Some Moments

I’m a dreamer. I’ve made so many plans in my life! From music to medicine and far away places, I can romanticize anything. But in reality, my heart swells when I look around at the way I get use the gifts God has given me (and some things that I’m just plain terrible at) to serve my family and my community.

I find so much more joy in brewing a mean cup of coffee or a pot of tea for a neighbor than if I were working as a barista in the best coffee house in town.
…singing praises as my children all asleep…on any stage big or small.
…teaching my children all day every day…paid to teach other groups with vague hope that God’s Word would penetrate their hearts.
…making handmade things for my family and home…making an income with my craftiness.
…raising plants and animals to feed my family fresh ingredients…farming for an income.
…making fun fresh meals that my kids actually enjoy…on the Food Network ;)
…creating a peaceful environment by keeping an organized home…designing the best scandinavian cabins in the world.
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No matter what I could be doing with my time and energy, the opportunity to serve husband and children seems like the most beautiful thing in the world.

There is nothing else I would rather do.

To be honest, sometimes I forget. When a handful of people are all asking for something or there’s a whole roll of toilet paper in the toilet (again!) I forget how truly blessed I am. It’s so easy to forget about the vast realities of God’s faithfulness. Maybe telling all of you will be a good reminder for next time I have to break out the plunger.

The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.
Proverbs 14:1

 

Chores/Responsibility Chart Download

Happy chicken eggs

I looked high and low for a chores type chart for my son. He is 3 and totally capable of doing many things by himself, but he and I both need a reminder and incentive to keep us on track. … Continue reading

Playing With A Purpose! Preschool at Home

I love to learn. So even if I hadn’t set out to do preschool with my son, our playing would have ended up somewhat educational. I am not naturally administrative or organized by other people’s standards (I think my systems work just fine :) so I wanted to share how I approached the tiny sprout of preschool that we’ve begun this year.

Style

The first thing I decided on was a style of learning that suited my child and I. It didn’t take a whole lot of thought since I have a

boy reading bible

photocred Tammy Deshner

super easy going kid and we play together frequently.

I love the idea of Montessori-style activities. This makes it easier for me to be patient while my son takes his time on the ones he likes. (Sadly I often have a shorter attention span than my 2 1/2 year old son.)

Micaiah and I both love crafty learning! Anytime he can create something, we both have a blast! As we do more activities, I’m starting learn more specifically how the help Micaiah engage better in learning.

Content

I jotted down a few categories in my Moleskin and then listed specifically what I would like him to know by the holidays. (I’m pregnant and due in the new year so I’ll reevaluate what I think I can handle after we do this for a while. Plus, I want to take plenty of time to do Christmas-specific activities.)

I want my son to begin to learn letters, shapes and counting as well as learn about God’s character from His Word. (He’s pretty much got colors down.) Knowing my son and his natural interests, I’ll use them to help him learn these! As we develop skills and knowledge through different activities, I love to see him delight in learning something new even if its simply through a conversation we have while playing.

Micaiah LOVES animals. At two years old, he doesn’t just identify a “bird” but knows a flamingo from an eagle from a hawk from an ostrich and so on. This boy reads elementary school level animal books and wants you to help him identify every unique animal in it! Therefore…

  • We’re doing an animal alphabet using coloring sheets I made from free images online. He learns the letter that the animal’s name starts with and a fact or two about it.
  • We count animals when we see them in groups in images, books and out-and-about. (He can count to six but would rather say “one, two, one, two…” so that he can get through the whole herd.)
  • We started out doing a shape every two weeks, but I found that it was a little to much for him. So, we talk about shapes when we encounter it (and I think if it) and he seems to be catching on just fine.
  • Bible “Lesson” (see below in Resources)

 Structure

I balk at the word. But I decided that I had to schedule specific time or we would never get anything done! Beyond that, I simply have an objective and allow him to choose from lots of activities that I can use to guide him toward that objective. Very simple and it may need to grow as our family does, but right now we both enjoy this easy-going pace.

Resources

Bible –  The purpose for growing and educating my children is to develop young disciples who glorify God and further His kingdom. I had intended on doing very short memory verses/biblical ideas. This turned out to be to much for him so I ditched it (not the Bible all together obviously). Because we already do a family Bible reading/prayer time each evening, I simply ask him comprehension/teaching questions when things come to mind. I also think this helps him create a habit of thinking about/talking to the Lord anytime – not just at bedtime, mealtime and church.

If I’m still reading my Bible when he wakes up in the morning, I open to a Psalm or something simple and read a few verses. This way he has personal exposure to a real Bible and who God is (not just a storybook). Plus, any time in the Word for Micaiah is good time in the Word!

1+1+1=1 has been an indispensable resource and a great encouragement

Intentional Homeschool – This site is relatively new, so it’s fairly small so far. I do love their vision and think it will become a great resource.

Twisty Noodle – Free printable coloring pages for many animals, dinosaurs and a whole lot more!

Google – Seriously, I find free coloring pages soooo helpful. I also print off a real photo of each animal. (I remember find the real thing so much more interesting as a kid.) It also piques his interest if I let him get on the computer and do a little “research” on the animal with me. Between google and pinterest, I can find crafts and coloring for any crazy animal we pick!

I’m sure there are more, but these are the ones I find myself referencing regularly.

How did you help your kids learn “the basics” in early childhood? Did you include spiritual growth?

Potty Training Slow and Steady: Update-Stage Two

If you haven’t checked out the introduction, you can do that here. Today, I’m going to update you on How Stage Two is going!

Summary Thus Far

I let my son spend much of his play time naked (at least the bottom half ) and in less than a week, he would make his way to an available potty-chair before he urinated. Seeing when he went and how it felt gave him self-awareness of what it feels like to need to void his bladder. I didn’t scold him for going on the floor (we have hard, easy to clean surfaces) or ground and only once in a while mentioned that there was a potty chair available to him if he wanted to use it – and it turns out he did!

We began Stage Two with great momentum!

Stage Two Update

I am currently on day 8 of Stage Two. As I look back on this week, I’m having a hard time simply categorizing our progress. We’ve had several great days, a couple horrible ones and a few in-between.

Days 1-3 all had about five hours straight of no accidents. Micaiah would make it to the toilet or chair every time. When asked, he always said no (he actually does this to all questions) and then reconsidered and responded appropriately. Then, for some reason for a few hours in a row, he would just wet his pants. I would guess maybe he got tired of it except that two of the days it occurred in the morning and one in the evening.

The rest of the week he has done great (one or two accidents a day) with the exception of two days later this week where he didn’t make it for several hours. One of those he was with a friend of mine while I played softball and he wouldn’t go for her. (Plus, I think the game was pretty distracting.)

So all in all, I think we’re doing well. My son is just over two (2 yrs 2 mos). I think potty training takes work no matter when you choose to do it. I personally feel like earlier is better (as long as the child is truly ready) even if it takes a little more time and patience. For me, I’ll be happy if he doesn’t have to sit in diapers for our cross-country road trip coming up.

How long did it take to toilet train your child(ren)? Are you and earlier or later type of person?

Potty Training Slow and Steady: Update-Stage One

If you haven’t checked out the introduction, you can do that here. In the meantime, here’s a review of our slow and steady way to toilet train.

Step 1: Run around naked as much as possible – 3-5 days.

This is to bring an awareness of what it feels like when he has to urinate. He is forced to think about it instead of just letting it happen and the diaper taking care of it. I keep the potty chair out in case he feels it in time to sit down.

Step 2: Once he is aware of what it feels like before he urinates, we introduce the potty chair as the place we try to pee every time. He can wear underwear and/or training pants at times for this stage, but running around pant-less will still be very helpful – 4-7 days.

This is where pee on the floor officially becomes an accident. He has an awareness and should communicate or sit on the potty before he goes.

Step 3: At this stage he can be considered potty trained, but we’ll still reward for going in the toilet to encourage this to stick – about 1 week.

Underwear are a must during the day now! (Unfortunately we can’t run around butt-naked forever!)

Stage One Update

I kept Micaiah bare-bottomed for a little less than a week. He began to say “Oh! Pee!” when he went on the floor. Or he would come and say “Mum, towel!” when he made a puddle. If I asked him if he had to go he would usually say no but sometimes he would reconsider and go sit on the potty chair. Eventually he started saying yes and willingly sitting on a toilet/potty chair. He had definitely developed an awareness of what it feels like to need to pee or poop.

On Saturday I felt like he would be ready the next day but Sundays are way to busy for me to give him the kid of focus potty training requires. To my delight, in the evening after our activities(since he was naked) he made his way to the potty chair everytime he had to urinate without even being asked!

I would say Stage One – huge success!!

How old was your child (children) when he/she knew when they had to go to the restroom before it was to late?

Potty Training Slow and Steady: The Introduction

I had always planned on potty training my son as early as I thought he possibly could get it. So when his second birthday came around and he showed an interest in using the toilet, I was stoked. Thinking I knew all about how to get this done, I promptly bought some little briefs and set aside a few days for some hardcore training.

Epic. Fail.

All of the methods I had studied so hard didn’t click with Micaiah. He eventually began to whine when it came time to sit on the toilet. I decided hating the toilet wasn’t a good direction and threw in the towel for a while before I did some major damage to future potty training efforts.

It’s been over a month and I can’t get over the fact that I still think Micaiah is ready. Last week was fourth of July which meant lots of BBQs and campfires. I ran into two dear friends whose potty training experiences gave me some clues to our own little training plan.

One of my friends mentioned that her son was about three by the time she got him potty trained because he couldn’t tell the difference between underwear and diapers. As obvious as it may seem, he couldn’t understand why he couldn’t be in his undies.

The second gal and I got to experience pregnancy for the first time together. Her son was born just a month after Micaiah. I was surprised to show up at her house and find her son in undies. She said he started telling her that he had to pee after running around naked in the yard this summer. (Please know that we both live out in the boonies!)

This all made me think. In our previous attempt, Micaiah wouldn’t say anything until after he had wet himself, if he said anything at all. I began to wonder if cloth diapers and undies seemed different to him at all.

So yesterday we started afresh.

Here is a detailed outline of my (very flexible) Slow and Steady Toilet Training Plan!

Step 1: Run around naked as much as possible – 3-5 days.

This is to bring an awareness of what it feels like when he has to urinate. He is forced to think about it instead of just letting it happen and the diaper taking care of it. I keep the potty chair out in case he feels it in time to sit down.

Step 2: Once he is aware of what it feels like before he urinates, we introduce the potty chair as the place we try to pee every time. He can wear underwear and/or training pants at times for this stage, but running around pant-less will still be very helpful – 4-7 days.

This is where pee on the floor officially becomes an accident. He has an awareness and should communicate or sit on the potty before he goes.

Step 3: At this stage he can be considered potty trained, but we’ll still reward for going in the toilet to encourage this to stick – about 1 week.

Underwear are a must during the day now! (Unfortunately we can’t run around butt-naked forever!)

Helpful Hints for any Toilet Training Method

  • Rewards for good behavior (stickers, treats etc)
  • Never scold or punish for accidents – gentle reminders that we go in the toilet are great though!
  • Don’t use diapers/disposable training pants if at all possible (cloth feels wet!)
  • Make sure you have a comfortable seat/chair. (You wouldn’t want to go if you felt like you were going to fall in either!)

I’ll continue to update you as we take this adventure!

What potty training tips and tricks have worked for you? What hasn’t?