Thursday, October 17, 2013

What a morning

So today was BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) and the morning went well, until the end of BSF.

Let me start from the beginning and give some background information so those who don't get the pleasure of staying home with their children can see how my morning went.

Both kids woke up so peacefully.  In fact, Brooklyn woke up and started playing in her room.  I believe some cars and a motorcycle held her attention until Roman woke up.  Then, something glorious happened: they both began to play together prior to coming to me!

After a healthy breakfast of pumpkin granola bar and fresh veggie smoothie.  I asked them both to get dressed while I got dressed too.  They obeyed.  In fact, from upstairs where I was getting dressed, I heard Roman encourage Brooklyn to hurry and offered to help her.  When I came down, Roman was fully dressed and Brooklyn had her dress on backwards and inside out, but hey...she did it all by herself and in her defense, dresses with buttons can be tricky.  :)

So the children both loaded into the car without an argument, fuss or complaint.  They took their vitamins obediently and were thankful for the little movie I surprised them with in the car for the 15 minute ride to BSF.  After all, the movie in the car is reserved for long car trips, not quick little errands or short drives such as the drive to BSF.

We were on time for BSF!  In fact, Roman was able to get there for the "beginning play" which is designated for the first 10 minutes to accommodate all the different arrival times of the kids.  Yay!  He seemed grateful for this extra playtime.  Brooklyn was a little hesitant to go into her class and a few tears later she went in to play with her friends.

Our lecture let out unusually early, about 10 minutes.  So that meant all the mommies were about 10 minutes early picking up their children.  Roman didn't take it well.  He was sad that just as they took the train out to play for the last 10 minutes, his mama showed up to pick him up.  In fact, he was so upset that every attempt to sooth his heart heart was thwarted by the whiney, indecisive, tantrum throwing inner child in Roman.  I loved on him, talked to him, hugged him, reminded him of his extra playtime in the morning, and then gently guided him to move on so we could pick up Brooklyn from her class.  It's tradition for all the mommas to let the kids run around for about 10-15 minutes afterwards to play with other kids and just have fun!  I reminded him of this fun time and encouraged him to play now.  After all, the trains would be there next week. When this didn't help him calm down I then told him he would have 5 minutes to play and he could either choose to spend that 5 minutes crying or he could spend it playing.

Nope.  This. Did. Not. Work.

So, yes, I was the mom of the child who:

  • Cried loudly that he wanted to play
  • Cried loudly that he couldn't calm down
  • Cried loudly that he couldn't choose between calming down or playing
  • Cried loudly asking how much longer he had before we left
  • Cried even louder when I said it was time to go
  • Ran away from crying in an attempt to make me turn around, but I kept walking.
  • Cried hysterically as we walked across the parking lot, saying "I don't want to go, I want to play"
  • Hit his pregnant mama in an attempt to get her attention since she wasn't giving him the time of day...instead praising his Brooklyn for her obedience in coming right away when it was time to go.
  • Ran around the van screaming, "No!" as though I was kidnapping him.
  • After seeing his mama calmly buckle Brooklyn and praise Brooklyn for her amazing behavior then get into the car herself and buckle up,  panicked.  
  • Screamed at the top of his lungs that he didn't want to go, then stomped his way into the carseat.
  • Hit his sister repeatedly from his carseat in yet another fit of rebellion for the early departure.
  • Screamed at the top of his lungs in the car saying, "I want to plaaaaaaaayyyyy!"
  • Apologized, unapologetically, to his sister for hitting her.
  • Continued to scream as another preggo friend and I prayed outside the van for strength, patience, peace and for God's love to be shown in all of this knowing that God has blessed us with another child who will be just as selfish as he was being.  
  • Continued to whine, cry and complain all the way home trying to get my attention.  To which he knew that the only way he could have a conversation with me was when he was calm, ready to apologize, and accept his consequences for his actions.  
So, yes, I was the mom who:
  • stayed calm despite wanting to smack sense into her 4 yr old and lecture him right then and there about being thankful and grateful and not making scenes
  • calmly said, "you're being rude to mama while I'm talking to my friend."
  • calmly said, "remember to play and not waste your time crying instead of playing"
  • calmly said, "two more minutes"
  • calmly said, "it's time to go, let's go."
  • calmly said, "you do not hit. It's not nice"
  • calmly said, "buckle up."
  • calmly said, "I'm sorry, Brooklyn, that he hit you.  Please find it in your heart to forgive him when he eventually says he's sorry."
  • calmly said, "When you are ready to apologize for your actions and accept your consequences then I will have a conversation with you." despite him screaming "mama, why aren't you answering me?  Mama, answer me!  Maaaaammmmaaaaa!"
  • calmly told Brooklyn she could watch the movie on her lap because of her great behavior.  
  • calmly told Roman, when we arrived home, to go inside and wait quietly for me to give him his consequences after he had apologized to both Brooklyn and me.
  • despite staying "calm" when I spoke to him, I cried as I drove the van home.  
Mothering is hard.  Molding children into adults is hard.  Having great friends who understand, relate, and encourage makes it easier.  But most of all, I stayed calm for one reason and one reason only:  GOD.  The peace I had knowing that anger would only invoke more anger from Roman was indescribable.  The encouragement I had knowing my job is not to save myself from embarrassment as my child clearly made a fool of himself, but rather to train a child in the way he should go was indescribable.  I am a mom.  I have a tough job.  God has a tougher job dealing with me sometimes though.  So I am grateful for these moments despite the heartache they cause.  

And now it's quiet time.  Consequences have been handed out.  Life for my 4 year old will forever be changed and mine also.

Friday, August 23, 2013

In the box

We've been seeing roman and Brooklyn really playing together lately. One day they decided that taking turns putting each other in a cardboard box was fun! It was adorable! Brooklyn was cute guiding Roman in as if he were her little baby and she was carefully putting him in his bed. She didn't want the lid closed, but he didn't seem to mind at all. Silly kids:-)

Shaving cream!

I bottle of shaving cream (sans SLS chemical)= $.99

Paintbrushes and other random kitchen items=$.99

Hours of fun being creative and sensory exploring= priceless!

Our little bike rider!

So this summer has been filled with lots of tricycle the house, because it's super hot outside:-(. Then we were given a 16" bike for roman that sat in the garage waiting for training wheels for about 2 months! This past weekend we finally bought some training wheels at a bike store and while we were there Brooklyn hopped on a 12" bike with ease and rode around like a pro! So, thanks to Papa, she now has a very good quality aluminum frame bike to ride and an adorable helmet too! Here are some pictures from our inaugural early morning bike ride. And yes, it was humid and hot, but the kids loved every minute of it; even wearing the helmets! In fact, the day we bought the bike, she wore her helmet all through Costco! It was super cute! We, of course, shopped around to other stores, but no other bike was quite like the aluminum frame bike. It is well made without a cheap plastic chain cover. I snapped a picture of Roman guiding Brooklyn around Walmart; it was very cute! He has been super kind to her in this whole bike riding adventure. What a great big brother!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

How we play (our curriculum)

So many people have asked lately what curriculum I am using for my homeschooling. I can honestly say, play is my curriculum! not the kind of "play" where they sit in front of the TV or iPad or other electronic devices (we limit these and use them sparingly so they feel like BIG TREATS when they get to use them)

But rather the kind of play that uses their imagination, life skills such as sharing and talking things out when someone hurts you. I find myself encouraging my children to "tell it to them" instead of "telling on them" when they are upset at someone for taking a toy. I'm right there encouraging them but they are using their words, not mine.

So how can play actually be a good foundation for a curriculum for my 2 yr old and 4 yr old?---all you preschool teachers might be wondering. Well, here's how:

When they do free play I am involved to either observe, encourage or interact.

They have free unlimited access to creative tools such as crayons, markets, scissors, paper, blocks, cars, trains, balls, stuffed animals, and books.

I read to them and with them OFTEN throughout the day. At least 3 times of me sitting down reading Bible stories, library books, hi-five magazines etc!

I answer every question they have. EVERY QUESTION! If I don't know the answer I look it up.

We play music in the background, we sing, we have dance parties, we play instruments LOUDLY, and we make instruments too!

We do crafts together...cutting, coloring, gluing.

We pretend to be race cars with our paper plate steering wheels, trains pushing our kid chairs lined up, trucks hauling each other in laundry baskets, etc.

We creat obstacle courses where we jump on the mini tramp, roll down the wedge mat, crawl through the tunnel, slide down our mini slide, crawl like animals, racing down our hallway!

We go on letter hunts and word hunts around the house.

We count forwards when we are waiting our turn, we count backwards when we play with our blast off space shuttle. We skip count going up the stairs. We count balloons after tossing them all over the house.

We collect and name the shape of the blocks as we put them away. We cut out, trace and color shapes. We are shape detectives with our magnifying glasses.

We learn our colors as we find the lost crayons and cap less markers

We sweep up our messes, sharing the coveted mini broom and dustpan.

We learn responsibility and work ethic by doing chores like feeding the fish and cat, getting dressed, and vacuuming/mopping the floor.

We build forts, we snuggle, we have tickle time, laughing like no one is listening!

90% of the play is child led. Meaning that they draw, build, color, create, explore what they want and I help build upon their learning with those teachable moments.

Yes I have worksheets that roman does...even Brooklyn has a school binder. But the attitude for learning is so great in our house that when I bring out the "school binder" filled with dry erase pages for them to practice tracing, counting, opposites, rhyming, connect the dots, writing letters and numbers, etc...they yell with excitement! And they always have the option at this age to keep free playing and come over in a few mins for the binder work. I keep in mind their attention span and don't expect them to do every page, just whatever their little brain wants to learn that day. I observe, encourage, and sit down with them on the floor "oohing and aweing" at their work.

This is our curriculum. They love learning and I love THAT!!!

Here are some pictures of our play

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Back before the supermarket

I often wonder how life would be different without the supermarket. Markets where people could buy dry goods, like canned foods for example, emerged in the early twentieth century. It wasn't until the 1930s and 40s that the "supermarket" changed shopping forever making it convenient for consumers to get their produce, meat, and dry goods all in one place. Seems like a great idea, and in my opinion it was until our human flesh and selfish desire to be greedy with our convenience took over. We now live in a world where canning is looked at as "a grandma thing to do" and homemade meals are considered any meal made at home (even if every ingredient is FROM A BOX!) We live in a convenience driven society where we rush our kids to soccer, softball, football, swimming, gymnastic, choir, and dance instead of teach them valuable skills of cooking, sewing, wood shop, landscaping, car repair etc
During those times we teach them way more than those skills; it's about the opportunity to pass on Godly values and character traits that can only be found in the hard work of servicing others.

Im a young mom who, maybe like some of you, feel the immense pressure to have it all: big house, lots of stuff, vacations multiple times a year, kids in as many activities as they possible can despite the cost, and a pet or two to round out the American dream. Well, I'm not giving in to that pressure. Why? Cuz it will drive me insane if that's my goal. Instead I have to remind myself DAILY that it's not about me. It's not even about my kids. Its about God. 100% God. What do I trust? Do I trust the Organic certification label on the foods I buy? No, I trust in God to protect me even when the organic label fails. Do I trust in the swim lesson t to save my child from drowning? No, I trust in God to protect my children. Now I'm not saying forego the organic food and swim lessons, but if you just can't afford either then there is a level of trust one should have in God who will provide. I can't worry every day and busy myself or my kids into thinking that life is about running around to multiple events week after week and sacrificing family time and valuable time with God.

What brought this post on was my quiet time the past few weeks. I've been able to consistently spend time with God, reading my Bible before the kids get up. I've noticed a drastic change in my temperament and attitude towards my kids and life in general. Starting the day out praising God as David did in the Psalms and reading a proverb or two for wisdom on how to raise my strong willed children and even reading a couple chapters of a book of the Bible (I just started Isaiah, so it a little rough right now unlike other books that are like stories and so captivating) allows me to really focus my intentions on God's will and not my own. I've gone from being quick tempered and raising my voice often at my children to being peaceful and soft spoken (yet firm).
It has been a HUGE difference. For me personally, I believe my obedience is directly related to my kids obedience. A friend from BSF mentioned that to me a couple months ago as I shared with her my struggles with my children just not listening to me and how mad that made me feel after all that I do for them the least they could do was listen! Really this was my reality. But my focus was all wrong! I was being selfish and my thoughts were guided by always getting them to behave. When the real problem was my misbehavior. I was being a two year old child of God...selfish, stubborn, emotional, and inconsistent. When I stopped doing that and put God first every day (even before checking email or FB) I noticed a radical change in me that was only from God! In so excited to see God work in our lives in the future! I hope this post inspires you to put God first in your life (whatever that looks like for you!)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

David's thankfulness

2 Samuel 22 describes David's song of praise to God after all his battles won, including with his son Absolom. He truly was a man of God, giving glory to God in everything.

This particular scripture passage resonated with me this morning. When is the last time I sang out in deep adoration and praise to God? Now most of you know, I'm not a huge fan of the worship time at church....there are usually 4 songs sung and for me that's 3 too many. But I love hymns! I sing them around the house and to my kids....they lift my spirits so much it's only God who can be rewarded for that desire in my heart. After reading David's song of praise, it made me realize how thankful I am for God's protection, provision, and joy that he has given me. We don't live in a mansion, but it's not a hut with a dirt floor either. We don't buy new clothes every week or every season. Instead we are so so so so blessed to have donations given to us. We have two beautiful children who despite their sinful nature bring me joy everyday!

My prayer this morning was to be like David and not recount over and over the battles (financial ups and down, kids behavior cycles,etc) in my life, but rather be thankful for God's hand that was ever present in those battles which carried me through. Its as though I look forward to the next battle because I have my security in God.

Verse 30 says, "with your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall."

How much more secure can one get? So, here's to scaling a wall today!