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Posts Tagged ‘children’

Loving the Sunflower

In a Christmas parcel from Gramma were 5 little cups containing soil and sunflower seeds, one for each child. The children waited until the snow had almost melted before I would let them push their seeds into the soft soil. Those little plants received far too much water, and yet they dared to arch up out of the earth to greet the sun.

William was not yet two, but he knew which plant was his and he was so very proud of it. I let him carry it around the house and sometimes he would just sit on the steps and look at it. I knew it’s chances of survival were slim, that the love of a toddler was just too much for the average plant to bear. He even got grumpy and threw that little sunflower on the floor a couple times, but still, it kept growing. I’m sure that most mothers are sensible enough to not allow a 1 year old to carry a plant around the house, but it made me smile to see how special it was to him.

Amazingly, the sunflower survived long enough to be planted in a row beside the other sunflowers. We started with Myra’s and planted them all in order from the oldest child’s all the way down to little William’s at the end. William knew which flower belonged to him. He would say, “Mine,” and give it an endearing little shake whenever he went past it. I was sure he was going to break the stem one day and just hoped that he didn’t damage any of the other children’s flowers while he was at it, but no, the stem grew thick and strong.

One day we noticed a flower head beginning to form. We would hold William up so he could see it closely. The flower bud was still tight, but we could see the tiniest bit of yellow peaking from inside. That sunflower, William’s sunflower opened long before anyone else’s and we all delighted in his joy.

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Today I took my little ones on a berry picking expedition. The little blueberry patch is not far from our house, but it takes about 15 minutes when I slow my steps to match my 2 year old’s pace. As we walk, William’s tiny little fist enclosed in my own, I think back 4 years to when Ethan and Owen were this age. At that point in my life, I hadn’t yet learned to slow my steps and enjoy the journey. I would feel frustrated that every walk that we went on was interrupted again and again as the twins discovered another rock, pine cone or stick. Why did it take me so long to learn to enjoy the discovery and wonder of it all? Why did I always feel so rushed to reach the destination?

William finds a small saskatoon bush with heavy, ripe berries hanging from it’s branches. We stop to pick the berries and drop them in his little bucket. I know he is proud to have the bottom of his bucket covered. I am surprised that he doesn’t eat them right away. We walk on; the terrain is rough and the little bucket bounces wildly. William notices as his last berry leaps from his bucket. “Berries all gone!” he tells me, distress raising his voice.

“It’s all right,” I tell him soothingly as I pick up the single berry and drop it in his bucket, “We’ll find more.” We stop at the next bush and replenish the little pail. As we walk on I carefully watch his bucket and the berries arrive safely at the blueberry patch.

I tell William that he can eat the berries from his own bucket, but not from Mommy’s. We all spread out and pick and eat berries to our hearts content. The children bring their small buckets and dump them into my large one. Even William dumps a berry or two into the main bucket and we all praise him profusely, telling him what a big helper he is. After a little while everyone is tired and we stop for some juice and a snack before heading home.

As we walk home I think of how glad I am that I have learned to enjoy the journey, but I realize that there is another lesson that I want to learn; I want to play with my children more. I know in theory how important it is to play together, have fun together, but I’m always trying to accomplish something and playing doesn’t seem to be accomplishing anything. Yes, I’m focused on the destination again aren’t I?

I’m thankful for the new life growing in me and for the new opportunity to learn to slow down and enjoy each moment that God gives.

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I had the joy of looking after three little boys earlier this week. When I added the two year old twins and one year old baby to my own brood, I had eight energetic children in my care, including two sets of twins!

 The plan was to not try to get anything done, and just spend the day playing with the children. You might have a hard time believing how excited I was, as I anticipated having a day off to play!

I put out a snack soon after the little guys arrived. I laughed until my stomach hurt at the chaos that ensued. The four children under three ate by the fistfuls. In a matter of minutes there was food from one end of the downstairs living area to the other. It was actually similar to a piranha feeding frenzy!

 When their hunger was sufficiently satiated, I brought everyone upstairs, shut the gate and quickly swept the downstairs floor (by the way, I wasn’t breaking my own rule about “not getting anything done,” I was simply maintaining. 🙂 )

Upstairs, there were great shrieks of laughter and unnerving crashes. I ran upstairs to find some of them rolling on the floor, bulldozing each other. Others were leaping off of the couch onto a pile of pillows. The baby sat quietly at my feet driving a truck, oblivious to the hilarity. This went on non-stop for about an hour, until I brought them down for lunch.

I put Myra and Melanie in charge of feeding one twin boy each, while I fed William and the baby. And feed we did- continuosly for about 20 minutes! Myra exclaimed that, “The Mother” must be awfully busy just trying to feed them all, when it took all three of us to keep up to the demand.

After lunch I was tickled pink that the four little ones all went down for a nap at the same time, while the oldest four went outside to play. It amazed me how quickly we went from wonderful chaos, to pervasive peacefulness.

Hats off to the Mama of this little trio of pure energy, and looking forward to their next visit.

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It’s been almost 8 years, since we sold our home on the coast and headed North. That first winter was long and I honestly did struggle. I kept asking myself, “Why does anyone live up here? It’s winter 6 months of the year!”
I’ve learned a few tricks of survival since then. Actually, I kind of enjoy winter now. There is something satisfying about a deep freeze. The cold is sort of invigorating. I even find it exciting at times. Hey, you could die out there! Does that sort of thing excite anyone else, or am I just a nut?
Did you know, that at -30 C, you can throw boiling water into the air and it will explode into snow? No joke! We do it every winter. And when it’s that cold, we thank God for our warm house!
Some days, we wake up to unparalleled beauty. There’s nothing like going for a drive and soaking in the sights, of the fingers of frost reaching skyward, from every branch and twig. It’s even better on a sunny day, with the suns rays reflected, in a full spectrum of colour, in every direction.
I think a childlike approach to winter really helps too. Children don’t have a hard time enjoying winter. I know my kids are out there every day, flying down the sled hill, just behind our house. There are several different runs, some more terrifying than others! I joined the children one afternoon this week and it was a blast.
I don’t really think saucers are made for adults and I wasn’t really sure what to do with my legs. I admit it, I screamed louder than anyone. The kids loved it. Going down facing forward is scary enough, but these saucers have the uncanny ability, of spinning around backwards at the worst part. And wow, is it ever good exercise racing the kids up the hill!
We were able to go skating recently too. Some friends invited us over, to their absolutely amazing rink. I didn’t have skates, but Julie managed to find me some skates, that were only a little too big. Now keep in mind, that this was only the third or fourth time I’ve skated in 20 years. I wobbled and tottered and fell, but it was wonderful! We played a game of broom ball, and the fact that I couldn’t skate didn’t keep me from going after the ball! I fell about a dozen times and enjoyed every bit of it. There are few things that I enjoy more than a good laugh at myself!
There seems to be so many ways to enjoy the winter, now that I’ve made up my mind to have fun out there. Maybe I’ll try cross-country skiing next. Happy snow days!

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Every once and a while, I’ll get a glimpse of my life through someone else’s eyes and it always gives me a good laugh. Just today I was visiting with a woman. I noticed a look of shock on her face and then she broke into laughter. I turned and saw one of my 6 year old boys dragging William by his feet. William looked perfectly peaceful as his head wheeled around the carpet. Amazingly the kid has a full head of hair! Now this isn’t a daily occurrence, but I normally wouldn’t bat an eye at it. A casual, “Please don’t drag the baby by his heels,” would suffice. I realize though, that this scenario is a little out of the ordinary for most!

I have received many shakes of the head over the years. I am perfectly aware that many if not most of our family and friends think we are nuts to have so many children! Once as I stood in a store with a 4 year-old on one side of me, a 2 year-old on the other side and a 4 month old baby in each arm, a man approached me. “Please tell me that those aren’t all your children,” he said. I just laughed and said, “They’re all mine.” He walked away shaking his head.

I think that the reason people find it so hard to relate to my situation, is that it out of their realm of experience. They can’t imagine what it would be like to home school five children. They can’t imagine why I would want to. As for difficulty, I don’t believe for a moment that I work harder, or have a more difficult job, than a teacher of 30 students that comes home to prepare meals and help her own children with their homework. I’m biased here, and the teacher might have a completely different view, but I can’t imagine the said teacher to be any more satisfied than me either. What can be more exciting than opening your own child’s mind to the almost infinite world of the written word, or of contributing to his or her love of learning?

One of the reasons I am sharing snippets of my life here, is that I would like to demystify full-time motherhood a little. As for my own experience, it isn’t a drudgery in the least and it can be a lot of fun!

Some of you may be aware of the fact that we had misplaced our science book. It seems that we had looked everywhere. I was seriously beginning to suspect that someone had taken it, maybe accidentally, perhaps as a joke, or maybe I had talked a little too much about our incredible science curriculum and it was swiped! (Okay, I didn’t really think any of my friends stole the book.) I resorted to offering an incentive; five candies to the child that found the book and three for everyone else. Believe me, they looked, we all did.

On Friday I came to the conclusion that I would need to buy another book. I was going to order one that night. I was doing some photocopying and I removed the cover to make it easier. Something caught my eye, “Could it be the missing book?” I wondered. It was! We started science that very night, at bedtime!

We’ve been making up lost time and spent all day Saturday on science. We are studying human anatomy and my response is, WOW. The first chapter was on the cell. I don’t know why I didn’t learn anything in school, but it all seems brand new to me. The children drew a diagram of a cell while I read to them. Then we got to make an ‘edible cell’ with jello and lots of candy. My incredibly wonderful husband went to 2 stores and spent over an hour looking for all the ingredients. (Kevin told me to put that in 🙂 )

The jello was the cytoplasm, m&m peanuts were the mitochondria, skittles were the lysosomes. Three smarties made up a Golgi body. We cut a fruit roll up to make the endoplasmic reticulum and studded some of them with round cake sprinkles to represent the ribosomes. We used tubular sprinkles for centrioles and to top it all off, a Lindt chocolate truffle for the nucleus. Those who know me well, won’t be surprised to hear that I made an edible cell too and enjoyed every bite! Kevin wasn’t interested in making one and even gave me his chocolate truffle. I really don’t think learning gets any better. Tonight we watched a digital animation of the RNA making a copy of the DNA and the chains of protein being formed. Melanie keeps shaking her head at how amazing the ‘simple’ cell is.

Well it’s late. I’d best be getting to bed, after all, tomorrow is another day! I’ll leave you with a picture of one of the “cells.”

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I Am Thankful

It is one thing to be blessed, but it is quite another thing to know that you are blessed. I am thankful that I can look around me and see, not just the work and hardship, but the precious gifts that fill my life. My life is very busy with 5 small children, and a house and garden to tend to, but it is my prayer that I will not just rush through the days. I want to savour the moments.

My children love baking and I am trying to include them more. It is tempting to just do it myself. After all, it is easier and probably quicker too, but I am reminded that children grow quickly. It won’t be long until I will be able to bake in peace, I think I’ll be wishing though, that I had little helpers.

Yesterday I made bread. I gave a lump of dough to each child, and they set out to make pieces of art with it. Myra spent almost an hour crafting a family. The mother had tiny, intricate braids. There were beds for everyone and even a highchair and bib for the baby. Melanie also made a family and Ethan made wonderful monkeys. Owen made bug faces. 🙂

The girls are wanting to bake more on their own now. They positively glow when someone says that the cake is good, and I can tell them that Myra or Melanie made it. Of course the eggs are still a bit tricky. I get them to crack the eggs into a cup, and the cat gets the ones that end up on the counter.

I am thankful for my family and friends. I am thankful for the moments that make up my life. I am thankful to know that I am blessed. Each of these gifts are from the hand of God.

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