Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Pink Panther and Castanets: a seminar

School starts at 9:00 at our house.
But, really, when your home is your school--your kids wake up at school.
And to your great disappointment, they may NOT be as interested in your carefully planned out, well rounded curriculum, as they are in, say, playing the castanets and watching Pink Panther.

(Yes. I actually photoshopped that.
If only you knew how close this was to the reality of my life.)

I'm just saying, SOME kids might be like that.
And some moms *might* need a Frosty to get through the day. Maybe.

And while I was out getting a Frosty, it came to my attention today that we *may* need another little session in manners and, specifically, where it is appropriate to pee and where it is NOT appropriate to pee. I had this realization as Thing 2 was wailing about how badly he needed to pee, precisely three minutes after we got in the car and four minutes after I asked him if he needed to go before we left, and Thing 1 was listing off places he could go. None of which was an actual bathroom.

I swear I thought we covered this.
Maybe they couldn't hear over the castanets.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Turn and turn again...

Sometimes, nothing turns out like you plan.
Not my life, though. I'm a planner.

Many years ago, my friend Taylor looked me in the eye and said "What are you going to do the first time God tells you 'no'??"

I guess I just figured, maybe He never would.

But fall is coming. And despite an almost desperate striving, I find that nothing much has changed.
The house has not sold.
The job is the same.
I have no pregnancy news to scrawl on the back of our thanksgiving cards.

I am afraid to think how this trend might apply to homeschooling.

Sometimes, nothing turns out like you plan. Sometimes, God tells us No.

Worn from walking this far
So worn from talking this much
And what we found and what we've seen
As the road curves down
And the lights come up to meet us
Silent for the evening
We enter this town like new born creatures
Those I know, Oh see anew
And the space between us is reduced
For I am human
and you are human too.
(All Thieves, Turn and Turn Again.)
(And yes, Carly. Inspired by you.)

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Today was one of those days that you wonder about, before you start homeschooling:
"What about the days when I wake up sick? What about the days when the kids don't want to do their work? How will I motivate them? What about the days when I'm moody and ornery and I bite their heads off??"

I had considered all these questions. I hadn't ever expected them to, you know, happen all at the same time. Which they did.

I kind of knew I was in trouble when I clawed my way towards consciousness and felt those sharp knife edges already making their presence known. Deep breaths.

I sat down at the breakfast table, still messy, while the kids watched cartoons, and flipped open a church magazine. This jumped off the page at me:
The first principle of the gospel is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Faith may be viewed as faithfulness in the face of uncertainty. It is following the Lord, going forward without knowing the outcome. Following the Lord and being faithful to the end are the qualities most linked to eternal life. Of all that Paul might have otherwise said in summing up his amazing life and ministry, he merely would say that he was faithful. He wrote:
“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:6–7; emphasis added).

Like Paul, we can be faithful. We can fight the good fight and stay the course, one day at a time. We can keep going come what may. Even when we think we can’t, we can." (Lawrence E. Corbridge.)

So that was my mantra today. I think I can, I think I can.
And we made progress. Albeit tiny. We did hard things, even if we didn't do all of them. We got the house beautiful for a showing, even though they didn't end up liking the house much. So, for today at least, I have fought a good fight.
I have finished my course.
And now it is time for some Nyquil.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Yes, Puck. That crazy hoodlum.

Shakespeare was a master and creating characters and dialogue. As an English major, I adore his sharp wit and incredible satire. But, I will admit, I never considered what it would be like to introduce my children to Shakespeare.

I think I always assumed it would happen in some high school class. Orange plastic chairs attached to desks. Motivational poster on the bulletin board. English teacher with barely concealed hippie past having the class read Romeo and Juliet, out loud, just for the joy of watching them blush before flipping on the edited version of the film, made in the 1960s.

That's how I met Shakespeare.
It's a miracle I ever learned to appreciate him.

But my kids met Shakespeare today. Ages 7, 4, and 2. And even more fun--they met Shakespeare via A Midsummer Night's Dream and the character of Puck.

As we lounged on a blanket on the floor, playing with blocks, and interrupting our reading to discuss some questions about volcanoes, they met these characters and rolled their names about in their mouths. Like candy.

In life, I believe there is a before Shakespeare, and an after.
Welcome to the after. Day 1.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ah, pickle juice.

Our house has been on the market since March.
Which means two things:
1. My house has been clean for 5 months. I know. Yay me.
2. I'm not sure how much longer I can hold it together.

I mean, really.

I was wondering this even before lightning hit our backyard a week ago and fried the power to the whole front of our house. (It's always fun to leave THAT note taped to the door for a showing..."Sorry about the lack of lights in the bathroom, laundry room, and front bedroom. Trust us when we say it looks nice!")

And then the Munchkin dropped a full jar of pickle juice on the (new) carpet. Right in front of the front door. (Because she wanted to drink it and knew I wouldn't let her so she was, therefore, hiding from me. Of course.)

We're going to be here forever.

Monday, August 15, 2011

In other news...

...and, just to make you feel better about yourself and the future of our country, I'm about to start homeschooling my children.

I mean, we've been homeschooling all summer. And in those two and a half months we have learned about dolphins, dragonflies, and butterflies, among other things. We have completed workbooks, proving that we can, actually, accomplish something that can be measured in pages. We have read real, honest to goodness books, and my 4 year old is sounding out words. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I might be teaching him to read. Maybe. Probably.

But homeschooling in the summer (when everyone else is just wasting time anyway) and homeschooling in the fall (when everyone is dressed in super cute new outfits and toting sharp new pencils in their clean backpacks) are two very different matters. Because if I don't put my daughter in 2nd grade next week then, oh boy, have I gone and done it. Because suddenly, we've stepped off the forward-moving school train. Her classmates from the past two years will move on without us. And I'm left with my doubts and insecurities and worries and, not the least, budget.

Plus, I have a sneaking suspicion that on that first day of school, when everyone else has gotten on the bus, I'm going to look down at my kids and they're going to look up at me, and we're both going to have the same thought:
Now what????

See?? Don't you feel better about your life?! *grin*

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Obligatory blog post.

I was in Utah last week for my younger brother's wedding.
It was lovely. Both the wedding, and the trip.

For the record, it also happened to involve more motorcycles than I am comfortable with.

My younger brother berated me for not blogging more. Apparently he's more bored at work than I'd like to think about. So, just for him.

Tonight, my son was sitting at the table, writing in his journal. Suddenly, he looked at me and said "Mama, Caleb is my fake name."
"Oh, yes? And what is your real name?"
"Satellite?? Where did you get that name? From planet earth, or a different planet?"
"Planet earth. From China."

That's it. I am now supposed to call him Satellite, which is fine, but how am I supposed to do that without singing it, a la the Dave Matthews song???