Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rhythm in Our Home: Afternoon

Once again, joining in with Nicole on the Rhythm in Our Home series.

Earth who gives to us the food,

Sun who makes it ripe and good,

Dearest Earth and Dearest Sun,

we will not forget what you have done.

traditional blessing

At around noon, I begin to prepare lunch. Sometimes the kids help and sometimes I make it myself. We either have sandwhiches or leftovers which makes it simple to prep lunch. The boys then set the table and we light the candle and say the blessing above. We have been saying this blessing for about 2 or 3 years now (!) and I am thinking we need to change it! Although it is really sweet to hear Kenna now saying some of the verses.

After lunch, the boys clear the table and wash their own dishes. This probably has been the best change as of late. Before, the dishes would pretty much pile up all day and then I would load up the dishwasher at the end of the night (or the next morning if I was just too exhausted). Inevitably, there were always dishes needing to be washed and the sink was rarely empty. Now that they wash their own dishes after every meal (except dinner), the counter and sink is clean and the dinner dishes can go straight into the dishwasher! It has been so nice to wake up and start the day with a clean kitchen! (I have to give credit to Nicole for suggesting this!)

After lunch clean up, the kids head outside for a short time to get the rest of their wiggles out. I found this helps a lot in settling them for quiet time. Before we started this, the boys would be pretty hyper still during their rest time which of course was defeating the purpose, not to mention keeping Kenna awake! We then come inside, wash up, get a quick drink and have a potty break and then climb into mama's bed for a little story.

After the story is read, the boys head of to their rooms and I then try really, really, really hard to get Kenna to nap, ha ha. As I said before, she has been protesting sleep as of late. I am trying to keep things pretty consistent, she may get another story then she climbs in her bed and I sing her to sleep (or not!). If she naps, it is usually for two hours and the boys are expected to stay in their rooms the whole time.

After nap/rest time, we have another small snack. Again, sometimes the boys will help prepare it and sometimes I do it myself. I am not to the point where I expect their help in the kitchen, but it is always welcomed!

After snack and clean-up, we head back outside until dinner prep! Usually during this time I finish up any chores around the house like folding laundry or do another sweep up of the kitchen (I usually sweep 2-3 times a day). Once outside I try to keep busy with meaningful work such as weeding, sweeping the porch, watering flowers etc. Now that we are nearing the end of summer and the weather is cooling off, I have been bringing my knitting outside as well!

We are officially on our last week of summer break before our home learning year begins next week! Once we start, our daily rhythm will change again to accomodate lessons and chores and fun things like crafts and painting. I am hoping I have not planned too much for our day, but time will tell. As with anything, I feel simple is best and try to keep a slower paced environment. I definitely don't want to have our learning days feel rushed!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Day in the Woods

To say this year has been challenging would be an understatement. Emotional and physical stresses have been heavy and some days it feels almost impossible to get away from them. But we try. And I know that no matter what life throws at us, there is a place we can go where it is all erased, at least for those several hours. It has been a favorite spot for years and one we have many memories from. We haven't been able to get back here for almost the entire summer so it was so nice to meet up with our homeschooling friends and once again, create some magic in the woods.

Our group will soon be meeting regularily and once again, we will have these "days in the woods" to look forward to. A perfect ending to the week filled with all that life hands us.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Rhythm In Our Home: Morning

Our morning begins very much like how our bedtime began, with all the kids snuggling in our bed. Our kids tend to wake up pretty early no matter what time they went to bed the night before (which is why we have an early bedtime!). Usually, they are all awake by 7:00. Most mornings, they climb into bed with us to finish waking up and transitioning from that sleepy state of mind.

Morning is come,

Night is away,

We rise with the sun

to welcome the day.


After several minutes of snuggle time, the boys tend to run off to play while MaKenna and I head downstairs to the kitchen. She is the only one of my children who now requests breakfast as soon as she wakes (probably because she doesn't really eat dinner!). She is at that picky toddler eating stage and really will tend to want the same breakfast for weeks before deciding she doesn't want it anymore. Right now, its O cereal!
While she is eating, I tend to do some quick chores like opening the blinds to let in the sun and letting the dogs out for the morning. Then I prepare breakfast for all of us. Sometimes I have a helper (almost always MaKenna) and it takes a little bit longer, but that is okay. We then all sit down to eat breakfast together. By this time, it is around 8:00. We light our meal candle and say our morning blessing.

Thank you, Thank you Mother Earth

Thank you for this meal.
After breakfast has been eaten, the boys wash their dishes and we move onto chores. This consists of putting dishes away that had been washed in the dishwasher, making beds, brushing teeth and getting dressed.

After chores, the kids are free to play (inside or out) until mid morning when they are generally hungry for a snack. This is also the time we would run any errands if we needed to such as go food shopping or to the library. While the kids are playing, I am usually doing some housework that isn't a part of our weekly rhythm. As of late, it has been decluttering and preparing the house for our upcoming school year. After a morning snack, we are all outside until lunch!

I should note that this is our summer morning rhythm. This will change up a bit in a few weeks when we start our school year!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Rhythm In Our Home: Bedtime

I am joining Nicole in posting a weekly glimpse of the rhythms in our home. I decided to start with bedtime as that really is when their day begins. Odd as that may sound, sleep is so important in the development of children. I have found that with my kids, an early bedtime is best. So our nigthtime routine starts with dinner! I try to have dinner prepared and on the table at a consistant time each night so as not to throw off the rest of the evening. The kids, especially Parker and MaKenna, are generally ready for dinner around 6 anyways and if it is any later, lots of whining and fussiness ensues!

After dinner, the boys excuse themselves from the table. Dishes are cleared and washed and they head upstairs for bath/showers. For awhile, they were taking showers together, as our master shower is quite large, but lately they have been requesting to take baths again. I am happy to oblige as it seems to allow them more time to unwind. I started putting a few drops of lavendar essential oil into the bathwater to aid in the calming process.

After my bath, I try, try, try

To wipe myself till I'm dry, dry, dry.

Hands to wipe, and fingers, and toes,

And two wet legs and a shiny nose.

Just think, how much less time I'd take,

If I were a dog, and could shake, shake, shake.


Once they are all dry and jammied up, we pile into our bed for a story. When they were little, we used to read two or three stories. That generally led into "one more story" and so we settled onto one book for everyone. Right now, it is Winnie The Pooh :-) Daddy is the story reader most nights, but sometimes the boys request that I read the story. Otherwise, I am happy to listen. After a chapter or two, it is time to be "tuckled" in (Jacob's way of saying tucked in).

We do a round of goodnight hugs and kisses for MaKenna and it is off to bed! Hugs and kisses from mama and daddy, blessings for sweet dreams and a new day to begin and lights out. We aim to have them in bed by 7:30. Blake will generally read for another hour and then I will do another tuck in and lights out for him. And that is our bedtime rhythm!

*Now, just to add because this is what is happening in our life, we are in the midst of some sleep issues with MaKenna. She has been so, so, so difficult to get to sleep for the past several days. Since she was an infant, I always rocked her to sleep (nursing her when she still nursed). She was a pretty good sleeper in that she could be laid down awake and she would fall asleep on her own. Several weeks ago, she began climbing out of her crib so we converted it to a toddler bed. She did great! She was staying in her bed and falling asleep with no issues at naptime and bedtime. Fast forward and now she gets out all.the.time. Some days she doesn't even take a nap (which leads to an oh so fun evening). As I am typing this up, she has come out of her room at least 6 times and I have been trying for over an hour to get her to fall asleep *sigh*. I know it is a phase and hopefully, it will pass. But this mama is a bit tired and it is hard to be *on* all day long. I look forward to the time in the evenings when everyone is peacefully sleeping and I can knit, read, talk with Peter, etc. I have been missing that time these past few days! So I am hoping that by being really, really strict with our sleep time rhythms, I can get her back on track!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Filling our days

Throughout the year, at any given moment, it is not uncommon to find the kids deep in the creative making process. Table surfaces are usually covered in all sorts of supplies whether it is yarn, paper, crayons, or pencils etc. I try to keep these items easily accessible so they are free to create when they choose. However, during the summer, they spend the majority of their time outside (as it should be) and their creative energy is expressed outdoors. Now that we are approaching the end of summer, the kids have a renewed interest in the arts and crafting. I must say, it makes me smile to see them busily working side by side, yet seperate, deep in creative thought!

what a difference a few months make- she will now draw with crayons as opposed to dumping or throwing them
early morning drawing session

modelling beeswax provides so much pleasure for the senses- touch, smell and taste

Blake's lego ninja drawing. He requested a little sketch book and has added quite a few drawings

simple little wood kits purchased at the craft store

Blake's biplane

In a few short weeks, we will be starting our school year and once again, the tables will be covered and the kids creations will fill the house. We have a full year planned, but it will be fun and we are all looking forward to the next adventure!