Tuesday, May 3, 2016

April 2016 In Our Home

My wonderful family!
We did a couple of fun family activities this month- We packed some popcorn and spread out sleeping bags in the back of the Sorento, and then enjoyed a drive-in movie! We also enjoyed spending one Saturday morning at the local zoo! These occasions can be a bit stressful, but they always create such wonderful memories of us together! :)

She's pulling up on every surface to stand!
 (Rather cute  to walk in to the room to
see her standing at the edge of the bed waiting for me)
    I found a graphic online that says, "Be the Mom you want them to remember." Nothing I do or provide for my children will be near as valuable as who I am. That's been my focus for this month. I started being much more intentional about spending a little time each day reading Bible passages, devotionals and blog posts that I've found meaningful and encouraging. I'm an introspective kind of individual, and contemplating these materials is rejuvenating to my soul. I'm also a "write it or forget it" kind of person, and so I've taken each article or passage and written notes from it into a notebook. Writing is my way of processing, I suppose. (I also enjoy talking, but as an introvert only a lucky few get to experience my chatty side!). It's been a wonderful practice that I look forward to each day.
     I've enjoyed it so much that I decided to begin Facebook Live stream videos to share these bits of wisdom and encouragement. Those to two entities I'm always in need of. How does the saying go- if you want to be encouraged, be and encourager. Perhaps it will go somewhere and others will be blessed. Perhaps it will go no where. Regardless of popularity, it would be something that would push me beyond my introverted ways and be positive, productive and an encouragement to others (as well as myself!).
A stick and a puddle makes a happy boy!

     We attended our first MOPS meeting this month. We were a part of MOMS Club in PA. Although the two organization both support moms, they are organized quite differently. MOMS Club was all about playdates. It was wonderful getting to be with mamas who were in the same place in their parenting journey as I am (ie our smaller group was for children two and under). I enjoyed gatherings involving mamas and children. However, there were times I wished for an occasion in which I could be "off duty" for just a little bit. The MOPS group seems to be just that. From what I can tell, it's the opposite in format in that it focuses on the mamas. The children are separated into age-specific groups and cared for by individuals elsewhere. This separation feels really strange to me. For one, I'd never left my children under the care of anyone but myself or my husband- ever. Second, I missed getting to know the mama-child connection of everyone. Perhaps when we get to our permanent house, we can try to create some playdates for Tennyson's age group. Maybe I could try the book club idea again. (I've been told by another Mama that she wishes there were playdates in addition to the offical meeting, and so I'm encouraged to make this happen in the future!). Although the group is different, it is nice to have this resource of mamas and children.
10 months old!
(It took days to get this picture. She's on the move these days and so hard to capture!

     It seems as though Tennyson and Annelise have matured so much this past month. Annelise decided that she'd like to crawl and just popped up on her hands and knees one day and did it! She's been able to go everywhere since. Her mobility has been the key for she detaching from me (she's been a strong "velcro baby"). She has been much more content, which has been wonderful. She moving around so easily has also raised new concerns though. For one, she can get to prohibited objects and place them in her mouth. Second, the rent house is completely tiled (we've learned to be a Texas/southwest thing). The hard surface is tough on her knees and even tougher on her little head when she falls. She's learning her limits though. 

     Another limit she's learning is sleeping preferences. It became increasingly apparent to us that she has reached a point of being able to dictate how and when she would sleep. Not only did this require the rest of the family to bend around her, but she also wasn't getting adequate rest. Therefore, we began sleep training. We read a couple of books, feed a bottle, rock for ten minutes and then lay her down and step out of the room. In two minutes, we go back in and reassure her with "Shh, it's sleepy time" and a gentle touch. Then, walk out again. In four minutes, we go back in again in the same fashion. Then, six minutes. Then, eight minutes. And so on and so forth. Eventually, she does put herself to sleep. Even though she is upset for the first bit, she has learned to put herself to sleep and then back to sleep when she wakes. She actually sleeps better now than she ever has! (She previously would nap for only 20 minutes and sleep at night in only 2 hour increments. We know now that she simply hadn't learned to put herself to sleep without a prop (me)! I wish we had sleep trained sooner because that 20 min/2 hour pattern of sleep for ten months has been ...well, let's say, I would not choose to go that route again haha). 
Crawling girl!

     Tennyson is an ever curious two year old. We're amazed every day at the things he says and can comprehend! We joke about him being a two year old but having the language skills of a three year old. He's a constant flow of questions- "What's that?" or "What's in there?" or "What happened?" I hear those three questions all day. I made a tally one morning, and counted 32 times he asked one of those questions in just three hours! Phew! It's no surprise that he does not play much with toys or even watch many videos/programs..  he's much more engaged in the larger world around him! He wants to know what something is and how it works... for everything. When we do turn on the television for him, really enjoys "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," but lately he's been more interested in "Reading Rainbow." It's rather amusing to us that he has little interest in cartoons or other programs intended for his age, but he loves "Reading Rainbow" and "Mister Rogers." I suppose they're better at exploration and explanation. haha
27 months old!

     He is still a two year old who is learning all about handling emotions and acceptable behaviors though. When need be, we've begun instituting "time out" using a time out mat for repeated, willful undesirable behaviors. It is effective! We have seen improvement in certain areas. Even though the process can be taxing, he learning acceptable behavior is so much nicer than constant battles and tantrums! He can enjoy time with the rest of the family, and we can enjoy time with him. That's a concept that we desire to be teaching him. We also desire to teach him that he must continue to behave a certain way despite conditions (ie it's okay to be angry, frustrated etc., but it's not okay to scream, throw things etc). 

      As I mentioned, he's not one to simply play with a given toy or even a room of toys. His need for exploration and curiosity can result in some less than desirable means of amusement. Therefore, I've made a greater effort towards "purposeful play" or "tot school" this month. We began using lessons from Character First to discuss the concept of obedience. We listened to the song and we I sang and did the hand motions each morning at breakfast. We also did a couple of the craft projects, which was a lot of fun. I'm really impressed with Character First, and will continue to use the lessons along side our other lessons/activities. We took jumping back into daily activities slow this past month, but I intend to do many more next month. My goal is to do Character First lesson on patience on Tuesdays and Thursdays and M is for Monster on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. It's so nice to have that moment in the day for us to do something hands-on and one-on-one! That's what this time is more about than "school." I'm looking forward to more next month!
"Tot school" with homemade finger paints

    This month has been calmer and more pleasant. I think we're finding our new groove here, which is such a relief. Looking forward to what may be in store for our family next month! :)

Did you notice? This blog page now has an accompanying Facebook page. On that page, I'll be sharing links to latest blog posts, links to other blog pages that I've found to offer encouragement and practical tips, products (including books) we're enjoying, and more. One big purpose for creating a Facebook page for the blog is the ability to live stream. The live stream videos will mainly focus on sharing brief bits of encouragement or perhaps a practical tip for the day. You can watch them live, or whenever you have a spare moment. (I like to watch while washing dishes). I've thoroughly enjoyed writing and posting a new blog post each week, and look forward to extending the Our Homemaking Story blog in a new way. Regardless of how popular (or unpopular) either of these entities become, the heart will always be the same. It's still a journal of our journey of pursuing home and family through homemaking. My heart is that these pages will be a source of encouragement and maybe even a helpful resource to anyone who may be interested. 


  1. I've heard that about MOPS. Fortunately we live in an area where I have access to both kids of moms groups - one that is a little more mom focused, and one a little more play date focus. I've found that there are things I live and need about both!

    There was actually an article about the benefits of sleep training earlier on in the Wall Street Journal yesterday! It's a hard topic and process to go through for sure, but we've found that it made all the difference for our family and our son - we are all so much happier when everyone gets a good night sleep!

    1. Julianne,
      Yes, I feel like a balance between mom-focus and playgroup-focus is best. I'm prayerful to create a consistent playgroup for our age group (0-2). It would be wonderful to have other mamas at the same place in this parenting journey. I also think it would be good for Tennyson, especially as we begin homeschooling.

      I always believed in sleep training and said that I would do it better the second time around. But, then found myself in survival mode so much in trying to manage two children so young that we did whatever we could to simply get any amount of sleep. haha. Now that she's older, she's done much better (and I'm able to manage two so young better). We're all grateful! Maybe third times a charm! haha

  2. Loved reading this update! I cannot believe how big your kids have grown! I have begun to make the effort to reach out to those in my MOPS group. As a result, I try to make sure my daughter and I get at least one "play date" per week, whether at home or at a park or something. That has helped me a lot! Sleep training worked well for us once nursing was very well established. It is shocking how much a good night's sleep can positively affect every aspect of family life!

    1. Amy,
      It's amazing how fast the time is passing and how quickly they're maturing! It definitely goes much faster the second time around! I'm partially excited to see their accomplishments, but also partially so very sad for the baby time to be quickly coming to an end. One more month and I'll have two TODDLERS.

      I'm prayerful for a regular playgroup for us, even if that means I'm the one to orchestrate and host it. My personal preference is to not be running out of the house for lots of activities for the children. I'd much more prefer a regular weekly library trip or playgroup etc. Activity without being run over by activity. Haha. It's a prayer of the heart currently.

      How are you doing? So excited to read about your journey with three little ones! :)


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