October 25, 2014

Learning Notes: Volume 3

Thanks Melanie  at The Wine-Dark Sea for initiating this sort of post. I’ll link up if you host a link-up this week. Wolfie is loving first grade, and I am loving the changes we are seeing in him. Zoe wants to do what her big brother is doing, so she spends a lot of time “home schooling” at the table too. This involves coloring, cutting, and working with some math manipulatives. We also point out alphabet names and sounds to her. We are reading the first grade Faith & Life series to her, as it is really simple language. Religion: Aside from just reading Crusades: Catholic Children’s Bible to Wolfie, he is now illustrating the stories we’ve been reading (for the 3rd or 4th time). It’s been a great way to make sure that he is paying attention to who is doing what with whom and where. It’s definitely my favorite topic, as we so easily touch on reading, history, listening comprehension, and art at the same time we hear my favorite stories. Math: Singapore math workbooks, plus manipulatives of my own design. Wolfie has been given pieces of paper with a number on the top (i.e. 8), and circles underneath. […]
October 21, 2014

A Typical Day

Recently, in the midst of moving, trying to continue working, trying to navigate private insurance for the first time, and starting the home school year, I felt wrung out like a rag at the end of each day. While this was going on, I was feeling bad about the many, muchas things that I was not getting each done, despite my best efforts. There was so much guilt in the evenings about how lazy and ineffective I must be. Then, thank God, it finally hit me: I was doing the best I could. Srsly. There was a point in the past where I might have procrastinated all day, then spent all afternoon feeling sorry for myself that I was so busy with the kids, dinner, and everything else I wanted done before Fierce got home. Those days are long gone, albeit, no thanks to me. With three kids, it just isn’t possible for me to relax much–at least not when the youngest is at that “old enough to destroy books, toilet paper rolls, and any non-durables” but too young to know any better. It’s easier for me to be on my feet doing work in the kitchen, where I can easily […]
October 15, 2014

Why Husbands Shouldn’t Help Their Wives

There are oodles of articles telling men to help their wives, and telling women to let their men know that more help=more sex. That sounds like good advice in one way: at least we’re not telling women to do it all with a smile so they can keep their men around, or telling men that it’s enough just to keep the couch warm. A lot of people aren’t even sure if men should have to do any housework at all. In another way, it’s terrible advice. Let’s look at the word help, whose definition is, “to lend one’s services” and “to aid.” (Thanks Google Define.) It really doesn’t mean, “to do one’s own job”, even though some people phrase the work they do that way.  People may say, “I help with sales,” or “I help find event venues,” but what they mean is, “I schedule sales meetings,” or “I find event venues.” Some of that comes from wanting to speak in a humble way; nobody likes a credit hog. But really, when we own an obligation, we are doing, rather than helping. So when it comes to household and childcare work, a man who “helps” his wife is not doing his job, […]
October 10, 2014

7 Quick Takes: I need to talk about my dad

1. I want to bury the lead and talk about how we’re all so busy and that makes it easier to not notice all that life getting lived up. 2. But that’s kind of a pot shot–because who doesn’t know that? Where are these people who think they aren’t busy? 3. When my dad was first receiving chemo, he stayed on the top floor of a skyscraper in downtown Chicago, with a lounge that overlooked Lake Michigan. It was beautiful. While my father, mother, and one of my sisters were sitting there with me and my then-two children, a husband and wife duo came into the lounge. They played violin and viola and were part of a music program for medical patients. 4. They started playing Panis Angelicus. The window behind them showed a spectacular summer day, with the lake shimmering like a sapphire pool and the sun beaming upon the thousands of people headed to baseball games and outdoor concerts. My sister was wearing her prom dress–bought far in advance so my dad could see it. My dad was wearing a blue paper gown, booties, gloves, a face mask and the tubes running from his wheely medicine tower wrapped themselves […]
September 11, 2014

Gillian’s List: All Responsible Like

It’s been raining for about a week straight, which means I am in perpetual nap/homemaker mode. Living without a dishwasher means that even my best efforts at homemaker mode mean that the kitchen may be clean, but I’ll rarely get into anything deeper. Given that I need to call and get the kids health insurance, which involves my two least favorite things (making business calls and health insurance), I need a list. Must do: clean kitchen continuously so as to win the Battle of the Fruit Flies. I’m not sure if they are the laziest or the smartest pests. call and add kids to health insurance scan and email sheets to property manager for the house back north pack for 2-day trip, plus entertainment for the kids for 3-hour drive tonight home school Want to do: workout make sourdough rolls deep clean both bathrooms fold laundry change sheets on master bed, crib freelance writing work   Yeah….that’s gonna happen.
September 8, 2014

Mom Work OR Office Work

I usted to think that my kids were annoying me when they wouldn’t let me focus on some paperwork/project for my freelance writing gig, etc. For a long time, I’ve just given up on getting stuff like that done when I’m the big cheese with no back up. Today, however, seemed like an ideal day to try to get them insured. You know, because we’re responsible like that….the deadline for my husband’s (awful) insurance at his new job is Wednesday, and we’re trying to see if we can do better than a $500/month kid premium (I’d be $400, hubby is $2.40) with obscene co-pays…like $2,000 + 30% for a hospital visit. Gee, thanks for letting me pay you close to $10k a year, so that I can have the privilege of shelling out about half of a typical hospital visit! So, today I let the kids watch TV, which has gotten to be a rare treat. I fed the baby all sorts of yummy things while I tried to upload proof of all sorts of things, which involved cobbling bits of technology together, as our scanner can’t send images to our laptop, thanks to poor reception that far back in […]
September 5, 2014

7 Quick Takes: Gettin’ Honest

1. I’ve decided I want to keep this blog as a record of life with my kids (when they’re older) as part of the target audience. It will also be a neat way of letting my husband see more of our day without me feeling interrogated. 2. We moved 3 hours south of where we were for my husband’s semi-spectacular new job. It’s been exactly one month and we’re pretty well adjusted. 3. I have developed a paranoid belief that someone is out to get us. Our car has been keyed twice in as many weeks. 4. We started home schooling last week, which has been awesome. I know it will get more time intensive as our oldest gets older, but for now, it is a good way to add some structure to an otherwise uber-laid-back household. 5. I’ve been delving into some new blogs, especially CatholicAllYear, and really enjoying the fresh voices. 6. We have an awesome parish here, awesome set of home schooling families/resources, more space, better floors, and a far crappier kitchen. 7. Said kitchen has me washing all dishes by hand and preparing all food on a counter that is 18″ wide. When I feel bad […]
May 28, 2014

Setting Aside My Audience

So Megan Tietz over at SortaCrunchy posted about how she is not cool, for myriad reasons (all of them bogus–she is cool). But it did get me thinking…people who have loved me for ages think I’m great. People who meet me nowadays tend to cotton to me. But it’s the snobs from my past that make me think I’m not enough. I dread running into a handful of people that judged me even before I gained 22 pounds after high school, knowing that having three kids is not a good reason for that–it’s another sign of my loserdom. Three Kids by 29!  “You have a lot more to do with your life,” to quote a well-meaning friend who sees motherhood differently than I do. It’s such a struggle for me to 1.) stop caring what jerks think, 2.) spend more time praying and asking God what he thinks I ought to be doing, and 3.) do my best and then say, “You did your best, so you can just forgive yourself for where you fell short.” I’ve honestly thought that Megan Tietz was very cool this whole time and I’m a little surprised to find that we are not in […]
May 19, 2014

Gillian’s List, Again

So today when my husband asked me how my day was for the third time, I said, “You want me to tell you again?” He replied, “Well, you just said it was fine.” I replied, “So ask a different question.” He laughed, “Okay, what did you do?” I tried to put some effort into answering him and ended up sounding like a scatterbrain. I gave him a list that included organizing and cleaning, cooking and gardening, some calls and emails, Pilates, and skimming through a book I need to return. That sort of answer doesn’t do much to illuminate the real successes of my day. I don’t know how much other people struggle with self-discipline, but that is my daily struggle. When I did a Pilates video, that was huge, as I like to keep busy with chores until I no longer have time to work out. (And then I get to blame my kids for “making” me fat!) Jennifer Fulweiler at Conversion Diary has mentioned before that when she finds herself constantly snatching minutes online, it’s a sign that she isn’t getting the down time that she actually needs in order to function well. (And…I just spent 10 minutes […]
May 19, 2014

Thanks, Simcha!

So, this was nice! Maybe I ought to work on a little post on how awesome The Sinner’s Guide to NFP is and how nice it is to no longer see sex as a burden? How we’re not always there, but we do sometimes get a nice long glimpse into what all the fuss is about among all those nice older Catholic couples who seem to be really enjoying having sex despite looking like this? Yes, that would be a good post. And that picture is not offensive at all.