Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas Morning

Because we had an early Christmas for the actual Christmas we got up and went for a walk in Cherry Springs. We saw tracks for deer, rabbit, dog, and maybe others, I can't be sure. The frost was lovely. The children's endurance was poor but I expected it and came prepared. We warmed up with more hot chocolate, panatone, and clementines. I was glad it was a sunny morning.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Early Christmas

So this year we happily had Christmas a day early. All the regular stuff occurred. Stockings, Opening gifts, turnovers for breakfast, and a yule log for dessert at dinner.  It was nice to have Corey and Eileen pop in and the children loved there gifts. Kelly gave me a marble run and I got him a license plate cover.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Suprise Visit

Dad, Mom, and James are getting really good at surprising us. Sunday they unexpectedly dropped in to bring up some Christmas gifts. I loved it! We chated, messed around and then had hot chocolate, panatone, and Eileen's Christmas candy.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Homemade Marshmallows and Pear Pie

It is funny that you can't even see the pie but it is in there and delicious. Come over and we will share!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Shape by Shape

I got this toy for Christmas one year. I think I was twelve or so. John has been working on it for 3 weeks now. I am happy to see John enjoy it.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Skipped Over

These are photos that over the years I passed by.  Generally, I am excited to move on to the next batch, but it was fun for me to go back and reminisce.
1. Coral Pink Sand Dunes
2. Botanical Gardens in Claremont
3. My living room
4. Carlsbad Beach
5. Man Chinese Theater
6. Swamis Beach
7. Ross Park
8. Thomas Idaho
9. I don't remember
10. Rancho Cucamonga

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Magic Music

When I was in high school I remember reading in the newspaper about a family that got ready to music. Once they pushed the play button on the tape player, their children got ready for the day both efficiently and peacefully. I thought it was brilliant. Since that day, the idea has stewed in my mind, and three years ago I finally sat down to create my own morning playlist. It has made a world of difference.
I started out by thinking about what exactly I wanted to have them accomplish in the morning—brushing teeth, showering, making their bed, and etc… Then, I timed them. I wanted to know how long it would take them to do a certain task, like making the bed, in a no-rush situation. This was the surprising part, as each step ended up taking a third of the time of what I had expected (and generally experienced).
Knowing what I wanted their routine to be, and roughly how long each task took, the next step was to search for songs that would fit the time. It was tricky to find 20-30 second songs, but once I found them and put them in order, the music routine was almost ready. Lastly, I made a visual list for them to follow along. As they were pre-reading it was made solely out of pictures, and then later when they could read, I just listed which activity went with which song.
When we tried it out, and voilà, it worked like magic.
Well, almost magic. After the novelty wore off Clara would resist and plead with me not to turn on the music, but after the music had started she completed her routine without a problem. After a week or so, she didn’t even make a fuss, and just started going right away. I thought Clara might have a hard time remembering what task went with which song, but it took maybe three days before it was completely memorized.
Things I love about it:
The music is a natural time keeper.
No reminding.
No bribing.
They know what they need to do, and it doesn’t change, and everything gets done. I feel this element gives predictability and stability to their lives. As the routine is so constant, it empowers them to know what comes next, and makes for a smoother day in general.
I feel like it is teaching the virtue of each habit has its own reward, like the pleasure of a hot shower, and smooth clean teeth. They feel what it is like to have a job well done.
It is fun! The music is cheerful makes them feel good. They sing and get into the songs. I make sure the songs are positive, with values I want to cultivate. (I once made the mistake of adding a song, when after I listened to it for several days, realized it was not as wholesome or innocent as I thought it was.)
Other tidbits:
 I am in earshot to trouble-shoot problems. For instance if the toothpaste runs out, or Clara needs help getting on her shower cap, I need to be there to help. Plus I make sure they have what they need, by laying out their clothes, so they don’t waste time looking for socks and shoes. I also prep John’s bed making efforts. He isn’t big enough to do the whole job on his own.
Most the time I leave the area so that they become independent. I have found that John will want me to dress him if I am in the same room with him and is just fine if I am gone.
Last thing. No Stopping! If they miss completing the task before the song is over, it works best if they just go on to the next task, and then after the routine is done, they back to complete the task.

The whole thing lasts about 10 minutes for John and 15ish for Clara.

So that is the meat of it! Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ward Chirstmas Party

It is fun to be a part of the primary. The primary children made and hung ornaments for the tree and put on a nativity. While the presidency was figuring out the costume situation Kelly stepped up got Clara, John and Margaret there food. Tricky business.  Somebody brought dutch oven potatoes that were incredible and I ate maybe three peanut butter rice crispy bars.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I Like Days

I like days
with a snow-white collar,
and nights when the moon
is a silver dollar,
and hills are filled
with eiderdown stuffing
and your breath makes smoke
like an engine puffing.

I like days
when feathers are snowing,
and all the caves
have petticoats showing,
and the air is cold,
and the wires are humming,
but you feel all warm...
with Christmas coming!

By Aileen Fisher