We went blueberry picking yesterday and I must say, it was delicious fabulous picking!
We ended up with 20 pounds, which means that while we got a great start, we will have to go back a couple more times to even get close to our goal of 100 pounds. I think I'm going to revise that down a bit, taking into consideration all the hullabaloo going on in the next few weeks (more on that later).
Braidon and his friend, Alex, relaxing after they did a stellar job picking!
Every year, Oliver's company treats the employees and their families to a Lansing Lugnuts game and a tailgate style dinner. It's always a fun night.
We had a great time at the game and I can't wait for next year's season. Tickets are actually pretty reasonable and we're thinking of trying to get to several games next year. If you're local or visiting the area and you want to make a date with us, let me know!
:: that I apparently have the power to bring on the rain just by watering my veggies
:: Saragh scolding her guinea pig for being rude and not saying thank you when she feeds him.
:: my kids getting so excited when I come home with really good deals from the thrift stores.
:: my parents living 4 minutes away and willing to babysit so I can make an Ikea run
:: a tidy house after 20 minutes of cooperative cleaning
:: the realization of a functional kitchen; 4 years in the making.
:: my husband, because he's not going anywhere and I am absolutely sure of that.
For the past few months, I have been reading this blog about becoming a more intentional mother. I have to admit that until last week, I was still reading it through heavily skeptical eyes. For those of you who don't know me all that well (and to make those of you who do chuckle) I may have a slight problem with authority and rules. Therefore, it follows that I also have issues with schedules and organization. I mostly feel that all of those things cramp my style. I like to be able to run off and do things on the spur of the moment without worrying about what I'm not doing.
However, I was definitely finding myself and the children to be in a rut. I noticed that the TV was slowly taking over our lives again, I was on the computer all day long, nothing was getting done around the house and we weren't rushing off on any exciting adventures; planned or unplanned. I felt as if we were slowly coming apart at the seams and life felt chaotic and harried all the time. Every member of the house could feel it too which was just making things worse.
So, last week while I was perusing Amazon, the book "Steady Days" kept popping up on my recommended books list. On a complete whim, I put it in my cart and then ordered it. When it arrived, I was still very skeptical. This book had the potential of ruining my life and making me do things that I didn't want to do. For whatever reason, I picked it up before any of the other books (that I was much more excited about) and started reading.
One of the first thing I read as I flipped through the book was this,
Some people think that if they become organized, they will lose their spontaneity and passion for living. Because they really value these qualities, they think they must accept their disorganization in order to maintain their free spirit. This doesn't have to be the case. Having a flexible structure helps you enjoy spontaneity. If you have taken the time to be organized in the things that matter most, then you will not feel behind. So when an opportunity comes your way, like the first warm day of spring or a special concert for the children, you can ditch the rest of your plans and go for it. You can enjoy without guilt because your other responsibilities are up to date.
That simple paragraph really clicked with me and I was hooked. Over the past few days, I have written and implemented a morning and afternoon routine for the kids and I and we are all adjusting to it rather well. It made the days flow much smoother and we all were engaged and interacting with each other. I am really looking forward to this becoming the norm here and where that will take us.
I'm not saying that this was a miracle cure for all the ails my family, but it is certainly clearing up some of the symptoms! "Steady Days" has become my new go-to book for getting through the day with grace and making the changes that are necessary. I encourage you to get a copy of this book and check it out for yourself.
This was our 3rd year attending the Michigan Challenge Balloonfest in Howell, Michigan. Balloonfest is one of our must-see-can't-miss events each year. You might think that it would get old watching hot air balloons launch year after year, but you would be so wrong. There is just something absolutely amazing about watching these aircraft inflate, take off and soar though the air.
We always get there early to get a good spot and eat a picnic dinner, so there is a bit of waiting and chilling at the beginning.
Olivia and Saragh danced away to the music playing (loudly) over the speakers.
This balloon was homemade (as opposed to commercially made like most of the others) and the basket is a rolling garbage can! The kid who made the balloon made it from recycled balloon fabric and materials. Very cool!
Happy Father's Day to my awesome hubby!!!
Lately I have really been enjoying time spent with Olivia. She is seven and a half now and she is blossoming and growing at such a rapid rate that I feel like if I don't catch her now, it will be too late. She's at the age that she wants to go places with me because she's feeling like a grown up girl and I love that.
I think what I love the most is that she is becoming more and more comfortable in her own skin. She knows what she likes, she knows what she wants to do and she will not be deterred. I love this about her, even if it causes problems between us at times. I try to remember that I want to preserve this wonderful part of her personality because it will serve her so well in her life.
Family meal times have gone by the wayside, some studies say that less then 50% of families eat together 7 nights per week. Parents are working more, kids have sports and scouts and clubs and friends and no one has time to eat together anymore. Also, teen drug use, suicide and pregnancies are on the rise again. Kids have no sense of belonging in their own families and seek "family" elsewhere. Parents are at a loss as to how to bring their families back together. All the activities and work seem necessary and parents don't want short change their kids. What a lot of parents don't realize is that they are short changing their kids by not putting the family first.
For many years now, I have resisted putting our kids in every activity that comes our way or sparks an interest. I did not want to be one of those moms that ran her kids from this activity to the next. Don't get me wrong, my kids have had their share of activities. We've just tried to find alternatives to the mainstream in tense activities.
The boys and Olivia participated in a homeschool soccer league for a couple of years, that met on Saturday mornings for practice and the games. The girls have participated in a homeschool dance group that meets during the day. We just put all the kids in karate, all on the same day at the same time.
My point of all of this is this, I have always felt a strong compulsion to protect our family dinner time. Even though I am with the kids all day long, we are not a complete family unit until Oliver gets home at six o'clock. Six o'clock has always been the highlight of the kids day, they love it when Daddy walks in the door.
Family dinner time gives us the chance to come together and share our day with each other. The kids all get a chance to talk about what has happened, what plans they have for the rest of the evening, what goals they have for the next day. Ben and Braidon get to talk about the games they have made up, the LEGO creations that came to life and what things they found on the trail during their many bike rides. Olivia gets to show off her new reading skills and giggle about fabulous 7 year old things. The little girls talk about their new imaginary friends and show off all the "tattoos" they tagged themselves with.
Not only do the kids get to tell about their day, Oliver and I also get a word in edgewise sometimes. Oliver is always happy to answer questions about his job and the things that go on at his office. He talks about science, math, woodworking, outdoor skills, you name it. I love to make him laugh when I tell him about all the funny things the kids or pets did during the day.
We also use family dinner time as meeting and planning time. Our table is the birthplace of many camping trips, field trips, and household projects. It is also the place where we discuss family issues and problem solve to make things run more smoothly. Many things come to light during the magic that is family dinner time. This is the place and time where the kids seem to feel comfortable broaching heavier subjects. Since we try to make a point of being open and honest, our table is where our kids learn a lot.
When I was sick last week, we missed family dinner time 3 nights in a row. Everyone kind of ate as they wanted to instead of gathering as we usually do. As I started recovering, I noticed that the household was really in disorder. Not only was the house physically a mess, but the people in it were all discombobulated. There was more yelling, more door slamming, more hitting. We were starting to come apart at the carefully crafted seams. In the next few days, we gathered again to eat as a family and I saw us coming back together. For us, family dinner time holds us together and helps us feel cohesive and peaceful.
I don't know what kind of family we would be if we did not have this time together every evening. I think we would be distant and out of sync and the thought of that is disconcerting. I like that we have made it a priority to carve out this time to gather and regroup every evening. It makes us a family.
I just want to remind everyone as you are shopping for candy to fill the Easter baskets and food for the Easter meal to please avoid Nestle products. Nestle is still using child labor, still polluting the land and water and still enticing women in third world countries to formula feed their babies (which leads to starvation and poisoning when Nestle subsequently pulls the clean water supply as they leave).
Here is a list (current as of last October) of Nestle products, some of which were really surprising to me. There is also a list of resources near the end of the post that you can check out for yourself. If you click on the icon on my sidebar, it will take you to a website with a plethora of information. There are so many other delicious goodies out there to fill those Easter baskets with, challenge yourself to find them!