7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 142)
I think I’m finally ready to have kids. It took seven years and five trial runs to get to this point, but I feel like I am now somewhat prepared for this whole parenthood thing.
One of the things that’s changed recently is that some of our children can now help around the house. We’ve instituted a checklist system where the three older kids (ages 6, 5, and 4) get the house clean each night almost entirely by themselves — and it only takes about 35 minutes. (This age-appropriate chore list is similar to ours.) Thanks in large part to The Sleep Lady, I’ve learned to deal with (and even kind of enjoy!) the newborn period without becoming a total basket case. And thanks to changes I’ve made it my diet and exercise habits, I feel better than ever.
Things are still crazy and challenging, but parenthood is definitely easier in a lot of ways than it used to be. For a much more eloquent version of what I’m trying to say here (as well as encouragement for parents who still have all toddlers and babies) read this awesome article by Emily Sederstrand called The Tunnel of Parenthood.
I went to the movies tonight. My mom and I snuck out for a girls’ night out to see The Help, which was excellent. This is noteworthy because, other than taking our Kidsave child to a discount theater for a showing of a classic film in 2009, I haven’t been to the movies since the summer of 2004. It was weird to be in a nice theater for the first time in over seven years. The last time I did that I lived in a high-rise loft downtown, I was an atheist and I didn’t have kids (we went to see Harold and Kumar Go to Whitecastle). I felt like an anthropologist studying this strange ritual that some people do regularly…especially when the woman behind me answered her cell phone. Twice. Anyway, it’ll probably be another seven years before I go to the movies again, but it was a fun thing to do.
Have I mentioned that we live in a climate inhospitable to human life? We had over 70 days in a row of temperatures over 100° F (38° C) this summer, no meaningful rainfall since 2010, and now this:
An evacuee who’s staying with our neighbors emailed that photo to me. It was taken near her house. We have quite a few friends of friends who lost everything in the fires. When I was running errands earlier this week, there was smoke all along the horizon in almost every direction. It’s getting Biblical over here. Please pray for those who have been impacted by the drought and the fires. (And if you live in the area, you can drop off donations at St. Williams in Round Rock.)
We just finished our first week of homeschooling for this school year. My takeaways:
- How little time it takes. I know this will change as the kids get older, but right now it’s just not very time intensive to keep them at or above grade level.
- Getting to tailor my kids’ education so that they’re advancing as fast as they can, and learning stuff they’re excited about.
- How pleasant it makes the evenings. When my son went to school, we had to cram homework (yes, kindergarten homework) into every evening, which meant that we were trying to do activities, family dinners, homework, bath time, and family time in a period of about three hours — the stress of which was compounded by knowing that we had to get up at 6:15 the next morning.
- I know this is kind of a controversial statement, but I do find socialization to be an issue. I think this will change as they get older — the homeschooled kids I know over age ten don’t seem to be lacking for friends — but I wish there were something my kids could do a couple of times each week with the same kids where they had some time to get to know them. About seven hours per week would be perfect. Basically, I want Mother’s Day Out for older kids.
- Keeping them occupied all day. Homeschooling doesn’t take much time, so I have a lot of hours to fill each day — and with a new baby in the house, I’m not up for a whole lot of running around right now.
In all the years that I’ve spent researching and experimenting with my diet (otherwise known as “trying to figure out why I used to feel like a 400-pound, 98-year-old woman with a hangover so much of the time”), one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is the difference between “regular” hunger and “cravings” hunger. Because my blood sugar was always so out of whack and I was eating foods that caused addictive reactions, I always thought that being hungry went hand-in-hand with experiencing insane cravings that led you to lose all self control and start shoveling whatever food was nearby into your mouth as fast as you could. Now that I’ve cut out the foods that throw off my system, I can be hungry and make reasonable decisions about what I eat and how much of it I eat. I can stop eating when I begin to feel full, and can even go to parties and restaurants without consuming insane amounts of food. It’s amazing.
My advance copy of Amy Welborn‘s new book arrived this week. It’s a memoir titled Wish You Were Here: Travels Through Loss and Hope, and is centered around a trip she and her children took to Sicily after the death of her husband, author Michael Dubruiel. It completely derailed the other book I was half way through. I’d planned to finish my current read before starting on Amy’s, but I was so drawn in by her lucid writing that I couldn’t put it down. I’ll write about it in more detail after I finish it, but my initial reaction is…wow. In the meantime, this is one you’ll want to pre-order on Amazon. Whether or not you’re Catholic, whether or not you’ve experienced great loss, you’ll take something away from this raw, honest memoir.
Can you believe it’s been 10 years since 9/11? Every year I’m caught off guard by how sad this anniversary makes me. You’d think that time would make it easier to think about, but that hasn’t been my experience. One thing I find comforting is to pray for those who died in the tragedy — not just for the repose of their souls, but for their final moments on earth. I wasn’t a believer when it happened, but since God is outside of time, I hope that my prayers may still be worthwhile.
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