FOR TODAY, December 27th
Outside my window... we awoke to a dusting of feather light snow, nearly just a heavy frost, and the sunny skies have already melted most of it. Just a hint of what's in store in the coming weeks, but it tempted me to bundle the kids and go for a walk nonetheless.
I am thinking... about the year ahead. Over the years, I've worked to simplify my life and create more time and space for family. I'm feeling the pull to simplify further, to decrease the daily running and increase my daily investment in my home, my God, and his plans for my family. Today, I am reflecting and praying about what changes are necessary.
I am thankful... for a lazy morning at home after several days of celebrating with extended family. Noah and Miriam are getting along beautifully for the time being, a huge blessing while Big Sister is with her dad and not here to provide some added entertainment.
From the learning rooms... Our oldest has been learning all sorts of life lessons this year, namely the value of practicing and learning things that don't come easily to her. I haven't taught this lesson well thus far, partly because school has come fairly easily in the past few years. Working hard for something difficult is a vital lesson to learn, and I'll continue to work to instill that value in her.
We gave Noah his first chapter book for Christmas: Magic Tree House. I was a little leery of starting him on higher level reading too early, but he read chapter one with me last night and finished confident and not at all frustrated.
Miriam's Santa gift this year was a LeapPad Explorer, a perfect item for her weekly car rides to and from ballet class. True to herself, she progresses at her own pace. It's not always the one I'm comfortable with or the one that I'd choose for her, but I've learned (and I'm still learning) to escort her and cheer her on rather than try to push.
In the kitchen... there are plans for easy winter meals- the kind that simmer or roast all day and come in bowls with cornbread on the side- vegetable soup, chili, and pot roast. Winter dinners are some of my favorites. The house smells good all afternoon, and the kitchen is a bit cozier than the rest of the year.
I am creating... my 2012 family calendar. It seems full of weekly demands, but they are activities that each of my children look forward to and always attend excitedly.
I am reading... an awesome read for parents of boys (of all ages). It full of clear explanations and practical, bible-based advice. Like all books, I'm reading it as advice and not scripture, but I've gotten many nuggets from this book, and I really wish I'd read it when my son was younger.
I am looking forward to... finding out if I'm getting a niece or a nephew at the end of this week! I've been praying for a healthy ultrasound for my sister and brother-in-law first and foremost, but I'm getting excited about being able to start some projects for the little guy/gal.
I am hearing... the sounds of a big brother teaching a little sister to play Super Mario Bros beside me. I'm sure it'll turn into a squabble over turns soon enough, but that's life around here. We revel in the goodness while it lasts!
Around the house... I've sorted and cleared the kitchen and game cabinet to make room for Christmas gifts. It left me wanting to sort and clear out every nook and cranny of our home, but I think I'll work on laundry and wait until I'm more sane to decide what items we need and what can be donated.
I am pondering... Gift-giving. Every year, I leave Christmas feeling like gift exchanges are frivolity and not as much a genuine giving. It seems to me that we need to be giving gifts of time and talent rather than tossing $30 toward a cashier for a gift that we hope our family members will like. I can think of gifts of time I could have given to each person on my gift list this year, and I think they may have been happier with that than anything I could have wrapped and placed under a tree. Something to think about for next year, but it's also something I could be doing all year long.
One of my favorite things... I got for Christmas was the bracelet my oldest gave me. For weeks before Christmas, she was excited about her choice. When I opened it, I realized just how grown up she is becoming. I loved it because it was obvious that she hadn't thought of herself while choosing it. She'd carefully chosen something that had elements of her mamma's favorite things, an ability that she struggled with in past years.
A few plans for the rest of the week: a few store exchanges for my oldest whose feet are, apparently, nearly as big as my own. Both the house slippers and rain boots she received for Christmas were too small, and I thought I may have been purchasing too large! We're hoping to catch up with friends who we didn't see often enough this fall, but mostly, I plan to camp out at home and play with the kids!
Here is picture for thought I am sharing...