Monday, July 25, 2011

Not the post I meant to write

First off, let me begin by informing you all that I am tired :) I am sure you wanted to know that- but it has been a long, long week. Not necessarily all bad and not all stuff that directly involves me, and yet it weighs on my mind. Maybe I think too much.

The world is a crummy place, my friends.

But it is also a beautiful place.

"In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world."

My heart hurts for the mothers who have no food to feed their children.

I am sad for the people caught in addiction.

The political state of our world scares me.

A friend's severe illness upsets me

An acquaintance dying leaves me in tears

"In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world."

So in addition to my normal domestic woes, work struggles, childrearing worries, relationship managing- I also just have a heavy heart for the world right now.

And I am trying to remember

"In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world."

Friday, July 22, 2011

On Being Useful

The boys and I LOVE listening to Adventures in Odyssey. For those of you who have never had the pleasure of listening, AIO are radio dramas put out by Focus on the Family. AIO is broadcasted on the radio (and has been for like 25 years) but you can also buy (or check out from the library!) the various albums.

Anyway, the "shows" follow the citizens of a town called Odyssey and they always teach a lesson. Some of the episodes deal with deeper topics such as evil (they have two "sagas" that are pretty intense), divorce, death etc. Most of the episodes deal with elementary topics however such as cheating, lying, stealing, bullies etc. Over the 25 years the writers have showed great variety in their presentation. Sometimes it is story telling form from one character to another, some are historical with characters traveling in "The Imagination Station" and some are narratives by a character.

I love when the Barclays move to Pokenberry Falls and the 2 part episode is a parody of "It's a Wonderful Life". I love "The Secret Room" where the bad guy has sleeping darts in his cane. I love the Novacom Saga and the evilness of Dr. Blackgaard and the patheticness of his twin brother.

But the episode that is stuck in my mind right now? It is a less popular episode called "The Girl in the Sink". In this episode Bernard (local window washer) tells Tamika (local girl) a story about when he was a child. What leads to the story is Tamika talking about how God should send an angel to help her widowed neighbor. Bernard's point is that we can all be useful- the neighbor doesn't need a bona fide celestial being- she just needed someone who was willing to be useful.

This concept of "being useful" has been flipping around in my brain for months now- and I always come back to that episode.

"Being Useful" is going to be the theme of our homeschool and home this fall. I want to see opportunities to be useful and to take them (despite children) and I desperately want my children to be able to start detecting opportunities for themselves to be useful.

Because when you think about it, people who are well liked and who succeed are those who are useful. My favorite coworkers are not the ones who are the smartest, the best in a code or the ones who have the drug book memorized- my favorite people to work with are the ones who know how to make themselves useful, seeing what needs to be done and doing it.

And I really believe there are two parts to usefulness. First, you have to be able to see the problems and the opportunities. I think this is a learned skill. (it is NOT useful to always have to give people step by step instructions for everything you need them to do). Second, you have to take the opportunities and actually BE USEFUL!

I haven't quite decided how I am going to attack this with the boys, but I think I am going to start with pointing out when they do something useful, so they can start recognizing it. For example, (sorry Elise! I am going to use your daughter!), the boys cousin didn't want to leave the park the other day. I had Roman walk with her so she wouldn't feel so lonely and then when he came back I pointed out how it helped his cousin. In situations like that I am going to start using the word "useful".

I can see how it could be a problem that the opposite of "useful" is "useless". If my kids aren't being "Useful" I don't want them to jump to the conclusion that THEY are "useless". I am going to be careful to make sure that they don't feel that way, but I think this practice is going to be good for our family.

I want my kids (and myself) to "see the good they ought to do and do it"- whether it be big things like helping feed starving children, opening doors for people with packages, distracting a sad child, cleaning up a spill.

So that is our overreaching goal for fall:

To be Useful.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Girl Trouble

Berean is now 16 months old. She can throw a temper tantrum with the best of them (complete with peeking to see if anyone is paying attention) and she is improving her climbing skills- her new favorite hang spot is the top of the dining room table.

And new words are coming every day.

Just yesterday she said "Jordan" and "Todd" and "cherry".

Today she said "ice cube".

She doesn't use them all consistently, but she is constantly testing and trying new words.

Oh, and she has a knot in her hair.

She has always twisted her hair when she is tired, but last week she managed to get it into a tenacious twist. I don't know if it was the syrup, the fact that her hair is getting longer or sheer determination on her part; but I can't get it out. I think this one is going to get cut, but I see a big bottle of detangler in my future.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Back Online

Did you all think I dropped off the face of the earth?

I kind of did.

We lost our internet. Including our wireless.


We got a temporary setup this morning, and that means it was a total of 6 days without internet at home.

And let me tell you, it wasn't pretty.

I hate to admit it, really I do.

I take care of drug addicts. And alcoholics.
I was with my husband when he withdrew from caffeine.
I mock people who need their coffee.

But those first days of withdrawel were kind of ugly.

No, I didn't have delirium tremors, and no I didn't think I was in a train station.

But I was crabby and a little on edge.

It got better after a few days.

It got worse for Deacon.

"Mom, life without the internet is SO HARD!!!" he proclaimed after being told yet again that we couldn't look such and such up and that he couldn't play any games.

It is not even that I spend that much time on the internet-I just am on here for 5-10 min at a time multiple times a day. It is just that I conduct "business" on email, I renew library books online, we get our news online and it is my encyclopedia, dictionary and phonebook all in one.

I was clueless about the weather, about the world and about how much sun rasberries really need for the whole week.

I didn't have phone numbers for essential people and businesses, I couldn't contact my playgroup or friends I was supposed to be lining up meetings with.

Maybe I am a little too dependent on the internet.

But boy am I glad to have it back.

(stay tuned for more posts about what happened while I was "gone"-things like, "how much am I willing to pay to get back all the photos that were lost when my computer was struck by lightning", "why there is a gigantic blue monkey in my living room", "there is a knot in my babies hair", "Happy 11th Anniversary", and of course more on Baby #5!..and vacation pictures if we can find and restore them...)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

No Craft Household

Do you all search for things for your kids to do?

I have one friend who sets up "stations" for her younger children while she does schoolwork with the older ones. Other people I know have boxes of an activity or activities for each day of the week.

I don't have either.

Online there are tons of activities for preschoolers, crafts to make and ways to keep little kids occupied.

I grew up with a creative mom and she planned creative projects for us.

We don't do stuff like that.

Sometimes I feel bad when I read a blog and I see that someone helped their kids make 9 different sheep crafts on the "S" preschool day.

I never do crafts or projects with my kids.

We barely do play-doh.

I read to them, we go places, we play games sometimes or do puzzles. They color or make stuff sometimes on their own, but I don't have "organized" activities for them. We don't cook, we don't sew.

I am not sure if this is good or bad.

But, here is the thing. They do their own thing. There is so many of them and they play well together, that from sun-up to sun-down they are pretty self entertained.

Now, their sister? She is another matter. She loves to stand at the sliding glass door and watch them play. I guess it is like tv. But, when she is not doing that
she is unloading every shelf, basket or bag that she comes across.

Berean is a very busy worker.

Maybe she will need boxes and bins of crafts and activities. And maybe she won't. I guess time will tell. I kind of hope she doesn't. I like creative free-play. Or maybe I don't like free play as much as I dislike table activities.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Catching Up

We got back from Chicago just in time to deal with a melting freezer/fridge. Noah had Monday and Tuesday off, so we have been spending time in the yard and playing catch up in the house. Oh, and preparing and hosting a 4th of July Celebration. We can see fireworks from our front yard, well, those of us who choose to brave the swarming mosquitos can see them from our front yard, anyway.

But, Noah is back to work and I am trying to get back into my routine.

Before I forget,

Deacon has been talking a lot about "when you abandon us". Now, we think it stems from the fact that he has read books about children without parents who are "on their own" etc. As far as we can tell, he doesn't really think we are going to abandon him. Anyway, he says stuff like this, "I suppose when you abandon us I will have to get a job first. And then a house. And insurance. And some toys to keep my brothers occupied. Then I will need some stilts." We asked him why he needed stilts.

"so I can help my brothers cross the street and so that the cars will see us", was the reply.

I guess I do often tell him that they are too short for cars to see well, etc. And we are always telling them that we have to pay for other things before we can spend money on toys. Maybe he is slowly learning.

And, although I have no interest in trying it- I think Deacon could rise to the challenge if needed :)

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Just got in from a vacation to Chicago. Yep, we took all the kids and yep, it was crazy.

I learned a lot about my children, and really wish I would have brought Lincoln a Camelbak and urinal- as I threatened to do.

I also learned alot about the Penguins of Madagascar and how my daughter looks when she throws herself to the floor in anguish- a tiny little pile of tulle.

More to come, but now, off to start laundry and get some rest before a holiday shift!