Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Think about these things...

I would love to say this is my last post relating to Sonya Shafer at the homeschool expo but I don't want to start off my day lying to you all ;)

But, in her talk Laying Down the Rails, Mrs. Shafer emphasized the importance of building good habits in your children. She mentioned in the early years this often means simply, redirecting your child from doing something wrong so that at least they aren't forming a bad habit... even if they aren't forming a good one. Because, as we know, bad habits are hard to break.

I think this is great advice for dealing with young kiddos. But, I also realized it is something I have sort of been implementing in my own life.

I can't speak for the entire female population in general... but for me at least, I can very easily let my mind dwell on things that are upsetting or worrying me. If someone does something that hurts my feelings or frustrates me I can find myself just sitting and dwelling on it, replaying the situation again and again and again. I can keep myself so sad and upset just by letting myself continue to be sad or worried.

I read awhile back that if someone has hurt you the best thing to do whenever that person comes to mind is to pray for good in that person's life. That is wonderful advice and is the first thing I try to do. But, sometimes I am just not going to do that in the moment... so I would keep.on.dwelling. But, in the past few months, I have simply forced myself to think of something else. Anything else. When possible I try to meditate on a scripture passage. If I am really struggling with something I love to sit down and make a "what is true" list where I list everything that is good and true in my life right now (I have 4 beautiful children, my husband loves me and makes me laugh, a friend texted just to check in on me today, etc.), basically counting my blessings.

But, bare minimum, I don't let my mind dwell on being upset. So, sometimes that means I have to search Pinterest for a fun new recipe to make for dinner. Or I might text a funny quote from a tv show to a friend. Anything to not dwell and reinforce that habit.

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." -Philipians 4:8

Monday, March 31, 2014

What we are up to lately...

I am home with two little sickies today (and the two well children!). It has been a coughing-fest here at our house the past several days. Not my favorite but at least everyone seems to "feel" okay!

Sammy is napping right now, Sophie is cutting out pictures from her coloring book, and the "big boys" are playing Legos (their very favorite activity!) so I thought I would do a quick bullet point post on what has been going on these days in the Ramsey house.

  • Sam has started walking a little bit. He really hasn't showed much interest but is starting to take a few steps at a time. The other day Nick had him walking towards me and he took about 5 steps. I got so excited I screamed and poor Sam got so startled he started crying! Mother of the year right here. At least he can't fault me for lack of enthusiasm!
  • Nick and I finished season 2 of Downton Abbey and are starting Season 3. It is so good! My favorite way to watch TV shows is on DVD or Netflix where I can watch episodes whenever I want and also not have commercials!
  • We are headed to Kansas City this weekend as a family so that Sophie and I can go to my sister Emily's baby shower. My kids love going to stay at Aunt Emily and Uncle Simon's so we are all pretty excited.
  • I am a little on the dorky side and I love dressing our family in coordinating outfits for Christmas Eve and Easter. I don't stress too much about what my kids wear and for the most part they pick out their own clothes. But for Christmas Eve and Easter I love to dress up and have everyone all matchy! This year our "theme" for Easter is mostly pink, gray, and khaki with a few other colors mixed in. I got the kiddos outfits at Children's Place and was able to find outfits for Nick and I at Target and Kohls. I can't wait to see how it looks all together.
  • Tonight Nick is taking Max to Lego Club at our local library. They have been going once a month and I think it has been really fun for them. It has worked really well for our family because it is only once a month and it is free!
Oh, and since I am on a big Sonya Shafer kick right now after hearing her speak this weekend I thought I would share this wonderful article she wrote on early education. I love it and it definitely is making me re-think a few things!

And a random bullet post point just would not be complete without a few pictures. Here are some after bath pics from a few days ago. Nothing like squeaky clean kiddos in their p.j.s!

and yes... some of us are still rockin' the Christmas p.j.s at the end of March...

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Homeschool Encouragement

I just spend the past 2 1/2 days at the Greater St. Louis Area Home Educators Expo! This was my third year going on Thursday night and checking out the vendors but my first year to actually attend the conference. I am so glad that I went!

The highlight of the conference was without a doubt Sonya Shafer of SimplyCharlotteMason.com. She is a wonderful speaker and was such an encouragement. I went to all four of her workshops;

  • Laying Down the Rails- The Power of Good Habits in Your Homeschool
  • Charlotte Mason and Her Methods
  • Why More is Less- A Call to Simplicity in Your Schedule
  • Looking Past the Fear
Now is the place where I tell you which session was my favorite, but I just can't choose. They were all so good. Mrs. Shafer has such a heart for home educating and it is hard to not get excited listening to her share.

I also attended a session on nature studies which was a huge blessing to me. I have always loved the concept of nature studies but for some reason I just still couldn't get a grasp on how to do it. Sue Pruett did an excellent job explaining how to implement nature studies into a home school setting and I am so excited to give it a try.

I loved getting to check out all of the different vendors. I bought some things that I am very excited to use next year. There were also several things I saw that I couldn't buy this weekend but would love to get my hands on in the future (Lamplighter books, anyone?)

The downer of the weekend was that I have a really nasty cold and have been coughing my head off. I am hoping I can actually get a little sleep tonight. I am thinking after I sign off here I will get some tea with honey going and see if I can convince the hubs to watch an episode or two of Downton Abbey with me (we watched the first season when it was on and then got way behind, so a sweet friend just lent me season 2 and 3 on DVD so there is much catching up to do!).

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I Love My Home: Switching Rooms

I get a lot of grief for how often I rearrange furniture and switch things from room to room in my house. But, I am a firm believer in making your house work for you. As a growing family our needs are constantly changing and it just makes sense to change things up to fit our current needs.

Our most recent dilemma was with our kids bedrooms. Our set up was Sam in the front bedroom, Jack down the hall, and Max and Sophie together in the big bedroom in bunk beds. Well, since Nick started working from home we made his office in Sam's walk-in closet. It was a great place for him to work since it has a window and gives him the privacy he needs to actually get some work done.

But, as Sam was getting older it wasn't working for him to nap while Nick was working. Jack was also eager to move in with Max and have a "brothers room". And we also had Sophie wanting a little more space for her girly toys. So, in an effort to solve our problems we did a big room swap Sunday evening.

We moved Jack in with Max, Sam into the back bedroom (where it is nice and dark and less noisy), and Sophie into the front bedroom (which was her original room when we moved into this house!). It really has solved all of our current bedroom issues which is a huge blessing!
Sophie and Jack on Sophie's new bed
So, we still need to finish moving toys and organizing the rooms and probably down the line (maybe this summer) some re-decorating will take place. But, for now, this is a great change that helps me to love my home even more.

Monday, March 24, 2014

"Special" days

Oh my goodness... I love to link to other good blog posts here on my blog. The one I am linking to today is one I have wanted to write myself for months but just couldn't put quite into the right words. Kristen over at We Are That Family totally hit it out of the park with this post, "Maybe We Should Stop Entertaining Our Kids So Much". Stop whatever you are doing and go read it now :)

If I could hug a blog post I would be in an all day snuggle fest with this one. As summer is coming closer (and come on, it has only been Spring for a couple of days) I have started seeing all of the links to "101 awesome things to do with your kid this summer" posts and I am groaning inside. Not because I don't love doing fun things in the summer, I do! Bring on the snow cones, days spent at the swimming pool, and mid-week trips to the zoo! But, summer has become a 3 month long party these days. Everyday is supposed to be exciting and fun and "special". And weekends are kind of the same way, every Saturday is something "big"; birthday parties, Science Center, theme parks...

I am just as guilty as anyone. Last year I even caved and made the "summer bucket list" and we checked off fun things throughout the summer. And, this isn't bad in and of itself. But, I am just starting to find that "special" isn't very "special" when it happens all the time. I kind of think the majority of days need to be regular old days in order for the special ones to truly be... special. I am not saying boring or devoid of any joy and fun. But, doing normal things like chores, reading books, building with Legos, running to the grocery store (for food for the family, not a "special treat"), playing in the backyard....

Lately, I find myself often being asked the question by my kids, "what is special about today?" And I get a little frustrated because they are now equating a good day with something "special". So, at least in this house, we are getting back to the basics. Finding joy in the everyday, allowing boredom (because out of it blooms imagination and creativity) and redeeming "special".

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Examples of motherhood

I do, in general, really love being around my kids. They are fun, smart and kind... and then there is the whole, "they are my kids so of course I love them thing". But, sometimes I do find myself having a bad attitude about my kiddos. I feel annoyed by their constant demanding (you know, to be fed three meals a day and all of that). I feel frustrated and tired and soooo ready for bedtime.

But, I have noticed since stepping back from Facebook (originally I deactivated my account, but my Target Cartwheel app goes through my FB and I just wasn't willing to give that up! So, it is activated but I don't look at it...end rabbit trail HERE!) that I have had a much better attitude about motherhood. And after thinking about it for awhile I have realized that even as a mom I can be impressionable! Reading moms complaining about their kids being up early or throwing a tantrum in the store gets me in a complaining mode too! And I have totally been the mom complaining on Facebook too!

A lot of TV shows and books are the same way. I can sit and watch other moms roll their eyes at every childish thing their children do and then find myself doing the same thing a few hours later.

But, on the reverse side, I have found that immersing myself in good examples of motherhood can help me to have a good attitude in my heart towards my children! Picking up a Sally Clarkson book, reading a few chapters of Little Women, or watching an episode or two of Little House on the Prairie or 19 Kids and Counting can help me to renew my mind a bit and see my children as a blessing and have a heart of gratitude.

We often think so much about what our children are watching or reading and now impressionable they are, but we can be that way too! What goes in our minds really does stick in our hearts!

I know that no mom is perfect and I am not saying that we should pretend to never have a hard moment. But, I am finding that looking to women who have a good attitude toward motherhood helps those moments feel much less overwhelming!

What are some resources that help you to have a good attitude as a mom?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sunday around the web

I love to come on here from time to time and post some great reads I found around the internet this week. There are often many blog posts that have me shouting "amen!" and I love when people share good reads with me! So, it only seems fair to return the favor.

This article, "10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12"  by Chris Rowan, a pediatric occupational therapist was very eye opening. I disagree with her on one big point... that they should be banned. I am totally against big government. BUT, her points on why parents should CHOOSE to not allow handheld devices with children under 12 are very convincing. I have already noticed a difference in my children on days when they are not allowed screen time versus days when they are. And when those screens can be held in their own little hands it can be even more intense. Nick and I already decided a long time ago that our kiddos wouldn't have any of their own handheld devices and we have gotten some flack for that decision. But, I am thankful we have held firm with that and this article makes me consider limiting screen time even more.

"Why We Shouldn't Neglect to Meet Together" by Jon Bloom on Desiring God was a really great read for me this morning. I am actually home from church this morning since I was up all night again coughing and am still feeling really ick. But, I am thankful my family could go to church and am thankful for the reminder of why fellowship is so important.

And just for fun... We all know I love the Duggars, and I also loved watching their friends, the Bates family when they did a short season long show on TLC. I love the Bates family and their down to earth attitudes. I recently came across Mrs. Bates' blog and it is so much fun to look through! She also has lots of pictures of the most recent Bates family weddings- Erin and Zack's weddings. So, if you scroll back a bit you can see those.

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekends! I have one big task on my to do list today... get better! So, I am going to go work on that!