goings on.

praying for rain, inspired by children, teaching littles respect- learning just as much, sweet sunday as a clan, worship in all things, it’s all love-without love i am a clanging cymbal, speaking the truth is not the same as being unloving, pushing back the start of school a week -it’s wrong to do school when it’s over 100 degrees outside, a bit sad summer is coming to a close – but still savoring the last bit, thankful, always thankful: home & family & the Spirit surrounding.

 

The Little darling Spring has run away
The sunshine grew too hot for her to stay
She kissed her sister, Summer,and she said
“When I am gone, you must be queen instead”
Now reigns the Lady Summer, round whose feet
A thousand fairies flock with blossoms sweet.

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about organization.

i have been asked by several folks how i “do it all” and wanted to point out that there is much that i don’t get done. right now, there is a game of risk strewn across the living and dining room floors, my kid’s room is the remains of an epic barbie/pet shop animals battle that took place this afternoon, and there is a houseplant sitting in my kitchen sink.

my mom said something the other day that shifted how i view housekeeping and homemaking. i was overwhelmed with how much i had to do, and she said “why don’t you make a list of all you’ve already done”? and i have been thinking of what i’ve accomplished, today and over the course of becoming a mother. i have done a lot!

so, i like lists. i like to write them, and check items off of them. what really helps me keep all i have to do in order is my big fat notebook.

 

i have divided it into several sections, and will discuss a little about each bit 🙂

1. homemaking

first i have our routines written down, we have a morning routine and a bedtime routine for the kids. in addition to that, i have a basic and very flexible daily schedule. there is a  list of tasks that need to be done daily, which would be different for each household. for ours, it’s: the dishes, sweeping and spot mopping the floors, a quick wipe-down of the bathroom, and at least 2 loads of laundry.

i have our chores broken down into a weekly schedule. again, this would need to be customized for someone else’s home. monday is our weekly home blessing in which i clean out the fridge, change and wash all the sheets, take out all trash, sweep/mop all floors, dust, wipe down walls/baseboards, appliances, trash cans, and wash the rugs. the other days of the week i work in a specific room and do a “big” task in there, in addition to normal tidying. i also have printed out a whole mess of these daily dockets. after that is my cleaning checklists from marthastewart.com. there are weekly, monthly, and seasonal lists.

next is the meal planning section, where i have made a list of our most frequently used recipes and the ingredients required. there is also a monthly calender where i write down our dinners for the month.

2. School

in the school section, the first thing i have is the parenting manifesto of joy. then i have a list of our good habits we will be working on, with corresponding memory verses i have put together. then we have the ‘formidable list of attainments for a child of six‘, which we are working towards. after that, i have all the things i need for each subject. and then our school schedule, which was such a blessing as a free resource from an ambleside yahoo group! after the schedule, i have our exam questions for the year.

3. spirit

this is most eclectic portion of my notebook, but also my favorite. first i have about 10-12 of my favorite prayers – my most favorite being ‘the litany of humility.’ after that is a study i did on healing, and about 3 or 4 pages of notes and scriptures about it. and then i have a lot of resources for sozo, an inner healing/deliverance ministry which i feel called to do. after that i have several different e-books and prayer books, and other random things i find helpful in spirituality. (mostly teachings/resources printed from IHOP or mars hill bible church.)

so! there’s that. hopefully it will help or inspire someone! xoxo!

perhaps…

i am not the best at accomplishing goals i’ve set 🙂 it’s my mischievous streak coming through, if i feel i “must” do something, i don’t want to anymore. therefore, no nablopomo.

just popping on while the kids are still sleeping- we are taking a family wide break from the computer. the girls want to watch shows far more than we are comfortable with. i realized i spend far too much time on the computer, modeling improper behavior. so we’ve stepped back.

not to worry- i am checking my e-mail and staying in contact with everyone, but it might not be as prompt a response as i typically send out!

i’ve been reading andrew murray’s “raising your children for christ”, this timeless book is resonating with me on so many levels. a few excerpts that have pierced my heart:

“the art of education is to bring pleasure and duty into harmony. both may be attained without the sacrifice of either.”

“this is the principle which lies at the root of all true education: what i am to make my child to be, i must first be myself. being an example is more than rules and teaching. what i am and do is more than what i tell him to be or do.”

“parental instruction must come from the heart. we all know that instruction has little influence on children when given by an apathetic teacher. it is only the heart that captures the heart of another. it is the loving warmth of interest and affection of the teacher that awakens corresponding emotions in the heart of the pupil.”

“when the work of instructing a child becomes a burden, you may be sure it is an indication of something wrong within your own heart.”

today my prayer is to see all through Jesus’ eyes…to love folks with Jesus’ heart. and to follow the promptings of the Spirit, when i am shying away from a place of love and into a place of selfishness.

and even…

when my head is pounding, my body tired, my feet dragging-
when breakfast is spilled, coffee is spilled, sippy cups dismantled and poured out-
when i’ve tidied and scrubbed and turn around to breathe a sigh of relief and there is yet another spill- when little voices whine, little voices raise, another little fight threatens to escalate-
when i feel lonely, i feel melancholy, i feel a little bit defeated-

this is when a still small voice tugs at my spirit, reminds me of gratitude, grace, forgiveness, kindness. and i sing…find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. (ps. 62:5)

profile: violette anne.

violette the pilot, today she is 4 years and 2 months old. she likes to play with her pet shop animals, dollhouse and toy kitchen. she is intrigued with the idea of baking, and will jump at the chance to cook with mama. she is a cuddle bug, but only when she wants to. asking for a hug when she’s involved in a game will only result in a) being ignored, or b) “NO!, i’m playing by myself!”, followed by a sneer that words cannot accurately describe.

vi adores order and organization, wanting everything in it’s place and lined up just so. she loves reading and learning, always asking questions and then replying with “weeeeell, huh.” she is very creative, you can find her with the art box nestled in her closet or at the dining room table drawing pictures of “persons” and animals. she is a perfectionist to the extreme, and if her picture is not 100% accurate in her mind, she will grunt, ball up the paper and emphatically throw it on the floor. she is also a fantastic story-teller, and will make up tales of grand proportions, with little to no conflict.

vi is terrifically sensitive, and once wound up for a fit, it’s nearly impossible to placate her. it’s always the most ordinary responses that can untangle her from her crying, though. for instance, a few days ago she wanted a particular cup for her water, and i couldn’t find it. i had given her several cups to choose from, and she was inconsolable that we could not find her cup. so we rocked and rocked and i sang, while silently begging the divine to impart some kind of wisdom to help this poor girl. i pointed out that water will taste the same in whichever cup it’s in, so perhaps she could try to drink out the green cup instead of the pink. she perked right up and said “oh, yea!” and was fine the rest of the day.

violette is a comedienne, in the grandest sense of the word. her jokes are truly funny, and she just gets it. she understands people, their motives and intentions, and has a hard time with any kind of injustice. she sees right through any kind of slick business, and will reject anyone who she feels is false or insincere. she is however, the most loyal of friends, and once she has decided to let you in, you are in for good.

vi likes rules and has the sweetest heart to listen and obey, even when she’s the only one acting right. she will admonish her siblings for not listening to daddy or mama, and then point out that she is acting so very sweet.

violette is such a joy and delight and i am enjoying this particular phase immensely.

a typical day.

what a day looks like in the crandall household:

brady’s alarm starts going off around 5:15 and we snooze through til about 6 or so, i typically don’t get up until he’s already left, about 6:30. i cross my fingers that theodore will stay asleep and tiptoe down the stairs to start my coffee, if i haven’t already set it to auto-start. i’ll get dressed, eat a simple breakfast: granola bar, apple or yogurt and then turn on my morning music, have some time in prayer, check my email and print off schoolwork for the day. this is one of the highlights of my day, this time in the quiet, with music and the spirit and hope for a lovely day ahead. usually brady and i will be texting each other/ have a short phone call during this time.

about 8, the kids will wake up and wander into the living room with questions of what day it is and what activities occur on each day. for instance, today violette came out of her room this morning, sat in the rocking chair and said “oh, it is friday, challah day!”. (oh, funny little story – violette was confusing “holiday” and “challah day” and thought we were going to have challah on labor day. she is such a doll baby. ) after a bit of cuddles and talks of dreams and sleep, we will get dressed and sit at the table while they eat their breakfast. breakfast is usually when we have our deep conversations and the girls come up with a grand, albeit typically in the realm of fantasy, plan for the day.

9 is our official “school starts” time, and we do schoolwork til about 11:30-11:45, when we stop for lunch. we normally eat lunch outside at the picnic table, unless it’s raining or they are being difficult. after lunch, we do a quick tidy up of the house and violette will disappear into her room to play by herself. i will finish up any schoolwork emma has left, and then we have quiet time. emma will choose a movie and violette will either rest on her bed or continue playing quietly with her dolls and animals. i nurse theodore down while reading, or sometimes we’ll go lay down, he usually sleeps for 2 hours in the afternoon. then i clean or work on whatever project i have going.

of course, you’ll have to imagine that during all of this, my phone is abuzz with text messages/phone calls/e-mails popping up and teddy nearly always getting into some kind of mischief. interspersed through the day are also visits from my siblings and/or parents. they might pop in for ten minutes for a quick cup of coffee or chat, or come spend the afternoon with us.

around 3:30 or 4, i will mosey in the kitchen and wonder about supper, sometimes i’ll do a sink-full of dishes, or sometimes i won’t. brady gets home anywhere from 4:30-6:30, sometimes he’s out as late as 7:30 or so, depending on what round they are on. daddy coming home is a very exciting time for the kids, and me too 🙂 after he gets settled in, we usually have supper and then spend the evening talking and hanging out, or doing whatever we have planned.

the bedtime routine is perpetually being tweaked, but as for right now it looks like this. around 8, we start tidying up their room and any messes they’ve made in the living room/dining room. we put on jammies, read a chapter in whichever book we’re reading (at the moment, it’s peter pan), and then i’ll sing a round of our favorite bed time songs. twinkle, twinkle; you are my sunshine (or you are my bunny, or you are my door, or whatever funny things they come up with); all the pretty little horses; stay awake from mary poppins; and go to sleep. violette will be out before i’m done singing ‘all the pretty little horses’ and emma will ask for me to sing them through a second time, which i usually do. then it’s goodnite kisses, and i go lay theodore down, and breathe a sigh of relief. (remember, this is on a very smooth, and easy nite…probably once a week hah!)

brady and i talk, read or sometimes just go straight to bed. usually we eat some kind of sugary treat we don’t want our children to consume. when we go to bed, i like to lay there and note the things that happened during the day and take stock of the things i am grateful for and pray for people/situations that need it. i usually fall asleep singing a song in my head, and wake up singing it in the morning.

profile: theodore welcome.

a few days ago, the littlest was 15 months old. as such, i felt compelled to write up a little profile on what he’s been learning and doing.

his favorite food is, well, anything. to be honest, i can’t recall a food he hasn’t liked. just last nite, he was walking around with half an onion he’d pilfered from the fridge, and was licking it and taking small bites. he loves pickles and condiments. if he gets quiet for more than a few seconds, i know to head towards the refrigerator and there i will find him, stacking mustard, ketchup, pancake syrup, wheat germ and soy sauce.

most of the time, theodore is dancing. his favorite song right now is “hey, soul sister”, and when it comes on, he stops, drops everything and runs to the center of the living room to dance. he has quite a few moves in his arsenal, and i would say he’s got the skills to pay the bills.

he is quite ornery, loves to pick on his sisters and make people laugh. he has a range of facial expressions, more than i’ve ever seen on a little guy. his curiosity is intense, the phrase of the moment: “what IS it?”, emphasis on “is”, going up to a higher pitch and raising one eyebrow. or in the same vein “what’s-at”, said deeper and more excitedly. he loves a good, enthusiastic “good-bye”, waving and blowing kisses and giving hugs. speaking of hugs, he kisses now. it’s more of a “face hug”, or a lick on one’s cheek, but it’s very sweet nonetheless.

playing outside is his idea of paradise, and we have been spending many afternoons out in the yard as the weather is cooling off.

he is in a bit of a difficult phase as far as keeping him occupied. he also finds any kind of stick a hilarious weapon to be used on unsuspecting family members, which is embarrassing, shocking and kind of funny. he attempts climbing on any thing he thinks he can. i admire his bravery, yet i am ready for some kind of impulse control to kick in, but i know i’ve a ways to wait.

he’s still nursing away and growing, growing, growing. it’s a joy to watch him and play with him. he reads! no, in all seriousness, it is so darling how he “reads”: he gets a book, lays down on the floor on his stomach, kicks his legs up and points at the pages, saying “ooh!” or “what IS it?”. just adorable.

his smile is contagious and his love for his sisters, dada, and mama is overwhelmingly sweet. so glad to be his mama ❤

in september:

i fully intend to:

-make a blog post every day. rather, i will attempt posting daily, and if life does not let me, c’est la vie!
-apply violette’s new motto, borrowed from charlotte in charlotte’s web: “never hurry, never worry”. vi is reminding me of this daily- tonite i forgot to heat up the beans to go with our dinner, and she says, mostly tender and slightly mischievously: “mama, it’s okay. never hurry and never worry!”
-take better care of myself. walk with my sister, drink water, eat nourishing foods on a regular basis (my daily meals typically involve a small breakfast of some variation on fruit/granola bar/yogurt and then waiting until dinner, where i tend to overeat out of hunger from realizing i haven’t eaten since breakfast!)
-pray.
-continue the process of learning to hold my tongue and my temper. create in me a clean heart, O God.
-practice living respectfully towards all living things, & remember everybody needs a little grace sometimes. (note to self: grace is not a one time act- if one needs grace after extending it- what can seem like a thousand times – go for the 1,001.)
-“put on love like a t-shirt” every morning, every time i feel grouchy. all day, every day.
-continue the daily notes and log kept during school- there is such beauty in the “mundane” details.
-take photos, edit photos. and not be discouraged by the naysayers & the cruel.
-celebrate autumn, celebrate change, celebrate warmth, celebrate family. simply celebrate!
-appreciate and rejoice in any rainfall- oh to have a true blue thunderstorm! rain, i miss you.

inspired.

yesterday was a good day, a full day. a day of inspiration and getting things done, at least in the creative sense. as i was rocking the baby down for his nap & spending a bit of time in prayer, i asked the divine to give me something to show for the day, something to share with my friends and loved ones. and oh my, did i ever get something to show. it’s certainly not my typical style of writing, and to be honest – i am hesitant to share. i did not edit, because i don’t feel i can edit the words that i don’t believe came from me. without further adieu:

The Christian wife and mother

If a christian wife and mother’s first earthly priority is not her family, and if that priority does not come strictly from an overflow of love in her heart, there is something amiss. The wife and mother is created to nurture and provide love, comfort, peace and stability. The maternal vibe should be one of selflessness, tender encouragement, acceptance and above all, compassion.

When operating in the Spirit throughout her daily life, the once overwhelming and seemingly unbearable trials of caring for little ones – peanut butter smeared couches, whiny temper tantrums and obstinate strikes- these are minimized to an almost unbelievable fraction.

When viewed through the lens of love, and with an aim to restore and maintain peace, the yoke of motherhood becomes a light and joyful gift to bear. Every chore transformed to an act of love and devotion for one’s family and home. The idea of “time for oneself” becomes nearly obsolete when participating in the divine experience of a family whose mechanics are smoothly oiled with the anointing from the Holy Spirit.

Surrounded by women of faith, who too are prompted and guided by the Great Divine, one feels encouraged and a part of the tribe of mothers who understand. to borrow a phrase from the late charlotte mason, mother culture automatically blossoms in groups of mothers where christ is truly the center.

As for the deep love of one’s husband: when the fruits of the spirit are modeled between spouses, children will mimic and rarely stray from the deep respect and desire for right and pure actions. The romance and hearts turned towards each other is apparent to all, and a beautiful picture of God and his love for his bride, the church.

When families are in tune and under the direction of Christ, this love can be spread out to extended families, then on to neighbors and friends, and then on to unimaginable lengths! But it must be remembered this love must start at home and work outward, or it means nothing more than clanging cymbals and sounding brass.

school days.

monday morning started a brand new adventure for the crandall clan: school!

emma is doing kindergarten work, and violette, pre-k.

here is a basic summary of the subjects we’re covering this year:

bible and memorization: starting with genesis and working through. i give them a printed off coloring sheet to work on while i read the passage and then we discuss it. also introducing a new good habit a week: last week we started on the habit of attention and had a verse from proverbs that corresponded and then this week is obedience and they’re working on ephesians 6:1.

reading, phonics and poetry: their book list is pretty extensive, and most are checked out through the library. violette has a hans christian anderson collection and we borrowed a beatrix potter collection and little bear collection from the library. emma is reading aesop’s fables; a collection of old myths and fables written for younger kids; rudyard kipling’s ‘just so stories’, and fairy books (we’re on blue right now). the main part of the charlotte mason method we are focusing on is what she called “narration”… the parent reads the passage and then the child basically summarizes it in their own language, every few paragraphs. it’s so amazing to hear what they come up with and pick up on. we are also reading a chapter book together for quiet time/bed time and then when we’re finished, watching a movie based off the book- we’re on charlotte’s web right now, and then we’ll move on to peter pan and then little house in the big woods. emma is doing the ‘handbook for reading’ curriculum, and is already putting together sounds and understanding much more than i anticipated, especially so quickly.

their math work is pretty simple right now, basic counting and addition. they love working with the abacus. emma is perturbed that i won’t let her “finish her workbook in one day”!

we’re doing music on mondays, nature on tuesdays, handicrafts on wednesdays, art on thursdays and a bit of each on friday. friday will be our review/exam day, so i want to balance that with some more fun things too. i found the most amazing book on nature – “the handbook of nature study”, it’s gigantic and full of lovely pictures. yesterday we did a lesson on observing cats and they sketched a picture of margot and talked about what habits cat have and how we know if they are happy or upset. for music we are doing a mixture of folksongs, hymns and classical pieces, talking about the composers and whatnot. eventually i will teach them to read music and play the piano/guitar.

for art we’re studying shel silverstein, and i found several neat printables on his website, so i printed off “cutting kate” and the kids are working on illustrating that. we had to switch handicrafts and art today because i didn’t have embroidery hoops. we’re using yarn on burlap and doing free-form embroidery.

emma is doing copywork, starting with letters and numbers and as we progress doing the poems/hymns we’ve covered that day.

altogether, i can’t imagine doing anything different. i love this time we’re getting to spend together, and so grateful for the blessing of being able to be a mama and a teacher.