Monday, December 31, 2012

Resolutions 2013: Spiritual

When life gets busy, I find that my prayers and scripture reading get perfunctory. I don't like that I let the most important things slip into that mode.

I have done many different types of scripture studies over the years, but I'm excited to try this one this year.* If I stay on plan, by the end of the year I will have read the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine & Covenants.  In the past, I've usually spent one year on either the Old or New Testament, or Book of Mormon, or Doctrine and Covenants.

Just like there is much to be gleaned from slow and careful study of the scriptures, I'm excited to see what new things I learn by studying them all so close together. Sometimes parallels are found that wouldn't otherwise have been noticed.

I'm looking forward to starting tomorrow!

*Here's the key to reading the chart!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Resolutions 2013: Financial

I like resolutions. But I typically get into them more at the beginning of the school year. This year because of the last minute flurry of homeschooling stuff, I didn't feel quite as ready to jump into self-improvement.

I've had a lot of time to consider what I'd like to do for the new year and am going to introduce this week the ideas I've had.  Today I'm going to share with you the financial fast that we are going to go on as a family for January and February.

I read this about a month ago and liked the idea. After Todd and I did our budget for the year last week, I LOVED the idea.

Tonight for Family Home Evening, we pulled out the Monopoly money and divided one month of our combined income among the kids and then read down the list of household expenses. They were very concerned when they all ran out of money before we finished the list of expenses.  We explained that because we had money set aside at the beginning of the year, we were able to do trips and go to fun camps, etc. this past year. But that we have reached the end of the year and that money is gone. I was very proud of our boys and how quick they were to come up with great ideas for how to save money, earn money, and acknowledged that they needed to ask for less while trying to earn more for the specific things they want to do or buy.

They were enthusiastic when I told them about the financial fast and willing to help me inventory the kitchen so we can begin meal planning the month with things we already have on hand. (Maybe enthusiastic is overstating things a bit. But they didn't hate the idea.)

If anybody else wants to join us in a financial fast, let me know. I'd love to compare notes or swap ideas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

In Want of a Good Book?

I just finished reading "Flunking Sainthood" by Jana Riess.  I knew Jana when I was a stupid college freshman and she was an incredibly intelligent, kind, wonderful woman who had just graduated from the Princeton Theological Seminary and was teaching Hebrew.  We were both attending the local LDS congregation in Princeton, NJ.

 I loved reading this. It helped me feel a renewed hope in a time of emotional/physical/spiritual slump. I remember Jana as being absurdly kind to me at a time in my life when I was immature and making stupid decisions and saying ridiculous things. So, when she talks about being unkind and selfish, it clashes with what she portrayed in her treatment of me. I guess all of us have a bit of meanness within, but if we can put that aside to treat others around us with love, I guess that's all part of the journey, right?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

10 Things Tuesday

1. It is 12:02am which makes it no longer Tuesday, but it's been a long day, so we'll make it count.

2. My Christmas decorations aren't up except the few outside ones. This kills me, btw. Todd would happily wait until Christmas Eve, but I do not share his inherent Grinchy-ness about decorations.  The tree is not up. The tree not being up is making me downright antsy.

3. However, my living room carpet is cleaned.  I posted on FB that I wanted to borrow a carpet cleaner to take care of my 8x10 living room rug, and my friend, Erin, showed up on my doorstep the following evening with her brand new carpet cleaner. Because she is one of the nicest people ever.

4. Anyway, the fact that I wanted to clean the disgustingly dirty carpet before setting up the tree, made me feel mildly okay that the tree still wasn't up. Except the carpet was both clean and dry by last Saturday night. (And is currently covered in piles of unmatched socks awaiting matches. I don't even understand how it's possible for us to have so many mateless socks.)

5. So, it started with  my reading of People magazine, I think. But now, my favorite thing to watch while trying to match socks is "Say Yes to the Dress". If me of 10 years ago could see me now, she would be appalled!

6. I recently stole an idea I read about on Pinterest a couple weeks ago. This mom is on to something. Since starting to homeschool the kids, I don't get any me time. No me time is bad for everyone in the family. I instituted the "don't talk to me between 1-3pm" and even the boys were excited about it. They know if they are done with school work, they can use the time to play quietly away from me. They also know that they need to do school work that requires my assistance earlier in the day, so if there's anything left for them to work on, it's something they can do without me.  Lilyanna starts off in her bed looking at books, but eventually goes down to the basement to play with her brothers. Sometimes she will come cuddle with me. I'm okay with that right now.  I find myself able to be much more present and in the moment knowing that there will be some "me" time later in the day. I don't nap, so far, but just enjoy getting things done without having to be so divided in my attentions.

7. Speaking of school, I just ordered a new science curriculum. And I'm not sure how I feel about it. Most honest to goodness homeschool science programs have a lot of religion in them. I experienced an entirely secular education, so this is always slightly creepy to me and has me conjuring up images of people being mad about evolution, etc.  I love science. I love religion. I don't feel 100% comfortable with them intermingling.

But, Todd went to a religious college.  They said prayers before classes. Even in the science classes. On the first day of one of his biology classes he had a professor stand up and say "Evolution. It happens. Get over it."  I am more comfortable with that. I have no problem teaching my children that when we learn about science, we are really learning about more of God's laws. I guess I'm just nervous about the ratio of science to religion being taught. I'm fully prepared to tailor to my comfort level, but it was Nathaniel who finally convinced me. Nathaniel said, "Mom, we already talk about religion all the time every day. Why is this different?"  And I realized he was right and I was being silly and should get over myself. (He said this with a Gallic shrug, btw. He really needs to go hang out in France someday. He totally speaks their body language.)

8. I'm totally passing out loaves of amazing homemade bread (that Heather the Awesome bakes for me each week as payment for piano lessons) as gifts to my neighbors this holiday season.  They're homemade goodies...just not made in my home. ;) AND I already told her I was doing this, so I don't feel guilty.

9. A talk with my friend and neighbor, Dee, today made it so I finally figured out how to give presents to ALL the teachers my kids have without spending mucho dinero.  She's brilliant.

10. Lilyanna had a complete meltdown last Thursday because we ran out of diapers and she was forced to wear pull-ups.  She has used the potty perfectly since then. Until today when she found 2 diapers in hidden corners of the house. (both in the basement. I have no idea how they got down there.) She refuses to go potty while wearing a diaper. She wore the last one tonight, though, so tomorrow we'll hopefully get her back on the wagon.  To think that the last of my children will be potty trained is far more exciting than I could have ever anticipated!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Caleb's view of NYC

This is my favorite of Todd's cousins. He's going to college on LI, so we were able to get together with him in Manhattan right before he left for Thanksgiving break.
Caleb grabbed the camera at the tale end of our time at Shake Shack, where we met some friends after our morning at MoMA. I loved seeing the city through his eyes.

Okay, Caleb let me take ONE picture, too.

This one is my favorite. I feel like he got the feel of the city in one snap!

First cousins once removed, technically. But hanging out just fine together in Penn Station.

MoMA 2012

 A couple of weeks ago, we took the kids to the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in NYC. (I'd planned to take the homeschool kids on a field trip to Metropolitan Museum of Art, but discovered a week before that it was closed on Mondays. MoMA did not fit into our curriculum this year, but Todd's work ID got the two of us in free and the rest of the kids are free normally, so it seemed like the place to go.)

Upon arrival, we went right up to the top floor and were greeted with a crazy long line. When we finally entered the room, we saw the above picture and Lilyanna cried out through the mob of people, "Look! It's Starry Night!" I confess I had a moment of "That's right, adults, my 2 year old knows great works of art!" And just as I was feeling so smug and taking her picture, the security guard came over and said that next year she couldn't stand there.  This year she was still short enough, but next year she wouldn't be.  It was the most bizarre reprimand I've ever been given.  And then 5 minutes later she dragged her hand along a really huge painting while we were walking through the throng to get to the painting below. But the security guard didn't see it, so it doesn't count.  And I'll be sure to not let her do that next year. ;)

Below is of course "The Scream" by Edward Munch. There was a whole dark and depressing room of his stuff, but this is one of Caleb's favorite pictures so we had to see it.  (I confess I liked this painting a lot more before that Doctor Who episode...)
Remember the dark of depressing room of Munch I was mentioning? Well, as we walked out, I saw the below picture and though, "Oh, that's a nice picture of two people holding one another. He can be sweet!" And then I got close enough to see the title. "Vampire".  So, not sweet. 
But then I found this and discovered that my original impulse may have been correct! Yay! But then again, maybe not according to others. Whatever the case, I'm going to go with my first impression.

When we saw the picture below, Lilyanna said, "It's broken. We need to fix it!" So I guess we know where she stands on modern art.

We had to take pictures of the boys in front of some Mondrian paintings, because they studied him in art class in second grade, which meant I had to learn all about him, too, and that I have very large "We are trying to copy Mondrian" pictures in my house from the kids.  Nathaniel's expression in this picture nicely sums up his feelings on the museum as a whole.  Much of the day was spent with me saying, "I'm not going to listen to you whine."  Which of course did nothing to stop him, he just wised up and went further away from me to do it.

I don't know anything about the painting below except that I like it.  And it has a pomegranate in it.

This was a family favorite, because Todd's Dad inherited a metronome just like this one from his Grandma Burt (so Great Great Grandma to our kids). Every kid for decades has played with that metronome and been told to stop playing with it because it's not a toy. Apparently, not only is it not a toy, but if we glued a magazine picture of an eye on it, it would be art!

The last time Todd and I went to MoMa, I was in high school. He had just graduated. We did not go together.  I went with my Spanish class to see the Joan Miro exhibit after we had spent time studying Hispanic artists.  He saw the same exhibit, though several months before me with some friends and neighbors.  This time around they only had two Joan Miro paintings that I found, but I got a little nostalgic seeing them.

This was a fun one! When we walked into the room I though how silly "OOF" was. But then I sat in the room for several minutes and listened as every. single. person. who walked in the room looked at the picture, smiled and said, "Oof!" with varying levels of intensity. The artist had created a performance piece! And then I wondered if he'd done that on purpose or if there was something else behind its creation and it was just a happy accident. Either way, everyone smiled after seeing "OOF" and I liked that.
Caleb could have lived in MoMA. His brothers and sister not so much. Lilyanna because she couldn't touch anything, the other boys because the art didn't speak to them the way it did to Caleb. His brain was able to make wonderful sense and experience delight where to his brothers' brains there was just clutter and chaos. It was a nice bit of role reversal, I think.