Wednesday, April 20, 2011

True is 9 Months

Sweet True is 9 months and this has been quite the month for him!  He is sitting up pretty well, when he has a mind to do it.  He is also a proficient roller/scootcher and can get almost anything.  He loves to show off his skills.  He is an expert at the pincher grasp and successfully feeds himself cheerios.  YEA!  He also loves dropping things, everything.  Food, toys, you name it, he drops it.  This might be his personality, or this might be a "boy" thing.  I hate saying things like that.  I mean, can't a girl like to drop things?  EIther way, it is different than the girls.  Whether that is because he is a boy, or because he is a different child I am not sure.

He is a great eater, as are all my children (we are blessed!), and devours anything that we put in front of him.  Although this last week he also got really sick on something and the poor little dude was puking up broccoli and sweet potato.  It was nast.  I stayed up with him a good portion of the night, and it was really heart breaking to have to hold him over the toilet.  How do you help a 9 month old?  The poor little guy did not know what hit him.  He recovered well, and I hope not to repeat that for a while.
True is full of funny faces and funny sounds.  He is constantly squeaking and squealing and screaming and screeching.  He is so ready to talk, and he has a lot to say.  He is always looking for the girls, so as soon as he wakes up/they wake up he wants to be near them.  Of course they feel the same way, which is really sweet to see.

Thank goodness we are making progress in the sleep department.  He is sleeping mostly through the night.  He will usually squeak around 1am.  I have no idea what the story is, but that is his time.  Usually he goes straight back to sleep, or sometimes he cries for a while.  It all depends, but for the most part we are leaving him to work it out.  His naps are becoming more reliable and life in general is getting better.  It is nice to have a nice baby, but this sleep thing was really throwing us for a loop.
He is a great road-tripper, so we are taking that to the bank and this summer I am taking the kiddos up to OH to visit their great-grandparents.  It is a 10 hour trip, so we will see how he does this summer, hopefully as well as he does these days.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Neighborhood Easter

The very first activity we attended in our neighborhood was the annual Easter Egg Hunt three years ago.  Our house was under contract and we thought it would be fun to attend and meet some of our new neighbors.  HC was barely two and Annelise was a baby, so there was not a whole lot of egg finding going on that year.

Remember the good old days when we used to use real boiled eggs for egg hunts?  Now folks buy plastic eggs and stuff it with candy for the kids to find.  Lame.  I would prefer trying to find a use for lots of boiled eggs.  Now I have to confiscate all this candy and stuff my girls eggs with teddy grahams.  I actually did do that the last two years, but I think my girls have short memories because today they did not even ask for the candy.  So, the candy is on top of the fridge and if you happen to be at our house sometime and want a snack feel free to help yourself.

Not that our children do not eat candy...well they certainly do not eat much of it.  The other day some one was marveling at the idea that my girls have never had a carbonated coke, no sprite, no mountain dew.  Since I do all the shopping it is not a big shocker (I drink water and that is about it), and of course Dave is a dentist and well...sodas are pretty bad for your teeth, so Dave and I are a good team.

About the candy, either we are meanies or our children do not care enough to give us a hard time about not getting candy.  Actually HC asks to chew gum at least a couple times a week.  But she knows when she is 33 she can chew all the gum she wants.  We like making up arbitrary numbers for things.  So the other day it was my sis-in-laws birthday and HC asked how old she was, and I told her 29.  "Oh, so AUntie Rubie isn't married?" she asked.  I was so confused, and then I quickly remembered that I had told her she could get married when she is 30.  "Well, Auntie Rubie got married before she was 30, she did not follow the rules."  Hmm...I wonder how long this will last?

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

HOW We Teach Our Children, Pt. 2 of 3

So now that you know WHY we do all these things, we come to the part that you all have been dying to read…I know…HOW do we do all these things.  I think that one of the reasons I wrote before about finding out what you love and what you are good at, is because how we teach our children should reflect who we are.  What works for me might not work/appeal to someone else.  Cool, figure out something different.  I would love to hear other ideas.  But we cannot neglect this responsibility, even if we don’t enjoy it…kinda like I cannot neglect my bathroom.  And unlike the bathroom (in theory I can hire someone else to clean it), I have sole responsibility to train my children.  It cannot be left to Sunday school teachers, or youth group counselors.  I really tried to make this co-herent, but I really think I lost my brain when True was born, so most attempts these days seem to fail.  Take this for what it is worth.

Circle Time.  
Most mornings, right after breakfast we have "circle time".  CT can last anywhere from 15 minutes to 45 depending on the day and the mood of the girls.  We talk about what is going to happen during the day, eg. ballet or playgroup, and then we move into reading our children's Bible, doing our catechism questions, memory verse and then we end with singing and praying.  I have gotten really good at doing all this fast, because I have an antsy 3 year old.  I make everyone sit still during the Bible story, and then I let Annelise loose and work with HC on the questions and verses.  Annelise will still be int he room with us, but I do not make her sit still, she just runs around and plays.  And then she will come and sit down for our singing time and our prayer time.  I try to be really flexible with this time, sometimes the girls are really into all of it and we will sit here a long time, and other times they are squirmy and we read the story and sing and are off.  Even with doing all this, we are usually onto the rest of our day by 8.15.  I think this is also where my personality comes out, because I do this a number of different ways, and am always trying new ideas.

I have had to remind myself that the purpose of this time is really to introduce my children to God.  It is not for them to master the subject (like that is possible).  Sometimes I will get frustrated if HC has a hard time remembering the answer to a question about we have been going over this for 3 weeks, why is this still hard?  But, wow, she has a life time to learn all these things, and truly they can never really be mastered, so at this point I am encouraging her to memorize and remember, but if she has a hard time getting it that is OK.  I have also realized that the catechism can be a great resource, or it can be drudgery.  I am trying to use it as a resource.  We are memorizing the questions and answers, but I will also spend time talking to them about it.  We have spent countless hours talking about the Holy Spirit and how he regenerates our hearts/washes our hearts all clean.  We do use the real word, regeneration, but then also make it understandable for the little ones.  It is fun, and the girls like talking about these things.  It gives them a language of faith, and something for us to talk about at other times of the day.

A couple days ago HC was talking about the mean lady in "Tangled".  "She was not a nice lady, Mama," she said, "her heart is dirty, she needs the Holy Spirit to wash her heart all clean."  Or we were talking about our friend, Jess, who is going to Ethiopia to "tell people about Jesus, so that the Holy Spirit can come and wash their hearts all clean."  

I am a big memorizer.  I think it is very important, and a great way to get information into their little brains.  The nice thing is at this age it is super easy for them to memorize.  I hope by memorizing I am giving them something to draw on later in life, and I am giving them a working knowledge of the Bible.  Sometimes we do solitary verses, but often times we will do passages or chapters of scripture.  We often do this in our "circle time" in the mornings, but I have also done it in the car, and at the table during a meal.  Sometimes I will pray the verse.  Sometimes I will just repeat it a couple of times a day, and sometimes I will have them repeat it with me.  I have picked passages a number of diferent ways.  I like using the call to worship from my church's worship service, or I'll use the verse that goes along with a particular catechism question we are learning, or a passage I have found and enjoyed.

Random Ideas.
Sometimes I pick a theme.  Recently we worked on Psalm 23, so I worked with the girls on memorizing the passage.  We read a little story book that talked about Psalm 23.  And then I taught them a song that had parts of Psalm 23 in it.

Last fall we read through the Psalms, so every morning at breakfast I would read to them a couple of Psalms.  

Sometimes after we read the BIble story in the children's Bible, I will read the REAL story in the REAL Bible.  Call me crazy, but it is fun, and the girls really enjoy hearing it read again.  I think there is something powerful about the real, written word of God.  Call me crazy, but doesn't it say something about it being living and active?

We sing a lot in our house.  Dave is very musical, and I can carry a tune and I remember songs very easily, so we sing a lot.  We sing in the car, we sing in the house, we sing outside on a walk.  Dave sings with them every evening while he puts them to bed, and I sing every morning with them in our Circle Time.  Dave is great about teaching them all the fun songs with the fun motions, and I am really good about teaching them hymns.  They know numerous songs, and if we teach them a hymn we teach them all the verses.  I personally think that hymns are a great way to teach them/me about God.  Do I need to convince anyone about that?  DOn't get me wrong, there are some crap hymns out there, but there are also some awesome, wonderful amazing hymns written by John Newton, Issac Watts, William Cowper, etc.  We also love a lot of songs written by Stuart Townend and Keith Getty.

Confession of Sin.
I'll refer to my previous post on this subject.  The girls are getting better at doing this, and it is very interesting to watch.

Dave and I have a lot of new thoughts about this topic, and I could probably go on and on for a while about it.  Our children need to be attending worship with us!!!  And we need to help teach them what worship is all about, and how to participate in worship.  Thankfully our church does not keep children and parents segregated, and at 4th grade the children are in the worship service for the whole time, sermon and all.  But Dave and I are getting a little crazy, and we are starting to bring HC with us for the whole service.  There is a lot of thought and prayer that has gone into this decision, but for our family we have decided it is the best decision for now.  We might change our minds at some point, but it is sticking for now.  HC and Annelise come to sing for the beginning part of the service, and then HC has the privilege of worshiping with us through the sermon and the sacraments.  And Dave and I are working hard to help her understand and participate in what is happening in the sermon and the sacraments.  It has been cool, and I am thankful that we are doing it.  There is a little teaser, and I should probably write a whole post with all my day.  Bottom line, worship is a means of grace.  Sometimes it is "boring" and sometimes it is "exciting" but either way it is necessary and important and it is a way to experience God.  There is something powerful about the proclamation of the word...not because our pastor is so awesome...but because God has made it powerful.  To me learning to worship is a discipline, just like learning to read, spell, and add.  It is hard work, but it is necessary work, and we felt that HC was ready to begin to learn how to worship with us.  I'll keep you posted on how it goes, but the other day she was telling one of our friends how much she enjoys attending worship.  She is also super anxious to have a chance to eat the "crackers and grape juice", and asked if when she was 6 she could take communion.  I haven't broken the news that she will likely have to wait until 10 or 11, or whatever age she is when she makes a public profession of faith and joins the church (but around here, it is usually around 10).  

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Is That Paprika I Smell?

Here is another shout-out for roast chicken, and for my just in case you happen to recently turn to the dark-side and go vegetarian on all of us, have no fear, this is super yummy even without the chicken.  A yummy recipe for roast chicken without the chicken...odd, huh?

Roast Chicken Breasts with Garbanzo Beans, Tomatoes and Paprika.  Is your mouth watering yet?  I made this last night with a whole chicken, but I have also made it without the chicken, just roasting the beans and tomatoes together.  Yumm-o.  I leave out the red pepper for the kiddos, and they devour this every time I make it.  I served it over quinoa, with that yogurt concoction...mmmm.  Last night I even got a shout-out from little miss HC.  "Oh, Mama, this is so good, I am so thankful that you made it for me."  And she ate every last bite.

Annelise are almost every bite, but she is three and likes to fight back recently.  In fact, and this is just a random side note about my day was from down-under.  Really!  My multi-tasking abilities were put to the test, and I think I lost.  I try to let Annelise have full reign over her choice of clothes.  If you want to wear two skirts, go ahead.  A skirt under a dress, marvelous.  You want to wear two different socks?  Perfect, what fashion!  But yesterday, we made it all the way to Hobby Lobby before I realized that Annelise had left the house without panties.  Nice.  I should have turned around and headed home immediately upon realizing that.  Why I did not, I have no idea.  The signs were all there, it was going to be a fight.  Big breath.  At last count everyone is still alive, including Annelise.  What is it about being three?  Wowee, she is giving me a run for my money.  I love her little spirit, but wow.

Enough about that, just enjoy the chicken.  MMMMMMM good.