Category Archives: Summer

Remembering to Feed the Ducks

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Remember to feed the Ducks @ Whimsinlove

I have not written a post in over a month because my computer screen was on the fritz for a while, we traveled for a week, the fall schedule got up and going, and, most of all, I have been working on living and “relaxing” in the everyday moments of being a mom with two littles. I self prescribed myself to soak up the fleeting phases of my children, trying to listen to God and see His beauty in the way He starts on people. To see and shape my daughter’s heart, I need to stop and listen to her words, and not feel hurried by the list of things to do or rushing her into clothes, the car, the next stop, etc. when I am focusing on her. Some days, she needs to be home with me, while baby brother is sleeping, and just play…or craft…or read…because she will only be 3 this one year.

It’s easier to remember the passing of time and phases when (1) another kid starts to kindergarten and all of a sudden, the first five years seem like the blink of an eye and the time has arrived for this child to stretch her wings, or (2) my baby starts crawling around the house and almost sleeping through the night and looking like a giant. I’m reminded to enjoy the little moments, like brushing my little girl’s hair for her, snuggling with a little mama’s boy who has a crazy, toothy grin, and not be weighed too heavily with the toddler-sized anger issues, the squashing baby brother like a puppy, the piles of laundry from wearing 5 different princess dresses in one day…because it’s actually the sweetest thing to watch a miniature human learn how to make kinder choices, to pray instead of hit, to explore what it means to be a girl in the world. Being their mother means everyday holds different joys, heartaches, challenges, and lessons that God is trying to teach me, and sometimes we both say the same things a hundred times before seeing any fruit.

1 Thessalonians 4:10-12

But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more, 11and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, 12so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.

 

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Instead of squeezing in a kitchen task while Pen Elaine takes a million years to eat a meal…I’m trying to use that time for question games and talking about situations or feelings or God’s Word.

“Olaf” pancakes are constantly requested, but all she really wants is whip cream.

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Rather than getting caught up with the getting there or the end result or the destinations, I’m trying to dilly-dally on the way, so that I can enjoy the pace of a curious toddler. The wonder of a butterfly, birds eating from our bird feeder, picking a flower for me from our flower beds, all awaken the depth and beauty inside a little girl’s soul, in a way that is unique to this special time of being 3.

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Here is Pen re-enacting a book we read, but most of the time, I read through a book and then check it off my mental list then onto the next item, instead of discussing thoughts more or acting the story out, so that I can find out how the book is touching my child’s soul.

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We got excited about our one strawberry harvested – Pen Elaine tasted the fruit of our scarce labor – we would probably have grown more fruit if I had taken more time out with her to care for that plant! Thankfully, her preschool heart was content with just the one.

 

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I’ve been reminded to recognize the still or routine moments  – riding in the car, eating a meal together, shopping at the grocery store, giving a bath, bedtime reading – are all opportunities for teaching, talking about Jesus, reciting Bible verses, asking questions and developing a close relationship as family.

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Instead of squeezing everything I can possibly get accomplished into the day, I need to just imagine the fun things to play with my kids in the next moment, while they are still young and hanging on my every word.

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Here is Pen Elaine after her first taste of salsa! She wanted to like it, I think, to be just like her daddy. She recently asked him if she was beautiful in her blue dress that she chose to wear, since his favorite color is blue. For learning to take place, kids need safety and love needs to be met first, and that can’t be accomplished in the hurried moments between activities or while I’m simultaneously looking at a screen.

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15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16

While everyday moments are easy to wish away, God is reminding me that His ways are higher than our ways and only He can see the future and know how the pieces fit together. Since my life is so small on the line of eternity, I need to accept and relish in the details of this life God has given me. The season when the ducks are waiting at the neighborhood pond and my kids are excited about feeding them is a special gift of time before the seasons change.

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Happy Birthday to my Man!

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We were traveling with family during my Honey’s birthday this year, so i gave gifts throughout the week at home leading up to the big day. There were treasure hunts, cards, and a pirate cookie cake all at home, so I warned him that I wasn’t packing any gifts for his actual birthday. However, I knew that our family would be bringing him gifts, and I also had planned a goofy family surprise that was also a throwback to the early 90’s when decorating your own tshirts was big…at least in my circles…So, I used craft paint to decorate a plain tshirt for each family member to wear, plus dresses for the little girls, and Pen Elaine helped me decorate my Honey’s birthday shirt. It was a fun surprise to look like a tour group as we were traveling and seeing the sights around Nashville.
Here’s the sayings I wrote:

Have your cake and eat it too.
Peace, love, and birthdays
Keep calm and {birthday} party on
Live long and prosper
Olive You
Happy Birthday
Birthdays are for Uncles
Birthdays are for Daddy
#Itsmybirthday

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Pen Elaine’s Most Favorite Book…for the Fourth of July

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McDuff Saves the Day by Rosemary Wells, illustrated by Susan Jeffers
While this book teaches nothing about the history behind why we celebrate the fourth of July, it does have some relational messages about reasons we get out and celebrate the fourth of July today – sweet ideas like overcoming challenges presented by dogs and babies, sharing our resources and our company with kindness, the fun of sharing our experiences with family, and sharing our family with other people. In any case, it’s a fun read full of pragmatic events surrounding a fourth of July picnic!

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Summer Activities Plan…Upcycled Castle

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Summer is in full swing! We kick off summer with lots of birthdays and celebrations, not to mention all the fun summer events like library story hour and reading club, swimming at the pool, and summer kids’ movies at the theater. However, our excursions work best during the morning, with some quiet time in the afternoon but still more time to fill with fun during the “twilight” hour or two before my Honey gets home from work. I don’t want to let this time slip away or let a sleepy toddler who refuses to nap fall into trouble for lack of some organized activity…besides helping in the kitchen sometimes. So, my summer activity plan has been devised, and I’m kind of excited about it…mostly because it involves Pinterest, so I’m getting to share my joy of Pinterest with my daughter.

First, I created a Pinterest board just for Pen Elaine, full of simple to pull-together-activities that I thought she would enjoy during an afternoon.

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Second, I printed off the list, so Pen Elaine could see all the activity pictures without us having to turn on a screen…too much risk of her wanting to watch videos on the computer or my phone or whatever, but I wanted her to be able to “browse” the activity ideas.

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Now, for the fun part! I let her choose a picture for us to do, either in the morning (so I can pull the supplies together while she’s resting or reading or having some screen time during her afternoon “rest” time) or in the afternoon when we are ready to pull together our supplies together and make our project right then!

Our first pinterest project was a castle made from cereal boxes, paper towel rolls, and toilet paper rolls – we love it!

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I taped together two cereal boxes of varying size, then covered the larger sides with construction paper. I cut some ridges (cutout squares) on the tops of towel and to rolls to look more castle-like. We used masking tape to roughly tape on our towers- some big and some little- and Pen Elaine decided to make one of towers a “cannon” instead. Last, we had a paint free for all with red, purple, and white craft paint- mixed to make pink- and wearing craft smocks to protect clothing! After drying overnight, it was ready for actual play.
 

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We have even pulled out all her “little people” princesses to play with in the castle – they work great – they can even stand on top of the towers!

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