My cousin recently wrote a superb post about how she transitions her young ones into “big church”, teaching them not just how to behave in another public setting, but how to worship our Lord.  You can read it here.  ~K

Where we see playground equipment, my son sees armour,  a sword–a noble knight!  (Do you see it?)


Click here to view the previous post in this series.

If there comes a day when your eight glasses of water are hard to swallow, remember this post.  When you dread every drop of liquid because you know it means that you will wake up five times in the night to waddle to the bathroom, remember this:  it is preparation

I heard about it when I was pregnant with my first.  An older friend told me that the disrupted sleep is nature’s way of preparing a new mother for the first several months of motherhood, a sort of warm-up for those nights of broken, restless sleep.  I thought it was a brilliant theory!   But, after having four kids and mothering for several years, I think the frequent potty breaks get us ready for a lot more than just the first few months.

Consider this:  going to the bathroom once an hour is tedious and inconvenient.  You must stop what you are doing, use the restroom, readjust your lovely maternity garments, wash up, spend minutes checking out your preggo profile in the mirror to see if it’s changed in the past hour, then finally return to what you were doing.  It’s not like you have a choice, either! The bladder calls; you must respond.

That’s parenting, sister.  (Well, not the bladder part.)  Parenthood is strewn with endless mundane, sometimes mind-numbing tasks.  Through diapering and  potty training,  instilling good habits, tieing shoes, settling squabbles, helping with homework and always disciplining, a mother (and a father) is called to do the same thing over and over and over and over. 

I know. It doesn’t sound very fun.  Please keep reading!

Just as the incessant need to relieve yourself is a good thing for your body, the consistent, routine tasks of parenthood are good and necessary for your child.  Yes, it gets tedious (oh  believe me, it does!)  But one of the wonderful things about raising a child is that they are constantly maturing.  Their well-being and good health, that first smile and laugh, the first step, the first time they “help” you clean up; all of these are in great part due to your diligent care.  You constantly get to experience the reward of your work!

These rewards are a sweet (and necessary) boost when you are  cleaning soggy toast chunks out of their neck folds for the 273rd time.

So when you are visiting the ladies’ room for the fifth time (before noon), remember that you are a parent-in-training.  Like a professional athlete conditioning their body for competition, you are getting ready for a mighty big challenge.  Just remember, your reward is not  the top podium, a trophy, a medal or your face on a cereal box. 

It is simply the sweetest thing you will ever hold in your arms.



Dear Rachel: Thank You!

I know, this is a repeat picture. But I can't resist this hand--look at the chub on those fingers!

The previous post in this series is found here.

I mean it. Thank you, thank you, thank you!  Thank you for not waiting to find out the gender of your baby.  Thank you for choosing to let that sonographer rub all over your preggo belly until the great secret is revealed, because I might spontaneously combust if I had to wait until your due date to find out!  Hold on…

I’m back!  Just the thought of not knowing for five more months sent me to my Halloween stash for another fun-size Snickers.  Anyway, despite my desire to tell you everything I can about pregnancy, lately I find myself  thinking about your baby and wondering if we’re going to welcome another boy cousin into the family, or if you’re going to even things out for the girls.  Instead of dispensing maternal wisdom I chew on my nails and check the calendar to see how many more days until the crucial appointment.

Now, I have to admit something here. I think I know what you’re having.  I know it sounds ridiculous, but I feel pretty confidant!  You’ll encounter other people–friends, perfect strangers–who will declare the gender of your child based on how you’re carrying, the type of food you prefer, or simply their own intuition.  (They might  be really obnoxious about it and depending on your hormone levels at the time you may or may not respond graciously.)

But I’m your big sister.  I’m not  sure why that makes a difference here, but still, I think I know and I’ve revealed my guess in this post!  Try to find it!  Or not. Perhaps you rolled your eyes after the first couple of sentences and went off to do something more interesting like winterize your pool.  But it’s here, on record, so that if I’m right I can slide into big sister mode and say:

I told you so!

If I’m wrong?  I sincerely, absolutely, unequivocally do not care.  The gender, when revealed, will suddenly be exactly what I wanted my baby sister to have.  (It’s crazy how that happens!)



Walk The (Number) Line

We have a number line.

It was cheap. (My favorite thing about it!)

We made it ourselves.

It doesn’t hang on the wall. (This might actually be my favorite part.)

We add to it as needed.  Right now it’s up to forty-five.  Eventually we’ll make it to 100 and it will start in the living room and end in my bedroom; the thirties on the stairs and the eighties in the bathroom.

Everyone uses it; the three year-old for simple counting, the first grader and third grader   for skip-counting (and they can really skip–sort of) and walking out their addition, subtraction and multiplication. 

 I like getting them off their bums and in motion, their little feet tracing a numerical path as they forge and strengthen new ones in their brain.

A typical morning with my three year-old on the floor number line might include any  of the following activities:

  • Counts by ones from one to twenty, stepping with both feet in front of the number as she says its name; then she does the same counting backwards from twenty to one. If she’s feeling really sassy she can bunny hop or hop on one foot from number to number, but she has to be in front of the number as she says it. 
  • “Find the number” — I call out a number and she has to find it and stand in front of it as quickly as possible.  Then I may ask questions or give directions like, “which number is next” or “move forward two numbers and tell me what number you’re on now”.
  • Counting objects — I grab a handful of small items (pennies, paperclips, tiny toy dinosaurs, etc) and she has to count out the appropriate amount for a number that I  select. Then I will ask what she can do to that group so that she has the correct amount for the next number on the number line (or the previous number).

No matter their age, everyone’s time with the floor number line ends the same way:    “countdown and blast off!”  This simply means counting down to one, yelling “blast off!” and running wildly around the house making any number of imagined rocket-like sounds.

One last word.  Our floor number line is one of those perfect, golden arrows in my homeschool arsenal:  no one moans, groans or complains when I give the order to set it up; quite the opposite, in fact. (Ok, really, that’s my favorite part.)

Happy counting,


Morning Meditation 4

Blessed is the man

who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked

or stand in the way of sinners

or sit in the seat of mockers.

But his delight is in the law of the LORD,

and on his law he meditats day and night.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water,

which yields its fruit in season

and whose leaf does not wither.

Whatever he does prospers.

Psalms 1:1-3 (NIV)