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The “C” Word

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There’s a nasty word in our house. One that starts with “C” and sends little children screaming for hiding places. Okay, maybe not screaming… but the kids definitely scurry for cover. Sometimes.

Chores. There, I said it. Who could ever imagine that such a tiny little word could invoke unequivocal mayhem in many homes? I can’t tell you the countless number of articles I have read in the last two weeks regarding chores or morning routines or getting your children out the door on time. Apparently back-to-school season brings out the stress of trying to combine tiny humans and routines. 

As a homeschooling family, we don’t have a deadline each morning that the entire family races to meet, hurdling our bodies out the front door and into the waiting vehicle, accompanied by “Hurry up!” and “Don’t bring that toy!” and “If I have to tell you ONE more time…” However, a lack of schedule tends to make it difficult to transition into our school day, and little pit stops can rob our mornings of joy, orderliness and productivity.

Enter the Chore Chart.

I decided to introduce this age-old concept to my kids over the summer, hoping that by the time school started, we would have it down pat. I have tweaked it several times, but I finally feel like we have something that works for us. In hearing other mothers’ struggles with requiring chores from their children, enforcing chore follow-through, or just dealing with bad attitudes regarding chores, I am reminded of an excerpt from “To Train Up A Child” by Michael and Debi Pearl:

“My Amish neighbors say that before seven the children are a drain on the family–costing money and time. Between seven and fourteen, they pay their way. After fourteen, they become an asset, bringing in profit. Certainly by the time a child reaches seven, he should be making your life easier. A houseful of seven-year-olds would easily be self-sustaining.”

So many parents feel like they are personal slaves to the tiny humans in their homes. This isn’t how a family is meant to exist! Familes are supposed to be our center for communication, love, training, and preparation for life. I love my children, and that causes me to want to do things for them… but not at the detriment of letting them learn life lessons. We should be lovingly serving each other and the family unit by helping the household run smoothly.

This does NOT mean that my children do the majority of the household chores. It doesn’t mean they are cleaning all day long. It DOES mean that in the mornings, after breakfast, they have a list of chores to complete in a timely manner. It also means that they help set the dinner table, clean up after dinner, straighten toys and keep up with their personal hygiene. For our six and seven year olds, this is what a Chore Chart looks like:

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Using this chart means I can switch out chores on a daily or as-needed basis.

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You may notice the verse written on the yellow envelopes. This is to address bad attitudes that come up (inevitably) during chores from time-to-time. Phillipians 2:14 says, “Do all things without complaining or disputing.” This is a big deal in our home, as we expect our kids to obey with the right heart and attitude. It’s still a process at times to promote cheerful chores, but most days we sing and giggle while we complete our work. Starting our day out this way leads to more productivity (on their part AND mine) as well as “cleaning the slate” for a new day… and new messes!

What about you? What chores do your children do? What chores do you WISH they would do?

Annoying, Isn’t It?

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I really can’t stand to stumble across a blog that has excellent content and then find out that the author hasn’t posted anything in three years. I also dislike finding a blogger that has excellent content, following that blog, and finding that the posts slowly but surely drop off in frequency. Most annoying of all, however, is starting your own blog; posting half a dozen times…. and then not touching it in over two years.

Am I back?
I don’t know.

Do I want to be back?
Yes.

Is it important to me to write, publish, be followed, make a difference?
Definitely.

With that in mind, here are the highlights in our family life right now:

1. We moved… to another state

Music Man accepted a job doing what he loves. He has been a traveling Dueling Piano player for some time now, and we are so excited that Myrtle Beach, SC had a need for his talents on a full-time basis. Living at the beach, whew, what a rough life!

2. We are entering our third year of homeschooling!

It really doesn’t seem possible that we are this far in the education process with L&C. We are still using Classical Conversations as our main curriculum, and I am a third year tutor with them this year. Lane will have me tutoring his class when we meet on Thursdays. Cora is a little apprehensive to have a tutor that isn’t Mom, but I am confident this will help her grow.

3. Did I mention that we live at the beach?

Yes, I’m a little excited about that part.

4. Two major weddings in Music Man’s family!

I have a new sister-in-law (in-law)! Music Man’s brother got hitched to someone I’m quickly becoming attached to. Their wedding was beautifully planned, and the couple’s personalities were found everywhere in little touches throughout the ceremony and reception.

Music Man’s cousin also wed his sweetheart, and their wedding was so uniquely them. The hard work and love that went into all the details paid off in a beautiful wedding and reception.

5. My siblings are all scattered to the four winds.

Gone are the days where I live in the same state as any, let alone all, of my siblings. Being the oldest, this is a little strange for me. The oldest younger brother is married, expecting a baby, and just moved back to Florida from the D.C. area. The youngest brother is still living it up at college in the Big Apple, and I am still intensely jealous. My baby sister is recently graduated from high school and living in Michigan. I foresee a lot of family vacations.

That pretty much sums up our recent adventures. May it be sooner than two years before you hear from me again!

“Let’s start at the very beginning… a very good place to start”

When I was a teenager, The Sound of Music was a favorite movie of mine. The music, the love, the setting… those were the things I noticed and enjoyed. Now, as an adult and parent, the things that stand out to me haven’t changed much. However, I have noticed other things that reach out and grab me.

The music still moves me: Come on, how many of you are humming, “Do, a deer, a female deer” in your heads after reading my blog title just now? The Captain’s voice is my favorite, and I get teary-eyed when I hear him sing Edelweiss (which was actually written by Oscar Hammerstein, in case anyone cares).

The love is powerful: I adore the love story between the Captain and Maria, but that’s not the only love I’m referring to. Those siblings stick together no matter what. They band together to get rid of the governesses (okay, that’s not sweet, but they are sticking together!) They play together, sing together. Yes, yes, I know it’s a movie, but their camaraderie touches me.

The family stays together: In a society where people split up when times get tough, the determination to keep their family together through brutally hard times is moving and inspiring. Just in the last year or so, the Music Man and I have heard of so many friends and acquaintances that have split up or divorced. Where is the determination to make things work? To hold your family together at all costs? The Van Trapp family had to cross MOUNTAINS to stay together!!

The clothes: Yes, I know this isn’t as deep or thought-provoking as the others, but as a crafty mama, I love that Maria makes the children play clothes out of curtains! I’ve totally wanted to recreate some of the outfits for my kids and do a SOM photo shoot. This could still happen!

I’m not really sure what the Sound of Music has to do with my very first blog post, except to highlight things that are important to me. A little meet-and-greet, if you will. Welcome to my blog. My creative outlet for (the many, many) words, thoughts and ideas bouncing around inside my head. I can’t promise it will always (or ever) be poetic. It might be funny, it might get crazy. It’s just my own little yodeling puppet show. (:

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