7 Quick Takes - Random Family Stuff Edition

Joing Jennifer at Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday

Cookie's club sports season. Down the tubes. I wrote about that one here. The silver lining is that life is really full and beautiful without all that horrible stress and we now have a little more time to spend together as a family. The primary reason for the departure was a negative one (bullying). But a little time and distance has provided a positive perspective and greater view of God's plan.

Positive results from a negative situation:

* Cookie is far more relaxed and happy on a day-to-day basis. I don't think any of us fully realize how much pressure kids unconsciously bear in higher level competitive sports. She is a fantastic competitor and equal to the athletic challenge... but it takes constant discernment to discover if it is truly worth it.

* Cookie and I have had much more time to explore her other interests such as cooking and crafting.

* She has been able to become more involved in the activities of her siblings and enjoy more time with all of us. She is now the team manager for her brothers' CYO team and having a ball.

* The financial pressure of having to keep up with the sporting Joneses has decreased significantly. Gas, hotels, food, incidentals... it adds up and puts a real strain on the family resources.

* We have much more time with our busy Chief (aka Coach).

Our lifestyle change has also had a profound affect on other members of our family who have found their schedules opened up as a result. We've diversified significantly. We lost one activity and gained a Schola Cantorum, a Catholic boys' club, and a huge increase in pro-life activities.

Professor has been working diligently at setting up a blog for the national Pro-Life Youth Congress. He just got the approval to go public yesterday so it is still in its infancy. Eventually, there will be frequent updates and reports coming in from all over the country. If you have a moment and the inclination, please stop by and consider becoming a follower!

I have been driving a lot more since more of our expanded schedule falls during daytime hours. But I really don't mind. My all white very utilitarian family bus is so cool. I am still terrible at parking but driving it is FUN. And the vinyl seats and floor lined with rubber is absolutely perfect for a muddy family of six kids (and all their gear) on beautiful and sloppy Spring days. The diesel engine is loud but that is a small price to pay for a rock solid vehicle.

Ear infections. We've had our fair share and have found one of the best cures to be Garlic Ear Oil. You can read the why and how of the method here. We use Mullein Garlic Ear Oil although it is possible to make your own (tutorial here). It stinks but it is wonderful. When we were out of town recently in a hotel room with a screaming 4-year old, I didn't have access to our oil. Her fever spiked rapidly and the Chief was out... I ended up begging the hotel bartender for a little oil from the kitchen which I was able to heat in our room. Within a few hours, her fever was gone and she was skipping happily around the hotel room. The oil from the hotel didn't give us a permanent cure but I'm now happily applying the stinky good stuff from the comfort of our own home. When I use the garlic ear oil, I always have a strong suspicion that there isn't a infection out there that could stand up to the smell.
Many years ago, we took a child to the doctor for a suspected ear infection. He said it was very mild and wouldn't recommend antibiotics, calling them over-prescribed. Most infections clear up on their own, he said... and a little warm oil will work wonders. He also said that many doctors know this but prescribe antibiotics anyway to avoid angry parents.

We have a child who had a silent ear infection which resulted in tubes. She had no pain, no fever, and was a pre-schooler... so it was months before we discovered the trouble. Other than that, I am happy to say that we have not had to deal with antibiotics for ear infections.


Riding lessons. We arrived at the barn mid-week to find that the teacher was unable to make it. The kids were very disappointed but the owner gave them each a handful of peppermints to give to their favorite horses. As soon as those wrappers started crinkling in the barn, every horse head popped up. Is it for me? Pleeease? Button gave to her favorites and also to the ones she felt compassion for. Crash gave to the ones he rides and then found the biggest horses in the barn to treat. Riding will be coming to an end soon but they will have some wonderful memories.


I found this photo on Fr. Z's blog and was rather moved by it. I then read this in the comments and couldn't stop laughing:

Our 3 1/2 year old son is accustomed to spending some time with his little nose near the floor during the prostrations of the Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem. After last week’s Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts, which included such prostrations, this son felt the need to tell Father that the vents on the floor of the sanctuary were dusty & in need of vacuuming…& that someone had also dropped a quarter down there.

The spontaneous joy and movement and thought of young children is surely no accident. What a priceless treasure it is to have a powerful inclination to prostrate oneself on the floor... and then to follow it. Our sensory memories from childhood are strong and formative. I want my children to recall the feel of the tiles and the smell of the incense... and the sight of those giving their lives to Divine Love.


Proud mama moment of the week:

Professor recently learned that he has been accepted to an invitation-only, high level volleyball camp this Summer, selected from kids all over the country. It is a great opportunity. He loves the sport and I thought he would be thrilled. Instead, I heard the following from him (my abbreviated version):

"I know how this goes. I know how to work hard, use opportunities to advance and be scouted by the right people, use your money to travel and pay for the best camps and experiences. I also know that I have a lot of potential and can feel that I am getting stronger and better as I grow. To what end? Even if I could go to the Olympics... then what? 

Why don't we use the money we would have spent on this camp to take our whole family to the March for Life next year? 

In a few years, I'm going to be leaving home and what will I have to take with me? I think that there is a lot that God wants to be doing with my life and your money right now... and I'm not convinced that it has anything to do with sports."

Now, you mamas out there, I just want to tell you that this kid's room is a mess and he is currently teasing the patience out of his doting younger brother... but the other moments of maturity and clarity are balm for a mama's soul. They are relatively rare moments. Most days are lumpy and bumpy. You know how it is. But I am a better mother today because of what he said to me yesterday. I am recharged and recommitted. And humbled.
Posted on March 30, 2012 and filed under "7 Quick Takes Friday", "family life".