Saturday, January 30, 2016

More Snow and Inside Play

And this is what we woke up to last Sunday morning.  The snow had stopped and all was serenely beautiful!

Hey look!  A snow bunny!

He found a little chair to sit on.

Daddy wipe out.

At the "neighbor house" he turned Daddy's snow pile into. :)

Meanwhile...back in the house...this sort of thing happens.  I believe we call it indoor sledding on a plastic table cloth they raided from Mom's cabinet. :)

Story time with Daddy.

Isaac models his new basketball shorts that I picked up at a consignment shop recently.  I have never seen this child SO excited about a garment before!  He begs to wear them everyday, and when they are in the laundry, he asks me 10 times a day if I have washed them yet.  Apparently, he can play basketball much better when wearing these shorts! :)

And of course, he's doubly successful when he is wearing his basketball shirt too!

One thing I am loving these days is seeing Isaac's imagination come alive with great vividness!  The other day, he created a fish tank/aquarium out of these baskets.  He and JoJo now "feed" the fish multiple times a day with various toys and invite me to do the same quite regularly.  This fish tank has kept them busy for days!

The little brother tag-a-long who occasionally wears big boy underwear when Mom feels like potty-training (which he is always so delighted to do!).

Watching the "fish."

When did he get so big?

Friday, January 29, 2016

Snow Bunnies

"Mommy, take a picture of me running to the house!"

Mowing snow.

Mr. Roly-Poly and his big role-poly ball!

Because mowing snow is so fun!

JoJo Bear

Such a cutie!

Now it's time to sweep the snow!  Boy, he's on a roll! :)

Monkey-see, monkey-do.

Erecting his flag pole in the snow.


Cheese again!

The morning after the storm.

This was my front porch - totally covered!

Time for some sledding!

Now that's a lot of snow!  (10-12 inches or so.)

Adoniah enjoyed watching Daddy shovel snow.  (And yes, I was carefully watching him grasp at the dangling cord.  He didn't wrap himself up in it or choke; he just found it very entertaining!)

Heading back from taking the compost bucket out.

Isaac thought night sledding was so cool!



Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Another Good Read...

...because of course, a busy mom of three kids ages 3 and under has so much on her brain that she would forget to write about the fourth book in her last post!  Oops!

Another book I read in 2015 that made an impact was:

The Brainy Bunch
By Kip and Mona Lisa Harding

This book details the Harding family's unique journey of homeschooling their ten children on an accelerated pace such that more than half of their brood (so far) have started and finished college far earlier than the average student.  I'm not talking about dual credit high school students but rather 11 and 12 year olds starting college studies.  If my memory serves me correct (since I read this book last spring), several of their children finished their bachelor degrees somewhere between ages 16 and 19.  The Hardings claim that none of their children are geniuses nor do they have particularly stellar I.Q.s.  The secrets to their early academic achievements, which they describe in the book, lie in their diligent efforts and ambitions, and the parents' belief that children are capable of learning far more from an early age than we give them credit.

The Hardings have been criticized for pushing their children too far too fast and not allowing them a "normal childhood."  However, according to what they write in this book and the honest glimpse into their daily lives that they allow readers to see, their children do indeed live normal childhoods and are not pushed into anything they don't care to attempt.  Most of their children, however, are so motivated by what they see their older siblings accomplish, that they strive to follow in their footsteps.  And outside of their high-level book work, they run in the backyard, create skits, play board games, do sports, play music, and socialize with friends just like other children/young people.  In other words, the Hardings are a very "normal" family with the exception of the academic levels at which their children operate.

One of the reasons their children have been able to get ahead in their studies compared to most peers is due to the fact that the Hardings school year-round, a not uncommon approach being taken by many homeschoolers.  This allows their children the benefit of not having to do a lot of review work at the beginning of a new school year and thus move more quickly through their grade levels.  They still take shorter breaks when needed throughout the school year, but not for three months at a time during the summer.

While I am not necessarily convinced just yet that I want to groom my children to start college by the age of 12, there were many aspects to this book that I enjoyed and that gave much food for thought.  I appreciated reading their family's journey thus far, what their adult children are now doing with their education and careers, their desire to focus in on each child's unique talents and interests, the practical-how-tos of their homeschooling advice, and how their Christian faith is the foundation in all they do as parents and teachers.  I will definitely be re-reading this engaging and inspirational book again soon!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Good Reads in 2015

As some of you may know, I am an avid reader!  To me, there are few things as enjoyable as curling up with a good book.  Due to the season of life I am in, I don't get to read as many books as I would like, but I do try to read at least a few pages before bed most nights, whether they be from a novel, a nonfiction book, a newsletter, or the Bible.  The occasional hot bath or long road trip also affords great opportunity for reading!  (Of course during the day, my reading material consists of children's picture books as I read out loud to my little snuggly bunnies who are also turning into book aficionados!)

During the year of 2015, I read a number of free ebooks on my Kindle that were of the historical or inspirational fiction genre.  These made for light, fun reading in my limited down time. But it is the nonfiction books that really stand out in my memory as ones which made an impact, so I wanted to share their titles with you today.  Not surprisingly, all three have a great deal to do with mothering. :)  They made such an impact, in fact, that I will probably be re-reading them sometime in 2016!

Shepherding a Child's Heart
by Tedd Tripp

I grew up hearing this title touted by Christian parents as a wonderful book, and I now I know what they were talking about!  Wow.  In an nutshell, Shepherding a Child's Heart is a child training book.  However, it does not just deal with the what-to-dos and what-not-to-dos in order to produce obedient children.  It focuses on dealing with the heart of Christian parents as they in turn strive to train their children's hearts, which then in turn, affects behavior.  I love the incredibly gracious writing style of the author coupled with the depth of Biblical wisdom from which he writes.  There is also a great deal of the practical shared in each chapter regarding the methodologies one can apply when training and disciplining their own children.  There was so much depth and wisdom and helpful ideas contained in this gem of a book, I will definitely be re-reading it again this year to glean even more!

Windows to Our World
by Sarah Janisse Brown

Talk about stumbling over a treasure of a book!  I saw this book come available for a free download to my Kindle on, and I am SO glad I decided to give it a read!  Something about the story just resonated with me and I could not put it down.  Windows to Our World is the modern-day biography of a delightful, joyful woman who loves Jesus, her husband, and family.

Written in the first person, Sarah starts her story at the beginning with life in her childhood home, transitioning from public school to homeschooler, meeting her husband as a teenager and committing her love life to the Lord.  Then, the story progresses into married life, lots of babies, homeschooling her own brood, trying her hand at homesteading, and finally, moving across the ocean into a short-term missionary life with her husband and ten children.

I don't know exactly what it was about this story that I connected with so well - there were just so many parts with which I could completely relate!  I really enjoyed the every-day life-ness of her writing.  If I ever write a book, I want it to be like this one. :)

Current updates and further writings are posted on Sarah's blog, so I feel like her story is ongoing, even after finishing the book.  There are also video clips on her website about child training and homemaking that are a lot of fun.

The whole book can be summed up as the story of a modern-day Christian wife/mom living joyfully for the Lord and making the most of her life no matter where she finds herself.  It was a truly inspiring and refreshing read!

Stop and Smell Your Children
by Leah Spina

This book was written by the sister-in-law of one of my best friend's sister-in-laws.  (How's that for a roundabout connection?)  I requested the book for Christmas, received it, and finished it within a few days' time because it was so engaging and practical to my season of life.  The end goal of the book is to encourage moms of little ones to love the little years and find everyday ways to delight in their children.  I would say that this goal was definitely accomplished!  Having three children under the age of three, I know firsthand how easy it can be to get so bogged down with the constant needs of each member of the household coupled with the ever-present household chores, laundry, meals, and dishes, that I miss the opportunities to connect with my children individually and take joy in all the little things throughout the day that tickle their fancy.  This book provides practical encouragement to do just that!  Those who are familiar with Rachel Jankovic's book, Loving the Little Years, will find this book to be written in a similar vein, though I must admit that I found Stop and Smell Your Children to be even more engaging.

The author definitely has a flair for the dramatic such that the first several chapters describing her journey into motherhood seemed to be a bit on the extreme side of easily overwhelmed and difficult.  I honestly could not relate to much that she wrote about in the first few chapters, but her sense of humor and storytelling abilities kept me reading.  As the book progressed, however, I found myself nodding along with so much of what she wrote as a mother of young children.  Her creative ideas for  delighting in one's children are simple yet profound and have stuck in my memory every time I change a diaper, give a bath, drive with the children in the car, or take them outside to play.

Ironically, it was Leah's chapter on keeping one's marriage a priority in the midst of mothering little ones that impacted me the most.  While I know how important this is, I really appreciated her thoughts and ideas for the practical how-tos of making time for each other, keeping the love fires burning, and finding mutual areas of interest to participate in together.

All-in-all, Stop and Smell Your Children was an enjoyable and timely book to read as I mother these little ones God has entrusted to me.  I'm sure I will be turning to it again for encouragement and laughter on those days when I find myself in the trenches!

What books made an impact on you in 2015?  I would love to know!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

More Holiday Catch-Up

Isaac and I had a lot of fun making gingerbread cookies to deliver to the neighbors when we went caroling.  Such a yummy twist to the usual sugar cookies.

Nathan contributed the homemade fudge to each plate.

Isaac was very excited to celebrate Jesus' birthday on Christmas day complete with balloons, party hats, and cinnamon rolls!

Then it was time to open gifts.

Grandma and Grandpa Britton came to celebrate with us!  Here is Grandma opening her stocking from Grandpa while Josiah eagerly checks out each item.

Josiah opens a book from a friend at church.

Isaac works hard to open a present for himself and Josiah of Melody Bells.

Another book for JoJo!

Nathan and I, along with my parents, gave the boys a pretend kitchen set as their main gift this year.  They are always getting out pots and pans in my kitchen and pretending to make all sorts of delicious concoctions.  The problem has been that they also want to use the real oven, the real stove, and the real refrigerator to have truly authentic kitchen experiences - all items which are off limits to them.  So, we figured a pretend kitchen would provide them with the opportunity to use all these things on a miniature level in a much safer way!  You'll have to turn your head or your screen partway through this video to view it right-side-up.  Oops!


Checking out all the doors and buttons!  (This was taken before we realized that Daddy had forgotten to put on the stickers which give the kitchen some color and pizazz!)

Josiah loves the pots!

Now we're getting those stickers on!

A special gift for Grandpa from Grandma.


Josiah and Isaac have really enjoyed getting messy and creative with their finger painting books that were gifts from family!

Isaac has also recently discovered how much fun cutting and gluing can be!

Earlier this week, we got our first big snow of the season.  It only stuck for two days, but it was beautiful while it lasted!

We have a flock of cardinals that like to hang out in our trees in the backyard.  They are my favorite birds, so I love seeing them come visit!  Such color they add to an otherwise bare, winter scene.

Josiah, my little "Champ."

Here he is cooking for me in his kitchen.  (Background commentary provided by Adoniah.)



Ready for a walk with my little papoose!