The Bookmarked Life is my take on catch-all posts–a record to help me remember this season of life.
Right now I’m:
Flu shots. I’ve never really gone for flu shots, except in years when I was pregnant and for babies under 2 years old. But reading The Great Influenza this year changed my mind. In addition to including plenty of gory detail on just how violently dreadful and horrifying really bad flu epidemics can be (if you think the flu means body aches and mild fever, you are just skimming the surface), the book discussed the epidemiology of how flu strains develop. I was struck by how even getting an earlier strain protected people (in that they had a better chance of living), and decided that even if we don’t wind up with an epidemic any time soon, being at least partially protected for emerging strains would benefit us. And we have the aching arms to prove it.
…Furnishing my mind
My friend Julie is an amazingly talented musician who plays with several local symphonies and musical groups. When she offered us comp tickets to the Carmel Symphony Orchestra we jumped on it! The big kids really enjoyed the performance and behaved quite well. Our seats were right up front so we could see the musicians’ faces and fingering in great detail. I had forgotten how much I love this sort of thing, and I am already making plans for how we can go to other performances near us. If you’re local, the Palladium is a great venue–beautiful and not expensive, plus easy parking–and the music is wonderful!
In the course of studying the War of 1812 over the last two weeks, we checked out a lot of interesting books. I start with the assignments and extra resources sections in our Tapestry of Grace week plan, but then I go to the library website and type in a general topic to see what else they have on hand. Who knew the War of 1812 was such a richly covered topic in children’s literature? One book we checked out was all about a pirate who helped save Louisiana during the war. It’s called Jean Laffite: The Pirate Who Saved America and we recommend it for kids who are interested in pirates or history.
…Living the Good Life
This weekend one of the book clubs I’m in is going on a retreat. The whole group rented a house and we’re going to hang out and eat great food and talk about a bunch of books either set in or about Paris. I’m taking Eliza since she’s still nursing, but I’m looking forward to getting away for a little bit! I’m not even taking my computer (which feels scary, since usually I do a big work day on Saturday, but I need the break). I think it will be fun and hopefully a good way to connect and rejuvenate!
Randomly our homeschool co-op disbanded, so in my effort to rally some extra-curriculars for my crew we find ourselves not only taking cello and piano lessons, but also hosting a Lego engineering club and a ballet class! I volunteered to host the ballet class since the teacher (who used to teach at the co-op) was looking for a venue and I had the idea from Lora Lynn at Vitafamiliae. This week was the first ballet class and it seemed to be a hit! We have, I think, ten girls meeting in our basement, and the teacher agreed to come to us since we have a well-lit, finished area for the class. Hannah and Sarah ADORED having a dance class on the premises, plus the fun of having tons of little girls over. Now I’m wondering how to rig up some sort of mirrored wall down there.
As I kept pacing around the basement trying to get the steps I need for my Fitbit Zip (which is ridiculously motivational for me, by the way–a worthwhile investment!) I kept thinking how it would be easier to hit step goals if I ran for fitness. Then, in a blinding flash of the obvious, I thought, “I could just…run for fitness.” After I read Born to Run I got the Couch to 5K app, but never got around to running with it. I used to run long distances in college prior to tearing my ACL and having extensive knee surgery and a bone graft (long story involving skiing and how I don’t speak French). Now they say that even with a partial miniscus like I have, you can run as long as you’re careful. So I’ve been running in the early mornings. In my basement. Yes, just back and forth on the carpet. It sounds weird, but it works because I don’t have to worry about it raining or being cold, or what happens if a kid or four wake up early. I’m up to running about 2.5 miles now. On the carpet. I know, this is a punchline waiting to happen. Maybe I should invest in a treadmill. Anyway, I’m looking around for a 5K to sign up for. Locals, any suggestions?
In addition to our scripture memory, we’re reviewing October’s Party by George Cooper and The Morns Are Meeker Than They Were by Emily Dickinson. I love autumn. In celebration, we have a pumpkin on either side of our front stoop (not carved, I just like them whole) and I bought three mums. When I cut the netting off of the mums, lo they were enormous. I’m talking like three feet across! I’m not sure what to do with these specimens. Right now one lives between our garage doors and the other two are stationed between our front porch posts. Surely I could plant them? Would they live through the winter?
Yesterday was kind of a whirlwind, what with school then flu shots then piano then ballet. It reminded me of how much I am not interested in being the suburban mom-chauffeur that is kind of the default for many families. One thing I have accepted is that for our family, at least for now, we can’t do any regular evening commitments. We really just do so much better when we can eat dinner and get baths or showers and have bedtime worship and read aloud a chapter or two of our current family book then get the kids to bed at a reasonable time. Every now and then it’s fun to do an evening out or meet up with friends, but I’m happy with the decision not to do any night activities this year. It does help things to feel less frantic and frazzled, even when the only slow and quiet part of the day is at the very end of it!
…Building the habit
Another of my habits for this autumn (order, focus, grace, duty) is grace. Grace is actually my word for the year. Here are a few ways I’m working on the habit:
- For myself – I’m always afraid that I’m cutting myself too much slack, but this year I’m trying to focus on ways that I’m actually doing well rather than on where I’m falling short. Lots of nights I make a two column list of things that went well in the day and things I’m concerned about, in an effort to clear my head so I can sleep. This helps me give myself grace for the things that are problems.
- For my family – Thought patterns matter. I’m working on catching myself when I fall into negative thought habits, especially with my family. I’ve been working a lot at recognizing and verbalizing the things everyone does well. As a mom of four, it can be so easy to just give the squeaky wheels the grease, but I’m finding that when I give everyone grace and recognize the positives, it helps everyone’s behavior more anyway.
How cool is this: there was a visiting pianist at the orchestra concert we went to last week, and for his encore he played an arrangement of Schubert’s Trout piece! We had just listened to that in our composer study, thanks to Dovey’s recommendation in the comments on the last Bookmarked Life post! The kids were falling all over the place at how they knew the piece! It was a great moment.
What are you bookmarking this week?
Note: Most of the links in this post are to my longer reviews, but one is to Amazon, and it’s an affiliate link, just so you know!