Snowy Christmas–just a little late

January 24th, 2016

We are very much enjoying the snow, just like lots of other people.  I’m not sure if the internet can stand any more cute snow pictures, but I’ll put mine up there anyway.

Yesterday, Rachel Anne got tired and cold and came in before the rest of the kids.  She wanted hot cocoa in one of the green sparkly cups, but she clarified that she wanted her hot cocoa “cold”.  That is her normal–she just likes chocolate milk.  :)

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I let her sit close to the back door and watch the snow out the glass doors while she drank her chocolate milk.

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Friday, the condition to be met before going out to play in the snow was they had to complete their schoolwork.  Today, Saturday, they had to get a list of chores done.  Here is Marie enjoying a treat after completing one of her chores.  (Certain chores were marked with a black dot and they got to get a treat after completing those.)  She had some Nerds in a medicine cup, and then dipped a lollipop in it to have the Nerds stick all over the outside of the lollipop.  She is one girl who gets really creative with her food!

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Hannah was having a case of the “I can’t’s” about cleaning up her room.  She thought she could never get it done and wanted me to help her.  I needed to be working on lesson plans for next week, and I needed her to clean her room independently.  I offered to write up some guidelines to help her know where to start and what to focus on.  It is complete with a decision-making tree for things she’s not sure what to do with.  Needless to say, she got her entire room cleaned up very well, and in the end was quite proud of herself for doing it without any help.  She asked if she could pin this guide up on her bulletin board to use in the future.  I thought that was a splendid idea!  I believe a good cleaner-upper has been hatched!

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Right around noon time all the kids were done their chores and ready to head out.  After I got a certain amount done on my lesson plans, I went outside too.

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Marie, Rachel, and I walked over to my neighbor’s to check on her.  Her husband passed away Friday morning, and we wanted to stop in for a few minutes.

The girls found big “snow balls” of plowed snow in her lane and insisted on carrying them back.  They wanted to show them to the rest of the family before they ate them.

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When we got back, we found that Andrew, Paul, and Hannah had build a snow fort.  It really was a cozy little place, much warmer than the outdoors.

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Here is the opening.

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It is reinforced with boards and plywood so it won’t cave in on the kids.  This snow is very powdery and doesn’t pack.

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Here is Paul when he was ready to go inside.  (I am so thrilled that he can wear his orange elephant coat that I made for the second year now!  I may have to make him another one next year.  With that coat, I can always spot him pretty quickly, even in a crowd!)

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Our kids spent a lot of their snow time playing “groundhog”.  They make paths through the snow, and use the paths to create “houses” for each of them, complete with different rooms, and one even had a table.

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Andrew and I relaxed on the back porch for a little bit.

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Andrew and Hannah in the snow fort.

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Snow angels!

Marie

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Hannah

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Rachel

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After coming inside, here’s what they all did.

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Marie

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Hannah

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Rachel

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Paul was heavy into building with Legos.  He got two new Lego books from the library on Thursday, and he has been building quality stuff in earnest ever since.

Paul

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We have really enjoyed being home, being together, having electricity through it all so far, and having a change in our routines.   Hot chocolate and popcorn added to the specialness of today, and I even made chocolate syrup because we ran out of the (convenient) Nesquick.  That means we are getting the really good chocolate milk and hot cocoa now!

Motivational Speech

January 18th, 2016

Just because I want to remember this later, and I want our kids to read about it on my blog from time to time when they are cruising my blog on the iPad, I am going to put this little blurb in here.

Visual for my speech.  (Pretty neat power point, eh?)

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Sometimes (at times, perhaps many times) I get the feeling that some of my kids think life is parents versus kids.  Their job is to struggle and strain against whatever the parents say, and the parents are always going to try to figure out how to make things hard and torturous for the kids (just because it’s their job to be mean), and it is all supposed to be a giant struggle and sometimes the kid wins and sometimes the parent wins.

After supper tonight, I tried to put it all into proper perspective and focus.  At one end there is a helpless baby who only thinks of himself, cries, demands things, and expects others to do everything for him.  On the other end of the continuum is an independent, capable adult who solves problems, meets needs, and contributes to society.  (He is an engineer who designs bridges for people to build, thus the bridge with cars over the water with a boat.)

In words, examples, and demonstrations age-appropriate for our kids, I did my best to convey that we, as parents, are actually helping and encouraging our children along the line from the baby to the capable adult.  We don’t sit around contriving up ways to make the lives of our children difficult.  Instead, we are always encouraging them to perform at the top of their ability, even when they don’t know how much they are capable of.  That is why we make them do their work correctly and efficiently.  That is why we don’t rush to the rescue every time they say “I can’t______”, but instead tell them to figure out a solution.

Maybe this week we will have more team effort and harmony within our walls.  (And if I need to, I can pull up this picture on my computer and ask my kids if they are living more like the left end of the white board, or the right end.)