Wednesday, October 31, 2007
2 year old A: No, it's in my mouth.
Auntie: Where does it go after it's in your mouth?
A: It goes to my tummy.
Auntie: Where does it go after that?
A: It goes to my legs.
Auntie (suppressing laughter): Where does it go after it goes to your legs?
A: It goes into my socks.
Auntie: Can I take it out of your socks and eat it?
A: No, because it's in my mouth.
5 year old C: I have a knife and I'm not afraid to use it.
Sometimes I wonder if they carry the history role play a little too far??
Monday, October 29, 2007
On Friday nights we usually alternate between movie night and game night, but this weekend we decided to have both! So on Friday night we watched "Princess Bride" which is one of our all time favorite movies, and on Saturday we had game night. We tried out a new game called Sneaks, which I purchased at a Simply Fun home party. It was great because the whole family could play it together and everyone had fun! It's often hard to find games that span all the ages of our kids, but this one worked great. There were several other games from this company that I put on my mental wish list. Check them out at: Simply Fun
L with the lego big wheel he made.
Teaching A how to play Gobblet Jr with C. This one is really fun for all ages too, but A and C are still learning the intricacies of strategy. :-)
My honey playing "National Geographic's Survival" with the older 3 kids.
After 2 weeks of near daily reading, we finally finished "Paddle to the Sea" this weekend. A wonderful book! The children loved following Paddle's journey from Lake Nipigon, north of Lake Superior, all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. And we all learned a lot about the Great Lakes.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
At lunchtime I set the timer for his customary 20 minutes and put a small candy bar (one of those candy bites) beside it. He did not eat a single bite. Not one. Then when the timer went off he said very enthusiastically, "I get my candy bar now Mommy". To which of course I said that no, he didn't since he didn't finish his lunch. Oh, the wailing! The tears! The arched back and the screams when I took the tray off his high chair. I think I heard through the screams that he wanted the tray on so he could eat his lunch. And I told him that he'd already had ample time to eat his lunch and lunchtime was over. I will admit this was very hard for me. The thought of him going to sleep with no lunch in his tummy had my own tummy in knots.
He was so upset with me that my husband offered to put him down for his nap. Remind me to do something really nice for my husband.
I figured that when he woke up he'd be really hungry and eat with a vengeance. Nope. Nada. Zilch. We tried again at dinner. Same timer, same candy bar/bite. He ate the cheese off his taco, and a few tortilla chips, but nothing else. Certainly not one bite of everything on his plate. So once again he lost the privilege of dessert. And lo, there was much wailing in the land.
I'm not sure how many calories he consumed today, but if I had to guess I would say not enough to keep a worm going, much less an active almost three year old. What do I do to get this guy to EAT?????? He does drink well, so he's staying hydrated, but I am truly getting concerned about his lack of food intake. Any other ideas? Please?
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
It does, however, create a sort of chasm sometimes when you are dealing with grief and at the same time having to move at the speed of your kids' lives.
Last night I went to the viewing of my friend from church who passed away last Sunday. All day as I was praying for her husband and son, and making plans to go, my children were quite busy getting on with the business of life. After seatwork was finished at the kitchen table, they proceeded to get every pillow from every room in the house, and every throw and blanket that wasn't tucked securely under the foot of a mattress, and build this "fort" in the family room with the help of the recliner footrest and an overturned rocking chair. It had 5 rooms (naturally!) and a lovely garden.
After A's roomtime it was time for his daily "activity". Love, love, love paint with water books!!
In the evening I went to my friend's viewing with several other friends. It was hard but good. God is showing such mercy in so many of the details. As soon as I got home, 5 year old C was waiting for me to take him on our date. We had made plans for this mother-son date a couple weeks ago and I didn't want to disappoint him. So even though a large part of me wanted to sit and talk with my husband, processing some of my thoughts, instead I headed out to Chuck E. Cheese's with C. Now you must know that I absolutely hate Chuck E. Cheese's. We have had a total of zero birthday parties there. I just can't stand the crowds and overwhelming noise. But that's where he wanted to go, so that's where we went. It was virtually empty that time of night, and pretty quiet! So that was a surprise blessing for me! We had a wonderful time. C is so much fun.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Meanwhile, my sister and her family are on alert for possible evacuation as several large wildfires ravage southern California. She said in an email today that the sky was particularly eerie - thick grey smoke with the sun appearing as a red orb through the haze. Dozens and dozens of people have already lost their homes.
Why do bad things happen to good people? I don't know. But I could also ask, why not? Are those whom I consider "good" more worthy than anyone else? I'm so glad I'm not God. Lots of things He allows don't make sense to me, but I know from His Word and from experience that He is good, true, loving, and that nothing takes Him by surprise. I can trust Him. Utterly. And so I do. Sometimes with weak faith and with trembling hand, I put my hand in His and say, "lead on, Father. Just don't let go of me!"
In light of these serious events I was not going to post any pictures from the weekend, but then I realized how incredibly grateful I am for each day of life He gives me. Life is so precious!! Just the chance to cook one more meal for my family, to change one more of A's diapers, to read that same book one more time, to finish the ceiling repair stage 2, to kiss my husband again, they are such GIFTS!
And so, here are a few pictures of things I am deeply grateful for.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Just last week he put one fingertip dangerously close to a burner flame on our gas powered stove, so the fact that fire is indeed hot is very much fresh in his mind.
We decided to call it a humidi-COLD, and it is humming in his room as I type.
A with the sun and bird he made (with my help). A few weeks ago I made the comment to him that we were going to do an "activity", and now every day when I get him out of roomtime he says, "is it time for my activity now?" It's so cute!
G working on her drawing of a teddy bear during my drawing class at co-op. Drawing is the second class I teach, besides my colonial america class. Me, drawing? you ask? Yes, I am actually a pretty good "draw-er" (I know that's not a real word, just indulge me) when I follow the steps that are outlined in the art curriculum I'm using for this class. Who knew?? It's actually really fun for me!! And G LOVES it.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Well, we are in a correspondance back and forth right now that is blessing my socks off. With my daughter's permission, here is what she wrote a few days ago:
"Mommy, I'm trying hard to be the daughter you want me to be. I'm becoming a young lady, I know that, but you ask so much of me. I'm okay with that, I guess. I know that I'm older so I have to learn more things, harder things and grown up things, but I'm still a kid so don't expect everything out of me. I don't think you do, I'm just saying just in case I can't do everything, I'm asking you to help me a little. Cause I'm going to need it, at least a little tiny bit of help."
When I read the above words I felt immensely grateful that she would try so hard to express her heart to me! And of course I fell more in love with her than ever. In the ensuing discourse (through the journal) we have talked more about that no man's land between childhood and young adulthood. And she specifically asked me to help her know how to be both a kid and a young lady at the same time. Wow. THIS is discipleship. I am so honored and privileged to disciple my daughter.
Do you remember those years when you were on the cusp of puberty? Did anyone else experience conflicting emotions? And not knowing from day to day how you were going to feel and who exactly you were going to be? Those of you who know and love my daughter, please pray for her as she enters this strange and wonderful stage, and pray for me that I can help her navigate through this stage with wisdom and confidence and gentleness.
All of our children are such treasures to know! I encourage you to find ways to open up the lines of communication with your children while they are young, and diligently work to keep them open as they grow. It's worth it! (and remind me of these words at least once a year from here on out, okay?!)
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
And here is C with a map puzzle of the United States which he put together ALL BY HIMSELF!! He and A and I had a fun puzzle time together this afternoon (doesn't his hand look enormous in this photo??).
Monday, October 15, 2007
On Saturday I brought the timer to the table. I set it for 20 minutes, at lunch time, and also set a cookie on the table, out of his reach (his reach is one of the reasons he is still in a high chair). I explained to him that if he finished his whole lunch by the time the timer went ding, he could have the cookie. If not, I would put the cookie away. Well, what a way to light a fire under him! He was extremely motivated to eat, and he watched that timer like a hawk. We have withheld dessert before for not eating his food, but the addition of the timer seems to make a huge difference. At least so far.
I am not a "clean your whole plate" kind of mom. Our rule for A is that he had to have at least one bite of everything on his plate. One bite alone has caused so much stress at meal times. Especially on nights when we have to go somewhere after dinner, like Wednesdays. I am so grateful that A gets a snack in his Tiny Tots program, because sometimes he arrives there with no dinner in his tummy! The conventional wisdom of course, is that when a child is hungry enough they will eat. I am no longer sure that this is true. Apparently strong willed children would rather go hungry than give in??
My hopes have risen the last two days with the success we've had with the timer. Am I a bad mom for bribing him with a cookie?
Cutting out a circular hole.
Getting help from son L and daughter G.
Next my husband cut a square hole and pulled out all the icky insulation.
Finally he was able to make his trip to Lowe's!! Here is the new insulation going up.
And after that the new drywall, cut to fit.
Ta-da!! The new drywall in place, ready for taping, mudding, sanding and painting. Or maybe not????
Unfortunately, this last picture clearly shows how the edge of the new drywall is a good half inch lower than the rest of the ceiling. There were no wooden studs right on the edges of where the new piece of drywall went in, so there was nothing there to screw it into. This coming weekend my husband is going to take the new piece of drywall back out, insert more wooden studs, and then put it back up. This took us late into the night on Saturday, and since there was drywall dust everywhere, we put C and L to bed in our bed and we slept on our hide-a-bed in the family room.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
In my Colonial America class, we played a game from colonial days called nine pins (forerunner of our game of bowling) which I had purchased while in Williamsburg. We also scooped out a pumpkin. I roasted the seeds last night and will take them to class next Friday. There are 3 girls and 9 boys in my class. The girls couldn't wait to get their hands dirty and start scooping! 4 of the boys would have nothing to do with the messy pumpkin. :-)
When we got home, A sat down on the piano bench with a hymn book and began "preaching". It was so cute! I wish I had taken some video of it, but here is a still shot.
C had to miss co-op though due to having croup. He stayed home with daddy, who worked from home yesterday. C had a fever, some wheezing, and a very barky sounding cough. He ended up sleeping with us most of the night last night. I was glad that he was next to me so that I could more easily monitor his breathing through the night, but I really wish we had a king size bed! I'll admit it, croup scares me. Our son G has had croup numerous times. Most of the time we have been able to treat it with "temperature therapy." Sit in the bathroom with the door closed and the shower on hot, creating steam. And then stick his head in the freezer, or if it's cool, drive around with all the windows rolled down. But twice we have had to take him to the ER for steroids and breathing treatments. It is pretty scary when your child can't breath. Experiencing croup so many times had made me very thankful that none of our children suffer with asthma.
Today we are repairing the ceiling in one of the boys' rooms where the old roof leaked. The roofers took out wet insulation from under the rotted wood. So we have to replace the insulation and put in new drywall in that part of the ceiling. Hopefully my wonderful husband will also have time to put in metal exhaust pipe from our dryer to the outside. The dryer repairman who was here earlier this week told me it was extremely important to get rid of our plastic exhaust hose. Since we already have all the parts, he offered to do it for $80 (on top of a $200 dryer repair) but I declined the offer. :-)
Have a good weekend everyone!
Thursday, October 11, 2007
There are actually several related elements that have all globbed together in my mind under this general topic. How do I create margin in my life? From where do I obtain my value? (from the things I do?) How does overcrowding my life create stress? And how does stress manifest itself in my life? How do I do it all? And by "all" I don't mean the the kind of all that has become associated with being a supermom, I mean quite literally all of the things I have committed to and all of the tasks that are required of me on a daily basis.
I will say right now that I don't know all the answers to these questions. I know that I am learning, though. I am working through many of these issues and slowly finding the "how" of creating space in my life and the life of our family. I have a long way to go!
The author of Breathe asserts that our culture is one that is focused on doing. I agree with this. Once we become parents it seems to become worse. We take our children to music lessons, karate, soccer, ballet, youth group or Awana, group music classes when they are toddlers or preschoolers. There is tremendous pressure to be sure our children are doing everything they "should" be doing, and having every opportunity they can possibly have to become well rounded individuals. Those of you with children, you know the drill! I made a conscious decision last spring to not do any fall sports. It was a HARD decision and one I felt I had no support for, but it was absolutely the right thing to do. When everything else was starting up this fall, we did not have the added stress of twice weekly practices (times 3 kids) and 3 back to back soccer games every Saturday. Do my kids miss soccer? Yes. Will they be warped because they didn't get to play this fall? No.
I have adopted a cost/benefit paradigm for deciding what activities we will be involved in. Every activity or commitment has both a cost and a benefit. If the benefit outweighs the cost, we are more likely to do it. If the cost outweighs the benefit then it's an easier "no". Going to Wed night programs at our church costs us on Thursday mornings, and costs me on those nights when I must get 5 little people to where they need to be on time by myself, but the benefit of regular Scripture memory is great enough that it's worth the cost. Going to homeschool co-op on Fridays costs me a great deal of time in preparation for my classes and means we lose that day for our regular school work, but the benefit of learning from other adults, making friends, my children knowing they are not the only ones who are homeschooled, and me getting to teach in a classroom setting for a little bit every week is worth the cost.
I am also learning to think in terms of what is best for our FAMILY, and not necessarily for the individual. One of our sons has wanted to learn karate for as long as he can remember, and I'm fairly certain that it would be something he would thrive at, but the cost TO OUR FAMILY (and our pocketbook) dictates that we not add another activity at this time. It is hard to say "no" to my children when they have a legitimate desire for a good activity. It's hard to break out of that mindset that says I am depriving them of a worthwhile experience. But it's not enough to just break out of that mindset without replacing it with "right thinking". I am striving to think rightly about all of this, and I believe that the "right thinking" I need to apply here is that it is of greater value to all of the individuals in our family if we have TIME to be together as a family, playing games, going to the park, visiting museums and other attractions, watching movies, laughing and being silly, sharing our thoughts with each other. When we overschedule to the point that we have no downtime with each other, no chances to just hang out as a family with all the family members present, we are ultimately hurting ourselves.
My heart knows this is right, and even my head knows this is right. But virtually no-where else do I hear this message. There is precious little encouragement for families to proactively plan their lives in such a way as to allow for unplanned time. Sometimes I feel that I am bucking the system, and this gets tiresome because I am already bucking the system in other ways. But I know this is right for us. Please pray for me to stay the course! I know it will get even harder as our children get older, but my prayer is that as we live our lives in this way, our children will get on board with this concept and appreciate it for themselves.
This is already long, but I want to share a few other thoughts along these same lines. I am a do-er by nature. I have always loved to do lists. I have even been known to write something on my to-do list after the fact just so that I could cross it off because it had already been done! (there's my slightly obsessive-compulsive side showing!) So it's hard for me to "do nothing." I'm a slow learner, but thank the Lord I *am* learning that those times that appear to be "unproductive" are actually producing wonderful times of connection, with God, or with family. The author of Breathe goes into this in quite a bit of detail and it was a real encouragement to me.
Something else she says in the book is that "getting enough sleep is one way of keeping enough margin in our lives." Wow. This is powerful for me! If you know me, you know that getting enough sleep has been a challenge all my adult life (for some reason it didn't seem to be a problem when I was a kid!). So this is something I plan to keep working on.
Another of her wonderful quotes that I just love is, "ruthlessly eliminate hurry." Just think on that for a moment. Isn't that good? For those of you in the same stage of life as me, with children still young enough to need lots of help and/or supervision when getting ready to go somewhere.....isn't this powerful?? How many times have I yelled at the kids and tried to make them go as fast as I can when we are leaving the house to go somewhere? Yikes. Too many. My new plan has been to BEGIN getting ready to go long before I previously thought I had to. Then we are not rushed. I am not yelling. I am not stressed. And we are on time! It has taken lots of failures to learn exactly how much time is needed to get ready to go to certain places. But now I know. And I am working diligently on this.
My last thought on this topic (finally!) is that it's important for me to keep the right goal in mind. The ultimate goal is not just to eliminate hurry and stress and activities from our schedule. It is the flip side of that equation....to intentionally ADD IN times of doing nothing, of being together without having to go somewhere. So that I can truly focus on and connect with my husband and our precious children. Aren't they the ones I treasure above all else? This idea works wonderfully in my time with God too. Rather than approaching my devotional time with the mindset that I must read x number of verses or chapters today, I want to simply enter God's presence and BE with Him. Bask in His awesomeness, revel in His goodness and faithfulness, soak up all the strength and grace I need for the day just by being in His presence. Again, I have a long way to go, but I'm loving this learning process!
I'd love to hear your thoughts on slowing down the pace of life, too.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
....we were blessed by the meal fairy. I LOVE the meal fairy.
....my dryer stopped working while drying the first critical load of someone's bedding.
....I was blessed and encouraged by a note from a friend with 4 little boys. You know who you are! :-)
....while reading about William Brewster in William Bradford, Pilgrim Boy, our son G looked at me and said, "I can't wait to get to heaven and meet all these wonderful people!" and then our son L chimed in with, "I can't even wait to meet God!"
....I miss my parents. They live too far away.
....I smiled through an entire piano practice session with L because he was so enthusiastic.
....paid over $50 to fill up my van.
Monday, October 8, 2007
Sunday, October 7, 2007
Saturday, October 6, 2007
So this afternoon my dear, dear husband invites them both in to watch a movie with our children! This must be my punishment for being a bad neighbor mom yesterday. He is a much better neighbor dad. I am a little resentful at the moment, but with the Lord's help (and maybe some chocolate and a mini escape somewhere) I'll get over it.
Wasn't it just a couple days ago I was talking about being an imperfect human sinner??
Oh, I also got stung by a bee today. Can I blame my attitude on that?
Three hours later....
Okay, a nice ending to the day. A run to Baskin Robbins!
Friday, October 5, 2007
In my colonial America class we talked about American Indians and painted ears of corn. Here are a few of them drying. I love the variety that you see in a group class!
Our co-op has a preschool for the younger siblings of students taking classes, and A is in preschool this year even though he is not yet 3. Playing in the nursery for 3 hours just did not float his boat, plus he's very verbal and used to being around older kids. It worked well today! Hopefully he will continue to participate well and follow directions. They made seed books in class today. Here he is showing off the seeds in his book.