Monday, August 20, 2012

Chores, Songs, and Lessons Learned

This weekend became a hodge-podge of family, friends, and work. Saturday morning we watched our 3rd grader's football team scrimmage the 4th graders (and school them!) for about 3 hours. Thanks to an unseasonably cool and overcast day, the sunburn I received didn't hurt a bit.

We spent the afternoon tootling around McKinney, buying books and exchanging sandals and feasting on Chipotle. We finished the day off at a birthday party for 7yo twin friends. One kid came home with a slightly nauseous tummy and the other three were bouncing off the walls...all signs of a successful sugar overdose.

Sunday after church Daddy decreed as clean up time. Was he ever right. You just know when it's time for a major decluttering/deep cleaning. We split the 3 big kids into separate areas and challenged them to focus so they could spend time playing later before our evening event.

Jack cleaned bathrooms. He's gotten pretty good at it since we instituted that every-other-week chore about a year ago. We left him alone and he finished before everyone else.

We tried to start 6yo Maggie vacuuming, but it's still a little too heavy for her to manage well. Think, lifting up the end every time she reaches out with it--no picking up dirt if the tip isn't on the floor. So, we reorganized our efforts, and she worked on decluttering the family room so Dad could vacuum. Then she was sent downstairs to dust and clean the glass on the coffee table. A much better fit! She finished out by helping big brother Nate steam mop the kitchen floor.


In the meantime, 11yo Nate and Mama tackled the kitchen--he swept and mopped while I handled dishes, counters, sinks, etc. We like to crank up the music when we do these kinds of chores. This time Mercy Me was belting out The Hurt and the Healer album. Eventually, Nate started asking questions (I love these opportunities for us to talk. He asks great questions.) Some of them related to the sermon we'd just heard. Some related to the lyrics in the songs we were hearing.

Yeah, words matter. Parents, listen to your kids' music. Don't be afraid to censor, to deny, to encourage, to direct them to appropriate, God-honoring music. I.e., don't be afraid to be the parent. They may not understand all the lyrics, but they are ingesting them all the same. I'd really rather have my son ask me "Is it true that God forgives every sin?" or "Is it wrong to want something that someone else has?" because a song is addressing such themes than to worry they are hearing trashy, degrading, even violent lyrics and wonder how they are going to act those out.

So we spent an hour and a half companionably working together, talking theology, life, and practical aspects of chores, as well as negotiating with little sister about how much she would help him mop. The house got clean, the kids worked hard, and we had time left over to rest or play before our last engagement of the weekend. I doubt they'd really go for that every weekend, but it was a complete success in my book.

The kids experienced the reality that being part of a family means pitching in to help the whole and not just focusing on self. They learned crucial skills they'll need later in life. They got to see the fruits of their labors immediately. And, though we've been known to reward them financially for extra work at times, no one asked "How much will we get for this?" (That may have been the most shocking non-event of the day!)

Bonus: The toddler slept through the whole thing. :)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Books of the Bible... Southern Style

If you're a Southerner, you'll get this. Totally. 

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Our Summer

I have woefully neglected this blog, thanks to my job at FaithVillage. A significant part of my daily work there involves reading many other people's blogs, so I'm well entertained, challenged, provoked and otherwise on a regular basis. But it leaves little time for actual writing on my part. I've felt the lack of it all summer but have not been able to find time to write. I guess I'll have to MAKE time instead.

A little rundown of how our summer has gone: In June we hired a friend's high-school daughter to come babysit for two weeks. That worked out wonderfully. Then my hubby was off for his usual summer break, this time five weeks instead of four (thanks to a weird school calendar that also gives the kids a full 12-week summer--2 more than usual). He used his first week to paint the garage, his second week to run errands and take the kids to some fun places, and then we left for vacation.

Playing at the park in June
We joined our friends the Godseys once again at a beach house in Edisto Island, SC, where we stayed last summer. With a total of 13 people, it's always an adventure with plenty of energy and fun and food.  I will share photos of that week some other time and place. The "adventure" was not what I'd hoped, as the night we drove out of Dallas (Thursday) to start the vacation, our 8yo was diagnosed with pneumonia. Here's how it all worked out:

Th: 8yo pneumonia (with requisite chest xray, shot and antibiotics)
Sun: arrive at beach
Tues: 2yo fever/cough -- drive 1.5 hours to "local" clinic, diagnosis "touch of" pneumonia
Wed: 2yo rebounding well with meds, feeling better. Mom starts irritating but harmless coughing
Th: Take 8yo to "local" clinic (it was on the next island over), still has pneumonia, now has different meds & new xray
Sat: leave beach, head to friends' cabin, inland SC, in the woods, basically. Think 4-wheelers, BB guns, pool, etc.
Sun: Mommy--that's me--flies home because hey, I've got a job. Grrrr. (I will say that, despite the illnesses, the beach time was truly relaxing, fun, and beautiful!)
Tues: I paint the half-bath b/c I'm bored in an empty house and it seemed like the perfect time.
Wed: I'm feeling miserable with my lingering, worsening cough. (Remember, home alone, family still vacationing!)
Th: Doctor diagnoses me with bronchitis, gives me a shot and meds
Sat: the family arrives home. Everyone is feeling better and happy to be reunited.

By now, it's only July 14. Daddy has one more week of vacation. Do I remember what he did that week? No. Pretty sure he took the kids to a movie. And I do remember that we all went to see Brave on the weekend so that I could go with them. That was a fun flick!

The final week of July, Daddy headed back to the office to start preparing for the upcoming school year. We had a former neighbor's teen daughter, whom my kids always enjoyed playing with, come babysit for the week. It was uneventful, which is always a good thing!

That catches us all up until August. And lemme tell ya, August has been plenty full already, and it's only the 7th. Since I have to get to work now, I'll write that up later (hopefully not much later).

Thanks for reading! :)