Monday, March 31, 2014

The Value of a Dollar

In February, Mannchen went to a Lego themed birthday party.  We gave the birthday boy a Lego set of a logging truck.  I didn't take Mannchen with me to the store to pick out the gift (I avoid taking my children into the toy section of a store at almost all costs), but I let him look it over after I brought it home.  He fell in love. 
 
My boy wanted Lego's and he wanted them bad.  We talked about how that would make a great birthday or Christmas present.  But that just wouldn't do.  His birthday isn't until August.  So we discussed how he has more than enough toys.  Mommy and Daddy wouldn't buy him any Lego's until his birthday, but if really wanted them he could work hard and earn his own money.
 
And boy did this kid ever work.  He did yard work with my dad.  He helped me clean my grandfather's house every week - he washed all the windows, doorknobs, front/back doors, stove top, washed dishes, dusted, etc.  He helped clean our house.  He folded and put away laundry.  He worked hard for the money.  To be perfectly honest, his sister helped on occasion with these tasks also, but she didn't have that same motivation to fuel her fire.  She's only three - so it followed much more of her typical style of "I'll do what I want, when I want."
 
Last week, he counted up all his dollars and quarters - $23.25.  The firetruck he decided he wanted was $19.99.  Time to head to the store.  The poor kid had to wait until the evening because I was busy baking a cake all morning and then I had to work in the afternoon.  But finally, finally, after swimming lessons, we went.
 
I directed Mannchen to the Lego section (trying to blind him to all the other aisles over flowing with toys we prefer not to allow in our house).  I explained to him which sets he had enough money for and which ones he would have to continue saving in order to buy.  Being the logical little man that he is, he decided to get the firetruck that he had enough money for.  He really liked the massive rescue set that cost $99.99, but decided he should start small to make sure he likes them.  Such a smart kid.
 
He carried his box to the register with such confidence.  I smiled just seeing how excited and proud he was.  We had a really patient and sweet cashier - she was happy to let him count out all twenty-one dollars on his own.  I'm always thankful for other people who understand how important it is to give kids space and time to do things on their own.
 
Because we didn't make it to the store until later in the day, he had to wait until the following morning to start working on building the truck.  As soon as he woke up, he was at the coffee table getting to work.  In fact, hubby and I woke up to the sound of Lego's being poured onto the table.  He did not want help building it.  This was his toy and he wanted to build it on his own. 
 
Daddy explained how the directions work. 

And he was off.

My little boy who still sleeps in footy pjs really isn't so little anymore.  This kid is so inquisitive, so reflective, and one hell of a self-motivated working man.  I'm telling you, if the world doesn't beat him down first, he is going to move mountains. 

No breakfast for me today mom.  I have work to do.
 
I am so proud of how he handled this entire situation.  It didn't bother him in the least that he had to earn his own money.  Sometimes it really feels like he already understands that life won't be handed to him on a silver platter.  If he wants something, he's going to have to work for it.  And working hard is something he is so good at.
 
This whole process (along with the fact that I am currently reading The Hurried Child) really got me thinking about how our society is so quick to force our children to grow up when it comes to activities/sports and academics.  We expect them to participate and excel in activities that are not developmentally on par for preschool age children.  Yet at the same time, we completely under-estimate the abilities they do have.  They are capable of completing great work.  They have so much to contribute around the home and they do it with enthusiasm!  Letting kids help and get involved in the work of a home isn't always the quickest option.  But, when we slow down and give them the time they need to excel, they truly achieve greatness.  Once again, Mannchen has taught me how capable he is and how much he can achieve, as long as I'm willing to slow life down and give him (and his sister) the time and space to do so.  

Friday, March 28, 2014

{ this moment }

{this moment}
 
A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
 

 
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
 
 
Inspired by Soule Mama
 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sewing Bug

I knew it would eventually happen, I just wasn't sure how long I would have to wait...and now I can I finally say I have been bitten by the sewing bug that is going around this spring.
 
There's a long line of items waiting for me to tend to - but first up were these simple wraps for the kids' new nature notebooks.  We have started to hike a little more and they jumped on the idea of drawing pictures of the things we see on our hikes.  I wanted a way to keep all of their supplies together - both to make getting out the door easier and to make carrying things easier while hiking.  So far they loving being able to document the change of the season with their own drawings. 
 

 
Instead of a tie to hold it closed, I used Velcro.  I prefer their items to be something they can operate entirely on their own.

Pockets for everything.


I love these little notebooks.  Unlined space for drawing and lines for Mama to write anything they wish below. 


In other news, we have shifted over to welcoming spring in our circle time and within our home.  It's all tissue paper butterflies, pussy willow twigs, and The Story of the Root Children inside....with four additional inches of snow falling outside.  The change of the season seems to follow a two steps forward, one step back style this year.  But hey, we don't mind one extra chance to go sledding before winter weather disappears for good. 

 

 

 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Listen to the Quiet

All too often we create too much noise in our lives because we fear what the silence will tell us. 

This past winter was a very quiet period of life.  Some of that is life with young children.  Yes, they provide plenty of noise, but the needs of young children cut us off from a lot of interaction with other adults.  We are left alone with our thoughts...a lot.

Through this quiet period I nearly drove myself crazy with my own thoughts.  I spent far longer than I needed pondering our way of life - should I continue to stay at home?  Should we send our kids to preschool/school?  Is all this simplicity really worth it?  And on and on went the thoughts.  At times I felt like I was questioning nearly everything I had once felt so certain about (aside from marrying my husband and deciding to have our children).  And for me, that was a little scary. 

But, finally my thoughts organized themselves.  The clouds parted and the sun started to come out (literally - winter in the mountains is so dang grey and cloudy).  I realized that all my questioning wasn't something to fear.  By being quiet, questioning our lifestyle, and examining my reasoning, I was reaffirming why we make the choices we make.  As I mentioned in a recent post, the kids don't require as much of my time and energy now.  This new freedom was a little challenging to deal with at first.  I felt like I needed a new project to occupy the space they have begun to give me - like some of my purpose was gone because they are becoming more independent.  But the wonderful thing I've started to realize is my interests and passions are my own, but they help make this life work as well as it does. 

And at the end of the day, there's not a single thing I would do differently than how we've been doing it.  I will continue to stay at home with our kids.  They will get a homeschool version of Waldorf Kindergarten for the next few years.  And while I have professional interests of my own, I don't want to go to graduate school until they are much farther along in their journey of growing up.  Their growing independence just means I have more time to read the books that I want to read, finish the projects I want to work on, and have a little more time and space to think.

This little family holds the key to my heart.  And I am incredibly thankful for a renewed sense of how valuable my time with them is.

Friday, March 21, 2014

{ this moment }

{this moment}
 
A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
 



If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
 
 
Inspired by Soule Mama
 
 

Friday, March 14, 2014

{ this moment }

{this moment}
 
A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
 


If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
 
 
Inspired by Soule Mama
 

Friday, March 7, 2014

{ this moment }

{this moment}
 
A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
 
 
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
 
 
Inspired by Soule Mama
 
 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Finding Myself Again

I've been a little quiet in this space.  My mind certainly hasn't been quiet, but I haven't known how to channel all the thoughts floating around my mind into something that makes sense.  All wonderful thoughts, but ones that need plenty of quiet consideration and discussion with those I love most.

 
We are in a major season of change in our family.  We moved in August, hubby started grad school, and the kids have been going through major periods of growth and development.  All have been welcome changes, but major changes in life are great for making you pause to evaluate the path you're on.

 
One thing that has become abundantly clear over the past few months is how quickly the kids are growing up.  From the time Jackson was born until some time this past fall, they have required almost all of my time and attention.  Not because they are needy or demanding, but because they were babies and toddlers...and just by the very nature of such beings, they can't do much for themselves.  My days were consumed with their care and making sure I kept them alive.  Some days that was easier than others. 

 
Ever since I was a very young girl, I have known I want to be a mother.  I love being Mannchen and T√∂chterchen's mother - those two exceed my expectations.  But as they are growing up and becoming capable of doing things for themselves, I've realized I cannot let them become my entire life (or maybe I should say, stay the center of my life).  Our goal as their parents is to raise two independent, intelligent children that will someday leave our home to begin lives of their own.  And I'd rather not fool myself into thinking they are all I need, only to wake up fifteen years from now in an empty house and only then start wondering what to do with my time.


So, yes, they are still quite young and being able to get up, dress themselves, make their beds, and play independently while hubby and I start our morning is only a start.  But it feels like a small piece of freedom after the demands of past few years, a chance to find myself again.  It has led me to start thinking about how much less they need me now and how that will only increase as they continue to grow.

Other than motherhood, I've had dreams for myself - interests, passions, and hopes of more school.  Right now I don't know what I will decide to do with this sense of finding myself again.  I've had plenty of ideas, that's for sure.