Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Paschal Candle Thoughts

So I just finished making our Paschal Candle for 2017. Yes, I made it. No, I made no attempts to collect the kidlets around me and make it a meaningful family project or anything. Just nope. And as I set it down on the mantel in our bedroom, I noticed our 2016 Paschal Candle. Still sitting there. Unlit. Covered in dust. Because life. The real kind of life with 10 people down with the flu. At the same time. While Dad is out of town for a month. The kind of life where you laugh at the idea of dusting. Where you just changed 3 diapers in 5 minutes. Just life.

Yes, I am now a certifiable Catholic Mommy Blogging failure. And I'm totally ok with that. I no longer have any illusions of focusing on all the awesome feast days and liturgical awesomeness. Because I'm too busy. Because I'm no longer thinking I have anything new or different to share with folks. Seriously, it has all been done before from the at home altar to the crocheted roses for family prayer time (love them) to the rosaries made out of cupcakes (because sugar).

I've listened to Moms with far fewer kids go on about how there is never a reason for a kid to ever misbehave in Mass or make noise. And gone home to laugh. I've listened to a priest say if you can't keep your child silent in church, you and your spouse must attend separate Masses. And wanted to explain how life just is not that simple (not for single parents, not for parents where one spouse is out of town, not for folks with a deployed spouse, not for lots of folks). And perhaps gone home to cry and yell and shake my head in frustration.And felt the urge to point out to said priest that so many studies show that when Dad does not attend Mass with the family, the kids lose their faith. So, um, there is that and the empty churches now but sure, we'll make sure no child ever makes a peep, ever. I've taught several kids with sensory issues to sit through and eventually enjoy the very experience of Mass which was at one point absolutely painful for them. Listened to the two year old announce loudly "Jesus Coming?" while pointing at all the statues and looking at me like I am a crazy lady for suggesting such a thing when He was clearly already there.

So I guess we are now focusing on hit and miss liturgical parenting. Yes, that is a thing. Because I just made it one. :) We still have our rules. No children's liturgy or cry rooms because we are just do not work that way. Ever it seems. No Santa or Easter Bunny. No Christmas parties during Advent. No egg hunts during Lent. Hit a few feast days every year but don't stress over which ones. Mass is a non-negotiable unless you are ill. We don't focus on attending our home parish but rather on attending together as a family. Because I have done too many years of Mass without my husband to do it now on purpose. No thank you. We don't do the toys in church thing but we do buy donuts most of the time if everyone behaves. The kids know the word tabernacle and what it means and how to find it. The boys serve funeral Masses, even for those they don't know because there is no greater gift to give than your time. We don't participate in most parish fund raisers because we frankly cannot afford to. I swear you have to have an extra income just to participate in these things which strikes me as terribly elitist to be honest. We don't send the kids to religious ed because it is wishy washy as long as you are a good person everything is ok junk.And at $145 for 3 kids, I laugh when they say the cost for classes only covers the cost of materials used. Who are they kidding. And sacraments are an extra fee on top of it. No one has time for that.

So, hm, what am I saying? I'm still learning and growing. Sticking much more fiercely to the things that truly matter and letting go of the extras. Because no one has time for that. Least of all me.

OH, RIGHT. If you want to make that Paschal Candle for your home, here's the print out. Seriously an easy project. All you need is a $1 tall votive candle from the grocery store, a bit of glue, and a print out. Even your 5 year old could do it, it you want to share with them. Or one tired burned out Mom. Either way.

Children, Rain, and Life

So the middle kids are on spring break. Not the older ones, of course. Schedules aligning like that would just be too awesome for words. The younger ones are supposed to be catching up on work since we all got so, so, so horridly sick the month Alan was gone. No, I am not willing to force the kids to plow through school work amidst the flu and a stomach bug and attempts to get people to just drink something, anything, please. And babies and chest x-rays and you know, he just might have asthma the doc says. Of course, the doc hasn't seen his face turn red from the coughing and gagging because the little dude is happy as a clam when he's not puking on you from coughing too much. :)

So spring break. Somewhere in the back of my mind I had plans to take the kids somewhere this week. But then reality hit. Reality that says you don't have a car ever lady. So instead I told the kids "Turn the tv off and go outside." Or something of the like. But then it started raining. And somewhere in my mind I'm thinking hm, maybe they shouldn't be outside because it is raining. Then I thought but it is not thundering and they aren't in the house so let them be. Except they decided rain wasn't enough. Apparently you must stick your head under the broken gutters and take a shower outside, in your clothes. Ah well. That is what towels are for, right? Except for the one boy who found the movie on the Eucharist and begged to be able to go watch that one and who am I to say no to such a request.

All 3 little ones are asleep in various places around the house where they fell. Kolbe might have fallen into my arms but he's the baby so he gets spoiled. And I would love to just fall into bed myself and nap but I must go in a bit and pick up the husband from work. Because I did need the car this morning for an appointment. And someone must leave the house and earn the money. So now someone must bring Dad back home.

Tonight we shall head out to celebrate DD2's birthday. We discussed how Holy Thursday really isn't the best time to be out partying. Yes, she was born on Holy Thursday but she is now old enough to understand that maybe the tail end of Holy Week is not the time for celebrating a birthday if it can wait or come earlier. Time to return to Holy Week being a time of something different. A time set apart. So tonight dinner is on Grandma and Grandpa and the biggest question is will the birthday girl be allowed to order off the adult menu. I'm thinking yes.

So not much amazing or wonderful going on except life. Life is decidedly wonderful. And crazy and stressful and strange.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Playing With Plays - A Review

I received free copies of four of the books in this series in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

I've been meaning to get this review put together for about a year now. Yes, I do sometimes get that far behind on, well, everything. And in the last 18 or so months we've had two kids with broken arms,  1 child who needed several months of physical therapy, one kid diagnosed with an anaphylactic allergy, two different children who each had 2 surgeries, 2 new babies added to the family meaning 2 c-sections,  one baby spending 3 weeks in the NICU, one baby spending time in the PICU, me being so anemic that I required a blood transfusion, and a deployment thrown in there for good measure. So, um, yes, I have put a few things on the way back burner and just let them simmer away in my mind somewhere until I was able to deal with them. Like this wonderful review.

Playing With Plays is a series of books that takes higher end literature and breaks it down into child friendly language. Each book contains three different versions of the plays, each meant for a different number of actors. As a performance, the plays are designed to be relatively short (15 minutes or less) but creativity is encouraged on the part of the actors.

One major deterrent for many young children and participating in plays is the fear of forgetting lines or not being able to memorize a long script. This problem is alleviated with Playing With Plays. Some of the words within the script are bolded. These words are particularly important to maintaining the character of the original work and are meant to be said as written. The rest of the words are meant to be a guide. Say them as written or get creative and ad-lib. These are the ones my kids had the most fun with during their performance.

At our Homeschool Expo last year, a group of kids performed one of acts from Hamlet. No one got any of their lines exactly right and there were a few times when younger siblings wandered into the play unexpectedly but everyone enjoyed themselves. More importantly, the kids involved understood the gist of the play. Our performers that afternoon ranged in age from 6 to 16. Everyone was able to find a part they could both understand and perform easily.

These books are very affordable at under $10 each. Group discounts are available directly from the publisher if needed. If you are neither charging for the performance nor the classes to learn the play, you are able to use the materials for free and make photo copies of scripts if needed. If you are charging for the classes, you must purchase a book for each student. If you charge for the performance, there is a royalty fee required but it is a very reasonable one.

These books are perfect to use in a homeschool to introduce your younger children to Shakespeare, Dickens, and other classic literature in a very relaxed, fun way.

My only complaint is that there is too much negative, demeaning language thrown into the plays in an attempt to make them relevant to modern kids. I realize that Shakespeare himself wrote quite a few insults in his plays but the modern take on them was a bit beyond the original meanings for a children's version in my opinion.

Overall, these books earn a 4 out of 5 in my book. If the language was a bit less modern, I'd like them even better.