Saturday, October 18, 2014

9 More Reasons You Should NOT Homeschool

Maybe you saw the post that listed off 9 Reasons You Should NOT Homeschool. It kept popping up in different feeds I follow and so I eventually read it, even though I already know all the reasons we're not homeschooling.

Now, I am 100% sure the author is a lovely, warm, kind woman. But most of her nine reasons really rubbed me the wrong way.  I think that Jen and I would agree on the bottom line on most of her reasons. However, as someone who has very happily chosen traditional school for my kids, I wanted to rephrase her wording to better represent the reasons why my husband and I made the decision we did to not homeschool.

So here goes, nine more, or slightly different reasons you should NOT homeschool:

1. She said: You are bound and determined to recreate school at home.
I say: You know you cannot recreate school at home. Your twelve years in a traditional classroom were wonderful, filled with dynamic teachers, a wide variety of friends and acquaintances, and many opportunities. You want to offer that same experience to your kids.

2. She said: You aren't willing to step out of your comfort zone.
I say: You know your strengths and your weaknesses; you understand your temperament and you know that, while you like a challenge, homeschooling is not what's best for you, your kids, or your family.

3. She said: You don’t like to learn new things.
I say: You are interested in educating and building up your children, family, and community through traditional school.

4. She said: You don’t want to be an active participant in your children’s education.
I say: As a parent you are obviously the first and primary teacher of your children, especially in the most important things. You want to be an active participant in your children's education but you also don't want to be the only one. You respect teachers, their educations, and the incredibly special skill set, passion, and talent that they possess. You believe that your children benefit from being with such professionals.

5. She said: You don’t like to be in charge.
I say: You know that, in the end, you are always in charge of your children. Others may guide, educate, and discipline your children, and you are happy to work with them to give your child the best. You also understand that if traditional school is not working for your child then, because you are in charge, you will change the situation for the benefit of your child.

6. You are homeschooling to please someone else.
I say: Totally agree with her there!

7. She said: You lack perseverance.
I say: You're in a rough season of life. If you already feel overwhelmed, maxed out, or stretched too thin then this is probably not the best time to add educating all of your children at home to your list of things to do. Sometimes all you can do is survive, not plan chemistry labs and correct handwriting.

8. Homeschooling is an experiment.
Once again, I agree. I have a lot of respect for homeschoolers and I know it takes a lot of work. Giving it a go for kicks and giggles, or because you know other homeschoolers, or because it's the trendy thing to do is not a good idea. Homeschooling should come with a conviction and a desire.

9. You don’t like things to get messy.
I say: Life can be messy, especially with kids. Going back to #2, if you know that you need more order and less clutter and chaos then traditional school is likely a better fit.

She said: Homeschooling is about so much more than math lessons. Homeschooling is when learning and life collide, and that’s a good thing.
I say: Education is about so much more than math lessons. Education is when learning and life collide, and that's a good thing.

Now, to the moms who are considering homeschooling and trying to find the balance, weigh the options, and make the right decision. To you I want to say this:

If you choose to homeschool that is great. Homeschooling is a fantastic option. Good for you for knowing what's best and for making that leap. I support you and I believe in you! You can do this and you will be awesome!

If you choose to not homeschool it's not because you are too lazy, stupid, or stubborn. It's not because you lack the right virtues. It's not because you're not a good enough mom or that you don't enjoy your kids enough.

You are good enough.

You have enough; you do enough; you are enough.

You are more than enough.

If you choose not to homeschool it's because it's the best decision for your family and don't let anyone else make you think otherwise.

If you're new here, stick around! You can follow A Knotted Life on Bloglovin' or Feedly.
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Friday, October 17, 2014

7QT - a Schubert apology, a wedding, a vague prayer request, and a new business

So many thanks to Jen at Conversion Diary for always hosting.

 1 - Thank you to all the women and the one man who took my reader survey. To that one man, I'd love to bake you cookies. To everyone, the information you gave me was so helpful and I am really grateful. I'll be sharing all the insights with you soon!

One of my favorite parts of the survey was when we discussed music. It seems about one third of the people who read my blog think I have the best taste in music ever. One third of my readers don't really care about music and could take or leave my suggestions. And one third hate with the fiery intensity of fifteen suns the music I listen to.

My responses are:
1 - Yay! Let's geek out about music together!
2 - Alright.
3 - I am so sorry. Please accept as this gorgeous rendition of Schubert's Ave Maria as an apology gift. And I hope I'm not still missing the mark completely.

2 - Last weekend Travis and I went to a Newman wedding. Never heard of a Newman wedding? Well, a Newman  Center is a Catholic college or university student center. A Newman wedding is therefore when someone from the Newman Center gets married. All the Newman gang is invited and it is a blast. I was active in Newman ministry when I was a college student and I then worked at a Newman Center for two years, which is how I met Travis. Our wedding was a Newman wedding, as were many of our best friends'. Newman weddings always have dancing, drinking, laughing, and - if they involve me and our friend Nick - debates on whether or not a good Catholic can vote for Obama.

Some of my Newman friends I'm able to see on a regular basis, some I usually only see at Newman weddings (or showers!), but no matter how much time has gone by we can always pick the conversation up right where we left it off.

Congrats, Kate and Chris!

3 - Speaking of married life, Jenny's posts on the Catholic Church's teachings on sex and marriage have been amazing. I hope you're reading them and if you're not then START!

4 - Joseph has entered the stage in babyhood wherein he is constantly climbing on tables. I hate this stage. Nothing is safe and I'm not even talking about the risk of him falling off the table. Food, drink, decorations, books, paperwork, crayons - anything is up for his grubby little hands to grab.

5 - I have been loving the This Inspired Life podcasts. Have you been listening along too?

6 - In an obnoxious vagueness I'm going to ask you all to say a prayer for an upcoming doctor's appointment I have this coming Wednesday. I am not pregnant and it's nothing super serious like cancer, but it is important and it's something that needs to be figured out by my GP and myself.

7 - Recently I've been helping some bloggers, giving them some simple tips and tricks that result in fresher looking, easier to use, more inviting blogs. This has grown into a part time job and I'd love to work with you to pinpoint simple changes that can grow your readership, make your blog better, and all the while stay true to your style.

All the details of what a consultation consists of can be found by clicking here, or on the Blog Consulting tab at the top of my page. I hope we can work together!

If you're new here, stick around! You can follow A Knotted Life on Bloglovin' or Feedly.
Plus, I'd love to connect with you. You can find me on InstagramPinterest, and Facebook. I hope to "meet" you soon!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Celebrate St. John Paul the Great's Feast Day

St. John Paul the Great's feast day is coming up on October 22nd. Here's some fun ways to celebrate.

I don't know why the thumbnail isn't working but the video should...

For more ideas and resources you can:
Check out Melody's Pope Cake recipe. It was JPII's favorite dessert and all of Poland now affectionately calls them Pope Cakes. I had some while in Poland and they were super duper good.
Chris has a recipe for it, too, along with some other great links.
And Mary does, too!

Now if, unlike me, you want to make homemade, from scratch pierogies, here's a recipe.

And finally, let's dance!

PS - This song actually makes me cry.

"Perhaps I love you more."

If you're new here, stick around! You can follow A Knotted Life on Bloglovin' or Feedly.
Plus, I'd love to connect with you. You can find me on InstagramPinterest, and Facebook. I hope to "meet" you soon!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A woman's maternity through the lens of child or pregnancy loss

Because today is set aside to honor all our little babes who have been lost as infants or through miscarriage I wanted to share this post that I originally wrote while fresh in my grief of having lost Peter Mark in December 2007.

I recently received the Sisters of Life's Winter 2007 newsletter. The entire thing is about adoption and one of the articles shares their thoughts about adoption.

Despite the fact that they are speaking of women who place their babies with adoptive families, some of their comments struck me as a woman grieving a miscarried baby. Three points in particular were especially affirming and poignant:

Maternity is forever. Once a woman is pregnant, her maternity can never be given away. She will always be a mother. There will never be a day in her life when she is ever, in her mind, someone who does not have a child. She is a mother and that is forever... One lives her motherhood all the days of her life. She knows how old her child is, always. She may not have seen the child in years - it has not affected one iota of her maternity and the reality of her active motherhood, which is real.

This statement describes how I feel about our first child. As Peter Mark's due date approaches (Jan 15th) I think about how big I would be at this point. While most other people do not think of our first, I think of him every day. I wonder about his personality, how he would have looked. I picture his fingers and toes and potbelly. I imagine holding and nursing him. And I wonder how one "mothers" someone who is experiencing life in the fullest.

She needs a lot of support, to be loved, to experience her own goodness. She needs to have others delight in her so that she can draw upon those deep reservoirs of goodness within herself. She needs love and laughter and distractions in her worries. And she needs lots of time. She may need to cry her eyes out for months. And we need to be comfortable with that.

I have found this to be very true. Not that I want to forget the pain, but I definitely do not want to be alone. Working on the house has been a blessing in disguise as it brings friends and family to us every weekend. Seldom do I speak of how I'm really feeling to these people - sometimes because it would be awkward and sometimes because it's just not needed - but it is good to chat, catch up and laugh with people. And it does feel good to be loved and cared about so that people will give up their Saturdays for us.

She will live the long loneliness, really, of experiencing and knowing a love that she cannot express, but it is not the absence of love.
This is probably the worst part of it all. I know how to love my husband, family, friends and the baby in my womb. But I don't know how to love this saint child of mine. At this point, the only thing I can do to communicate my love for him is by crying. Which I suppose is sufficient.

If you have lost a baby please know that I am praying for you and holding you close. If you have a specific request related to infertility or child loss you can share it with me here and I would be honored to pray for you in memory of my son. 

If you are looking for ways to support a miscarrying mother, here's the list of things I found helpful.

If you are wondering why I am pained when people tell me that my son died because "God needed another angel," you can read my thoughts here

If you're new here, stick around! You can follow A Knotted Life on Bloglovin' or Feedly.

Plus, I'd love to connect with you. You can find me on InstagramPinterest, and Facebook. I hope to "meet" you soon!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What to do with Mom Hair?

A lot of women I know chopped their hair off the moment they became a mom.

Not me. My husband prefers my hair long, and so do I really. But I still like having my hair out of my face and off my neck as I change diapers, wash dishes, play on the floor, and snuggle my kiddos. Top knot buns, French twists, various braids, messy buns - these have become some of my favorite ways to wear my hair as I've searched for ways to keep my hair back but not resort to a standard ponytail day after day.

I was delighted then, when my friend Mandi introduced me to one of her favorite things; Lilla Rose flexi bands. After snooping around her her site for a bit I saw there were so many ways I could change up the looks I'm already doing and I knew I wanted to try it.

Folks, I've love it. The one I picked out is simple, elegant, pretty, incredibly well made, and incredibly versatile. I've worn it on schleppy days and on put-together days. I've worn it to school pick up, Mass, weddings, and the grocery store. I've used it as a giant bobbi pin, as a ponytail holder, and even as an accent near a bun. Too cute.

Now if I could just learn to French braid my own hair...

So I'm wondering: Did you cut your hair short when you had kids? And if you still have long or longish hair how do you like to wear it? 

Also, can we all say a collective "ugh!" for the postpartum bald spots? 

PS - You can check out all the Lilla Rose flexi styles here and if you'd like to get in touch with Mandi you can visit (and Like!) her Facebook page and get some inspiration on Instagram.

If you're new here, stick around! You can follow A Knotted Life on Bloglovin' or Feedly.
Plus, I'd love to connect with you. You can find me on InstagramPinterest, and Facebook. I hope to "meet" you soon!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Combining my talents for Miss Courtney

I love to bake. I bake when I'm happy, when I'm stressed, when I don't know what else to do. I bake in order to look productive while the laundry goes unfolded and the children go unbathed. I bake to distract myself and to give myself an opportunity to think. With all the baking I've done over the years and all the instruction I've gotten from my mom I've become a pretty good baker. 

It just so happens that the day Mary and Jerry's plumbing went out I had several extra sticks of butter and plenty of eggs, flour, chocolate, and sugar. With everything else the Lenaburgs were going through this was the last straw. They're daughter is dying and now they couldn't even care for themselves or her properly because they had no water. 

Mary has taught me so much about the dignity of the human person and about what quality of life really means. We don't have a lot of extra money on hand but we did have butter and eggs and four and so I was going to do what I could to help Mary and her family.

I baked chocolate chips cookies, monster cookies, and Grace's brownies. I brewed some coffee. I made a couple of signs. I carried the kids' Melissa and Doug grocery store down to the corner of our lot. The kids brought down lawn chairs and a treasure chest for the money. 

We were open for business.

One woman stopped and bought a couple of baggies of treats and asked why we were fundraising. When I explained about Courtney she sadly told me she only had those two dollars but would debit the price of the whole stand if she could. Many people gave extra donations for Courtney's sake and some only gave money and took nothing in return.

Our first customers were our neighbors and soon there was a whole group of neighbors chatting in my yard, discussing the rebuilding of our neighborhood. It was really neat and the kids loved having all the ladies buying their cookies and telling them how cute they were. 

Because our neighborhood is still being rebuilt from last year's tornado we had lots of carpenters, electricians, cement pourers, and more who stopped by - which was also really great.

I loved seeing how the Body of Christ is so large and so active.

 Bennet was really great at waving customers down. James mostly did what his big brother did. Teresa played on the ipad or stole cookies. Joseph napped for most of the time and then joined us and got a cookie from his sister. Lydia was at school at the time but when she came home she went straight to her piggy bank and brought out a couple of dollars so she could buy something, just like Bennet had done at the beginning of the sale. I was really proud of them.

I was able to combine my talents for baking and sitting around and chatting with people with a fundraiser for the beautiful Courtney, Mary, and family. In the end we raised $66.24. I wish I could have done more but maybe you will now be inspired to use your talents for Miss Courtney too. Bake Sales for Courtney across the nation! (or lemonade stands or garage sales or ...)

If you're new here, stick around! You can follow A Knotted Life on Bloglovin' or Feedly.
Plus, I'd love to connect with you. You can find me on InstagramPinterest, and Facebook. I hope to "meet" you soon!

Friday, October 10, 2014

What do you want on your tombstone?

The All Saints' Halloween party is coming up at my old parish and this year the moms' group is giving back, reinvesting in the parish that has built them up, cared for them, and provided for them. The group is doing this by planning and hosting the event on November 1st. Since I'm still an active member of the moms' group there (it's so, so wonderful) I'm helping with the party plans.

The goal of the party is this:
for the ultra sanitized Harvest Party and the horribly secularized and even evil Halloween* to meet in the middle and be Catholic. I want it to look like a Halloween party at first glance but to be filled with opportunities for parents and kids to have fun and learn about their faith - to give parents an opportunity to teach their kids about their faith in a way that's not lame or dorky but fun.

We want things to be a little different this year so the kids who came in the past won't think it's the same old thing. We're not throwing everything out, just rotating some out, some in, and lining up some other things to be rotated out next year. This year I think we may have a bouncy house shaped like a castle for the little kids. Maybe it'll be St. King Wenceslas' castle. One of the women in the group suggested crowns for all the saints, which I think would be a great craft station. We're going to have a soccer game in honor of our athletic JPII and in my dreams we'd have rock climbing wall for Pier Giorgio.

You can see all the games, food, and decorations we had at last year's party if you're looking for some ideas, but I'd also like your help. Do you know of any cute games or craft stations? What about food with saint tie-ins? Like St. Francis' animal crackers and that sort of thing.

Also, tell me what you'd want on your tombstone.

I had the idea of making a cemetery for the guests to walk through as they entered the party. Instead of the evil and scary tombstones I wanted these to be old looking, yes, but also Christian and, more importantly, to have saint names on them. So Teresa of Calcutta, Fulton Sheen, Maximilian Kolbe, Edith Stein, and so on.

Another woman in the group dislikes that idea and thinks it will make the party guests focus on death and not on the eternal life that the saints are enjoying. She would prefer a graveyard with puny names.

And the third option, of course, is that it's just a bad idea and we shouldn't have a cemetery at all.

What do you think? What do you vote for? If you were coming to the party what would you prefer?
Thanks for your help.

*I'm not saying that every Halloween celebration is evil. We do Halloween with decorations, trick-or-treating, kid appropriate but spooky stories and tv specials. Just so you know, I am not anti Halloween. Not at all!

If you're new here, stick around! You can follow A Knotted Life on Bloglovin' or Feedly.
Plus, I'd love to connect with you. You can find me on InstagramPinterest, and Facebook. I hope to "meet" you soon!