Category Archives: Parenting

Raising the little ones.

Urging Them Toward Independence

I like a relaxed school. If we want to start at 8, we start at 8. If we want to wait til 1, we wait til 1. We’re always learning, so I’m not too worried about their brains turning to mush.

However, when my husband’s aunt moved in with us last spring, I thought the way to maintain order in our home would be to put us on a strict schedule. Let’s just say it’s sucked all the joy out of schooling for us, being stuck at a table for certain hours, completely tired of looking at the same things, too tired to pursue investigative learning by the time lunch rolls around.

So I’m trying a new tactic. I’m giving my children “What to Expect” sheets to guide them throughout the week. It doesn’t cover every aspect of our education or our family life, but it’s a checklist they can work down in (mostly) their own timing. Some things we’ll still do at certain times of the day–for instance, our days go infinitely better when we seek God together first thing. But other things they’ll have a little freedom with. I imagine it might be difficult, having been trained recently to respond only to my commands. I want them to get back to listening to their natural internal avid learners.

Here’s a bare bones sample of what I’m putting together. It will change, I know that. But I’m excited to see what comes of it.

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A Little Treat

My sister, fashion diva, told me about Kiss artificial nails. She said they look as good as the ones done at the salon, but you can take them off whenever you want. And they’re under $10. I picked up a pack for myself at Wal Mart. (I’ve also seen them at Rite Aid.)

While I was there I also picked up a cute little pack of artificials for Brooke.

We stayed up late one Friday night to purty ourselves up.

The next morning we had tea at our favorite cozy spot.

We topped off our girly time with a window shopping trip in the dress department. Maybe we should call it a dressing room shopping trip. Trying things on is so much more fun than merely looking.

I love our time together. Brooke is so fun!

Sonflower Sisters’ Day of Beauty

I spent an awesome day with Brookie and our new Sonflower Sisters. After searching Scripture for God’s view on beauty, the girl learned how to take care of their skin.

The theme of the day was pink, Brookie’s favorite color.

She put on a pretty purple mask. She’s all about coordinating.

I pray that every time she looks into the mirror, she sees herself how God sees her.

That’s my prayer for all these girls.

Lord, let these girls treasure Your view of them, not the world’s.

Girl Schooling

When the boys are away…

the girls will play…

all sorts of girl games.

Little do they know they’re learning at the same time.

Do you see Ma sewing sewing by the fire? Do you see Laura and Mary and Carrie all tucked into their beds, listening quietly to Pa playing the fiddle? And can you find their good old bulldog Jack?

If you have young (or even not so young) girls, you’ll definitely want to check out the Little House Picture Books. I bought the complete set before my oldest daughter could even read, and I will save them to read to my grandchildren.

Oh, and by the way, the notions they used today were from their great great aunt Bun, my grandfather’s sister. So we even added in a little personal history!

Redeeming the Day

Remember what I wrote yesterday? I couldn’t share that without sharing what happened last night.

It was 9:00 and the kids were all snug in their beds when my husband came in to tell us about his “refreshing” night swim. Four little pairs of eyes lit up with excitement…they’d been asking to go night swimming all summer. And, don’t you know, we let them! Not only did we let them, but we got in with them!!

It was stinking freezing! I got right out and bundled up in my huge terry cloth spa robe. Imagine the warmth in that. But this little voice in me kept saying, “Get in. Enjoy this moment. Don’t be a recorder of the moment, but a participant. Sear this memory in your heart, not just  your mind. Love on those children! Restore your broken relationship with them.” I must have thrown off my robe and stood poised at the edge because I began to hear chanting, “Jump! In! Jump! In! Jump! In!” And next thing I knew, I was poking my head out of the frigid water, greeted by 5 very happy people. But I was happiest!

God is so faithful to restore the years the locusts have eaten. He is so wonderful to whisper truth in our spirits when we seek what we think brings us comfort. He knows! He knows what will restore our souls and our relationships. When we listen to His voice, we live from the heart, not from our own minds and plans. Thank You, God, for redeeming my day and giving me an ending that tops all others. You lavishly love me, and for that I am forever grateful!

A Little Artistry

I’ve learned to french braid!

I’m so excited–I’ve been trying for years…

and this year something clicked.

My daughters are thrilled!

So am I!!

New Approach to Household Chores: Hats

To tell you the truth, I was getting a little bored with the way we were taking care of the house. Not so much the getting clean part, but the “You have to do it because you live here,” line. So I decided to add a little spunk for the summer. Now we have four roles, represented by four different hats, for the children.

The Chef

This child (I still need to find a cheap kids’ chef hat…maybe Ikea?) gets to help choose the week’s meals, shop with me, and prepare dinners (which coincidentally relieves them of setting or clearing the table because if you cook you get out of those). She keeps the kitchen clean (and the nearby living and dining rooms since they’re all together). If she does a particularly excellent job, she gets to go out for a treat with mom or dad.

The Caretaker

I didn’t want to give such power by calling this the Third Parent, but this child does things similar to what only Mom and Dad can do (thus he dons an Ironbirds ballcap). He feeds and waters the dog, cleans the bathroom, and sorts the laundry. Sounds like a terrible role, right? Only this one gets to help walk the dog and stay up late one night during the week. Doesn’t matter how scummy the toilets are, they’re worth staying up late.

The Social Planner

Oh yeah, get out the plastic fruit covered hat! This child keeps the family room (where we take guests) and play room (where we keep the boxed fun) neat and tidy. She also plans family night, organizes dinner games, chooses our playdate for the week, and sets the dinner table. For a job well-done, she is invited to play a game ALONE (you know what a treat that is if you have four children) with mom or dad. This is, inevitably, the coveted position. Sometimes the kids have to beg for their hat back from me.

The Steward

This child, after donning the official gardening hat (okay, I don’t make the boys wear it), gets to help with all the “green” chores. He empties the compost bin, puts the recycling in plastic bags, takes out the trash, and water the gardens. (He also sets the dinner table–how that fits in, I’m not sure, but we needed someone to do it.) In celebration for a job well done, he gets a walk with mom or dad (which leaves zero carbon footprint).

Here are some photos of our first Steward. (She’s not too fond of the hat.)