Tag Archives: Family

Sight words and life lessons

Welcome to the September 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Home Tour

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have opened up their doors and given us a photo-rich glimpse into how they arrange their living spaces.

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When we moved into this home 4 years ago, I struggled to make it my home and get over that it was my grandmother’s home my entire life. Initially, I picked darker colors for all the walls… Covering every inch of the stark white paint I could. The hardest room for me to “transform” was the dining room.

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For one thing, it’s in the middle of the house, and filled with the massive dining room suite I couldn’t sell when we held the auction after her death. Dark and formal, it’s never been the style that is practical for our family. And the added worry of little ones opening the glass doors and breaking the china? No thanks.

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As the years have passed, I’ve taken things out of the china cabinets and packed them away. The table no longer has a centerpiece or a table cloth for that matter. And little by little, the table became the place to settle in and draw or paint. So when we decided to homeschool, I knew right where we would set up.

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The cabinets now hold workbooks and books I’ve been collecting in the last year. The drawer that once held fancy silverware now holds my Montessori letters and 100s board. And the table that was only used for holidays now is the table I will always hold dear as the place where Liam learned to read.

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Every morning we settle in at the table and I’m grateful that although I never thought I’d find a way to make this room ours, it fits like a glove. We watch the cardinals out the window and spread our words out on the table. We high five our success, jump out the frustrations and soak in our lessons.

For us, the room that didn’t fit is now the room I look forward to spending more and more time in as the years pass. In that, we all are learning together – sight words and life lessons.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon September 9 with all the carnival links.)

  • Being Barlow Home Tour — Follow along as Jessica at Being Barlow gives you the tour of her family’s home.
  • A Tour Of My Hybrid Rasta Kitchen — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama takes you on a tour of her kitchen complete with a Kombucha Corner, a large turtle, her tea stash, and of course, all her must-have kitchen gadgets. Check out Hybrid Rasta Mama’s most favorite space!
  • Dreaming of a Sisters Room — Bianca, The Pierogie Mama, dreams, schemes and pins ideas for when her younger daughter is ready to move out of the family bed and share a room with her older sister.
  • Building a life — Constructing a dream — Survivor at Surviving Mexico-Adventures and Disasters shows you a glimpse inside the home her family built and talks about adaptions they made in constructing their lives in Mexico.
  • Why I’m Sleeping in the Dining Room — Becca at The Earthling’s Handbook welcomed a new baby but didn’t have a spare bedroom. She explains how her family rearranged the house to create Lydia’s nursing nest and changing room in spaces they already had.
  • The Gratitude Tour — Inspired by Momastry’s recent “home tour,” That Mama Gretchen is highlighting imperfect snapshots of things she’s thankful for around her home. Don’t plan to pin anything!
  • Our Home in the Forest — Tara from Up the Dempster gives you a peek into life lived off-grid in Canada’s Yukon Territory.
  • natural bedding for kids — Emma at Your Fonder Heart shows you how her family of 3 (soon to be 4) manages to keep their two cotton & wool beds clean and dry (plus a little on the end of cosleeping — for now).
  • I love our home — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings explains how lucky she feels to have the home she does, and why she strives so hard to keep it tidy.
  • Not-So-Extreme Makeover: Sunshine and Rainbows Edition — Dionna at Code Name: Mama was tired of her dark, outdated house, so she brightened it up and added some color.
  • Our little outdoor space — Tat at Mum in search invites you to visit her balcony, where her children make friends with wildlife.
  • Our Funky, Bright, Eclectic, Montessori Home — Rachel at Bread and Roses shows you her family’s newly renovated home and how it’s set up with Montessori principles in mind for her 15-month-old to have independence.
  • Beach cottage in progress — Ever tried to turn a 1980s condo into a 1920s beach bungalow? Lauren at Hobo Mama is giving it a try!
  • Conjuring home: intention in renovation — Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama explains why she and her husband took on a huge renovation with two little kids and shares the downsides and the ups, too.
  • Learning At Home — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling helps us to re-imagine the ordinary spaces of our homes to ignite natural learning.
  • My Dining Room Table — Kellie at Our Mindful Life loves her dining room table — and everything surrounding it!
  • Sight words and life lessons — The room that seemed to fit the least in Laura from Pug in the Kitchen‘s life is now host to her family’s homeschool adventures and a room they couldn’t imagine life without!
  • A Tour of Our Church — Garry at Postilius invites you virtually visit him in the 19th-century, one-room church where he lives with his spouse and two kids.
  • Preparing a Montessori Baby-Toddler Space at Home — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the Montessori baby-toddler space she’s created in the main living area of her home along with a variety of resources for creating a Montessori-friendly home.
  • The Old Bailey House — Come peek through the window of The Old Bailey House where Erica at ChildOrganics resides with her little ones.
  • My New House Not-Monday: The Stairs — Claire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl shows you her new laminate stairs in her not-so-new-anymore house.
  • To Minimalist and Back Again — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares how she went to the extreme as a minimalist and bounced right back. Read how she finds it difficult to maintain the minimalist lifestyle when upsizing living space.
  • Our Life As Modern-Day Nomads — This family of five lives in 194 square feet of space — with the whole of North America as a back yard. Paige of Our Road Less Traveled guest posts at Natural Parents Network.

Awesome!

I need this for my home… where we can see it every day!

It is my personal parenting goal to teach my children that we can do hard things. Life is hard. Challenges come and we are faced with how we will respond. We choose to tackle these challenges head first, asking for help if needed, and we conquer. I’ve had the Bible verse “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” in my head over the last few years, so I felt that it was an appropriate addition to the lesson. 

On the first day of school, we sat down and talked about the rocks and how we are building a foundation in their lives, one lesson {rock} at a time. By the way, Liam is the only who got this discussion… Sylvi was thinking about Ariel… So when he masters a sight word, or has a particularly awesome attitude for the day, or I catch them acting in kindness without prompting, an AWESOME ROCK goes into their jar. And lest you think that I’m just piling stones up, once they get to 10 in the jar, they get a bonus when I pay out their allowance. It’s a huge hit :)

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Today wasn’t the smoothest school day. Liam needs to work on ordering numbers, and he loathes practicing this. Although, he really enjoys math in general, I just haven’t found the right way to work on this skill so it’s not tedious for him. Neither child nor mother got an awesome rock. But in the afternoon, we were invited to a friend’s home to swim in their pool. I strapped on life jackets and told the kids to play… to be brave and swim without hanging on to me. Both children panicked and cried when they first realized they couldn’t touch easily. I encouraged from where I sat {close enough to help if it was needed, don’t worry!}, and actually watched the fear on their faces be replaced with determination as they moved their bodies from bobbing to kicking and stroking.

In the end, what was hard became something so fun they want to return… to swim without me. They tackled something that was hard and scary, but they did it. I’m really looking forward to tonight’s review of the day to get their thoughts on how they felt when they conquered. In the meantime, though, I’m adding some awesome rocks to their jars!

Friday field trip

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Today marked the 10th day of homeschool for our little family. We celebrated with a field trip to the nature center. I could hardly wait to get to this day because I had found the cutest little Nature Scavenger Hunt from Simple as That. 

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Joy of joys, Matt only had to work until lunch today (yay holidays!) so we waited until he got home to leave. As we were all lacing on shoes, Vito started jumping around like a puppy, so I asked if he wanted to come along. He gave me pretty much the same look he gives me when I ask if he needs to go outside, so I asked if he wanted to ride in the car and he let out a YIP! like I haven’t heard in forever. So we had an extra student along for the excursion.

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Once we got to the Nature Center, Liam was far too set on his personal goals to really play along with the scavenger hunt. I’m so grateful for a daughter who thinks every little thing I do is phenomenal. She was thrilled to carry a clipboard and pencil, searching high and low, delighting in crossing things off her board. At the very end of the hike, I found some acorns and she squeezed my legs, telling me they were “de best!”

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In the end, we found almost every thing on the hunt except for animal tracks, deer and of all things, squirrels. We did find a lot of poop though. A lot of poop. We listened to the cardinals calling, the insects humming and the dog gasping. I’m planning to take the kids back again as the weather chills for another hike to see what we discover as the seasons change… I’m even hoping to convince them myself it’s a great idea to do a snowy hike!

Rearranging the china cabinet

9 years ago, Matt and I were house hunting. We were engaged and the wedding was being planned, but finding a place to call our own proved to be a challenge. The home we finally decided on has turned out to be a bit of a lemon, but it is our first house. It is filled with charm and quirkiness that I just fell in love with, turning a blind eye to the practicality of the home once children would be introduced.

When we registered for our wedding, my mother was in a coma. And when she woke up, she couldn’t speak or communicate very clearly, so it was Martha Stewart’s list that helped me figure out what I needed. As it turns out, I didn’t need quite a bit of those items and although they were once proudly displayed in our china cabinets {first home had precious corner built ins that I adored}, they are now safely packed away.

After living in that home for almost four years, we decided to turn it into a rental property and moved into my grandmother’s home, which I had inherited. When we moved here, Liam was 15 months old and I was pregnant with Sylvia. Along with the house, I also inherited furniture and a lot of necessary repairs. And when you move while in the midst of your second HG diagnosis, you deal with what you can and call it a success. So the dining room furniture that I often ate holiday meals at now housed my china and serving dishes, and on a weekly basis served as my station for folding laundry… the latter not being my grandmother’s intent for the furniture’s use in future generations.

In a few short days, though, that dining room will serve as our homeschool room. With the giant picture window and storage for books, it was an easy decision. The only china that remains is in the actual china cabinet portion of the dining room set. The buffet has been cleared out to make room for books and paper and little wooden letters.

As I look around the house, I can’t help but notice that while the location or use of items has changed, the core of our home is simply who lives here. I have watched my home change in the last nine years and I gotta say… I really like where it’s going. I really, really do.

Bravely

I cannot believe it’s already August. Yesterday marked the two week countdown for the first day of school. Today, my final shipment of homeschool supplies will arrive… UPS guy, I’m totally stalking the front door for you.

All summer we have gone on adventures, played outside, tried new foods, stayed up WAY too late and just generally had a lovely time. But since Liam starting Kindergarten, he’s elligible to spend these last two weeks of the summer attending Safety Town. Safety Town is a two week course for kiddos ages 4-6 {I only share this because I discovered that not every one has Safety Town in their state!}. They arrive every morning for a few hours of themed information on things like indoor safety {Don’t touch the chemicals or stove!}, meeting police officers, learning addresses and phone numbers… just general things that make our little people more aware of the world around us and empowered to protect themselves.

I remember Safety Town for myself and my brothers. My favorite part was always the to-scale town that was set out on the playground for us to ride trikes around. I loved those little buildings and imagined myself a very grown-up 5 year old that summer. Yesterday as we drove to the first session, I told Liam how much fun it was and how I still remember things I learned at Safety Town.

But upon check in, I realized that there are far more children in attendance that I’d thought there would be. On top of that, Liam isn’t in a class with anyone he knows. Yesterday was less than stellar for him. And me. I know exactly how he feels walking into a room where he knows no one. And I completely understand when we go to group events and he will not leave my side until he sees a person he knows, only to cling to that person for the entire event. I imagine that his stomach ties up in knots like mine does and my heart hurts for him.

So for the next two weeks, we are working on bravery. I ordered most of the books from this post by Carrots are Orange and they are already on their way to the library for me to pick up. I’m 33 years old and still have so much anxiety over social events, even to the point that I will “forget” to put them on my calendar… this is not what I want for my children. They may grow up to be shyer by nature and that is A-ok. Both of them already seem to be introverted like Matt and I {A characteristic I couldn’t be more grateful for! I don’t know what I would ever do if they thrived on social events!}. All this is wonderful and I think makes it even easier for me to understand why my children don’t run into a new social setting like many of their peers. It’s ok to be shy. It’s ok to not thrive on others’ energy. But it’s not ok to be miserable. I was always told to just “get over” my nervousness. But I never learned how. I learned how to cover it up, but I didn’t learn how to move past it.

Today’s goal for Liam was to learn the name of one child in his group. Tomorrow when I take him in, I’m going to check the name tag of the kiddo next to him… I’m told it’s Christopher. We are going to be meeting a lot of new friends this year with church and co-op and MOPS. By “we” I do actually mean Liam and I. We are both going to learn to be brave, but we won’t be alone… we are going to do it together, one new name at a time!