Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Clean up you act! {fun ideas for getting kids to clean up!}

I've tried many things over the last few years to get the kids to clean up. And through the trials I've learned a few tricks......

Number One:: Do not under any circumstance tell the kids you are "cleaning up". Some how they are programmed to rebel against those very words. It's no fun! So we use a few other words and techniques that still get the job done but introduce a little fun in the meantime!

The first is a Counting Game:: I give the kids a number of toys to pick up and PUT  AWAY (my kids have a tendency to get the toys off the floor and pile them on a bed or dresser). It works great for a quick room rescue when the room is not totally out of control, just a little messy.

The Toy Scavenger:: is for total chaos. When every bin has exploded (er been played with) and there is no floor space left, we have a little treasure hunt! I give the kids toy "groups" to hunt for. Like legos, dolls, cars, ponies, army men, etc. I think it helps little minds focus on one thing and not feel so overwhelmed about cleaning up ALL the things on the floor!

The Race:: I set the timer and we "put toys in their homes" for 15 minutes. When the timer goes off we are rewarded with a nicer room AND usually a treat. If you do this before snack time or meal time it works well. You can be preparing the snack or meal while they work. And the faster they do it the better but again, with my kids I have to make sure things are actually being put away and not piled up!

And last but not favorite......

Mission Impossible:: I LOVE this one. I use it for the living room, an area in our house that gets messy quick with it being the living room, dinning room and school room all in one! Each child has their own name....We've got 001, 002, 003 (I know creative right??) in their birth order. Kids love whispering and secrets so much I incorporated that into this method. I'll look into the living room and find something that each child can do, or identify something of that child's and then give them a mission. I bend down and whisper into their ears, "Ellie, I want you to pick up all the princess shoes and take them upstairs and put them in the shoe bin." And she's off! I have NEVER had a complaint about cleaning when I do this! Each child gets a little competitive with it, wanting to hear the other person's mission or know how many missions each on has done! It's too cute! Even Gracia gets missions (she's 003)! And in no time the whole room is cleaned up and lookin good! I usually do this when I am cooking dinner in the kitchen so I can see what they are doing and what needs to be done, and can get something done myself! And if an spy get's of track I can call out, "002~Is your mission completed???" They really love it. It helps teach them obedience, following directions and being responsible all at the same time!

What do you do to get your kids to clean up with out prodding and yelling???

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Feminism can take a Flying leap!

SO I've been doing a lot of blog hopping and book reading lately on the subject of The role of a wife and mother. And let me say for beginners I am quite shocked at what I've found. There is a growing group of meek yet not so timid women who are actually joyfully raising their little girls to be homemakers, to stay at home and serve their husbands and children. Now the question is are you offended or intrigued?

To tell you the truth I was at first, a little offended. Not because I see anything wrong with being a homemaker (I should hope not since my mother an I are both homemakers!), but to intentionally and specifically train your daughter to be a homemaker? I had never heard of such a thing! Many thoughts ran through my mind, what about your talents and gifts? What about security of having a career and job in the event you lose your husband? What about your education? What about your contribution to the finances? What about..........what God wanted for your life? This was my first clue I had been brainwashed by feminism.

From the time I was a little girl, everyone asks what you want to be when you grow up. What do you want to do, where you want to work. To be honest my first thought was never to be a Wife and Mother. I can give you a long list of careers I dreamed of having as a young girl, none of them included the two most important roles a woman be. The two roles that we were created, gifted and blessed to be. I never realized that this was the ugly face of feminism, telling me in secret that being a wife and mother weren't roles to aspire to.

You see feminism is clothed in bright, beautiful garments, whispering in your ear and telling you that you are so much more than just a homemaker. That you were made to do and be all that a man can and is. That if you don't enter the work force, get educated, {conform} you aren't worth as much as those who do. It has told generations of women that choosing to stay at home wasn't acceptable or valuable. That you were worthless. Worth less than those who pounded the pavement and held their degrees, attaining and surpassing men in rank and wage. I know because my own Mother suffered from this prejudice. Her idea of her own worth and the importance of her career were damaged because of this.

Feminist Simone de Beauvoir states, "No woman should be authorized to stay at home and raise her children. Society should be totally different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make it."

Vivan Gornick states, "Being a housewife is an illegitimate profession...The choice to serve and be protected and plan towards being a family-maker is a choice that shouldn't be. The heart of radical feminism is to change that."

And unfortunately for many, it has done just that. Wages for men have gone down making it nearly impossible for the average husband to support his wife and family forcing scores of women into the work force. Woman have been lied to and convinced that taking care of those most important to her isn't a job, isn't important, isn't valuable. I have even made the mistake of saying, "I don't have a job!" I've been a wife of 11 years and a mother for almost 6 and it's only now that I am beginning to embrace and understand my role. And the more I learn and study, the more I can identify the areas where feminism and a world view of service has damaged my attitude as well as my identity as a housewife. What I should be and will be focusing on from now on, is my Biblical view of a wife and a mother. Because according to the Word of God, without me, man is incomplete.

Reading the creation account in Genesis 1 we find a few things. God was pleased with His creation, many times He called it "good". One time though, he looked on all that had been formed and declared something "not good". You know what it was? Loneliness and need. Adam was in need of a companion. He wasn't just bored being by himself, didn't just want someone to talk to, he needed someone, his existence was incomplete. Nothing could complete him other than someone who could help him, be with him, someone compatible. Not of dust, like man was formed, but from his side, God formed his helper, his mate, his companion. And when woman was made and God's creation was complete what was it that God said? It was good? No, He said it was Very Good. We are a special part of God's creation that He sees as very good. Our role as wife not only compliments our husbands, it completes the picture of what God says is very good. Adam alone, without a helper, was incomplete. We weren't an after thought or an "Oh yeah!" We were the final touch, the icing, the perfect compliment, that "special" creation that was needed, for God's creation to be deemed very good.

Let's take a quick look at the "illegitimate profession" of Keeper of the House. According to Proverbs 31 an excellent wife is one that is hard to come by. Why is that? If anyone can do it and do it well, aren't we a dime a dozen? Isn't it a talentless, menial job? No, she is trustworthy and loyal to her husband, she is thrifty and industrious and adds to his wealth, she is talented in many areas, she is a seamstress (a creator of beautiful things) she is a talented chef, providing healthy and delicious foods some of which she may have grown, she is resourceful and has an entrepreneurial spirit and mind, she is strong and willing to work hard, she is up early and to bed late making sure her house and those in it are cared for~it is her priority, she is generous and cares for the poor and needy, she speaks and does good to her husband, her service to him and their children allow him to fulfill his God-given duties and roles as she fulfills hers, she contributes to her husbands success, she has strength and dignity, she fears the Lord, she is wise and plans for the future, she is a teacher of wisdom, tempered with Mercy and kindness, she is skilled at managing the home and all that goes along with it, she uses her time wisely. And because of this, her children will bless her and praise her. Her husband will have a good reputation.

The saying, "Behind every good man, is a good woman." Is true! If it weren't for the dedication and hard work of a willing wife, the husband cannot be successful in all that God has called him to be. In my season of life I am seeing this first hand as Dave has been called to the Ministry. God has been opening up more and more doors for him to share His word and teach! God is transforming Dave's love for teaching science, and using it for His glory. If I am not capable of caring for the kids and the home, for making meals and training our children, he cannot fulfill his calling.

I hear you, you are chanting along with the feminists, "What about your calling? Your talents?"  I use them everyday! I majored in education, homeschooling our children I use that talent and passion every day. I majored in Art, I am free to create and "do art" all the time, though it may look different than Painting 101, I create! Having 4 children has allowed me to study and research pregnancy and birth which I am passionate about! I have a love for learning that keeps me quite busy all week long! Scores of other women are using their talents in running their homes everyday! It's no small task to run a small business such as a family. It takes intention, organization, shrewd business skills in many areas. It takes hard work and determination, kindness and love, patience and mercy. It takes brains to be an excellent wife.

Many people have asked if I will return to teaching (in a school) once the kids are all in school. I always answer, "I don't know! Maybe!" For many reasons. More recently I have actually started to enjoy my role as a wife and mother, which for a long time I didn't think was possible. I thought it was normal to struggle with this stage of my life and basically not enjoy it. I don't give a clear answer because I don't know the future and life has been so full of God's desires and plans rather than my own, that I have a hard time focusing on the future in that sense. I think "maybe" because I like my peers, I like working for and with my best friend, he's a lot more forgiving and friendly than those I've found in the world. I can't be fired from this job;)

My heart has been opened to fulfilling my role as wife and mother in a way that is pleasing to God. I desire to serve my family in a new light, one that previously hadn't shined in a way that it does now. I supposes I didn't realize just how special my role was. Through my role I am serving not only my family but my God.

Matthew 25:37-40
 37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’   40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,[f] you were doing it to me!’

Friday, June 18, 2010

Hitting the wall {head on}

Hitting the wall ::
 In endurance sports, particularly cycling and running, hitting the wall or the bonk describes a condition caused by the depletion of glycogen stores in the liver and muscles, which manifests itself by precipitous fatigue and loss of energy.

I would liken my job as a mother to that of an athlete in an endurance sport. We do and run without stopping, sometimes grappling for the occasional handout of water or food. There is no baton to pass, this is a race we are to do ourselves. We are the maid, the cook, the teacher/trainer, launderer, chauffeur. We are expected and needed to have endless, boundless energy and to run this great race with smiling faces and right attitudes.  This week I have definitely hit the wall. 

I am depleted, I am fatigued, I have no energy and possibly on the verge of being depressed.

Put in perspective I do this to myself quite often. I have this super woman that I think I am superwoman. Which I am not. I cannot do all things nor make all people happy. Unfortunately I talk myself {quite often} into thinking I can and will. But I can't and don't.

Right now, from my perspective life looks more than overwhelming. Summer is filled to the brim with activities and functions both fun and stressful. And even though we've cut back on some activities, it is still full, leaving us little time for relaxation or family time. This is never what I want for summer vacation, and always what seems to happen!

We are also anticipating a move in August/September which has started to plague my brain. It's something we've prayed about for years, being closer to the church and being able to better serve where we feel called. But when I look around my small crowded house, even though I look forward to having more room, I am overwhelmed at what it is going to take to actually move! It's like one giant puzzle that isn't fitting in my mind. I suppose it's because change isn't always exciting to me as it should be. Of course there are tons of positives (like the house is bigger, closer to church,cheaper), but actually getting there is uncharted territory. I think about the days I will have to be moving and shuffling with Dave at work and me trying to both homeschool and move/rearrange life, and watch all 4 kids with tears because I don't know how I am going to do it all.

And most of those are insignificant, {like where will I fold my clothes with no folding counter? or where will we put all our shoes???} silly I know. But they are things I think about when I walk around here looking at all the stuff we have! There are other questions that are more significant, like where will we fit everyone, the shapes and sizes of rooms are different and mathematically things don't fit quite like they do here. We can fit beds, dressers and toys if some are upstairs and some are downstairs, but who goes where? What makes the most sense? I don't know.

Mostly we've become accustomed to life here. I will miss living near the ocean, in our first home, where all my littles have been born so far. And even though we don't fit in this house and really can't afford to live here at this point, it's been home for so long, it's hard to imagine us anywhere else, even if that somewhere else is a step up.

 So I lack the energy to do little else but make it from sun-up to sun-down. And I suppose that is okay for now. The laundry is piling up, the house is unraveling more and more each day, and Sunday we'll be heading to Awana camp which means tomorrow I have to pack up 5 people to survive a week away from home. Maybe the time away will help clear my head a little.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A {little} peek

I love this phase. She's only a few days old here, sleepy and chubby and good smelling.

We are doing good. All of us.

I really thought having 4 kids would be overwhelming, and believe me there have been times! But all in all it's been wonderful. Dave and I have always tried to foster independence in our children (age appropriate of course) and we are seeing that more and more. The milestones are other 3 children are coming to as we've added a newbie is amazing, and sad all at the same time! 

With summer in full blast it's already been full of late nights, movies and slumber parties. The next few days we'll be setting up the above ground pool! We'll all be nice and tan! 

We'll also be continuing school for the summer. Two months seems like a long time for little minds to retain all that they've learned this year! And in all honestly my kids go a little crazy with nothing planned. The house ends up a wreck, they jump from activity to activity chaotically. It's not good. So we'll continue with reading, math, Bible and ART and science. But only a little each day, no more than an hour a day, and mostly FUN stuff! But I do want them to keep up with what they've learned!

We've also got VBS this summer in July, Awana camp in late June, Dave teaching summer we will be busy! But busy is fun. I am really hoping to get a little sewing at some point, maybe some knitting. But my main goal is just to enjoy the summer. To take it easy, not have too many expectations, and just enjoy my little family!


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