Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Unplugging Your Children

There was a great article last week at MoneySavingMom about "unplugging" our children.

We all know that kids need fresh air, fun projects, free play time and lots of time reading books. But personally, I have found (and maybe you have too) that if I am not very careful about how and when I use television or DVDs, it becomes my go-to — my cure-all for rough days, for busy days, for lazy days, for sick days. It’s just quick and easy.

In my case, there was no cable needed. Good old PBS kids + a TIVO was just enough for an unfortunate television addiction. So, I decided to undo what I had done. I unplugged my kids, and I did it in one day. Cold turkey.

As I read the article, I realized how appropriate it was for me and my family. We don't watch a lot of television, although I do indulge during nap time and after our children are asleep at night. But I do use DVD's to babysit my children when I don't want to deal with them. (Doesn't that sound awful?) My weak times occur when my children are especially fussy because they are tired, when Sarah Beth's play time is over and Daniel is still asleep, when I'm trying to cook supper, and the rare times after supper when John is not home yet.

How do I plan to deal with my weak times?
  1. Fussy mornings. I put off the DVD watching as long as possible by playing with my children and interacting with them a lot. I tell myself that I will turn a DVD on at 11:00, then I can turn it off at 11:30 when we eat lunch. Almost always, I discover that it has become 11:15 or later, and there is no point in turning on a video.
  2. Quiet afternoons. Oftentimes, when Sarah Beth's play time in her room is over, Daniel and Rachel are still asleep. I have usually been watching television, and it is just easy to keep it on. Of course, I am very selective about what we watch (I even DVR shows so she won't see commercials), and we're usually doing something productive like folding clothes. However, I could and should use this time more productively by doing school-like things with her.
  3. Supper time. I am sure that you are the same way in that we don't want our children underfoot while we are preparing supper. I am so afraid of my children getting burned by the stove or the oven that I want them OUT of the kitchen. I am still thinking through my plan here, but last week, I just told them to leave the kitchen area, and they seated themselves at the kitchen table and worked puzzles. I have a nice stash of activities for them in the pantry on the lower shelves where they can reach.
  4. Evenings. I am tired when the evening finally rolls around, and it is so easy to turn on the television to entertain all of us (or even just me) until bedtime. Thankfully, it doesn't happen very often when John is not home yet from work (or he is on a business trip), but it may be a good time to read books. I'm still thinking about that one, too.
Of course, there are times when all of my best laid plans go to waste, and I will feel that I just need a break. That is okay, too. And there are times when it will just be nice to cuddle up with my children and watch something fun with them, too. I certainly do not plan to cut out all television watching, but I do hope to curtail it a good bit.

Do you have times when you would like to use the television to babysit your children? What do you do? Please share since I feel that I need all the help I can get!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Five Month Update

Rachel turned five months old on Saturday, but I didn't get around to posting about it because I burned my hand. Silly me, stupid story (or is it stupid me, silly story?), but I'll share if you like.

Rachel still is not doing much more than she was at three months old, although she is a good bit bigger. What are her stats? Oh, I don't know. I have them written down somewhere. (Angela, that's what happens with your third child.) I do know that she is a happy, happy baby. She loves it when she gets attention, even if it's from a stranger. I guess that's also what happens with a third child since she has to share my attention with her siblings.
  • Rachel is sleeping through the night and has been for over a month now. I know it makes me sound like an awful mother, but I really enjoy an uninterrupted night of sleep.
  • She started taking naps in her crib last weekend. She has been napping in a swing in her room, but she stopped sleeping well in it, so we tried her crib again. I'm so excited about this!
  • She wriggles around on her blanket on the floor and in her bed. When I get her up in the morning or after a nap, often she is 180 degrees opposite of where I put her down.
  • She is learning how to use her hands which is really cute. She cannot quite get them to do what she wants yet, but it won't be long. I caught her yesterday with her foot in her mouth, too.
  • Nope, no solids yet. Just Mommy's milk. But she did drink six ounces from a bottle Friday. Yea! Now John and I can go out all by ourselves ... at some point. More importantly, when I start back to work, I know she will take a bottle for John. I also know about how much she'll drink which lets me know how much I need to have stored before my weekend.
  • Rachel really wants to sit up, but she just doesn't have the muscle tone, yet. When I put her in her bouncy seat, she tries so hard to sit upright, but she just can't.
  • She was rolling over from her back to her tummy, but she stopped. She even rolled over from her tummy to her back a few times. Now she just lies there, well, except for squirming around. I'm not too worried; I haven't heard of a five year old child who can't roll over, so I'm sure she'll figure it out sooner or later.
I have really enjoyed Rachel as a baby, as I noted before. I just feel more relaxed as a mother, and I think she can tell.

Friday, June 25, 2010

FO (Finished Object) Friday

I finished this blanket last week, and I love how it turned out. I really like this pattern and how the colors peek out from behind the white yarn. I also like how the white yarn criss-crosses over the colored yarn. I think it's fitting that the pattern for this baby blanket is called "Peek-a-Boo Baby Wrap." Isn't that cute? However, the crochet hook I used was too small, so the blanket does not have nice "drape." That's okay; it's a baby blanket, and it will be nice and warm -- whenever winter gets here! Here is a close-up picture so you can see the detail a little better.

Have you finished any projects lately? Do tell!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Brawl at Kindergarten Graduation

Did you hear about that? I just think it's funny. I mean, how do these people expect their children to control themselves when they are unable to?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Digitally Deluged?

The other day one of my friends on facebook posted a link to this article "Meet the New American Family: Digitally Deluged." I wanted to share it with you, in case you hadn't already seen it somewhere else. Here is a snippet:
Is that what we were created to be? Is this the purpose for which God created humanity? The Creator made us in his image, and thus to be relational beings. But this relationality is intended to be expressed first and foremost in relationships with human beings, and certainly not with machines. A biblical understanding will also press us to identify the relationships of our greatest accountability — the relationships of marriage, family, kinship, and congregation — as well as the relationships of greatest Gospel opportunity. When these relationships suffer due to digital distractions, we bear full moral responsibility.
As you may have noticed, I haven't been posting as much lately. One reason for that change is that I don't want my children to think I like the computer more than I love them. Another reason is that I do not want to become addicted to the internet. It does happen, you know! Besides, I have better things to do all day than sit in front of our computer.

Do you limit your time on the computer? How so?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Beautiful Bouquet

Isn't this one of the most beautiful bouquets of flowers you have ever seen? Sarah Beth brought it home to me yesterday from an outing with her daddy.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Last week, I posted about my children's love of books. As I thought about it some more, I realized (of course!) that they get this from me. Yes, they see that I love books, but I also think there is something in their genes. As you can also probably tell from that post, I get my love for books from my father. My mother loves to read; she will read almost anything, if it's any good. I get that from her. My father is a little more discriminating. I have received many things from my parents, good and bad. Good: I enjoy helping people which I received from my mother, although I don't have quite the gift she does. Bad: I have my father's discomfort in social settings.

Now I see some of these same attributes passed on through me to my children. As I stated before, Sarah Beth and Daniel love books, although I think Sarah Beth really loves them, and Daniel just enjoys playing with them. Sarah Beth has my awkwardness in social settings. Both of them love for me to read to them which translates into a love of reading. They get that from me and John. (John enjoys reading, too, just not as much as I do.)

What traits did you inherit from your parents? And which ones have you passed down to your children?

P.S. One thing I noticed while at my parents' house the other day was that my father keeps a small legal pad by the computer to jot quick notes down on. Guess what I have by our computer, too!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Book Lovers

I went to my parents' house today for a few minutes. While I was there, I mentioned PaperBackSwap to my father, and he gave me a box of books to list. After I got home with my children and ate lunch, Sarah Beth and Daniel disappeared.

I found them in the office with the box of books, playing with the books. Sarah Beth was even looking through some of them, even though they are novels and do not have pictures.

Even though they cannot read yet, my children still enjoy playing with books. I find that funny, although it is a love that I try to encourage! One day they will know how to read, and I hope they still love their books!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Book Review: God's Promises for Girls by Jack Countryman and Amy Parker

God's Promises for Girls by Jack Countryman and Amy Parker is a nice little book full of Scripture relevant for little girls. (Of course, the Scriptures quoted are not just relevant for little girls; they apply to all of us.) Each page has a cute little poem and illustration about the topic on that page, and then several Bible passages follow that pertain and develop the topic. For example, one page is about Jesus being our Friend; there is a little poem about that idea, then a few quotes from the Bible follow demonstrating and proving the point.

When this book arrived in the mail from BookSneeze, we were outside playing. I immediately opened the package because I wanted to check out this book. Sarah Beth (my four year old) took it from me and wanted me to read it to her. After a few pages, I asked if she wanted to go play since we could read the book inside later. She disappeared into the garage. When she didn't reappear, I went in to check on her, and she was sitting on her bicycle "reading" this book. She really enjoyed the illustrations, but I think reading page after page was a little much for her. However, I can see how this book could be a nice little reference book. When she is afraid, we could turn to that page and read those verses. When she wants to know how God helps us, we could read that page. While I understand why the authors chose to use the International Children's Bible for their quotations, I would prefer to use one that is more accurate. Other than that negative, I like this book, and I recommend it for anyone with little girls. Obviously, Sarah Beth enjoyed it, too!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Learning Lessons While Playing with Blocks

This morning Sarah Beth wanted to play with blocks, so that's what we did while Rachel watched. I did not intend for it to be a time of learning, although I do know that children are always learning so we need to be prepared to teach all the time. I just thought we would have some fun building towers.

Daniel loves to knock over towers once they are built. I have to admit that I've been lax in enforcing the issue that he must not do that. Sure, once he knocks over Sarah Beth's tower, I'll say, "Daniel, don't knock over your sister's tower," but that's all I do. Since I was actually on the floor with them this morning, I was able to instruct Daniel better and enforce the instruction. Daniel has now learned to leave his sister's towers alone...at least for this morning.

Both Sarah Beth and Daniel kept taking blocks from my tower to use on hers, so we worked on asking for permission. Daniel learned to say, "Please, green," if he wanted the green block, and "Weeze, Mondy," (translated "Please, Mommy) when he wanted to knock over my tower. Sometimes, I would let him, and sometimes I wouldn't. Sarah Beth worked on asking politely, too, with, "Please may I have the green block?"

As you can probably tell from this post, my children were not the only ones who learned some things this morning while playing with blocks!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Third Child Enjoyment

As I have spent time with Rachel, the thought keeps going through my mind that I enjoy her infancy more than I did with my first two children. I certainly do not love her any more than I love Sarah Beth and Daniel. I do not enjoy spending time with her more than her older siblings. I think what I feel is more the absence of worry and being able to relax more in my role as a mother.

Let me see if I can explain this a little better. While I certainly enjoyed Sarah Beth's infancy, I was a new mother. I worried if I was doing things right; I worried if she was doing things right. If she was crying, I had to fix it. I worried about emptying the dishwasher when she was asleep because I might wake her up. I worried about emptying the dishwasher when she was awake because I felt I should be spending that time with her. I was also a new stay-at-home-mom, so I had the added responsibility of that as well.

With Daniel's infancy, I was a relatively experienced mother...of one. My worries were different. I worried about spending too much time with Sarah Beth and not enough with Daniel. I worried about spending too much time with Daniel and not enough with Sarah Beth. I worried when their schedules conflicted: Daniel was due to eat at Sarah Beth's lunch time. I worried when one child was crying while I was busy with the other one. And when Daniel was two months old, we moved from our farm to our current suburban house.

With Rachel, I have more experience as a mother and as a mother of multiple children. I certainly do not know everything, but I have learned not to sweat the small stuff, so to speak. Each of my children gets the attention he needs; there is enough of me to go around. Sarah Beth may get more time today, but Daniel and Rachel will get theirs tomorrow or the next day. Children are more flexible than I give them credit for (and more flexible than I can sometimes be!). Sarah Beth and Daniel don't mind waiting a few extra minutes for breakfast because I am busy feeding Rachel. And if Rachel starts fussing while I'm busy with one of her older siblings, well, it won't hurt her to cry for a few minutes.

It has been fun to watch my evolution as a mother. What is your experience? Did you have similar worries? Did you have different ones? Were you just more relaxed and less worried from the beginning? Have you followed a path similar to mine?

Friday, June 4, 2010

FO (Finished Object) Friday

I'm sorry that I haven't been around much this week, but it's been a little busy. I'm sure you can relate. However, I did finish this baby blanket on Sunday or Monday, and I think it will make a nice little blanket. I just need to add a tag for it with care instructions, and I can deliver it to church for our blanket ministry. I get to make baby blankets (which I love), and they will be given to people who need them. Doesn't that work out well?!