We are so excited to be joined by the delightful Kindness Elves this holiday season! I first heard about them on the brilliant blog, The Imagination Tree, last year and knew right away that I wanted to do it myself this year. So, when I discovered these adorable little guys at my local Dollarama in early November (gah! Christmas stuff in early November!), I immediately snatched them up. They were soft, cute and cheap — perfect for my intended purpose.
We don’t teach “Santa” in our home — we have discussed it with Naomi and explained to her that Santa is another name for St. Nicholas. So she knows that it’s just me playing a game with the elves. Nevertheless, it’s been fun to wake up to their antics. The first day of their arrival, she found them sitting on the stairs, with a little note asking that she give them names. She named the Red one “Red” and the green one “Purple” (she does know he’s green, she doesn’t have any trouble with colors or naming them).
This morning, Red and Purple asked her to help them come up with a list of names of people she loved that she wanted to show kindness to, as well as some ideas. It was fun to come up with names of all her friends and family, though she did specify the ones she was shy of and we discussed ways she could be kind to them that she would be comfortable with.
Are the Kindness Elves coming to your home this Advent season? How are you sharing their fun and antics? Tell us about it in our comments section!
Naomi turned 4 this past May and I was thrilled. This meant that in September of this year, I could begin “homeschooling” her, or rather, preschooling her. I was so excited. This had been my objective since before I met Michael. Finally, I was able to start the grand adventure of homeschooling my children.
Based on our beginning understanding of Charlotte Mason’s philosophy on education, I knew that preschool for us wouldn’t involve a lot of worksheets or readers, but rather a gentle routine that would allow us to grow and develop a passion and love of learning together. I did some research into what a Charlotte Mason preschool should look like, and created a general routine for our days, and I would love to share that routine with you in this new series.
Our homeschooling begins first thing in the morning, before we even get up. Naomi usually comes into my bed after Michael leaves for work in the morning. We cosleep with Jude, and she usually snuggles in beside me and we sleep for an hour or so longer after he leaves. Once we do wake, it’s a wonderful snuggle and cuddle, and we discuss what the day holds — appointments, errands, visits, etcetera.
The first thing we do in the morning is say our morning prayers. I have a list of prayers I wanted Naomi to learn this year, although I think it will likely be fewer this year than I expected. We began with the Hail Mary, as Naomi has a deep love for the Blessed Mother, and after she had that one pretty well mastered, we moved on to the Our Father.After we’ve receited our prayer, we discuss what else we should pray for — a special request, something we are grateful for, a sin we need to confess, etc. We then pray together, my special girl and I.
After that, we read a story from our 365 Read-Aloud Bedtime Bible Stories book. Because we only read these on school days, we are not getting through it as quickly as we might like, but to be honest, that’s okay. I enjoy that this book gives a very basic version of the story, which allows me to elaborate, explain and discuss it in further depth as I see fit for Naomi to understand. It also gives me the opportunity to bring in other resources, such as episodes of Adventures in Odyssey, as I did with the story of Esau and Jacob. By the time this is over, we have discussed some very important topics in a fun, loving environment and we are ready to begin our day. So we get up, make our beds, go get dressed and brush our teeth, and are ready to go downstairs to get the house straightened up and breakfast ready.
How do you begin your homeschool mornings? I’d love to hear about it — share in the comments below!
Sometimes, a piece of information comes up on your Facebook feed that grips you — that just challenges you and convicts you thoroughly. On Monday of this week, I had one such experience. This blog post appeared in my News Feed and after reading it, I sat and cried. The story of a poor little boy who lost his life due to an improperly installed car seat was gutwretching, and I couldn’t stop myself from thinking all the different “What if” scenarios. I have a very precious little man and little girl that ride around with me in our car, and while I felt our seats were safe, I am very convicted about it and determined to improve.
The truth is, I should not be alone in this — according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3 out of 4 car seats are not safely installed into their vehicles. That’s chilling. And horrible. And just further motivates me to make sure my children are safe in our vehicle, as safe as they are in my own home.
I had asked for my and Michael’s family to chip in to buy Jude a new car seat for his birthday this year — one that would convert from a rear facing seat to a front facing seat when he was older, but I hadn’t gotten around to it. I am now more determined than ever to get our car a new car seat, hopefully by this weekend, and install it properly. Naomi’s car seat is still adequate, but I know now that we faced her forward too early, and in fact, she is just now the size and weight she should be for forward facing. I am so incredibly thankful to Jesus that we have never had to go through any kind of vehicle accident or injury, especially where our children are concerned.
I have contacted some local baby stores and organizations to see if there is a car seat safety workshop put on anywhere in my community. Til I know more, I will be studying and learning from various videos and making sure that things are safe. If you’re looking for resources for proper purchase and instillation of car seats, please check out the following links.
I was never a big fan of the show King of the Hill. The comedy was pretty dry for me and not that appealing. However, one of the few episodes that I remember had one of my favorite quotes in it that I have ever seen on a TV show. The episode is called Bobby Goes Nuts and I will spare you the details. However, after Bobby refuses to obey his injured father, Hank, Peggy steps in, hands her glasses off to Hank and says,
“That is it. I would not let a stranger, let alone my own son,
think for one second that they could get away with showing any disrespect
toward the man that I love.
You do that, and you have to deal with Peggy Hill.”
It has always made me smile. Peggy was never the perfect wife, but she was entirely and unconditionally devoted to that uptight redneck husband of hers, just as much as Hank was devoted to her. And when she saw that Hank couldn’t defend himself from Bobby’s disobedience, she felt no shame in stepping in to defend her husband. It was one of the few moments in the entire series that I felt was redeeming.
I am like Peggy — Michael is the most kindhearted, gentle and honorable man I know. I couldn’t imagine sitting idly by and listen to anyone disrespect him. Heck, I get angry when I hear some of the stories he tells me about things that happened to him in his past with other people! And I would and do stand up for him when I hear someone say anything less than flattering about my husband.
But I realized one day that there was one person whom I would tolerate badmouthing my husband, and sometimes relentlessly. During one difficult period I actually allowed this person to badmouth my husband quite fervently and without a hint of retaliation, showing him great disrespect and dishonor.
Any time I felt upset with Michael, or felt unappreciated or disrespected myself, I would silently seethe and run through all his bad qualities in my head, going over his failures and mistakes for extended periods of time, sometimes even days on end if I was really upset. I don’t think there is a single person in the world who doesn’t do this when they get upset at their spouses. It’s a natural response, to begin building a wall when we have been hurt. And it is one of the worst things you can do when you are hurt, is block the other person from finding a way into your heart again. We can cause ourselves and our relationships so much pain and anguish when we dwell on the negative qualities of our partners.
So I promised myself that I wouldn’t allow myself to think any negative thoughts about my husband anymore. Nothing. Not one single negative thing. I stopped dwelling on his negative qualities (a list that is truly quite short and unimportant) and focused solely on his positive (and there are a LOT of those!). I gave myself permission to release any anger I felt towards him, to give it up and leave it with Jesus, and to focus solely on his strengths, rather than his weaknesses.
Now, when I am upset over something and feel anger, I don’t dwell on it for very long. I release it, give it away and start thinking about the good things. He might be tired and laze around on the couch all weekend, but he worked so hard all week beforehand! And he made sure that I got a chance to have my bath last night and watched the kids. And he stopped watching that television show that I didn’t like when I’m around. And he made sure there was enough money in the grocery budget to buy me more cocoa. And he really appreciated my frugal meal creation that I made last night. And he sat through a TV show he wasn’t crazy about because he knew I enjoyed it. The list just goes on and on… How can you stay angry at a man as wonderful as that? The truth is, you can’t.
Once I started focusing and appreciating all his good qualities, the few bad ones melted away, to the point where I hardly even notice or focus on them. I am so proud of the man that he is, and trust him implicitly to be the leader and protector of our household. I am forever grateful to him for the sacrifices he has made for our family and the role he fulfills everyday. I refuse to let anyone do or say anything negative about him, myself included.
Do you struggle with negative thoughts about your spouse? How have you combated them? Share in the comments!