Tag Archives: parenting

Clothed In Righteousness

19 Dec

Dear Stacy, and Mom, and every other Mom I talked to today,

Thank you.  Thank you a thousand times over.

As you know, today I suffered from a severe case of Irrational Mommy Guilt.  It began at approximately 12:07 this morning when my head finally hit the pillow after an evening of rehearsals, church, more rehearsal, cutting pineapple into stars, transforming strawberries into santa hats, assembling snowman heads out of styrofoam cups, and frantically finishing last-minute gift knitting.

At that fateful minute I realized two things, 1)  I never finished knitting Peter’s Christmas sweater and 2) my daughter didn’t own a beautiful, sparkly, preschool-program-worthy Christmas dress.

The tears, phone calls, and monopolized conversations you all endured are precious to me.  I thank you, because despite the materialist, covetous, prideful nature of my problem, you gently forgave my weakness, shored me up with your words of encouragement and offers to help, and met me with your own parental misgivings.

You are dear women.  Models of motherhood.  Sisters in Christ.

So with you, I share my joy.

Preschool Program

The dress is more beautiful than I ever could have hoped for.  Sleeves.  It has sleeves.

Cele

And I promise, there are sparkles on there.  Cele wasn’t going to leave the store without sparkles.  Talking her down from the glittery, taffeta, rhinestoned purple number was a chore, though.

Pete and Cele

I didn’t photoshop this with some “soft” filter. That blur is just powdered sugar residue left over from my Mommy Guilt about holiday candy.

And although the sweater is not technically finished (I’m going to uncharacteristically not point out it’s raw edges to you, though.) (The armholes.  I totally haven’t put the ribbing on the armholes yet.  I can’t help myself.) he was thrilled to finally be able to wear his “brown.”

Pete

And the tie, “like Daddy does,” was the real star on top of the tree.

The best part of the evening wasn’t their clothing, though.  And it wasn’t my fleeting sense of Mommy accomplishment.  It wasn’t even three-year-old giddiness at new duds.  It was hearing my children remind me that the Maker of everything came as an itsy-bitsy baby, held in his own mother’s arms, which probably rocked a little less violently than preschool hand-motions might lead you to believe.  And that his coming as a man was for the purpose of forgiving my sins.  My sins of worrying about tomorrow and fretting over clothing.

And that’s the Joy I want to share with you, too.

In the Love of His Incarnation,
=Christina=

Cele and me

As soon as I pulled this photo up I realized that I lost one of my earrings. So, if you see it hanging around school . . . but I’m not worried about my clothing. No, not at all.

150 Years Later

19 Nov

Sometimes I wonder if homeschooling for the sake of Classical Education works.

Sometimes I wonder if my children hear one sixteenth of the thousands of words bombarded at them each day.

Sometimes I wonder if someone else couldn’t do a better job of teaching them how to figure out things like the fraction one sixteenth.

Sometimes I wonder if this journey through history, this daily hearing and reciting of God’s Word, this language saturation, this diligence to fact and foundation is working.

Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn’t just show them YouTube videos all day long.

But sometimes, just sometimes, there appears a glimmer of outcome.  After hearing the beginning of the Gettysburg Address on NPR this morning, Thomas’s immediate and unsolicited observation was that Abraham Lincoln must have been a Quaker.  When pressed to explain his conclusion he pointed out that Lincoln said that we were all created equal, and since that’s what the Quakers believed, then he must be one as well.

That, fueled by an immense sense of parental pride, launched me into my own lengthy address on the impact of the Quaker governmental system on the United States of America.

Just minutes later he was back to flipping through Pokemon cards and demanding that backwards 5’s are just as legible as frontwards ones.  But sometimes.  Sometimes . . .

History Lesson

Another exciting history lesson.

Go Big Red!

16 Nov

Family traditions are weird.  Some are handed down, and to maintain them is one of the long-time joys of family lore and love.  Others we’ve worked hard year-after-year to cultivate, so that they no longer feel new and innovative, but well-worn and adored.

Others happen by accident.  When you inadvertently repeat the same things in tandem more than twice you’re treading in those murky waters.  For instance, our children find their football viewing incomplete without the ability to munch on everyone’s favorite crunchy snack.  Pomegranates.

Go Big Red

At least today they color coordinate with the team for which they’re rooting.  Or, as we traditionally say around these parts, “We’re voting for the Huskers!”

Avast, Me Hungry Hearties!

19 Sep

Amid short vowel sounds, Aesop’s’ Fables, Henry Hudson’s fateful explorations, and the differences between manatees and dugong’s, the boys found time this morning to celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

They were schooled in the art of pirate naming by one of their favorite landlubbers (middle name + favorite color + favorite fish, in case you want to develop your own sea-worthy moniker,) captured some furniture with their aluminum foiled solo cups,

Walter Green Sword

used 15-year-old portions of an unfinished crocheted afghan to mask their wayward eyes, and brought to life feathered friends with the help of cardstock, markers, and safety pins.

Harold Blue Tiger Shark

Their treasure map brought them to the not-so-deserted isle of Krispy Kreme, where goods of immeasurable wealth were soon within their grasp.

Pirate Booty

And if they don’t share, they’ll be walking the plank.

Eggs Hard-Boiling on an Open Fire

17 Jan

In an effort to get around my Christmas Music Ban the boys have employed selective substitution and pre-celebratory techniques just like the good commercialized Americans they are.  Here’s a sampling:

  • Rockin’ around the Easter basket.
  • Joy to the world, the Lord is ris’n!

and my personal favorite:

  • Rudolph the Easter Bunny, ate the snowman’s carrot nose.

A Decree from Mother Disgusted

11 Jan

Yes, this is a shameless reposting from last year, but it’s necessary.  Please change all dates to make it applicable for the current Year of Our Lord 2013.  And although I acknowledge that it is still both winter and Epiphany the ban this year includes all versions of “Walking in Your Winter Underwear” and “We Three Kings of Orient Are,”  especially those that mention the smoking of a rubber cigar.

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I know what's going through your head, and it isn't "Gloria in excelsis Deo."  Well, maybe it is.

I know what’s going through your head, and it isn’t “Gloria in excelsis Deo.” Well, maybe it is.

On this, the 17th day of January in the year 2012 it has become necessary to remind the inhabitants of our humble abode of certain disallowances.

This annual ban, who’s humble beginnings date back to the unfortunate summer reading of “Junie B. Jones:  Jingle Bells, Batman Smells! P.S. So Does May” will be reinstated every January until the youth of the family are able to control their holiday ear-worms.

The aforementioned ban took effect following the 12 Days of Christmas, on January 6, 2012, but due to an increasingly large number of infractions a formal reminder of the ban must be put in place.

The ban includes, but is not limited to:

  • all singing, humming, screaming, and rhythmic inference of Jingle Bells.
  • spontaneous performance of The Twelve Days of Christmas.
    —This portion of the ban encompasses all Christmas carols contained in the Straight No Chaser arrangement of the counting song.
    —Please note that while technically a Hanukkah tune, Dreidel,  Dreidel, Dreidel will not be tolerated in its original form, or the more Christmasfied “Cradle, Cradle, Cradle . . .” version which has received so much popularity in our home.
    —The singing of Rains Down in Africa will be assessed on a case by case basis.
  • the blaring Latin refrain “Gloria in Excelsis Deo.”  However, a gentle, head voice singing of this most sacred of angels’ songs will be tolerated and possibly even encouraged, especially on Sunday mornings, and usually in English.
  • any audible reference to  seasonably inappropriate music as determined by persons over the age of 18.

The above ban will be lifted on the first Sunday of Advent, December 1st, or with the arrival of a large tree inside our walls.  The exact date will be determined by the generosity and patience of the parentage of the household.

All attempts to request an early lifting, or violations of said ban could result in the extension of the prohibition until the official start of the Christmas Season.  The Official Christmas Season begins at Midnight December 25, 2012.

So Long, Farewell, Auto Wiedersehen, Goodbye

28 Nov

Exactly fourteen years ago today I bought this:

The Saturn, not the tow truck.  The tow truck didn’t come around until yesterday.

I didn’t think I’d established a relationship with my car.  I never gave it a name, or even a gender.  But when they pulled it down our street, around the corner, and out of sight,  I got choked up.  Okay, let’s be honest, I bawled like a 3rd grader faced with long division.

The breech in the emotional floodgates started when I flipped over that title, which had been solely in my hands with a giant PAID stamp on it for well over a decade, and was forced to maneuver my handwriting into a signature that my muscle memory had forgotten:  Christina J. Vogelsang.

The car was my first major purchase as a full-fledged, gainfully employed, single adult.  I did the research, the shopping, the haggling (okay, fine, it was a Saturn, there was no haggling), and the paying.  That navy sedan was a sign of my independence.

Except independence isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m sad to see the car go, but I am overjoyed that we have now become a two mini-van family.  I embrace the double dorkiness.  Give me booster seats, and entertainment packages, and back-row cupholders.  Forget independence – I have dependents!

And also, I am dependent, on a fantastic man, with whom I have now researched, shopped, haggled (you should have seen me talk to that dealer who wouldn’t give us the price he originally quoted last week), and paid.  It’s a dependency that is accompanied by the most freeing contentment you can imagine.

I cried not for the loss of the last little piece of my single life, but for the many miles that I have covered in the last fourteen years, and the beautiful location at which I have arrived.

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The Wonders of (Old) Technology

5 Aug

So how do you maintain your daily dose of Olympics when life dictates a trip to Chicago?  The VCR, my friends, the VCR.

You remember those old machines that play clunky old tapes, right?  No?  Well surely your remember the problem that my dear sister had earlier in the summer because of this out-of-date entertainment equipment.

But it turns out that the VCR, like an athlete everyone thought should have retired four years ago, made a stunning comeback and redeemed itself.

So that big race between Lochte and Phelps that the world watched Thursday?  Yep, we got to see that via onboard VCR as we made the early morning trek to the windy city.  Poor picture quality never made three groggy boys so happy.

Day-old Olympics and day-old doughnuts – the secrets to a successful road trip.

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Let the what begin?

2 Aug

Did you know the Olympics were about sports?  I know, I got so caught up in food, and crafts, and even geography, that those athleticky things sort of slipped my mind.

Not our boys’ though.  Nope.  One hour into Opening Ceremonies they were still asking “When is it going to start?”  We just kept answering that it already had.  Finally, (no world record’s for parenting adroitness here) we figured out they were asking when people were going to start playing games.

Oh, yeah.  Games.  Tomorrow.

So, like the Olympians we too let our games begin last Saturday.  Since then our little sports have pretty much kept us honest with at least one event per day.  We’ve had running races, biking races, basketball, cricket, archery, and shooting.  We’ve enjoyed the thrill of victory, and the agony (and whining) of defeat.  We’ve learned the rules to games most people don’t acquire from books.  We’ve handcrafted our own tools of the competition.We’ve taken games we loved, modified them with a slight jump of the pitcher and addition of really young players, and referred to them by their Olympic, and excitingly buggy monikers.We’ve given medals for cuteness.

We’ve learned the national anthems of China, Australia, Great Britain and the good ol’ USA.  We’re cheering on our teammate from Brazil so that one day soon he too can hear his national anthem sung loud and clear through the screendoor on YouTube.  We’ve worn our medals with pride, and noticed that while our comrades in London have purple ribbons around their necks instead of blue, they have still have lids, just like us.

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Keep Away from Open Flame, or Even Closed

29 Jul

I dislike fire.  A lot.  I don’t want to go into the details, but let it suffice to say that in my first two years of high school there was an exploding lab table and a student in French class who gave us a dramatic lesson in the meaning of the word ‘flambé.’

Our ice cream torches from Friday night are long gone, so our Olympic games seemed to be lacking that iconic blaze, and despite my fears something needed to be done.  We researched some past cauldrons for inspiration.  Remember that horrible one from Atlanta that looked like a McDonald’s french fry container?  Awful.  But I’ll give them ingenuity points for recycling the grease to keep the flame alive.

Seeing as we were fresh out of fast food containers we scavenged the basement for cardboard, developed a design, and got to work.

While watching water polo, of course.

Everyone got a chance to carry the torch as we moseyed around the house.

Yes, there really is a torch under there, but it’s just a toilet paper tube, so don’t look too closely.

We had to work on the hand-offs,

but once we got them down the fire picked up some speed.

Simeon was so full of hot air from his leg that he began to come off the ground like a hot air balloon.  

The most senior Olympians got the last legs, ending with the lighting of the cauldron in a place of honor above the TV set, where it will burn until the end of the games.

Why so high, you ask?  Even tissue paper flames, no especially tissue paper flames need to be kept out of the reach of little twins.

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