Forgive Me

My brain is sometimes a mass of mush.   Perhaps I have too much going on?  Perhaps I’m trying to juggle too much with life?  Or perhaps it’s that I don’t deal well with a nagging child (or four) … but, last weekend, I made a huge faux pas.

The three younger kids were scheduled to perform a puppet show, about being the salt of the earth, in church on Sunday.  They’ve been practicing for this during their Wednesday evening Sacred Arts classes for a month.  These classes are different than Sunday School and they are taught by the musical director at our church.  Ms. Judy is a very lovely lady, who has an infectious laugh and quite a bit of talent for the arts.  And I assist Ms. Judy in her weekly classes, since I’m the winner with the most kids!

As I previously mentioned, Sunday also marked the beginning of Catholic schools week, whereby the girls’ school has activities planned every single day.  Which started on Sunday.

Do you see where I’m going here?  They were required to attend Mass on Sunday.  Did I remember that they were to do the puppet show?  Did I *do* anything with the written reminder note that Ms. Judy gave them last week? 

Oh my, was I embarrassed.  And I felt SO AWFUL for Ms. Judy, once we realized what we’d done.

The youngest Miss started nagging on me on Thursday, about attending Mass.  Because their music class was singing.  And she really wanted to go.

Long about Saturday, I had completely forgotten about the puppet show … and finally relented to the whiney, nagging child that yes, we’d attend Mass.

I mean to tell you, every single one of us forgot about the puppet show.  SIX PEOPLE!

So, I had to apologize.  In person, of course, but also in a way that Ms. Judy knows that we were truly sorry.  Remember, she is a retired elementary school music teacher … a bumper sticker on her auto says Bach on Board and she plays more musical instruments than I can name … hence, the inspiration for quilted notecard, my:

Note of Apology
sorry.jpg

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    Homework Rant

    When my virtual pal Donna wrote this homework post, I read it and smiled and went on with my day.  I mentally compared our children’s schedules and deduced that her daughter was way more involved outside of the home than our girls are…so, her rant comes from trying to juggle her academic, athletic and social engagements.  Her daughter is a gymnast and trains hours on end each day.  My daughters are not involved in any extracurricular activities save for their Wednesday evening church classes.  Her daughter is an only child, meaning she needs to have outside activities (structured and unstructured) to make up for the lack of siblings at home.  I have four kids, and the good Lord knows that they can get on as the best of friends and the worst of enemies – but, outside social activities are not really necessary on a continual basis as they have each other and can pick and choose who they want to play with on an hourly basis.  And Donna lives in the metropolis known as LA … while we live in the country, nine miles from the berg formerly known as the apple capital of Texas.

    Now, the homework shake has never been really fair in our house, since we moved back to Texas.  Remember, we homeschooled the kids for the last semester in 2006, therefore they really didn’t have anything but homework.  But, they learned quick that if they stuck to their books, they could be finished with their schooling by lunch (around 1 pm) every day … and they didn’t have to pick up another text book until the next day!

    Last year, the kids’ first year in school here, DD#1 had the most homework, sometimes three hours a night.  But, she loved it and I don’t recall ever hearing her complain about it.  She enjoys learning and the challenges that each course brought with it.

    This year, though, our pokey puppy (DD#2) is the one with mounds and mounds of homework.  And it’s not just one subject – I swear she has homework in every single subject that she takes.  What in the world is her teacher doing with the six hours we leave them in school each day???

    We’ve made in-house complaints about homework hours.  One day, JD asked her teacher something about why our daughter repeatedly comes home without some of the books that she needs, even though the teacher signs off on her homework list to say that it’s complete.  Her teacher said it was ridiculous for him to expect her to be able to keep up with one out of nineteen students.  That just wasn’t possible.

    Mind you, I’m ok with homework – to a degree.  I think that adults learn things all the time – and research indicates that if we keep our brains active in this learning stuff, we have a higher probability of staving off some elderly issues, such as brain atrophy.  So, by making a child do their homework, we are helping them live by example.  I also think that making a child sit down to do homework is almost like an act of contrition, there’s always things that we’d rather be doing … but, it’s important to remember that even the not-so-pleasant daily, mundane tasks have to be accomplished every single day.  Perhaps it’s doing the dishes, perhaps it’s putting your clean clothes away … or perhaps it’s doing your homework.  And then homework also keeps kids out of trouble, so goes the argument.  When mothers returned to the workforce in the 70’s & 80’s, the schools found they had way too many latch-key kids who were getting in trouble – so, they developed the homework requirements, to attempt to keep kids busy while they were home alone.

    But, yesterday took the cake at our casa on the hill.  This is Catholic schools week across the nation, so special activities are planned throughout the week – to celebrate the parochial school education that we pay dearly for.  Yesterday, the two little girls had to sing during a candlelight vigil, to honor the military…while our oldest daughter read names of fallen solders.  The program was scheduled to run from 6 pm – 9 pm.

    Think about that for a minute.  My kids normally go to bed about 8:30 pm.  Last week, I got a report that DD#2 fell asleep during class, despite the fact that she got nearly 10 hours of sleep the night before.  We live a good 45 minutes from school … so, if we stayed until 9 pm, we would get home around 10 pm.  And then there’d be dinner, showers & prayers before bedtime. 

    Feeding them before 6 pm is a mute point – they’d be starving by the time we got home.  Not to mention that they get home from school at about 4:15 each day, and yesterday I had to turn around to get them back to school, leaving here at 5:15.  There’s no time to eat dinner in that hour!

    And last night, the loving middle daughter had homework.  I *almost* told her not to worry about it, that I’d write a note to her teacher and explain how it was with homework on a night when they were REQUIRED to attend this vigil.  But, alas, I needed her to fill up a half-hour of her time (so she wasn’t fighting with her siblings) so I could cook dinner.  And she got the homework done. 

    We’ll see what the rest of this week brings by way of homework, as the girls have school celebration activities nearly every night.  You can bet I’ll be one of the first moms in line, pounding on the door of the classroom, if I’m to try to force my child to sit down and get her homework done while the rest of the kids are off playing and celebrating.

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      Moving On

      My friend Mel will be glad to hear this – Mr. S. seems to have found himself a new place to live, in town.  He spent the night in the camper on Friday night.  I heard him leave on Saturday morning.  My husband said he loaded up a bunch of his clothes when he left.  And he hasn’t returned since.  This morning, JD did his usual drive-by (he makes a rolling stop by my office shed each morning when he returns from taking the girls to school to make sure I’m ok and to let me know he’s home) when he told me that Mr. S. had left a message on his phone that he’d found a place to live and would get his stuff out of our camper when he could.

      Is that not odd to you, that someone wouldn’t tell you to your face that they were leaving the free home you’ve provided to them for over six months?  I mean, we didn’t in any way expect payment for his living quarters.  But, we did expect a little help – pick up sticks that blew down around the place, empty your own trash from the camper (which he doesn’t do), etc.  He’s probably done 5 hours of work in the 6 months that he’s been here.  He keeps saying he’s too old to do anything around here (he’s 55) – by the time he’s done working for a week, he usually spends his weekends in the bed.  And really, before he had a job, he didn’t help, either.  If he didn’t go to town, he’d lay in the bed ALL DAY.  It’s sure been a really long time since I’ve done that – DECADES!

      Obviously, our expectations were too much for him.  Even though, of course, he agreed to it when we offered the use of the camper to him.

      But, I knew that there was no way he could save up to rent a place in town if he was driving back and forth from here.  With gas at $3 a gallon, the mileage over the hill to town really adds up.  I know we spend a pretty penny on it, but we have larger vehicles than he does. 

      Whatever!

      I’m glad he’s found a job and a place to live.  Now?  I want his crud OUT of the camper so we can fumigate it and have it back.  But, knowing the speed with which he does things, it’ll probably be another month before that happens. 

      On another note, I finished writing another quilt pattern last night, and I designed another spool pattern.  It’s SO cute, if’n I do say so myownself!  It celebrates spring, which is what our weekend was like in these parts.  And, I used something a little unexpected in the design – a pipe cleaner!  Get it?  Spring … well, see for yourself what I mean:

      spring.jpg

      That’s the only tease you’re gonna get — but, the finished product is so darned cute!

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        Hurray, I Found My Sewing Room!

        I told my MIL the other day that I was having quilting withdrawls … I haven’t been in my sewing room for about 10 days!  The reason?  The PILES!  Before, during and after the holidays, my sewing room became the “put it in there” room — everything and anything that didn’t have a place went into my room. 

        “Just put it in there,” I’d say, “until I can get to it.”

        I had also drug all of my scrapbooking boxes (ahem, there’s six of those big Rubbermaid boxes of scrapbooking things in my little room) at Thanksgiving and *thought* I’d be able to add a shelf and keep everything organized and at-hand.  Stupid me!  I have TOO MUCH to put on the shelf that I have … and what’s really sad is that the shelf is nearly floor-to-ceiling, with six shelves!  {blush} yeah, too much stuff.  When I unpacked the lot of it and realized I could only pare down ONE measley box, I decided to heck with it — leave everything in the boxes and pull them out when needed.

        But, in the meantime, the rest of the room filled up!  My husband could get in the door and to the ironing board – but, that was about it!

        So, yesterday, when I forced the kids to clean their rooms, I figured it was high time I did the same.  I *need* to have my sewing room accessible at all times – in case I get in a mood to design or sew. 

        It took me about three hours to clean it up, put boxes away, re-pack most of the scrapbooking stuff … and move forward.  When I was done, it was all very lovely!  AND, I was able to put a new block together last night – behold!

        block.jpg

        This is the block for a new pattern I designed for my lovely quilter, Mary Kate, to kit at her online shop.  Isn’t it FUN?! 

        Now, no more excuses.  I have two more patterns to perfect and a little spool banner to design and write a pattern for. 

        hmmm, what am I sitting here for?!

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