Friday, December 12, 2008

A little break from the Simple Talk

There is a subject that I think about quite a bit, but I rarely talk about it on this blog. And that subject is children.

I have three children. There are each wonderful and wacky. Are they perfect? No. Am I a perfectly wonderful mother? No. But it doesn't change the fact that for many years, I wanted to be a mother of not just the three children I have blessed with, but at least one, and possible two or three more.

My road to being the mother of any children has not been an easy one. I didn't get married until I was 29, and then I had difficulty getting pregnant, and I had a miscarriage before Flower, Jelly Bean's pregnancy was full of scary complications and bedrest, then another miscarriage, Super's pregnancy was also spent with some time on bedrest and then he was born with a true knot in his cord (but thankfully, it didn't cause any problems), and then another miscarriage in 2006, and Christopher's stillbirth in 2008.

I find myself looking at women who have four, five, six children and my heart aches for the children that I lost. My heart longs to have more children, to be able to have another baby in my arms, another baby to take care of and another baby to teach me more about what life is really about. My heart is broken because I will never have any more children.

But it isn't that I don't love the children that I have, and I often feel bad for the time that I spend wishing that things had been different instead of taking that time to do something with my children, or learning something to be a better parent to my children. Sometimes I feel like I'm not being grateful enough for what I have. Sometimes I feel like it is time to just accept the reality that I do have. Sometimes, I know that I am not being the mother that I could or should be, and that if I had more children, I would be even worse.

And then Flower draws me a picture, Jelly Bean shares a chocolate bar, and Super laughs his wonderful laugh. And I feel so happy.

Life is never what you expect it to be, for worse AND for better. Life is all about learning about sorrow and joy. I've had my share of both.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Busy day

We had Jelly Bean's first basketball game this morning. Everyone had fun, and JB even scored a basket!

Then we went to the local Museum of History (housed in the old Courthouse). Wow! What a great place! We had a wonderful time, and plan to go again. Today it was Christmas at the Courthouse, so there were crafts on each floor, music, and Santa in addition to the normal exhibits. We also got to go on a carriage ride. It would have been fun, but it was SOOO cold.

Then Flower had a Christmas craft party to attend, and Jelly Bean and Super napped. After they got up, I did my Town Day of shopping, although I concentrated on doing shopping at Walgreens and Kroger with my coupons.

I don't do a lot of coupon shopping because I find that I can do better by buying the store brands or shopping at Aldi's, but this week, there was a lot of coupons for things/brands that I use anyway, and I ended up getting some great deals. It took me awhile, which was a pain, because uh, I hate to shop. It wouldn't be cost-effective, but it would almost be worth it to me to pay someone to shop for me. But I was pretty excited about my deals. I ended up getting $20 off my original $35 at Walgreens, and $50 off my original $125 at Kroger. So I ended up saving $70 and only spending a total of $85. I could have done better, I'm sure, but it isn't worth it to me to do all the things that the hard-core couponers do.

I grocery shop at Aldi's for my stockpile and things that don't need to be name brand. I shop at Kroger for the other grocery items. Since I shop often at Kroger, they send me coupons on at least a montly basis, and often they are coupons that are specific to the items that I regularly shop for. And then, I will occassionally use a manufacturer coupon from the paper or the Internet. At Walgreens, I use the coupons from flyers/rebate book, etc., and manufacturer coupons.

I probably won't be posting much for the next few days. Mr. Simple is having surgery to repair a torn tendon in his shoulder on Monday, and my sister is having major surgery (liver resection) on Wednesday, and I'll be watching her girls for the next couple weeks.

Friday, December 5, 2008

A look at the Simple Schedule

I've put some of this information in my Daily Routines post and my Daily Chores post, but here's a look at what our schedule looks like. Now, this is a guideline, and things don't happen at exactly the same time every day. Anybody who has children, particularly an infant, (I don't have an infant, but I watch an infant Mon-Thurs from 7 am to 5 pm) knows that children have their own ideas about doing things on an exact time schedule.

Anyway, here's what our daily schedule looks like:

6:00 I get up and start my daily routine (read scriptures, pray, shower, get dressed, check calendar/lists, eat, and clean bathrooms)
6:45 Wake up the girls and they do their daily routine (pray, get dressed, get breakfast)
7:00 Wake up Super
7:15 Baby (he is 6 months old) arrives
7:30 Jelly Bean leaves for school on bus
7:30 Play with baby. Unload dishwasher.
8:15 Daycare child #1 and #2 arrive.
8:15-9:00 Children play. Feed the baby.
9:00 Daycare child #3 arrives. Preschool child #1 (or #2 depending on if it is MWF or Tu/Th) arrives.
9:00 Preschool and Homeschool begins.
9:00-9:15 Reading Time
9:15-9:30 Writing in Journals
9:35-9:40 Morning Snack
9:45-10:15 Line Time (singing/fingerplays, helper jobs, story, lessons)
10:15-11:15 Work Time (preschool has free choice and Flower has a list of things that need to be done that week and she can pick the order that she wants to do them in. She doesn't usually finish in the hour and works again in the afternoon for another two hours. She also does Reading & Copywork when the preschool children are doing reading and Writing.)
11:15-11:30 Outside or Playtime in the playroom. Baby eats.
11:30-11:45 Lunch
11:45 Super leaves for Pre-K
12:00 Preschool child and Daycare child #1 go home
12:30-2:00 Daycare child #1 and #2 take a nap. Flower finishes school and does some cooking, sewing, woodworking, etc. Do Routine job for the day. (I don't do Town Day during the week anymore. I do it on Saturday.)
2:15-3:00 Baby Eats. Children play.
3:00 Jelly Bean and Super come home.
3:30 Daycare child #3 goes home. Baby eats solids.
5:15 Baby and Daycare child #2 go home.
5:15 Dinner. Kitchen jobs.
5:45-8:00 Times when we have various activities (but not every day). Family Time. Daily Chores.
7:30 Super goes to bed
8:00 Girls go to bed
8:00-10:00 Work on lesson plans for the next day or free time.
10:00 I do my evening routine.
10:30 I go to sleep.

More Advent ideas

Here's a list of books from Bella Dia that lists some Advent books that are about Santa and Winter, etc. She also lists crafts along with her book list, so be sure to go over and check it out! Go to Bella Dia and then click on Christmas Book and Activity Advent from the category list. Maybe next year we will do some of these, but I don't think I'd ever be organized/ambitious enough to do this every day of Advent.
  • Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
  • Winter’s Tale by Robert Sabuda
  • Petunia’s Christmas by Robert Duvoisin
  • The Trees of the Dancing Goats by Patricia Polacco
  • Santa’s Toy Shop by Al Dempster
  • Baker’s Dozen by Aaron Shepard
  • Santa’s Snow Cat by Sue Stainton
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Suess
  • Night Tree by Eve Bunting
  • Santa Mouse by Michael Brown (This book is from my childhood. I need to see if my mom still has her copy and see if she will let me “borrow” it for awhile.)
  • I Like Winter by Lois Lenski
  • Frosty the Snowman by Jack Rollins
  • Lights of Winter by Heather Conrad
  • Gingerbread Man by Jim Aylesworth
  • Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Trees by Robert Barry
  • A Pussycat’s Christmas by Margaret Wise Brown
  • The Christmas Hat by A.J. Wood
  • The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
  • The Christmas Humbugs by Colleen Monroe
  • Carl’s Christmas by Alexandra Day
  • Ollie’s Ski Trip by Elsa Beskow
  • The Shortest Day by Wendy Pfeffer
  • Buying Mittens by Nankichi Niimi
  • The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore and illustrated by Gyo Fujikawa

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Being Thankful

I have a couple of posts in the works, including my December Themes one, but until I get them done, here's another quote from Laura. ("Thanksgiving Time" from Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Family Collection.)
Father had laid in a supply of provisions for the winter and among them were salt meats, but for fresh meat we depended on father's gun and the antelope which fed, in herds, across the prairie. So we were quite excited, one day near Thanksgiving, when Father hurried into the house for his gun and then away to try for a shot at a belated flock of wild geese hurrying south.

We would have roast goose for Thanksgiving dinner! "Roast goose and dressing seasoned with sage," said sister Mary. "No, not sage! I don't like sage and we won't have it in the dressing," I exclaimed. Then we quarreled, until Father returned, - without the goose! To this day, when I think of it I feel again just as I felt then and realize how thankful I would have been for roast goose.

This little happening has helped me be properly thankful even tho at times the seasoning of my blessings has not been such as I would have chosen. (Amen to that, Laura!)

"I suppose I should be thankful for what we have, but I can't feel very thankful when I have to pay $2.60 for a little flour and the price still going up," writes a friend, and in the same letter she says, "we are in our usual health." The family are so used to good health that it is not even taken into consideration as a cause for thanksgiving. We are so inclined to take for granted the blessings we posses and to look for something peculiar; some special good luck for which to be thankful. We are nearly all afflicted with mental farsightedness and so easily overlook the thing which is obvious and near.
Super, like many young children, has a tendency to list in his prayers many obvious things that he is thankful for (the sky, the dog, our house, his fire trucks) and I think that young children, as usual, are more in tune with the true meaning of things.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Advent Activities

The last few years we have been celebrating Advent. I'd heard of Advent before that, but it isn't formally celebrated in the church that we attend. But I really liked the idea of doing more to remember Christ during the Christmas season, so I started looking in books and on the Internet. There is a TON of stuff out there. I'll list some of the links that I've found or used, but there is lots and lots of stuff out there, and you may find something that fits better with your family.

Primarily, we do one Advent activity (making ornaments for our Jesse Tree) during the week, and a different/more Advent activities on Sundays. We light an Advent candle during the activity each evening.

Like I said, we are making ornaments for a Jesse Tree. (Here's a link to a children's book about the Jesse Tree.) Most people make/buy a separate tree, and hang the Jesse Tree ornaments on them. We tried that last year, but it didn't work well for us. So this year, we are not going to put up any of our Christmas ornaments until Christmas Eve, and just put our Jesse Tree ornaments up on our Christmas Tree. You can buy Jesse Tree ornaments or make them from felt, embroider them, etc., but what we are doing this year is drawing them. We light the Advent candle for the week, and then we do a scripture reading, and then each of the children draws something to represent that event, and then we put the ornament up on the tree. Here's a link to the scriptures that we are reading and the main concept and a suggestion of what to use for the ornament.
Super's ornament
Jelly Bean's ornament -
the circle in the middle is the Earth
Flower's ornament

Small Steps

I always have big goals, and I want to accomplish them - like the next day. I'm not a very patient person overall, but particularly when I'm driven to do something. And what inevitably happens is that if I can't accomplish my goal in a few days or a few weeks, I give up and don't do it at all.

But Rhonda from down to earth reminds me that small steps are best and that it will be worth it in the end.

What I'm saying is that taking small steps is the way to a brighter and simple future. Small steps are easier and less scary than grand gestures and if you make a mistake, it doesn't matter, you just fix it and move on. But the great thing about small steps is they lead to other things. They open up possibilities and show you that change is achievable. And if you follow the path those small steps open up for you, you'll turn a corner one day and know you're living simply.

Other small steps you might like to consider are: slowing down and taking time for yourself - even it's in little bits and pieces; growing some of your own food; baking from scratch - bread, rolls, sourdough, cakes, muffins etc.; reading your electricity or water meters; cleaning your teeth with salt or bicarb; shampooing your hair with bicarb; using a cotton shopping bag; making your own shopping bag; using cloth table napkins; keeping chickens; decluttering your home; making do with what you have; taking shorter showers; talking to your children about conservation - ask them what they know, they might surprise you; using a Diva cup, homemade pads or non disposable nappies/diapers; reusing; repairing; recycling; smiling, opening your windows (in warm weather); opening up your heart (all the time); talking to your neighbours; supporting local growers and traders; spending time with your family and friends; learning how to knit and sew; cutting back on what you spend at Christmas; growing herbs or fruit; and making a commitment to change and live the life you want instead of what is expected of you by your family, friends and neighbours.

Some of these things I've been doing awhile, and some I've been workin on this year, but my goal is by the end of 2009 (so that gives me a little over a year) that I'll be able to say that I've made improvements in all the small things that Rhonda listed. I have a Plan for 2009, but more on that near the end of the month.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Daybook - December 1st

I'm actually posting this on Monday!

Outside My Window ...
Snow, snow, snow! We had our first snow over the weekend.
We cleaned up the yard on Friday, and I'm so glad.
Towards rhythm and beauty ...
I'm grateful for the rhythm that our days have, especially now that I teach preschool and watch children every day. It makes things more predictable and calmer for us all.
I am thankful for ...
my family. We had such a nice time during Thanksgiving working together and being together.
From the learning rooms ...
For the preschoolers, lots of new things out on the shelves. I always put new things out at the beginning of the month, and I also have some seasonal activities out too. For Flower, she is working with her new book, Usborne Book of Peoples of the World. We've also re-vamped her schedule so that she works on every subject every day Monday through Thursday and has Friday off for working on sewing and cooking projects.
From the kitchen ...
We are done eating Thanksgiving leftovers. We are having Chicken, Brown Rice & Vegetables for dinner tonight.
I am wearing ...
a blue sweatshirt that says Pfizer, Groton, CT that I got about ten years ago when I was visiting my good friend, Wendy who works for Pfizer.
I am creating ...
caps for the Caps to Haiti project and more Christmas presents.
I am going ...
to stay inside today. The snow is beautiful, but I don't feel like venturing out on to the roads today.
I am reading...
High Spirits.
I am hoping...
that everyone enjoys their Christmas presents.
I am hearing ...
quiet again! Super is at his first day of Pre-K this afternoon, and the two girls that I watch are both sick today, and the baby is still on vacation.
Around the house ...
it looks a lot like Christmas! We decorated outside on Friday and inside last night. We also cleaned the house on Saturday, so the house looks clean AND festive.
One of my favorite things ...
is doing Advent activities with my children.
A few plans for the rest of the week ...
It's a busy week - Jelly Bean has Daisy Girl Scouts tonight, and basketball on Tuesday and Thursday, Flower has 4-H on Thursday, and I've got a church activity on Thursday. I still haven't figured out how we are going to get to all of those places on Thursday.
Here is picture thought I am sharing ...

Daybook created by Peggy at