January 31, 2010

Bocelli sings the Lord's Prayer & Kids Help Their Parents Through the College Admission Process

I hesitate EVER to call myself a "singer" again after watching this rendition of the Lord's Prayer from Andrea Bocelli . How does he DO that??? That's a LONG stream of beautiful air coming out of his lungs. The choir and orchestra aren't bad either... (hat tip to my Bible study leader, Heather)

We're looking at various college options for Jason in 18 months. One website offered the following helpful advice for prospective university students:
  • Helping Your Parents Through This Process

    For parents, sending a child off to college is a big deal. ...Your parent(s) may feel lots of different things, and sometimes conflicting things at the same time. High hopes for you. Pride and a fierce determination that you go to a "good enough" school. Anxiety about your happiness and safety. Nervousness about what they see as a very big step for you. Grief that you are unmistakably growing up. Uncertainty about how to pay the tuition. Inadequacy, if they feel they can't help you with the admissions process. Frustration, because they can't control the outcome for you. An intense desire to help you - coupled with a desire not to interfere too much (as you can imagine, this can be a particularly hard pair of feelings to juggle). If you're applying to schools of the caliber of MIT, they may be worried that you won't get in - and equally worried that you will.

    Some parents cope with their feelings by paying a lot of attention to the college search process, others by being totally hands-off. Most come down somewhere in between....

    • If you would like more help and support from your parents, or less, or a different kind, dare to talk with them about it. Try letting them know that you understand how they're feeling, and then asking them to make a change. Your parents can be incredibly helpful in sorting through your college choices. Most likely, no one knows you better or cares more about how the world treats you. But it really helps to face the process as a unified team, with shared expectations.

    • If you and your parents are having a hard time striking the right balance between hands-on and hands-off, one practical tactic is to choose a few specific items on your long list of pre-college tasks and assign them to your parents. Of course, the big, substantive jobs should all go to you - things like deciding on your final list of schools, writing your essays, making calls to the admissions office, scheduling your interview. But there are plenty of other roles for your parents, if they're interested. Some likely tasks include planning college tours, keeping track of application deadlines...

So insightful and healthy-sounding! May God help us to strike the right balance.

Posted via email from K's Café

January 31, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 19, 2008

I love my mother

...for so many reasons. Here are a few of the most recent caring culinary contributions she has made to my life (while I was recovering from surgery and it was my birthday):

Breakfast in bed (carried by her very kind husband) and then later that same day a cake with the outline of Switzerland on it!
Another day, one of the delectable and colorful meals my talented chef mother provided for the whole family, and a fruit platter for breakfast another morning:ColorfuldinnerFruitplatter

Wonderful woman!

May 19, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 28, 2008

Google, Email, Parenting

Look at the Google logo today. You can hover your mouse over the logo to see what the occasion is. Hat tip to my husband :-) Oh, and if you look at this post later than the day I published it, you may be able to find the logo I was referring to on the previous Google Holiday Logos page. You might want to take a peek anyway - I've missed a lot of them and they're fun to see.

UPDATE: seems like they don't show the minor fun logos, just the major holidays on that historical page. So here is what I was referring to: the 50th anniversary of the Lego Brick. I can't find where the non-major logos are kept in an orderly fashion anywhere. Let me know if you find a collection.

* * *

Karen Hancock writes fascinatingly and with deep thoughts about the novel-writing and -editing process. I liked this post, Overcoming the Email Addiction.

* * *

For some reason, this piece circulating the internet choked me up. Anyone want to claim authorship? I'd love to attribute it to the writer. Thanks to my friend Rose who emailed it to me:

PARENT: Job Description

POSITION: Mom, Mommy, Mama, Ma, Dad, Daddy, Dada, Pa, Pop

JOB DESCRIPTION: Long term, team players needed, for challenging permanent work in an often chaotic environment.
Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24 hour shifts on call.
Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities!
Travel expenses not reimbursed.
Extensive courier duties also required.

RESPONSIBILITIES: The rest of your life.
Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily, until someone needs $5.
Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly.
Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf.
Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers.
Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects.
Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks.
Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next.
Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.
Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product.
Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.

Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you

PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE: None required unfortunately.
On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis..

WAGES AND COMPENSATION: Get this! You pay them!
Offering frequent raises and bonuses.
A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent.
When you die, you give them whatever is left.
The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.

BENEFITS: While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered; this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth, unconditional love, and free hugs and kisses for life if you play your cards right..

If you are fortunate enough you will become grandparents!

January 28, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 24, 2007

Family Pancake Team

Emily expressed the desire and provided the impetus and energy

David agreed and provided the coaching and expert tips

Emily and David put all the ingredients together

Jason and Katherine emptied the dishwasher

Jason prepared the special fillings: sliced bananas and broken walnuts

Katherine got out the Canadian maple syrup

David poured the batter in lovely circles

Katherine applied the bananas and walnuts and covered them with dabs of batter

Emily got out the plates

David flipped the pancakes

Everyone ate, drank, was merry

We all thanked each other for our contributions

A family pancake team

November 24, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 17, 2007

My son beat me in ping-pong

Yesterday, for the first time, my son beat me at ping-pong. The resounding defeat (two games in a row) hit me so hard that I am home in bed sick with a cold today. Later that same evening, he beat David twice as well. All that practice has paid off at last. Not two weeks ago I beat him 13 games in a row on the same day. I guess I let that resounding success go to my head and got cocky. Maybe I'll still have a comeback...

These rites of passage are deep. It reminds me of two years ago when Jason started being able to ski faster than I. A similar feeling of reversal of role.

Only this time it's symbolic - Jason is turning into a teenager this month. Such a milestone. And in six months we'll have only double-digit aged kids.

Now I'm just waiting for Jason to be taller than I am. At least I have a while to go for that. As far as I know. Until that sudden growth spurt. Ah, the bittersweet joys of motherhood. Train them up to let them go. Into the world of international ping-pong tournaments.

October 17, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 18, 2007

Marble Pound Cake Again

I posted a photo of my marble pound cake back in March 2005, but it was a bundt pan version.

Then I posted the marble pound cake recipe five days later at my mother's request (did you ever make it, Mom?).

Well, Emily and I made it again last night, this time in a springform tube pan as the recipe suggests. Only I ran out of time and had to go pick up Jason from play practice before it was ready to go in the oven. I sit before you incredulous that this was no problem. I merely gave Emily a few instructions and left her with the job of finishing things up, putting the cake pan in the oven, and starting the timer. She did this with the greatest of ease (other than playing piano for a few minutes before remembering to set the timer!). She was the one who immediately brought up the fact that she should wear hot mitts for safety even though the pan was not hot yet.

I have a child responsible enough, coordinated enough, and interested enough to leave at home to work with a hot oven. And she's my youngest. I guess I've been a parent for a while now. The cake turned out delicious. What a joy to have such an enthusiastic and close friend to bake with.

September 18, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 05, 2007

A Simply Great Evening

After Dad got home from work, we played Rummikub and Blokus simultaneously (well, David and I did - one kid wanted to play each game and not the other, so we were happy for the challenge of doing both at the same round table, both adults with each kid) while Dad ate his dinner.

Then we all ate dessert together: homemade Pseudo-Banana-Cream-Pie. I made a Graham Cracker crust (except I used McVitie's Digestive Biscuits), sliced bananas over it, poured vanilla yogurt over those, and crumbled more digestive biscuits crumbs in a heart shape on top. Pretty good. Hard to serve, though.

Then, as we'd been listening to Pathétique by Beethoven, David and I were explaining to the kids how Billy Joel had made a cover of it, adding words (This Night, from the Movin' Out album), so we had to sing it to them over the Beethoven so they could see how it went. We alternated playing the Billy Joel and Beethoven versions, and ended up dancing in the living room to both (father-daughter and mother-son couples). We were being silly and trying fancy dance moves, with serious giggling ensuing.

As I sent the kids up to brush teeth, Emily remarked on what a wonderful evening it had been.

Fun fun fun!

Thank You, God, for precious times like these.

July 5, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 08, 2007

Choking Up at His Kindness

I am in a state of near tearing up as I go about my business this morning, grocery shopping, tidying, laundry and all...in a bittersweet sea of emotion over the end of the truly kind visit of my mother these past 12 days. I see the grace of God in her constant giving and vibrant joy, in her determination and thoughtfulness and energy, in her care and creativity.

Thank you, Mom, most of all for sending David and me off for four blessed nights of marital peace and joy, knowing that Emily was having a blast in your safe and skilled care.

Thank you, too, for all the other innumerable acts of mercy you bestowed. A few particularly salient ones:
- Emily's hutch finally built after a couple of years of leaning against the wall in a cardboard box. Wow. I was going to get around to it someday.
- The kitchen windowsill cleared of the clutter...what a difference.
- My birthday dream salad bar. Have you recovered from the chopping yet?
- Providing a very talented and instructive fourth for bridge. What fun. Wish we could do that every night. Wouldn't it be fun to be driving distance from each other? In our dreams, right?
- Your strong foundation on Jesus, solid in faith and prayer and the Word. What a heritage you pass along to me.

God reminded me this morning of the bit I read to you this week out of my diary from freshman year in college, when I was missing you and Dad so much. The part reminding me that all the wisdom in you (more and more as you get older), all the knowledge in you, all your experience and good judgment, all your skills and insight, and indeed every good thing about you - God gave it to you. God planted all these seeds in you and watered them and made them grow throughout your life. And He gave you to me. And though you have left me, boarding an airplane to take you to another country not even connected by land to this one, God remains, and holds all that I find so attractive and encouraging in you - and so much more. This is comforting to me as I say goodbye and let you go in His care. I thank Him for letting me know you, and for the fabulous time we were allowed to spend together. I thank Him for my incredible husband and children, and my blessed home here, and for knowing the exact times and places where everyone should live (including you and me).

Thank you, God, for remaining with me 24/7, 365 days a year, and for being my All in All, for containing great depths of every kind of Goodness I could ever want to be near and bask in. Thank you for lending my mom to me. Bless her and keep her, watch over her ways and comings and goings.

May 8, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 20, 2007

That's What Mothers Are For

CrockeryvaseMy son was going to donate his first attempt at a handmade clay pot to the school art department to store paintbrushes in, without me even seeing it. That's how much he thought of his school art class creation.

Nonetheless, at my request, he guided me into the art room to take a peek.

Now, objectively, I could see some reasons why he might not feel it was the best he could do, or why he might compare it with others' work and see a lack. But subjectively? Subjectively, I absolutely LOVED it. I grabbed it and tucked it under my arm and talked about how I really liked the round holes around the top, and how maybe I could stick some flower stems through those, and how I liked the purple parts and how the blue melded with them, and how the glaze in certain spots was particularly smooth and glossy, and I thought how proud I was to see my son's initials on a piece of crockery.

The pot now sits on the window sill above my kitchen sink, holding carnations and chrysanthemums. A happier fate than a corner of the art room with old paintbrushes. I wouldn't think of giving it up. All of a sudden my son is rethinking things and pondering aloud whether this could be my early birthday present...

Edited March 22nd to add photo, per Leah's request in the comments below. Permission granted by the potter himself after some consideration about who might actually be reading this.

March 20, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

February 20, 2007

Discovery: Quilt of Grace

I've just discovered the encouraging blog Quilt of Grace - authored by a gracious homeschool mom of 5 biological kids (including some with serious special medical needs) + 2 foster kids (with special emotional needs), almost adopted. Her composure and humility and bright spirit are a blessing to me. I even love her blog title.

- For those who think there are no truly wonderful men or beautiful long-term marriages out there, read what Laura's husband does for her. It's a heart-warming thing.

- Had a bad day? Laura can certainly commiserate, though she generally tries to be encouraging. She ponders blog honesty: "When we write only a few times a week, it isn't that hard to write about the few token moments where everything was actually going right. We often don't write about all of the moments where everything was falling apart."

- Laura addresses the fears of people who think having lots of children means less parental love for the younger ones. Speaking of her fifth child, who just turned one:

He is so special to our family. I can't imagine life without him. Although I absolutely love my children equally, I have to say that I have definitely enjoyed Giovanni more than I did the others. This has nothing to do really with him or his awesome personality, but more to do with me. The more children I have, the faster time seems to fly by. I made the conscious decision with Giovanni to really stop and enjoy him. When the other children were babies, I tended to get caught up in the busyness of the day. But with him, I would skip that extra load of laundry, and just sit and cuddle with him. I just cherish this time so much. Lord willing, I will still be doing laundry 25 years from now. But you just can't get back that time with a baby.

- Read this heartwarming post on plenty of lavished attention for the kids in big family. I wanted to post an excerpt, but it all really goes together, and I found I was going to be republishing the whole thing, which really isn't fair. So just go over and read it for yourself. I'd like to go visit Laura's house some day (and I don't even know where she lives).

- I loved Laura's family's idea of sleeping under the Christmas tree!

- Funny post on Modesty Gone Too Far.

- Great idea for mattress flipping labels.

Thanks, Laura! I'm blessed you can find the time to blog!

February 20, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack