Tuesday, May 7, 2019

A Joyful Eastertide (feat. birds, early morning adventures, and some random thoughts on life and homeschooling)

It has been a glorious and full Easter season over here. My husband was on a work trip for most of Holy Week, so we packed in outings and visits with friends on top of all the Holy Week liturgies-it was exhausting, but also really fun. This year, we even made it to the Chrism Mass (where all of the oils that will be used by parishes in the coming year are blessed)-I hadn't attended one of those since high school! Perhaps I was crazy for taking a toddler and a baby to a two-hour evening Mass while my husband was out of town, but it was so beautiful! (the toddler did pretty well, but by the time that Communion came around-which took a long time, since it was standing-room-only packed-he had started "shooting webs" as he amused himself by pretending to be Spider-Man)
We have had some really gorgeous sunshiney, springtime days :) 
For the first few days of the Easter season, my husband took off of work so we could celebrate and relax as a family, which was awesome! We went to a pho restaurant, had a pizza night + the new Mary Poppins movie, visited our favorite sushi restaurant (and they put us right next to the kitchen, so our toddler could happily watch them work-the chef even held up an octopus for our toddler to see up close!), and played games. Now we've settled into the peaceful joy of the season, and while things have slowed down, we've still had some exciting adventures! Since I'm too lazy to create several separate blog posts (and my writing time has been redirected, which I'll talk about in a minute), I thought I'd make one big life update/rambles post for any of you who like that kind of thing.
First off, BIRDS. My toddler has recently been interested in birds, and one of the local Children's librarians is somewhat obsessed with birds, so she graciously offered to get a bunch of "bird books" for us to read. We've been trying to get outside most mornings to "check on the beans" (our little green bean plants which may or may not survive), play in the yard, or walk in the neighborhood, and we love observing and listening to all of the birds. I want to learn more about casual "birding" so we can start identifying birds by their appearance and song-I think it would be so cool!

Birds are also just plain fascinating to watch. We were at the park the other day, and saw a threesome: a goose, a medium-sized duck, and a smaller duck. They were doing everything together. They waddled down the path together. They all slipped into the water and swam together. Then, they got out and waddled off together. It was so random.
I mentioned on here that our toddler loves pretending to be a priest (though he often "corrects" me by saying "I AM a priest!"), and when my husband got back from his trip, he put together a little Mass kit! (Ann-Marie, thanks for the DIY idea!) All it took was a quick trip to the thrift store, paired with a couple things we already had. My mom and sister made some toddler-sized "vestments" for his Easter gift, and he could not be happier. 
I came out to the living room to see this setup the other day.
For those of you who are confused, the Settlers of Catan die is a thurible. 
The baby is now 8 months old, and finally (finally!!!) I can see teeth coming through on his top gums-he has been in teething-mode for FIVE WHOLE MONTHS so I am very excited to see some visible progress. He has started experimenting with solid foods (mostly cucumbers, carrots, and bananas) but isn't that interested in eating table food yet. When he hit 8 months, I told him that it's time for him to start sitting up by himself and getting more mobile, since holding him nearly constantly, while sweet, is exhausting.

Maybe I can blame it on the teething or growth spurts/developments, but this kid's sleep has been weird recently. Last week, he "woke up for the day" at 4:45ish one morning, 5:15 the next morning, and then at 3:40 a couple days after that! I've found that I've not just become a "coffee every day" kind of person, but that I've even drunk TWO cups of coffee on some days. However, this abnormal sleep schedule has worked nicely for watching the new PBS miniseries of Les Miserables, so there are benefits to being up at ridiculous hours.

I know I mentioned it in my recent literature post, but I am just so grateful I read this when I did. Remember my mini-crisis a few months back? Well, I took that whole situation to prayer and really focused on asking God to show me his will each day. And then I started writing out ideas for a nonfiction book. And in two months, I had written out 9,000 words, which felt good. But then I started seeing just how bad this draft was/is, and started feeling really discouraged because my momentum was starting to slow down. So, it was really helpful to read The Art of Slow Writing. I don't know if this book I'm working on will ever get published, but at the very least, I want to bring my thoughts together and write it, even for the sake of completing a full-length work. And I continually remind myself that it's okay if this takes a while.
Post-Mass snuggles! It seems like all the pictures I take 
anymore wind up blurry, because the kids are always moving and/or
trying to grab the camera, but that's life, right? 
All that to say, I love blogging, but I'm finding that I want to direct more and more of my writing time to this project. So I'll still be hopping in here with random posts-some more polished, others very stream-of-consciousness-but it won't be on a set schedule (aside from doing a monthly "what I've been reading" post). 

I have finally acknowledged that I am struggling with a little bit of FOMO in this area. 

My oldest child is a month away from turning 3. I am excited to homeschool him someday, but I firmly believe that for him, less structure would be a very good thing, especially early on. However, there is an AMAZING co-op that recently started up in the metro, and some of my friends are already in it, and some more have just signed on to join in the coming year. They have a class for 3s and 4s, so we could join, and because I don't want to miss out on this amazing co-op and regularly being with all of these amazing people, I really want to join. BUT. The more I've thought it through, and after e-mailing with a coordinator about it, I don't think it'd be a good fit for our family at this time (for one, the co-op is a full day--and that would be way too long for my toddler). My husband and I can always change course, but honestly the more I think about it, the more strongly I feel that we should not put our toddler in the co-op for the coming year. However, I'm still a little torn up about it. 

I don't want to rush into formal homeschooling things. I don't want to do too much, especially early on. Still, I feel like we're in this weird misfit-category right now. I want to homeschool, and I want to hang out with (and absorb the wisdom of) the many wonderful homeschooling moms in the area. I want my kids to hang out with the awesome kids who go to things like co-op and homeschool group events. But my kids are just a tad bit too young to join that stuff. So I just feel like we're in this weird limbo. Maybe I'm overthinking it; I'm probably overthinking it. And when my kids are older and we're doing all the homeschool things, I'll probably miss the days of not having co-op or homeschool group commitments. So I really just need to focus on living in and loving the gift of the present moment. 

All that said, my toddler does talk about school from time to time, as he sees and hears about other kids going to school-so I think that in the coming year school year, I'll start to add in some "school" events each week. Stuff like "nature day," where we'll go to the park or zoo. Or "art class," where we'll have a specific time set aside for artistic pursuits. When I asked my toddler what he wanted to do for his homeschooling, he said "paint," and "go to restaurants." So maybe these first couple years of homeschooling will just involve a lot of art and food ;) 

Well, it is getting late and this post is a novel, but if you are in the mood to read even more of my rambles, you can check out my latest article at CatholicMom.com: "The Gift of Community"
I hope you all have a beautiful week! 


  1. I think going to restaurants would be an awesome part of homeschool schedule--I remember that was so exciting as a kid (now I spend my life trying to make sure I always have food so that we don't have to go to a restaurant for the sake of the budget, haha!) You can learn about different cultures' cusisines, you can learn manners and interacting with strangers, handling money, calculating prices...great for all ages.

  2. Love seeing these kinds of just update sort of posts! Playing mass is too cute, oh my goodness. And how awesome you're working on a book project! I'm sure it's a great exercise, regardless of if it gets published. I've been reading an interesting book called Deep Work which talks about slower distracted work versus intense concentrated focus, and it's so interesting to learn about. That totally makes sense how you described being in limbo with homeschooling when the kids are still super young! It sounds like there are great opportunities when your family is ready, and that's awesome you are doing what's best for your family!