What’s Been Happening:
April seems to have been a month of parties!
To celebrate Daniel’s party we had an outdoor movie with friends where we watched The Truman Show. It is hard to find a movie that suits all ages, and because this one is older hardly anyone there had seen it before. We have a small USB projector, which plugs into the laptop – and we set the car up close so we could use it’s speakers which gave us good enough sound.
Friends hosted Dressup Because party – where the theme was ‘animated characters’. I was Wilma Flintstone, Josh was ironically the Fat Controller from Thomas the Tank Engine, Jess was Belle, Nomi was Jasmine and Daniel was a toy soldier from Toy Story. We had a lot of fun planning and making the costumes as well as enjoying a night with our friends.
Of course life is more than partying –
- The view from the front of our house has changed as one crop of Sandalwood trees were harvested. They are preparing the soil for the next batch to be planted – Sandalwood takes around 15 years between planting and harvest so I’m enjoying the open space while I can.
- Every so often I’m doing a structured day of activities with the little girl we help care for – I pulled out Five in a Row and revisited Ping – though she enjoyed the story, the learning concepts were a bit above her so next time I’ll use a Before Five in a Row book.
- I belong to the Quilting group in town and the CWA ladies asked us to help them sew some bags – they fill these bags with toiletries for women in our town in need.
- The weather has changed and it’s time to plant a veggie garden – just a small one this year – it is mostly greens for my smoothies.
- The dam was cleaned out and also made bigger – it looks lovely and inviting now, weed free – but soon it will be full of weeds which are no fun to swim in.
Something Nomi recently drew – Remembering my Bunnies
Parenting moment with Big Kids:
One of the things we’ve been working on in our house is finding the balance between me being available for my family (which is my biggest desire) and my kids being self-governing. One day it seemed as if I was constantly at everyone’s beck and call and was not getting any time to work on my own projects. Of course this tension is real – as I said, I want to be available to my kids, but now that they are older there should be a degree where I can move onto other projects and they are able to solve their own problems and make their own decisions, with my role being more supportive and a help-line. When they were younger I was needed more – and yet some days it seems as if things haven’t changed. I can go around and around in circles trying to figure out this balance.
So we came up with a plan based on the premise that weekday mornings are for productivity and I am 100% available to help each of my children be productive – if they need me. But I am not available for general chit chat or other distractions. Unless I’m in the kitchen! The Kitchen is a social zone and the rest of the house is a focus zone – at least for the weekday mornings.
As parents – as our children grow older – we have to reassess and redefine different boundaries for our family to be all that they work towards being.
TV and DVDs:
This month I got hooked into “The Flash” with Daniel. One of the challenges I constantly remind myself of is that Daniel is in a different phase of life than his older siblings and I need to make sure I give him my time and attention, that we build relationship in much the same way I did with the others.
I also watched Season 6 of Downton Abbey with the girls. After I’d finished all the episodes I turned on the documentary episode and watched as the onset historian talked about the different aspects that he ensured was historically correct – and of course, since we are talking about life in Downton Abbey most of the things were social practices. It was very interesting – and so very detailed. I couldn’t help but wonder where this man picked up his intricate knowledge of the social graces along with their purpose and meaning of a different era. It reminded me that we cannot know where our kids passions will take them.
Parenting Moment with Little Kid:
Little Missy (a foster child who is often with us) has just turned 4 and one weekend we ran bootcamp (a few days completely focused on training) with the focus being teaching her about honour. Honour is the act of treating others as special, important, precious and valued. A few parenting lessons I was reminded of:
- Training means lots of teaching, prompting and reminding. I purposefully didn’t correct her during this weekend – my focus was on keeping her close so that I could teach, prompt or remind her of the right thing to do before she did the wrong.
- Little ones understand far more than they let on. I started to insist that she answered my questions. She is a very bright little girl and I think she was pulling the wool over our eyes by saying “I dunno”. Well, she does know and I just had to ask her leading questions so she could articulate it.
- Little ones learn well when you have a hands on aspect to your teaching. They don’t always get abstract ideas (like honour) but having something tangible like a heart shape that represents the gift of love.
- Little ones do better with doing the right thing when they have routine and direction rather than open choices for most of their day.
What I learnt from my blogging break:
I put myself on a 3 week blogging break so that I could focus on getting my house in order (you can read my reasons here) but the spinoff was that I started thinking about how blogging affected my life, and how I want (and need) to find a blogging and life balance. Here are some of the lessons I learnt:
- I am addicted to blogging – I found myself walking towards the computer, even though I didn’t have a blogging task in mind – it seems as if sitting at my computer and doing blogging tasks (writing, creating, social media) is a default position – and I head towards it regardless of how productive I will be.
- I need to stop learning and start doing. I became aware of how much information I take in on a regular day and I am functioning (or not) on overload. I saw a blog headline that said: If you want progress, stop learning and start doing. I didn’t read the blog (probably a good step towards stopping the overload) but the heading itself was a message to my heart. Stop learning and start doing. Though it sounds counter productive (and I don’t think it is an ultimate type of statement – but it has a glitter of truth in it). I find myself constantly learning, and though it is a good thing, if it has no outlet it just becomes knowledge – stale knowledge – baggage.
- Blogging isn’t necessarily the problem. I stopped blogging so I could get on with my house – but I suddenly found myself scrapbooking (something which I hadn’t got to for a long time). I realised the problem isn’t blogging and the time it takes, it is my own levels of self control and self discipline! It was very easy to replace blogging with scrapbooking – not so easy to replace blogging with house work and decluttering!
I’m glad I took this break – and I’ll probably take more in the year ahead – even though I still have some decluttering to do, I did make a dent, but even better I sorted out some issues in my head and I think I’m better off for it. Is there anything that is consuming your time, emotions and focus and hindering you from doing the best thing for you, or for your family. Maybe you can take a break for a week or three and see what you learn about yourself in the process.
I created this scrapbook page after a sermon one Sunday – this belongs to my Bible Journaling album – which I may or may not get printed. The sermon also prompted a blackboard brainstorm – What can young people (who live at home) do to be hospitable. So often sermons or conversations on the topic of hospitality center around our home – it was good to make my young people think about how they can be hospitable in ways that don’t involved our house – though of course they are welcome to invite people into our home as much as Peter and I do – but I wanted them to think outside that paradigm.
- Was today typical? No – after church today a bunch of young people came over to watch Phantom of the Opera. We had lunch together – and then I gave them a quick dinner before most went on to young adults Bible Study. Our Sunday afternoons are usually quiet.
- What did I have for breakfast today? Coffee, Yoghurt, Berries, Maple Syrup
- How did I add art to my life today? I scrapbooked 3 pages of our Tasmanian holiday
- List something I should have done today? I should have sent out my son’s birthday party invites!
- What is my next major deadline? Mum Heart Conference presentation on Character training.