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Fairly Odd Mother

Frantically waving my magic wand to make wishes come true.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Losing My Religion

Let me preface this post with the following: I do not believe in Hell or in the need to "please" God, so those are not options for me to pursue in my latest dilemma. I also don't think I really need any ideas, just looking for a place to put down my thoughts.

I used to like going to church. Looking at the gorgeous stained glass, smelling the burning candles, shaking the hands of my neighbors. I liked it back when I was a Catholic, and I still like it now that I'm not. One of my favorite things to do when traveling is visit old, really old, churches and walk past their hushed cement walls and think about the people who built them. Even though my feelings about God and organized religion have changed drastically over the years, I still find churches to be pretty amazing places.

When I started going to my new church, I was hooked pretty fast. The minister was dynamic and a real people person. Within a few months of attending, my kids and I felt like we were part of the congregation (I'll leave Fairly Odd Father out of this since his feelings about organized religion are even more skeptical than mine).

I started teaching and volunteering when asked. My girls sang in the choir and acted in the annual play. It all felt really, really good.

But, then they stopped wanting to go. They didn't want to sing anymore, didn't want to be in the play. When I'd finally convince them to come, they'd sort of hold back and not be interested in staying afterward for coffee hour. Even today, when asked if anyone would come to church with me, the answer from these children who can barely stand to be out of my sight is an emphatic "NO!".

I suspect some of their new-found reluctance comes from the fact that there are some very strong-knit friendships between most of the kids their age, and my kids are not part of that group. I've tried to break into the group by setting up play dates but have had little success. It doesn't take much for me to back down, though, so even one dismissive, "I'm sorry, we're too busy" comment will keep me away for months.

They, and I, may also be unknowingly reacting to the loss of the church's beloved (actually Beloved, with a capital "B"), Religious Education director who had to leave when budgets were cut. I underestimated how huge of a blow this would be to morale when she left.

Plus, our new minster isn't the old, super-extroverted one. She's super smart, well-spoken and seemed a perfect match when presented to the congregation a year ago. She may still be for many people. I honestly have not given her enough of a chance to know for sure. Let me just say that I don't adjust to change easily.

And, here it is 10:28am on a Sunday and it is pretty obvious, as I sit here in my PJ's, that I will not make 10:30 service. I will not look at the stained glass, smell the candles and shake the hands of my neighbors. Instead I will attempt to carve out a few moments to think about the place of religion in my life and whether or not it has a future with my family or I.

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Potty Party

I may regret writing about this since he'll probably be among those making the decision to pull the plug on me someday, but I love this story about D's rocky road to potty training.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Pieces of Eight

I haven't done a meme in a long while, so I think I'm due. Plus, the sweet Dorene from Occasional Rambling tagged me on one that seems kind of fun, so here it goes.

8 Things I Am Looking Forward To

  1. Fairly Odd Father finishing school---he'll be done in September.
  2. My 1st "big" BlogHer weekend in Chicago this summer.
  3. The new, improved, bigger, better New England Mamas! Coming soon!
  4. Strawberry-picking season.
  5. Finishing 2nd grade math with my 2nd grader (I can't even believe we've almost caught up).
  6. Going swimming in my favorite place.
  7. Summer corn and fresh basil.
  8. Meeting our Fresh Air child.

8 Things I Did Yesterday

  1. Made a couple of cups of my favorite coffee.
  2. Fed my old girl and brushed away more of her shedding coat.
  3. Left the house at 9am to bring donuts, gifts and birthday wishes to my sweet little niece. For those of you who have been reading this blog for a while, can you believe it's been two years since this?
  4. Came home and fed the kids lunch before leaving to get out of the way of the house cleaners.
  5. Went to a fellow homeschooling friend's home and watched kids play on water slide. Felt happy that we are able to take advantage of such beautiful weather.
  6. Came home and got oldest ready for dance. Back in car 20 minutes later for dance class.
  7. Finally home at 6:20pm to make dinner, give the kids baths and read stories.
  8. Tried to work and Twitter but was so exhausted, I could only crawl upstairs to bed.

8 Things I Wish I Could Do

  1. A cartwheel
  2. Speak a second language fluently
  3. Cook without looking at a recipe
  4. Play an instrument well
  5. Sing beautifully
  6. Stop stressing over everything
  7. Run a 10k
  8. Go back in time to bring my dad back so we could kick cancer's ass

8 Shows I Watch*

  1. Real Housewives of (insert city here)
  2. A&E's Intervention
  3. Top Chef
  4. Rock of Love (bus, plane, port-o-potty---whatever)
  5. TLC's What Not to Wear
  6. America's Next Top Model
  7. sort of half-ass watching Daisy of Love and The Bachelorette
  8. Super Nanny
* disclaimer: if I turn on the TV and one of these are on, that's what I'll watch--I don't plan my week out based on crappy reality TV shows.

I am supposed to tag eight people, so that means I tag YOU! C'mon, it's a holiday weekend! Memes are perfect for holiday weekends!

Have a lovely Memorial Day weekend. See you on the other side!


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Pomp and Circumstance

So this weekend, my handsome husband got dressed up in black. He walked the stage with hundreds of other graduates.


He posed for pictures with the kids.


And, this week he starts another four months of school before he gets his diploma.

The graduation ceremony comes early when your specific program doesn't end until September.

No matter, we're still proud of him and four months will be done soon enough.

We can't wait.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Do You See What I See?

It's been two-and-a-half months since I became a Shredhead, completed the 30 Day Shred in 40 days, and then joined up with Team Bob for continued motivation.

And, while many of my former Shredders have moved on to training for a 5K, I have soldiered on with the videos, trying as many different ones as I can about 4-5 times a week.

Results? You want results? Well, I'm not taking any half-naked shots right now, but I've got something to look at anyway. I started at 138, went up to 140 pounds and am now at my Holy Grail number: 130.

(ignore my unmanicured toes, please)

I even fit back into my size 4 skinny jeans, although they really are a second skin. That's good though, because if they ever got baggy. . . yeesh---that's a little too much weight loss for me. I start to look like a stick figure when size 4's don't fit.


The good news is that I haven't been dieting, I've just been more conscious of what I'm eating and why. When I find myself reaching for a snack because I'm stressed or the kids are eating or "just because", I check in with myself and ask if that's what I really want. Sometimes it is, so I eat, or sometimes I just need a drink or a break or bed. I also haven't been eating after 8pm (except for a few times) and keep a glass of water nearby at all times.

So, yeah for the Shred! Jillian (and Kristen who started this whole bloggy thing) is my hero(ine).

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Going To School

For the past few months, my son has been going to school.

It's for speech. We decided to have him evaluated by our public school system because it is, well, free. We pay taxes and therefore are eligible for school services even if we do not use the school system.

His evaluation was thorough and covered everything from his motor skills to how he follows direction. Fortunately, all of those areas were just fine, but he has several speech issues.

For one, he can't make any of his back-of-throat sounds like "g" or "c". And he leaves off the "s" at the start of words (or "tart of words"). And he talks super, duper fast, so all his words run together. Iblamehisfast-talkingsistersforthis.

So every week, I bring him and his sisters to a classroom where D plays games with the teacher while we sit and watch. Well, actually, Belly and I sit and watch but Jilly plays games too. She loves participating and thankfully the teacher doesn't seem to mind.

I waited a long time to get to this point. I truly believe that D would eventually outgrow his speech weaknesses and was willing to let him figure things out on his own. But, at 4 1/2, the frustration he was feeling over not being understood was obvious. So, we're doing what we think is the right thing to do.

We'll see if it works. I know he'll appreciate it.



Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dating My Kids

Just over a month ago, I lamented the lack of one-on-one time I have with the kids. So, how is "Date Night" with the kids going?

Well, it isn't always easy to schedule. The kids' choices of restaurants isn't always my first (or second) choice. And, I usually end up bringing home little cartons of leftover chicken-and-french fries that they gobble up the next morning.

But, it is so worth the effort.


I'd like to point out that Jilly saw this platter heavy with chocolate-lava cake on one side and giant scoop of vanilla ice cream on another and said, "Oooo, strawberry!" and grabbed the strawberry garnish from the center. 

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

It's Our Day

Happy Mother's Day to all you beautiful, hard-working mamas out there, including those whose children have grown and left the nest, and those who will be remembered quietly in our hearts.



Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Report This

I know I don't speak for all homeschooling parents, but for the past couple of years, when I hit May, things start to unravel just as I need to button everything up for the reports. Our schedule becomes incredibly complicated, the warmer afternoons are ideal for just running around outside, and I'm tired, oh so tired.

But, even though I want to just take a nap, in my head, I mentally go through all the items on my school district's required reports for Belly, my 2nd grader:

Did we do art this year? Well, yeah, I can easily recall paintings, and drawings, and toothpick-and-gum drop creations, beaded jewelry, clay people, tribal paper-bag masks. But art history? Well, no, not really. But boy, I'm glad I didn't waste time teaching her the whole "crazy Van Gogh chopped off his ear" story.

Now what about music? We have a piano! I review CD's of kids' music, and she has to listen to them too. She even used to sing in the church choir until that interest sort of waned (funny, right at the same time as my interest in church).

Science? Meh. . .we did ok.

Social Studies? I still don't even know what that is.

Foreign Language? Ummmmmmmmmmmm. . .I say "Je ne sais pas" and "Mon Dieu!" a lot around the house; does that count?

We've done awesome in the "Go Outside and Play" subject area (oh, wait, that's called "PE" in report-language). We've made real progress in Math (after a very rocky start). We kick ass in History, if I do say so myself. Reading & Grammar? Not bad, not bad. Oh, crap, Spelling. . .she's up to Lesson 9! Out of 30. Whoops.

Call me cocky, but I think it'll be ok. I know she's learned things this year, even if they don't all neatly fit into "subject areas".

And, really, I need to relish this reporting season. Next year, I'll have two kids to report.

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