6.28.2012

We are a Happy Family

Every family has a "feel."  This is known as our family culture.

This incorporates where we came from, for sure.  But it's more than that. 


A family culutre involves our family's values, interests, hobbies, and personalities.  The tone in our home is also a part of a family culture.  And what's so cool about a family culture is that no two are alike!  Each family is just as unique as each individual within that family.  All relationship dynamics working together with mother and father leading the way. 

Recently I've come across a few different viewpoints and examples on family culture.  I think the first step to creating your own family culture is by sitting down as husband and wife, mother and father and making a list. List the most important values you want your children to learn and then how you want to accomplish teaching those values.
When our oldest was just a year old, my husband and I sat down and created our family mission statement which has translated into our family culture.  We wanted them to develop their talents to bless their lives and others'.  The piano has thus become part of our family culture, adding other musical instruments as they get older.  We knew we wanted them to learn to love and serve one another.  As our family culture we work closely with handicapped youth and adults to more fully understand this principle.  We are a LOUD family! And we love board games.  These are all just parts of our identity as a family.   


When our oldest was just a year old, my husband and I sat down and created our family mission statement which has translated into our family culture.  We wanted them to develop their talents to bless their lives and others'.  The piano has thus become part of our family culture, adding other musical instruments as they get older.  We knew we wanted them to learn to love and serve one another.  As our family culture we work closely with handicapped youth and adults to more fully understand this principle.  We are a LOUD family! And we love board games.  These are all just parts of our identity as a family.   

My cousins decided they wanted to foster strong sibling relationships as part of their family culture.  And so they have created this fabulous website with some great videos made by their children. 

I love what Anne Kroeker says about the benefits of discovering your family culture:

By understanding our own family culture, I have felt more confident with who we are and what we do or don’t do.   I find it easier to explain our choices to others. 

And when we have a pretty good idea of our own family culture, we can understand why we struggle with certain things, make certain decisions, and where we may need to stretch ourselves to try something new.
(highlights added)


At steadymom you can find some excellent questions to ask as you discover your own family culture. 

And this is a great book to read as you talk about Family Culture with your children and involve them in the quirkiness that makes up your identity!

6.27.2012

Book of the Week




Okay, this may seem like  a strange book to highlight...but I loved it!!  I read it in one day. 

I happen to have a daughter who has major anxiety taking tests.  Her first experience was this last year.  About an hour and a half after dropping her off I got a phone call.  It was the test giver telling me that my daughter was starting to get really upset about the test.  When I walked in she was on question number 10 of about 50.  She was in tears and her anxiety level was so high she couldn't even get herself to read the next question.  Fortunately, the test giver was nice and I didn't care too much about the results (she's 3rd grade for heaven's sake)...so I was able to sit and coach her through the final questions (because I wanted her to have a "whew, I finished" feeling).

Anyway, after that experience and showing other signs of anxiety in other situations, I picked up this book at the library.  Note:  It is NOT just about taking tests!!!

My favorite thought from the book:
Most of the time, we focus our attention on things other than our thoughts and feelings.  Our emotions may seem so uncomfortable or overwhelming that we can't muster the attention it takes to experience them.  Instead, we occupy the major part of our attention with other things - - the ball game, last night's date, tomorrows test, the work fiasco...Consequently, we're often so busy worrying about things that we never truly experience much of the life we are living, right here and right now.

See, it's not about test anxiety alone!  It's full of information about what fear is, how to face our fears, procrastination, and other cool stuff.  I loved it. 

6.25.2012

Word from Jada

Okay, so I just read an interview with Jada Pinkett Smith.  I liked her answer here:

Q. What do you tell ...mothers who really want to go for their passions in their life, while still being there for their children?

“Just being able to really understand how important keeping one’s passion alive is. I think that once we do it, we realize how much it feeds the spirit. And then we have so much more to give to our children and our families versus feeling like we’re stealing something from them. Every last one of us knows the importance of taking those hours and those moments for ourselves that we usually won’t because of our own guilt. It’s not about hours. It’s not about time. It’s about spirit. You do what you need to do to keep your spirit alive.”

Everywhere out there we hear, "What about ME time?"  or "I need some ME time!" or "You can do everything...plus you need ME time!"  Right?!  This mantra out in the world today creates two scenarios.  1) I need ME time and won't be happy unless I get it (selfishness); and 2) Those against this mantra feel guilty when they do take some ME time. 

So, the reason I liked Jada's comment is because it's right.  The "world's" view of ME time is about hours and time, when really ME time must be centered on the spirit.  Early on in my motherhood days I told J. I needed to carve out 2 hours each week just for me.  So, we established every Thursday night or whatever as MY night.  This worked okay...but it didn't necessarily fill the void of needing to feed my spirit.  It was simply two hours of ME time whether I needed it or not. 


http://www.dskids.com/


Now another way to look at filling our own buckets is by figuring out what are my needs vs. why don't I ever get any time for myself.  For instance, I have currently been feeling the need to get to the temple more frequently.  All sorts of excuses have popped up to NOT make this happen.  One of them being, "I feel guilty leaving my kids."  I'm sorry, but that is one place I should be able to go without feeling guilty!  :-) 

Taking those moments for ourselves need not be a guilt-ridden experience, so long as it is balanced and truly filling our spiritual needs. Again, I don't want anyone reading this to start thinking, "Yeah, I need some ME time" in the worldy sense of the phrase, but rather, "What does my spirit need so I can keep on giving to those I love."  Maybe it's an evening walk after dinner.  Maybe it's an early morning hike with a friend.  Maybe it's just that quiet time after the kids are in bed or before they wake up.  Maybe it's not a need of yours at all!  :-) 

Take some time this week to fine tune your needs and then create time for them to happen. 

6.20.2012

Book of the Week



This is a classic from my childhood!  I've already read it twice with my children and am reading it a third time this week with my younger children (who were too young to remember it when I read it the first two times).

When the Prime Minister is asked to create a dictionary, all is going fine until he defines delicious as, "fried fish."  This definition starts disagreements within the kingdom.  And so a young boy is sent among the people to come up with a common decision on how to define the word delicious!  Along the way he is drawn into the mystical world of dwarfs, woldwellers and a young mermaid.

As a project for the week, the kids are making their own picture dictionaries (I'll post pictures when they're done).

How would you define delicious? 


6.19.2012

Living Your Dreams

thewritersguidetoepublishing.com

Yesterday I was able to sit in the waiting area while my son had his piano lesson.  About a month ago he switched to this different teacher and already I've been amazed at my son's improvement.  As I listened in on the lesson I was completely awed by this teacher.  He didn't sit.  He stood and walked from one side of the piano to the other.  When he talked about triads, there was obvious enthusiasm in his voice (over triads?!?).  Then it struck me, "This man is living his dream!"

Today I took a few of my kids to a puppet show at the library.  A one-man show that was amazing!  I've wanted to put together family puppet shows before and tour around to share with others.  But we do not have the talent that this man has (yet, if ever!).  Again I was impressed that he, too, was living his dream!

And then again, as we were running some errands I happened to see a friend of mine the middle of teaching a class.  She has taught these summer classes for many years.  The topic?  Reading and Spelling.  Several years ago, while raising her own children, her daughter struggled with reading in school.  As any righteous mother would do, this friend of mine searched for answers which led to a program that helped her daughter.  Not wanting to stop there, she began offering these classes to help many, many other children and adults who struggle with reading and spelling.  I smiled to myself as I walked by thinking, "She is living her dream!"

We all have dreams.  Big. Small.  We have them.  What keeps us from living them!?  Fear?  Doubt?  Time? Energy?   Worry?  Even as a mother, my biggest dream since I was ten, I sometimes forget to LIVE it.

LIVE your dreams!  If you don't know what they are, start a list.  Randal Wright suggests making a 100 Goals List.  Just start writing things down...the big, the small and the crazy!  Even put down the seemingly unattainable dreams.

Then ask yourself, "What is stopping me from working on my dream today?"  It's amazing that as you start working on your dream, the Lord will meet you halfway...if not take over completely!

You can do it!
LIVE your dreams!

6.18.2012

Mockery

In my studies for my lesson yesterday I came upon this scripture passage:

Alma 5:28-30
28 Behold, are ye stripped of apride? I say unto you, if ye are not ye are not prepared to meet God. Behold ye must prepare quickly; for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand, and such an one hath not eternal life.
 29 Behold, I say, is there one among you who is not stripped of aenvy? I say unto you that such an one is not prepared; and I would that he should prepare bquickly, for the hour is close at hand, and he knoweth not when the time shall come; for such an one is not found guiltless.
 30 And again I say unto you, is there one among you that doth make a amock of his brother, or that heapeth upon him persecutions?

I think we've pretty much hashed out what pride and envy are and how bad and evil these characteristics are.  But what about mockery?  What does that even mean? 

Have you seen this video?



I LOVE IT!!

The footnote of the word "mockery" states "backbiting, gossip."  But what about sarcasm?  Criticism?  Making others feel unimportant or stupid?  I think mockery could be any judgment that is passed without knowing the full story. 

And as President Uchtdorf said in his conference talk, "Don't judge me for sinning differently than you."   It seems there were several talks on just this topic at the recent general conference.  There must be a need to listen, if it's going to be repeated. 

6.15.2012

Father's Day Weekend


Happy Father's Day!



To sum up my dad you just need to read this book!  My dad can turn a desert into an oasis.  He inspires everyone around him to make the world more beautiful than they found it!  Dad was always pushing his children to be the best they could be in everything we did. Once, in 5th grade, I remember showing him my spelling words or something and getting the response, "You can write better than that."  It wasn't said with anger or irritation, it was just a statement that led me to believe, "Yeah, I can do better!"  So I did.   


My dad is a doer and a believer and has inspired me in countless ways! 
I LOVE YOU, DAD!

6.14.2012

Mental Vacations



image from chennaifocus.wordpress.com

 I did it.  I took a mental vacation yesterday.  It was fabulous!  I just sat and read all afternoon.  It was a great book about the Chinese culture of binding a woman's foot to make her feet small with a Cinderella thread running through it.  Loved it! 

But, more than anything I loved my little vacation.  I have heard many times comments such as:

"I don't have time to read."
"How do you find the time to read?"
"When I read I'm not a good mom because I neglect my family, so I can't read." 

Well, I won't say that I don't neglect my family (just a little bit) when I read, but I'm usually asking the OPPOSITE question....

"How can you NOT find time to read?"

I can honestly say that reading is a NEED of mine.  I am a much BETTER mom when I am reading something great.  When I am using my mind for something other than the daily tasks that sometimes pile too high.  I need to read for my own sanity and for my own enjoyment and for my own relaxation!  I feel so much better today after yesterdays rondevue. 

I don't know why I forget that.  When I start getting busy (physically and mentally) I forget that I need to be reading and using some form of "escape" so that I can feed the souls of those I have stewardship over.  Of course, I can't do it every day, nor is it as fulfilling when I do this every day....but every once in awhile reading for an extended period of time brings peace to my soul. 

We all have something we need for peace.  Most of us would say it's an exotic beach or being away from the kids for an afternoon or other far-off adventures.  But there is a way we each find peace amidst the dailiness of our lives.  Explore and find what that place is for you!

6.13.2012

Mental Presence



picture from wildernesswayschool.com

I've been thinking a lot about mental presence.  I once heard a speaker say, "I'm not so worried about the physical presence of mothers (though that is still a concern), I'm more troubled about the mental presence of mothers." 

There are many items on a mother's to do list.  But it's not just those physical lists that we have to worry about, right? 

Sometimes I'll say to my husband, "I have so much to do?" 

He'll ask, "What do you have on your list?" 

"Ummmm....There's not really a long list...it's just mental."

What to make for dinner?  How can I learn to discuss a particular issue with one of my children?  What do I need to do to be a better wife?  How can I help those two siblings to work better together or how can I get that child to stop teasing the others?  What does my daughter need to feel loved?  How can I teach that child math, reading, writing?  What can I do more to teach my kids about serving others and being compassionate? 

These and more questions are all on a mothers' mental to do list.  Sometimes we put those things on paper, but oftentimes they're just there...lingering. 

I've been in this mental thoughts abyss for the past couple of weeks.  I can tell when I am not mentally present because I react with irritation toward my children.  I resist affection from my husband.  I'm more critical and get easily upset with the clutter in our home.  I'm not as willing to sit down and read a book or play a game with my 5 year old.  These are symptoms that tell me it's time for a vacation! 

When I suggested this to J. he said, "Why don't you just go on vacation and not tell anyone?"  Brilliant!  But easier said than done.  I was all geared up this morning for my "vacation."  But, the nagging mommy was released instead.  So, this afternoon will be better. I will start my vacation then.  :-)

How do we find that peaceful place?   I just read a great post, too, about Peace vs. Productivity.  I. Loved. It.  And I needed it.  Now I just need to do it! 

6.12.2012

Birthday Fun

Our final birthday of the season took place today...

E IS FIVE!!!

Let me tell you, he has been counting down for MONTHS...literally (see picture).


Today was all about pirates!!  It's great having older kids.  They took care of the whole party.  Pirate books, a treasure hunt, Pin the Patch on the Pirate, and more.  It was great fun!





What I like about E.... He cannot not smile!  Seriously.  He throws occasional tantrums, but for the most part, he really can't stop smiling.  I love it!  He's enthusiastic about everything and loves life.  We sure love having this little guy in our home!

6.10.2012

Some Personal Thoughts on the Brain

I have decided I am fascinated with the brain...how it works, how people are different...everything! I think I always have been, but this last week I had some awakenings of those feelings coming back again.  It's interesting to me how sometimes parts of our mission come to us sooner than we're ready for them.  And so thoughts keep coming back and coming back until finally we are ready to accept that is part of who we want to become! 

I think my first glimpses of excitment with the brain and how it functions was in a Family Science class at BYU.  It had something to do with neurology and the professor was an actual neurologist, not a family scientist teaching neurology.  We were asked to write a paper, many pages, not sure the exact assignment.  I was led to study emotions in children and how the brain devleops through infancy.  It was cool, I was fascinated, but I didn't really latch onto wanting more information.

Then, several years ago my daughter was struggling with reading and other physical health issues.  I'd gone to several doctors for the health issues with no distinct answers.  Finally, we were able to figure that out and move on to the reading and mental challenges.  However, the same doctor who helped us with the physical side of things was not so helpful on the mental side of things.  After a very quick, non-clinical (in my opinion) assessment, the doctor responded, "Your child has ADD do you want medication?"  Well, I knew this was possible, but the quick result and "quick fix" solution without any other evaluations first put me in the defense mode.  I told him I would try some other things first....and then I went straight home and read ev
erything I could about ADD.  What I learned was that ADD does exist, but there is such a wide rainge from one case to another that there can be no one solution for each individual with this disorder (see A Mind at a Time by Mel Levine).  And, so I continued to simply help her gain more coping mechanisms.


Now, fast forward several months later.  We entered a school program wherein there was a teacher who had specialized in helping children overcome learning hurdles.  At the age of 9 1/2 my daughter still was struggling with reading and could not write.  Sure she could make out the letters, but it was a very laborious and tedious endeavor.  After a personal interview/evaluation and much more lengthy survey, this teacher gave us some more insight into what could be the problem.  She said it could be one of three things:  vision, auditory or sensory disabilities;  each of which can be "fixed" through training and possible therapy.  Thus, we sought out an eye doctor who specializes in vision therapy and at the age of 10 my daughter was able to read well, independently.  It was a couple of months into therapy when she exclaimed, "Mommy!  I just realized if you don't hold the pencil so tight you don't write as hard, and then my hand doesn't hurt."  That was when I knew it wasn't "just ADD." 

Well, this last week I had a couple of special experiences with this child.  Because she is doing so much better, but still struggling in some areas, I knew I needed more answers.  I had decided my prayers and actions this week were going to be centered on JUST HER.  Wow!  Did the answers come or what!?  First, I as led to the book, Smart, but Scattered.  It's a great book that discusses in length how the brain fuctions, how to discover the child's strengths & weaknesses (as well as your own...important when you are the one trying to help your child), and then some strategies and activities you can do to help. 

Next I was prompted to call the teacher who had helped us before and she gave me some great insight.  When one part of the brain is damaged (i.e. the visual information part) then other parts will be affected as well.  So each part of the brain needs to be retrained and repaired.  So cool!  We meet with her again tomorrow to see where we are in my daughter's development.

Lastly, my husband and I watched a fabulous movie last night.  Temple Grandin.  The movie is about an autistic woman who, at the age of 4, was told that she would never speak and that she should be admitted into an institution.  Her mother fought that and continued to teach Temple at home.  It goes on to show just how amazing this woman was and became.  She was able to go to college, received her masters degree and her PhD.  She currently teaches at a university in Colorado.

This movie actually gave me the courage to approach my daughter differently.  And it worked!  I've been a little fearful of telling my daughter, "You have problems."  But my daughter watched the movie with us and we were able to have a discussion about how brains work.  Two lines from the movie struck me:

"Because I have autism, I can see how it's going to work."

"Different, but not less." 


Accepting the differences we have or that our children have does not make them less.  Nor does it give us a crutch to lean on when we can't do something, "Oh, I can't do that, I have..."  We can say, "Because I am this....I can do that."   I used these lines in talking to my daughter.  I shared some personal, tender moments with her this week as we hiked Badger Mountain together on Wednesday and then sat in my room to talk again tonight.  She's going to do amazing things!  Because she works the way she works, she'll be amazing at whatever she does.  BUT I did acknowledge to her that I don't work the same way and so we need others to step in.  Others who can see her potential even more than my brain can. 

We are given the children we are given and they are given the parents they are given FOR A REASON.  Not because I know all the aswers was she sent to me, but because God knew I could lead her to where she needs to find the answers to do what she needs to do in this life.  This week was a revelatory week for me and my love increased for this special daughter ten-fold.  Oh, there will still be challenges and we still have some hurdles to jump, but I now, finally, have the determination to invest what I need to in crossing those barriers.  Maybe, just maybe, this is part of my mission.  :-)


**I know this was a long post.  I'm sorry for that.  But I do hope this will help someone out there.  :-) Thanks for letting me share. 

6.08.2012

Our Home: Finale

Last but not least, to set up an environment conducive to spiritual mindedness, I believe you need
working systems
and a sense of order. 



“The art of progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order.”  - - Alfred North Whitehead (English mathematician and philospher)
 
Systems are more than chore charts.  Chore charts in and of themselves do not create order, but might be effective within a working system.  A system is simply a way in which your family creates order but there's a feeling to it.  It's an unspoken statement that says "This is what our family does and how we do it together to keep order in our home."  
 
I am a very structured person.  BUT at the same time I cannot handle time deadlines.  The clock tends to stress me out (so I try to look at it as little as possible).  So, I've created a system in our home that is based on chunks of time.  There are not time restraints or limits on this chart, simply activities that follow one another.  
 
Back to chore charts.  Chore charts for us have actually been somewhat of a source of contention in our home, too.  For instance our "Family Work" chart we dont' really use anymore.  It's a kitchen jobs chart basically.  Well, it's fine because there's no arguing over who's going to do what, but I have also found that it limits the training of my children to think for themselves.  I want my kids to look around a room and see what needs to be done, not be told what to be done.   So, when they look and see, "Oh, I'm on set the table."  That's all they do, set the table.  Whether there is another need or not in the room at the time, that's all they do...and then they sit and watch the rest of the family do "their" jobs.  So, we're finding it's just best do do family work....TOGETHER.  And I've also noticed since doing that, the bickering has subsided...a little bit.  :-)
 
Another system to create would be a system on how you will discipline your children.  You can read what we do here (if you haven't already). 
 
And we also like to have a Family Nigth system.  This is a night when we have a gosple message and family activity.  It's a night we designate only for the family (with few exceptions) and try our hardest to plan nothing else on that night.  We love having a rotation of responsibilities for this night because it teaches children many different ways to teach and lead. 
 
If you'd like to read more about systems and want help in creating them, I suggest reading A Joyful Mother of Chidren by Linda Eyre.

6.07.2012

Our Home, Part 4

I once remember hearing (though I can't find the exact quote anywhere) from one of the leaders of the Church (I believe it was David B. Haight) say:

"Every home needs a piano, good books, and love."


And so that is what I try to fill my home with the most. 

A Piano
There will always be music in our home. All sorts of it.  We like to put on the modern stuff during chores and the classical stuff for wind down time or on Sundays.  And, of course, I've always got to have a mix of 80's in there somewhere.  For reading:  How to Raise a Music Lover by Cheri Fuller

Also in our home each child is expected to play the piano...in some way and to some degree. It's just a part of being in the family.  :-)

Good Books
As most know, I love the classics and deem them as the "good books" mentioned in the quote.  We have books everywhere!  I was just admitting to a couple of friends that I usually have between 60-100 books checked out from the library as well.  I love books!

LOVE

Well, we could use a little more of that around our house these days...but for the most part I think we do okay in this area.  :-)  How do we foster love in our home?  I think mostly we play, work and learn TOGETHER.  That's a huge part of it.  It's easy for large families to get lost in their own activities that we forget to spend time together.  Other times I've had the kids choose secret admirers amongst one another and for a week they do kind acts of service or give gifts.  It's fun.  Hmmmm...I think I'm going to simmer on this one some more, I need some fresh ideas here. 

6.06.2012

Our Home, Part 3

BEST PLACE TO START....



 
The Master Bedroom

 
I am the first to admit that the master bedroom is often the "final dumping ground"...especially when guests are coming over!  It's the last room I generally seem to have time for. 

A couple of years ago, though, we got a new bed and I knew it was time to create that romantic get-away spot for my husband and me. It still gets dumped on every once in awhile...but I'm at least more conscious of it.  :-)

Why create a peaceful spot for your marriage:

  1. Who wants to "sleep" in an unmade bed?
  2. Where do you go after a hard day's work?! 
  3. I think it shows your husband that you care about him.  When we put our bedroom last, are we putting him last, too? Maybe putting our bedrooms first symbolizes putting our marriages first. And when the marriage is happy...the home is happy!  Just a thought. 
 
Some of my favorite quotes about marriage:
 
What a happy and holy fashion it is that those who love one another should rest on the same pillow.  ~Nathaniel Hawthorne
 
Love is a choice you make every day.   - - From Beauty Sleep by Cameron Dokey

Choose Your Love and Love Your Choice - - my grandma

6.05.2012

Our Home Series

Stop Two:  Quotes and Things

Growing up I happened to inherit the old master bedroom when my oldest sister graduated from high school.  Every handout I received in Young Women would be taped to the large, wall-sized mirror in that bathroom.  I had quite the collection.

Then, with the introduction of vinyl lettering, I kind of got away from taped quotes on the walls. Heck, I didn't want my house to "look bad"...right?!  

Well, recently  I was reminded by another blogging mom that it's still okay to tape quotes & scriptures up...without the glamour (and cost) of vinyl! 

Another secret - -  I'm really bad at memorizing things.  A great place for taping up those thoughts you'd like to memorize, tape them in your shower.  Yeah, they get wet and you have to re-tape them every once in ahwile, but it still works! 

6.04.2012

Our Home, part 1

Part of becoming spiritually minded is creating an environment that is rich in love, learning and beauty.  I, for one, do not have a home that could be featured in a Better Homes and Garden magazine, nor do I plan on it being so.  However, I do feel there are some things that are essential in creating a home envirionment that is conducive to the spirit and leading us to SMILE every day.

In honor of our home's birthday last week, I would like to create a week-long series on Our Home: the things I love about our home and things we can do to more fully invite the feelings we want to create in our homes.  Each family has a distinct flavor.  Not only do the looks of our home show a part of who we are, but the feelings inside the home show just a portion of who are are trying to become...as a family. 


So, this week...catch a glimpse of the things we do to make our home a peaceful place and please share your own homes with me! 

FIRST STOP:  The Bathroom

It's true.  The bathroom in our home is one of my favorite places to use for inspiring my children (and myself!).  Where else do we spend so much time doing mindless acts...brushing teeth, using the facilities, in the shower, doing your hair/make up, etc.  These are precious minutes in which you can fill you mind with great thoughts and ideas!

Just a few weeks ago my daughter heard the scripture in church, "Choose ye out of the best books...." and proclaimed, "Hey, that's in our bathroom!"  She proceeded to tell me that she memorized it one day while she was in time out . . . . in the bathroom!! 

I love going into our main bathroom now (when it's clean, of course) because it just makes me feel happy! 

 



What do you have in your bathroom?


6.01.2012

Another Reason to Celebrate

As if we didn't have enough birthdays already, today we celebrated the "birth" of OUR HOME.

Every year on June 1st we go to Denny's for breakfast to celebrate another year in our home.  We share stories about what happened in our home (or to our home) around the table and afterwards we have a special prayer over our home, blessing it for one more year (not at Denny's).  :-)

Seven Years ago....
A lot of things happened this year:
  •  We added another child
  • Our front  yard is starting to look better (except for one dying/dead? tree, sigh)
  • We got new windows in the front (for ventilation)
  • We made a lot of bedroom rearrangements this year
  • Toy room eliminated and new bookshelves built downstairs
  • New arrangement in the family room...which should have been done years ago!

So, this morning I had my kids take pictures of their favorite things around our home. 

This is what my 12 year old came up with...

Can you guess why?
The others weren't so stellar.  :-)  But A did want to commemorate our home's "birthmark" (an indentation of the bathroom wall caused by the door handle).   ????


So, seven years down...LOTS more to go!!


** Be sure to check out the "What's There to Celebrate" for June celebrations!

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