Friday, August 28, 2015

Happiness and A Book Giveaway!

My apologies for a very  late, very scattered, and very hurried post, but just like the mostly clean shirt Malachi is wearing today, this is the only choice.

I actually started this post the other day, 5 minutes before Fiona decided to start her "I will  now only ever nap for 45 minutes or as long as it takes for mom to decide she will attempt to write and only gets as far a making a latte. Or whichever comes first." It's one of my favorite phases, for sure and is surely just a short segue before  entering the never napping ever phase. My second favorite. But I gave each of the babies a plate of whipped cream and some utensils to play with to their hearts' content or until the whipped cream hits the chandelier. I think the latter will result in the former. And maybe I can hit post before then.

So yes, I said there would be  an opportunity to get an awesome book for free in the next week. And I think its been a sufficient amount of weeks since then.   here is the book. I have not finished reading it yet, for the same reasons the laundry is not done, this post is late, and my hair looks like it does.

(I would like to also point out Shane was gone hiking for a few days last week so things were pretty busy, and when he was home Malachi took his game up like 7 notches which included a bottle of syrup, some coffee, a rug, and some furniture. I was sure I was going to find a waffle and some bacon somewhere, as that would really round out the menu but I guess he couldn't find any. Everything, and everyone, survived and we are back to our version of normal for now.) And on to the book giveaway.

If you  were in the Seattle area some 20+ years ago, wow I feel old, you may have had the opportunity to hear Fr Spitzer, the author of the book,  in person. He taught at Seattle University and it seemed every few months my mom was making us get up at ungodly hours to go to the university to hear him speak on the four levels of happiness. I remember most of his talk, and being really tired, the coffee, and pistachio covered baklava. (So Level One, I know) I was 13, so.... um nothing. But I knew about the other levels. So that was something. I thought.

Fr Spitzer has recently put out a new book, an in-depth look at happiness.  What makes us happy and why? And why does or doesn't the happiness last? And what can we do about it? (For a brief overview of the Four Levels of Happiness go here. ) 
Three more volumes are planned for  future releases covering topics of transcendence, suffering, and evil. I say that because after reading the forward 4 times and going over it with my sister we finally figured the volumes 2, 3,4, all of which have titles and are referenced, are not available yet. I was super confused for a couple days.  But maybe that little bit of information will save someone the brain energy of sorting it out on their own.

 For a chance to win a copy of his book, leave a comment here and you'll be entered to win one.
I'll announce the winner here next Friday. I think I can remember that.

In addition to being a priest, philosopher, theologian, teacher, and astrophysicist he loves people and really wants to share with as many people as he can. He founded the and offers a host of resources available online. If you are interested in science, reason and how it all fits together it's the place to go. Shane has been going through   the Principles&Choices series with the bigger kids  and they finished the Science&God series and all they enjoyed them both quite a bit.

So this is not how I had planned to introduce the book and am not able to really do it justice just now, but if you or anyone you know struggles with happiness, or has difficulty finding purpose and meaning in life take a look at it. And if you'd like a chance to win a copy of the book, for yourself or a friend,  leave a comment.

Also, I have no clue why the font is all changing willy-nilly. Maybe it has something to do with the big whipped cream covered napkin Malachi just launched onto my keyboard. Shane's not home so I'm on my own in that department.    Time to pay the piper and clean up the kitchen. And the kids. And that will make me happy.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Always Late To The Party And a heads-up on a giveaway!

So I realized a couple weeks ago that a couple weeks before that was NFP ( Natural Family Planning) awareness week. I'm not entirely sure why it needs a whole week to share the, what seems to be secret formula  1+ 1 = 3. But it lasted all that week. I knew because I  read all kinds of articles written by other people. Interspersed with taking care of our 6 kids. Naturally. And then on the heels of that week came Breastfeeding Awareness Week? Month? Day? I think today is sometime in August. That is about as exact as my day tracking goes. But again I was busy nursing my one year old who is nursing and  teething and wants to nurse more when she is teething. So again I had nothing to say.

Plus the part where Shane was gone and my Surface thinks it is the funniest joke in the world to change pages/windows/houses on me without notifying me first so I can save the three misspelled letters I've managed to force onto the screen with my left hand as I'm trying to nurse the one year old and get enough caffeine in me to make it until Shane returned.

But finally, return he did. And after 4 grueling, tear filled hours of commuting on a Friday afternoon to pick him up, the kids all swore they would never go to the airport again. Even I thought it was pretty bad. The traffic I expected. I did not expect huge swaths of the airport parking lot to be roped off while the happy little electronic sign lied to you saying there were 67 empty stalls on this floor. To which the kids would say 'finally' and we would drive around the roped off area to get to the tiny area which could and already did hold 13 cars could and did hold so it was onto the next floor. Until I finally had it with Fiona's screaming and pulled over to nurse her behind a sea of parked cars whose owners were lucky enough to have not been duped by the earlier promises of green pastures and closer spots and had hightailed it to the top of the garage. And were probably picking up their luggage and passengers already. And stopping for a drink before facing the labyrinthine sojourn home. Which sounded great at that point. But we were not even at that point. Actually at that point I texted Shane and said I would just pick him up outside the baggage claim. Then one of the kids said they needed to pee. Given we'd already been in the car forever I thought it would be best to stretch our legs a bit. So we drove around and around the concrete  snake coils that take you to the next level of hell, while Fiona, not happy with the snack interruption,  added the requisite soundtrack of wailing and gnashing of her 8, soon to be 24 teeth. And we found a spot.

Then elation like only a sea-lost sailor spying land could feel. Or maybe a woman in labor seeing the anesthesiologist about to deliver a syringe of relief might feel. I don't know. I'm sure there is a Natural Childbirth Awareness festival coming up soon. Maybe I'll catch that one. Or not. For sure not.

Shane was waiting for his fish, always waiting for the fish, when the kids spotted him in the terminal. I said hi to the other crew members. Who were hitching rides from another fishermen as one  wife was home with the babies, because- nap time. Wise woman.

Eventually, we finished limping home while Shane told us fish stories and the babies napped so they could stay up all night to celebrate their father's return and when we did, we got to snack on smoked salmon while making baked salmon with soy sauce and brown sugar and frying potatoes to go with it all. And some nice wine. So it was declared a victory and totally worth it by everyone. Though I held back on my pronouncement until after I got my nerves set back to almost normal when I had a hair appointment and  I got to  read the book I've been trying to read for a few weeks. Which is really good and I'll share it here next week and offer a chance to win a free copy because I'd like to give everyone I know or meet a copy or at least make them aware of it.  But I can't. Because, you know. Fish is expensive.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Let Them Eat Fish

It has been abysmally hot here. For here. More like winter, if you live in the Sahara. But feels like the Sahara if you live in the Pacific Northwest. So warm we have discussed air conditioning. Twice. On hot, sticky, crabby days it seems the obvious thing to do. Then we have a cool morning and I put off calling an installer to come give a bid, which we already have a good guess as to what it would take as all our neighbors have been getting units installed and have been helpful in sharing information. But not inviting us over for dinner. Fine. But I also have bids for braces needing to be installed for two kids soon as well, and maybe in December there would be less of a rush on getting it installed (its a month-long wait right now) so until we hit the high 80s again I feel complacent with my myriad of fans running 24x7.

After a serious talk, Shane decided to head north, to Alaska. For real. Not to find cooler climes, but hopefully to find fish. He made lamb last week and no one was a fan. I caught the kids making paranoid faces at each other across the table like 'what did I just put in my mouth and how do I get it out without it touching my tongue again?' I was equally unimpressed the wooly flavor teasing my taste buds into rebellion and quietly signaled them to use their napkins to remove the offending source. So we later discussed and thought fish would be a more palatable staple to stock up on. All the kids love fish. We worked out the numbers and flying to Alaska with lodging and fishing trips, then flying home again seemed the most economical option. Depending on his share it might work out to about $300 a lb. Which is a really good deal for salmon these days. The brochure says. Of course there is the emotional cost of having him not home, but winter is coming and he needed to go. So off he went. With a few friends who are also supporting families. Who hopefully like fish.

I, for my part, made a hair appointment for myself, after he returns. And if today goes like yesterday, will need to add a massage for the following week-end. And every week-end for the next 6 weeks. Which I could get behind. And with the money we saved by catching vs buying fish I might extend them for the rest of the year! Thanks Shane!

Fortunately the kids are doing their best to keep me from getting bored. Fiona is continuing her mountaineer, or mountain goat, or Sherpa training. She learns quickly and Malachi has a ton to teach. I think if we get them both schooled in backwoods medicine, that doesn't sound quite right, whatever that's called so they can stitch each other with pine needles and spider webs and set broken limbs we'll be ok. I already had to block off the climbing wall on the play set, but apparently she can now navigate the ladder too. Climbing all the way up the slide was an obvious route to reach the second level which is full of large openings for the other ways-up, which can very quickly become ways-down. So we might have some handy-man work to keep us busy as well.