Tuesday, August 7, 2012

perfect schmerfect

One of the best things about having all four kids home all day during the summer is that I can NOT afford to be a perfectionist. Not on any front, whether it be housekeeping, behavior, or activities. Things will go awry, but it's always an opportunity for one or more of us to learn patience and flexibility. Often that person is me, and summer is the perfect time for me to learn these lessons. The sun is shining, the kids can play outdoors more, and if one day doesn't go perfectly, there are plenty more where that came from. We all have our morning routine that involves a quick clean-up to maintain sanity and sanitation. The older kids have to do 3 jobs each in order to earn screen or outdoor time. If we're headed out for the day, they will also locate shoes, fill water bottles, and pack them with a picnic blanket. They'll help me pack a lunch and grab the swim bag if we will need it as well. Leaving the house with four is still crazy, but it's easier than when I had two. I have my own chores to accomplish each day, but I know that if I don't get to all of them this week, I will get go them the next week. Hopefully, that won't mean that the vacuum sits unused in the kitchen for a week! If we're out somewhere and one of the kids acts up, I don't take it personally anymore. I have learned that staying calm leads to peace being restored much more quickly, and responding with anger fuels the mayhem. I don't have to prove anything to anyone. I'm raising people, and it can be a messy process! If circumstances beyond our control threaten to ruin our plans, it's not the disaster it used to be, which was typically a screaming public tantrum, follwed by a hasty retreat to our very messy home and a vow to never go out in public again! Something had to change, and most of the change was my responsibility. My response to a change in plans signals to my kids that it can still be a great day. I'm thankful that we've had enough good days for them to know this is true!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

not grey at all

I've been ignoring this cultural phenomenon for months now, but now that I am using a kindle, I find that I have to see Fifty Shades of Grey every time I look at the Kindle ebook options on Amazon. In.the.first.three.slots. gross. If a man said on Facebook "whooo! I just got some pornography in!" we would not think twice about blocking him. If a man said "I am so excited about this pile of pornography that I got that I'm ignoring all my personal responsibilites to engage in a fantasy life that no woman could ever live up to!" I would find him unbearably creepy and probably even threatening. Here's the thing: erotica IS the female equivalent of pornography. Men respond to images, and women respond to fantasy and language. Fifty Shades of Grey is erotica, and it's fan fiction that was originally based on the Twilight characters, which were poorly written enough. Essentially, it's derivative porn for women. All this discussion of who might star in the movie? A movie about these books would be pornography, or it wouldn't cover the book. I'm concerned that enough women are already in controlling and abusive relationships wih men, and this series glorifies that. I have not read any more than the snippets I've seen in other reviews, and I found the writing juvenile and creepy, just like the status updates in which women are gushing over this foolishness. People complain about their marriages/relationships, but reading about abuse and debasement (and a stupid woman's codependent acceptance of this treatment) won't improve anyone's shot at a lifetime of love and respect. I think that announcing that you LOVE FSoG invites speculation/imagination about what your personal tastes might be, and I find that unwelcome.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


We had a great surprise last night-- a quick visit from my dad!  Papa Benjamin was in the house, and the kids got to have breakfast and play with him this morning. I had a head's-up a few days prior, but the kids had no idea.  He's en route to New York and Massachusetts on business and to pick up two of my younger sibs who were helping my brother Nate and his wife settle in there.

Today I did my yearly exercise in parental penance by taking the kids to the youth festival at one of the larger parks.  It is a hockey rink  (no ice) full of tables where people from local organizations can give away literature and trinkets, etc. There is live entertainment and a free unhealthy lunch, and it's a favorite event for my kids, so we do it every year as part of our back-to-school routine.

Dan has a dinner tonight, so we're just taking it easy, eating off-brand Nutella (aka, No-tella) on store brand (HFCS free) bread and whatever is in the freezer.  Summer is winding down, and we're ALL feeling it!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

104 Days

Okay, so it's been forever, and my recent posts haven't been a personal since they've been the drafts for the local parenting magazine blog.  I need to write down what's going on so that I remember it!

The kids are all doing fantastic!  Great summer, very busy, lots of fun with friends and family.  Mara and Aidan are squabbling more than I'd prefer, but otherwise things are pretty peaceful.  Dan is teaching a few courses this summer to help the financial margins be a tad wider.  Ian is growing so fast and is sporting a mouth full of big kid teeth.  Aidan is active and enthusiastic about life. Mara is into everything and underfoot all day, and her smile and creativity warm my heart daily.  Ella is a roly-poly 9 months!  She's about to get her first teeth any day and has begun to crawl.  She eats real food and sleeps at night.  Easy baby most of the time!

We have done lots of VBS this summer, lots of friend time, plenty of park playtime, some swimming, a few concerts, and one terrible library event.  The kids don't really care about story time, and my fines are a bit up there, I think thanks to Ian taking library books to school for book report approval and then never bringing them home.

We've traveled to Indiana twice, once to celebrate a cousin's first birthday and see all of my siblings, and once to see our Notre Dame friends before one dear family moved to California.  We were so blessed to go to the going-away luau and have fun with friends.  Following that, my parents took the older 3 kids for a few days so that Dr. O' and I could get a break.  It was heavenly!  We had a date with Ella at Later Gator and got locked out of our car.  AAA to the rescue!

The big kids returned, and a few days later we drove to Nags Head, NC for an Outer Banks vacation with Dan's brother and his family.  We had not had a vacation since our honeymoon nearly 14 years ago!  The combination of cousins and grown-ups was just perfect, and everyone had a fantastic time!  We ate great food, played on the beach, played in the pool, and got lots of relaxation in. Aidan took to the waves beautifully, and while they liked the water, Ian and Mara preferred the safety of the sand and shallows.  I think we'll be paying for a surf lesson for Aidan some day!

The plan is for me to begin taking education courses this fall to get expanded licensure in middle school and special education so that I can be ready to teach again when the girls go to school.  I need to do something for my brain, and this is free!  I want to be ready to do whatever job God has for me, and education seems like the way to go for now.  

The kids start back to school in 2.5 weeks!  Great summer, and looking forward to a great school year for all!