Friday, June 28, 2013

Lessons from June

Once a month, a favorite blogger of mine over at Chatting at the Sky will make a list of things she has learned. Today she is doing one of those link-up thingys and I thought I'd join in.

So here you go, 5 things I've learned in June:

1. Robins will eventually give up. At least ours did. Remember that pesky couple that kept trying to take over our front porch? We battled long into May. I almost gave up, but then June came and guess what?

I won.

2. I officially have Gatsby fever. Since I heard the movie was coming out I read the book, then saw the movie (and despite what the critics said, I liked it). I may or may not have bought the over-priced-apparently-I'm-not-the-only-one-who-has-Gatsby-fever-and-the-publisher-decided-to-milk-it book and read it a second time, in two months (you know so I could underline).

I'm a fan.

3. We joined a CSA this summer. Once a week I go out and pick up our veggies from a local farmer. The variety has pushed me out of my cooking comfort zone. Kale helped me discover I can make an omelet. And Kale chips. That my kids actually ate. Beets however, are another story.

4. Sewing can be dangerous. Mya took a class this month and accidentally cut her finger open. She won the title of "first person in our family to get stitches." Three to be precise. She was brave, and I didn't faint while she got them. Success.

5. I can in fact survive a trip to the grocery store with six kids. I cannot, however, make it through a trip to the grocery store with six kids without some kind of comment or stare from the other patrons. My original strategy of avoiding a trip to the grocery store with six kids is solid and should be followed. The end.

To read more lessons, head on over to Chatting at the Sky.

Happy Weekend Friends!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sanity in the Summertime

Summer is getting away.

If my count is accurate the half way point is only a week away. This thought makes me panic and celebrate and feel guilty for the celebrate and panic again. Panic because time is going way too fast; celebrate because some days feel way too long.

According to my calendar I am nearing the end of our summer's busy season. The second half of summer should be less "going" and involve more free time (at least during the week).

It should include more things like swimming and parks and trips to the library and stuff like that.

Unless I add more things to our calendar. Down time is a very good thing. Too much down time can lead to insanity. The key is to find a healthy balance.

Part of my "summer sanity strategy" this year has been to build in down time of the separation variety. Too much togetherness can also lead to insanity. I have done this in two main ways:

one. We have mandatory "quiet time" most every weekday for an hour after lunch. This is also mandatory reading time for the big kids. Most of the kids are in separate rooms to minimize talking.  I tell them what time they can come down and for the most part they stick to it. They've become more consistent at being still with practice, or maybe the crazy eyes they see from their mother when they are not still has been enough to scare them into submission.

Either way, the quiet in the middle of a loud day is amazing.

two. One morning a week a sitter comes to our house and I leave. I rarely use this time for errands; instead I use it to exercise and do things that fill my often depleted tank, this typically takes the form of a table at Starbucks to read, or write, or stare off into space and think.

These two strategies have truly been sanity-saving. I love my kids. I love having them home in the summer. I love enjoying down time with them.

But, as previously mentioned, too much togetherness can lead to insanity, which is good for no one. A little strategic separation in our house has been a very good thing.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Dinnertime Chore Wheel

I first saw this little gadget in a friend's kitchen. Two paper plates joined together to allow maximum spinage. It didn't look hard to make, I had the supplies on hand so I gave it a whirl (literally and figuratively speaking). The results have been legend...ary. 

Pictured above is our version of the dinnertime chore wheel (once Zak gets a little older he too will get to partake in the fun, maybe "empty dishwasher" will be the chore that gets added with his name).

It has worked like a charm. We spin it once a week (technically we move everyone up one chore). The chore by your name is the chore you are responsible for. It has reduced complaining. It has reduced "not fairs." It has almost eliminated, "I always have to..." It will remain a part of our dinner chore tradition for a long time to come.

Simple and effective, it works for us. Maybe it would work for you too?

Monday, June 10, 2013

3 Months

He has been home 3 months already. Crazy, it feels like he has been with us so much longer, and I mean that in the best possible way. 

His English is really starting to take off. He has been stringing words together, forming sentences. I feel like he understands most of what I say to him. 

But at the same time, he is singing and speaking in Mandarin less and I fear he is losing that part of him. 

It is both sad and amazing how quickly language can be picked up and forgotten. 

For now I have a little boy running after his big brothers saying things like,

"Get out of my way."
"Let me go."
"Give me."
"Come on."
"I am gungry" (aka hungry)

Yes, he has five siblings and Yes, he can hold his own.

He said the word "motorcycle" to Kory yesterday who wondered where he would have heard it. I have been reading Beverly Cleary's The Mouse and the Motorcycle to the kids. As it is a chapter, non-picture type book I was assuming he probably wasn't understanding much. I think I was wrong. 

The kid is a sponge. A lovable, funny, impatient, endearing sponge, who sometimes thinks he's a bunny rabbit. But that's a post for another day. :)