Lasts and Firsts, Old and New – A Little Nostalgia

I’m feeling sentimental tonight.

In the past few days my husband and I pretty much finished cleaning out our old house, in preparation for closing next week. We will be pre-signing the papers tomorrow.

I’m thrilled that our old house is almost sold.

I’m also a teeny, weeny bit sad.

Sunday and Monday I took the girls to the house to play outside while I got some work done, and watching them spend their last moments playing on their old play set and in our old yard nearly made me cry. Nearly.


^^ A last picnic lunch on Sunday ^^


^^ Monday they played in our old yard for the last time. Ever. ^^

It’s funny that I don’t really feel like I’m going to miss the house, but I have so many memories of my girls in that yard, and my husband with my girls in that yard, and our family with our friends in that yard, and I’m all nostalgic about it.





This is somewhat nonsensical, because I obviously have tons of memories with them in the house too, but that’s how it is.

Fortunately, we are always making new memories, and we have a pretty great place for some wonderful ones.



We are so blessed and have so much to look forward to in this new home, and I’m certainly not going to spend my time pining for an old house that I’ve been quite happy to leave.

Except for a few minutes tonight. Tonight I guess I’ll remember and miss that old place just a little bit.

Tomorrow we’ll go back to making memories here.


Country Living

I’ve mentioned before that I was raised a definite city girl. My Dad is kinda country, and so I grew up knowing a little about camping and fishing, and had a dead animal hung in my garage for a few days each fall (which I think gives me some major country cred, if there is such a thing). But overall, growing up in a suburb of Detroit left me pretty citified.

My husband, on the other hand, is a born and bred country boy. I think he has been longing to live in the country forever, and now that we’re out here, he’s like a pig in slop. Me? Let’s just say, it’s growing on me.

Country living is pretty different. We have satellite internet out here and no more TV (which has actually worked out just fine). My husband went out back a few weeks ago and chopped up an old tree so we would have some fire wood. Now we have mornings like this:


We’ve even been doing our morning homeschool reading in front of the fire.

It’s so quiet and peaceful here. And dark. Man at night it gets dark here!!

This is my view out my bedroom window every morning (though usually not so gloomy):


The girls and I have watched eight turkeys walking across in front of those trees back there, and I’ve seen a coyote heading into those same trees.

Today a stray dog wandered into our yard and just hung out on my back patio for the better part of four hours while I tried to track down someone to come and get him (and while my own dogs howled from their kennel, because I wouldn’t let them out while the stray was here).


Country government moves a bit slowly, for sure. I had to call the town chairman at his house and he wasn’t home. His wife said she’d have him call me, and when he finally did he gave me the home phone number of the town dog catcher. I was surprised, and pleased, that the “dog catcher” was a little old lady who has her own set up for taking in lost and/or stray dogs.


It’s kind of nice having no visible neighbors, but a bit isolating too. I mentioned in an earlier post that we really aren’t that much farther away from most of the places we frequent, but somehow I feel like I’m so much farther from everything and everyone.

I suppose I’m just getting used to this new normal.

It really is so amazing here. I feel like I need to start canning and chasing chickens around or something. I guess that will come soon enough once we plant our garden and get chickens in the spring. Before you know it I’ll end up just like Ma Ingalls.

Country living indeed.


Is the “Competitive Mom” a Thing?

We’re having some landscape work done at our new house, and the guys doing the work like to listen to a local radio station while they’re here doing their thing. The other day I was outside wiping my dogs’ muddy feet (for the 1437th time), and I happened to hear the DJs on the radio station commenting about what makes a “competitive mom.” The DJs were two men and a woman, and they seemed to be reading a list of things they had found somewhere about what supposedly makes someone a competitive mom.

I was a bit surprised to hear these radio personalities discussing this topic, and as I was listening to their conversation, I was thinking to myself what a ridiculous thing it was for them to be talking about. I’ve heard of the concept of a “competitive mom,” I suppose. More often I’ve heard disparaging remarks about “Pinterest moms” and “overachieving moms.” Whoever compiled the list these DJs were reading on air seemed to have combined all of these mom stereotypes into one to create this inventory of seemingly offensive things a mom can do to qualify her as “competitive.” Here are a few that I remember (paraphrased):

  1. Spend weeks making costumes for your kid’s school play
  2. Bake over-the-top baked goods for your child’s school bake sale
  3. Make sure your child always has the latest and greatest gadgets
  4. Arrive a half and hour early to save front row seats for your child’s performance in something


There were a few more they mentioned, but these are the ones that stuck in my memory. For each one, the male DJs would read the offense, and the female DJ would scoff at it, as if it was a completely ridiculous thing, and basically say, “No way, I would never do that.” As if actually baking items for a bake sale instead of buying them from a bakery was a terrible thing for a mom to do.

I attempted to look up the list, and found what seems to be the same one (interestingly on a different radio station’s website). Here are a few more of the “offenses”:

  • Make fancy desserts for your kids to pass out on their birthday
  • Throw amazing parties for events such as Halloween, Easter, and Christmas
  • Make the most amazing and expensive party bags for favors
  • Enrolling their kids in extracurricular classes like music or computers

You can look at the rest of the list here if you’re interested.


So, here’s what I think about this list, and other lists like it: they are utterly stupid.

Now, I’ll say that I can probably think of a few characteristics or behaviors that might lead me to think of someone as a competitive mom. Most moms have probably experienced interactions with or heard stories about the “one-up” mom or the pushy mom who insists you do things the same way she does or you’re wrong.

But honestly, ridiculing moms for going the extra mile for their kids is just a jerky thing to do. Maybe there are some moms who go overboard to try to compete with other moms, but I have never had the feeling that another mom was baking cupcakes or PTA-ing at me. Most of the time I think that moms do the things they do for their kids because they love them and they want to show them in ways that they might just to be especially talented in.

I happen to really enjoy throwing special birthday parties for my kids, complete with fun favor bags that go with the party’s theme.



I also love sewing and/or otherwise crafting cute decorations for my kids’ bedrooms. It’s just my thing.

Once I baked really ugly pumpkin cupcakes for Miss’s kindergarten Halloween party. I’m a terrible baker, and I was so excited that I actually used real pumpkin in them, that I mentioned this to a few other moms.

Did they think I was bragging or trying to compete with them? I sure hope not, but maybe.


I’d like to think that instead of rolling our eyes at or ridiculing moms for doing things we might not choose to do, we could just say instead, “Wow, that was such a cool party she threw for her kid, she must really like doing stuff like that,” Or “She has such a skill at baking, how cool that she shares it in that way to support her kids”?

I think it’s awesome for a mom to spend extra time doing something special for her little ones. And I’ll bet that 99 times out of 100, that mom is only thinking of the joy her efforts will bring to her kids, and not about anyone else at all.

The idea of the “competitive mom” is probably not a complete myth, but I do believe it is a highly overblown and misrepresented notion. What do you think?

Home At Last – The Move and a Few Kitchen Photos

So, it’s been over a month since my last post. Between packing up our old house, unpacking in the hew house, homeschooling through it all, and losing my ability to wake up at 5:30 every morning, blogging lost out in the juggling of my time. I’ve wanted to blog, but a few other things have had to come first for a while. However, most of the boxes are unpacked, and I’m finding a bit more time here and there now to squeeze in some writing, so I’m back.


And we’ve moved finally! Our moving day was October 10th, and the big day was kind of surreal. My husband comes from a large family (three sisters and two brothers), and he decided that, instead of hiring movers, he would call on his siblings to see who could help us. Many responded to the call, so we rented the biggest U-Haul available and got almost everything in the house packed, labeled, and ready for their arrival.

They descended on us like and army, and under the direction of my father-in-law, they moved like a well-oiled machine. The old house was cleaned out in what seemed like a matter of just a couple of hours. They ordered me to stand at the door of the new house and direct all items coming in so they would go to their correct place. It was quite an awesome spectacle to see, and I was humbled by their willingness to help. Not only did they spend an entire Saturday doing heavy lifting, they drove over five hours to get here on Friday night, and they left around dinner time on Saturday, because some of them had to be back in Iowa for other commitments on Sunday. That is some family dedication there.

So, we are in the new house. It’s amazing. It already feels like home, and I love it. I’ve had to get used to being a bit farther away from the places I usually go. We’re out in the country now, and though my drive to most of my typical destinations (the grocery store, church, Super Friend’s house) is only five minutes longer, it feels like we’re sooo much farther away, and so I plan trips “to town” instead of just going quickly to grab whatever I need whenever I need it.

Here are some photos to give you a quick preview of the new place and some of my favorite things in my new kitchen.


^^My big farm sink with a nice wide window sill above it for all my things.

I debated for a long time whether to get this big single-basin sink or to stick with a double basin. I was nervous that I would miss having two separate sides to my sink, but I don’t at all. This sink is huge, and I just love it! I also like having the disposal button right on the counter just behind the sink (it’s the small round button to the left of the soap dispenser). I didn’t plan for this and didn’t even know it was an option, but one of the electricians asked if it would be okay to do it this way and I said, “Um, okay.” It’s so handy, I’m glad he suggested it.


This picture includes several of my favorite things all together. The range. The pot rack. The book shelves with my beloved cookbooks. The panes of slightly wavy glass in the very top of the cabinets, so my special things can be displayed. The island with one of the pendant lights barely showing on the edge there. This is honestly my dream kitchen. I haven’t done any really major cooking yet, but I’m looking forward to many wonderful meals prepared and shared here.


We waited so long for this house, and I feel so incredibly thankful to live here. We started trying to buy land to build a home over four years ago. Prior to finding our current place, we had accepted offers on three different properties, that all fell through for various reasons (Divine intervention, obviously). Then the purchase of this land took many, many months because of driveway and road frontage issues. Finally, the actual building of our house hit a few significant delays and took almost 15 months to complete.

But it was all worth it. It’s just what we dreamed of, and we’re home at last.

Louisville and Grandma – 7QT

We took a road trip/extended field trip to Louisville for a long weekend. We left Saturday (right after I hosted a Blessed Brunch!) and came home Tuesday. I lived in Louisville for four years in graduate school (1998-2002), and it’s a city that I just love. I’ve been back with my kids a couple of times in order to get together with old friends from school. This time we just went for the fun of the trip and to meet up with my mom, who only lives three hours from Louisville.

We had so much fun when we went to Chicago in the spring, I knew I wanted to take another road trip with the girls, and after I read Haley’s post about their stop in Louisville, I realized it would be the perfect getaway for us while my husband was gone elk hunting this week.

It was fantastic. Here are the highlights:


We stayed downtown, so we walked everywhere. The girls get so excited about seeing statues and street art. They had a few interesting questions about the golden three-story “David” statue on Main Street. They thought this artsy bike rack was pretty cool too.


Anyone know who this guy is supposed to be?



I went to Mass at the Cathedral of the Assumption.


Fancy Mass at a cathedral was a first for me. There was even a choir loft and a huge pipe organ and the choir wore robes and everything! It was the perfect way to spend my Sunday morning.


The weather was perfect. We walked to a nearby park on Sunday afternoon, where the girls made some new friends and overcame some fears to climb to the highest heights of the play structure.


While walking back to the hotel, we came across this random arrangement of bird sculptures:




On our way to the park, we had noticed a bunch of little girls all decked out in princess costumes walking around. We stopped for lunch in a little pizzeria, and my mom asked someone what the occasion was (she’s not an introvert like me). Turns out, “Disney On Ice” was happening that day at the arena right next door to our hotel. The people we saw were one their way to the 1:00 show, but I got on my phone and managed to snag tickets for the 5:00 show! We even got great seats.



I think the girls really enjoyed it, and it was such a fun, spontaneous addition to our trip.


The Kentucky Science Center is amazing. We could have gone there all day every day for a whole week and still not have been able to see and do everything. A few of the favorites:






They also had an actual mummy on display, which my girls (and I) were fascinated by. So. Cool.


Besides the science center, I think the very favorite thing for my girls (maybe THE favorite?) was running in the fountains we saw around town. Supposedly they were trying to “dodge” the water.




Twice they got completely drenched playing in these fountains. We didn’t make it to the splash pad park, but they didn’t even seem to care.


Of course, the best part was doing it all with my mom. The girls have so much fun with Grandma, and it was wonderful to spend some good quality time with her.



It was a looong drive by myself with the girls, but I’m so glad we made the trip. I have many great memories from when I lived in Louisville, but it’s so much better to go back and make new memories with my girls and my mom.

Check out Kelly’s post at This Ain’t the Lyceum for a summary of her day at the World Meeting of Families and for more Quick Takes!


Praying for Our Nation, 14 Years Later

Today during school, I taught my girls about 9/11 for the first time.

Our lesson started quite naturally after we said the Pledge of Allegiance. Lass asked if the Pledge is a prayer.

“No,” I said. “It’s something we say in the USA to show that we love and are loyal to our country. We say it to show that we believe our country is the best place to live and that we will take care of it.”

That provided a fairly natural segue into our discussion of the events of September 11, 14 years ago.

I told them about the twin towers and how incredibly tall they were. I showed them pictures. We talked about the airplanes and the men who made them hit the buildings. I told them about the Pentagon and the people who fought back on the fourth plane to keep it from hitting another building.


I was pretty nervous about having this conversation with them. I didn’t want to scare them. But I thought they were old enough for a basic description of the events of 9/11. I wanted them to begin to understand patriotism. I wanted them to see that people sometimes do evil things, but that good and God are still more powerful.

I’m glad I talked about it with them. They didn’t seem scared. They were very curious about the men who had taken over the planes. They wanted to know why they did it. We talked about how some people can do very terrible things if they let hate take over their hearts, and that that’s what those men did. They hated our country, and so they did something horrifying. We talked about how we should pray for them and for people like them.

As we were having this conversation, I was dismayed to find that my conviction faltered a little bit on some of my patriotic comments. I felt a little false even. My love for our great nation is still deep and strong and true, but right now I really don’t like Her very much sometimes. I hate to type this, but I feel like my own patriotism has waned of late.

I’m shocked and saddened and angered by so many things I see going on in our country. Things like how people don’t seem to care one bit about Planned Parenthood selling baby parts and that our president hasn’t even watched the videos showing evidence of it. Things like people being sued and losing their businesses and even being jailed for following their beliefs.

I get this sense of impotent rage, alternating with helplessness, because I feel like so many things are wrong here in our country, but I don’t feel like I can do anything about it.

Today, when I talked with my girls about 9/11, I wrapped up our conversation with the story of St. Paul’s Chapel. I just learned about this church today. I told my girls about its rich history and the fact that it is right next to where the towers stood, and yet when they fell, not even one window of the chapel was broken. I told them about how it was used as a place for rescue and recovery workers to rest and find some comfort during the hours and days following the tragedy.

We talked about how God must have protected that Church, and how He is so much stronger than any bad things people do.

I ended by telling the girls that, even though those men attacked our country and did something that hurt us very much, we were not broken or ruined by it, and in fact we came together to help and serve each other even more after that happened.

During the course of the lesson with my girls, and in my reflections on it and my own feelings afterwards, I managed to realize that no matter what laws are made, no matter what trash is spewed all over Facebook and TV, no matter how things may seem to be wrong in this country, it is still the country that I love, and I would not want to live anywhere else.

On this date 14 years ago, our nation came together in such a remarkable way. The attack on our country only served to make us stronger and to reinforce within our hearts what our we stand for. The men who flew those planes that day hated us, and they hated the religious beliefs that the majority in our country hold. It seems this is not very different from some of the issues we are facing today, except now we are attacking each other.

I told my girls that we can pray for the men who hurt our nation fourteen years ago and others like them. We will also be praying for a return to American strength and unity, for an end to divisiveness and hatefulness and persecution of those who think or act or believe differently than we do.

Let us never forget 9/11.

The First Week – A Homeschool High

I promise I will go back to blogging about stuff other than homeschooling very soon, but this week, it has pretty much been all-homeschool-all-the-time in my brain, so I’m needing to tell everyone how we did. Ready?


Ahem. We crushed it.

The week was fantastic.

The curriculum was very easy to follow and implement.

The girls loved the workbox system.


They are crazy about the Star Wars workbooks that I work into their workboxes in between their “real” work.

(When proofreading, I realized how many times I used the word “work” in that ^^ sentence. I started to edit, but then decided I enjoy the fact that it is used four times in there, with four different meanings. I’m leaving it.)

We did a science experiment.

We did an art project.



I let my kids use Sharpies, and we all made it out unscathed (including our clothes and furniture).


We learned about Mother Teresa (her feast day is tomorrow).

Miss developed an intense interest in Japan.

We read and discussed the Gospel for this Sunday, as well as most of them from the Mass readings for the week.

We memorized a Bible verse (Psalm 1:1). They did much better at this than I did. Even Sis has it down.

It was so fun.

We even named our little school after our patron saints. I had the idea the night before our first day that I was going to ask the girls to choose a patron saint for our school for the year. I worried a bit that introducing this might be a big disaster. I suspected they would fight over which saint we should choose. To my surprise, they came to an agreement almost immediately. When I first asked whom we should choose, Sis said, “Saint Joseph.” Miss said, “That’s exactly what I was just going to say!” Lass said, “Mary.” I said, “How about the Holy Family?” They said, “Yeah!”

So we are now Holy Family Academy.

I’m kind of feeling like Super Homeschool Mom. I’m having an “I need a cape” moment (these are few and far between, so I’m making the most of it).


Of course, it wasn’t perfect, by any stretch. There were a few tense moments. Even a few tears, because Lass has a hard time understanding that she isn’t supposed to do things perfectly when she is learning them, like cutting an oval shape. I repeated many times things like: “You don’t have to be perfect, you’re just learning,” and “It takes practice to get good at new skills,” and “In our school it’s okay to make mistakes. That’s how we learn.” And so on and so on. She still had a meltdown over the fact that her ovals were a bit angular.


I also need to streamline my process for prepping the next day’s work in the evenings and filling the girls’ workboxes. I think I spent at least an hour each night doing this, and that’s just not sustainable. I’m working on making it smoother, doing some of the prep work for the next day as the girls are finishing up their current day activities, and finding other ways to be more efficient. I’m hoping this will get faster as I get more familiar with the curriculum and once we are in a more user-friendly space after we move.

And speaking of user-friendly spaces, I learned that, although I really like having individual desks for the girls, I also like having the big table in the middle to use when we’re doing work together at the start of the day and when we do experiments and art projects. So we’ll probably be making room for the big table in our school room (we inherited a new dining room table from my in-laws).


So much packed into the first week.

Do you want to know my favorite part about the whole thing? I could watch my girls growing closer to each other through our work together and their helping each other.


I know that sounds crazy after just one week, but I swear they’re kinder to and closer to each other today than they were last Friday. They’re complimenting each other, they’re helping each other, they’re playing Star Wars together so nicely!

I’m feeling more connected with them too.

The house is a mess and my meal planning has gone to heck, but today it all feels so worth it.

First Day of School – Our Homeschool Plan

Today is the first day of school! I am really excited for this year, and so are my kids. Here’s what we have planned:

I am doing Sonlight first grade for Miss (Core B). I am always drawn to a literature-based rather than textbook/workbook-based curriculum, and that’s what I love about Sonlight. So far I’ve had to spend quite a bit of time organizing and figuring out my plan for exactly how to implement it, but I suspect that’s because I’ve added a bunch of stuff to it and decided to try to use workboxes for much of our school assignments.

Basically, I’ve come up with a plan in which we all do our religion, calendar, history, poetry, art appreciation, and reading for science together, first thing. Then the girls will go to their desks and start going through their workboxes. I have all of Miss’s math, phonics, spelling, handwriting, and worksheet questions in her workbox drawers, along with a few other fun activities (Hot Dots, Star Wars readers and workbooks, saints activity pages, etc.).


The girls will be instructed to go through their boxes one drawer at a time, starting at the top. They can’t open drawers further down until they finish the one they’re on. When they finish each drawer, they move the magnet on the bar from the left to the right and go to the next one. I think (hope!) they will find this fun and make the school day more exciting and interesting for them.


I think this will work really well for Miss, because she can read the instructions I write down for her in each drawer. I suspect it will be a little bit harder, especially at first, to get Lass and Sis going with this system, but I’ll give it a try anyway. At least at first, they have fewer drawers filled, so we’ll see how it goes.

After they get through their workboxes, I’ll read the day’s read aloud to them over lunch (our first one for the year is Charlotte’s Web). And that will be it, except they have extracurriculars some days in the afternoons (piano, gym, choir, art).

For Miss, the additions I chose to the Sonlight core (history, language arts, religion, science) are Horizons Math and Handwriting Without Tears. I’m already planning to switch her handwriting book though, to Writing Our Catholic Faith, which I just discovered yesterday and absolutely love! I’m also going to supplement her reading work by continuing with her All About Reading Level 2 (AAR) curriculum that we didn’t finish last year. The level of the readers that come with the first grade package from Sonlight is far too easy. I’m going to have her read them anyway, because they go along with her spelling words, but she can do the whole week of Sonlight readers in one day, and the rest of the week I’ll fill in with lessons from AAR.


I have added a specifically Catholic Faith and Life series to supplement the religion portion of Sonlight, and we’ll be doing lots of reading about saints and feast days. I also got Miss a Good News planner so we can learn about the coming Sunday’s Mass readings and she can keep track of her activities each week. We’ll be using Art Masterpieces: A Liturgical Collection for art appreciation and a DVD art course done by some nuns, which ties art with our Catholic faith and history (I can’t find the link for this anymore).

And that’s about it for Miss in 1st grade.

I’ve decided to start Lass in Kindergarten. She’ll do all the Sonlight curriculum with her sister (as will Sis) for the start of her day, and then her workboxes will have some math worksheets from Seton’s Math K for Young Catholics, some BOB books, her AAR Level 1 curriculum (which she will bring to me to do with her), Writing Our Catholic Faith for handwriting, and other fun activities similar to those in Miss’s boxes. She’ll also be using her sister’s first grade readers, which are more in line with her reading level than Miss’s.

Sis will be doing the pre-reading level of AAR (if I can ever find it in one of the boxes I packed away!) a few coloring pages, and various other fun activities.

I’ve got to go put some first-day-of-school cinnamon rolls in the oven and wake up my kids. Wish me luck!

Homeschool and Changes and Sacrifice

We are on the verge of beginning another school year at home, and this one feels like it is coming at me with many, many changes. I’m finding this both exciting and uncomfortable at the same time. I have hemmed and hawed about what day to pick to actually start school, and have finally decided on next Monday as the official first day, with a few small activities this week to get into the swing of things. We even took our first field trip today.



It’s been a little tricky getting things ready to start, because one big change is that we will eventually be in a new school room, and for the time being we are in a state of transition. Our new home was supposed to be finished around now, but is now not going to be done until October. Our old school room got all packed and put away when we put our house on the market, so I’m pulling out a lot of things from storage, and I’m having a hard time finding stuff, because when I packed it away I thought I would just be getting everything out in our new house around now, and not needing to find specific things in poorly marked boxes.


Since we’re going to be changing things around a lot when we move, I decided to go ahead and make a shift from an obviously preschool-like homeschool room to a room that will grow with us. This means individual desks for each of the girls (the little table we were using just wasn’t cutting it anymore), a bigger, free-standing white board, and workbox tray carts (which still haven’t been put together because the company sent me the wrong size). For right now, everything is being crammed into our former-school-room-turned-back-to-dining-room-and-now-partial-homeschool-room-again room.


I’m excited about the new way our school will be set up, if not completely happy with it’s current configuration.

The other big change is that Miss isn’t going to be going part time to our local Catholic school anymore. I love that we tried the hybrid homeschool model (I think Michele, who is trying it this year, coined the term), but it just wasn’t going to work for us this year.

There were many things I liked about having Miss in a regular school last year, and some things I didn’t. The main reasons we aren’t doing it again this year are that 1) having Miss at another school part time was disrupting the flow of my homeschool schedule; 2) it’s going to be a bit too far to drive after we move; and 3) she really didn’t want to go again. She said that regular school “takes too long,” which makes sense since we can get all of our homeschool work done for the day in a couple of hours, versus her being at school all day.

And in the same way that having Miss at school for one full day a week was disrupting our homeschool schedule, so were a few other things that I have had to move around or cut out. We aren’t doing any out-of-the-home lessons in the morning anymore. Piano got moved to the afternoon, and we will be starting a homeschool gym class two days a week at the YMCA and have homeschool choir and art classes once per week with some local families as well, all in the afternoon. This is hard for me, because I’ve always counted on having some time in the afternoons to get things done while the girls were resting and/or napping. Sis is going to be missing her nap more often, and I will be missing it too.

But the hardest thing about this change is that I have had to give up my bi-weekly Monday morning Catholic Bible study with my friends. It has been such a great experience for learning and building community with some wonderful ladies, but it just doesn’t fit with our plans this year. I probably could have made it work, but I feel pretty strongly that I want to get the girls into a routine of Monday through Thursday school time in the mornings. Fridays will be for some school things and extra projects, for field trips, or for a make-up day if we take a field trip or have something else during the week. In order to be consistent with this schedule, the Bible study had to go.


But while I’ve had to give up this one social activity, I’m trying to add in some others. Knowing that we won’t have any outside-the-home school this year, I’ve really been trying to establish relationships with other homeschooling families so that my girls can develop friendships with kids they will be able to see frequently. I am excited for their gym, choir, and art classes to start so they can begin forging new friendships and building on the ones we have already begun with some new families.

I know I need to do this, and it’s fun and exciting to meet new people (as uncomfortable as it can be for my introverted self to take the first step). But it’s hard to know that they won’t be able to see their old friends, who all go to school full time, quite as often. We can’t do weekly morning play dates with Super Friend’s kids anymore, for example. Her two oldest are in school every day now, and my family needs the school time in the mornings.


I feel kind of sad and anxious about these kinds of changes. I remember reading a blog post once in which the author claimed that homeschool moms have to give up their friendships with their non-homeschooling mom friends, because that’s what you have to do to put your children’s home education first. I don’t agree with this. At all. And I have no intention of blowing off my friendships or those that my girls have with kids who go to school. We will find other times to get together. But it still feels a little lonely to know that the easy days of morning coffee play dates with friends are over (at least until next summer).

So that’s where I am right now – on the verge of diving into a new year, excited and fearful about all the changes this will bring for us, and hopeful that I will be able to balance all the things to teach my children well with consistency, help them to develop new friendships, and manage to keep our old friendships going strong.


My Kids Went to Vacation Bible School, and It Made Me Cry

Last week was VBS at our parish. I have wanted to send Miss to it for the past two summers, but it always coincided with a week that we were out of town. This year, we decided to stay home, and Lass was old enough to go too, so both of my older girls attended.


Our parish really goes all out and does a wonderful job with the program. The kids made crafts and played games, all while learning Bible verses and stories, and about the love of God. My girls just loved it, and I was so happy they got to attend.

Each day when I dropped them off, and again when I picked them up, the whole group of kids and volunteers sang a song together in the church. The message of the song: “My God is powerful. He stands invincible. I will hold on to Him. Through God I will overcome. He’s the rock that will never move.”


Most days at drop off and pick up I got to see the kids do the song together (complete with arm motions throughout), and I was surprised to find that I couldn’t help but get choked up as I watched them sing. Every time, my eyes welled with tears, and I just stood there feeling all the feels and hoping that the tears wouldn’t spill over and make me look really foolish.

It seems like kind of a weird thing to get all emotional over, right? But as I watched all the kids get so excited over this song and it’s message, I felt this overwhelming joy that my children have this community and this Faith to grow up with.

Sometimes it’s still hard for  to believe that we even go to church, that we are even Catholic at all. I think back to where I was three years ago, on my unbelief and scorn for all things Christian, and I marvel at where we are now. I get overwhelmed with gratitude for what we have that we almost didn’t: Faith. Prayer. Community. Church.

And it’s in small moments, like those in the back of the church at the start and end of each VBS day, that I realize how powerful God really is. That He could take someone like me, a diehard atheist, and transform me into a true believer, a weekly-Mass-attending, pope-loving, confession-going, Jesus-freak Catholic, is nothing short of a miracle.


The kids performed the song in the front of the church at the end of Mass yesterday. I got all teary-eyed again, and then nearly dissolved into full-on sobs when the recessional hymn was “As For Me and My House, We Will Serve the Lord.”

Yes we will. And I am so incredibly grateful for it.