Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Where Are You?

Apparently the answer to that questions is an emphatic:  Not Here.

I've been busy, two kids, a full time job and numerous side projects is a busy life.  I'm not gone from the blog completely, I've just been needing to be particular about my time and efforts right now.  For the last year or so I've been privately working on some personal improvements like housekeeping and time management which has resulted in a big spin on how I've been spending my time.  I've been slowly improving at prioritizing my home-care and family time and being more intentional in the time I'm spending on other work.

Of course, chronic over committer that I am it doesn't mean I've actually decreased my commitments.  I'm still over at Blessed is She, and working with the team on the devotionals, FB live and Insta Stories and now helping refocus and reenergize our blog.  I've also signed on to write for a Catholic news/opinon site, but I'll be back to share about that when I finally write something up.  There's nothing like saying "I can't wait to write for you!" to cause a big ol' case of writers block.

I'm also doing a lot that I don't have time to share here - focusing on this little domestic monastary of mine, becoming more involved in our new parish and getting ready for next year when my son is old enough to start participating in more activities (Cub Scouts and the like).  I told my husband the other night it feels like the calm before the storm here. My free is soon to be a thing of the past I'm afraid.

But I'm here, just not here here.  I'm hoping to get back to book posts and things of that nature soon though!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Truth of Star Wars

If you have the time to go see the new Star Wars movie "Rogue One" I highly recommend having an in depth discussion about morality and objective truth before you sit down with your tub of popcorn (extra butter) and Twizzlers.

Or at least that's apparently how I like to kick off my movie watching experiences.

Last Friday I was sitting across from my husband in the food court, splitting a basket of Garlic Blue Cheese Fries from Zombie Burger when I started off with.

"I bet Kendra is going to hate this movie."

Kendra, being of course my friend from Catholic All Year, whom I love dearly, but rarely see eye to eye on about movies.

My husband, sensing my deep need for adult conversation allowed me to continue.  I assumed Kendra was going to hate Rogue One, she likes movies where objective truth is clear and heroes are heroes and never bad guys, intentionally or otherwise.  the recent spate of superhero movies bother her with their flip flopping sides and questionable choice.  I on the other hand love a good antihero, or hero gone (pardon the phrase) rogue.  Because, I explained while trying to get the best blue cheese chunks from the bottom of the basket, objective truth isn't just for perfect characters.  Objective truth isn't only upheld in the plot lines of the lawfully good paladins (thank you Captain America, who my husband assures me is always right).  Sometimes you need to see how it plays in the story lines of the guys who are a little more chaotic, or at best neutral.  We need to see the story lines where the good guy goes astray (and is lead back in a moment of revelation) to show that objective truth is real; that good is good is good and bad is bad is bad.  That you cannot do bad for good reasons and still maintain a grip on your humanity.

Luckily my husband is used to my long narratives on subjects we're already in agreement about or it would have a been a long bucket of fries with lots of awkward silence.

So off we went to Rogue One.  I'll try not to reveal too many spoilers, but considered yourself warned.

For the last few months we've been waist deep in Star Wars at my house - introducing our son eagerly to the original trilogy and begrudgingly to the prequels.  Happily to move on we've been working our way through all 6 seasons of the Clone Wars T.V. show which goes a long way to redeem the questionable prequel storyline.  You get to see more of the cause and effect, you get to see the slow internal and external destruction of the Jedi and you get to see the multifaceted politics of a galaxy at war.  It's quite clever, and one day we'll share a beer and I'll give you my thesis about it being a political statement piece on the Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts of the last 10+ years (trust me, it's there).

Rogue One was just what I was hoping for.  A more realistic, serious take on the SW universe and an able vehicle for discussion the cost of war and rebellion.

Needless to say I left the movie positively pumping my fists in appreciation, and immediately jumping on phone to see what Kendra thought about it.  "Please tell me you liked it!  How could you not, it's was objective truth all over the place!"  And for one shining moment she and I found ourselves in total agreement over a movie (see something good did happen in 2016).

It was there, objective truth.  It  was so clear and yet, if you weren't looking for it you might not have realized it. It's so easy to write off Star Wars as just wizards in space, nut throughout the storyline was example after example of clear moral truth.  Example after example that doing bad for good intentions does not make good.   We saw that only with confession, repentance and personal, willing sacrifice does good truly triumph.  We saw great moments of faith, a faith outside of lightsabers and Force throwing might.  We saw amazing sacrifice of ordinary, unassuming and otherwise unimportant people.  In my eyes, we saw Truth as I see it in my faith and I hope others saw it too.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Something to Read: An Usborne Party

Hey friends!  I've had a couple people ask me if I'm still an Usborn Books rep.  While I still love my Usborne books I've stepped back from running that side business for a little while because of two words- Baby.Cuddles.  Just a little to busy and distracted to pay attention to book specials and booking parties.


I am teaming up with my friend Sarah O. from Two O's Plus More who has just signed up to be an Usborne Consultant to give you a great opportunity to stock up on fantastic books just before the holidays.

We'll be running a Facebook Party next Tuesday at 8 p.m. Central (and keeping it open thru the 1st of the month if anyone is like me and sometimes needs to wait until payday for fun stuff like this) which you can find here - anyone is welcome to join us.  Between Sarah and I we know these books front and back and I'm certain we'll find just what you're looking for.

If you already know what you want and just want to shop feel free to use my link and just make sure to select Molly W.'s party at the check out.

As a little incentive/holiday present everyone who makes a purchase, even one book, AND makes a wish list will be entered into win one free book from said Wishlist.  At the end of the party I'll select the winner and the book from your list for you to get.

And of course you know I can't pass up an opportunity to suggest a few books, so to peak your interest here are a few of my favorites from over the years:
(If you'd like to follow elsewhere I have a Pinterest Board here)

And so much more!  Hope to see you there!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Attention Grabbers

It should come to no surprise that I'm in a season of life that doesn't leave a lot of time for this space - baby, job, school aged kid, etc. - there are just a lot of "right now" demands on my time, so I apologize for only popping in every now and then.  I have about a dozen half finished posts, but half of them don't feel right to share and the other half I'm saving for future Blessed is She devotions.  I've definitely been feeling a pull to buckle down on writing and deliver more polished work, maybe even start to branch out a bit and do a bit more (when I find the time).

But for now this is me popping in to share a few goodies:

Thank goodness for Audible - I think it's the only way I'm really going to get through a book anytime soon.  It's not that I can't find a little time for reading, but my to do list is long and my attention span is non-existent right now so audiobooks are really filling that need.  I've been listening to things through my husbands account which works fine, but I think it's time to get my own so I don't have wait and see what he uses his credit for each month.  What am I currently working my way through there?  Don't Laugh Too Hard, I'm a nerd in a family of nerds and it's actually not that bad and fills in some gaps with the current accepted Star Wars cannon for the new movies.

And one of the big reasons I'm listening to that is that we've been celebrating "Star Wars" Friday at my house since August - we've made our way through the first 6 movies (oh that prequels are just as terrible as I had remembered) and are now making our way through Clone Wars and then eventually Rebels.  Just a weekly family pizza and movie night on Friday - you might have seen me sharing my collection of Star Wars earrings on Instagram that I wear each Friday to get in the spirit.  Though I think I need to add these to my Christmas List.  I still stand by my firm belief that while Anakin Skywalker is a whiny brat, Obi-Wan Kenobi is not only the worst.Jedi.ever. but also a horrible human being (by dream is that one day we'll reboot the prequels, wiping them from cannon and learn the "real" story of Anakin and Obi-Wan).

Okay enough nerding.

Okay maybe just a little bit more.

If you need a good picture book for your kids and you have a D&D gamer in your family - you need this book from Ben Hatke.  His newest graphic novel is excellent too.

We're currently making our way through "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" with Henry and will probably take a break from Star Wars night when we finish it to watch the movie with him (note to self, need to find LWW earrings).

When we're done with LWW we've got the new Missy Piggle-Wiggle to try out and the first Wingfeather book and George's Secret Key to the Universe; I'm not sure if the later is going to be a great read aloud, but I'm really excited to have found it for my very literal, science minded son - it's a chapter book written by Lucy and Stephen Hawking, and through out the story there are facts and information on various bits of science the book covers.  This one talks about Light, Stars, the Solar System, Black Holes, etc.

Other than all of that I've been working on our Pokemon themed Halloween and just about have that wrapped up and then it's on to Martinmas presents for everyone - some quick, simple hats are in order I think.  So lots more doing - not so much time for puttering around on the computer.

What has everyone else been up to?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

It's Flying

Time is that is, just flying.  It's almost October and that means my little girl is almost three months old.  Three months the second time around feels like the blink of an eye versus the long slog that comes with your first kid.  It's like the return trip that feels half as long.

I don't want to jinx things, but life has been going really well - it's been a bit chaotic, but in a good way.

We've had a lot of changes in the last few months - the months before Helena's arrival were bogged down with stress and way too many family members facing health crisis'.  Then July hit and things slowed down just in time to pick back up again.

Henry started school in August - there were many tears on my part, not so much on his.  It was a huge change - even though I'm a working mom there's only been a small fraction of time in the last 5 years where he was spending a bulk of time with someone who wasn't family as we've been blessed with arrangements that have kept our kids out of full time daycare since he was about two and a half.  I know why people choose homeschool for this reason - it's a big change in your life, and once that first kid is off to school your life is never quite the same.  Helena's spent more time in the car than her brother did at this age, our days aren't as lazy, etc.  It's scary walking out that door, but it can be a good kind of scary and a good kind of change.

He's thriving as far as I can tell.  We have a good balance between home and school learning, no homework, reasonable expectations, and a great school.  There are things that aren't perfect - there are mean kids on the playground and technology choices that wouldn't be my first pick, but it's nothing that can't be dealt with.

I'm back at work as of a few weeks ago.  So many people have asked how it's going - it just is.  There's not really another option than what we're doing right now which made the return easier I think.  Life just is what it is and I've waited three years for this baby, I'm not going waste time and energy bemoaning something I can't change for the better.  I work.  My husband works.  We have our priorities in the right order.  Our family is awesome.  If that changes we'll change, plain and simple.

Helena is doing great.  She has the best little chubby legs, a good eater, an amazing sleeper and just yesterday learned to lift her head up during tummy time (a major milestone for my large noggin' babies - it takes a bit longer to build up that strength when your head is over the 100th percentile and the rest of you is firmly in the 50th).  She's incredibly chatty and just the happiest thing and I still can't believe she's here.  

This weekend is the one year anniversary of our trip to the Shrine of Our Lady of Gaudalupe in Wisconsin.  Exactly, to the day (because of her early c-section arrival) 9 months later Helena was born.  I hadn't realized the timing on that until a few days ago - a bit of a miracle isn't it?

Life in general is busy - we're working, Henry is doing soccer once a week and we might finally have him convinced to try swimming lessons this winter, he's also in Religious Ed. at our new parish.  I've just started writing for Blessed is She again and plugging away at a long list of craft projects for the fall - new hats, baby sweaters, Halloween costumes and more - and I'm still pumping whatever I can for the baby so have found a bit more down time to tackle these things.

Three months in and I'm still pumping - I wish I could say I love it and it's wonderful and all going well, but I'm just learning that my body is not built to do things the easy way.  After trying everything that my LC's could throw at me - different pumps, different flange sizes, foods, hydration, supplements, compresses, massage, etc., etc., etc. we've finally just thrown our hands up in the air with an unofficially diagnosis of either mild mammary hypoplasia or "IGT"(insufficient glandular tissue), which long story short means I get to spend hours a day hooked up to this pump for an average of 12-16 oz of milk.  Nothing we've tried has changed that number.  I still oscillate between being angry that between fertility, birthing and breastfeeding issues my body is completely incompetent and thanksgiving that I live in a time in which my body is not a death sentence for me or my children because of it's shortcomings.

Life is busy and the days are getting shorter, but we're definitely keeping them full right now.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Supplementing School

School starts on Wednesday.  I can't begin to explain the sea of emotions this churns up.  It's big, scary and new - mainly for Mom.  It's the end of an era - 5 years of rhythm and time are over, now it's on to something entirely new.  I'm proud of what we've done over the last five years, the time we've spent together (even as a working parent I feel my husband and I have maximized our time with Henry and really set some firm foundations with him) and now it's on to something new.  Now we start our lives with a little less time together, a little more outside influence, busier schedules, actual schedules and the like.  But, as much as I would like to keep him little and innocent forever I can see clearly after this summer that he is ready for new challenges too.

But this isn't about the emotional side of it all, this is about the practical side.

Now, no educational method is perfect.  If I had my way (or lived in another part of the country) my ideal would be a classical mind part brick and mortar, part homeschool program, with the structure of classroom time for a few days a week and more time at home than normal brick and mortar school allows.  But you can't always get what you want.  So off we go to a good public school, knowing full well that they won't cover everything we'd love for our kids to learn; with a belief that public school is not meant to be the be all and end all of his education and that home learning is still important.

I'm a firm believer that school is meant to help give a firm foundation in the basics and that it's my job as a parent to keep the learning going, to encourage the personal interests, to give my kids the time and resources outside of the regular school day to delve deeper into things that interest them.  That doesn't mean we do hours of extra school once they walk in the door, we just find ways to encouraging that natural interest or bolstering areas that need a little help at home too.  There is no syllabus or schedule for what I hope to encourage at home, just a desire to continue to be active in the learning process.

I'm hoping these will help us continue to work on fine motor skills when it comes to writing, etc.  He's not big into drawing or similar skills so it's our biggest area of weakness.  This isn't something we'll do everyday, just something to keep around for vacations or rainy days

We already have these and have been slowly making our way through them.  As much as I'd love Henry to be an early reader, he's not and that's okay.  He knows his letters and is learning phonics and sight words little by little.  We pick these up as the spirit moves us, maybe twice a month and read through ones we've done before and try to read one or two that he couldn't do before.  For now I feel my job is to encourage and test out his interest, but not push too hard.  I want him to love reading and part of that means letting him learn at his own pace (and yes, this is something I'm ready to go to bat for at school.... if he's not a strong reader until 7 or 8 or later that is okay in his parents eyes if it means when that switch flips he develops a love for reading because it didn't become difficult and tedious for him).

An assortment of things to start a very slow introduction to history; for car trips and driving to church.

Something Henry and I have been enjoying together, learning the birds that come to our backyard.  I've always loved birding since I was a kid, so I'm hoping this is an interest we can continue to develop together.

An assortment of read alouds we may or may not get to this year.  I've been in a rut with read alouds with Henry for the last year as his interests have been firmly in the non-fiction section, but we've recently turned a corner with his attention span and his need for illustration (though we still read lots of great picture books and will continue to do so for a long time).  I'm trying to get more relaxed about what we read aloud and not get so caught up with big lists of "classics" or must read books.  What my job is is to encourage good literature while following along with his natural interests - sometimes this will be a good, solid time worn classic and sometimes this will be a collection of Star Wars stories and that's okay.
Note:  We're currently reading "The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail" and loving it, and I normally can't stand talking animal books outside of Redwall or NIMH, but this is excellent - a mystery set is Victorian England and really well done so far.

Honestly when I lay this all out it basically could be a complete homeschool curriculum, but I know that's not what we're meant to be doing right now.  I'm actually excited to have separate spheres for formal learning and the home even if lots of learning continues to take place at home (and I hope it does).  He needs a bit more structure and right now our house is not the place that encourages that structure even though we have rules and responsibilities a plenty here.  It's going to be a big change, but I think it will be a good change.
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