Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Have I Arrived?

The dynamics in this household have shifted. With my oldest son now larger and stronger than I am, it suddenly feels as though there are three adults and five children in the house. Those are much better stats to work with than two to six. I feel the difference. Yesterday, we headed out to the museum and my oldest son navigated directions from the passengers seat. At the museum he took full responsibility of the youngest child, carrying him about on his strong shoulders, freeing me up to walk around and actually look at things. I know, can you believe it?

And today at that big box mart with the red circle for its logo, the boys unloaded the cart for the cashier and then put all the bags back into the cart without being asked. The clerk looked at me and said, "You have...(your hands full? No...) a lot of help." I do, I do have a lot of help.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Feast of Corpus Christi

Jesus, my Lord, my God, my all!
How can I love Thee as I ought?
And how revere this wondrous gift,
So far surpassing hope or thought?

Sweet Sacrament, we Thee adore!
Oh, make us love Thee more and more.
Oh, make us love Thee more and more.

Thy Body, Soul and Godhead, all!
O mystery of love divine!
I cannot compass all I have,
For all Thou hast and art is mine!

This is a beautiful classic Catholic hymn, used by the universal Church for countless decades.

He that eat my flesh and drink my blood has everlasting life: and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. He that eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me and I in him. (John 6:55)

Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam. Amen.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Teen Years

We're in a new stage of parenting. The teen years have just begun here and we hope to enjoy these years with our kids. There is a cultural attitude toward teens in this country that tells us the teen years are a misery for both parents and kids. We've seen enough examples of successful parents of teens to know that it doesn't have to be this way. It takes planning, sacrifice, effort, love and grace, but the teen years can be some of the most enjoyable years with our children.

I am thankful for the example we've had both within our family and among our friends of parents who not only navigated these years without injury, but with great success. These teens we know and have known are a pride to their families and hope for our future.

I'm trying to prepare myself now for these years. In addition to upping the prayer, I'm learning all I can and these two books have been invaluable. How to Feed a Teenage Boy by Georgia Orcutt offers strategies for dealing with the amazing hunger of a growing teen boy. The sheer amount of food teens need and the demands on Mom for proving it can become a point of contention in the teen years. This book does a great job of helping parents to understand and respect their son's hunger and offers many practical ideas for meeting his needs and helping him to meet his own needs. Tips on shopping, pantry organization, nutrition and food choices, recipes, as well as how to teach a boy to cook for himself are some of the things I've taken away from this book. I will keep with my cookbooks in the kitchen and expect I will be pulling out frequently for reference and recipes over the years.

I love Dr Guarendi. His common sense approach is refreshing and his ministry has encouraged us to stand strong as parents over the years. So, when he came to speak at our parish, Jeremy and I went to listen to him and meet him afterward. I purchased "Good Discipline, Great Teens" that night and so my copy is autographed, which is nice. The most important thing, though, is the content of this book. As we enter the teen years, it is good to remember the principles of good discipline renew our commitment to parenting, and understand and anticipate new challenges ahead. This book does a great job of helping parents do all those things.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fathers For Good

My sister has a lovely tribute to our Dad up at Fathers For Good. Her experience of our father is exactly mine. Happy Father's Day Dad, we love you!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hauled Aboard the Ark

Deeply insightful, in Hauled Aboard the Ark, Peter Kreeft offers a humble and grateful account of his faith journey. A real pleasure to read.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Simple Prayer

I can sometimes feel spiritually overwhelmed. There are many reasons for it and it presents itself in different ways but the effect on me is generally the same: God seems so far away.

It is at these times that I remember the prayer of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. In the documentary of her life, she teaches a young woman how to pray. She holds up three fingers and on the first she says "Jesus in my heart," on the second she says "I believe in your tender love for me" and on the third she tells Jesus, "I love you." Lather, rinse, repeat as necessary.

It is the simplest thing in the world, but it does a world of good.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Toe by Toe

I want to mention this little handbook because it has been a big benefit to our homeschool. It is an easy to use, twenty minutes per day, systematic and explicit manual for strengthening reading skills. There is no prep work for the parent and the kids don't mind these simple exercises. My kids have thanked me for doing this with them because, they say, "It makes my schoolwork so much easier." The kids have noticed their improved reading skills and I certainly see the difference it has made. All students can benefit as it will improve reading even if the student is a good enough reader to begin with. I highly recommend this book!

NB: It is not really "Multisensory" as it claims. For me, this is actually a benefit. There are just too many reading skills to learn all of them in clay. What the manual does is ask you to gather all the skills your student didn't master in the allocated time and suggest you use multisensory methods to teach just those. Now that's practical.

Here's their website.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

It's Official

I'm the mother of a teen! Our kind, confident, and cheerful Simeon turns 13 today.
Happy Birthday, Simeon, we love you!

Friday, June 03, 2011

Game Ball

This is Jacob's first season of baseball. The first night of try outs, he was hit by a ball from a pitching machine. It crushed his fingers against the bat and really hurt him. He all but wouldn't go back for his first practice and was afraid of the machine. His patient and dedicated coach got him started on the T at practices, then moved him to the batting cages. We met his coach and his coach's sons more than once between practices to get extra practice. Soon Jacob was slamming every single pitch at practice, but seemed to strike out at every game. Last game was his first hit, a double! Then a single later in that game and tonight he again hit both times he was up at bat, another single and double, so he was given the treasured game ball by his coach. It has been a joy watching Jacob overcome his fears, learn how to be a team player, and fall in love with a game!