Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Moments of Bliss

A few years from now, when I don't have any littles anymore, I think moments like these are what I'm going to miss the most.  

They are so sweet when they're asleep.  Nothing is getting destroyed, so you can just stop for a minute and go to pieces over those wee tiny toes and those little noodle fingers and those round, rosy, cheeks.  Those are the moments where your heart fills to overflowing, when you know that being a mom is the best job in the universe.

Just for Fun

I'm not going to explain this picture.  I'm just going to post it here and let you figure it out yourself.  

In My Kitchen

Here are some pictures of some of the things one finds in my kitchen these days.  

First, lots of clutter.  It seems like I am constantly decluttering the kitchen, and both the Badger and I feel like we are constantly washing dishes.  And yet, it always seems to look something like this, even right after I clean it.  (I should take a picture of it when it's really messy... that would be more impressive.)

I could literally spend all day cooking, washing dishes, wiping counters, and putting things away.  And then my kitchen would look perfect... at bedtime.  But there are other things I want to do with my time.  And there are ten people in my family.  So I try not to let the clutter bother me too much.  

Instead, I try to find happiness in little things, despite the chaos around me.  Like this itty bitty pitcher.  The Badger bought me a set of three small glass pitchers for Christmas.  They were a total surprise and I love them.  They are so cute!  This one is the smallest of the three.

Here is another thing you will find in my kitchen lately: children cooking.  Our plan to have each of the older kids take a night each week to cook dinner is actually working out fairly well.  Maybe because cooking is fun... the plan to have everyone have a dish chore after dinner hasn't worked nearly as well.  We need to work on that.  But for now, I'm just glad to have some help with the cooking. Teaching children to cook is a little bit terrifying.  You know there are going to be mishaps... like a certain one of my children who recently put half a CUP of salt into the cookie dough instead of half a teaspoon.  My frugal nature cringes at the waste.  On the other hand, my lazy nature loves it when I don't have to make dinner, so we will perservere.  

And finally, you will see this in my kitchen every day.  It's the best!

Afternoon at the Park

We really have had some lovely weather lately.  I love that about Kansas winters.  Sometimes we have cold and snow, but we also have plenty of mild days.

Here are some pictures of a recent afternoon at the park.  I must say, I am not as good about taking the children to the park as I think I should be.  We don't go terribly often, and it's usually the Badger that instigates it.  Whenever we do go, I am always surprised at how much my children enjoy it.  It seems such an ordinary thing to do and it doesn't cost anything but gas.  And yet, the kids just love it.

This trip we all got a kick out of watching Leaf.  Leaf loves to climb.  She is fearless when it comes to climbing playground equipment.  Brave, determined, and sure-footed, she carefully makes her way to the top.


My oldest daughter is now eleven.

Oh Roo, what a blessing you are to this family.  You have always been a peacemaker in this home, with your gentle, calming influence, as well as your delightful, musical laugh.  But now your capabilities are increasing.  Not only can you bake and babysit and wield a broom, but your talents with decorating and beautifying are much appreciated.

Roo is an artist.  Her drawings are whimsical and charming.  She has a rich imagination.  She loves music.  She has recently become quite proficient in reading the notes on a music staff.  Lately it seems every time I turn around she is playing the piano, finding books on the music shelf that are at her level and just playing through them.  How fun this is to listen to.

For her birthday, she requested enchiladas and chocolate cake.  We had a wonderful time together celebrating our Roo.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Leaf's Hairdo

So, I decided that one way we would help people tell the twins apart was different hairstyles.  I am going to keep Twig's bangs trimmed and keep her hair short in the back.  I am going to let Leaf's bangs grow out and keep her hair long.  

Leaf's bangs get in her eyes though, so I've started giving her pigtails.  Oh, the cuteness!

It strikes me that she looks a lot older with her hair done up.  I guess technically she is older than Twig.  In any case, it's definitely easy to tell them apart.  (Their nursery leaders at church love it!)

Leaf at Target

My favorite thing is one-on-one times with my kids, even if it's just a trip to the store. 

Frog and Badger

The Badger is a very loving father, and his kids absolutely adore him.  We sure are grateful for all he does for us.  Thanks, Badger, for being awesome. 

Selfie with the Twins

My kids love to take selfies.  Me, not so much.  I always think I come out looking... well, not like myself.   Like the camera distorts my nose or something.  

It's an interesting time we are living in.  Here we are trying to get a handle on our own technology use while simultaneously trying to parent children who are eagerly latching on to the technology and needing much supervision therewith.  Meanwhile, the technology is evolving so rapidly it makes your head spin.  We are going to look back years hence with 20/20 hindsight and see all that we did wrong.  But right here in the middle of this fast-moving current we are just doing the best we can.  For good or for ill, though, I think we are all having a lot of fun with it. 

Plumfield Progress

It's been a steep learning curve for Bean and Fish this year at Plumfield School.  We knew it would be.  As their homeschool teacher, I knew they had some major deficiencies because there were just some things I either couldn't do with them or they wouldn't do for me at home.  Taking notes, taking quizzes, studying for tests and taking them, writing papers... these were things that I knew they needed help with.  Lots of help. 
Plumfield has transformed these boys of mine.  It has been hard for them, but they have worked hard.  Amazing things are happening.  I am continually astounded by the growth I see.  Here are two small examples. 
Bean recently took a driver's ed class.  A day or two after his classroom experience, I was going through some piles of papers.  I found notes that he had taken at driver's ed.  NOTES.  They gave him a study guide to fill out and he did that, but in addition, entirely on his own volition, he took five pages-- front and back-- of his own notes.  Organized, legible notes.  I just stared at them in shock and awe.   BEAN. TOOK. NOTES.  After having a front row seat to all Bean's struggles with written language, this was a miracle. 
Recently, the kids and I were at a museum.  One display had a brain teaser where you had to put certain numbers in a grid so that they added up a certain way.  A challenge, to be sure.  Fish took it.  He sat there thinking and reasoning and trying different possibilities for a long time.  Finally, he solved it.  He was so thrilled!  So was I.  Prior to Plumfield, he might have messed with the puzzle for a minute, but he would have quickly given up and said, "oh well, it's too hard."  Plumfield has increased his ability to focus and problem-solve.  It has also increased his confidence in his ability to do these things. 
I am really proud of my boys.   Plumfield has not been easy.  They do not waste the students' time down there, and then the boys come home with quite a bit of homework.  Staying on top of it all has been a challenge.  At first they didn't like it very much because it was so hard compared to homeschool.  But now they are getting used to it and they love it. 
I told the boys at the beginning of the year that Plumfield would be the making of them.  I can see that happening already.  It's miraculous and beautiful. 
As I write this, I can't help but think that if I had read this post six or seven years ago  when I was really struggling with honeschooling young Bean and Fish I may have felt some resentment or jealousy towards the author.  "Oh, fine.  You get to send your boys to an awesome private school... of course they're thriving!  But we're not all that lucky."  Hang on, there, Birrd-of-days-gone-by.  Keep praying, keep trusting, keep believing that God is leading you on this path of raising your children and He will provide what you and they need each step of the way.  I am sure of this. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

A New Game

The kids' new favorite thing to do is pile all kinds of pillows and blankets and stuffed animals on the stair landing and then leap into them from the highest stair they dare. 
This drives some people in this house crazy because it's very difficult to get up and down the stairs when they are so cluttered. 
But I can't help think, I would have loved to have done that when I was their age. 

On the Go

I spend more and more of my time driving around, picking up and dropping off various children.  
For the most part, I enjoy this. 
Sometimes the little ones want to go with me.  Sometimes they scream and fuss if they have to go.  Usually if I have to take them, they don't want to go, but if I could leave them home, they suddenly insist on going. 
If I am leaving and the little ones are staying, they MUST have a hug before I leave.  They all come running and cling to me like I am going away to the Gulag.  Peanut most especially.  If I am running late, this drives me nuts, because I don't have time for lengty, dramatic goodbyes.  If I am not running late, my mind goes back to a decade ago, when we lived on the west coast.  Bean and Fish would do the exact same thing.   You would think they were never going to see me again, the way they carried on every time I left.  And now they are independent teenagers.  "Oh, Mom's leaving?  Good."  So I know it's just a phase, and I need to enjoy it while I can.