Friday, December 31, 2010

21st Century Kids

You can always tell kids born after digital cameras became common - they want to see the picture as soon as it is taken. My kids are no different, clamoring to catch a glimpse of photos just snapped.

Recently, my son took it to a whole new level. He built a digital camera out of legos. After snapping my picture, he turned his camera around and showed me the resulting image. The entire experience was basically an exercise in make-believe, but I played along. As convincing as my performance may have been to my son, inside, I was laughing. Who could have imagined, when I was a child, that children of the next generation would be building digital cameras out of legos and proudly showing their photos to anyone?! And how precious to see a child who can barely even talk asking to "see" the scenes captured by an older brother on a fake digital camera.

What an adventure it is to raise 21st Century kids!

Happy New Year's, or maybe not

Due to sheer exhaustion from an incredibly busy week, we decided to ring in the new year at 9pm, with everyone in New York, instead of waiting for midnight to arrive on the west coast. After toasting the new year (with sparkling cider) while watching 2010 give way to 2011, I wanted to capture the moment with a picture of the whole family. It didn't go so well.

To paint the scene, picture someone not quite two crying, a feverish four-year old boy jockeying for position on Daddy's lap, and five other kids trying to figure out where to plant themselves on the couch. Finally, we gave up on the baby, deciding to record for all history only those who were cooperating with the process. Then, a younger sister blocked her sibling's face with a glass of sparkling cider and that sibling hit the younger sister on the arm while everyone else tried to get out of the way. Tears and trauma ensued, all serenaded by the wails of a very unhappy toddler.

Finally, after addressing the behavior issues and the attitude issues and again quieting the baby, everyone was reassembled on the couch (minus the baby, who was on Mommy's lap). Before counting to three, I told everyone to plaster on fake smiles. Then, I snapped the picture. It actually turned out better than I would have expected, considering the circumstances. But, looking at the photo in the future, I won't see just the smiles on faces, I'll remember the sounds, the sorrow, and the chaos that preceded it knowing just how "happy" the experience really was.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Long-term investing

Mothering is a long-term investment. You don't see results for years, many years! And, sometimes when you begin to see results, they can be so subtle that you can miss the significance of what is happening. I've been that way lately, but God gave me a gentle wake-up call just today.

Because we homeschool, we have the flexibility to refocus our studies depending on the time of year. So, during the holidays, we focus on home economics. We've been baking, making candy, and sewing, as well as working through budgets for gifts, figuring out how much has been spent and how much we have left, and taking extra time to read aloud as a family. It has been wonderful.

As I was describing our focus this month to a friend, I began to realize that I am beginning to reap some rewards from my years-long investing. Girls helped make Thanksgiving dinner, one of my girls regularly helps me out by making dinner (and she does a fantastic job), another girl cleaned out the refridgerator WITHOUT BEING ASKED! and organized the whole thing. And, my girls completely manage our laundry. At times the laundry room is being overtaken by Mt. Washmore or Mt. Foldmore, but still, the girls are doing the job. And they are doing it well.

There have been days when I thought I'd never get past wiping noses and changing diapers, when the words "What's for dinner?" filled me with dread, and when I didn't have the energy to even read. My days are still very full, but I'm beginning to see success, and I'm very encouraged. Best of all, I really enjoy spending time with my children! They are really turning into neat young people. So, I guess you could say I'm getting a good return on my investment. I'm certainly happy with it!