Friday, April 26, 2013


Last year, my sister gave my daughters each a camera for their birthdays. They are quite durable cameras  that take both pictures and videos, and are a lovely pink/purple/flowery combination that my girls both adore. Pretty is important, after all.

 Generally speaking, I have left my kids alone when it comes to documenting their lives with these cameras. I notice when they are using them, and have helped when they have come to me, frustrated, as their cameras fill up. I have noticed these pictures and videos of, what I would deem, rather ridiculous things. The fun and laughter that comes from playing with these cameras, however, makes any opinion I may have, frivolous.

One night after the kids were asleep, I looked at one of the cameras to see what was being recorded in their little worlds of play. I don't think I ever laughed so hard in all my life. The pictures were random, kooky, and the facial expressions were priceless. Also, my children have a real knack for capturing the most unflattering photos of their mama. Perfect.

It was the videos that were the most endearing. My sweet Evy giving her reports on the news and activities of each family member, Isaac divulging Evy's most secret of secrets, and my all time favorite, The Dance Party.  My son, the athlete, who struggles with anything artistic, put his dance face on and busted a move that made his momma proud. Evy shook her groove thang right alongside him, with as much attitude and sass as a 6 year old could muster. It was both precious and hysterical.

I dare not share the video, as my son would be horrified. Instead I'll share these images from their camera, with glimpses of their life, their world.....and, of course, I'll continue to check these cameras from time to time....

Friday, April 19, 2013

...down time...

The kids are on spring break this week. There is both fear and relief when breaks like this come around. The fear of me going crazy, and the relief of being able to sleep in just a few minutes later, with mornings where I am not rushing everyone out the door.

  The very first day of break, all three of my lovelies started whining about nothing to do right around 10am. Mustering up as much patience as I could, we had a "meeting" where we discussed the different things we could do when we were bored. I was surprised that they thought of so many, as I was sure they were completely stumped when they were moaning and groaning not 15 minutes prior.

Nevertheless, we came up with a pretty exhaustive list, ranging from reading, to napping, to playing different games, to going outside. We also discussed mealtimes, in order to prevent me from getting trapped in the kitchen all day. With the ground rules in place, we began to enjoy our break together.

There were games, both indoor and out.

 There were pictures, both painted and drawn.

 There were books, both read and colored.

 There were treats, both made and eaten.

 There were forts, built up and torn down.
 And there was a birthday party for a dear cousin...whose hair did stay flame-free.

There was helping, with cooking and cleaning.
There was love, camaraderie, and a few *ahem* disagreements.
All in all, it has been a good break. It has been fun to see the kids reference the list, and it has been heavenly not having them whine about what to do.

Monday, April 1, 2013 back..

If there is one thing I want to model for my children, it's giving. In a society where consumerism dominates most of what we see and hear, I want to raise discerning consumers who take more pride in what they give, rather than what they get.

When it comes to charity, I have found that oftentimes giving money in support of something is the easy way out. Not that I would ever encourage someone to stop supporting something monetarily, as it is a fine way to be charitable. Instead, (or perhaps, in addition), I would rather do something, make something, that might benefit others in need.

In systematically cleaning out our home for our impending move, I have brought countless bags/boxes to the Goodwill and Salvation Army. Through our church, I have assisted with meals at homeless shelters. I try to find opportunities to give in ways that are more direct, in ways that might not always be the most comfortable, but ways that are surely (for me) more satisfying.

Awhile back, I found a group called Craft Hope that is made up of crafters looking for ways to help others through their crafts. It involves mostly sewing/knitting type crafts, so it was right up my alley. I hesitated initially, for many different reasons, but with this last project, I chose to dive right in. Bibs. How hard could that be?

Sometimes, I'm my own worst enemy. I searched and searched for the right bib patterns. Then it turned into a mental debate about whether to knit the bibs or sew the bibs. Did I have the right yarn? Did I have appropriate materials? Honestly, I can procrastinate at making a decision better than anyone I know. So I just made myself start.

I have quietly devoted a little time each day to creating these bibs. When my kids ask who they are for, I am happy to explain to them what I am doing. In this particular project, the bibs are meant to go to special needs orphanages in China. It has sparked many discussions about children in other parts of the world, how they live, and who they are. And when my kids show interest and compassion for these lives so different from their own, my heart swells with pride.

At the end of this project, I finished four bibs: a koala, seahorse, rabbit, and
chick, using patterns created by Elaine Fitzpatrick. I used some cotton yarn that I have had for a number of years, and the texture of the yarn makes the bibs soft and interesting to the touch. I was very pleased with how they turned out.

Someday I will include my kids in these types of projects....but for right now, the personal satisfaction and setting the example of giving is more than enough. I look forward to participating in more projects like this in the near future.