Thoughts for Thursday–New Pope Edition

What am I cooking for dinner tonight?

Skillet sage and thyme chicken thighs, brown rice, and a green salad.  This is simple and easy, a recipe I adapted from several on the internet.  Rub chicken with salt and pepper then dredge it in a mixture of flour (1/2C.), salt (1/2 t.), sage (1/2 t.) and thyme (1/2 t.)  Heat ~1/4C. olive oil in a pan and fry the chicken until done.  Serve over rice with drippings.  Yum!  My whole family loves it–even the baby.  Chicken thighs are so moist and tasty–we don’t indulge in this fried delight too often, but when we do we enjoy it.  We appreciate the chance to put some meat on our kids’ bones!

What are my weekend plans?  

Tomorrow night I have a date night scheduled with GG and friends from church to see Jim Gaffigan, a Catholic comedian mentioned here before.  We have been planning this for awhile and are looking forward to a night out with good friends.  Saturday morning starts our spring soccer season.  My husband is coaching my middle son’s team, which adds another layer of responsibility.  Also, our third son’s team doesn’t yet have a coach, so we’ll be volunteering on and off there as well.  Trying to manage three Saturday morning games is tricky enough, especially with a napping infant and busy 2yo!  While I love spring soccer Saturdays, I admit there is part of me still aching for more of our lazy winter weekends.

Saturday evening we’ll head to Mass and afterward to our church’s annual St. Patrick’s Day dinner, put on by the Knights of Columbus (hubby included).  I learned my lesson last year–come prepared with ample baby toys, baby chair, and low expectations for the quality and quantity of food my children will consume.  There is inevitably one child who goes on a food strike and will eat nothing for dinner.  Alas, what’s a mama to do?  Let ’em go hungry, I guess!

What are my prayer intentions for the day?

I am praying today for our new pope, Francis I, installed yesterday as many of you watched.  What an exciting event!!  My boys were just arriving home from school when we saw the white smoke.  I hollered out the door (while talking to Kellie “Red” on the phone) “Boys!  There’s white smoke!”  They came running, the 6yo falling on the neighbor’s driveway in all the excitement.  We watched afterward in anticipation.  It was a really special event to share with my kids. I was especially moved by the enthusiasm of the people in St. Peter’s square.  Catholics are 1.2 billion strong and proud of it!!  God bless Pope Francis!

Other prayers on my heart today are for this family, who is always in need of prayer, but even more so this week as my friend (the mama) had to have kidney stones surgically removed while the rest of the family is battling the flu.  Lord, have mercy!  Will you join me in praying for them?  They need extra grace in the coming days.

What can my children do instead of watching T.V.? 

How about play chess?   My 6yo has taken to the game and now wants to play anyone and everyone.  His love for chess saved me the other day as he took our 4yo and his friend under his wing and taught them how to play.  It was so sweet to watch the two 4yo’s battle it out with T (6) and M (8) coaching them on.  M was supposed to be doing homework, but got lured in by the fun. Next pupil will have to be… Me!  T promised to teach me in the coming days.      My kids join the ranks of other Builder children who play.  If you’re looking to get your kids started, I recommend any chess teacher set with the moves of each piece printed directly on.  It has been a great place to start for us!

What have I done for my marriage this week? 

Or what has my husband done for me?  He’s supported me going out two nights out this week, which is very generous of him.  The first one I substituted at my friend’s Bunco group and the second was for an informal baby shower out.  He was really gracious both times and handled bedtime for the four oldest.  He even had the kitchen cleaned last night when I returned home. Such a gem.  Thanks babe!

What am I reading? 

At the moment, nada.  I struggle finding time to sit down with a book, especially when I like to devour books in large chunks.  Reading a page or two here and there is not my idea of good reading.  I need a bigger time allowance to get a book done in one or two sittings or I lose track of details, plots, etc.  I know, I’m a high maintenance reader!  My book club has just chosen its next book, so I guess I should get going…

What is one product that is making my life easier?

We just invested in a new mini van, saying goodbye to our 15yo dinosaur.  It was sad to move on, but I have to tell you, automatic doors on a van are just about the most amazing convenience for a mother!  Add onto that an automatic tailgate and I’m about as spoiled as a kid in a candy shop.

What is challenging me lately?  

Our 2yo and her behavior.  She is ornery and stubborn and then so cute and enjoyable minutes later.  I find my patience running very thin with her lately and am trying to take deep breaths.  A friend recently challenged me to a no yelling policy.  She had been struggling as a mother with losing control and a psychologist friend encouraged her to stop.  Dead in her tracks.  Yelling was no longer a tool in her motherly arsenal.  She inspired me to take the same approach–how often do I resort to yelling as a last measure to produce results?  Doesn’t it always backfire?  The result is usually less compliance and more sadness, where I’m having to apologize for “mommy losing my temper” and stop kids from crying.  Oy vey!  The cycle had to stop and I’m happy to report, I haven’t done it since. Two weeks and counting.  I am under control even in chaotic moments and we are all better for it.  This is definitely a work-in-progress, but I’m really amazed at how easy it was to go cold turkey.  I encourage you to give it a shot–it’s worth it!

God bless on this beautiful, God-given Thursday!

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  • Kellie “Red”

    Love the chess. Love the craziness of Sat. am soccer/baseball. Love GG as coach. Love the involvement you have with your church. Love the no-yelling policy. Love modern mini-vans. Love that I was able to talk to you when we saw the white smoke!

    I felt like I was driving a BMW when I finally got my new mini-van. So long old junker than kept breaking down!

    I am putting up a post later today about our new Pope. I’ve been too busy reading about him to write anything 😉


    No yelling! Thankfully I have a bit of time to prepare myself to try the no yelling approach. At what age do these dear ones start making you want to pull out your hair and yell? Please don’t say 1. =) You and GG are such great parents and a wonderful couple. My hubby and I have been pretty snappy with one another lately, in large part because he’s been swamped/stressed at work. M is too young to really understand, but she definitely doesn’t need any time in a stressful environment. We need to work on it!

    Looking forward to your post, Kellie! Been checking back here periodically in hopes of a post about Pope Francis I. Was so excited to watch yesterday and to learn more about our new Pope that I barely got any work done all afternoon. Speaking of which….

  • Amy B

    Yes! Yelling does always backfire! No one feels good after I yell! This might be a last minute additional Lenten fast for me! Thanks for the challenge!!!!

  • Mary Sue

    Love this Bethany! Also LOVE that you have a new van! I know you are in automatic door Heaven. Bless those doors:) Great piece, love ya and miss ya!!

  • Saoirse

    Wow – might need that no yelling policy in my house. Extra hard being pregnant and fighting the neverending cold – but I think I need to do it too!

    And, I have to say – I LOVED sharing the news of the new pope with my sons. I was picking them up from school and heard it on the radio. Great excitement. We had an appointment, so had to listen Pope Francis on the radio on the way there. My boys were so delighted when they realized the Pope was saying the prayers they say. (Hail Mary, etc.) I thought it was so lovely that they were able to pray along. My 6 year old said it was so cool he knew the same prayers – even if he knew it in a different language! Love that there was such a real simple beauty to it.

  • Karen

    This is rather unrelated, B-Mama, but I have been curious about this for far too long and decided I might as well ask! I’m wondering how you came to the decision to put your kids in private (Catholic?) school versus homeschooling them, given the other Builders’ choices to homeschool as well as your teaching degree.
    Personally, I have a 4.5 son and 2.5 son. I have been struggling with whether to enroll my son in Catholic kindergarten or to homeschool him. He was in a Catholic preschool3 class and learned how to write his name and how to be naughty, as he already knew everything else. We moved in August and I was going to enroll him in preschool4, but the local Catholic school was full, so I have been homeschooling him this year. And, by homeschooling, I mean that I get around to following the simple curriculum maybe twice per week instead of 5 times per week. I have not been very disciplined about it, though it is hard to be motivated because I’m basically reviewing things he already knows and then setting up cut and paste projects. He is very good at sitting still and loves learning, so it’s not a behavior issue.
    Am I lazy for not wanting to homeschool? Should the train of thought be “Catholic school if you can afford it, otherwise homeschool” or “Homeschool if you can, otherwise Catholic school”?
    I don’t know whether I feel a “calling” toward either and just wondered what your thoughts are. If Mary Alice reads this, I would also appreciate her input as I can tell she likes to analyze these things. 🙂
    Thank you so much if you’re able to get together any cohesive thoughts on this with your busy days! 🙂

  • JMB

    I never considered homeschooling my children, as much as I loved them and enjoyed taking care of them. For me, I never had the desire or calling to be a teacher. Both my parents were teachers – my father was a college professor and my mother taught high school, but I wanted to work in an office. When we moved to our town, I couldn’t wait to enroll my children in our parish school I had this overwhelming desire to be part of the whole school enchilada.
    I think there is a lot of pressure (why?) on young Catholic mothers to homeschool. If it’s not something that you want to do you then don’t do it. Reading blogs and such, I’m always shocked and somewhat surprised that the Holy Spirit never seems to prompt someone to put their children in school, only to homeschool them.

  • It’s 10:45 at night and I need to go to bed, but my stomach is grumbling after reading about your delicious chicken dinner – yum! Blessings to all of you as you begin your weekend!

  • Bethany “B-mama”

    Karen, thanks for your great question. I’m going to rock your world a little more and disclose that we send our kids to a *public* school as well! Crazy!! For us it came down to the simple fact that we live in a wonderful community, with ample diversity (many Asian families), and fantastic public schools. My children attend a school that’s nestled in our neighborhood and is about 400 meters from our front door, no joke. I walk over to have lunch with them, volunteer in the cafeteria and classroom, participate as “mystery reader”, you name it. It is totally ideal and much of the reason we never want to move!

    At the same time, we have made the decision to homeschool our children’s catechesis through a program called F.I.R.E offered through our church. It has been such a blessing. We join with two other families every-other-week and learn and fellowship in the name of Jesus. The program has very much satisfied my teaching bug during the school year and we enjoy the community we are building within our church.

    Lastly, I’ve decided to treat summers as homeschooling time, where the kids and I explore different topics together and take trips and adventures as a family. With our youngest approaching one this year, we have lots of fun times built into the schedule and also plan to swim a lot at our local pool (for P.E. 🙂

    If we lived in another community, I think our decision would be very different. Even where we are, I wrestle with the choice frequently, wondering if farming out my kids’ education will put limits on their potential. That’s just something I have to work through! Just like with homeschooling, though, from year to year we will assess and make the best choice for our family. At any point if any of our children begin to struggle, you’d better believe I’ll be the first to step forward as their teacher!! God bless you in your discernment and thanks for your interest!

  • Kathleen

    Actually JMB! In definitely one of those moms the Holy Spirit prompted to stop homeschooling and it’s been the best decision for our family! School isn’t perfect and neither is homeschooling! Each mother has a temperament to take into account and different families have different situations. Karen, just take it one year at a time. Just remember whatever path you decide to take is never permanent and it may be different for each child.

  • Karen

    Thanks for such a great reply! You did rock my world a little with public school, but it sounds like you are in a great community and it makes the best sense for all of you. 🙂 Did you or your husband attend public school? It makes me wonder what the percentages are for public school parents who send their kids to private school and vice versa for all three categories (public, private, and home). I’m more at peace in the past day or so about being an involved school mom and doing the “homeschool” sort of thing by making sure they understand their homework and also continuing with the field trips, nature walks, etc. My husband is even suggesting to teach Latin on the side or during the summer (because we all know kids are going to love the idea of ANOTHER subject during potential play time, haha!). I kind of just want a flow chart to help with the decision, though: Do you have a great public school system? Yes: Consider public school. No: Can you afford/want to pay for Catholic school? and so on down. If life were only so simple! Thank you for taking the time to respond! 🙂

  • Karen

    I know–what is it with the evident pressure to homeschool? I’m not sure where it comes from. I know homeschooling mothers don’t think they’re doing a “better” job of mothering their children, so it can’t be peer pressure in that sense.

  • Karen

    Thanks Kathleen! My husband and the boys and I all attended the local Catholic preschool open house last night and I am feeling much more peaceful about it, especially since I was able to talk with this other young mom whom I’ve secretly admired at mass for the past four years, haha! Her son will be in the same class as my son and it is just a relief that I know at least one other child in the class comes from a family whose Catholic faith is a main priority instead of a cultural deal. I totally agree with you on the temperament of the mother as well as what she is emotionally capable of handling and academically capable of teaching. (I, for one, totally enjoy the theory behind the four temperaments and can’t stop analyzing people’s temperaments after reading about it on this blog for the first time a year or so ago and then buying a book and a CD about them!)
    Thanks for hosting this little discussing, BC! 🙂 It’s definitely helped me resolve some of my doubts!