Showing posts from February, 2012

The Simplicity Project - Refine the Schedule

Last year I finally got over my fear of Excel and learned to use spreadsheets. This is relevant because for the first time ever I used Excel to make up our new schedule. I even had 3 different sheets going on in 1 workbook, one for the basic schedule, one for the daily task list for each child, and myself, and one for the weekly subject plan. It was so easy to do it this way, I could just move things around at will until I liked where it fit. I just made a list of everything they needed to get done and then pasted it where it fit, which showed me what was actually possible and what needed to be dropped. For a few years I used the MOTH system , which was really daunting actually, at first. I like this simplified version for me. MOTH takes the schedule thing so seriously that I feel like I have to also to be doing it right. Never tell a perfectionist there's a right way to do something, or she won't get anything done unless she's sure she's doing it that way. It occur

To be Alive

It's almost 9am and I am struggling to give a squirmy toddler turned little boy a haircut as he sits in the bathtub. The cinnamon buns rise in the the pan in the kitchen and the husband newly returned from another business trip let's me know the the oven dinged it's readiness and I ask him to put the pan in for me. photo by Zie My sister gave birth to a baby girl 2 weeks ago. She's beautiful and perfect. On Saturday I went to the funeral of a 26 year old mother of 4 who died suddenly of a heart attack. One minute she was there, celebrating a milestone, and the next she was gone. I find myself seized with thankfulness for the chance to tuck my children into bed another night, run my hands over their hair, and kiss their flushed cheeks. photo by Zie A friend gave birth to a baby boy on Tuesday, 3 weeks early. He had a congenital defect that they knew about. His lungs and his kidneys would never work right. He died 4 hours later, having spent those hours c

Little trashes the dress + an adventure

We went out to the sticks for Lemon Week with Brenda and Bug. See Bug patiently smiling for the photo while my child deliberately makes that face and shovels food in? Yep, that's her in a nutshell. That was after they came to visit us and we took them on a very long walk . Brenda graciously said I could show you some of the fabulous pictures she took of our hike here, which is good, because she's a way better photographer than me. It was beautiful. Bam Bam rode the whole way. It was a long steep climb and Little was really running out of steam. This picture is when Bug went back to help encourage her. It was so sweet. And I really like this shot of all of us sitting at the top for a second before starting the long walk down. The Boy is using my sunglasses so he can try and see the bit of ocean visible in the distance in the glare of the setting sun. It was dark before we got down and the park ranger met us on the trail and personally walked us out. They co

The Rules of Inheritance - A book review

disclosure - I was compensated for this review by blogher but the opinions expressed are my own. From the first sentence I loved this book. At first glance it seems depressing, and I wasn't very hopeful. It is after all the memoir of a girls who's parents were both diagnosed with cancer when she was 14 and they passed away when we was still young. But Claire Bidwell Smith paints such a gripping picture with her prose that you can't help but be swept up in the things she is feelings, the events of her life, and the turns of her story. The book is organized into section, based on the 5 stages of grief. It is not chronological but flashes from snapshot to snapshot of Bidwell's experience, based on which stage of grief she is in. That it begins with denial and then moves through the other stages is brilliant, because the reader is able to go through the stages with her and we all start out in denial. As the book continues all the other emotions begin to spill out a

The Simplicity Project - Stop Multi-Tasking

It's the first day of Lent. Here's day one of my Lenten Meditation for Children . Parts of this experiment were just one big giant fail. I can't not multitask. I can't. I'm a mom and it's such a habit for me that I just couldn't remember that I was trying to focus on one thing at a time. It took at least 6 days for me to get through most of a day only focusing on what I was doing . It helps that I have 2 extra kids in my house now several days a week. They're older, and just need a supervised place to do school work while their mom is at work but they still need help with their work and supervision. Apparently 6 kids to supervise is the point at which I stop feeling bored with what I'm doing and like I'm idle . So I don't have that urge to go off and find something else to do. So mornings started to go pretty well. I don't even open up my laptop until after lunch. I teach school, check work, stay on top of chores, and to keep mys

Grace wins

She describes the scene to me over the phone and in my minds eye I can see it, the gleeful, almost boyish way he darts forward, envelope in hand, and the church foyer, where they both still attend, decades later, studiously avoiding actually talking or looking at each other. But I am not prepared for what she tells me was inside. Just 3 words fill the envelope, and my heart, to over flowing. "I FORGIVE YOU." She tells me she was working on a letter after reading this post , apologizing for some things, but she hadn't delivered it yet. Softened heart turned to softened heart and forgiveness preceded apology but the apologetic heart was ready to receive. The healing is far too late for so many things to be as I wished them and yet it is good. It is right, and grace wins in the end. I noticed that he was unusually silent when he picked me up from Bible camp my fourteenth year. But I was full with the silliness of camp stories and brand new songs that I sang to him

Dear Religious Right, you might be doing this wrong

Dear Santorum and Co. et. al, I know. It was supposed to be about religious freedom, about the right to conscientious objection and the laws of this country . It was supposed to be about preserving, or establishing, the right of employers who believe that certain issues of a woman's reproductive health might be in violation of their conscience to not have to pay for it. (Of course, as the Queen of Spain mentioned, @ carrien_laughs I believe war kills someone's child but they don't let me take my money away from that either — Erin Kotecki Vest (@QueenofSpain) February 17, 2012 ) You thought you were going to be arguing, in a nationally televised panel, that you should be allowed to object to something against your conscience. In this case, you believe the pill is something that kills babies, and you shouldn't have to pay for something like that. You don't want to pay for a woman's abortion because you believe it's murder. I get it. I actually agree

The Weird Sisters - blogher book club

If I weren't being compensated by blogher for my review of this book, all opinions are mine of course, I would have put it down at the end of chapter 7 and never picked it up again. It's not that it's a horrible book. I was excited to read it from the description. It's just that I have enough in real life of real people I actually care about making foolish and harmful decisions that hurt themselves and others. I just really didn't have the emotional energy to endure watching fictional characters I don't really care about do the same thing. But I kept reading, because I had to, hoping that at some point the plot would take a redemptive turn. I'm glad to say that it did, and that at the very end one of the characters said something that I heartily agree with. While I endorse the telling of a story of women growing up and finding their way and the bonds between sisters, and I enjoyed the last half of the book, somehow this story left me cold. I think it say

The Simplicity Project - Establish a regular bed time

When one is setting out to change old habits and establish a regular bedtime, at a reasonable hour it would be best to first inform one's spouse of one's intentions, rather than assume he read your blog post about it. Because if he doesn't know he is very likely to get in the way of all your efforts unawares. Night 1- I get ready for and in bed by midnight my target bed time for the week. Aaron is feeling chatty and starts a conversation when he gets into bed a few minutes later. However I can't talk to him because I am trying to get an awake toddler back to sleep and he's really restless. I eventually fall asleep. Night 2: Toddler doesn't wake up, but 5 year old does. My family doesn't want me to get regular sleep. I do make it to bed in the area of midnight. Have to tear myself away from something interesting the husband is doing to do it. Night 3: There is marital nudge nudge winking and a timely bed hour that is completely thwarted by first Bam B


A few weeks ago I told the story of some wonderful friends who came to the rescue in ways that were very needed at the time. What I didn't expect was that that would inspire some more of you to do completely spontaneous and generous things that are bringing me to tears every day. Like the  blogging turned irl friend who sent a $40 my way via paypal for a "teeny little Trader Joe's run" because she knows me so well. Or the reader who offered to help pay for me to get my tooth fixed. outdoor party lighting Or the friend at church who called his brother the dentist and arranged for him to do the work we needed for free. Or the guy Aaron works for who helped to pay off what was left on the credit card bill. And then there were the friends who came to a last minute birthday party and brought food, and the friend who planned it and decorated. He always makes my cake. Greek lemon with whipped ganache frosting this year. I'm out of wor

On not feeding boogeymen

So this guy named John Piper caused some brouhaha in certain circles I travel on the internet. You see, he was quoted as addressing a room full of male pastors and saying that "God has given Christianity a masculine feel". This of course offended a lot of Christian women , and men, who had some choice and rather creative things to say in response. Many of which I completely enjoyed reading . However, set aside the fact that Piper is wrong, and that to be this wrong he has to conveniently set aside whole swaths of scripture that personify God with distinctly feminine characteristics, such as a nursing mother , and ask a more important question. Why should anyone care what John Piper thinks? Sure, he's a man with influence and people are hurt when he uses his influence to denigrate and belittle an entire gender. But he's also a man who comfortably believes that God specifically created millions of people just to torture them for eternity in hell. He believes in do

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real - The LMLD meetup

Pretty The place Rosie blowing bubbles to keep the kids entertained. Everyone that came, really. Lovely women. Happy Little drawing in the dirt with a stick. Bam Bam doing whatever it is that he is doing here. Pippo finds a stick. Funny doesn't he look like he's making a break for it? My special birthday chair (Kung Fu Panda) Little's version. (I sat in this one at lunch time.) pretty decorations? (they did these themselves.) Real How much they fought with each other while doing that silly chair. It was awful. I had to make them stop and go to separate rooms more than once. (le sigh)


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