July 29, 2013

Meeting Them Where They Are

Mothering is a vocation filled with constant learning, one of which I have been blessed to belong to for over sixteen years. I am by no means an expert, nor do I claim to be, but through the years I have learned something very important about the balance between consistency and individuality.

It first occurred to me one day when I saw that once again my sweet Peyton had straightened the entire downstairs. Peyton is my little nanny/personal assistant/ housekeeper. She folds laundry, sets the table, takes care of Flynn, and helps with the overall running of the house. I immediately began to think that Madison never does these things without being asked. Again and again. And again. Then I had a moment of clarity. A honest to goodness light bulb moment.

As much as it is important to be fair and consistent in regards to chores and responsibilities, it is also equally important to recognize each child's individuality and interests. Children are indeed individuals. Each child has his or her own interests and strengths and passions. It is hard to remember that sometimes, and children often get grouped together and expected to respond and behave in the same way.

As I looked around that morning and saw the work Peyton had done, I realized that Peyton enjoyed straightening and baking and pushing Flynn on the swing for hours on end. Rather than become irritated that Madison rarely seemed to help with these things, I thought about all the things she DOES do. Madison loves to help me with my hair and makeup. She always makes sure I look my best when I have a special place to go. Madison paints my nails and Flynn's too. Madison is also a very social person. She spends a lot of time visiting with my mother and helping her around her house. She plans and hosts parties at the senior center too. These are wonderful things and I realized they are equally important as the household chores Peyton does for me.

Rhett also does his share, and while it isn't exactly the same as the girls, it is part of who he is and what he enjoys. Rhett is very close with my father, and spends a great deal of time talking to him on the phone about movies and baseball and soccer. He is extremely loving and patient when my sweet father repeats the same question or gets slightly confused. Rhett also makes sure that my refrigerator is well stocked with my favorite drink of choice...Cherry Coke.

Flynn, as young as she is, shows tendencies toward organizing and home keeping. She loves to help with the laundry and is a pro at making my coffee. Oh, and did I mention she loves to Swiffer the kitchen floor?

This does not mean that my children always love what they do. Of course, Madison still has certain responsibilities like unloading the dishwasher or vacuuming that she is less than excited about. Rhett still needs to be reminded to replace the garbage bag several times. And Peyton still needs to be prodded to call her grandma on the phone, because that is just not her thing. It means that I have realized how important it is to meet my children where they are, and to celebrate their gifts and strengths and interests. It also means that I have found that my children seem to do a job better and with less grief when it is something they enjoy. ; )

Motherhood is indeed a blessing...a vocation...and a chance to learn as well as teach. And I thank God everyday for allowing me to do just that.

July 27, 2013

Christmas In July 2013

You know how much we love holidays here, right? So any excuse to celebrate one does not go unnoticed. I have been celebrating Christmas in July since the older kids were quite little. It began as a nice break in the middle of summer for a young mommy and her three littles. And because most everything I do becomes some sort of tradition, we are still celebrating it today.

It is not fancy or expensive. We don't decorate or anything crazy like that...we just pause and spend the day together doing a few of the things we love to do during the Holiday Season. This year the weather even cooperated. It was a chilly 65 degrees in Pennsylvania!  So here are a few pictures of our Christmas in July in case you want to think about doing something next year. : )

Ok...I guess we DID decorate a little bit.
We pulled out and lit a favorite candle.
We baked some yummy cupcakes...
and delivered them to some special family and friends.
The kids opened a few small gifts...
and we watched a few favorite movies. : )
Peyton baked a delicious Red Velvet cake...
and we called it a day.
Merry Christmas in July friends!

July 25, 2013

Weekend Plans

There is a pretty good chance that if you are a regular reader of these weekend posts, you may be beginning to think, "Man...does this girl ever do anything?!"  And that is a fair question...because this summer has been a quiet one indeed. Amen to that! Steve and I both come from large extended families...Steve is one of seven and I am one of five...so some summers are often filled with weddings, graduation parties, showers, and various get-togethers. This, thankfully, is not one of them.

So, as I describe our plans for yet another low key weekend, I thank you for staying with me. And awake. Friday night, Rhett is working at the movie theatre, and I think Peyton, Steve and I are going to go see the late showing of World War Z. Madison has no interest, as it is not a sappy romantic love story, so she is going to stay home and watch my little Flynn. I will have to do some strategic planning on Friday, as to keep Flynn from napping, so she will fall asleep earlier. She does not take a regular nap daily, but every few days or so, it catches up with her and she snuggles on the sofa in the afternoon. And because I wouldn't want her to be alone, I snuggle right with her. The things we mothers do, right? If she does nap, that means her bedtime is pushed back...way back. So I hope to keep her awake so as to have her bathed, jammied, and asleep before we leave, just to make it a little easier on Madison.

Saturday is free during the day. Steve is hoping to mow, if the rain ever stops and the grass dries out. We plan on attending late afternoon Mass and then getting some Chinese food for a special treat. Madison works Saturday evening, and the rest of us plan a quiet evening at home. My favorite. : )

Sunday is another quiet summer day here. Madison works the early shift, so after that I think we will cook some hamburgers on the grill, cut up some fruit and call it a day. We like to sit on the porch Sunday evenings...it is a thing we do to end a weekend and look forward to a new week. And that's it. That is what we have planned for this final?! weekend in July. I hope yours is sunny and cozy and pleasant, whatever your plans may be!

Walked out on the porch to find this little guy one day!

You are never too old to swing, right?

Snapped some pictures of my girls last weekend before we left to visit my Dad...

"Mommy, how about if I pretend I am sleeping?"

My oldest and my youngest... : )

Peyton with her shadow...

Me and my baby...

My girls = Love

Saturday morning muffins...

Sunday evening sunset.

Happy Summer Weekend, friends!

July 23, 2013

A New Cookie Recipe...Yum!

Peyton found this recipe in a magazine and wanted to give it a try. And we are glad she did! It is a keeper. They are soooo good! Enjoy!

A few notes...Be sure to use the mini m&m's...we omitted the nuts...and we made them small and got many more cookies!

July 21, 2013

Flipping Through The Channels And...Stop!

I remember the very first movie I saw on video. It was Heaven Can Wait. My boyfriend and I rented it from the brand new video store when I was in high school. In fact we rented the VCR too! They had just come out and most people didn't even have them in their homes yet.

How times have changed, right? VCRs are obsolete now and DVDs are making way for Blue Ray. But that isn't enough...we can now watch any movie we want anytime we want on Netflix, or Vudu, or Amazon Prime. As much as I enjoy watching movies on demand, I still get excited when I catch one of my very favorite movies on regular television. You know what I mean, right? You are casually flipping through the channels when suddenly you come across one of your favorite movies. It doesn't  matter that it is more than halfway over. It doesn't matter that you have seen it a hundred times already. You still watch, right? I know I do. Here are my top favorite movies that I will watch whenever I find them on television...in no particular order of course! (Gone With The Wind isn't listed for the obvious reason that it is the best movie ever made. Hence...my son's name. And I would have used Scarlett if my mom hadn't taken it already for my older sister...but...I digress...)

My favorite movies to find on regular television that will make me stop what I am doing and watch again and again are...

The Poseidon Adventure

Loved this one...so many wonderful actors.

The Birds (1963) "Os Pássaros"

Alfred Hitchcock...enough said. And I still wonder how Tippi Hedren looked so good in that green suit three days in a row.

I first saw this on vacation when I was little. I remember being scared to swim in the hotel pool!

Shawshank Redemption
Love...that's all.
Ok...your turn. What is your favorite movie to watch on TV? Please share so I can add it to my list!

July 18, 2013

Weekend Plans

We are right smack dab in the middle of summer and our weather is finally beginning to reflect that. It has been quite hot and sunny these past few days. The weekend is supposed to be a bit cooler and less humid. Steve and  Rhett are glad because they are spending some time at camp and it tends to get a bit warm there without any air conditioning at all!

Friday afternoon the girls and I are going to visit my dad and take him to Dairy Queen. He has been hungry for a walnut sundae! After that, I think we will head home for a movie marathon and some popcorn!

Saturday is free during the day. Then the girls and I are planning on afternoon Mass. Then Madison has work. I guess that means a real quick dinner before she goes. McDonald's fries sound pretty good!

Sunday is a stay at home day too. Madison has work in the early afternoon. After that, I am planning a summer cookout on the grill, followed by a quiet family night outside. I am loving theses lazy summer weekends. I hope yours is lazy and cozy and fun, whatever your plans may be. Thanks for visiting! : )

My little Flynn...
How is she three and a half already?
My Peyton and her puppy...
Pirate game...an extra innings win, too!
The girls had a pudding pie "bake off" this week...Peyton's Triple Chocolate Oreo...
vs. Madison's Vanilla Banana Bliss! And for the record...it was a tie!
Speaking of Madison...how great is it that I have a cosmetology inclined daughter who loves to give me manicures? : )
We finally had some HOT weather here. We are usually out early in the morning for some water fun!
So sweet, these two!
Happy Summer, my friends!

July 16, 2013

You've Got To Rearrange

You may remember this post I did awhile back about the change our family is making to cyber schooling. I mentioned that we will be setting up shop in our rarely used formal dining room. So recently, we dismantled that space and did some rearranging. Because in the wise words of the Brady Kids, "When it's time to change, you've got to rearrange." Ok, sorry...I can't help myself sometimes. We took apart the furniture and moved it down to the basement. Strange, right? Well, I thought so at first too. Then I thought some more.

I thought about my beautiful furniture sitting in a storage shed waiting to be needed again. I thought about our basement and the space we have there. I thought about the fact that now that we are cyber schooling, we will have much more time for good old fashioned fun like Scrabble and Monopoly. I thought about my own dear mom who let us keep board games up for days. I thought about the fact that in the days of modern technology, my own children may be missing out on the simple fun of playing puzzles and board games for days on end.

And so we decided to set up the dining room furniture in the basement. We packed away the beautiful pieces of china and crystal that Steve and I received as wedding gifts and stored the beautiful hutch before filling the sideboard with our collection of family games. We moved the table down and hung the beautiful prints that my Madison painted. I am excited for all the use that dining room set will soon see and the hours of family games that await!

In addition, we pulled the ping pong table out of storage and made room for it now that the kids are older. What an awesome decision! The kids have not stopped playing! And imagine that...no Wi-Fi needed! It may seem simple, but I hope that these small changes will bring my sweet family even closer together. And I couldn't end without a few before and after pictures, right?

The Dining room before the big move...

 with all the beautiful crystal inside. Pretty, yes. Practical, not so much! : )

The table in the new space...all ready for hours of family fun.

I had to hang these beautiful pictures Madison painted for me .

Look what I found written on the underside of the extra table leaf...a note I wrote almost twenty years ago!

Perfect spot for the sideboard...

filled with our collection of board games.

and finally...this is what my middle two have been up to for days on end now!

I will post pictures of the new schoolroom when it is done. Hopefully soon! : )

July 14, 2013

A Peek Inside...Or At...My Front Porch

So summer is here and I thought I would share with you the place where we spend much of our time during these long, lazy days. We use our front porch in the morning, afternoon, and night. Remember how I told you I like to use Americana decor inside because it works for Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and even through Labor Day? Well, I do the same on my porch as well. Soooo here is a peek inside...er...at my front porch.

Front view...
and my favorite summer wreath.
Perfect spot for my afternoon coffee...
Peyton's favorite spot...
is right across from mine!
Steve loves the rockers. We have had these since we first were married. They were white, and got kinda yucky, so what better way to hide that than to paint them black!
Flynn's little rocker. This actually was MY grandfather's when he was little. I have a picture of my mom in it when she was about Flynn's age.
Here is the view from my porch swing. I like to sit here and say my rosary sometimes.
With this beautiful helper nearby.
And there is the peek at my front porch.
Happy Summer, my friends!