On April 17, well past Easter, I finally disposed of the Christmas cards from this year. Just keep on swimming, keep on swimming . . .
I look at these photos of my five children cheerfully playing in the shady back yard, with our statue of the Blessed Mother watching over them and I feel so blessed.
Thomas (9 months) absolutely loves swinging!
Thomas . . . a jubilant baby, or a 24-pound wrecking ball for big brothers who get in the way?
I am forever looking for and inventing new ways for us to achieve our Morning Basket Time--to read books aloud--while minimizing the Tasmanian Devil-like interruptions from the three-year-old ALL BOY and from the baby.
One crisp morning, I let the three-year-old ride his bicycle on the top of the long driveway while I read aloud to the others at the kitchen table. I sat in the window seat so I could keep an eye on Joseph outdoors, and the baby wanted to be in my arms.
Someone else started a 500-piece bird puzzle with my children--because, believe me, I don't put out puzzles during these years with tiny tots!--but I capitalized on it when I realized it would occupy the older children while we did our Morning Basket Time.
Full disclosure: the three-year-old was watching television in the other room to make this work!
During this spring season when the weather is so favorable, the children eat most lunches outdoors. I am so pleased at this new season of my life, with children a bit older, as I can even ask my 7-year-old to make lunch for everyone: she 'takes orders,' then makes a picnic outdoors.
|Eating under the watchful eyes of the Marys--their big sister and the Virgin Mother--while I lay down the baby for nap|
While cleaning up the backyard, I found these notes, crumpled in the grass, from one sister to the other.
Dear Margaret, How are you? I hope you are O.K. Did you like the picnic? Love, Mary
Dear Mary, I loved the picnic. Love, Margaret
I am lately being more mindful of allowing the 5-year-old to try new things. When I had just the first couple of children, I encouraged independence but, as happens when a parent has older children, why would I go through the difficulty of training/allowing a tiny tot to learn a task when I have a responsible, competent big kid?
I realized this week that I've never taught Margaret how to pour milk because I always ask her older brother to get cereal for the younger siblings. Margaret has been asking and asking, so now I'm taking the extra time daily to pour her a little pitcher that she can handle.
I just wish I had a picture of her beaming smile as she carried an armful of packages back from the mailbox when I let her go get the mail all by herself for the first time this week! I hadn't let her before because why would I want to pause my work to watch her out the window (like I used to do with the other children) when I have 7- and 9-year-olds, either of whom I can send alone to get the mail without my needing to watch them? Well, it's Margaret's turn now.
Miscellaneous Moments . . .
After a good five or six years, we finally put wood chips on the paths/trails in our back yard again. How enjoyable!
|New wood paths|
We happened to start our day with a neighborhood walk on Trash Day, only to discover two shelves set on the curb for free.
We picked up a black bookshelf to house all of the children's Legos and a white shoe shelf for the girls' closet. And you know what I did while they were scrubbing? I did our Morning Basket Time reading aloud!!! Never miss an opportunity . . .
|Children scrubbing clean our new-to-us shelves|
|Josey doing "school work" at "his desk" while I teach the older ones|
John and Mary had their annual standardized academic testing today, and all is well. I consider it my "annual review" . . . and I deserve an ice cream cone!
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