Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Discovery Green: Alice in Wonderland

We had a BLAST! We went for a field trip. Of course we could not resist the siren song of the splash pad on such a warm, spring day. Much fun was had by all. There is nothing like hanging out on a beautiful day with good friends :).

Monday, April 12, 2010

Do your kids interrupt? I might have a solution

I don't think that kids grasp easily the idea of interrupting. When they were younger we used the idea of the kids putting their hands on our arm as a signal that they wanted to talk to us. We promised them that we would get to them within a few minutes.

But now they are older, and I think they could wait longer than a few minutes on many things. When I am on the phone, if their Daddy and I are having a talk or if I am helping another sibling with school work and they need me (or Daddy) we can use this system.

I saw a version of this somewhere on a blog, but now can't find it to give credit. I have also used systems like this in the classroom, but never thought of adopting it for the home.

They remove their clip, and come and clip it on my shirt. I explained that I can't forget them, because their clip will remind me. When I have the next free moment, I will come to them and see what they needed. In the meantime, I gave them a list of approved activities to occupy them while they wait.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Slow Parenting

Have you heard of the slow movement? Slow food, slow travel, a slower pace of life. I have been trying to engage in slow parenting. Since this is where I "think things out" here goes...

Professor Guttorm Fløistad is a major champion of the slow movement and summarizes the philosophy:

"The only thing for certain is that everything changes. The rate of change increases. If you want to hang on you better speed up. That is the message of today. It could however be useful to remind everyone that our basic needs never change. The need to be seen and appreciated! It is the need to belong. The need for nearness and care, and for a little love! This is given only through slowness in human relations. In order to master changes, we have to recover slowness, reflection and togetherness. There we will find real renewal."

It is not possible for my family, or myself to have any peace when we are constantly running to and fro. Often I thought this class, or that activity would be so wonderful for the kids. It is even more tempting if you homeschool. School is flexible, so why not stuff the day with a bazillion learning activities? For me it came from a good place of wanting to enrich my children's lives with every good thing. Every good thing doesn't have to be our thing.

Ultimately, being idle is good for my kids. It brings out their natural sense of play and discovery. We need to rest, reflect and just spend time together chatting and laughing. I don't want our house to be grand central station, where all the members of the family are just "passing through" on their way to other destinations. I want for our family to BE the destination. Far too soon all my little birdies will be itching to leave the nest. While they want to, I want to gather in the nest and make memories. There is much to be said for blowing bubbles out in the backyard.

For the past year or so we have been drop outs from the structured activity scene. I was getting burnt out, and things weren't running smoothly at home. I talked to the kids about it, and they felt the same way. I started being very picky about what events we committed to. When we put things on the schedule we started focusing more on small play dates, more casual venues. I don't want to spend their childhood with my finger on the fast forward button. I think if I did, at the end of it all I would feel robbed. Don't get me wrong, we still have plenty of fun and activities with socialization. We aren't becoming hermits. We are just trying to achieve a kind of balance.

The downside to this is that there are people we used to see at the organized events, classes, park dates that I miss. I might have mentioned this too, I am not a great phone person. I dunno if I am just so completely unable to multitask, but I just suck at it. I think the kids can sense when the phone goes off the cradle and immediately there are three emergencies. There are only so many days in a week, and I don't want to over schedule us, but my new challenge is to find a way to stay connected and in touch with people we love without running us all ragged attending every event in town. :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter 2010

The Super Saturdays

Every once in a while we have a small stretch of time where Brian is off on weekends. It almost makes us feel normal.

So this past Saturday we went for breakfast.

Is it just me? or does Brian look like he needs rescuing?

John and Emma are practicing for their technological black out of Mom and Dad once the hit the teenage years.

We ate at Kelly's where all the food is meant to feed giants. Yes, that biscuit is in fact that huge and the pancakes are the size of hubcaps.

We hit the crafts at Lakeshore after visiting the bookstore. I have dreams of living in a bookstore. If I don't start purging some books I might get my wish.

To Emma, on your 8th birthday

Dear Emma,
How is it even possible that this is your 8th birthday. It seems to me yesterday you were a newborn. The years are flying by far to quickly for me. I was so glad that you weren't yet too old for a visit to the giant rat.

This year you have bloomed into a beautiful young lady right before my eyes. My sweetheart, you are such a gentle and wise soul. I am so lucky God chose me to be your mommy. You are a joy to have as a daughter.

You are such a nurturer with your brother and sister. John worships you. You are always willing to help him, or sit and play with him. You have never wanted the spotlight, and you take joy in helping your brother and sister to shine. Both your brother and your sister look up to you, and that admiration is so clearly deserved. You have a soft heart my darling, and your deep compassion for others is amazing in a girl your age. I have never seen a more helpful young lady.

You are a deep thinker, and you tend to be quiet at times. Sometimes you surprise me with the things you say, because all that time you were mulling something over, and when you talk about it, it's so clear that you have really digested the information and formed your own really well thought out opinions. We are alike in needing our "quiet time". You and I both need time away from people, to just be ourselves and decompress sometimes. If we don't get that, we go on emotional overload.

Right now your favorite color is pink and your all time favorite thing is anything star wars (with Harry Potter as a close second). You like the girls in Star Wars (and who could blame you, you are your mother's daughter). Today I am about to take you to your ballet classes that you love, and you are looking forward to this summer at Schlitterbahn. Really really looking forward to it. We set up a calendar in your room this year so that you could keep track of all the fun events we have planned.

Happy Happy birthday sweet girl.