Saturday, February 27, 2010


After all this time, is it still necessary to keep the trash can up on a stool and the bottom filled with many pounds of dead weight?

Answer:Here is the scene on the FIRST day after removing the ballast. Even after a year (plus) with no success, Dusty must have been checking that trash can every single time he was alone in the house!

Friday, February 26, 2010

At Last

Lent, Day 10: The Jesus Tree is finally ready! The plan is to cover two stories/ornaments each day until we catch up.

Daniel, who is on midwinter break (crazy, I know--my high school boys are going to end up with just 6 1/2 days of school this February!), helped us cut and glue some more ornaments today. This will be our Friday school craft until all 47 are done.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Small Successes: the Lenten Edition


"It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that."

Marianna and Joe have made several ornaments for the Jesus tree, and I've glued the branches on the banner. All that's left is to sew a pocket for the hanging rod and start using this great resource! Meanwhile, there have been some early Lenten accomplishments:
  1. As a family we've committed to Adoration and Confession--one or the other each week. It was so hard to sych the schedules of our parish with our seven lives! Anyway, last night we made it to our first Reconciliation of Lent.
  2. I've prayed and read In Conversation With God nearly every day. There's always something that strikes me, and yesterday's topic was . . . Confession!
  3. Inspired by a friend, this Lent I'm targeting the 5 senses for my sacrifices: smell & taste = no dessert, touch = turn off the shower immediately after rinsing, sight and sound = look and listen when communicating with my children (take eyes from screen, book, or chore). None of these is easy for weak me, but I've been mostly faithful so far.
What's going right for you this week? Be inspired by other moms at Faith and Family Live.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Lenten Attitude

From the Ash Wednesday liturgy:

"Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the Lord, your God. For gracious and merciful is he, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment."

Joel 2:12-13

The phrase, "Rend your hearts, not your garments," has always struck me with its succint poetry. Sacrifice and mortification are worthwhile, but not for their own sake. My Lenten observances should not be cultural or on the level of New Year's self-improvement.

God wants me to fast for love of Him and sorrow for my sins. That's my challenge this year--to not just keep my commitments, but to keep the reasons in mind.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Small Successes


"It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that."

It's been an interesting week, trying to "do school" when no one else seems to be. Joe stayed on track especially well, at times dragging the rest of us along. Most days folks went out to play in the bountiful snow. I feel like my wheels have been spinning, but have a few accomplishments to report:
  1. Today I ordered the entrees for Saturday's dinner meeting. Some friends will pick them up while Len and I host and run a shuttle from parking spaces at the elementary school.
  2. Yesterday I baked and froze a pound cake, one of the three desserts I'm planning. Simple dinner, lots of dessert. Isn't that how it goes?
  3. I've made it to bed before 10:30 more often than not this week. Amazingly, it's been easier to get out of my cozy bed in the morning. ;-)
Enjoy the successes of other moms here.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Few More Snow Pictures

Another perspective of the mountain and the mailbox.Len shoveled a path for the mail carrier. Who knows when deliveries will resume? Here's a group of satisfied customers. There's another opening facing you and one on the opposite side; I've seen up to five birds eating at a time. Did you notice one waiting on the tree?

Let it Snow!

Our snowstorm did arrive Friday and lasted through most of Saturday, depositing many inches:Dusty and I needed a walk Saturday morning. The roads were still deeply covered, so we floundered through knee-deep snow to the trail behind our house, which had been plowed late enough that the snow was "only" shin deep. Trees were bent over , touching the ground and covering the trail--we pushed through the branches. It was a workout, and so beautiful. Later in the day several big trees fell near our house. Apparently my morning walk was riskier than I knew!

I'd guess we've got twice as much snow as came down in December, but our street was plowed better and more quickly this time. There's a lot to pile up, though. Our mailbox is behind this mountain:
Here's a side view. Can you see the post behind and to the right of Rebecca?Len and the boys shoveled the driveway numerous times as the snow continued falling. It was also necessary to dig out through some of the plow's leftovers. See how far past the driveway it's piled up?We have a great birdfeeder. It's weight-sensitive; when a squirrel tries to eat, all the window covers are pulled down. On Saturday morning there was so much snow on top of the feeder that it closed. I noticed the birds fluttering around in frustration. I had just removed all my outergear, but was able to reach with a broom to make it usable again.Lots of happy customers!Public and private schools are cancelled again tomorrow (Monday). The streets and parking lots are in good shape, but I think some people are still trying to dig out. I saw some schoolbuses plowed into place, too.
I still need to organize some homeschooling, though. Our tradition is to do some work early (before friends are awake and calling), then go play. I considered bagging it on Friday, but thought, "What would Lauren say?" and kept working. My older children sometimes accuse me of going soft--no need to give them ammunition! :-)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Not So Efficient After All

So I decided to run some errands this morning before we get snowed in. I did some school, set the students to some "on their own" work, and headed out.

It took me two trips just to pack the car:
  • plate of toast (late breakfast)
  • cup of milk (as above)
  • bag of bags (environmentally conscious, don't ya know)
  • bag of library books (some due tomorrow, gotta get them there)
  • calendar/planner/lists
  • socks to return
  • new cd story
Notice the missing item? I didn't until I arrived at store #1: my purse! Ugh! Back home and back out . . .

After that unsettling start, my outing was reasonably successful. The best news is that I am now in possession of 5/7 of my Valentine gifts. And I went to the farther away stores, saving the right-around-the-corner ones for next week.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Small Successes: the Snowy Edition


"It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that."

  1. Len and I are hosting a dinner meeting for 24 next week, and last night finalized the menu, including choosing the entrees we will buy from a local restaurant. Of course there's still plenty of work to do, but having a PLAN takes such a load off my psyche!
  2. Virginia is expecting another snowstorm tomorrow (current projections: up to 2 feet). I got to the grocery store early this morning (no mascara, no shower), before all the school kids were on their buses, and was able to make it through my regular weekly list before the store started filling up. Business was noticeably picking up before I left. Len works every other Saturday, but the payoff is having him home on some weekdays.
  3. More "happy moment" than success: In the wintertime my morning walk is usually on the sidewalk in the dark. Wednesday I had the opportunity to walk through the newly snowy woods . . . in daylight . . . with a camera. Refreshing!
What's going right at your house? See how other moms are doing over at Faith and Family Live.

It was a foggy morning.Standing under the lacework:The gargantuan snowman was built later in the morning, after we had done some schoolwork. He was immediately destroyed--with one of David's swords!When the snow began late Tuesday, Marianna and a friend built this gal in the front yard. She made a boy the next day, then demolished them both with the sword.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Thank You, Dusty

Okay, I'm not in my 50s (YET!), but this story from NPR is encouraging:
A new study of 13,535 women finds that women who regularly walked for exercise in their 50s were much healthier in their 70s and beyond.

"This is the big picture," says epidemiologist Francine Grodstein of the Brigham and Women's Hospital. "This wasn't just looking at who had a heart attack." The researchers looked to see whether women had developed chronic conditions, including diabetes, kidney disease, Parkinson's disease and pulmonary disease. They also looked at cognitive function.

What they found might be surprising, given the level of exercise involved. The brisk walkers — who moved at a clip of about 3 mph — were 90 percent more likely to be free of all these conditions when compared with women who weren't in the habit of walking beyond a leisurely pace.

90%--I like those odds!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Feast of the Presentation

Today we remember baby Jesus' presentation in the temple, when Simeon the prophet recognized him as the Messiah.

Michael Card's touching song, "Now That I've Held Him in My Arms" is a must-listen for me on this day. I found a version on YouTube, but can't post it here because embedding is disabled. Follow this link to the video--you'll be glad you did!