Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hurry

Sometimes I have an entire blog post written out neatly in my head, other times it is more "stream of consciousness. Today falls under that "other" category.

I am visiting my best bud Jenny out here is Little Rock. Since we are in the South, we went to church on Sunday, least the McHam family get hunted down and tossed from the state for sacrilege. The church was a "big box" type, run like a machine, everything clean, punctual and polished.

The sermon was about Nehemiah rebuilding Jerusalem. A couple of guys who didn't play well with other kept trying to get Nehemiah to come to a meeting to sort things out. As we all know, nothing important is ever accomplished by committee and Nehemiah declined. Over and over he said "no". He knew God had called him to do a work and he wasn't going to be distracted, even by something that was" good", because it wasn't the "best" of what God called him to do.

This morning I was sitting in my jammies drinking coffee as Jen controlled the chaos that is two little boys who need to be dressed and out the door for school by 7:45 every morning. She didn't loose her cool and everyone was out the door in ship shape while I was still pondering my breakfast choices. I was glad it wasn't me. I don't like mornings and my children don't even posses a "hurry" speed. I end up stressed and grumpy, unpleasant to be around, any time our life requires us to be anywhere before 9.

And Sunday's message hit me. We all have to be aware of the "best" God has put in our lives. For me it is Him, Matt and the girls. We have to watch out for the things in our life that pull us away from that focus, even when they are good thing. My bests are not someone elses. My life and my choices belong to me.

This is one reason my kids are not in school. I can't be a good mama to them when I feel like all we do is hurry to be somewhere else. I am, in my heart of hearts, a homebody. God made me that way and when I try to be something else it just doesn't work. To be the best child of God, wife and mother, I have to honor who God made me and my children to be. We take very few classes, join very few groups and basically lead a boring, unhurried life. This might have something to do with the amount of work it takes to get three small children out the door and my inherent laziness, but that is an entirely different blog post.

We don't hurry well at this season in our life and I know it won't last and that some day we will be forced to move faster but as long as it is up to me, I will choose to do less, be less busy and be still to enjoy my children. I won't be distracted by all the "good' options of school, gymnastics, swimming, dance, and whatever else, they cause to much stress in our lives and keep me from being the best mama I can be. To the women who go from one thing to the next, I give you mad props, for you truly do something I could never accomplish.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Failure to Blog

This week I have been a lousy blogger and here are my excuses, you may choose the one that seems most valid:
-My husband was gone. As he cruised the streets of Berlin and Milan, I was up with a baby who had a cold.
-My operating level is somewhere between exhausted and comatose. I don't currently posses the intellectual capacity to type out witty banter. I hardly posses the ability to remain upright.
-All energy I possess is going into my children, sad but true. My house is a testament to this.
Sorry to leave you all hanging. Maybe if I get an hour or two of sleep I can think of a few sentences to string together.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Five in a Row- Caps for Sale

Discuss: Bible- Proverbs 6:10-11 Sleeping when you should be working
Do: Vocabulary-find all the "new" words we don't know (peddler, caps, etc)

Discuss: Types-What kind of hats was he selling? What other kind of hats are there?
Do: Art-Create our own hats out of paper

Discuss: Emotions-Talk about all the ways the man felt
Do: character-Show how we can handle each emotion in a right way. Play chrades and act our each feeling and let papa guess what it is

Discuss: Ways to carry-Why did the man carry things on his head? What other ways can we carry things? See pictures of African Women
Do: Large Motor-See how many hats you can balance on our heads while doing different activities

Discuss: Math-Count hats of each color and monkeys
Do: Money-Count out money and find all the different ways you can make .50

Field Trip: Zoo to visit the monkeys

Monday, October 11, 2010

Five in a Row- Runaway Bunny

I am an addict. I can't help it, is is something I have loved from a very young age. Books. I have shelves of them. I read several a week. I like true stories and mysteries, things that challenge my thinking or leave me dreaming. I have raised children that love books. Nothing makes us happier than sitting together with a new story.

There is a curriculum out there called "Five in a Row" that is all based on quality children's literature. I have had the book for a while and just not gotten on the ball to use it. Matt knew it was driving me crazy so last week he gave me a couple hours to go to Barnes and Noble and get my act together. The idea is you pull from a story your science, math and literature concepts. it is a christian based book so there is some bible learning in there too. You read the same book for 5 days, each day you discuss something and do something. Here is our plan for this week:

Book: The Runaway Bunny


Discuss: Bible
God's love is everlasting: Jeremiah 31:3 and Psalms 139
Do: Memory
Talk about what bunny pretends to be and what mama pretends to be

Discuss: Shapes
Round. Talk about how we call circles, disks, and spheres all “round”. Find in the story
Do: Math
Circles hunt. Find as many of the above as you can in the house

Discuss: Classification, talk about the different animal you see in the story
Animal Classification: Same and different
Do: Science
Animal Fun: Sort beanie baby animal by “same” and “different”

Discuss: Language
The word “scarecrow”
Do: Large Motor
Dress up like a scarecrow

Discuss: Illustrations
Ink sketches and color painting
Do: Art
Color a picture using several different shades of the same color. OR do an Ink drawing.

Field Trip
Pet store to visit the bunnies

Friday, October 8, 2010

Turn on a dime

My children are generally well behaved. Yes, they have there moments, as all children do, but over all they mind well. Except...

We have been having this issue of "blowing mom off". I ask Eliana to do something and she willingly leaves the room to go do it. Five minutes later I go check to see if it is done and Eliana is doing something totally unrelated. I offer a gentle reminder about what the original task was and leave her to get to work. After checking back, the task is still uncompleted and I offer a stern warning. And so it goes for ten times longer than it should to get things done. I find this endlessly aggravating.

Part of the problem is me. Eliana is 4. A VERY distractable 4 with two little sisters who add to the problem. Sometimes I need to give her a task and remove all "obstacles" (read: sisters) from her path so she can concentrate on finishing the job. But part, a large part, of this problem is with Eliana blowing me off and just not doing what she is asked to do.

We have threatened and bribed, taken away privileges and toys, gone to bed early missed out on fun and while all of these seem to make a point, the behavior has not changed. We just couldn't seem to find her currency, that is, until we tried currency.

My friend Jenny is a wonderful mom of two boys. She instituted a "commissions" program in her house. I liked the idea but hadn't gotten around to tweaking it to fit our home and children. Now, properly motivated, I have instituted our own "pay for play" program.

Here is how it works: At the beginning of every day the girls get 3 dimes. Why every day? Well, my other friend Jen reminds her daughter that "His mercy's are new every morning" and I like that idea. I also think that Elie is big enough to understand how money works. When I ask her to do something, I set the timer and let her know how long she has. If the task remains uncompleted, I assume that she wants to pay me to do it for her. Some tasks cost more than others. At the end of the week she can count out her dimes, swap them for dollars and off we go to the store/ice cream shop/bank. If she runs out of dimes I start taking toys which she has to buy back from me before she can spend her money on anything else. She is welcome to spend her dimes on TV time too. More dimes can be earned if Eliana asks for extra work to do, things above and beyond what is normally expected of her.

I like this system for a couple of reasons: first, it is like real life. As adults we always have the choice to pay someone else to do a task we don't wish to complete. Secondly, it is immediate, not "you lost your dessert privilege after dinner tonight" which seems to loose impact. Third, it teaches Eliana how to work with money a lesson MANY adults could use.

So far this seems to be working, I am not sure how it will pan out for the long haul. One thing I have learned about parenting: just because it is currently working doesn't mean it always will. There is a lot of value to being able to think on you feet.

Monday, October 4, 2010

By the Numbers

at my house you will find:

-3 little girls in their beds, all who should be taking naps, none who are.
-1 crock pot full of pork spare ribs cooking in apple cider waiting to be grilled up for dinner
- 6 baskets of laundry, some clean, some folded, some just waiting
- 3 kittens, one black, one white, one gray, all naughty and dangerously cute
- 1/2 a pan of brownies that was baked last night
- 2 tubs of ice cream, chocolate and vanilla
-7 shoes of various sizes in the hallway and yet not one that makes a pair
-1 mug of half drunk, now cold, decaf coffee
- 1 sink full of dishes and 1 full dishwasher because I forgot to buy stuff to make more detergent
-4 un-made beds because in the grand scheme of things, making beds seems like such a waste of time
-1 man, home for 7 days before he heads off to Canada, Italy and Germany
-1 brand new dinning room table with 4 chairs and 1 bench

And you will find me. A 30 year old teacher, mother of 3, wife to one, who has not had a full nights sleep in almost a year. I am off to put the smack down on chatty 4 year olds, ornery 2 year olds and wiggly babies. Wish me luck.