Welcome to Fall! Or as I like to call it, that time of year when our children head off to school and peace reigns once again. If we’re honest, most of us will say that the start of school comes with a little sadness and more than a little relief. As much as we love our children, we know that the last three months of unstructured “fun” have been too much for all of us.
What a summer it has been in our house. This was my first summer being completely unemployed and I looked forward to it in the spring with both dread and excitement. Both proved to be appropriate feelings, as we experienced the joys and stresses of too much time together. Here are a few highlights of the Maag family’s summer of 2014:
Camps, time away, and more busyness
I’m no dummy. I know that these little angels of mine need to be kept busy or they’ll kill each other and stomple all over my sanity (did anyone catch that Junie B Jones reference?) We love those books. Anyway, thanks to some generous relatives and local organizations, Clara and Will went to VBS, Catholic saints camp at our church, scout camp, and YMCA camp. Clara went to North Carolina and we took a family trip to the Jersey shore. We also did the library reading program, finished the track season, visited as many free, local attractions as I could work into our schedule, hosted lots of play dates, held a yard sale, picked wild raspberries, and worked on bike riding skills.
And to top it all off, Husband and I had a weekend away in Alexandria, VA without the kids. We missed them but we really enjoyed our long, uninterrupted conversations, a schedule that belonged only to us, and a quiet hotel room with absolutely no fighting, crying, or other lovely sounds of childhood. We have to give a big thank you to my mom and stepfather for taking such good care of our offspring for an entire weekend.
Refining My Work
I spend a lot of time asking God to show me his will for my life. This summer, I discerned that I needed to spend less time working (blogging, reselling, cleaning, etc.) and more time “just” being a mother. I wrote about this in my post Taking a Break. I also managed to publish two other posts – Easy Peasy Scallion Freezing and the third part of The Busy Mom’s Coupon Series, My Coupon Confession.
After that, I quit blogging completely. You may have read in my posts Big Lessons from a Little Boy and Big Lessons from a (Gluten Free) Little Boy that my son Will has some emotional challenges. I used my break from working to concentrate on helping him through his struggles. The result was an overall growth in his emotional capabilities and increasing peace in our family. Although we experienced some major setbacks along the way, in the last week of summer we finally started to see some progress.
I also used that break to give Clara and Frankie more attention. Despite my occasional Facebook complaint to the contrary, all three kids are growing quickly. I want to be there for them now, not just when they’re older and more independent. Clara needs me to truly understand who she is and what she needs from life. And Frankie needs me to be present in his play, even if it means that I have to become a human jungle gym and play beep beep/vroom-vroom until I can no longer stand the sight of a toy truck.
Now that Clara and Will are back in school and Frankie is down to one blessedly long nap a day, I’m hoping to blog more frequently. BUT, if you don’t hear from me for a while, just know that it’s because I am being pulled in more important directions. Peace in the Pod will not go away, but it will stay in its proper place on my priority list. Which is why it has taken me several weeks to write this post.
As a side note – kudos to all of you parents who manage to work from home. I am either not good at multi-tasking or my brain just doesn’t work quickly enough to process everything. Maybe one day I’ll get there.
More Catholic-y Stuff
If you know me in real life or have seen the Peace in the Pod homepage, you know that I am Catholic. The more I learn about the Catholic Church and our beliefs, the more sure I am that this is the right Christian faith for me. So given that, I figured that I really ought to delve more deeply into my faith and actually live like a Catholic. Its not that I took a sudden interest in Catholicism and then went crazy. Rather, over a period of years and thanks to the influence of my husband, I started doing the daily Bible readings, going to confession monthly, and immersing myself in Catholic radio and EWTN. Honestly, the stuff on those stations is really interesting.
So this summer, Husband and I decided to start praying one decade of the rosary every night after the kids are in bed. I know that plenty of people pray the entire rosary every single day, but at this point we are starting small. Baby steps, people. Since we just celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary, we decided that the intention of our prayers would be our marriage. We have definitely noticed a difference in our daily interactions and an even deeper commitment to each other.
The second part of my Become More Catholic plan involved reading some good Catholic books. I recently finished The Dynamic Catholic by Matthew Kelly. I got it for free from a Knights of Columbus council at one of the local Catholic churches and absolutely LOVED it! It really inspired me to deepen my relationship with God. My next reading projects are Rediscover Catholicism, also by Matthew Kelly, and reading the Gospels straight through. The daily Bible readings are a great start but I need to see the whole picture in a more ordered way. Plus, what better way is there to get to know Jesus better than by reading the gospels?
Finally, I started going to daily mass once a week and praying the Seven Sorrows devotion every day. Taking a one year old to daily mass is not easy. Really. But the more we go, the calmer he gets. Unless he hears the word fish. Because apparently that is cause for yelling “FISH!” over and over again. Oh well. Maybe one day he’ll appreciate the beauty of mass as much as he appreciates throwing things at the other parishioners.Until then, we’ll just take one week at a time.
So, what did you do this summer? Did you stay busy or just enjoy the slower pace of life?
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