Saturday, February 17, 2007

Quiet Time

My blogger friend Reforming Motherhood posted her thoughts and questions about quiet time during the day. I have been rearranging this area in our own life since my 3 year old has stopped napping. The number one struggle for me is my selfishness. One of my greatest temptations is the inner dialog "Oh poor need a break". This year God has really been working on my heart in this area. First and foremost...I deserve nothing. All that I have and all that I am is a good gift from him. Once my heart is in the right place, it is then easier to accept those days when there is no break and be much more grateful when I do get one. I am not saying we don't need breaks put my struggle was about getting them when I wanted them. As all mothers of young children know...they don't always follow our agenda.

Now to Stacy's post. When my son napped all was peaceful. My 6 year old would go in the office with some planned activities (some school work this year) and a story on CD. She was go0d for 2 hours. My little guy would sleep. Now he is not sleeping most days. For the first week or so it was constant interruptions. Almost 4 weeks into it he is getting the idea. My kids share a room. My 3 year old goes in their room during Q.T. One thing that has helped him is preparing for Q.T. I will go in his room before he comes in and set out some toys he hasn't played with during the day. When I display the toys and give him some ideas he does much better. It helps that my kids don't have access to all their toys all the time. It creates an element of surprise that I think is helpful. He will usually stick with this about an hour. I also turn on some music. If he gets restless I put him on his bed with books and that's usually good for 20-30 minutes. If he is really having a hard time I bring him in the Living Room with me and he has to stay on the blue couch with a few cars or books till I release him. He can be rather chatty but after a few corrections he will usually be quiet for a while. There are definite times where I need to discipline him especially now that he has a clear understanding of what's expected of him. I feel giving them a week or two to clearly get the changes is important. Being consistent with what I expected of him helped.

This last week he has become very cranky mid afternoon. To the point of melting down. When he naps he stays up till 9-10 at night. It's a catch 22! If he doesn't sleep on these days he is crazy and when he does he is up late. I have been trying to put him down on those days and only letting him sleep an hour. It seems to being working okay. The other day he got so worked up over something. He was melting down and beyond any form of reason. I don't tolerate attitude but this was sheer exhaustion. I went to put him to bed and he was screaming NO TIRED MAMA! NO TIRED! He was asleep in these then 5 minutes. It's a learning curve for us both.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Practical Peace

I have been thinking lately about the atmosphere of my home. Many of the books I have read and especially scripture make clear the influence we have in our homes...mostly with our attitudes.

"Our attitude as home managers often determines the atmosphere and tone of the home. Therefore, we should set about our work with joy. We must seek to create an environment where our husbands, children, and others desire to be." Feminine Appeal ~ Carolyn Mahaney

I have been considering those things that effect my attitude. The things that create peace and those that take it. I am starting with the more practical.

These are some of the things that help maintain peace in my home:

*Switching the toys on a regular bases.
*Having a plan or schedule without strict time frames
*Being goofy with my kids (they love it)
*Being consistent with discipline
*Not waffling in the little decisions of life around the kids (I am a "ho hummer").
*Sleep....really the lack of
*Laughing at myself

Just today the kids where not playing with anything and I didn't get it. Then I remembered it has been over 3 weeks since I switched the toys. I rotated toys and they played happily for 2 hours. Toy switching is my friend! I have also found, especially on a busy day that chosen goofyness is a sure fire way of making everyone relax and be at peace. My kids love it especially since I tend to be a serious person. Being goofy is a discipline for me :o). My latest discovery is my ho - humming over the little things. "Can we watch a video after lunch" comes the sweet chirping of my children. The typical answer is "we will see". WRONG ANSWER! When I am decisive they are more content and at peace. I think I am indecisive because I like to leave my options open. Which translated means...I am lazy. I have also learned laughing at myself more makes for a peaceful home.

This is not exhaustive by any means and definitely doesn't address the heart. I am learning that being purposeful in the practical goes a long way in cultivating peace in my home and serves to help my attitude be what it ought.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

My Husband!

Today is Valentine's day. It comes with mixed emotion for me. Five years ago it was an innocent little day to eat chocolate and love on my husband. Today 5 years ago I had my first ultrasound with our son Jonah. It was that day that they informed us he would never live outside my body. This day 5 years ago began a divine and difficult walk for us. The shining Knight of that season and still today is my husband. He accomplished more then any one man should be capable during that time. He finished his exams and passed then with flying colors one week after our son was born and died (April 2002). He faced unemployment with a wife who's grief was unrelenting, he continued to love his little baby girl who was 2 at the time, dealt with unkindness from other people in the process, protecting his family. Every Valentine's Day I remember that horrible day when they told me my son would die. BUT I also remember the man God gave me that walked every step of the way with me, for me and with great strength. I love you Mr. M. and am so grateful for the path we have travelled together. God is so good! And much of that goodness has come to me by being married to you!

Daddy and his first born son, Jonah

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ming Dynasty Bowl

Here is our first official Ancient Chinese Ming Bowl!
We studied Ancient China last week and this was our project.
Here is the step by step process.
Rolling the clay was hard work. Notice the princess dress.

We do art as royalty in our house!

Mr. Man having a go at it! Is that a look of passion or what!

We covered bowls with plastic wrap and then molded the clay around them to dry.

We had to make snakes out of the leftover clay!

Our hardened bowls ready to paint.

We looked at books with Ming bowls and went to it!

Here is the inside!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Dandelions of Prayer

Over at Reforming Motherhood Stacy posted a short but very encouraging word from E. Elliot about prayer. Prayer can be such a struggle in the season of little people. My heart was refreshed by this and I hope yours is too. This part especially stuck out to me.

"He receives my imperfect prayers like the mother receives the crushed dandelions, as gifts made perfect in love."

Friday, February 02, 2007

Science for Next Year

I think I have finally settled on my science choice for our grade 2 year. With the classical approach science tends to be left somewhat in the shadows. My 6 year old lives for science, nature and general discovery of anything living or earthy. So we are going to use Apologia Astronomy and A Child's Geography. A Child's Geography is actually more earth science then traditional geography (from what I can gather on line). My daughter wants to study volcanoes and the center of the earth etc. Both of these are Christ centered and young earth which are my preference.
What I also like about both is the notebook approach to learning. There is nothing wrong with a textbooks or worksheets, they are tools like anything else. It just is not our style of learning. My daughter looks forward to making a page to represent what she has learned. She then owns that knowledge unlike with a worksheet. We flip through her notebooks and she remembers and recounts what she did with satisfaction and pride. I love it!

The problem is trying to do both history and science at this level. It seems for most one or the other takes the backseat. I want to do both. I do find we focus more intently on one or the other in rotation As she gets older it will get easier. She is very motivated in science and history making my job so easy.