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Monday, September 19, 2011

Daybook: Halfway Through September

Right now...Kids should be eating breakfast, but they are playing in the front room instead.

Later today...I have to mow the lawn before we start lessons. Don't worry, it is the size a postage stamp. It will just take a few minutes. Not quite sure what the whole of today looks like. Definitely ballet this afternoon and a trip to the library.

Later this week...The usual. Anna may attend a Board Breaking Seminar on Saturday. 

Living the Liturgy...Padre Pio's feast is on Friday. I have always credited him with sending Anna our way. I was blessed with a relic of his just before I became pregnant with her. When she was born, the midwife I discovered that the umbilical cord had an unusual (and rare, so rare in fact, that she asked me if she could show any medical/nursing students the placenta. Um sure, show-and-tell all you want) attachment to the placenta. I honestly cannot remember what it was. We had no idea during the pregnancy. If things had not gone just right during delivery, things could have gotten a little dangerous. I'm sure Padre Pio kept me and Anna safe.

From the schoolroom...Ordered a couple more books as I feel out where all the kids want to be this year. I am extremely pleased with what Anna is doing this year. It is working out beautifully. I hope the friend who inspired me to let her do this reads this ;)

I am praying...this week it seems I've become aware of many people suffering with very serious illness, people suffering with pain. I'm offering up all my little and very minor discomforts this week for them.

I am grateful...for Carmen's soccer coach. Since my blogging has been so light over the past year, I never really shared much about her difficult seasons last year. One season was a coach that had never coached and whose knowledge of soccer was extremely limited (she knew that you had to kick the ball). The next season was a bad coach. I hate to say it, but there is no other way to put it. He constantly reminded Carmen how small she was, she didn't kick hard enough, and so on. She is not one to quit. She played as hard as ever and at least she really learned how to play defense extremely well. They only won one game. It was tough. We wondered what we would do come fall, considered changing leagues. In the end we decided that as long as we could assure she would never have that coach again, we'd stick where we were. I offered some fervent prayers to a sweet little saint in heaven. Oh my! The blessings that have come our way. An amazing coach, who plays and loves the game. Good friends for teammates. Other experienced players. A coach who sees what Carmen can do and smiles. Who trusts Carmen and only wants to help her play better and better.
They won on Saturday. Better than the win was Carmen's joy. Joy in a well played game. Trusting her teammates. Relying on her coach.

I am reading...
The Story of Charlotte's Web: E. B. White's Eccentric Life in Nature and the Birth of an American Classic
Little Way of Homeschooling
Three Cups of Tea
In the Garden of Beasts

I'm pondering....Where and how the sewing machine will fit in the schoolroom and plans. I think we definitely need a book to work through. I have a tiny fabric stash to start. Very tiny.

Around the house...I mentioned in passing to big people in my house that the first floor was a "disaster" last night. It is very nicely tidied this morning. Lovely :)

In the kitchen...Apple stuff. Hope to pick soon. Happily, Wegman's has some varieties for         $ .89/lb.

On the knitting needles...started a Milo for Aggie in fall colors. Saw a cool new yarn and adorable pattern at knitpicks that may become some gifts for Aggie and Kay.

I am creating...A good plan for Sam. 

Picture Thought...Graduating to Red Belt.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Daybook: Back to School

Right now...Kids are finishing up breakfast, though some who shall remain nameless have not emerged from their caves. Late start this morning.

Later today...The start of ballet for Kay and Aggie. Aggie is so so excited. I can hardly wait myself.

Later this week...Here we go! Everything is a go this week. And I am feeling so blessed with our schedule. It is busy, every afternoon. And yet, we are home, every morning and early afternoon. Glorious, peaceful time where learning is happening. More on that in a minute.

Living the Liturgy...A favorite, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. I have a simple lesson and beautiful icons.

From the schoolroom...Despite the state of the physical room, learning is happening. Not perfect, but joyful and peaceful. Truth is, there are a few things I'm still "planning" for some kids. Good thing is I have plenty of books to be read in this house. And math. But there are many thing working incredibly well. Aggie loves "school". Really I just think she loves being with me and Mara. Let me tell you, her enthusiasm and joy is infectious. Nothing like almost-five-year-old to inspire. And she does. Every day. Even when she's covered in hives like she was last week. (Probably allergic to cantaloupe.)
That is all very vague. If I have time maybe I'll pull together a post with more specifics.

I am praying...For all the sorrows of September.

My sister-in-law as she defends her dissertation.

Students all around the world. 

I am grateful...God's grace that knows best how to plan my days.

Inspiration in the schoolroom.

I am reading...Never Let Me Go
The Story of Charlotte's Web: E. B. White's Eccentric Life in Nature and the Birth of an American Classic
Little Way of Homeschooling

I think there's more, but school needs to start soon.

I'm pondering....The chapter on competition in Ten Habits

Around the house...Since the mega laundry work before our beach trip, we are staying pretty well caught up. I can't tell you what a comfort that is. My schoolroom is a disaster. This must get rectified this week since co-op is at my house and there will be 12 other children needing to use the table currently covered in stuff. And, oh yeah, the last bench from the van is still in the living room from when we took it out for the beach trip.I am amazed by how little this bothers me at this point.

In the kitchen...Meals that work with busy afternoons. The crockpot is my friend. And a teen that can cook.

On the knitting needles...Nothing. I finished a Milo vest for Johnny. It is darling. I really like the pattern. Aggie wants one so perhaps I'll get started on that. I'm feeling like I need some inspiration. Maybe a new yarn just for a special project...Lilly wants a sweater, Maddy a shawl...hmmm.

I am creating...Art. Really. I am doing art with co-op and this means doing it with them. It is hard to let myself go, to draw, sketch and experiment. Also, this time, we really will make the Alphabet Path saints. I mean it.

And sewing...Sigh. I have a sewing machine. I know how to use it. I have even made a few garments here and there. Every year around Halloween I am furiously sewing something. And then there is Carmen. Who wants to sew. Begs to sew. For over a year. She is so upset with me and is becoming cynical. I have to sew with her this year. Especially since it is clear God has given me the schedule to do it. The sewing machine will come live in the schoolroom. I can do this.

Picture Thought...I was looking for a recent picture of Mara, but found this one of Maddy and Lilly.
Made my heart melt. Where did the time go?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

On the Eve

I'm not sure that I have ever written much on the 9/11 Anniversaries. I can never seem to find the right words. Even now, I struggle. I write a sentence, then delete the whole thing.

But I want to try. I want to try because of Anna. My daughter Anna will turn ten years old in December. As this anniversary has approached I have found myself thinking about her a great deal. Perhaps it is because my most vivid memories associated with that day was how aware I was of her rolling and kicking in my belly. And the sad feeling that this baby was to be born into a completely different world than the one that existed just one day earlier. She would come into a world at war.

I have little true personal connection with the immense tragedy so many families suffered that day. Peace was my casualty. I remember calling my parents, being on the phone with my father as the reports of the plane hitting the Pentagon started to come through. The Pentagon? Really? How was that possible? Having grown up in Northern Virginia, I was used to the stream of military families constantly moving through the area. I'm certain I had friends growing up whose father's worked at the Pentagon. It was surreal. I remember thinking that my youngest sister had just recently flown out to California and flown out of Dulles. The thought made me ill.

Completely unrelated to 9/11, my parents happen to be in New York City this weekend. Its scary. My brother lives there. Its scary. We go on, we live our lives. We try harder to love. We carry the shared grief for so much life lost, for our peace shattered. We try try harder to live each day intentionally. We go on. That baby I worried about earned a new belt in Tae Kwon Do today. We go on. We remember. We pray.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Suds and Soccer

I started this post earlier and it quickly become rambly and incoherent.

You see, I was caught up in the thrill of the US Women's Soccer team win over France.They go on to the final for the Women's World Cup on Sunday. As I wrote, I realized that the post had warped into one about the game they played on Sunday against Brazil. If you love soccer, you know about That Game. (If you don't, goggle it.) Carmen is our soccer player. She loves soccer. Loves. The truth is, as thrilling as Sunday's and today's games were on their own, experienced through eyes of my daughter makes them even more amazing. And I guess this post is just about soccer in general too, isn't it?

It is such a beautiful sport. A game played on big fields, yet centimeters can mean the difference between a win and a loss as a ball just slips past the fingertips of the keeper. A game of stamina where players don't stop moving, don't take timeouts and have to be ready for the long haul knowing that the right shot, even in the final seconds can spell victory or defeat. A game where the best athletes bring their hearts onto the field and are ready to play until they burst.

The US Women play with so much heart. So does Carmen. She gives every bit of herself to the game. And yet through it all, she is joyful. Just because she gets to play.

And why suds? Carmen, my tough as nails soccer player has long begged to take a "classic bath" (that is her expression, she is full of quirky phrases). She means a fill the tub with warm water (and maybe bubbles) and soak bath. Maybe even read. In our busy busy home, where hot water can come at a premium, and the goal is just get 'em washed and in bed, a "classic bath" seems a luxury. She begged, even asked for her birthday (its coming up). And so, this weekend, Dave bought a stopper for the drain and last night Carmen soaked in a silky lavender and chamomile bubble bath.

And why do these things all go together? I guess, in the end, this post is really just about Carmen.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Go Laugh

I know, I know. What a totally random thing to pop back in and blog.
But it is so funny.

(I'm doing this from my iPod, so forgive the lack of eloquence or elegance. By the way, I find it totally hysterical how the iPod autocorrects my spelling if iPod. Darn you if you don't capitalize the p.)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Worth Doing Right


No picture.

I am starting over.

I got through to the end of the decreases and I somehow ended up with way to many rows. I somehow must have increased too many stitches on row 11. I was happy to live with, but after "reading" my knitting thus far, I also realized my stitch count was off, leaving me with differing numbers of stitches on either side of the diagonals. That might have been okay too.


I was frustrated. It wasn't right. I know part of knitting is accepting those imperfections, but right now, for this project, it is not okay. I don't want perfection, but I do want a finished project that reflects careful attention and beauty.

Plus, I hated the yarn. Oh my. Am I yarn snob? Maybe. All I know is, the blanket I am still working on for Mara is with an absolutely beautiful yarn, a merino wool blend that feels luxurious between my fingers and moves wonderfully on my needles. I love holding this yarn. The blanket is stitched on small needles, a tiny little seed stitch that I never tire of. Knit, purl, knit , purl...

There is something to be said for seeking the best materials to work with. The acrylic yarn felt fake, plastic. And I've realized that with these materials, I put less attention and care into what I was doing.

I could write extensively on what this has taught me about real life. About prayer.

When I start my day, hurried and flustered, without the effort of prayer, I am less attentive to my children, my husband, my duties. I know I have the perfect pattern to follow, the Divine Office, the prayer of the Church that marks the hours, that keeps me from dropping stitches (so to speak). It ensures I don't add anything that shouldn't be there either. For me, that means whining or asking for things the good Lord know I do not need. Follow the pattern and the product, an authentic life of prayer and God's grace, will come together. God's mercy covers the imperfections, the dropped stitches, the odd seams. 

When creating something beautiful, meant for someone we love, it is worth doing right, with the best we can offer. As I work to create a home, a life for the people I love, it is worth doing right, all the time. With God as my helper, I'm learning, even while I knit.

(I hope to catch up quickly. I have plenty of time to knit at the pool with th baby in the sling and Johnny and Aggie happily playing in the baby pool. First I need to order some yarn. Some really nice yarn.)