Friday, October 29, 2010

Teaching Children to Think, Part 2

Part 1 here.

Here's how I "micro-manage" my kids:

I don't wait around for them to forget to do something. In the beginning, I tell them what to do. I'll say: "I'm making dinner. Ya'll set the table." Or, "We're leaving in 10 minutes. Everyone should be dressed to the shoes with teeth brushed." Or, "Dinner's over now. Let's do our table chores."

I do this for months. These are not new things. We always do these things. It's just that now I'm spelling everything out. I'm not expecting them to think of any of it on their own. Expecting it just gives me opportunity to be frustrated and criticize my precious kids.

After several months of this, I switch to asking questions. "I'm cooking dinner. What do you all need to do, so we can eat?", "Now that your laundry is dry, what should you do next?", "What are your chores today? What do you need to do next?"

My life has gotten easier, not harder. Life runs more smoothly. And my kids have many opportunities to be praised, not criticized. What a concept!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Teaching Children to Think, Part 1

Children aren't born knowing how to think. I used to think: Hey, they have a brain. Why don't they use the thing? We clean our dishes after every meal every day, why do I have to remind them to do it?
I own a basin wrench. That doesn't mean I know how to use it.

We've been stripping cabinets and repainting them. We have a trash can in the garage to collect all the dirty paper towels and such. Daniel's job is to collect trash cans. He came into the garage, where I was priming cabinet doors, to get the trash can. He left the door open and Misha made a mad dash for freedom. I yelled: Grab Misha! She can't be out here!
Daniel, with hands around the trash can, panicked. "I can't!"
He couldn't figure out how in the world to get Misha when his hands were full.

I used to think I shouldn't have to micro-manage my kids. They know what we do every day. They know what's expected. They should just do it. Micro-managing would make my life harder, I reasoned.

I was wrong. I was forever frustrated with all the things they forgot. And then I started to see all the times I left my plate on the table. Or got sidetracked and left my pajamas on the floor while I ran downstairs to do something "urgent". And I started micro-managing my kids.

Part 2 here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I'm Spoiled

I love homeschooling for a bunch of reasons, not the least of which is hitting all the attractions when everyone else is in school. I love going to the zoo when it's fairly empty. The kids love getting on the carousel over and over again because there's no line.
And we love taking our family vacations when schools have just started back. (We went to Great Wolf Lodge in early April after all the Spring Breaks had just ended. We practically had the whole place to ourself.)
We try to go to Colorado once a year, usually at the end of summer when the Texas heat is unbearable. (Despite how great the kids are in the car, the 13 hour drive pushes my sanity to the outer limits.)

This year, we did something a little different. Since our drive when Lydia was a baby was really really stressful for me (listening to a crying baby that I can't help unravels me completely), we decided not to repeat that mistake. Kyle drove all the kids and I flew with Julia. We were upgraded to first class on the way there, thanks to a baby-loving attendant. It was awesome! Unfortunately I didn't get upgraded on the way home, but was in a window seat next to two men. The flight made me very grateful for home. But I did learn some things:

1. When you have a baby with you and you make a joke about being ready to get off this plane already, people assume you mean because you're with a baby. Not at all what I meant.

2. When you're having a great conversation with another traveling mommy and she finds out you have a lot more children and homeschool, you'll need to find a new conversationalist.

3. Other moms enjoy interacting with your social baby. Single men, on the other hand, don't like having their arm stroked by a fat baby hand. (I can't imagine why. I love it!)

4. You should never never board a puddle jumper with a baby and a full bladder. It makes for a very painful flight.

5. Bumpy rides in a car- not scary. Bumpy rides in a plane- unnerving. When we landed, I announced to the college students near me: I didn't scream even once! (and bowing dramatically) Thank you!
They looked at me funny and said You're welcome.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's Not Him, It's God

I love this man. He's really good to me and he loves the Lord and he's good-looking, but he ain't perfect. I won't lie to ya.

If I had a nickel for every time somebody told me: "That's great that you can adopt/homeschool/homebirth/have a bunch of kids. I'd love to do that, but my husband won't go for it," I'd have a big pile of nickels!

It's worth it to submit to your husband's leadership. God will be glorified. This doesn't mean you can't respectfully (with emphasis on "respectfully") talk to him about your convictions. But you are not your husband's Holy Spirit!
When we try to coerce our hubbies into doing something they don't want to do, we show God that we don't truly trust Him. Prayer is more powerful than our words.

I have wanted to adopt since I was a child. Kyle has always said: If we can't have children, we can adopt.
I prayed. Not for God to change Kyle's heart, but for God to do what He wanted to in our family.
It was Kyle's decision to pursue adoption. To God's glory!
And then a year or two after the adoption when I was ready to add to our family again, Kyle was adamant that we were done!
I prayed. I wanted God to change Kyle's heart, but I prayed that God would do what He wanted to in our family. I needed to learn to be content.
Guess whose decision it was to try to conceive again? Kyle's. To God's glory!

Follow your man's lead and put your trust in God.

HE is faithful!

Monday, October 25, 2010

How Did We Do That??

I was looking through old posts and ran across this one of Lydia. I love that video. I called Kyle in to watch it with me. She was our Liddy Bitty back then. She was only three. Now she's 5 1/2 and her school days are fast approaching.

I was watching that video of my young Lydia and then I looked at the date. That was a YEAR after the adoption. I looked at Kyle and said: How did we do that?! We had 2 two-year-olds!! (One of them with major adoption trauma issues.)

God promises He will not give us more than we can bear. And He was faithful. We could bear it. Looking back, I know it was only by God's grace. Those times were HARD!

I remember Daniel's awful digestive issues. Kyle and I were nauseous until noon in those days, that's all I'm saying. After taking him to the doctor, thinking something was terribly wrong, we were informed that we were overfeeding him. What?! (Well, duh, his little tummy couldn't handle a generous American diet.)

The triplets had only been home a week and we were introducing them to family. They wanted to give Daniel a piece of cake, but I only let them give him a little piece. {Looks of judgment from all directions.}

When he finished it, he wanted more but we kindly said no. He started crying. Now they weren't just looks of judgment, they were words. "Give the poor boy another piece of cake! He wants more!"
We stood firm, but man was it hard.

Those days were hard. By God's grace, we are well past those days.

Friday, October 22, 2010

New Baby in the Family

For those who know me IRL, this is a total shock. For those who don't, I'm the last person anyone would expect to get a puppy. I'm allergic to everything with fur it seems. We paid the big bucks to get a Devon Rex kitty so we could have a hypoallergenic pet. And I love Misha kitty. But Misha loves Kyle.
Poor me.
So I researched hypoallergenic dogs until my eyes crossed. Most all "hypoallergenic" dogs aren't really. That, or it was just coincidence that I started gasping for breath while around them. I'm so high maintenance. {sigh}
Above is the puppy pic we feel in love with. She's a powderpuff Chinese Crested.

So now we're that family with two exotic animals. Oh my. We're becoming more and more like the weirdos everyone already thought we were.

See? We aren't weird! (yet) I'm sure there are more levels of weirdness we haven't even explored yet. (Anyone know what they are?? I can't imagine.)

Miss Mattie is now in a pony cut, so she looks more like a Chinese Crested. You can't quite see her mane, but she looks like an itty bitty Clydesdale.

We surprised the kids by picking her up 2 weeks earlier than they were expecting. Totally fooled them. It was a blast keeping the secret from them. I'm terrible at keeping secrets, so this was a real accomplishment. And my head nearly spun right off my neck from holding it all in.

Elena had created a countdown chain with everyone's name on a link, so they could take turns cutting them off. On the end, she drew a teeny weeny dog. I don't think anybody minded cutting the whole chain apart in one evening. ;)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pulling the Wool over Our Eyes

I'm curious what you think about all the "Christians" who are throwing themselves behind Glenn Beck for his "get back to God" preaching. Why isn't anybody asking which god he's talking about?

Friday, October 15, 2010

I Am Disgusted!

You thought this was gonna be some controversial post full of my ranting and raving didn't you? Well, the jokes on you! BWAHAHA!!

Julia makes this face all the time now and I just looooooovvvvve it! I find the irony of her shirt and her face absolutely hilarious.

This is how she looks when she meets someone new. It doesn't make them feel very good to be looked at with such disgust by someone so close to God. Makes them wonder what she knows about them. She can see into their hearts and she. is. dis. gust. ed.

When you get this look, you really should be insulted. And you will cower under her persuasive powers. You will run like the wind to find whatever will please her; be it food, the right toy, or food. You better move fast!

P.S. Kyle forced me to crop that last picture. In the original, he's making the same face as Julia. I hate to deprive you of such entertainment, but that's just the kind of loving, obedient wife I am. My poor man is bound by pride. Pray for him.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What Are You Waiting For?

We have seen several young people date the same person for years, waiting until they finish college, or until they are "old enough" to marry. (I'll leave the failures of the dating system for another post. Right now, I'm focusing on the waiting and waiting and waiting to marry.)
If they aren't mature enough to marry, why are they considered old enough and mature enough to date? If a guy doesn't even pay his own car insurance, why is he considered ready to hunt for a marriage partner? If a girl doesn't know how to cook or plan a menu, why is she considered ready to start searching for a good husband?

If one of our children finds a suitable spouse when they are 19, we will not encourage them to wait, nor will we encourage a long engagement. If, on the other hand, one of our children is not ready to marry, based on maturity, we will discourage them from courting anyone.
[I should preface this with the fact that we are preparing our children for marriage already. Isaac mows the lawn, takes out the trash, and opens jars for me ;). Maya knows how to cook more than half of the meals on our rotating menu. I am now her Sous Chef.]

Waiting to marry when you've already found the right future-spouse is setting yourself up for moral failure. King David fell into sexual sin. The mighty Samson fell into sexual sin. King Solomon fell into sexual sin. I'm not naive enough to think my children are stronger than these.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My Future Hope

When all my kids are grown, I hope they will all live across the street. I hope they will drop their kids off here when they have errands to run. I hope I will be spending my empty-nest days taking care of and making memories with my grandkids. I plan to stuff my apron with candies, to be handed out for every please, thank you, or cute smile.
And I hope my kids will all still want the same thing, like they do now.

P.S. Lydia is no longer determined to marry Daniel when she is older. She is considering Isaac as good marriage material. She still plans to live in the playroom with her hubby, though.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Education Quote: Homework

There's something perversely fascinating about educational policies that are clearly at odds with the available data. Homework continues to be assigned - in ever greater quantities - despite the absence of evidence that it's necessary or even helpful in most cases.

Decades of investigation have failed to turn up any evidence that homework is beneficial for students in elementary school. Even if you regard standardized test results as a useful measure (*and in public schools, it certainly isn't; anybody can memorize) homework isn't even correlated with higher scores at these ages.

The only effect that does show up is more negative attitudes on the part of the students. . .

Teach your children to love learning! It's so unfair that out-schooled kids are away from their parents all day and then spending the little bit of time they have with their parents (assuming they don't do any after-school sports or activities) slaving over homework. Schools are so terribly unproductive.

*All italicized words are my own. This quote taken from Alfie Kohn's article, "The Truth About Homework", Education Week, Sept. 6, 2006

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Day at the Park

The weather was so nice last week, we didn't want to waste it indoors. As soon as Kyle got home from work, we went straight to the park for the second time that day.

This will be a test of the compatibility of our senses of humor. I found this hilarious.
I kept trying to take pictures of Kyle and Isaac playing toss, since that's what they did the entire time we were at the park.

I kept getting the shot immediately after Isaac threw it. There were several just like these.

Finally proof that Isaac wasn't faking it. And of course, he had on his famous Isaac smile. He knew he was going to be famous for these sport shots.

Kyle, on the other hand, I had to ask to pose. Was he hamming it up or is this his true expression upon catching a pigskin? You decide.

Elena and Chloe stick together like glue. I love the relationship they have. I strongly recommend having kids close together in age if you can help it. It's so worth it!

Julia just looked at me strangely as I laughed at her odd poses in the swing. She never could keep both feet down.

These are the best days of our lives and we don't even know it.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fall Break!

Our homeschool is officially on fall break. In the past, our school breaks (we call them "half time") have consisted of Bible and the 3 Rs. But the 3 Rs take up the biggest chunk of our school time, so we were still spending a significant part of our day indoors. Well, NO MORE! I have learned my lesson!

Now that the weather is nice (and it won't last long before it'll turn cold) we are spending the majority of our day outside. We do our morning Bible study, I do our read-aloud for the day (History or Science) and that's it. The first two days, I forgot about chores. Our house got really messy really quick. Oops!

Don't waste the wonderful weather sitting indoors doing seatwork! Leave that unfairness to the out-schoolers. Enjoy the weather while it lasts!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Obedient Muslims

Times Square bomber sentenced & warns of more attacks

The Pakistani immigrant who tried to detonate a car bomb on a busy Saturday night in Times Square accepted a life sentence with a smirk Tuesday and warned that Americans can expect more bloodshed at the hands of Muslims.

". . .I do hope you will spend some of the time in prison thinking carefully about whether the Quran wants you to kill lots of people," Cedarbaum (the judge) said.

Shahzad responded that the "Quran gives us the right to defend. And that's all I'm doing."

The rest of the article is here.

Yes, of course the Quran tells him to kill lots of people! It says it's a Muslim's job to kill infidels (and that's Jews and Christians).
It frustrates me to hear people refer to these terrorists as "radical Muslims". If they are radical, then I am a radical Christian. Because I believe the Bible.
They are not radical Muslims at all; they are obedient Muslims.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I May Melt into a Puddle

This girl has superpowers. She can make any Clark fawn over her just by making eye contact with them.
When she was itty bitty, I would strip her down to her diaper while getting her dressed for the day and I'd yell out: Naked baby!!!
Everyone would come running to see her cuteness in all it's glory.

Now that she is covered in fat rolls, I can hardly keep all the hands off her! Her budda belly is quite charming and begs to be squeezed and kissed.

JuJu has just started crawling in the last couple weeks and we are all so impressed with our little prodigy.
We've also seen evidence of her spiritual gifts even at this tender age. Regardless of our doctrinal beliefs, we recognize speaking in tongues when we hear it.

Julia has brought so much joy to our family. I can't imagine if we had gotten our way years ago when we wanted to end our fertility. I am overwhelmed with thankfulness. God really does know best. He can be trusted.