How do I love thee?

Billy’s assignment: write one special thing about Fritz, something he loves about him.

Answer: He is my Jedi Master.

I don’t know which boy wrote this one, but they each had to write one way to show God you love Him.

Answer: If you love God, you should let girls go first.

Harken, young ladies. Chivalry is not dead.

Forever young

Yesterday afternoon, after Bill got home from school, I ran over to the grocery store for a few items. Alone.

As the teenager who bagged my three gallons of milk and 20 pounds of dog food hauled my stuff out to my van we talked about the bizarre weather. It had been 60 degrees the day before, but we had gotten about an inch of snow that morning. The winds were pretty fierce, and at times the conditions were white-out.

As he placed the bags around the double stroller and the big diaper bag in the back of the van, he told me how he had called his parents and asked them to come get him out of school because of the conditions.

I have no idea what his parents said. I considered briefly what I would have said to my teenaged son, but was more struck by the fact that he was telling me this. Did I not look more like his parents then someone his age? I pondered. This conversation seemed more appropriate between two teens than between a teen and a strange parental unit.

As I got in the van, I glanced in the mirror. Could I still pass myself off as a twenty-something? I wondered. Perhaps…the knit hat disguises the mom-hairdo and the winter coat hides the t-shirt with dried baby spit-up…perhaps I don’t look as old as I feel.

It was quite a cheery thought as I maneuvered my twelve passenger van with five car seats through the snowy streets. Quite a cheery thought.

The Beautitudes for Wives

I didn’t have time to read this yesterday, but I’m glad I left it open and managed to take the time today. Good words, ones I needed to hear.

It is tough after a long day with a growth-spurt-constantly nursing baby, homeschool and household chores, mommy-can-you-do-this, and mommy-can-you-do-that, and not one moment to breathe, to remember how important my marriage is. Many days, when the kids are finally in bed, I just want to tune the whole world out. Bill wants to talk, and I want to beg leave to vegetate: please, honey, leave me alone! But it’s not fair to him, and not fair to myself either. Burying my nose in a book or staring blankly at the TV or computer screen might be what I think I want, but it’s not want I truly want.

Thank you, Elizabeth, for the reminder.

It’s tax time…

…do you know where your new baby’s social security number is?

Bill asked me for Mary’s social security number a few days ago, and I insisted we had not received it yet…at least not that I could remember. I looked in the one spot where all our important documents are kept – all birth certificates in one folder, all sacramental records in another folder, passports in this envelope, social security cards in that envelope: Bill’s, mine, Fritz’s, Billy’s, Katie’s, Jenny’s, Peter’s, no Mary.

It’s the exact same thing every year at this time. I have a piling system, although this past year I’ve been much better. Moving half-way through the year forced me to do actual filing at a time when I don’t usually. Wanting to have organized files and needing copies of certain documents ensured that all files were tidy and up-to-date. I even, proudly, stayed on top of the piles/files those first few months after the move, and in fact have only one pile now because I am not using the same desk I did last year.

Nevertheless, since the baby’s birth, a “small” pile had grown (less than 12″ high). Needing that social security number prompted my usual tax time filing frenzy.

Sure enough, there I found her number. And now it’s in the proper envelope, right behind Peter’s.

Where would Jesus vote?

Polling station at Mass. Catholic church won’t cover crucifix

The local municipal building wasn’t structurally sound, so the town decided to use a church. Nine churches and synagogues are used in the area, but this Catholic church had the audacity to have a crucifix in its “community room” where the polling would take place. Somebody raised a stink, and, for a time, the town considered ordering everybody to cover all religious statues, symbols, etc.

I guess as a Catholic it’s difficult to understand the issue. In my experience, there are two kinds of Catholics (I’ve been them both). One kind votes after carefully considering a politician’s views and how they fit into the Church’s teachings on issues of morality and social responsibility. These voters don’t need a crucifix to remind them how to vote. The other kind of Catholics vote the way they want to vote with little or no regard for morality. They wouldn’t be likely to even notice the crucifix, and, if they did, wouldn’t trouble their minds in the least with silly questions like WWJD.

I suppose the main concern was for non-Catholics who might not be comfortable with overt religious art. I’m curious if these people have every been in an art museum. The National Gallery of Art – federally funded and part of the Smithsonian – has more images of Christ and the saints than any church I’ve ever been in (in America). Religious art is okay in a museum, but is offensive in a church?

I guess the town eventually saw things the way I do, and decided that if anybody were truly uncomfortable with a statue of the crucified Christ staring at you in agony as you pull the lever for “Catholic” twice-divorced, abortion-is-okay-with-me Rudy Guiliani, then they could get an absentee ballot or request a different polling station. Or perhaps the fear that all churches would decide they would rather not help out with the polling convinced them to be reasonable.

4th grade English

Fritz read a brief fable about two cats arguing over a piece of cheese. They ask a monkey to arbitrate. The assignment was to convert the story into a dialogue. This is very difficult for him, so I walked him through the assignment. The English book helps, too, by starting the student off:

1st cat: That’s my piece of cheese.
2nd cat: No, it is not yours. I saw it first.
1st cat:
2nd cat:

I reminded him that he has much experience in bickering, so he was able to think of more lines for the cats. But for the monkey, he kept saying, “The monkey said that…” After several false starts, I finally read back to him his dialogue using different voices for the two cats. At the monkey’s line I pointed to him and said, “You’re the monkey. What do you say?”

“Oo Oo Ah Ah Ee Ee?”

The boy needs a beating.

Book Meme and book review

Tagged by Cmerie

Here are the rules of the meme:

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

However, in a presentation based on the responsibilities of an officer when dealing with innuendo and slander, the judge advocate concluded his case by saying that a man could be indifferent to scandal, “but a woman has no defense save that which may be found in the arm of some avenging friend.” If the wife of a brother officer was so accused, it was the responsibility of other officers “to confute and resent that slander and not to aid in its circulation.” Reno was found guilty and dismissed from the army.

Bill gave me this book for Christmas, and I finished reading it a few days ago. It was an interesting glimpse into the hardships of life on the American frontier in the late 1800s.

Most of the women in the book were officers’ wives, because, back then, they were the ones who knew how to write and sent letters home to family. These women, often from wealthy families, gave up a comfortable life in the Victorian East to follow their husbands into a hostile environment. Considered mere “camp followers” by the Army, they lived and raised a family to the sound of bugles. They dealt with severe cold, blistering heat, bugs, snakes, wolves, hostile Indians, all-too-friendly Mexican women, starvation, disease, lack of good drinking water and no indoor plumbing. They gave birth in the middle of nowhere with soldiers delivering their babies and then throwing them both right back in a wagon to get back on the march. They tended to the wounded and the sick. They prepared the dead for burial. They defended themselves, their modesty, their children, their husbands, their livestock and even their country’s forts with guns, knives, and iron skillets. They enjoyed a much greater degree of Independence, freedom, and prestige than they would have in the rigid civilian society of the established East.

I enjoyed this well researched book. As an Army wife on what was the beginning of the American frontier back then, I found an even greater appreciation for my military housing – even with a furnace that only chooses to work 16 – 18 hours a day. I’ve already promised my copy to a local friend, then I’ll be mailing it off to my sister.

Girl Stuff – Boy Stuff

After dinner, I took the girls to get haircuts and to shop for shoes. I’m about girled out.

With the lack of estrogen in the house, what were a bunch of males to do? Fence, of course. As in fencing…with swords. The boys have been wanting lessons for quite a while now, so Bill has started giving them some. In our basement. Because there’s so much room down there.

In mourning

It was a sad, sad night here. The fact that the Packers did better this entire season than anyone expected was small comfort to little boys weeping themselves to sleep. My solace is that the Super Bowl will be, as it always is, much more enjoyable when nobody in the family really cares who wins.

I took Peter up to bed in the 4th quarter when the game was tied. When I came down, there were less than 2 minutes left, and I warned my boys that it wasn’t looking good. The Giants did a great job marching down the field, running out the clock and getting everything set up for a last second field goal. My boys watched in shock and horror. It had never occurred to them that the Pack might lose.

And then the kicker missed! Oh, the joy. And even better, Green Bay won the coin toss. At that point, I had to go back upstairs to tell Peter to go to sleep. I returned only a few minutes later to wailing. “What happened?” I asked, incredulous that the game was over already. Somehow they choked out that Favre had thrown an interception.

Today, a new day, they seem to be a bit more composed. I’m glad the Super Bowl is in two weeks. We should be emotionally capable of watching football by then.