The best change by far is to spend time during the best part of my day with God. While Samuel and Benjamin nap, I typically feel energetic and my mind is clear. I've been reading 1 Corinthians (just a small portion at a time) and Matthew Henry's commentary on it. I'm loving it!
Another very positive change is having a plan to help the boys get their chores done. I have a checklist for me where I mark off if they did each of their chores. For each boy there is a blank for a check mark for morning chores, after breakfast/lunch/dinner chores, and afternoon chores. For each check mark they get, it is worth a point. I am going to work on tonight what they can "buy" with their points and how many points each thing costs. It will be stuff like trips to the park, movie nights, the water park, game nights, etc. I questioned doing this because I wondered if this would be causing them to do their chores for the wrong motivation but I realized it is not like we are saying, if you are respectful then you will get this special treat. This is chores, hard work, and when we work we have rewards right?
I've also started making it a habit that right when I get up in the morning, I collect dirty clothes and start a load of laundry. Then throughout the day, I go back and fold and move loads. This is such a big help! Typically I will have the chance to move loads when I'm upstairs putting the babies to bed.
Another change is that I am trying to do during the day the things that typically I do to get ready for the next day after the kids are in bed at night. So things like soaking the oatmeal, I'm going ahead and getting that done around lunch time. I've been cooking portions of dinner ahead of time, or chopping up the vegetables early. My goal is to work so hard during the day, that I don't have to prepare so much for the next day the night before, but can rest in the evenings with Steve.
Amazingly enough, with all this "extra" work, doing all the things that normally are such a struggle like checking the boys chores and food prep, I've had time to get outside with the boys the last two days. Here are some pictures!
The weather was so nice a cool! It definitely felt like Fall. Can't believe Fall is here already!
This is the coolest cable bridge! Isaac liked swaying us back and forth vigorously. It made me a little nervous!
We did just a little bit of cautious exploring. I say cautious because every time we go out in nature since the waterfall incident, I am SO careful and so aware of my surroundings and the possible dangers. I told Isaac to hold Benjamin and we would venture just a bit closer to this pond. Of course, he would immediately trip and fall, flinging Benjamin to the ground, thankfully the very soft, leaf-filled ground. No one was hurt, but it shook us all up a bit. It was nothing, but I think to us, it brought back memories of Micah falling. I'm sure none of us will ever be quite the same.
The boys very cutely brought me "nature treasures" to see. We are always on the look out!
I was so thankful to have Isaac there to help me push Benjamin in the stroller up this hill!
Here is Lady's Thumb wildflower.
I think this is White Snakeroot. (Ginny, can you tell? I had to go and look at my specimen upstairs to see if the leaves are toothed because it appears in this photo that they aren't. But indeed they are) Interestingly, when eaten by cows, this toxic plant results in milk that can be fatal to humans. I suppose dairy farmers keep careful watch over their grazing land so that dairy cows don't eat it!
I was also wondering what is on these leaves?
Okay, back to home. Today the weather again was so lovely. We went out and had our lunch under a canopy of leaves. The boys are sitting on a platform that Isaac built with scrap wood.
I did not tell them to smile. They insisted.
The boys love taking pictures so I let them use my camera for a bit. And for this reason I'm glad I returned the very expensive camera we had purchased. I never would have let the boys touch that camera!
I also got some of our school reading in while the boys ate. For science we are reading "Ben and Me: An Astonishing Life of Benjamin Franklin by his Good Mouse Amos" and for a fun read aloud, "Misty of Chincoteague".
I can't believe I'm down here in the middle of the day blogging! I'm heading back up to keep us on schedule! It's amazing how keeping to a schedule and working really diligently actually opens up more time for me to do fun things with the boys! (another huge help to me has been to de-clutter. I've probably put 70 percent of the boys toys into the attic. I don't miss them! I've come to realize that clutter/stuff/possessions is like debt...it weighs you down and steals your freedom...at least it has that effect on me!)