Monday, September 29, 2008

The Parable of the Butterfly

As you can tell, I am concerned about the current debate over the definition of marriage in our society. I am worried that we, as a nation, may be willing to sacrifice the great social patterns that have guided the lives of countless generations on the altar of personal fulfillment and choice. Where will our children look to find a pattern for their own lives? This little parable came to my mind. Like all parables it is imperfect, but I believe it contains a grain of truth. Read it and tell me what you think!

Through the long summer days, butterflies flittered over the meadow. The sun glinted off bits of white, yellow, blue or orange wings. Below, amid crisp stalks and tender leaves of the meadow plants, the caterpillars crept. Moving from leaf to leaf, from plant to plant, they ate the good food the meadow provided. They watched the butterflies flitting in the air above, landing here or there on a flower, and talked amongst themselves of the day when they two would fly on bright wings through the air and drink the sweet flower nectar. Here and there among the plant stems were the quiet crysalids, the caterpillars that had already begun their process of transformation. They rested quietly in the shadows, and the swayed in the soft breezes, and dreamed of floating through the blue skies.
One day, a caterpillar was inching along toward a juicy looking nettle stalk, when a beetle crossed it's path.
Hello! said the caterpillar. I'm on my way to eat some nettle leaves. I'm growing as fast as I can so that one day I can be a buttrfly!
Why, said the beetle, then you'll be just like me!
The caterpillar was puzzled. But you're not a butterfly! butterflies have large colorful wing, they flit through the sky and sip flower nectar. I am sure they do not crawl on the ground with hard cases on their backs!
But the beetle insisted. I am a butterfly. See, I have an official certificate to prove it! And the beetle held up an impressive looking document with official seals and signatures, certifying that he was indeed a butterfly.
Now the caterpillar was confused. If this creature was a butterfly, then what were the bright-winged folk flying up among the flower tops? And what was he? When his caterpillar days were ended, when he entered the great transformation, what would he become? Troubled, he continued on his way among the green stems that now seemed less friendly.
Days passed; now the caterpillar was fat and full. His skin stretched tight. He climbed high, found a spot that seemed secure, and spun the sticky threads that would attach him securely. It was time for the change. His old skin dropped away and he hung silent, his outer shell giving now clue of the transformation taking place inside. Changes were occuring, but the caterpillars dreams were troubled. Mixed with images of sailing on bright wings through the sky were images of scampering heavy-backed on the dark earth. At last the transformation was complete. The one-time caterpillar shed it crysalid shell and emerged trembling into the sunlight. It waited, gaining strength, and spread its wings to the wind. But oh! Something was not right. The butterfly hung from its perch, fluttering wings that were misformed and crippled. The butterfly-that-should be could not fly. The dark confusion he had taken with him into the crysalid had warped his transformation. Without a clear idea of what he was to be, his growth had been stunted. With wings that would never lift him to soar through the skies, the butterfly fluttered awkwardly to the ground.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Dinner Time--Yum!

Pictures at last!







I'm afraid I'm rather notorious in my family for not taking/sharing pictures often enough. I have finally uploaded some pictures from this summer to the computer, and have chosen a few to share. The top one is Lily with one of her Painted Lady butterflies, taken first thing in the morning when we discovered one had emerged (hence the rumpled hair and oversized shirt/nightshirt), the second is Esther with her beloved Aunt C., wearing a crown of leaves, and the third is Luke at the beach. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

School Update 21 September 08

What have we been up do in our homeschool lately? I thought I would give a brief summary of what we did this week.

Read Alouds:
Abraham Lincoln (D'Aulaire)
A Child's History of the World, chapters on Mesopotamia, India (Hillyer)
Ms. Frizzle's Adventures: Ancient China (Lily is a huge fan of Ms. Frizzle and the Magic School Bus)
Books on Monster Trucks and tractors for Luke

Reading practice: We played a sort of Bingo game, where Luke picked a card with a word and Lily got to find that word on her grid and put a coin on it. We were using *est and *eat words.

Activities:
Cello lesson on Monday.
Co-op on Wednesday: Lilly attended Language Arts class, where thry read the book "Swimmy" and discussed vocabulary etc.; Science class, where they studied waves, using water and slinkies to demonstrate, and Art class, where they studied Monet's style of painting and painted their own water lillies. I am thorough;y impressed with all the moms who put so much work into co-op.
Beginners orchestra on Friday--this was stressful for Lilly because it was her first time, but I think next week will go better.
A visit to the local aquarium with dad on Saturday, where everyone enjoyed the touch tank and other exibits.

What's missing? Oh yeah, math! I'd better focus on that this week! This is why I decided to actally try to "school" kindergarten this year--not because I think kids really need K, but because I need a year to figure out how do homeschool!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A House Full, A Heart Full

It is Saturday afternoon, my husband is taking a nap, my children are playing together on the floor--Lilly and Luke are playing with toy trucks, telling some elaborate story; Esther is content just to be near them, she is playing with a broken necklace of mine. I was just thinking how very pleasant my life is right now. I love having a house full of children. It is interesting to me that three children can feel like a fulness--somehow one or two never did. I know my mother thinks anything less than eight is an empty nest (she is down to two at home now, and is very lonesome...) But right now three is just right.
I am so happy to be living the life I always hoped for. From the time I was little I looked forward to having a family of my own. My sister and I used to talk about how we were going to have 50 children each and both live in the house we grew up in (3 bedrooms and 1 bath, by the way--obviously we weren't concerned about the logistics!).
Honestly, inadequate as I feel at times, I love having the opportunityto raise a family of my own. I am so grateful for a loving and supportive husband who truly strives to lead our family righteously. It's not politically correct--I am supposed to be out seeking personal fulfillment and contributing to the world through some prestigious career. Um, what could possibly more fulfilling, or a greater contribution to the world, than rearing the next generation? It's hard work--all worthwhile things require sacrifice. But it is good work.

A Baptism Today

We had two baptisms at church today, one a 9 year old girl and one a friend of mine whose husband has been a church member his whole life. My friend M. is from the Philippines and is one of the sweetest, most sincere people I know.

I was asked to participate in the meeting by giving a talk about the Holy Ghost. In our church, baptism by immersion is followed by priesthood holders laying their hands on the head of the person baptized to confer the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Often, as in this case, baptisms are held on Saturday, then the laying on of hands is done the following Sunday during worship services.

Now, I find writing and giving talks rather challenging, so I have decided that since I went to all that work I will post my talk here in case anyone would like to read it!


In baptism, we covenant with the Lord to keep his commandments and to take his name upon us. Baptism goes hand in hand with another sacred ordinance. Tomorrow, Melchizedek Priesthood holders will lay their hands on the heads of S. and M. They will confirm them as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and will bestow upon them the Gift of the Holy Ghost.
S. and M., each of you have already experienced the power and influence of the Holy Ghost. You have been taught the gospel, the truths about who we are as children of God, and what our purpose is here on Earth. You have studied the scriptures, which contain the word of God. As you have done these things, the Holy Ghgost has witnessed to you that the things you have been taught and the things you have read are true, and that they are of God.
The witness of the Holy Ghost has given you the confidence to move forward and take the step of Baptism. Now you are prepared to receive an even greater gift, and that is the Gift of the Holy Ghost.
Can you imagine for a minute what it might have been like to live during the time of Jesus, to be one of his disciples? What a blessing it would have been to feel of his love, to receive his counsel and guidance for your specific needs.
Near the end of his mortal life, Jesus promised his disciples that he would not leave them without help. In John chapter 14 verse 16 he said to them: "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever."
This "other comforter" is the Holy Ghost, sometimes called the Holy Spirit. When we receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, we are privileged to have the constant companionship and help of a member of the Godhead. We may benefit from this companionship just as the disciples of Jesus benefited from his companionship during his earthly ministry.
How can the Holy Ghost help us? The Holy Ghost can perform many roles. The Holy Ghost can act as a cleansing agent to purify us from sin. Sometimes the Holy Ghost is described as a fire, a fire that can burn away the impurities in us and make us more pure, more Holy, more like God. The Holy Ghost can help us to better understand the Gospel. He can help us remember truths we have learned in the past, and can help us to gain new understanding as we read the scriptures, as we ponder what we have read, and as we pray.
The Holy Ghost can warn us of danger, both physical and spiritual. The Holy Ghost can also guide us in our daily interactions with our families and the people around us. He can help us to create a spirit of love in our homes, if we will listen to and follow his promptions. He can help us wherever we go and whatever our needs may be: in school, at work, at home. We can pray to be able to feel and understand the promptings of the Holy Ghost. We should live our lives in such a way that we are worthy of the presence of the Holy Ghost. We can do this by keeping the commandments, repenting when we need to , and staying close to God through prayer and reading our scriptures. If we do these things he will be with us always, to teach us, to guide us, to comfort us, and to bring into our hearts the love of God.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My Favorite Things


Our assignment this week is to write about favorite things. Now Miss Jocelyn suggested a nice list of favorites we could write about--web sites, memes, blogs, etc. Trouble is, although there are certainly resources I appreciate online, and I've mentioned one or two before, none of them really qualify as my favorite things. So I'm going to tweak the assignment and write about those things in life that really are my favorites, in line with "snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes"!
A Few of my Favorite Things
Fresh mountain air
Wild blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries
Walking on a beach at sunset
A starry sky out in the country where there are no lights to dim the view
Holding a sleeping baby
The way I feel after running four miles
Reading to my children
Playing chamber music with my family
Singing Christmas carols
Talking with friends
Dancing
Watching children at a zoo
Puppies and Kittens
A home-cooked dinner I didn't have to fix
The little songs my children make up
Long-distance phone conversations with family
Real, handwritten letters
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Vegetables growing in my garden
A ripe peach straight off the tree
A cold shower when I'm hot and sweaty
Figuring something out myself
Water-rounded rocks
Mountains
Pine Trees
Hot French Bread
My children's firsts--first steps, first words, first talk in Primary (Junior Sunday School)
A baby's laugh
Cornfields
Running across green grass
Singing hymns
Listening to my dad read aloud
Watching my husband playing with our children
The world is beautiful and God is good, and there are times when beauty and goodness and love seem to overflow. Those are the times I cherish.

Monday, September 15, 2008

How We Study Geography

I feel strongly that my children should be familiar with and comfortable in our world, at home and abroad. And that means studying languages, history, and--geography.
The approach I am taking with Geography is to create as many "hooks" for them to hang information on as I can. That means giving meaning to names and places, not just showing them outlines on a map. I have started by taking advantage of my own family's globe-trotting adventures. I tell the children stories about when I was growing up, about erupting volcanoes in Guatemala, herds of llamas in Bolivia, or operas in Vienna. I tell them about my missionary experiences in Japan, and archeological adventures in Jordan. The stories make these places real, places our family is connected to. What if you haven't lived or travelled overseas yourself? There are plenty of opportunities for building meaningful ties with places you haven't been to yourself. I have a large world map on the wall in our dining room, and a globe and several continent puzzles. I like to point out countries and discuss things that connect us to them: Denmark is where many of Grandpa C's ancestors came from, Scottland is where cousin E. was born, Grandpa J. used to fly to Qatar for work. Do you know someone doing missionary work in Russia? Are you or your church involved in sending humanitarian supplies to Africa? Does your child have a friend who was adopted from Vietnam? There are all kinds of ways to make connections. My kids aren't old enough yet to be familiar with many historic/scientific/sports figures, but this is another route that would work well: if you're child likes soccer, talk about where the players are from, or about the countries playing in the World Cup; if you're learning about Einstein, talk about Germany. Or, you could learn where your favorite foods originated--where did potatoes come from? How about bananas, peaches, chocolate? We have started putting color-coded tags on our map--for example, pink tags for places our ancestors came from. My hope is that, over time, my children will feel that they know the world and its people--their extended community.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go



I haven't done a Bible Reading Challenge post in a long time, but have had one on my mind this past week. This post is partly inspired by a hymn my friend Kelley quoted in a recent post on her blog:

I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go (words by Mary Brown)

It may not be on the mountain's height
Or over the stormy sea,
It may not be at the battle's front
My Lord will have need of me;
But if by a still, small voice He calls
to paths that I do not know,
I'll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in Thine,
I'll go where You want me to go.

Chorus:
I'll go where You want me to go, dear Lord,
Over mountain or plain or sea;
I'll say what You want me to say, dear Lord,
I'll be what You want me to be.

Perhaps today there are loving words
Which Jesus would have me speak,
There may be now, in the paths of sin,
Some wand'rer whom I should seek;
O Savior, if Thou wilt be my Guide,
Tho' dark and rugged the way,
My voice shall echo the message sweet,
I'll say what you want me to say.

Chorus:
I'll go where You want me to go, dear Lord,
Over mountain or plain or sea;
I'll say what You want me to say, dear Lord,
I'll be what You want me to be.


There's surely somewhere a lowly place
In earth's harvest fields so wide,
Where I may labor through life's short day
For Jesus the Crucified;
So, trusting my all to Thy tender care
And knowing Thou lovest me-
I'll do Thy will with a heart sincere,
I'll be what You want me to be.

Chorus:
I'll go where You want me to go, dear Lord,
Over mountain or plain or sea;
I'll say what You want me to say, dear Lord,
I'll be what You want me to be.


This hymn has been a favorite of mine for many years; I feel that it expresses well my most sincere desires--to do, say, and be what the Lord wants me to. I am afraid that many times I fall terribly short, but I am striving.
How does this tie into my Bible study? I have just recently read the last several chapters of Genesis, which tells the story of Joseph in Egypt. The entire book of Genesis is, in many ways, about going where the Lord wants us to go and doing what He wants us to do. We have the story of Noah, building a boat on dry land--a huge undertaking, built completely on faith. We have Abraham leaving him home, living his life as a nomad in a land the Lord promised would belong to his descendants--only he had no descedants and other powerful peoples inhabited the land. He went in faith. We have Abraham obediently preparing to sacrifice his covenant son Isaac, not knowing that he would not be required to follow through. Time after time we read the stories of people who acted in faith, trusting in the God they had pledged to obey, when they themselves could never have seen the way ahead of them. The story of Joseph's life is among the most remarkable of these histories.
By ordinary standards, Joseph's early life looks like a series of undeserved tragedies: his mother Rachel died giving birth to his younger brother Benjamin; his father Jacob favored him but his older brothers were jealous. In fact, their resentment became so great that they sold him to some traders who took him to be a slave in Egypt. How did Joseph react to this? He went to work with such integrity and diligence that his master Potiphar gave him stewardship over his entire household. Things seemed to be going pretty well. But then Potiphar's wife, resentful of Joseph's resistance to her advances, made false accusations against him that landed him in prison. What did Joseph do? Evidently his faith did not falter. He proved once more to be trustworthy and hardworking, and the keeper of the prison put him in charge of the prison affairs. Now we know, because we have read the end of the story, that it was here in the Egyptian prison that Joseph met Pharoah's chief buttler, who played a key role in bringing Joseph to Pharoah's attention as an interpreter of dreams. And this led to Joseph becoming second-in-command over all Egypt, and also to his rescue of his father's household from the famine. Joseph himself says to his brothers, when he makes himself known to them, "Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. " (Genesis 45:5). And so, in hindsight, Joseph's story makes sense: Joseph needed to be sent ahead to Egypt, needed to be in the right place (prison) to meet the chief Butler, so that he could be made known to Pharoah and act to save both Egypt and his own family from famine. But did Joseph know all this along the way? No. What Joseph did know is what we also know: God is faithful, and if we will put our trust in Him, He will lead us where He wants us to go. "The Lord is my shepherd...". Perhaps it is significant that the patriarchs of the Old Testament were herdsmen--shepherds. They understood the principles of following a leader in trust--as sheep must do in an arid land; it is the Shepherd who knows how to find good pasture, sweet water, and can protect them from danger. If the sheep take it upon themselves to follow a different path, they will soon find themselves in trouble.
Do we have the faith to be like Noah, like Abraham, and like Joseph? It is so hard sometimes to move forward in trust--we desperately want to be able to see the way clearly before us. But if we will seek to know the Lord's will for us, then act on promptings He sends, we will find that way ahead of us is much grander than we, with our limited vision, could comprehend.
After I graduated from college I served for a time as an officer in the Air Force. Within a year, I discovered I was pregnant with my first child. I felt strongly that, when I had children, I needed to take care of them myself, not entrust them to someone else. I found that I could request a discharge from the Air Force on grounds of pregnancy. The only problem was, my husband had left his job in Utah to come to Texas with me, but had been unable to find a job in Texas. If I left the Air Force, we would be without employment unless he could find something. We fasted and prayed together to know what to do, and felt that it was the right decision for me to quit work and stay home. When I discussed this with my supervisor, who knew of my husband's unemployment, he said to me "I don't want to see you make a decision on blind faith".
Is faith blind? I don't believe it is. When we act in faith we may not see more than a step or two on the road ahead of us, but what we can see is our Shepherd, and we know that as long as we follow Him, we will end up where we need to be. A month before our baby was due, I said goodbye to my career. That same afternoon my husband received an offer for work--not the kind of work he was looking for, but something that could provide some support for the family. Over the course of the next few months he held a couple of temporary positions, and finally landed a job with good career possibilities halfway across the country. I am confident that the Lord was leading us, through that time and since, to go where He wants us to go. He has taken care of us and, to the extent that we seek to know and follow His will, He will continue to lead us.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Something New



Our assignment for this week is to talk about something new we are using in our homeschooling. Since this is our first real homeschooling year, in a way everything we are using is new to us. I guess the biggest "new" thing we are using is the Ambleside Online curriculum. Ambleside Online is a free curriculum plan generously made availabe by a group of dedicated homeschooling moms who have put in the time and effort to carefully study Charlotte Mason's educational philosophies and put together a curriculum that closely follows her guidelines.
Needless to say, a lot of thought and effort has gone into designing the curriculum, and to top it all off all of this has been made available for free on the internet. These ladies have done a fantastic job: weekly schedules, wonderful book choices, a truly comprehensive curriculum. Go take a look at what is available: http://amblesideonline.org/.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Routines


I'm late this week on my Homeschool Memoires post. Partly because I've been busy, and partly because, quite frankly, I'm just not good at routines. The best scheduling method I have found for myself really isn't a schedule at all; it is essentially a prioritized to-do list. Those things that have top priority for the day (or week, etc.) go at the top of the list and get first attention. For a homeschool day, my list might look like this:

Scripture Study
Outdoor Time
Music Practice
Habit Development
Math
Reading
Science

Things can move up or down in priority on a given day, although the things at the top tend to stay out the top; these are the things I really want to do every day or almost every day. I'm not too concerned at this point if we don't study math every day, as long as we are doing it on a reasonably regular basis. Obviously the need to focus on a particular subject or area will vary from child to child, or year to year. I wrote in an earlier post about my spreadsheet tracking method--if I notice on the spreadsheet that something (say, history) has not been getting much attention I might move that to a higher priority on the daily list. Similarly, if a child is week in a particular area that subject can be moved higher up the priority list.
I like this system. It follows the principle of first things first--generally, the things at the top of the list are accomplished towards the beginning of the day, before too many things can happen to interfere! There are of course exceptions--for example, if we are working on developing a habit of going to bed early, we obviously need to focus on that towards the end of the day. But if that item is sitting un-checked-off at the top of my list, it will be attracting my attention all day and is much less likely to be neglected!

Friday, September 5, 2008

5 o'clock on Friday

So it's 5 o'clock on Friday Evening. If I were part of the "working world" I would be leaving the office and looking forward to the weekend, hopefully with some degree of satisfaction in a job well done. As is...well, my work isn't really the kind you can leave behind, but maybe this is a good time to review what I have accomplished today. Last night I cleaned the kitchen before I went to bed, so it was nice and clean when I got up. Unfortunately, it's looking more like a disaster zone at this point. I've washed at least three loads of laundry today, all folded and put away--but as I walk around the house I find a discarded shirt in the living room, someone's pants in the bathroom--and other bits and pieces that I have to decide whether to toss in the washer with the load that is half done or save for another day. And I just walked into the children's room to find that Luke has pulled about half of the hanging clothes off the bar and thrown them on the floor. I've bathed, dressed, and diapered kids all day it seems, but a naked 3-year old boy just walked into the room. We had planned to go to the library today, but I haven't been able to locate the key chain that has my library cards. My husband has on occasion been known to ask the "what did you do all day?" question, and to be honest most days at the end of the day there isn't much evidence of what I have done. But what did I do all day? I took the kids outside and watched them ride bikes, and helped Lily practice on her new larger bicycle (still with training wheels). I read Bible stories to the kids (and read a few chapters of my own). We planted broccoli seeds and watered our other plants. We watched caterpillers turning into pupae (a process I had never seen before). We did some math. We cleaned the kids' room and got out the tumbling mat so they could practice cartwheels (or something vaguely resembling cartwheels). We made and ate pancakes for breakfast, and had baked beans for lunch. I emptied and loaded the dishwasher. I wrestled with Luke and read him Thomas stories. Lily's new cello bow arrived so we had to get the cello and try it out. Lily fell on the patio and hurt her mouth, so I cleaned her up and comforted her. At the end of the day the kids are all alive and happy, so I figure I've done my job!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Regarding names

Many of you know that Paula Harper is a pen name I took up when I started blogging. I thought it might be fun to let you know what is behind the names I chose for my family on this blog.
I have actually always wanted to have a pen name. Someday, I hope to write and publish books--probably children's books--but for some reason I never wanted to put my on name in the author's place. I've played around with different ideas over the years, but never really settled on one. When I decided to start a blog, my husband (who shares in Lily's cautious nature) was very concerned about putting private family information on the internet. We decided it would be OK if there was no specific identifying information--but that meant I couldn't use our real names. So I invented my pen name. Why Paula? Well, I really like biblical names, but truly biblical female names are rather limited. I like Paul--both the name and the person. And Paul was a missionary; I thought a blog would be one way I could share my own faith in Christ. But of course I had to use the female form of Paula. Also, when my last baby was born I had a wonderful midwife help with the delivery, and her name was Paula--I felt it was an appropriate way to honor her. What about Harper? Well, a harper is a minstrel or bard, someone who both entertains and educates, a musician and a poet. I guess it just seemed like something I could hope to be.
And the children? Well, I like lilies. I like their simple elegance. A white lily is a symble of purity. I chose lilies for my bridal bouquet. So my oldest daughter became Lily. "Consider the lilies of the field..."
My son became Luke, named after the Luke of the New Testament, called by Paul "the beloved physician". Actually, I think I've liked the name Luke ever since I became enamoured with Luke Skywalker when I was 9 or 10...This is a family name as well, which means I just might use it if I have another son--now that could confuse things!
And then there is Esther. I think the story of Queen Esther was one of my very first favorites. When I was little my mom would put me to bed and turn on a tape of scripture stories; I loved the story of Esther. Maybe because we don't have many stories in the scriptures featuring courageous heroines? When my youngest sister was born I wanted to name her Esther; I didn't get to use the name then, but I am using it here for my own beautiful baby.
And my husband? No, his eral name isn't Nathan, but Nathan means gift, and he is indeed God's gift to me.
So now you know the stories behind the names.

Co-op

The impossible has happened: all three of my children are taking a nap at the same time. I guess I wore them out this morning! If I were smart I would be taking a nap as well--I was up for a couple of hours in the middle of the night after being woken by a phone call at about 1:00 in the morning. Apparently the base commander decided it was time to test recall procedures; fortunately no-one had to go anywhere, they were just making sure they could reach everyone. Unfortunately anytime the telephone rings when I am asleep I wake up in ALERT mode, and can't go back to sleep. So I stayed up and tried to call my mother in Austria (harking back to my college days when my favorite time to call home was after midnight). Mom wasn't home, so I contented myself with cleaning the kitchen--well, partially cleaning. There is still pink and blue frosting on the floor; the kids got into the party leftovers yesterday and decided to frost their own cupcakes. They used A LOT of frosting. No, I wasn't watching them at the time.
Wow, all this rambling is making me realize how much I haven't written about. Life's been busy! Last Saturday we had a combined birthday party for Lily and Luke. Luke's birthday was actually at the end of July, and Lily's is still a couple of weeks away--but I decided I was only up to one party so we split the difference. I have decided, though, that if I ever host another party for Lily, it will be someplace where someone else makes all the arrangements and we just have to show up. And that goes double for her wedding reception! She was stressed out the whole week worrying about everything going right--she was afraid we would lose the birthday candles; afraid if we didn't make the cupcakes early they wouldn't get done, then after I explained they would go stale if we baked them at the beginning of the week she got upset when I wanted to do them on Friday (because it was still one day before the party). She planned and replanned where to hang the pinata (she had been worrying for two months that somehow all the pinatas in town would be sold out before her party), and honestly I can't remember everything she was planning and worrying about, but she was uptight all week, and had multiple meltdowns before people arrived Saturday morning. Those who know me know that I am usually the last person to worry about anything; how am I going to raise this child?!
The party was a lot of fun--we had friends both old and new come by, including one friend I recently got back in touch with from my middle school years in France. Facebook can do wonders.
Oh, there was one wrench thrown into my plans: I got food poisoning Thursday night. It was my own fault--I ate some rice pudding that had been sitting out on the counter most of the day. Yes, I knew I shouldn't eat it...I paid. Thursday night was not a good night, and Friday I was pretty much useless most of the day. So Saturday morning I had about three hours to do everything I had planned to do on Friday. Still, things turned out OK.
Now I can hear some of you asking since when are my parents back in Austria? Umm, since about a week ago? Maybe not quite that much. And yes, as of a few months ago they were supposed to be moving to Kansas. What can I say? Plans change. I spent my last two years of high school in Vienna, and am now looking forward to taking my family back to visit. Once we can come up with the money, which will probably be a couple of years...
Oh, and back to the topic of this post: we did spend this morning attending a co-op. I was very impressed with the moms doing the teaching. I only feel bad that I don't have much to contribute at this point; that may change, though, as someone suggested maybe I could run a sort of preschool class for the younger siblings. Lily, with her typical cautious/perfectionist approach to things, was a little stressed out by the co-op classes. She is also one of the youngest participants. She did enjoy the sewing and art projects, and I think once she has been a few times she will feel more comfortable. I am sooooo glad that I am not sending her away to kindergarten this year. She would be a constant nervous wreck! I think co-op will be good for her--let her expand her comfort zone a little, in a friendly environment with mom not too far away.
Well, I hope you have enjoyed my ramblings! I've had several potential posts going through my head this last week, but have been to busy to write. Maybe if the kids sleep a little longer I'll write more.