Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Thanksgiving Table

While everyone loves to write about what a lovely time that had during the holidays with family and what wonderful food they ate, and yes we had a lovely time and ate wonderful food, I would rather chat about the table.

I love dishes. I have several dishes. I have my every day dishes, christmas dishes, a variety of tea dishes, old every day dishes I can't part with, a set of antique dishes I am collecting and wedding china which, unlike many people, I use regularly, no special occasion required. I don't know why I love them. They just make me happy. Now to really optimize my dishes I need beautiful table decorations to go with them.

I have done some table decorating with a friend over the past couple years. We stand in her basement and set pretend tables in preparation. I stand there and tell her we need different color or sizes of dishes or we need something tall or blue or whatever and she pulls any abstract thing I declare out of a secret compartment somewhere in her house and we create magical tabletops. I have done similar with my sister decorating the tops of her cabinets. I just tell her I need something tall and silver or green and flat and she comes up with something just right.

So anyway, back to Thanksgiving. I went over to my mom's on Wednesday to create a table masterpiece with no money. I brought my antique Fire King Peach Luster dishes since the color is so Thanksgivingie. A friend had given me a magazine picture with my dishes and they had used a pinkish table cloth with them so I asked my mom if she had something like that. She pulled out a burgandy table cloth that was perfect. We ran a brown sheer fabric down the center. I had brought salad plates thinking they might look nice on top of my mom's wedding china which is white with a blue border and silver edge. We put the whole thing on top of a silver charger plate. It did look nice but was missing something, the centerpiece to tie it all together. Down to my mom's storage closet we went to raid her decorations. We needed something blue, a vase or something. We found candles and pinecones and litte houses, anything that went with the color scheme and then back up we went. The only blue thing we found was a short blue vase that was perfect except for the pink petunias stuck in them. We decided we didn't like the flowers anyway so cut the heads off (the stems were glued to the bottom of the vase) and jammed in some apple things, added some pine cones, a brown bird statue and tied the whole table together in one spot, it was small but did the job. After that everything else fell together, little candle holders, tall candle holders, pinecones and pheasant feathers rounded out the look. Yes the food was good but my favorite part of Thanksgiving was looking at the table.

The bad color in these pictures will help you understand why I need my camera back from the repair shop and John wants a new work camera.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I Need Africa

Next summer I am going to Africa. I don't know how yet. I am trusting God to work out the details while I try to be faithful with where I think he is leading me. Something that scares me a little but in a good way. Today I was lurking around in strangers blogs when I came across this post by a woman who went to Africa after begging God to never send her there. Thought I would share:

I need Africa

I posted a comment there you could find but I will cut and paste for you. Read her post first.

My comments:

Wonderful post. I actually am having the opposite where I felt God preparing me for Africa since my son was 5, starting first with simply a desire to take a family trip and then realizing it would have to be a mission, and have been amazed to see him unveil the plan over the last 9 years. 5 years ago we joined an Anglican Mission in America (AMIA) church which is a mission organization out of Africa, something my Baptist upbringing never would have imagined. I immediately knew this was how God would send me to Africa although I didn’t know the details at the time. Now we are planning a mission trip to Kenya summer 2009 and the entire family is planning to go.

As we have worked with some Africans in our church to plan the trip I have gotten this exact sense, that I need to go more than they need me there. Yes they need the financial help we will bring and the work we will do and the hope our presence gives but they also understand what it will do for us and how much we will change. They want us to go for us as much as for Africa. So I try not to feel too guilty that I am doing this because I really want to see Africa and worry that I might get more out of it than I give

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Afternoon fun

Thought you needed to see the pics of the tea party:

Isabelle and Sofie





Sofie apparently had a wonderful tea party at a friends home recently with pink tea. I didn't have pink but did recently buy a chocolate tea which she felt would work. Isabelle and I have been cruising along with plain tea with ice in it for quite some time but today the more experienced Sofie changed everything when she announced that I was supposed to give them sugar and a spoon to stir for the tea. Of course I do whatever my precious neice says and so they all had a spoonful of sugar in their tea which caused them to drink several cups. I am hoping Isabelle will forget the sugar but let's face it, who forgets sugar?

What if I had 4 children?

I am watching my 2 neices and nephew, Sofie, John and Lilia, today. Their mom is on bed rest with number 4. I always imagined I would have 3 or 4 children in rapid succession as my sister and sister in law have done and while I praise God that did not happen in my life I enjoy the opportunity to play mom of 4 sometimes.

The first thing Sofie announced when she arrived was that she was hungry and needed breakfast. So I made oatmeal all around. They all ate a little but were excited to get playing. We have different toys than them so the first few hours are pretty easy and I don't see them at all. I spent about an hour Instant Messaging with my sister while they took all the toys out downstairs. Eventually they got hungry and came up. Isabelle then discovered much to her disappointment that Lilia had gone around to all the bowls of oatmeal and finished off everyones breakfast. She reminds me of Goldilocks only less picky.

John, Isabelle and Lilia were playing some game running around the kitchen, living room, dining room circle (why do kids love that so much?) and Lilia, the youngest, was amusing me. First she found a fuzzy scarf and was wearing it around singing like she was a lounge singer with a fancy boa around her neck. Then a little later in true youngest child mode John and Isabelle were running away from her and she was chasing them saying, "nana nana boo boo." Oh how her life will be changing next week when she turns into another middle child.

Somehow while I was trying to get Jake out the door and get them lunch half a plate of chocolate chip cookies disappeared. Well Sofie must have special cookie radar because she had been downstairs watching a movie but suddenly appeared to get her share of the cookie caper.

While they are eating I hear Isabelle say to them, "thank you for coming to my house today". Such a good little hostess. It really is easy to take care of 4 children when they are all so well behaved. I would even consider daycare if I knew I could get kids that had already been whipped into shape like these 3. Will Julia be able to maintain her excellent parenting skills once a 4th comes into their life? I suspect so. What she may lack at times in energy and motivation she will always make up for in raw stubborn determination and stick-to-itness. (I love you Julia :))

Sofie ate after the others because she was finishing a movie. I was sitting with her and when she was done commented on what a good eater she is. She said, "yeah but do you know Nathan and David?" (other cousins)Yes I told her. "Nathan is 10 and he is a really good eater. He eats EVERYTHING on his plate." (way to go Angie)

My plan for the day was to let them play in the morning and then be more structured with some activities in the afternoon. So after lunch I broke out the paints. I felt like a pre-school teacher getting paint shirts on everyone, finding a paint brush for everyone and making up blue and red paint bowls for everyone (except Lilia who I told could only have one color in the spill proof container). I am always only half organized so while I was able to make it happen I really have blue finger paint and red powdered paint that I had to mix up. What do they care? And I dug through the goodwill pile and John's work shirts for paint shirts. Then I got out the princess/cars coloring cut outs I found in the dollar section at Target and they did that for a while. Finally when the were done with that they wanted to go outside. While I wouldn't have planned this I was happy to send them out. I managed to find hat and gloves for all of them and even had boots for Lilia. That is when I finally went to dig the camera out of my husbands work bag. I cleaned up the paint and marker stuff while watching them out the window. I was noticing how John and Sofie were taking turns pushing Lilia. I was thinking/laughing how while Isabelle would be old enough to take a turn it would never occur to my special second only child to do such a thing. Well just when you think you know your children they surprise you because a few minutes later I looked out and saw Isabelle pushing Lilia. Maybe there is hope after all. :)

Outside didn't last long since it is only 20 degrees out and back they all came. I looked at the clock and it was only 12:30! It felt like 2:30. As I am talking out loud to myself about the time Sofie kindly informs me that they have quiet time at 12:30 and Lilia takes a nap. So I lay Lilia on my bed and she doesn't get up and goes to sleep and the other 3 go in Isabelle's room and are playing quietly. How does Julia do it?

Now I do have a few other plans. I have those games in the game closet to pull out, Isabelle has been wanting to play them with John and Sofie since we first learned them. And no trip to my house would be complete if I didn't have a tea party. Now they have already filled up on cookies but that won't stop me from giving them more. And then I figure it will be time for a movie or TV or something.

Now while it has mostly gone smoothly and I love having them here, I am glad I don't do it every day. Here are a few things I can put off until tomorrow since they aren't all mine:

Grocery Shopping
Picking up popcorn at the scout office
cleaning my house
Christmas shopping
Basically think only about myself and blog and IM with my sister all morning--Oh wait I did that one while they were here...

Well it has been an hour of quiet time. I wonder how long it normally lasts. I think I hear Lilia so I suppose I should move from my computer and get back on mom of 4 duty once again.

I am woman hear me roar!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

New Year Resolutions--Part 2

I love New Years Resolutions. Did I mention that last time? November is the month to make your goals for the new year. What do I want to accomplish in 2009? I have several categories I consider goals in, personal goals (mental, physical, spiritual)plus goals with my family, friends, home and activities I am involved in. I just love to think through how I can be better in each of these areas each year. I usually break them down into 3 parts of the year, winter/spring, summer and fall.

This year is a little different. This year I have a theme. 2009 is the year of Africa. We are going to Africa in August and we have to have an intensity to this plan if it is going to happen. So my personal goals will probably have to do with Africa; reading books on Africa, growing my hair out so I can wear it in a pony tail while in Africa, eating healthy so I will feel good while in Africa, praying for the trip to Africa. I am have a job for Africa, my ministry involvement this year is for the Africa trip, I will be doing no home improvements beyond cleaning this year because of Africa, I will be donating my junk to our church for a fundraising garage sale for Africa, I will be boring my friends all year with details on this trip to get the picture.

I have never had a theme year before so this is sort of exciting. Normally I just make something up that sounds nice and see if it plays out as something I really want to do or not. This year I have a whole theme to keep me on track with what I really want to do and what is fluff. It already has helped me say "no" to a few volunteer opportunities. When John and I start talking about financial goals for next year we have something to work around. If this works out I might have to create themes for every year.

So now I am wondering what other peoples goals are for this year. Any other theme years out there?

American Girl

I am a girly girl at heart. We had lunch yesterday at the new American Girl Store and Bistro at Mall of America. I was looking forward to it for weeks, in fact it was sort of to celebrate my birthday this weekend. I did bring my daughter who brought her dolls, one dressed in a matching outfit to hers, and we shopped for a Christmas gift for Isabelle. But let's face it American Girl is for ME.

When Jake was little and American girl was just hitting the scene I had 3 little nieces and wished I could afford to spend an obscene amount of money on them for Christmas and birthdays. I had to settle for books and trinkets. Twice I had opportunity to be in Chicago and stop by the American Girl store down there. I just went in to gaze at the beautiful doll clothes and breath the girly air. Jake laid on the convenient couches they had around the store wondering how long I would torture him.

Now I have my own girly girl. I still can't spend obscene amounts of money on her but I do get to do a little more indulging. So this Christmas she and her doll will have matching ballerina outfits. And now that I have my own American Girl store just a few minutes from home and my own sweet girl to share it with there is no telling what else will come home.

Monday, November 17, 2008

New Year Resolutions--Part 1

I love new year resolutions. I don't care that they get broken I just love the idea of thinking through what changes I might make in my life in the new year. Eventually some of them actually happen. After years of putting, "start exercising" on my list I finally feel like I have accomplished that. Of course now I want to improve the process but I do now exercise and that is something. And regular quiet time is something I am always striving to do and improve. This year I made a goal to read through the bible in a year. Not the first time I have desired to do this or even the first time I have started it (I made it to Job 3 or 4 times) but I preservered and now with only 44 days left of the year I am on track to accomplish that goal.

So here I am at the end of 2008 feeling accomplished with my bible reading goal but now starting to wonder what I will do on January 1. What I learned this year, and really have known for years, is that if I don't know what I am going to do in quiet time I am far less likely to have one. I need a plan, a task, a to do list, a box to check off. So what do I follow up reading the whole bible with? Should I read it again? I enjoyed it but don't feel like I want to do it again next year. I learned alot but I did miss more indepth studying of the bible. And now having this great overview I feel like I will be able to study the bible with more understanding. I also felt like because of my task oriented approach I lost some of my prayer life to my bible reading. SO, I am planning to make 2009 the year of prayer. But again I need tasks. I need books to read, passages to study and pray through. I don't want my year of prayer to cause me to walk away from the bible. I don't want to just spend a year praying for other people and never crack the bible. So it will be both time in prayer and time studying prayer.

So that is the concept. How do I put that into a plan? I have 2 books on prayer by Stormie Omartain. "The power of the Praying Wife" and "The Power of a Praying Parent". Each has 30 chapters so that is 2 months down and 10 to go. I would like to spend some time praying through some specific scriptures. I am thinking of trying Ps 119. I would love to find a book or some online resource on that. The reading I am doing has me going through the Psalms on Sunday's and I think I will continue that. A friend suggested Pray! magazine which I bet would be full of ideas so that will be on my Christmas list. Are there any suggestions to help me fill my year?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fall Clean up

It is so great to wake up to a light covering of snow on your yard and know that if this is the beginning of winter you won't have moldy grass in the spring. John and I spent all afternoon yesterday cleaning up our yard. It is not a favorite task at our house so it was accompanied by the required fight. I wanted it to be a "fun" family project and John just wanted to "get it done". Ultimately Isabelle is sick and Jake had been out all night at a youth group event and was sleeping so it really wasn't a family activity it was just John and I. We mainly just got it done.

We have a loser lawn mower. We inherited it from my parents when they moved to a townhome. Our first lawnmower was from John's parents. John had mowed with it since he was a child and while it wasn't fancy it always started. But then he got busy with work and I don't mow so we hired a sevice. It was so wonderful to come home from an errand and see our lawn neatly mowed. We gave that lawnmower to a friend that had just bought his first home and went along merrily with no mower for several years. But then Jake turned 12. Isn't it a rite of passage for every boy to have to mow the lawn on Saturday mornings? So we accepted the lawn mower from my parents and canceled the service. The new mower is a multching mower which is nice because Jake doesn't have to bag, but it weighs alot and the wheels slip and other John and Jake hate it. After putting too much money into repairs last summer it didn't start this fall for the clean up. I called a neighbor with a riding mower who said we could use their mower and the leaf collector for the day. Well it has changed our life and perspective on yard work. What we could never have finished yesterday with rakes and our little mower we did in only a few hours. John drove it back and forth across our lot whisking up the leaves and putting then in a huge pile and then back and forth over it again to neatly mow it. So there was a little fun. Now we have yet another savings plan and I will definately be spending the winter researching riding mowers. John did eventually get our mower started so if you know someone looking for a cheap mower...

I don't have great before pictures of the whole yard but here is Isabelle and a "snow" angel I made in the leaves. :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


And since I have downloaded off the work camera I found some halloween pictures.
Fancy Nancy in search of candy.

Who needs pre-school curriculum?

OK John has this old camera he uses for work that you have to whack to get it to work properly but I dragged it out just for the blog. How sad is that?

I have been torn about actually doing some formal pre-school work with Isabelle or just doing my usual random approach to homeschool which stresses my family out. Well today we were at Target and Isabelle pulls a bunch of bras off the rack while I am looking around. I tell her she has to put them back and as I watch her I remember why I have such a random approach to homeschool and why I love it so much. There we are with 3 different color bras on the floor of Target and it is an opportunity for her to learn to sort. She puts the first 2 in the right place and then mixes up the second two. So I ask her why she didn't match them and she tells me she wanted to mix them up. Of course since I am not fully committed to doing any homeschooling I decided to just accept this answer and move on. But it did get me thinking...

Then this afternoon I pull out the marble works and put it together and we watch the marbles drop through which Isabelle just loves. I bought this toy at a discovery toys party many years ago and felt it was a good learning toy. But I am wondering what in fact we are learning. How to watch mom decipher a picture and put a bunch of tubes together so that she can drop marbles through? I just don't think it is a 3year old learning toy. And since I have no mechanical aptitude and couldn't put the thing together without the pictures I am not sure it is a 37 year old toy either. I think I will stick with the Target learning experiences for now.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tea with Daddy

I love tea parties. They are the calm in my day. Today my husband was working in his home office and Isabelle and I decided to have a tea party. I took the opportunity to step up the party and have Isabelle make an invitation for Daddy while I did the preparations. I wrote the words:

what: tea party
Where: dining room
When: now
Why: fun

She decorated it by drawing a picture of daddy, some sort of randome creature and a parrot. Who knows what is going on in a 3 year olds mind but they all went together to her. With the treats set out, tea cups and plates on the table and the tea brewed I told her it was time to deliver the invitation. At the last minute I thought I should read it to her in case he asked what it said. So down she goes and when she gets to daddy she "reads" it to him just as I did. He said it almost brought tears to his eyes. She ran back upstairs, we all donned our tea hats (even daddy) and had a lovely tea party together.

I keep having to find old pictures for my posts because my camera has been getting repaired for a very, very long time. Hopefully by the holidays I will have it back. So no pictures of today's party.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Not Me Monday

Not Me Monday, it seems like fun. From mckmama's site, click the button above to link to lots of other not me blog posts:

I did not forget that my son was going camping with the scouts this weekend and so make plans to go to my parents for dinner. I did not call the scout master and ask if I could bring Jake to his house early so that I could still go mooch dinner off my parents.

I did not do up my hair and make up more than usual to meet a friend for lunch to the point that my co workers all commented on how nice I look. Because I do not usually drag myself in looking only so so.

I did not drive through Mc Donalds on the way to bringing my kids to church on Wednesday night, delivering them late, because I was busy doing nothing on my computer all afternoon. I did not on that same night as I was walking out the house remember that I was supposed to bring a meal to friends who just had a baby, I did not call them in a panic at 6:30 and discover they had already eaten without me. No I would never do that.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

folly and crisis

When I named this blog I thought I was being witty and that everyone would know what I was talking about. It seems however that while I might be witty nobody gets it but me. So for those of you who haven't quite put it together, Jake is "the folly of my youth" and Isabelle is my "mid life crisis". Jake was born when I was 23 which is young but we had been married 4 years at that point so we definately didn't feel we were rushing into anything. John finished school, we bought a house and decided that we were pretty good at being poor so we might as well keep the trend going and have a baby now that John was making some money. It worked out quite well. The 11 years before Isabelle came along was not exactly our plan but it was God's plan, a plan we initially weren't sure we were on board with when He suggested another child years after we had come to peace about only having one. We liked having an only child, the baby stuff was gone, we were going to be 41 when he went to college. But then again what were we going to do at 41 with the rest of our lives? Why couldn't we have more children? We were only 34. Some of our high school friends were just starting families. I know 34 isn't exactly mid life for most people but as a friend once told me, we have always been a little ahead of everyone else in these things. So into our lives came Isabelle. And if the decision to bring her into our lives wasn't the crisis then the 3 months after her birth definately were. We did not transition to baby world as smoothly the second time around. However, once she started sleeping more than an hour at a time we felt much better. She was the completion of our family. We were happy with an only child but experienced a peace with 2 only children that we didn't know we were missing. They are so fun.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Day 5 and it is over

Did you know that downstairs in my basement is an entire closet full of games? And that in there are 5 games age appropriate for Isabelle? Who knew. A whole other activity we could have been doing this week that doesn't involve me playing imaginatively. I taught Isabelle how to play all the games. Spill the beans was her favorite, she got board with the matching game before we finished. Arthur dominos and the insy spider game were fun too. I did not take out the marble works because I can't remember how to make it so I will have to find the directions on the internet. I also found the lost white board markers down there. So we are off to a good start. I made a little list (with the white board markers) to build on what we have and I don't think it will be a problem to give the grandparents christmas lists this year for her.

We finished the week with a movie. After 5 days without tv she still was asking for it so I told her that she could watch a movie at Grandma's house tonight. She looked forward to it all day. Tomorrow is Saturday. As a kid I spent all morning on Saturday watching cartoons while my parents slept in so I figure I can let her celebrate a week without tv by watching it tomorrow morning while we sleep in. I am, however, looking forward to a tv controlled week next week and finally believe I can limit tv and expect my daughter to be able to entertain herself.

I feel good about what we learned and accomplished this week. We broke the "tv quiet time" habit that had to go and learned where we really need tv (before dinner) and where we really don't need it (breakfast and lunch time). We played with toys, had tea parties, cleaned the house, played play dough, did yoga, read books, went to the park, ate breakfast, lunch and dinner together, had less fights to get dressed and to go to bed. I kept up with my desk work while she played with dolls, polly pockets, kitchen toys and read books to herself, colored and one day even napped. Maybe my romantisized version of life without tv isn't that crazy after all. It wasn't perfect but in the course of a week we definately changed our lives.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Is it almost over yet?

Day 4 of no TV. Have I ever mentioned to you that I don't like to play? I don't do imaginative play. When Jake was about the same age as Isabelle I sat him down one day and told him I loved him and would be happy to read books or play games but I would not sit down and play cars with him. I do not like it. Girls and boys are different. While Jake did alot of imaginative play it was either in the back yard or with cars/action figures. Isabelle even has to make up senarios when playing play dough. She can't just make snakes or extrude things there has to be a whole story line and with it lots of commands for what I should make and how I should make them. It just isn't fun. I don't like to play with my kids. I miss tv. I'm a bad parent.

Overall it seems to continue to be going well. Isabelle is still asking for it but doesn't seem too upset when she doesn't get it. As I am thinking about next week and bringing it back I feel like I want to narrow it to just watching tv in the late afternoon. Every day this week that has been the time I wanted to put on the tv and have had the hardest time entertaining Isabelle. On the other hand it is sort of a challenge, how should I be structuring that time different so we don't have to turn on the tv? I am open to suggestions. My fear of letting that be tv time is that it could start at 3pm and go until bedtime at 7pm. And I am ashamed to admit has many times in the past. While I might want to utilize the tv at that time I will still need a structue to keep it from being a 4 hour tv marathon.

Day 5: sorting the toys to see if we have more to do. Tune in tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

No TV Day Three

Apparently not everyone got the memo on Isabelle not watching TV. This morning Isabelle was once again up at the daylight savings time of 6:30am and I once again was trying to ignore her. Well my wonderful son stepped in and made her toast and turned on the tv for her so I could sleep. He even turned it down so low I didn't know it was on when I woke up. He is such a keeper. I slept til 8:00.

So she had a little tv time this morning. But I told her to turn it off right when I got up and she did without complaint. We have had a busy day and I can't say that I caught her being Masterly Inactivity but she did color, do play dough, help me clean up play dough and I could see her reading books at the club through the window in the child center. She just seems a little more relaxed when we are at home.

She did beg for tv when we were on our way home from the club and again when we got home from having lunch with Grandma. She is so worn out by staying up to late last night and getting up early the last 2 mornings that she is actually sleeping as I type this up. Something that might not have happened if I had put on a tv show for her instead of telling her to just play quietly.

My sister-in-law asked me today why Isabelle wasn't allowed to watch tv. I rambled some lame answer about how it was good for her but really I was sort of caught off guard by the question. Why am I doing this? Have I decided to become philosophically opposed to tv? Is tv making her bad? I am sure there are as many reasons for getting rid of the tv as their are people who do it. In my life everything comes back to ME. I like to think I do things for my children because I am a wonderful parent but really only as far as it makes my life work or makes me look good or whatever, ME, ME, ME. So I think I am doing it because I have no self control or ability to have a balance with tv watching. Because I have totally lost the ability to come up with non tv activities for my child to do and want to totally disengage from parenting all day long while she watches tv. So I must move to the extreme other side and take it away from her to...punish myself for bad parenting. Hopefully we can have it back next week and start creating balance. What I have learned so far is that the only time where I it would be helpful to have the tv on is in the early evening while I am making dinner. The rest of the day I think we are learning we can do without. So I need to start making a plan.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

No TV Day Two

I think we are getting into the meat of the challenge today, some good progress and some challenges.

I was woken up this morning at 6:30am by my daughter wanting to crawl into bed with me. I was too tired to stop her. After tossing and turning for a few moments she says to me, "I want to watch tv". I say no and she starts to cry like she is being punished for something and she can't understand why. I feel bad but I am tired and try to ignore her. Finally at 7:00 I drag myself out of bed because she isn't going away. It is amazing really how quickly children transition. After breakfast at the counter she gets up and discovers these books I have in little baskets under an end table just waiting to be read. She talks to herself so I hear her come across the basket of books and act surprised and then happy to find books she loves. She then sits down and "reads" them to herself. I get ready and she is totally agreeable all morning. We actally got to work early today rather than sliding in at the last minute.

My sister in law mentioned in a comment about "Masterly Inactivty" so I checked it out. I am still figuring it out but it seems to be basically the idea kids spending time engaging in activities they are really interested in. I am sort of familiar with the concept, although I didn't know the name, from when I homeschooled Jake. It was something I was always trying to foster in him and had some success. I was thinking about the concept when Isabelle found the books today. Those books have been there almost since she was born. I even recently updated them with less baby books and more books for her age and interest. Yet she rarely ever looked at them and never by herself or for any exteded period of time. Do you think it was because the TV was on right next to them? So this week I am going to be watching for examples of Masterly Inactivty and will report them here.

I do have to confess that by the time we got home from a busy day of activities, including standing in line for an hour to vote at 2pm, I really wanted, no NEEDED, a few moments to myself and knew if I turned on the tv I would get it. I wanted to so bad, I was so close to turning it on, but then I knew I would have to confess it here so I resisted. One of my errands today was to pick up some new playdough and coloring books to hopefully give her a couple activities for the next couple days when we don't work and will be home all day with no tv. I can see it will be a challenge for both of us.

Since I only said I would keep the tv off during the day I, of course, turned on the tv when she went to bed and spent all night watching poll results which is why I am writing this at 11pm and will once again be exhausted when Isabelle wakes up at the crack of dawn tomorrow morning. I might have to think of extended this out for next week.

Monday, November 3, 2008

No TV Day One

Day one has gone significantly better than I had anticipated. I expected tantrums in the morning when she woke up, at lunch and all afternoon. Instead Isabelle never mentioned tv this morning before work but sat at the counter and enjoyed breakfast with me. We did have a discussion about quiet time because it has deteriorated into "tv quiet time". So now it is "upstairs toys" or "downstairs toys" quiet time. Once she realized these were her only choices she was fine. Half way through quiet time she switched locations but as long as I am not bothered I don't care. I did have a brief moment of weakness after quiet time when I hadn't quite finished my task and she wanted to get on the computer where she watches videos on the web. I let her but it was only a 5 or 10 minute video on the computer. Does that count? She started coloring while I was making dinner and now that it is in the oven and Isabelle is still occupied I don't really know what I am supposed to be doing right now. I guess that is one of the questions I am trying to answer this week without tv.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

What if we didn't watch TV?

I don't watch that much tv. I rarely turn it on during the day and if I do only for about an hour while I eat lunch. I am really into 2 tv shows on Monday night. The rest of the time I just turn on the tv because it is there and my brain doesn't know what else to do. Not that there aren't other or better things to do but I watch tv. And more than once I have spent HOURS watching nothing. Just flipping from channel to channel waiting for something I am interested in to come on.

Isabelle on the other hand watches alot of tv. Not as much as Jake did, I don't feel I rely on tv as much with Isabelle as I did with Jake, but still too much. Often when she is underfoot and I am trying to do something I suggest a video. I know when her favorite shows are on so that I can suggest them when she comes to me. It is sad. Can I come up with nothing else for her to entertain herself? She has toys, we have craft supplies, maybe it is time to get them out.

I like to romanticize things. Here is how I would romantasize a tv free life. Each day I would rise before the rest of the family for my early morning run and time with God. I would come home and make breakfast for the family to have before they went off to work and school. Isabelle and I would clean up and head to work where we would make a difference in children's lives for a couple hours before coming home. Once home we would sit down together for a heathly lunch and then spend some time on our homemaking chores. I would feel great about teaching Isabelle homemaking skills that she can take with her into adulthood. Then we would spend the afternoon reading together, making crafts and doing some simple pre-school curriculum. Isabelle would then go off and play by herself engaging in imaginative play for a couple hours while I caught up on desk work, phone calls, helped John manage a small business, chaired 2 different fundraising events and the vestry. We would then make dinner for John and Jake who would both be home promptly at 5:30. We would sit down at the table and discuss our days and practice the family memory verse we are working on for the week. After dinner we would all clean up and then spend some time working on homework or crafts. John and Isabelle would have relaxing father/daughter time before she went to bed. John, Jake and I would close the evening by sitting down for a family game time or maybe read outloud from a piece of classic literature. See how I would become a different person if I didn't watch TV?

You know, it is difficult to reconcile the person you want to be or think you are supposed to be with the person you are. I know that I am doing pretty good in my life and shouldn't feel bad, and I really don't. But I just know I could do better, I know where I am failing. I know that God created me to do more but sadly I live in a fallen world where my desire to live my life fully for God every moment and my sinful desire to live my life only for myself collide into something not bad but far from perfect.

So what do you think? Can Isabelle and I do it? How about just during the day while we are home together? OK I am going for it. A one week trial. Let's say only during the day since I don't have the rest of the family on board yet. The first test will come bright and early tomorrow morning when Isabelle doesn't get to roll out of bed and turn on the tv. I better prepare my husband. He might want to go to work early tomorrow. :)