Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy New Year!

I know that is a few days late, but oh well. Time is all one big blur here, since we are on break and I don't HAVE to keep track.

I am not one for New Year's Resolutions, but I do think that making goals for oneself is a healthy thing, as long as the goals are in a reasonable range of probability. In other words, don't make goals you know you can't reach! That is discouraging and counterproductive.

One goal I have been working on, and will continue to work on, is simplifying our schedules. We are mostly a "stay home" type of family. I am not a "soccer mom". We don't go here for lessons, or Tee ball, or this or that. We are down to one working vehicle right now, so that would be out. Also, until recently the prices of gas was so high we very purposely cut out as much extra driving as possible. Thirdly, that sort of "Mom's taxi" style of living is not for us. I'm not against outside activities, per Se, just for our family, it wouldn't work well. Especially now with a baby around. But that is neither here nor there, and really has nothing to do with this post except to point out that even though we are mostly a stay at home type of family, even our schedules can get too packed at times.

It is admirable to be ambitious in homemaking and child rearing, but "more" does not necessarily mean "better". I love to get a lot done, and lay down at the end of the day knowing I worked hard. I don't think there is anything wrong with that. But there needs to be balance in our lives between work and play and rest. I would also dare to put "creativity" in there.

I tend to pack too much into my "to do" list. If we can get X done, then we can get X,Y, and Z done. What I fail to remember is that by getting X done, we are doing a great job, but by cramming Y and Z in there, we are packing the schedule too full, and it causes stress. Mainly through Mama. And if Mama is stressed, the rest of the family feels the tension either directly or indirectly. The same goes for schooling. This year I conscientiously scaled back each semester. The first semester is over, and I have to say, it was much better than last year's first semester. I am afraid to admit it, but I think I fell prey to the homeschooling mom's biggest temptation... over planning the school year. There are so many fun things to do and learn and incorporate into the schooling, that I forget that there is a limit to what I call the "wow factor". At some point, the children are ready to be done and go out and play, or do something creative. It can get overwhelming, to be sure. By scaling back some this year, I have noticed that the "wow factor" remained intact for almost the whole day, and though we aren't perfect, the school day went on with less tension, and less stress. Mostly because I knew what I had planned was doable in what we deem an acceptable amount of time. It also helped me to diagnose problems in the day. There was no second guessing myself. Did I plan too much, or is that child just sluffing off? I knew from what I had planned that day, that the child was sluffing off. I didn't have to worry that there was too much to intake in a day.

Simplifying isn't always easy. It doesn't even really mean less work. Simplifying our living meant keeping a garden, freezing and canning our own produce, going to wood heat, etc. These things are very satisfying, but are also a lot of work.

Simplifying our schedule to me means not over planning a day. Being able to take time to "stop and smell the roses", or admire artwork from the kids, or chase butterflies with them, or play a game, read a good book aloud, whatever you want to fill in the blank with... and NOT feel like I am getting behind in "MY" schedule. My goal is to keep that in mind.. balancing what needs to be done, with spontaneity, and fun, and just taking the time to enjoying these growing up years with the kids (me and them.. hahahahaha). They grow up so fast! Not that I have been ignoring them to this point, but I certainly haven't appreciated those unplanned moments like I should.

Speaking of growing up, Isaac is changing so much already. He got the usual newborn jaundice 3 or 4 days after birth, but that is almost gone now. He has lost that squished, wrinkled, newborn look. He is starting to hold is head up and twisting it around to track Dale's and my voice. He is vocalizing more. He is having more awake time. I am trying to tell him he doesn't have to do these things just yet, but obviously, Isaac has his own agenda. He is a champion nurser, too. We haven't gotten to the point where the nursing schedule is smoothed out yet, but it is getting there.

I hadn't anticipated this, but while Isaac has been a balm for our souls, for certain, my thoughts have turned towards Aaron more. What would he be like now, had he lived? Would he be walking? What would he look like? What type of personality would he have? In the throes of the usual postpartum hormonal responses, I have shed tears in rememberance of the son we will never know. At the same time, we are so thankful for Isaac. No, he doesn't take Aaron's place, but he is a gift from God, and has been a HUGE blessing to our hearts. Thank you Lord!

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