Faith · Family · Fitness · Health · Parenting · Perspective

Fall Wknd Recap

Weekend recap:

Saturday- normal Saturday things like laundry, kitchen chores, puzzles before 7:45am because my kids don’t sleep in, painting art projects, cleaning family room so we can walk across it, t-ball in our yard, hauling hay and helping move my father-in-law from one field to another to drill wheat.

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Sunday- test run on injured hip (sciatica is making me a frazzled woman), Sunday school, church, homemade biscuits and gravy for lunch- both dairy and non-dairy versions, and a family trip to pick up a new trailer at the manufacturer (not enough hours in the week when you run a business!).

Then I crashed. We walked in the door at 5:30pm. I had on pajamas at 5:35pm and was asleep on the couch by 6pm. I rarely nap. This is not my normal.

I “slept” to 7:30, but only part was actual sleeping. A good portion of it was laying really still with my eyes closed so they wouldn’t know I wasn’t asleep. Thus, preventing a flood of conversation.

No school on Monday for inservice, so I’m planning on having kids at the office part of the day and when home, making treats for my kids’ classes. IMG_2285Nut free but full of sugar, acorn donut holes look fun and festive. We’ll see if they turn out anything like this… I’ve failed at previous Pinterest ideas!

And now on Monday morning, I’m having an intense debate with a 7yr old about the number of legs on the spider currently residing on our living room ceiling fan…

Have I mentioned that I love my kids? ❤️

Best wishes for a smooth week ahead!

 

Family · Love · Parenting

Morning Glimpse

It isn’t a great picture. I was trying to be covert.

Aside from the obvious imperfections in my photography skills, I love this picture. It illustrates the love between a little girl and her father. Hugs are given each morning before she or he leaves for school or work.

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The bond between father and daughter is truly a special quality.

Family · Love · Parenting · Perspective

Kindergarten

Kindergarten.

It’s centers and numbers, letters and games, grass grinders in PE and primary colors in Art. Musical songs about shapes are a regular concert at our house in the evenings.

She is flourishing and loves it. M thinks it is easy, fun, and doesn’t want to miss a single minute!

Five mornings a week, she bounces out the door to the bus. She’s gotten dressed, brushed hair and teeth, eaten breakfast, filled her water bottle and hugged her father and I. She puts on her pink backpack that is absolutely as big as she is, hops down the steps after her brother, crosses the lawn, and takes enormous steps up onto the yellow bus.

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At the end of the day, she takes those enormous steps back down off the bus to my office, her freckled cheeks flushed, bobbed strawberry hair wild, and lasts about 3 minutes before breaking down.

My sugar bean is tired. Naps were 1hr plus, 5/7 days a week before the school year started. She is young for her class, borderline to the point that we discussed holding her back just due to her age. Both her preschool teacher and my mom, an early Ed teacher, discouraged that. She’s bright, eager, and not having any behavioral issues, so she moved on.

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She would have been LIVID if we’d kept her back to half days in preschool. She does rest during “rest time” on her lime green towel. However, she made it very clear to us that she doesn’t HAVE to sleep then.

I took all this in consideration last night when our home was deep in the throes of a meltdown by 6pm. Sweet girl was asked to pick up 8 books and a retro (mine from the 80’s) My Little Pony stable in her room. Both kids are required to do one chore an evening – only one simple thing to help the family – i.e. pick up shoes, put away kitchen towels, pick up toys, sweep under the table, water flowers…

It. Was. Impossible. Tears sprung forth. Her body crumpled on the kitchen floor.

10 minutes in and the rest of us carrying on about life around her (this usually works), the waterworks weren’t letting up. Oh precious worn out little girl. I helped her get her dress off and pajamas on. I carried her to her room where she continued to sob.

I laid her on a pillow with a blanket and a snuggly stuffed animal. Sob. I told her she could rest there and gain control. Hugs. Sob. You need to pick up those books and pony stable before you can come out.

10 more minutes – I was in and out the door grilling. My husband and son were outside playing catch. It got quiet. I peeked in at her and saw that she was cleaning up her few items as asked.

She came out with her pillow, blanket, and stuffed animal and laid on the couch until dinner.

I’m not mother-of-the-year by any means. I’ve yelled and overreacted. However, this time it was obvious that compassion and patience were the keys to this sad situation.

No yelling. No time outs. No anger. Just compassion for a worn out little soul.

Aren’t we all feeling like this sometimes? Just too tired to take on anything else? We don’t always end up in a heap on the kitchen floor, but bless you if you have. Sometimes we just need a minute or thirty to compose and make sense of the task at hand.

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Hugs — Jen

**She was asleep shortly after 8pm. 🙂

 

Family · Parenting · Perspective

Lists, Lies, and Toilet Brushes

Lists. I would assume that most of the world uses them to keep on track. Simple little reminders of what needs to be done or what has already been accomplished.

giphy1I, personally, still use a paper, spiral bound planner for my family’s functions. The reminders and feeling like I constantly HAVE to keep my phone with me prevents me from adding this part of my life to my digital almost-sidekick. I also love the feel of the paper under my pencil or pen and get a thrill out of opening a new package of highlighters. Office supply junkies – you know what I’m talking about 😉

We’ve tried multiple lists at our house to help keep us on task, on schedule, organized, and functioning. These are usually for extra, non-daily projects or encouraging good behavior.

A few days of reacting like this Moana meme, but set at about 6:58am… lists bloghad me considering ways to make our mornings a little smoother.

My creative, kind, morning-hating, 7 year old little boy tipped the scales this morning. He wants terribly to be more independent and for us to “stop telling him what to do.” Apparently, we are being bossy by asking him to wear shoes to school. Alrighty then…

His heavy-weight, scale tipping moment occurred this morning when he LIED to me about brushing his teeth.

I was across the room when I started asking. I hadn’t seen him go into that bathroom yet this morning. I was closing the distance, repeating my question. I warned him that lying would be a bad choice. He insisted that he had brushed them and looked sad.

Then I knelt next to him, asking him if it hurt his feelings that I didn’t believe him. I took his hand and calmly told him that I was sorry if it hurt his feelings, but when he argues (a problem lately) it makes me doubt him. I told him I would try harder to believe him and that he should try harder to respond appropriately when we talk.

Then I walked to the bathroom to put in my contacts. I reached up and felt his toothbrush – DRY. These bristles had NOT touched teeth this morning.

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He didn’t lie out of anger, fear, exhaustion, or any of the other emotions listed on the parenting sites,”Love and Logic,” and Grace-Based Parenting books I’ve read.

He lied out of defiance. He lied because we are “bossing” him. He lied because to him, this was an act of “I’m going to win this at all costs because I’m independent.”

All costs indeed. — All our toilets will be shiny and clean tonight.

Trust will have to be earned back.

Lying is NOT tolerated at our house. I’m a truth teller – even if it hurts – and sometimes it does. Don’t ask if you don’t want to know. We are consistent in our actions and words that the truth is always better than a lie. Less harm comes from just being honest than when you choose to lie then get caught or snowball it and THEN get caught.

After brainstorming and doing some research on lying and defiance, I decided we are back to the plan of a list. He’s a solid reader, thus can read his new list.

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As you can see, this is not rocket science. We are asking for daily, basic functions on school days. He has from 6:25 – 7:00am to complete his morning tasks, 5 days a week. The tasks are laid out. I will strive to give him the independence to accomplish these without my prompting within his given timeframe.

Evening activities are simple as well. We’ve already been doing all of these for a month. Homework is finished between 4-5pm depending on when I get out of the office. If we push homework later, it doubles the amount of time and exponentially increases the drama.

Time after these tasks are done is free. Do whatever you want. Play. Jump. Sing. Ride bikes. Read books. Puzzles. Whatever.

Who said this parenting stuff was easy??? Seriously. Raise your hand.

I’m hoping that by giving him the independence to get these tasks done and check them off the list, it will help fill his autonomy bucket. If his bucket is full, maybe it will stem the tide of arguing. Hopefully, this will result in realizing there is no need to lie about brushing teeth.

*sigh*

Onward.

Much love– Jen

 

 

 

Perspective · Uncategorized

9/11

I remember exactly what I was doing.

I was a freshman in college. Ford Hall Room 208. My bed was lofted. My roommate Angeline’s bed was perpendicular to mine under the loft.

I had Intro to Engineering as my first class that morning.

My alarm clock went off. I didn’t snooze it. That was something we had discussed as “forbidden” after our first week of cohabitating. Actually, Ang (best friend) threatened to “punch you (me) in the face if you don’t stop that snoozing s**t. Don’t set it if you don’t plan on getting up.” (We are real with each other like that.)

She had already left for a 7:30am class across campus.

The sun was shining in our east window thru the blinds. The cinder block walls were painted a cream color. I felt for my glasses. I turned on our dorm room television. I like noise while I get ready.

The first plane had hit the World Trade Center a few minutes earlier. It took me a while to figure out what was going on. The reporters weren’t sure what was going on either. At this point it was just a News Special Report.  I sat with my legs hanging off the loft. Still wrapped up in my turquoise and green comforter.

We have a family friend who I consider an uncle. He’s a pilot. I immediately tried to confirm with family that he wasn’t flying with that airline.

I remember looking at the clock. I had to get dressed for class. The professor took attendance as part of the grade. I checked my email to see if he had cancelled class. I needed to know what was going on in NYC. Surely he would cancel class!

As I was pulling on my pants, the second plane hit. I recall sitting on the floor next to her bed. This wasn’t an accident.

This wasn’t an accident.

This wasn’t an accident.

The news showed things falling from the buildings. Not things – PEOPLE. Mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, friends.

I cried, completely stunned by what I was witnessing LIVE on television.

I had to leave for class. I threw my backpack on and hiked across campus to Fiedler Hall. Worthless class. What was going on?

When I returned to my room after class, I learned that two more flights had crashed- into the Pentagon and in a field in Pennsylvania. I was glued to the news for the remainder of the day.

The bright blue sky was dotted with only white clouds. No jet trails. Just clouds.

The rescue efforts. The fear. Sadness.

But in all this, the nation pulled together. People prayed. We held vigils. We made contact with those around us to comfort, support, and provide kindness.

9/11/2001. I will never forget.

9/11/2001 Timeline.

Jen & Jon (2)
We were young and naïve. Just figuring the world out when 9/11/2001 happened.

 

Perspective

Coffee Time a.k.a. our secret to not getting a divorce

A few weeks ago, I published a blog piece about how tough the month of August was on my relationship and myself. Although my husband and I have invested time in “The 5 Love Languages,” we definitely weren’t speaking them to each other… nor were we making the time to try.

Enter in what we could classify as “coffee time” at our house. This year, our kids are riding the bus to school. They board around 7:05am. Seriously, they bounce out there happily. This is a HUGE improvement over the calamity that was me, their mother, literally trying to throw them into the car at the last minute after 43 requests to get out there, some fast driving, and telling them to RUN!!! to get in the school so they wouldn’t be tardy…

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In this window of time that we now celebrate from 7:05- 7:50am, we are establishing some US time. We do still have to get ready for work, but this is when we sit down for a chat, discuss the schedule for the day and the day after, and ask about each other. It’s AMAZE-balls. (<– Forgive that)

This is re-blogged from my friend Sarah’s blog. She’s an amazing woman, wife, mother, friend, and play therapist.

I have a secret that I’d like to share with all the couples out there.  It’s called Coffee Time.  And in my household it is sacred time.

Coffee Time is my favorite time of the day.  It occurs on the back patio at my house when it’s nice weather, inside when it’s not, or at my office (where my husband also offices).  At the office is my favorite location.  See photo above.

We have been doing Coffee Time for years and rules have developed over time.  It lasts at least 15 minutes and it is a kid-free time.  At our house this is tricky because our three kids don’t think Coffee Time should be a thing.  Instead they want someone to spread peanut butter on their waffle, take them potty, or start Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.  But Kyle and I refuse to do these things during Coffee Time.  Because, for the…

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Faith · Family · Perspective

I will Love

In all the chaos that is the world today, this small symbol lightened my heart. Tucked into my dual purpose yearly planner/ Bible carrier is this picture on a yellow sticky-note. My daughter drew it during the church service Sunday.

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Don’t overthink it. Love.

God is LOVE. Even thru the agony of the fires, hurricanes, and threats of war, God is still LOVE. He doesn’t want these pains for us. That tricky double edged sword of free will…

I feel helpless when stacked against the content of today’s news report. But I will still LOVE those around me with service, kindness, forgiveness and mercy. I will LOVE people thru the Gospel’s truth.

I will LOVE.