First off, I’m going to admit that I don’t have much to brag about for April. But it was still an exciting month! Well, maybe exhausting is more like it… We did some fun things as a family, such as going geo-caching for the first time with some homeschool friends, and having a “pool day” on the one semi-hot day. I gave the children good-night blessings about 8 times – in total. And finally, I went to bed at a decent hour 1 time – that’s right – 1 time.
Sigh. Not a complete failure, but not much of a success, either. I also started to forget about some habits from previous months, so I need to review and consider this as I look ahead to next month. One big reason for getting off track is that on April 1, I started a 30-day Fabulous Blogging Bootcamp. And Bootcamp it was. My brain hurt (literally) for the first 4 days, and it was sore for a couple more. But I have lots to show for it, and I’m proud of my work towards understanding social media, making graphics for blog posts, and envisioning my overall goals for this blog. If you are a blogger, I highly recommend it!
So now, how to handle a new month, with new goals, while there is real life to catch up with? First, I need to review the goals made so far:
1) Slow Down: Spend intentional time each day with each child to build a personal relationship with him; build connection.
2) Take a 15 minute mini-vacation every day!
3) Keep Sunday a day of rest and family prayer time
1) Listen: All behaviours communicate underlying needs. Listen to the behaviours and find out what motivates each child, and understand their thoughts, hopes, dreams, hurts, disappointments, etc
2) Time Alone With God: Schedule daily time to read Scripture/ pray/ journal
3) Breakfast devotions/ Family Morning Prayer
1) Live it. Make sure that what your children see in you is what you want to see in them.
2) Leave the kitchen clean at night. Prepare for tomorrow.
3) Keep a prayer list, and pray for those intentions at meals or bedtime.
1) Breathe: consciously focus on enjoying your children; ideas for memories here
2) Go to bed at a decent hour and get up early
3) Bedtime Prayer: Bless each child individually
Now, if I take those goals, and put them in the approximate order during the day, most days should have this routine:
- Get up early (before the kids)
- My time alone with God (hopefully before 9 am)
- Breakfast Devotions/Family Morning Prayer
- 15-minute vacation either before or after lunch
- Pray for those on the prayer list at lunch
- Bless each child at bedtime
- Clean the kitchen and prepare for tomorrow
- Go to bed at a decent hour
See how I’m attempting to find a routine of prayer and peace amid my days of chaos with four young boys? Now, looking at what May has in store:
1) Read: Include books in the bedtime routine
This we do a few times a week already, but there are some classics that I want to start reading a chapter a day for literature. I want to try bedtime as the time to do read alouds because during the day, the boys are just too LOUD! The baby is starting to go to bed around 7:30, so it’s time (once again) to tweak bedtime routine so that everyone is ready for bed around 7:30, so that after I put the baby down, we can do story-time until 8/8:15. The book we’re starting with? The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White.
2) Establish a morning routine to start the day off well.
I think getting back into the habits of getting up early, spending time with God in prayer, and Family Morning Prayer IS the routine to start the day off well. Again, I have to remind myself that it is a routine, not a schedule; a rhythm that can start and stop and have long pauses before it starts back up again. The important thing is to get in the prayer time. That will be my focus for each morning. There are some healthy habits I want to introduce into the morning routine as well:
- Drink lemon water
- 5 minute stretch or movement
Now, about getting up early: this is one habit that I know has lots of benefits, and there are some early risers that swear this is the secret of their success. The reasons I want to wake up early (between 5:30 and 6:30) are:
- I need some quiet time before the kids wake up
- I can get some household chores started, like a load of laundry or a loaf of bread for lunch.
- I can have some time to read, pray, or work on a personal project.
- Here’s the plan, from Goodbye Chaos, Hello Peace:
Keep it simple! Decide what time you are going to get up in the mornings. Set an alarm and stick to it. When your alarm goes off, make yourself get up immediately. If you need a few minutes to wake up fully, give this to yourself, but NOT in bed. Stumble out to the kitchen, get a glass of water, then sit down and drink it while you wake up.
When evening comes, get yourself into your P.J’s shortly after the kids are in bed, then spend a little time relaxing and planning for tomorrow. As soon as you feel sleepy enough to go to sleep, then go to bed!
In the same resource, she offers a “Give Me Five” morning routine, and it looks right in line with what I just expressed that I’d like to do:
- Drink 2 cups of lemon water; stretch
- Shower and dress
- Finishing touches (hair, jewelry, shoes)
- Nourish yourself (small snack to hold me over until family breakfast) and take vitamins
- Time with God (does not have to be last…I will probably do this WHILE drinking my lemon water, because the kids always wake up before I’m ready for them!)
3) Pray in times of crisis, teaching children to turn to God in every situation.
Please have patience with me as I try to find a theme that works for me on this site. If you see posts that have skewed formats, please understand that I am a new blogger, and I’m trying to figure out what works best. I hope the construction will be over by the end of May, and then I will have an exciting announcement about what I will be offering (for free) on this site that will be ready for the upcoming school year! Have a blessed May!