Monday, August 21, 2017

DOCAT on abortion

Another one of my "DOCAT minute" videos was published on Youtube, this time about abortion. Here it is, with a guest appearance.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Tree classification

I've decided to record some of my *very important* tree classification notes here. I can't believe my entire tree vocabulary has been reduced to "tree" my entire life. These wonderful Montessori conferences explain how small children will absorb any vocabulary you say to them, so you should start with flower and then specify "dandelion" or "rose". The more complex the word, the better it is for their brain. Well, now I can start to do that with trees. Every time I walk or drive around I try to look at the tree shapes and trunks and my head almost explodes from thinking about how many different types of trees there are in the world and how I will never learn them all. Creation is really very beautiful and diverse.

London Plane tree (English)/ Plátano (Português)/ Platanus (Latin)
The first tree I learned to identify, after cork oak and pines, is the London Plane. By the way, I am almost exclusively using the Kingfisher Field Guides Trees of Britain and Europe pictured in that post. I was very excited to learn the London Plane because they are everywhere, in every playground and I remember them from my childhood! I clearly remember the spiky balls and wondering if that's where walnuts come from. Well friends, it's not. This is a tall tree that is easily spotted by its scaling bark with patches of creamy white and by its globular, spiky fruits.

Jacaranda/Jacarandá/Jacaranda mimosifolia
This took me forever and online help to identify because they are not flowering right now. When they are flowering, their purplish/blue flowers are easily spotted and fall everywhere, especially on your car. They are very common in Lisbon. And around my house, too. Luckily they still have their woody seed pods, which are tough and 2-3 inches big. They have leaves twice divided into leaflets.

Silver Birch/Vidoeiro branco/Betula pendula
I was happy to find a silver birch tree because they also remind me of my childhood neighborhood. They have beautiful smooth, white bark, they are slender and have long, green catkins (those caterpillar-like "fruits" of trees).

Red bottlebrush flower/Callistemon/Callistemon
This is actually a shrub, and not a tree, so I didn't find it in my book. But it is so common and I've seen it so many times that I wanted to know what it was called. And now I can see the difference between shrubs and trees better.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

20 weeks

If you read this blog and don't already know, we are expecting a third baby in January! We traveled to the US during first trimester, so that was a good way to distract myself from the morning sickness. Then we got back and had a little scare (blood loss), mandated rest, then I got sick, Davy got sick and I got sick again. And it took forever to get my regular energy back. I thought I never would. But then I did and my second trimester has been going swell. Almost 20 weeks and I can't believe how much I already love and am excited about meeting this new little person God has blessed us with. I was scared and thought I would be embarrassed about announcing it to people (since we live in the country with one of the lowest birth rates in the world, and this baby and Davy will be 18 months apart)... but I'm surprisingly not. I just feel so incredibly blessed, like the luckiest person in the world, walking around with my sandals, pot belly and rambunctious toddlers.

"With great affection I urge all future mothers: keep happy and let nothing rob you of the interior joy of motherhood.  Your child deserves your happiness.  Don’t let fears, worries, other people’s comments or problems lessen your joy at being God’s means of bringing a new life to the world.  Prepare yourself for the birth of your child, but without obsessing, and join in Mary’s song of joy: 'My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit exults in God my Saviour, for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant' (Lk 1:46-48).  Try to experience this serene excitement amid all your many concerns, and ask the Lord to preserve your joy, so that you can pass it on to your child."

- From Amoris Laetitia by Pope Francis, n 171

Monday, August 14, 2017

Food for thought for stay-at-home-moms

"When Deirdre and John were here this weekend and telling us about Paris, I was remembering times I spent in Europe, back when mothers went to the market for the day’s food, carrying a straw bag and bringing home enough for the meals and a little more. My aunt actually married a German man and lived this life.

Marketing in the morning, large meal at midday, light “collation” in the evening, warm rolls delivered early to the doorstep, eaten for breakfast with unsalted butter and coffee (although I personally don’t like coffee. I know).

We were thinking about how, if the mother is the manager of her home, the family eats simply but well.

I don’t know why being the manager of the home (leaving aside being its heart, and just purely looking at things job-wise) is considered… nothing.

Have you been to a hotel recently? Maybe to stay, or for a reception? Can you imagine even thinking, 'This hotel is great. It’s comfortable, welcoming, clean, and refreshing. The food tastes homemade. It’s wonderful that this hotel has no manager.'

The amazing thing about being the manager of your own home is that it’s just such a pleasure. Listen, everything has its downside; nothing is perfect. But the freedom to decide when, where, and how to do things, taking into consideration only the opinions of those you love, why, that’s a pleasure.

Well, it can be!"

From "Okay, this is the salad post." by Leila Lawler 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Book club and habits

We are still deciding/discerning whether our kids will be homeschooled or what school they will go to, but in the midst of this I feel like I am homeschooling myself. My main goals are reading and music, in my case piano playing. I think if we could be really great readers and have lots of books, and play instruments together, that would be the foundation for all the rest. Sports we'll outsource. Other academic subjects, too. But reading and music I feel passionate about not outsourcing.

I am not the voracious reader I thought I was. Or I used to be in sixth grade. I mainly want to buy books online, but then they pile up in a big, tall stack of books "to read". My Little Catholic Bubble Book Club on Facebook has been really motivating in that sense. I have a deadline each week to read a certain amount, which if I didn't have a deadline I wouldn't read. I've already read St. Catherine of Siena by Sigrid Undset, The Power and the Glory and now The Power of Silence, which are books I wouldn't have picked by myself or wouldn't have read so quickly, but the book club really helps. See pic above of the "his" and "her" bookmarks I made for my husband too, who wanted to read along with me.

The piano playing is another story. Maybe I need a club? Or some guidance? I know I can't get around the "grind" of a little practice every day, but I haven't been successful yet.

And on the subject of homeschooling, here is a really great article: My Education in Home Schooling