Happy Thanksgiving! (Almost)
My mons-ners are already out of school for the Thanksgiving holiday. We’ve been talking a lot about pilgrims and the Mayflower. They’ve been pretty excited about it because we apparently had a relative on the Mayflower (my husband’s family). We talked about what their trip must have been like and how different their lives were than ours. Anyway, its been nice and even relaxing talking through all of this at home and not having to “drill” things in to ther little brains for a test or a homework assignment. Makes me admire homeschooling. Or unschooling? Have you heard of that? Its a branch of homeschooling I believe. In any case. We originally had all these intentions of getting out and going and doing today and then the most miraculous thing happened. The mons-ners started playing. Together. Without (too much) fighting. With TOYS with NO BATTERIES or CORDS or SOUNDS!! (!!!) O.O Look at my shocked eyeballs!! O.O And they have been doing that all day. We took a break for lunch and then they went right back to playing. They played legos and zhu zhu pets and with the cardboard boxes and with legos IN the zhu zhu pet houses and then with dog action figures in the zhu zhu pet houses and then somehow “shopping” with the cardboard boxes…. And you know what?? My DH was able to actually sit with us AND work from home at the same time. I was able to get a “break” at home, while being close to everyone. I worked my word-find puzzles in my little fancy word-find book (its purple and sparkly and doesn’t make me feel like I’m 8). I zoned out on Facebook doing absolutely nothing. I ate raisins and drank sipping chocolate (a gift from DH). I played Words With Friends with my cousin in FL. Its been a lovely lovely day. I’m hoping for a yummy spaghetti dinner and a movie night. And I am thankful. Thankful that my mons-ners occasionally do exactly what I wish for. It makes my heart sing that they are enjoying each other so much and using their imagination without needing a lot of prompting or instruction. My little ASD guy, he’s getting into it, he’s using his imagination to play and I know that isn’t something that is entirely natural for him, but he’s getting better at it! Its so fun to see. I love to hear them talk to each other and have conversations and hear what is in their little brains. I do wonder though, are they so relaxed and playing so nicely because I’m totally relaxed and not trying to rush around to get a million things done for deadlines etc? I hope you and yours have a wonderful nesting Thanksgiving holiday.
Be Fierce. Nest.
I’ve been thinking a lot about “little things” lately. This is a picture of one of the stained glass windows at my church. Its not a great picture. I took it with my phone, while I was in a hurry and dragging my children through the church hall. What is significant about it is that is what I saw through it. It was beginning to snow and you could see fluffy white snowflakes floating down through the colored glass. It was so pretty, it literally pulled me out of my hustle and bustle to take just a few seconds to appreciate the beauty. My MIL mentioned on the phone the other day about how raising children “goes so fast” and suddenly they’ve moved out and you’re left with an empty nest. When you’re IN the hustle and bustle, it can seem like an eternity. There are concrete moments for me that are lasting – something that really stood out, caught my attention, or made me slow down to really think about what was happening, but for the most part, in order to keep up with “life” it takes some serious movement. Alarm clocks and cereal bowls, jumping in the car to go hither and yon, spelling tests and daily homework, chore charts and Sunday school readings, prepping for the holidays to teach tradition and culture. And outside activities. Just soccer by itself is a lot. Its a lot of busy-ness and upkeep and energy. I know that some families tout the “be humble” and “slow down” mindset, and while I know this may work for some families, I don’t know that it would work for ours. The humbleness yes – I think most people hope that their children grow up to be somewhat humble and grateful people. I also want my children to do all the “things” (swimming lessons, classes and trips etc.) that I did and to be able to share so many acitivites and celebrations with them and that takes a lot of movement! Right now for example, we have just ended Halloween season (if it lasts more than 2 weeks in my opinion, its a season), and have started Thanksgiving season. We went to our first Thanksgiving celebration dinner at church (our family was in charge of the “thankfulness activity”) and next up we have Friendsgiving (where we’ll bring a dish to share for a potluck) and then actual Thankgiving Day. Both of those acitivites (the thankfulness acitivty and the participation in potluck) in my mind are setting an example for my children that this is what we do for this holiday, we celebrate in our community and help out in church, we pitch in and celebrate with friends and family. Its important. And its important that its not just once in a while, that its every year so that the tradition sticks with them. I feel the same way about our family vacations. For us, its every year at the same time in the same place. For many families this would not be ideal, but for us we have found so many benefits to this routine. In the meantime, I have planned Miss S’s 4th birthday for the beginning of January and I’m beginning to work on Christmas. I guess what I’m saying is that its a lot of puttering around, but the end result is always so worth it. My favorite analogy right now is that of a Monet. Up close, you can’t really see what the picture is or it can look messy, but from far away, it all comes together and looks very pretty and well thought out. And for me, those moments when I can take a breath in the midst of the busyness to appreciate the beauty, the circumstance that I am in, the surroundings, those are amazing and they really stick with me. The snow falling outside during our hustle through church was one of those moments. It reminded me that I am doing what I think is best for my children. It reminded me that I am making a beautiful painting and one day all those little brushstrokes of activities and culture and education and love – they will come together in what I hope will be a beautiful life.
Be Fierce. Make a painting.
Lots to post about, but right now, I’m trying to do something new and I’m in that “new and exciting” mode, so I thought I’d explore those thoughts today.
I’m taking a “day off” today. (Ha! Ok, not really, because who gets one of those, right?) I’m reclaiming a couple of hours of my afternoon by missing my Moms R Us group and staying home to 1) reorganize myself and 2) catch up on my cleaning / chores before the weekend.
I enjoy reading vintage lifestyle books and magazines and I was researching a book on Amazon called, The Art of Homemaking by Daryl Hoole. And yes! Its old! Its dated! Its a bit cheesy – that’s the point! So, I was reading the reviews for it and came across someone who mentioned using a modern version of home-keeping tips from the Fly Lady. New users are called “Fly Babies” and the program is about starting new habits for 30-days in 15-minute increments until they “stick” with you. Hence the term “Fly Babies” – using baby steps (the 15 minutes per day). So I’m trying it. I love self-help stuff. I think I get that from my mom, she was always into self-help stuff. I usually end up starting whatever new “trend” it is and then picking the parts out that I like and leaving the rest and trying something new. Anyway, its kind of fun though and I usually get so many new ideas about things and good insight that I wouldn’t have otherwise come up with myself. I’ll keep you posted. The first step was to *gasp* Shine Your Sink. So, the challenge is to keep a clean kitchen sink for 30 days. O.o Thirty Days. (Really clean, like disinfected type of clean). I’m on day 3. It is rather hard with a family of 5 who mostly eats at home, so we’ll see, but I’m doing ok so far with it. The second step is to get up and approach your day like you’re going to work… in your home. I have sort of been doing this anyway, so I’m sort of on board with this one already, but this just takes it to a new level of getting ALL the way dressed to lace-up shoes (oh no!), make-up and hair done. The idea here is that if you “feel” like you’re ready for anything, you will be and there will be less chaos in the house when an urgent matter does occur. (sick child at school, unexpected visitors, exterminator arriving at the door – anyone else have a problem with this one? He just arrives at such odd intervals any old time with no warning! I digress….)
The upsides so far: 1) I have clean clutter-free countertops! I have such limited counter space anyway, so this is nice. 2) I do like the clean sink thing – my kitchen is in the center of my house (weird no?) so I’m constantly walking through there and it does have an impact on my mood. The downsides: 1) Its taking some getting used to – new routine and all. 2) I keep feeling like I’m leaving something out or not getting anything done – but its only for 30 days so I’m going to try to give it a go and see what happens and 3) it has been a little bit of a challenge with our schedule because we’re out and about so much that I haven’t actually been home enough to do all the “home care” stuff, hence my “day off” of Moms group to catch up at home.
Anyone else trying a new trend or something? Lemme know! How’s it going?
For today anyway. Its been a rough week or two. M, my ASD child, is having a very hard time keeping up with the homework requirements for his class. We were spending upwards of 3 hours every night on homework. It was grueling. There were tears all around. I tried positive rewards charts, withholding treats, positive reinforcements, general encouragement/cheerleading and then just pushing him through it. When it eventually started keeping our entire family from eating dinner before 7pm, my 3-year-old from going to bed a reasonable hour and my blood pressure going through the roof, I started e-mailing the teachers. They responded quickly! At night no less! So, now we’re in the process of rethinking what his at-home requirements are. He works so hard just to get through his day, to be sitting upright, quietly, using lots of motor skills that require constant concentration, that to expect him to do that all day and then all night is just not reasonable. I’m exhausted from the emotional toll. I’m exhausted from his attitude about it all. I’m just out of energy to deal with any of this right now. I need a day off!
Yesterday Miss. S drew all over A’s dinner table chair with a permanent pen, today she drew all over the inside of a drawer with a sharpie. I have punished, I have gotten apologies, I have made her tried to make her “clean” it. Its permanent for the most part. I may be able to get most of the pen off the chair. We’ll see. A, my middle child, got written up for jumping around in the bathroom at school yesterday so that was fun. To add fire to the flame, he will follow nearly anyone’s suggestion that he do anything lately, so when his older brother suggested that they split Miss. S’s dinner while she went to the restroom during the meal, he was all on board. I’m not sure how you teach child to think for themselves. I’m also unsure of how to discipline worth a flip lately. Nothing seems to work, although there is some pretty decent conversation about earning rewards and then taking some rewards away as a consequence for bad behavior. I dunno. If the children’s beahvior does not improve, we will not be able to go on our summer trip because I have to be able to handle them on my own and it requires a fair amount of cooperation on their part as well. These days, I’m not seeing much of that at all. Its exhausting, I’m battling for them right and left in schools, on the play ground, on the soccer field, in play groups and they’re fighting me back. I can’t win. Fierce fail? Is that a thing?
You be fierce. I’m going to bed. I’ll be fierce tomorrow.