Instead of a "new year's resolution", we have chosen a family motto for the year: "make stuff!" We want to continue to simplify our home and belongings, use what we already have, and not bring anything new into the house unless it is a necessity or will be used up (like food). Right now Brady and I are working on writing down our budget for 2014, which we hope to have finished (along with our taxes) by the end of the week. I am working on making a "mom-planner" which includes all our family goings-ons (that's a word, I think), along with a parenting journal and nature journal combined. My mom-friends and I are working on some homemade toys for the girls, and hopefully we'll be arranging a swap soon.
Our daily rhythm stays the same each day, and our weekly rhythm has about three parts that change during each of the days: one "activity", one household chore, and one dinner theme. Wednesday is our "outing day"- the day to schedule appointments, run errands, go on a fun trip, or anything like that which requires a car ride and leaving the house for a while. The chore is "tidy up one area of the house", so after making chocolate chip pancakes this morning Millie and I cleaned out her closet and put away some too-small clothes. Then we packed up some snacks and headed to Barnes and Noble because we had a book to exchange. When we arrived it turned out they were having a make-up story hour in the children's section! It was a lot of fun- the story guy (Ben) read a new Eric Carle book, sang and played songs on his guitar, then brought out coloring pages and crayons! Millie really enjoyed it, and I loved that Ben was very gentle and soft-spoken, and even his songs were peaceful and had none of that terrible quality of "only the kids will like this and the grown-ups will cringe because it's so annoying".
Here is MB dancing with a ribbon, and coloring the giraffe picture:
I was very proud of Millie during the whole event. She sat on the bench for the story and wiggled her feet around when she got antsy. Most of the other children (and their parents, ahem) were having some serious trouble controlling themselves, which always makes Millie a little nervous and Mama a lot ticked off. Luckily when Ben started playing the guitar she loosened up a bit and we did some silly dancing. She was very respectful of his space, politely accepted a ribbon to dance with and even helped clean them up when the dancing was done. She was the only one who waited until the end for the coloring papers and crayons, when Ben said it was time and handed them out.
I learned a great parenting tip recently that I'm super excited about: to praise the character quality that your child is displaying and you want to encourage (as opposed to repetitive empty praise like "good girl" or "great job"). This was a great opportunity to practice it, telling Millie "Those crayons will be fun to use after the song. I can see that you're being patient and waiting until the man says we can color". I wanted her to know that I recognized her self-control while the other kids were running amuck (ripping the papers, dumping the crayons, and coloring on the floor!) My hope is to help her learn what these positive qualities feel like from within, so that she can identify them inside of herself and choose the correct response. The phrase "because I told you so" is not in my parenting vocabulary ;) I also don't want her choosing an action just to superficially please us, although she could see by the look on my face and by my tone that I was very glad she was being so respectful and participating in an appropriate way.
Anywho, after the other parents praised ME for Millie being a "good girl" (the irony!!!), we made a pit stop at the potty and water fountain, then went to the cafe in the bookstore to have our snacks and a Starbucks. Then we picked out the book we wanted to get in the exchange. We chose Jerry Pinkney's "The Tortoise & The Hare". It is SO beautiful!
Before leaving we walked around the toy section, which I just love at B&N. Millie found some little stuffed animals that apparently needed help going to sleep, so she piled them in her arms and walked up and down the rows "shushing" them for a long time. Eventually we put them back and she blew them kisses goodbye. I can still remember the feeling of being so attached to my stuffed animals and really believing they were alive, so it's fun to see her play with them and imagine what she's feeling.
If you've read this far down you get a bonus picture! Here is the bunny eating her snack yesterday. As you can see, it is more of a formal meal, as she has set out a placemat for herself and is reading a tiny book in between bites:
|pears and parmesan cheese- yum!|