Friday, July 29, 2011

7 Quick Takes - Messy Edition

This is what you see when you walk in my house these days:  very organized clutter.  Stuff on the stairs to be returned to friends.  Piles of paper on the floor to be filed for each child.  A box of books and manipulatives to be given away.  And an empty trashcan because it was  taken out along with the large pile of trash beside it.

If you look to the left, there's the lovely library:  It's still totally disorganized.  I don't know what it all is or where it goes, except....the 2 cardboard boxes contain the Amazon Seller inventories of myself and Katie.  They're going to find homes in the basement.  The gray filebox is AHG stuff which needs to be re-organized before the year starts.

And here's the mess in-between:  Mom's paintings that need to be hung downstairs.  There's a bunch more down there waiting to go on the walls.  It would be nice to have that done in time for the 4th anniversary of her death next week.  I wish she were here to help---we always managed to get junk like this sorted out much faster when we were together!  Love you, Mom!

Hiding behind the painting are a zillion newly emptied hanging files which need to be re-used or put away.  And then there are Teacher's Manuals to replace the ones already on the desk next to the computer.

Speaking of Mom...Her 50th college reunion would have been this year, and the class got together to buy this little statue for the university.  They call it "Hope".  It was dedicated to members of the faculty and the class, one of whom is my mother.  She was very much loved by her friends.  And her family.  I'm so proud of her.

There's still a lot of mess here, but I did get a lot done yesterday!  I swear, I did!  Most of it was intellectual in that I had a long conversation with a friend and made decisions about which books to use this year.  We're going to follow Mother of Divine Grace for the most part, this year, with the exception of science and math.  So, that allowed me to rearrange the mess somewhat, now that that I know what has to go where.

I'm still enjoying my Supreme 90 workout.  I haven't finished all 10 workouts yet since I had the week off for summer camp.  I have 2 more, but I've really "enjoyed" every one.  I also won't do them 6 days a week as they recommend.  My rules are:  at least 2 workouts in a row, and no more than one day off between workouts.  That works out to 5 days per week and is very liveable for me. 

Gotta run get some of this mess cleared out!  We're going to have fun with friends this afternoon and the painters will be here next week to paint inside.  This has to be all cleaned up and put away by Monday!

Are you cleaning up messes before summer ends?
Have a blessed weekend!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What Happened at Summer Camp

So my Little Princess and I went to an American Heritage Girls summer camp for the first time.  I'm not sure why I chose to go; I didn't expect her to be particularly homesick or needy.  I guess I just wanted to see what it was like, and I failed to consider the vast amounts of heat and hard labor it would entail!  ;-)

You probably know by now, if you've been reading my blog for a while, that AHG is Christian in nature.  We have God in our oath and Leaders must all be Christians and sign a Statement of Faith.  I won't write it out here, but it was changed when our troop was chartered so that Catholics could sign it in good faith.  That's all well and good, though some might say (and have said)  that it's still too exclusive.  It leaves out those of the Jewish faith, for instance; the girls are welcome to join, but their parents can't ever be Leaders.  That doesn't thrill me, but right now I don't know of any other available alternatives to Girl Scouts.  (You can look at my sidebar for all the problems I have with Girl Scouts.)

At camp, we had mandatory Chapel every morning for an hour, and it sometimes ran longer than that.  It was fairly basic and boring most of the time, because any well-catechised child of 9 or so has probably heard all that stuff about the Trinity, Creation, and Jesus being The Word.  I could be totally off-base, but I can't imagine that very many of those girls come from non-Christian or non-church-going families!  Nevertheless, we Catholic moms who were there were listening intently for any heresy that might come up during the lessons.

The "highlight" of the week was the activity on Thursday night were we were lead from a sermon (Jesus is the Reason for the Season) in the amphitheater to to a place for foot-washing.  The Camp Leaders all washed the feet of the girls and any moms who wanted their feet washed.  I was a bit uncomfortable with this because of the significance foot-washing has in the Catholic Church.  Jesus washed the feet of His disciples on Holy Thursday when He instituted the priesthood so that they would know that being a priest meant being a servant.  I know that these ladies weren't thinking of anything like that, only that Jesus gave the example of being a "servant-leader."  Okay, so I could deal with that.

But then came the prayerful, candlelight hike (battery-powered tealights) to the  cross and the living nativity (a teen and a babydoll).  Then we had to listen to another sermon, which was the hottest, most humid, most miserable sermon I've ever sat (or stood) through!  The weather and the bugs would have been enough to make us all miserable, but I had to stay and wait for whatever was going to happen.  And then it came, the Altar Call, where she asked all the girls to come up who wanted to receive Jesus in their hearts.  I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was totally blindsided because I really thought I was at a scout summer camp, not a Bible camp!  I was not thrilled that the 3 youngest Catholic girls from our troop went up, including mine, but they didn't know any better.  We hadn't thought to warn them ahead of time.

You know, I grew up in the Church of Christ; I went to Bible Camps; I responded to altar calls at least twice in my life, and I know when someone is speaking from the heart because of her love for the Lord.  That's what this woman was doing, but I just didn't think it was the appropriate time or place.  I have nothing but admiration for these Christ-filled women who sacrifice themselves for the better part of a year to present these camps.  They do an amazing job and they are beautiful people!  There's something very special about being around so many Christian women and children for a week.  But....

We Catholics were upset, to put it mildly.  We talked to our children and tried to explain what the speaker was doing and why.  We explained that our "altar call" happens at every Mass when we go up to invite Jesus into our hearts in a very real way during Holy Communion.  We explained that when we've been separated from Him through sin for a while, we go to Confession instead of going to the front of the church and asking the congregation to pray for us though a prayer like that happens at the beginning of every Mass when we say the Confiteor:  "I ask you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God."

It might have all ended there as we thought that it would be only the Catholics with a problem, but two of my roommates, one of whom is a Baptist, felt it was highly inappropriate as well.  So we decided to set up a meeting with the camp directors and explain our feelings, as this was evidently the first time that something like this had happened at this camp.   Our concerns were more urgent because the woman who gave the sermons and did the call is the new program director for AHG National.  We were, and are, very concerned that this should not become an accepted or encouraged part of AHG programming!

If we're all Christian, and I'm sure most members of AHG are from Christian families, if not actually baptized yet, then we don't need to be "preaching to the choir."  We don't need to be trying to convert those who have come to camp for scouting activities.  We will evangelize and convert souls that need it by our actions and our love.  Though I gather that's a rather Catholic philosophy, not an evangelical protestant one!  Most of us are part of AHG because of it's Christian philosophy, but they, the national organization, need to understand that Catholics are Christians, and that there are vast differences in our beliefs and our way of worshipping.  We need to respect everyone's faith tradition, as Boy Scouts does.  We're on the same team.  We need to focus on what we have in common and capitalize on that in our mission of "building women of integrity through service to God, family, community, and country."

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday Snippets

We're home!  It's so nice to be back in the comfort of my airconditioned home and surrounded by my family (or most of them, anyway).  It's nice to be appreciate by one's husband.  I know he appreciates me all the time, but now he really appreciates me!

 The first afternoon we were at camp, the older, wonderful, American Heritage Girls got the campers playing a hand-clapping game.   Something about a bullfrog jumping from bank to banky...  They loved it and can't wait to teach it to our troop!
The theme was Christmas in July and we spent one evening packing over 200 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.

My assignment for the week was the Archery range, which meant very. little. shade. and 3-4 hours per day on the range.  We tried really hard to keep cool...well, there was no such thing as "keeping cool"  it was more like "keeping from collapsing from heat exhaustion".  I was working with these 2 wacky ladies, and we're nasty, sweaty, and HOT in this pic, but we're smiling because we're finally finished!
 And just don't say anything about how I look because I barely recognized myself in this picture!

I got a wicked bruise from trying to learn archery myself.  Whenever anyone saw it, they gasped in shock and then said, "Archery, right?"  My own temporary Merit Badge.
Meg got to spend her days canoeing.  She had a great time with that.

We had mandatory Chapel every morning for an hour which was pretty dicey because we Catholics have slightly different beliefs in some areas than the protestants, so the Catholic Moms were listening very carefully to make sure we didn't need to do damage control.  As it turned out, there was a bit of an upset one evening during the evening activities, which I will probably tell you about, but it deserves a post of its own.  I just have to be sure I can have the time to write it carefully and try not to offend anyone.

All week I was diligent about sunscreen on my face and wearing my hat, so I wouldn't get sunburned on my face.  Nothing on the arms or legs.  No problem---maybe I got a little darker, but no burns.

Today I went to the pool for 2 hours and I'm totally fried.  What's up with that?

I got an urgent call from my choir director, yesterday, because he lost his voice and needed me to cantor this morning.  So I said yes and had a quick run-through with the organist (his lovely wife) today and did my job.  My voice was amazing this morning!  LOL, it's the same, average, voice, but it was just very clear and it was easy to sing; I think it's from the many gallons of water I drank all week which had those vocal chords much more lubricated than usual.  I think I'll try to continue drinking lots of water, but then, I won't have a choir to sing in much longer since they're both leaving for another parish.  We are devastated and will miss them very much.

Looks like the vacation is over and I need to cook dinner, again.  It's great to be back!  I have a lot of blog-reading to catch up---folks have been busy this week!


Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer Camp Daybook

You can find more Daybooks at the Simple Woman's Daybook.


Outside my window...
...Sunny and pleasant, but it's supposed to heat up!

I am thinking... 
...about what I still need to pack for summer camp.
...the projects that still need to be completed around the house.
...about what we will do when we start school in a few weeks.

I am thankful for...
...the opportunity to go to Summer Camp for the first time ever!

From the lesson plans...
What are those?  I hope to finish the basement this week and spend next week working on lesson plans.  And cleaning up from last year, which we never actually finished.  I think we'll just end up picking up where we left off.

From the kitchen...
...My 3 boys who will be home this week have each chosen 2 dinners to cook, and I bought the ingredients this weekend.  That should take care of them for the week I'm gone....If it works, I have to wonder, do I EVER really need to cook?  

I am wearing... workout clothes!  Because, yes, I worked out this a.m. before leaving for camp.

I am creating...
...a liveable space downstairs.  Clearing up the clutter as I repaint, little by little.

I am reading...
A book by Eleanor Roosevelt, who I hear was a "wacko lefty", but she seems to have a certain amount of womanly wisdom.  We'll see.

I am hoping... get the basement finished in the next week before I go to summer camp!

Finished the wall-painting, but I'm in the middle of the hutch, which is still in pieces.  That will have to wait til I get back.

I am hearing...
...Meg singing the National Anthem in her best voice.  She wants to sing it at the beginning of a swim meet next year.

Around the house...
...Did I mention the basement?
Everything is on hold while I'm gone!

I am going... AHG Summer Camp! be really HOT all week, have a great time, be really tired when I get home!

One of my favorite things...
...the sound of children playing happily in the mornings.

I am praying for...
...Gus, Eric, Mary Ann, Daisy, Elizabeth, the people in Joplin, our priests...

A few plans for the rest of the week...

Friday, July 15, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday

Visit Jen's for more Quick Takes!

I'm sitting here all sweaty, I thought you'd like to know.  Today is the 3rd day in a row I have worked out!  Woot!   I know you're wondering why that's so exciting that I should share, but it's basically because I've been totally lame for several months.  

Everyone has been chatting up P90X for months; I guess because of the Dreaded Swimsuit Season.  I've been dying to try it for years, but it's extremely pricey for something you want to "try".  Plus, I'm not excited about spending an hour or more per day working out! So I got what I hope is the Next Best Thing:  The Supreme 90Day Workout!.  Did you click that?  It's only $20 for 10 workouts!  And they're only 30 minutes each!  It's based on the same principle of muscle confusion as P90X.   I've enjoyed the first 3 workouts, and I've been pleasantly sore, not excruciatingly sore.  I'll keep you posted on progress.

Here's a little pic of Pete's Katie's new bathroom.  She had repainted it earlier in the summer and we just picked up the new shower curtain and eggplant bathmat at Ikea this week.  Can't really see the eggplant in that pic, can you?  Use your imagination.

The house has been super-saturated with Harry Potter for the past couple of weeks.  Books floating around.  Movies being watched and rewatched constantly.  Arguments Discussions about who did what and why.  Pete took the kids to see the midnight show last night.  I heard them come in, but they should sleep for a few more hours, I think.  They won't be able to talk to me all day because I'll be covering my ears saying, "No spoilers!"  "Nah, nah, nah, nah, I can't hear you!"  Which is weird because I totally know how it ends, having read the books several times, but I don't know how the movie will end!  You know?

It's seriously time to start packing for summer camp for Meg and myself.  If it were the boys going, I'd be nagging them to get started already, so that if I have to run to the store for last minute necessities, it's not at the last minute.

But it's hard to pack when I'd rather finish up the latest project of painting my mom's hutch for Katie.  The lower half is finished, but the upper half with the grooves and curlicues is going to take a while.

I just had to show you this:  The Shur-line Extension Pole.  (I don't know why they show it without the roller attached.)
I bought one of these on a whim while painting the basement because I was tired of the old wooden ones and my hands were sore.  Let me tell you:  I don't think I could have finished in the time I did if I hadn't gotten this!  It made the work so much easier because of the cushioned grip and the instant change from long to short!  Love.

The only thing I didn't care for is that the roller handle would come unscrewed suddenly, so you had check it periodically (like when you reload the roller with paint).  Just thought I'd share if you're doing any painting this summer!

Trivia night tonight!  Date with my honey, and HP tomorrow.  Book club Sunday.  Packing for camp.  Busy weekend!

What are your plans for the Week End??

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Before and After

I didn't take a very good "before" picture for you, because I'm just that kind of blogger.  I kind of remember at the last minute that I'm supposed to!

I got this little dresser for free from a friend's garage.  I don't know why Kath gave it up since she's as crafty (or craftier!) as I am.  But I thought it was just the right size for my bathroom.
 I had some spare time yesterday afternoon, and I had been to The Depot for something else, where I picked up the necessary paint for it, so I just launched into it because the house wasn't messy enough.

I had been planning to paint it in the garage, but it's just too. darn.  hot.  So I thought I could bring in one drawer at a time, and before I knew it, it was finished!  

I found the old brass knobs from the kitchen, and painted them with the hammered nickel spraypaint that was just begging to be used.
 Et voila!  She is beautiful and is perfect in my bathroom!
That first pic does not do the color justice; it's very bright, much closer to this last picture.  It's Behr Jamaican Sea.   I have lots of it left over if anyone local needs it!

Are you sorry you let me have it, Kathleen?

You can see more "Before and Afters" here:


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer Birthday!

If I try to write anything, I'll cry.  Let me just say that 18 years ago today I was scared of having 3 children.  (And look at me now with 6!)  My Petey was, and is, a joy.  He's a beautiful young man, and I hate to send him off to college in 4 weeks.

Happy Birthday, Peter!  We love you!
(See?  I told you so!)

Friday, July 8, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday

Hop on over to Jenn's for more Quick Takes!

Pete and I rocked the painting Wednesday in the basement!  With another hand wielding a paintbrush, or moving furniture, or taping, we went twice as fast.  I think I painted for 9 hours that day!  And we're down to the end----just 3 doors and the surrounding trim.  I'm hoping to knock that out today and get all the furniture back in place.

The more you do, the more there is to do, isn't there?  Looking at the nice clean walls, makes me think we can't really live with my mom's hutch (china cabinet?) in the condition it's in.  It's down there because it'll be Katie's when she gets her own place.  Mom had painted it white, and then it ended up in storage for a decade, so it's all discolored and stained.  Gross.  Definitely needs a new paint job!

When I talked to Katie the other day, she asked about the possibility of slipcovering the sofa.  I must admit I'd been thinking the same thing.  It's 20 years old, and the cushions are in good condition, but it's blue and pink country gingham.  'Nuff said.

I don't know when those 2 things will happen, or who will do them.  For now, I'm focusing on painting and moving things back to where they belong (or to their new homes), then homeschooling, summer camp, AHG, starting school in August.  Lots coming up in the last month of summer and I may be just about done with all the home improvements for a while.

Tonight is Trivia Night at Starbucks.  We've been going all summer and having a blast.  A couple of weeks ago we won (!!!) with just 4 adults, by getting nearly every answer correct.  I think we missed only one.  Last week was practically the opposite; we got a lot wrong.  But then, so did everyone else.  It was a stumper of a night.  Win Big or Lose Big, it's still fun.

Bright and early tomorrow I get to drive up to the Boy Scout Reservation to pick up a carload of boys from Summer Camp.  That'll be fun.   Yeah...not really.  I don't know what possessed me to volunteer, unless it was years of guilt of having small children and being unable to do my driving duty.  Maybe I just didn't volunteer because it's one of those activities that just makes me uncomfortable on all sorts of levels.

The Trash Man and the Recycle Man just came and took all our trash!  Woot!  I know, that sounds silly, but with all this home rearranging, organizing, and cleaning, we've really produced a lot of trash!  I had no idea I was working that hard!  Including the carload of Goodwill stuff that went, and all the trash still in the garage that we didn't have room for today, we really have been Cleaning House!  It's a good feeling.

Got any fun plans for the weekend?  Trivia?  Driving?  Painting?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Another Summer Daybook

Outside my window...
...Sunny, hot, a few clouds.  Probably more thunderstorms this afternoon.

I am thinking... 
...about how long it will take me to paint the rest of the basement!

I am thankful for... kayaking daughter surviving the severe thunderstorm and hail while on the river Saturday.
...It seems silly, but while I'm getting all this work done around the house, I remember the past few summers where I got nothing done because I was too tired.  I was healthy, just T.I.R.E.D.  
Ladies, get your hormones checked!  Getting my hormones balanced has made a huge difference in my life.  I'm not on thyroid meds or any other hormones; I'm just on supplements that make them all work better.

From the lesson plans...
What are those?  I hope to finish the basement this week and spend next week working on lesson plans.  And cleaning up from last year, which we never actually finished.  I think we'll just end up picking up where we left off.

From the kitchen...
...Last night we had Barbara's Asian Lettuce Wraps which were a total hit.   There were only 4 of us, so I'll have to double the recipe when we try it again.
...Something easy tonight.  Maybe Pete will cook since I plan to paint all day, again.

I am wearing...
...Shorts and a t-shirt.  

I am creating...
...a liveable space downstairs.  Clearing up the clutter as I repaint, little by little.

I am reading...
Born to Run, by a guy who asked the question "Why does my foot hurt?" and set out to find the answer.  Why can some people run effortlessly, even 100 mile races?  Very interesting, so far.  Not that I have any desire to be one of those people.

I am hoping... get the basement finished in the next week before I go to summer camp!

I am hearing...
...Mario on the wii.  Is there anything more annoying than the repetitive Mario Bros. music? Last week when Meg was helping me paint she was singing to herself---Mario Bros.!  She didn't realize it was the same tune, and I made her sing a real song because it was driving me nuts.

Around the house...
...Did I mention the basement?
...Exercise Room is done!
...Hallway is almost done---just one more door to paint.
...the playroom is half painted, but the other half requires serious furniture moving.  I need a big helper for that.
...we got storage shelves for our storage room!  What an amazing difference that makes in the pile of stuff!  We probably still need one more shelf to make it perfect.
...Yesterday I cleaned out the 2 bedrooms of the boys at Summer Camp; Meg and I cleaned out her room (needed a shovel!) 
...reorganized the linen closet, getting rid of old or unused sheets and towels
...Pete and I cleaned out his closet which was a HUGE mess.

I am going... let Pete run my errands today since he needs something to do, and he can help paint, too. donate a LOT of stuff to Goodwill.

I hope the economy gets better soon; I can't imagine a world where none of my remaining 3 kids are unable to get summer jobs.  Better still, jobs where they can work at least one day per week year round.

One of my favorite things...
...painting,  or at least being finished painting.  New, clean walls.
...lots of time to listen to podcasts

I am praying for...
...Gus, Eric, Mary Ann, Daisy, Elizabeth, the people in Joplin, our priests...

A few plans for the rest of the week...
...AHG board meeting
...AHG ice cream party

What are you doing with your summer?  Are you relaxing or getting things done around the house?
(Though, I have to say, for me, getting these things done will help me relax more.)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy Sunday!

We had a rather eye-opening experience today when we went to Mass!

We decided to attend the 7:30 a.m. Mass all together because Tom and Pip needed to go before going to summer camp.  Drop off time was at 9:00, so rather than go yesterday at 5:00 p.m., we opted for this morning.

Around 7:40 we were starting to wonder where the priest was, and, sure enough, they announced that no priest had shown up and we would just have a communion service.  Now, I don't know the "rules" about such matters, but we really wanted to get to an actual Mass before the boys had to go.  So, we're sitting there pondering our options when my Dear Husband had an inspiration:

We could just go down the hall to the Family Center where Mass was being celebrated in Spanish!

We did, and at least one other couple followed us.  Don followed more of the homily than I did, since I've never had any real Spanish education, but we followed the Mass and I said the English responses in Meg's ear so she'd know where we were.  It was different, but it was Mass, and it was good.

We did hear that they made an announcement that anyone could go to the Spanish Mass after we left (because Don had told the Deacon where we were going).  But we wonder why they didn't just send everyone down there to begin with!  Surely a readily available Mass should be preferred over a communion service even if it's in a different language?  I don't think it's very different from the past where many of the less educated folks probably didn't understand the Latin Mass.

What do you think?  Where would you have gone?  Another English-speaking parish?  Stayed for the Communion service?  Or the Spanish Mass?  And why, of course.

I hope you're having a beautiful Sunday and Fourth of July Weekend!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sigh...Everyone's Blogging but Me!

My Google Reader is jam packed these days because everyone else seems to have time to blog.

Not me.  I've been (happily) spending lots of time in my basement painting and re-arranging.

The Exercise Room went from this on Tuesday a.m.

to this on Tuesday night:
New Expedit shelves from Ikea that Pete and Tom put together.

The beanbag is the only seating in there, so we have room for  exercise.

I moved in this big coffee table for the electronics.  Ignore all the tools on top and the  PS2  guitars underneath!
And the bonus is that my boys got ALL the electronic stuff to work since the cords had gotten confused somehow.

I finished the hallway today (except all the trim) and painted half the playroom.  So it's coming along!  

All that painting requires breaks to drive kids places, go to County Swim Meets and Doctor's appointments, fill out paperwork and go to the post office, shop, cook, etc.

In other words, I've been crazy busy, though it feels really good to get stuff done around the house.

What have YOU been up to?  Crazy busy?  Enjoying the summer with your kids?  Both?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...