Saturday, March 27, 2010

To tell you the truth...

...not that I've been lying.

However, I would say that I've had many posts where I've tried to paint myself in a "our family is happy and thrives well" only light. Sometimes I like to get a little sticky and give you some of the dirt. So now, on to the dirt.

Our sweet four year old has been in a funk. A LONG funk. For over a year he's been talking with that maddening baby voice so many little ones find fascinating....the same voice that drives most adults up the wall. The voice alone wasn't so worry-some, but the fact that no matter what we tried with him for change he persisted with the voice. Then some other baby-ish behaviors followed, only adding to the puzzle. I personally, was stumped. I prayed for wisdom and change. I did the research, asked other moms...usually I came up with the same answer; it's an attention thing.

I have not been so patient with this process. I've been feeling like *urrrgh* the baby talk would never, ever stop. As a result, I'm sad to say that I've gotten less patient with Eli while waiting for the behaviour to change. Not so gracious.

I kind of ruled that out the 'not enough attention theory' after months of my husband and I intentionally seeking him out, taking him on dates, talking more with him (it's easy to let him interact so much with his brothers that we just had very little interaction with him), playing with him...none of it worked.

Last week, my husband had an idea, something we tried early on in the craze...just ignoring him until he used his normal big-kid voice.

So that there wouldn't be misunderstanding we had a family pow-wow, Ralph told all the boys that we were going to do something. When Eli used baby voice we wouldn't answer or respond to him until he used his big kid voice.

You know what? It worked.

The funny thing is, I don't think it really had that much to do with the method...more the timing. I sincerely believe that Eli just needed time to get through that space. Not only has the baby voice dis-continued, but suddenly he's far more affectionate & interacting on an entirely different level. He just needed to be a little, um, baby voice for awhile.

And it all makes me think about Grace.

grace (countable and uncountable; plural graces)

  1. (not countable) Elegant movement; poise or balance.
  2. (not countable, theology) Free and undeserved favour, especially of God. Unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification.

I'm so much like that in life. I go through phases & funks. I exhibit behaviours that drive people crazy and do things that are contrary to my growth as a healthy person, friend or Christ-follower. I know that these seasons might not be the best for me but sometimes I persist in my wrong thinking or behaviours. I have really screwed up in life. But usually the people around me love me anyway and God always does. It's Grace. It's the earmark of Christianity, the single thing that seperates it from other religions (that's another blog post). I'm so, so grateful for the grace of those around me.

And I want to be a gracious parent. Lord knows my kids will continue to go through phases, long and uncomfortable to those of us around them. But these are little people, my children. And if God can be gracious to me (& this is what draws me to Him) then I certainly want to be gracious to my kids when they go through phases, however uncomfortable. I won't stop seeking wisdom both from God and the moms that have gone before me. God tells us to 'get wisdom & understanding.' I will seek Him in teaching my kiddos how to live and behave, while they are home with us. And I'll be gracious to them when they're living in obnoxious or sinful seasons. I want them, after all, to see love as the greatest good in our home.

And lest you think that's the worst of our dirt, of course of it's not. Just all I'm up to airing today.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Poem by Nate

The plight of a sad six year old whose brother always seems to get invited for playdates;

No one to visit,
no one to see.
All that there is;
my hamsters and me.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Homeschool Reads

So I came across a little forum over at Heart of the Matter asking "What homeschooling books do you recommend when you're talking to friends?" I jotted these titles down for my own reference, but thought I'd share them with you in case you're looking for a good Spring read.

Also, amongst the many books Ralph & I bought at a recent marriage retreat. It has seriously changed my perspective on Christian parenting....for the better.

And I'm just in chapter 2.

Reminders of thinking about just what we're aiming for in raising our kids.

Reminders of being gracious with your kiddos, not lenient or legalistic.

Reminders to seek God for Wisdom when parenting your kiddos, rather than parenting books or fads...or blogs.

I highly recommend this book, for all parents.

..and now for the long list from Heart of the Matter;

Homeschooling: The Right Choice by Christopher Klicka

When you Rise Up: A Covenantal Approach to Homeschooling by R.C. Sproul Jr.

Family Matter: Why Homeschooling Makes Sense by David Guterson

Basic Steps to Successful Homeschooling by Vicki A. Brady

Whole Hearted Education by Clay & Sally Clarkson

A Mom Just Like You by Vickie Farris

You CAN Teach Your Child Successfully by Dr. Ruth Beechick

Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit by Terri Maxwell

A Mom Just Like You

One Hundred and One Devotions for Homeschool Moms by Jackie Wellwood

Homeschooling, a Patchwork of Days

For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay

Better Late Than Early by Raymond Moore

Educating a Wholehearted Child by Sally Clarkson

Easy Homeschooling Techinques by Lorraine Curry

Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto

The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson

The Joyful Homschooler by Mary Hood

The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook by Raymond & Dorothy Moore

Home Sweet Homeschool by Sue Maakestad

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Welcome Sweet Gentry

My sweet friend, Karyn delivered Gentry Nelson Braaten yesterday morning. He's got such a sweet little face, I haven't gotten to meet him quite yet. He's been having a tough time getting the breathing thing going on his own, and been in NICU with his daddy and nurses watching carefully over his and getting his little body up to speed with this new world.

All of this makes me so greatful for modern technology, great doctors and nurses hard at work. More than once I've seen lives saved in the delivery process by medical staff or fast thinking midwives. I'm grateful for our modern techonology, and for the hard work & tender care of these folks. God was so good to give humans medicine.

All that aside, I'm so excited to meet this sweet little boy and smell him and hold him and kiss him and smell him....oh, I just love, love babies. Karyn and Kelly are incredible parents, and I just know God has big plans for this tiny little man.

Welcome, Sweet Gentry. We're so glad you're here!

Home Sweet Home

Life doesn't leave me much time for writing lately, but I have some things on the top of my mind that I'll share soon. For now, maybe you'll enjoy these photos from home.

Friday, March 19, 2010

A good reminder from a wise little man

Lest you be tempted...Nate says "A wife should never kiss a man who isn't her husband, and a man shouldn't ever kiss a woman who's not his wife. If he did, it would just give his wife a broken heart.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Beach (and a few mountains too)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Captured in Time

I'm reading... Same Kind of Different Like Me has been too busy lately. My project this week is to slow down, enjoy my days and get caught up on laundry.

In school...we are just enjoying normal reading, writing and arithmetic. We're reading Little House in the Big Woods too.

Recent what? Oh, we need one. Ralph and I have been exercising together all week- does that count? I guess not probably, we aren't talking when we're huffing and puffing away.

I'm thinking...about a baby boy I'll meet soon, a few weekends of fun I'm looking forward to, looking forward to April...spring break for us. (We're three months on and one off this year)

The boys....are incredibly sweet. They're growing up before my very eyes. not. P90X right now, instead.

God interested in relationship with us. Our lives are just a big love story with Him, He is in hot pursuit of your heart. And mine. I need more time with Him. Oh, and He's good. I'm trusting in Him when all else gives way...

  1. My hope is built on nothing less
    Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
    I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
    But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
    • Refrain:
      On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
      All other ground is sinking sand,
      All other ground is sinking sand.
  2. When darkness veils His lovely face,
    I rest on His unchanging grace;
    In every high and stormy gale,
    My anchor holds within the veil.
  3. His oath, His covenant, His blood
    Support me in the whelming flood;
    When all around my soul gives way,
    He then is all my hope and stay.
  4. When He shall come with trumpet sound,
    Oh, may I then in Him be found;
    Dressed in His righteousness alone,
    Faultless to stand before the throne.

Changes...we bought a new trailer. I may not have mentioned that we sold the beast at the end of season last year. It was too big and glitzy for me and we wanted real beds for the boys, not pull out couch. I love our new cozy (smaller) camper complete with triple bunk. I can't wait to go....

Looking forward to...a few fun weekends this month, quality time with my husband, my sister, a friend.

Favorite moments....reading to the boys. A good, hot cup of tea. A good book. The way I feel after I've worked out. Chocolate moments. Playful nothing time.

Missing my regular postings, but there's nothing wrong with some quiet, eh?

Monday, March 1, 2010

A search for literature at it's finest

Basketball games were held Saturday mornings at the Middle School down the street. I spent 30-hours at that school this Winter. Walking the halls, I was sad to see empty, empty bulletin boards all along the walls of the Art hall, but for a few nutrition posters. A lost opportunity to display the talent and creativity of the students.

But I was just plain horrified to walk past the large windows that looked down into the student library. I looked down into the large room with scattered chairs, long tables that held computers for the students to use. I saw three low bookcases that held encyclopedia-type books, maybe one or two hundred books. I know I couldn't see the entire room, but I saw most of the room. A few hundred books, at most. What kind of library are my taxes paying for? If only I could have a say about where my money is going....

I'm so sad about the sneaky replacement of books and book-reading. Technology is undeniably part of our world, as parents we are responsible for keeping balance in the homes by competing with technology. Not only that, but what kids are reading these days just isn't quality literature, not to mention content. Twaddle. I hate even walking into chain bookstores. In order to get to the kid-book section, we must wade through the teen books covered in photos of girls in towels and vampirish-boys...books seducing the unknowing teens of the world. Twaddle.

Some schools are doing away with homework. I was thrilled when I saw this, I think it's just silly for kids to go to school for 6+ hours a day, then go home to do 2 more hours of work that takes play time & family time from them, and peace out of their relationships at home. But as I read on, I was so sad to see that though the motives were good (more family time) the replacement work recommended is pointless and empty.

It doesn’t matter what your child reads as long as they get a balance of reading to you, reading with you and reading for themselves. Books, magazines, comics, newspapers, model aeroplane instructions, the back of the Weet-Bix packet … whatever, it doesn’t matter. As long as your child is doing something that they are interested in, they will read it, enjoy it and be all the happier and better off for it.”

I looked at the back of my cereal boxes this morning...the boxes that I've been hiding from my kids because they advertise those vampire-teen-in-towel movies that are out now. Lovely reading material.

This isn't to say I don't let my kids cruise through age-appropriate magazines and comics. The boys love Snoopy. Higlights and National Geo for kids will be subscribed to our house until the kids all grow out of them. I love to see my kids reading fun materials. But these are not a replacement for good solid literature.

Looking back these trends are nothing new. I just see the need to teach and protect and guide my kids with the eyes of a new-ish parent that is passionate about my kids getting excellent literature in their lives and learning more about the in's and out's of Harry Potter.