop-off today.
And I locked up the art supplies . . . which is so big to me (in my apparently small life) that it gets its own header.
2. Incarcerating the Art Supplies
You read that right: this homeschooling mama locked up every last one of the art supplies. I can't incarcerate the children, and one of these two things was going to lose its freedom.
Heretofore, I've had all art supplies out and available on the enticing art table for any child to wander over and begin a project on his own. Of course, that means any child can wander over, grab paint, pens, stickers, or glitter and spread them like graffiti where they don't belong. And few children know how to clean up because art is being done unsupervised.
My children create so much artwork every day. Stacks and stacks of it. This made me feel even worse about the possibility of locking away art supplies because I'd be crushing their little artistic spirits.
|The blank canvass: a clean and empty art table|
But this cannot go on. This pregnant mama cannot take the messes after about seven years of this. This mama cannot control her temper while scrubbing paint out of the carpet again.
I began thinking about gorgeous school classrooms with art supplies available on the table and I realized that those classrooms have something ours lacks--A TEACHER PRESENT AT ALL TIMES--and they lack something we have--TODDLERS AND PRESCHOOLERS WANDERING ABOUT UNSUPERVISED.
I was given the final boost of courage to implement my plan when I chanced to overhear a wonderful mother of ten mention to me that once weekly the children are given art supplies from the locked closet.
Once a week.
And that's okay. Her children aren't damaged, destroyed, or lacking in artistic abilities. But this woman's home, with twice as many homeschooling children, sure is a lot neater than mine!
|Locking cabinet of art supplies|
|Locking cabinet of art supplies|
So, I locked them all up. Art supplies are in locked cabinets for which a key must be procured. I'm not sure what the system will be, how and when the children may do art, but it won't be any time they wish and it won't be without supervision.
We were blessed to attend the baptism of a wee three-week-old.
The one- and four-year-olds were too loud, so we witnessed the remainder of the sacrament from the cry room.
4. Independence DayTo celebrate the Fourth of July, I took the four kids in my care (Chris and John not being home) to a potluck being hosted by parish friends.
Thunderstorms and rain rolled through in the afternoon, as they have seemingly almost daily for a month, but the kids thought it was all grand fun!
5. Additional Activities
We had an activity every day! A back yard play date at our home . . . Esther, the Musical rehearsal . . . a third play date and crochet lesson in as many weeks with several other families . . . a gangbusters trip to the consignment store where I scored 19 items of beautiful children's clothing for an average of only $2.80 apiece . . . .
6. Miscellaneous MomentsBy toddler #5, apparently I've given up the strict letter of the law that real babies don't ride in toy strollers (since that breaks the toy strollers). Just thanks for playing quietly together before Mass, boys!
Running Mass solo was no easy task, and Joseph (4) didn't fall asleep for his typical Mass Nap until 15 minutes before the end.
You know you've reached the official stage of Pregnant Beached Whale when, exhausted from a morning out and the sultry heat having reached the 90s, you install your children with Miss Television as their babysitter, shut the door with its baby-proof lock (so 23-month-old cannot wander freely), and retire up to the bedroom to lay down and nap. You know your toddler has reached the official stage of Great Independence when he escapes the baby-proof lock (was there any doubt he wouldn't?), drags a stool to where he needs it, climbs up to stand on the kitchen counter, opens the cupboard, retrieves the jar of Nutella, bag of rice cakes, and box of Ritz crackers, and carries them all at once while ascending the stairs where he proudly brings his delicious loot to Mama in bed.
7. Bonus Reading
"Why Our Church Is in Decline" by Fr. Richard Heilman: The punch line is to bring back the transcendent.
"Many College Students Are 'Book Virgins'" by Daniel Lattier: You may well be interested in clicking through to the NAS Beach Books report, whose findings are that the majority of books assigned by colleges are "mediocre and new" and are "predominantly progressive." The list of Most Widely Assigned Books is on page 42 and is, along with the following dozen pages of statistical analysis, highly revealing about the state of so-called advanced education at many institutions today.
"How Vacation Bible School Drove Millennials Away From Church" by Peter Burfeind: This is written from a Protestant perspective but easily and equally applies to the Catholic parishes who I consider are even more culpable because they are outright borrowing generically Christian (Protestant) VBS programs instead of teaching truly Catholic traditions, and everything is bathed in such rock/pop music, water fights, snacks, and finger painting that the faith is barely being transmitted.
For more 7 Quick Takes Friday, check out This Ain't the Lyceum.