Friday, April 28, 2006

Completed Project

Although not my project! My husband and I decided that our eldest daughter needed a desk. We priced student desks, and they were all pretty high, and overpriced at that, we thought. So my husband pulled out some lumber and used his woodworking skills to make her one. I'm rather proud of him! My daughter picked out the stencil designs and colors.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Modern Life

So, I get these ideas, but I hesitate to share them, because I don't have solid data to back it up. I base my thoughts on observing those around me, and on my reading, which hasn't been prolific for a long time. But I'll throw an idea out here that I've been pondering and see where it goes.

Even though there currently seems to be an increase in the popularity of being a stay-at-home mother, at least while children are young, I'm not sure that we will ever see moms staying at home with children again at the level of, say, a hundred years ago. Now, I would like to see mothers staying at home with their children, and, horror of horrors, maybe even staying home just as wives to maintain the home with no kids around. I don't want to thrash out here all the reasons it is best for moms to be at home, just that why I think many moms still won't do it.

For me, it's all about how people will avoid everything they possibly can. As humans, we take the easy way out, even if the harder route is better. That's a duh moment, really, but I think it is behind so much. Take cooking. Lots of people don't like to cook. I'm not particularly fond of it. If I could ever afford it, I'd hire a cook before I'd hire a maid. Now, my husband is a born cook. He loves to tinker around with recipes and flavors. I've increased my cooking skills because of my husband, which gives me more enjoyment, but I'd probably scarcely do it all if I didn't have to do so. But I do cook because it is healthier and less expensive. With today's options, however, people don't have to cook, so many don't. That is, unless you call warming something up in a microwave, "cooking."

Or take sewing. Did you know that Laura Ingalls Wilder did not like sewing? And neither did Ma? But in those days, unless you could afford a seamstress, you did not have a choice. Ma had a family of six to clothe, and so she had to sew, and she taught her daughters to sew, because they would need to clothe themselves and their own families someday. Some writers, like L. M. Montgomery, decried the sewing machine as impersonal, arguing that clothes were more special when made by hand, that one could imbue the garment with loving thoughts as one made each stitch. Ma, on the other hand, was thrilled with acquiring a sewing machine, because it made the process easier and quicker. She looked at it purely from a practical viewpoint. Today, people don't even need a sewing machine, and of course many people don't know how to sew. Any type of garment today can be purchased, at all price and quality levels.

Just as new advances enabled people to give up household tasks they did not wish to perform, women today can almost completely give up the household. I don't pretend to know all the reasons why women working out of the home became such an approved option, but most of the mothers of today I personally know who are working, do so because they prefer it. Yes, they also enjoy the bigger home, the newer cars, the fancy vacations and so on. But many women just don't seem to want to be at home. I do think many could be happy at home just the same, if they chose to be. That sounds sanctimonious, but I think it's true. I don't believe women of yesteryear always enjoyed every task they had to perform, but at that time, most of them had no choice. If you were going to be happy, you had to decide to do so in spite of circumstances.

But today with so many more options, we women (and men) don't often have to live with things that we don't enjoy. I'm guilty myself, of course, of wanting to avoid unpleasant tasks, and not being content with the incredible gifts I have. I do enjoy staying at home, and it's what I've always wanted. In a world of fallen humans, however, I'm not sure that enough women either want to do it, or will choose to do it.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Farm Fields and Ball Fields

Dairy field trip was fine; that's about all I can say about it. Not to take away in the least from the effort put into planning it, just that there were some round-about things with this trip that made me emotional. My mood resembled a train car on Millennium Force. Did you know Cedar Point opens on May 6? :) Anyway, the girls had a good time, which is the main thing, and it was nice to talk to other moms for a bit. I already buy the milk and butter this dairy produces, so I didn't get anything today to take home. I didn't feel like dealing with taking pictures, either, so I'll just be lazy and direct you over to Marie's site. She and her daughter also attended this trip and Marie actually has some pictures up. It's a shame with all the warm days that we have had recently that it was cold for this trip, and even rained at the very end, but that's life in Greater Cleveland.

Hooray, I found the Indians game on the Buzzard! Tonight their normal station is covering the Cavs game instead. I used to be somewhat interested in the Cavs, I guess only because I was a big fan of Mark Price. Now I'm just glad a Cleveland team can do well! I think tonight would be a good night to putter in my sewing room and listen to the Indians game. I'm physically tired and mentally drained. Hope the Tribe can snap out of their problems tonight! I also hope I can snap out of my bad feelings, too.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Sunshine Day

I didn't blog over the weekend because I spent a good bit of it "vegging out," so I found it hard to put good, coherent sentences together. Today I feel much more energetic and alert though, so I guess a "down" weekend was worth it. I do wonder how much the weather affects my mood; it's certainly not an uncommon idea. Yesterday it was gray and dull, and you could feel heavy rain approaching. Now that the rain has passed and the sun is shining again, I feel much better.

Tomorrow there is a field trip to a dairy farm through a Lutheran homeschool group. The girls should enjoy it because we are supposed to get an ice cream cone! So today I want to try to work a little extra schoolwork in. I wanted to do a little schoolwork with the girls last week, but we didn't get through as much as I wanted. The schools around here were on vacation, so the girls got more of an opportunity to play with friends who are normally in school and "after school care." Ah well. The weather has been lovely and it is good for them to be outside playing. There are several kids close by in our neighborhood and they can spend a whole day playing in various backyards. My daughters always let me know where they are, and I can see them myself most of the time. The other parents are good about keeping an eye out as well. It's pretty close to those idyllic carefree childhoods where you would leave the house after breakfast and not come home until dinner, even if a parent is always inobtrusively watching nowadays. Sometimes I'd like to spend all day playing outside myself!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Small Electric World

I completely surprised Devona of Love and Blunder by walking up to her at a special service at our church tonight and telling her I recognized her from her blog! I guess I need to find a decent picture of myself to put up on my blog sometime. How will I know I've arrived until some stranger comes up to me out of nowhere and tells me she reads my blog? Uh, yeah. :) Oddly enough, we attend the church we presently do in large part by finding it through Elizabeth of Anxious Contentment!

Anyway, the special service was presented by the Kantorei of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne. They did a very nice job.

Not much else going on here in this small corner of Ohio. Hope you all have good weekends! I'll probably check in here sometime and update.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Wrapping Things Up

We have some end-of-school-year stuff to take care of. I'm re-registering my youngest daughter with Brownies and I'm doing it differently this year. They have an "optional" section at the bottom for ethnicity, and in the case of adult registrants (leaders and such) highest education received as well. I left it blank last year, since it says it is optional and I object to ethnic "quotas." Well, being the leader of my other daughter's troop, I was very irked when I got copies of our registration forms back for troop records and found that the area registrar had filled that section out for us! Hmmm. Not very optional then, is it? So this year I'm writing across the whole box in big letters "I Choose Not to Fill Out This Section." I can't see how checking a box stops discrimination, which I presume is the reasoning behind this. And I would like to know how someone who doesn't know me from Adam can ascertain my ethnic background and education level.

As far as my older daughter's troop, of which I am the leader, I have no idea how that is going to go. It was a difficult year for me. I became a leader by default, in mid-September or so, because what was supposed to happen troop-wise fell through and if my daughter was going to be in a troop, I was going to have to lead it. This year we had few girls and little money. I also had to deal at times with some modern girl attitude, which basically seems to be "It's all about me." I'm sure a lot of you have seen these shirts in stores with slogans like "It's funny how you think I'm listening." Uh-huh, that makes me real enthusiastic to share and teach things. Not that I didn't honestly try my best. It just made it discouraging at times, wondering if it made a difference.

My youngest daughter is also in gymnastics, and this year for the first time, she's learned simple "routines" and will participate in end-of-year "competitions" with other girls her level. No judging yet, just award certificates. She's only seven. I'll post some pictures after the events. She enjoys gymnastics, and I'm glad she's getting the opportunity to take classes. She's very active and she'd rather be climbing and jumping and moving around than anything else. I'd like to try to get her into ballet also, if not this summer than next fall.

Ironically, whilst I was complaining above about people filling things out for me that I don't want filled out, my husband IM'd me a personality test: Machiavelli personality test. I scored as a high Machiavelli, not surprising for an Evil Genius, although I was not overwhelmingly high. It was interesting how a Christian worldview slants the test both ways. On the one hand, we know we are not to lie and cut corners to get ahead. On the other hand, we know that people are not naturally good and kind!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Curve Ball

We found out today that our minivan has developed engine problems that would cost about as much to fix as we paid for the minivan (used) in the first place. So for now we will be down to our little (used) four-door Mazda stick-shift that needs a new muffler and has almost 200,000 miles on it. This is where I have to throw in the comment about how lucky I am to be able to be a stay-at-home mom!

I have to admit, the car news has been physically and emotionally draining, and life will get trickier for us for a while, not to mention more time-consuming driving my husband to and from work when necessary. Still, we'll work through it. I feel like there are things I can do, I have a specific goal to work toward, and that helps a lot. I've made a few tentative tries at sewing doll clothes to sell, because it's something I enjoy very much, I can do it from home, and I can use fabric scraps on top of it! If I work at this more seriously, hopefully I can help get us another vehicle faster. I'm sharing an example of an outfit I made to keep for myself (the dress and hat.)

Sunday, April 16, 2006

At the End of the Day

I'm tired. The girls' Easter dresses came out fairly well although we didn't take any pictures yet. We didn't really do a lot here. Church, lunch out, and the girls and my husband colored eggs this evening. That was about it, oh, and little gifts for the girls and chocolate for all of us! I'm glad my daughters enjoyed the day. I suppose I put too much pressure on myself in the process, but I want them to enjoy their childhood. Not that they will look back and say it was perfect, but that they have happy memories, as well as a foundation for a healthy adult life.

My ten-year-old daughter is looking more and more "grown-up"! It's strange, because I know really she is still fairly young. I remember my own youth and immaturity at that age, and tell myself she has four more years of grade school, let alone four years of high school after that. But sometimes she looks practically like an adult to me, and I feel like she is almost ready to leave home, and there's still so much I want to teach and do and share with her! My husband, on the other hand, panics because it won't be long before she starts attracting the interest of teenage boys. Ah well. At least homeschooling certainly gives us a lot of time together, as well as hopefully a better chance of weeding out those "unsuitable suitors." :)

I hope all of you enjoyed the day. I'd better get to bed before I fall asleep at the keyboard.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Spring Cleaning

It's time for my family to do some revamping. My husband and I have not been happy with the "flow" around here for quite some time, but with the fresh air and sunshine of spring, we have been awakened to being able to make some changes. We're gaining perspective on what we need to get rid of, both literally and figuratively. There are things we have been holding on to because we didn't have anything to put in its place. But we've gotten some perspective of how these things are draining us, and what we will be better off without. Our sofa has been deteriorating for quite a while, with the help of my darling youngest. It's bringing down the appearance of our whole family room, which brings down my mood. It's got to go. I've also put too many expectations on myself that came from outside of my own little family. I have been rearranging my thoughts and feelings, to get rid of external pressure and concentrate on what is most important to me, my husband and children. I don't have room for thoughts that only drain me. I hope my family and I can successfully sort out the rubbish.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Given Unto Death

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er His body on the tree;
Then I am dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Words: Isaac Watts, 1707. Music: Low­ell Ma­son, 1824.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I Hate Holidays

At least, I know I am not really thrilled about Easter coming, and I imagine that is partly the cause of my current low mood. I feel rather Charlie Brown-ish. Holidays should be special; that's why they're holidays, right? Because they're special? But they're really not anymore, for me.

Maybe I'm getting old. When I was a child, a big part of the holiday excitement was the preparation, the things you did only once a year, the special meals, the family gatherings. But a lot of the wonder of a decorated tree or colored egg is gone, to my everlasting sadness. I certainly never wanted to lose that thrill, that special magic. And holidays anymore are just getting to be my husband, my daughters and myself.

Am I thankful and grateful that Christ took the punishment for my sins and died on the cross, then rose again, showing His complete victory over sin, death and the power of the devil? Absolutely, as much as a frail, sinful human can be. At the same time, feelings are transient; that's part of their nature. So I hope no one mistakes my lack of enthusiasm for a day on the calendar for a lack of appreciation of the events we choose to celebrate on that certain day. It's just that I don't like losing the holiday feeling. It makes me wonder what we celebrate holidays for, and makes it harder for me to create the special holidays for my own children that I think they should have. I think we in our human-ness need holidays, need fasts and feasts. I just need to learn how to enjoy the feasts again.

Monday, April 10, 2006


I'm posting this pic especially for Lutheran Lucy, but anyone else who's interested can look of course! I took it at my sister-in-law's house; we call it her "Lucy shrine." The image is not that great because I took it with my cell phone, but you should get the idea.

Watching the process of pasta making was neat. Not as complicated as I thought it would be, although you do need the pasta maker.

Going to a Mom's Night Out tonight! It's made up of several homeschooling moms from our church. I like getting quiet time to talk with other adults!

The Indians got the sweep yesterday, woo hoo! It would be fun to get to a game or two. My husband won't let me get a Mrs. Sizemore shirt though. ;) Some of those guys are pretty darn cute! But so's my husband! Maybe I'll get a Pronk shirt.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Tired But Good

Today (Saturday) was a pretty good day. I sewed a skirt for my youngest daughter and a top for my eldest daughter. I really enjoy sewing clothes for them. Often I can make things for less money than store-bought, and my things are better made than most store-bought clothes. My youngest daughter is especially hard on her clothes. Plus, the girls can design exactly what they want. They are really getting spoiled by that!

I find sewing to be a great hobby. I can whip out some easy things for quick gratification, as I did today, or I can make something more complicated and special. My husband, my eldest daughter and I are all long-waisted and have short legs, and it is nice to make things that really fit. I like it that I produce something "practical," plus I can always say, "Honey, we need more clothes; I need more fabric!" :)

This week I have to make Easter dresses. My eldest daughter's dress is fairly straightforward; she's not into girly frills. Fortunately for me, my youngest daughter is! Her dress will be more work, but not too bad. I also would like to make a hat for myself. Maybe after I make all this stuff I'll post a "fashion show" here!

The Indians won again today; that's good. Going for the sweep tomorrow! It's nice to get off to a good start in April.

Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, of course; my daughters and I are all singing in the choir. Then after lunch, we are going to Youngstown to make pasta with my Italian in-laws. That should be pretty fun. I'd like to make more food from scratch, but cooking is not one of my first loves. Maybe now as the girls are getting old enough to help more....

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Pretty in Pink

I would like to show off some of my sewing creations here from time to time. This is a recent one; I made it for one of my daughter's friends. I have her father's permission to post her pic here. She just turned four, and she's wearing her own shirt under the dress I made for her. She loves being a princess, and as you can tell, she's got the attitude down.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Yuck. Just Yuck.

It's gray outside. It's raining, and windy, and the rain and wind are beating against the house. It's supposed to get cold and possibly snow tomorrow. My crocuses are all droopy outside. The Indians lost to the White Sox, yet again, in their first game. Church did not brighten me up yesterday, like it usually does. I enjoyed seeing everyone, but I was also upset by some other things. This would be a good day to crawl in bed and stay there.