Sunday, August 29, 2010

for a Sunday Evening

Used to go to Mt. Savior for Compline every now and then. The service is less than half and hour and the drive was about 50 minutes, but worth every moment. Have been singing this hymn with the kids for a few months now, before bed.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

On a Saturday Evening

Matt's gone and snapped his Achilles tendon, as you all probably noticed from facebook (why is that always our First Instinct now? I don't really want an answer to that question). Looks like he'll be having surgery in short order. And, because these sorts of things change everything, I'll be dragging myself out of bed without tea in the morning, and also celebrating for the first time in this church. Never occurred to me to bother before, too busy holding babies or fussing around in the sacristy or something. But at least we get to go to church!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

why I haven't been blogging and probably won't for a bit longer...

Some of you around the country have already started school, or so it appears from facebook and twitter. Not so with me. Official school starts exactly two weeks from today. TWO WEEKS! Actually, I just read this post and now feel like I'm just whining.

What are we doing for school? you ask. Well, various things. A group of families, as I mentioned on this blog months ago, have been meeting together to start a Classical School in the Binghamton area. The name of this fledgling hopeful enterprise is Soli Deo Gloria Classical School. We, of course, longed to open our doors for a full five day classical program of K thru 6 this September, but as the days approached and minutes ticked by, we revised our plans for this year. We are indulging ourselves in a 4 half day tutorial/co-op and are registering still has homeschoolers, although doing as much as formally as we can.

I am on the "lucky" end of the deal. My kids get everything but history, Bible and fine arts in class and I get to teach literature, writing and geography. Some older students will have to go home and do Math every day. May God give them courage.

I am, therefore, wildly putting together lists of books and end of the year goals (so that I can make weekly plans and then daily plans--is it possible that one would be so organized?) and coping with a weeping Elphine who "just wants to stay home all the time!" I have a feeling its not that she wants to stay home, but that she Hates Change. Ridiculous child. Where would she get the idea that change is bad? (cough) Threatened her with boarding school this morning if she didn't stop crying.

So, you can see, we are in for a fairly colossal life change in short order. I have no idea how blogging will fit in in the weeks and months ahead (though it will! I just don't know how) or how I will fit in prayer and exercise. I am not a morning person and I generally do all these three things in a leisurely way in the morning as I slowly wake up. In two weeks, I will be back in the Kingdom of the Insane who wake up at 5:30, take a shower, dress 5 children and arrive cheerfully at school by 7:30 am. I can guarantee that I will not be walking up at 4 in order to pray and blog. I do welcome and covet your prayers as we start this new exciting life.

On that note, I am going to lay this aside and recover myself with all my bits of paper and lists! Good day to you all.

Friday, August 20, 2010

7 Quick Takes

The four oldest children have gone for the whole day to be with T and K, our old neighbors. K is going to college on Sunday and we are all desperately sad. How did this happen? How will we all live without her? They are all going to have a long fat laden day of swimming and junk food probably.
And I, hmmm, what am I going to do for a whole day without any children? Well, I guess the baby counts as a whole child, but, as Matt always says, 'having one child around is essentially like having no children. Its that easy.' I'm frankly lonely, specially since she's already gone back to sleep for the morning. What am I supposed to do? Work out (cough)? Vacuum? Get ready for school (HaaaHaaaa)? Sit around and watch Matt write a sermon?
I finally went to the doctor this week. Kept forgetting to call and was vaguely afraid of forgetting to go once I called. At each level of being plugged back into the system, whoever was talking to me would shriek when they realized how far along I am--this sort of upward tilting piercing shriek that would launch me into one and a half minutes of apology.
How far along am I? 16 weeks. Doesn't seem that much to me. However, I am used to the first ultrasound picture being a tiny little cute floating peanut, but this first ultra sound picture was of an actual fairly large headed baby. Just a tiny shock there. 'That's definitely a boy,' said Matt, when I came home, 'that head, that's definitely a boy.'
'Yeah right,' I said, 'dream on. You're going to have three little girls running around fussing about their tights and whether or not its their turn for the wretched princess bowl.' Matt is a sucker for baby girls.
Another shock was being reminded over and over again about my age by the doctor. 'Well, as girls get older,' she would say. Or, 'The high sugar is probably a fluke, but as girls get older...' Wanted to over react. I'm not old. Ordinarily everyone things I'm amazingly young to have all these children. But I guess I am older than I was yesterday. And I'll be even older on Sunday when I turn 34.
The children have been giving me strange little birthday presents all week. Romulus brought me a small box with a tiny figure of superwoman (how did we acquire this toy?) in it. Gladys tried to take it away from me.
'That's my supewgwil,' she said.
'No its not,' I said, 'Womulus gave it to me. Now its mine!'
She trailed out of the room shouting 'Daddyyyyyyyyyy, Mommyyyyy's twying to take my swupewgwil!!!
What am I going to do for my birthday? Go to church, I expect, since is Sunday. And then make myself a blackberry pie in the afternoon.

Go check out Jen!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Just one more post about my awesomely clean house, that's it, I promise

Matt says I shouldn't blog about my awesomely clean house because it sounds prideful. He is a smidgen right. I can feel myself pitching off the cliff of humility into the pit of puffed pride. However, we're celebrating the triumph of a whole month of a deeply clean and orderly house this week and so I'm sorry, I Have to blog about it. Plus, Jeanne asked how we get the kids to pick up their piles and piles and piles of toys so that's practically an invitation to indulge myself.

Let me start by saying that a month of a clean house is far and away beyond my expectation for anything this side of Everlasting Glory. I've always been basically organized and clean, with a firm knowledge of how to deep clean, though no great desire to do it. Then I married a man with a mother of impeccable taste and house keeping skills whose efforts to impart any of that knowledge to her son had been entirely without success. But my own mother had given me some excellent advice on the eve of my wedding, and that was 'the man you marry is the man you marry. You can't change him and you shouldn't try.' So, I devoted myself to the path of asking for help but of never ever ever nagging. Many people who wanted me to get my excellent husband to do stuff (like remember to send a thank you note, or make a call, or say what he wanted for his birthday) have been deeply frustrated with me over the years because after asking him to do these things once, my policy of No Nagging sets in and I don't ask him a second time, unless you make me feel really guilty. Why the long autobiographical interlude? Because we were two creatures capable of keeping house but in actuality, so entrenched in bad habits that we never managed to have an orderly lifestyle. Whatever was in our hands, we let fall, and there it rested until we had a grand clean up at the end of the week, or month, or right before visitors came.

Two people who let fall the contents of their hands upon the earth is not that big of a deal. But seven people IS, its a HUGE colossal great deal. Our grand clean ups at the end of the day, week, month became so daunting  and dismal that our tempers shortened and flared and we were always discouraged with cleaning all day and still going to bed in a house with lots more work.

And so, in a fit of brilliance, the idea that we should Not Ever Ever Ever let fall the contents of our hands upon the earth, and nor should our children, nor our children's children, nor also the cat, nor the dog, nor any creature that moveth in the house or in the yard hit us as from Heaven itself. The last month has been a moment by moment training for all of us. As I lay my tea cup next to the sink, I say, why don't I wash this cup and put it in the cupboard? And verily, I do. And when Gladys takes out all of Elphine's Laura Ingles Wilder Dolls and makes up the little beds and takes off all their clothes and then begins to walk off into another room, as with one voice, the family rises up and says, 'Gladys! Put those dolls away!' and she does. Romulus has learned that he may play with his knights over the face of the whole house but he has to always clean them up and so he carries them around in an enormous basket with him all day, arranging them in battle and then taking them down. No item of clothing is allowed to remain, alone, in a room on the floor with no people. The person who left it there has to come and get it and put it away. No shoes may scatter themselves over the hallway and rest on the stairway, waiting, waiting to break your neck. ALL shoes go On the shelf in the hall. Inch by inch, moment by moment we're starting to reverse our habits. 

AND, this life change has resulted from the common grace of mutual respect and love, not from frustration and nagging. A month ago, Matt and I looked deeply into each other's eyes and realized This was what we wanted. It wasn't the result of either of us relentlessly complaining about the awful house. And we've put the No Nagging policy in action with the children. I'm not going to endlessly remind and whine at them to pick up. They aren't allowed to leave the room until its clean, so the nagging is completely eliminated. 

And life is so pleasant. And I bake every day now. And pretty soon, school will start, but I have no fear that life will crumble into chaos and ruin. I expect we'll learn a great deal and have a nice time because we won't have to shovel off the desks every day and wade our way through piles of clothes and shoes trying to get to the door or kitchen or office. And, most wonderfully of all, you can drop by any time. I won't spend 15 minutes apologizing for how awful it is, but I probably will stand there hopefully, waiting for you to notice that you can put one foot in front of the other without tripping over shoes and library books. Welcome!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

a little something

Matt has been preaching on prayer the last few weeks, and this sermon was a real highlight. I highly recommend it if you have time, or even if you don't.

The Ancient Art of Letter Writing

I used to write long old fashioned letters by hand. Of course, when I first went to boarding school, at age 11, there was required letter home writing time. I vaguely remember this being Sunday, probably during interminable rest hour, certainly always the moment my Sunday headache set in. But in High School there was no time set aside and one wrote if one wanted to. I spent my free library times pouring out endless volumes of words, writing to each of my parents separately, to many friends scattered around the world, and sometimes to a cousin.

I think I was a pretty good letter writer. I could fill all four sides of the big long folded graph paper (I don't know how to describe it, you can't get it here in the US). I had plenty to complain about. My letters were desperately long and filled with sappy drama and emotion and longing.

I stumbled upon a stack of these letters the other day. I actually have them in a fancy leather trunk in my entry way. I glanced over them and felt sad at this lost 'art'. But not too sad. In many ways blogging is more difficult and therefore better. Whereas anyone can fill up four sides of paper with moaning and complaint in under an hour, blogging, good blogging (which I'm not pretending this is) should be focused, directed at an audience more difficult to define, and therefore have some unifying theme and purpose. Of course, the Internet is littered with long rambling letter like blog posts (some of them are by me) which say essentially nothing. But it is also full of excellent writing available for free, without the hassle of the United States Post Office, which, in Binghamton, is a hassle that defines the word hassle. Mailing a letter in Sikasso, Mali was easier.

Its not as if, in this technologically defined age, we've stopped communicating or lost anything, really. We've just redirected our efforts.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A day off where we go somewhere and do something

After three months of our lovely car being at the car doctor, we Finally have it back which means we all get to go grocery shopping together this morning! Matt has done all our shopping this summer and is good at it, though frugal. But I have missed terribly wandering the aisles of Wegmans, coffee in hand, 3 children in the Play Place, feeling fakely normal with one child in my cart while I buy bulk spices, different colored lentils, gorgeous vegetables and fancy puff pastry dough. I always like to wear the baby because it makes me feel hip and modern. Of course, the baby has reached the 'let me jump out of your arms and run away to freedom' stage so we may strap her in the cart, although that might further be trying because she's also in the 'let me pick up everything, taste it and then fling it on the ground' stage. Our theory is that God makes babies at these stages super cute so that they survive infancy, what with all the desperately annoying developmental desires.

Then we will probably drive around because it will be so nice to be out of the house on our day off and not cooped up in the back yard. Maybe we'll get all crazy and stop at a park. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Happy Anniversary to...

and Matt, since we got married nine years ago today. It wasn't a Wednesday, though. It was the inevitable Saturday, but not the evening. We got married at 10am in the morning which was already way too long to wait for such an occasion. I was ready to walk down the aisle at about 7:30 and had to sit around the whole morning watching my bridesmaids fuss over their hair and hideous pink sparkly dresses. One of the more satisfying moments of my life has been forcing five of my closest and most loved friends to wear pink at my very own wedding. This is possibly why I have never been invited to be in anyone else's wedding (or maybe because I'm always enormously pregnant when my friends are getting married).

The other more satisfying moments of my life was watching very partially hung over groomsmen realize that we were about to sing another hymn. We sang all the hymns you could sing. The service lasted an hour and 20 minutes only because my father preached such a short time. If we could have stretched it to two hours we would have. Not being Catholic we couldn't justify leaving a lovely offering in front of the statue of Mary (although  believe me, I really tried to justify it. What an excellent way to show off the dress!) Nor did we end up going with the 1662 Prayer Book Service, although we really really really wanted to. It just became too complicated. But we did sing I want to Walk as a Child of the Light and Lift High the Cross (I think) and King of Glory King of Peace. And I walked in to Not Here for High or Holy Things. Not yet being in submission to my excellent husband, I was able to fend off his great desire that we sing A Mighty Fortress NOT because its not an excellent hymn, but because the verse about Satan is so unsuitable for a wedding.

My father's sermon was chiefly about how he hoped we would have many many children and have a filthy and chaotic house as a result. This blessing, it seems, we are being blessed with abundantly. Six babies in nine years is nothing to sneeze at. However, our house is not chaotic nor filthy. So there.

And we are ridiculously happy, or at least I am. To be floating along through life, intending to devote oneself to the service of God in miserable sacrifice and instead happen, one evening over dinner in the refectory, to fall headlong in love with a strange and fascinating young man with piercing blue eyes and and an extremely quick mind and end up in the service of God without any misery at all, well, what other choice is there than happiness?

Monday, August 09, 2010

The Naming of Babies is a Difficult Matter

Now that I've finally decided to blog, Matt is glaring at me like, 'why are you still on the computer? Let's paint the entire house.'

So, let me just say that Kennedy 6.0 Baby Naming Extravaganza 2010 is now officially open. We need boys names, girls names and blog names for both.

Let the Suggesting Begin!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

the balmy days of Summer, and no international Anglican crisis or anything

I can hear much laughing and playing, indicating to me that No One is getting dressed and doing their morning work. I should leap up and cause my children to walk in the way they should go, but I thought I'd try my hand at blogging and see if I even remember how to do it.

Trouble is, life is so quiet and ordered and peaceful, for the moment, that I have absolutely nothing of interest to write about. We generally go away from Binghamton in August and return mid month to piles of backed up church and house work. But here we are, quietly dealing with things as they arise, regularly weeding the garden, eating long interesting meals on the front porch, picking up after ourselves and feeling that something must be wrong for life to be this calm. Then I whisperingly remind Matt that everyone will shortly be back from their holidays and the chaos will rise to its regular fevered pitch and we will settle back into normal life once more.

We probably needed this time of calm, unused though we are to it. It doubtless explains the cleaning and house ordering frenzy. Our garage looks, not to be ageist, like we are already grandparents. You could eat off the floor in there. Give us a few weeks, though, and the ordinary frantic pace of church life will cure that and our garage and laundry room will look like our true station in life.

When something real and exciting happens, I'll be sure to let you know. Until then, I am battling beetles in my garden.