Thursday, May 31, 2012

Keeping the Tiny House Clean

People seem to think that having a small space to clean is easier than cleaning a larger space. Like a house.
Less square footage, less mess and dirt, right?
It must depend on how many people live in the house.
It's fairly easy to clean up behind nobody. It's 'not me' and 'I don't know' that are hard to clean up after.
I do actually remember cleaning the floors once a week, doing dishes once a day, deep cleaning the bathroom once a month, doing laundry for a couple of hours one day a week.
Those memories are like a fairytale to me now.
Dishes three or four times a day, clean the floors everyday, and keep them swept up a couple of times at least. Laundry every day, deep cleaning the bathroom happens every week, and sometimes it seems it should happen every day.
Those things I used to care about and notice only get notices when people are coming over.
Dusty blinds and window sills, dust on the door frames and hinge pins. that line of dirt that I can never scrub up at the back slider door, the way things have been crammed into the bookshelf in the living room just to get them off the floor.
Well, we all live here everyday. And it shows.
Right now, we have a potty training chair in the living room. It gets cleaned out every time it is used, but still by the time the child goes to use it again, it has a thin layer of dirt and debris in the bowl.
You would think we are all lumber jacks pounding our dirt caked boots through the house several times a day.
Nope. We take our shoes off at the door, even.
I'd like to tell you that I keep up with it all, merry of heart, light of step, and a song on my lips.
The truth is, I tend to glare at the dust that I don't have time to deal with.
I grumble when it's time to vacuum down the cobwebs.
I detest putting away laundry for ALL those people.
I clean, not because I have a fondness for cleanliness (truth is, I can stand some clutter), but because I don't want people to take ill from a dirty house. I don't want insects in my house if I can have anything to do with it, and I really have a problem with tripping over and stepping on things!
I do enjoy walking into a tidy house, waking up to a shiny clutter free kitchen.
I have had to train myself to do certain things everyday.
I grew up doing chores. Lots of chores. I fancied myself to be something of a Cinderella. My parents both worked, it was essential that we kids helped keep the house up.
But then, I rebelled.
You know, a bathroom can get pretty nasty if it is used by six people and not even wiped down for a couple of weeks? Oh yes, it can.
I don't every want to see that again.
Do you know how quickly a large family can clutter up kitchen counters so that there is no longer space to prepare food? It takes an average of two days.
Do you know how much stuff can slide under a couch on a hard surface floor in the space of two weeks? I believe every book, dvd, hotwheels car, every second shoe, every lost sock, and a hairbrush are what we clean out of there each time.
So, I suppose my message is this.
Visit me, but be aware, the ceiling fan and the blinds will be dusty. The windows will have fingerprints, and the shoes will be scattered, BUT, the toilet will be clean, the kitchen will be clean, and the coffee pot (so important) is clean.
Remember how many people live here, and enjoy your visit.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wonky Wednesdays

Have I ever mentioned that Wednesdays are rough here at TheZoo?
They are!
And it's my fault. I will own it. I don't want to, though.
It's so rough, that even though I had an early start, I burned an entire dozen eggs and had to find something else for breakfast. It's a good thing we like muffins. Those are easy and quick.
When I set up our school schedule with the parent partnership program, we ended up with one kid having a 9 am class on two days opposite the other kids' class.
I decided that as long as we were leaving the house for one, two more could take a morning class. Wednesdays start early and end late.
There is lots of waiting around with the younger set. From 9 am until 2 pm.
Hurry up and get lunch, breakfast and snacks out the door for six kiddos.
Hurry up and find everyone's shoes. You know, the ones that were all set neatly by the door the night before. (*snork* yeah, right!)
Hurry up and brush everyone's teeth.
Hurry up and grab packpacks, diapers, sippy cups, coloring books, etc.
Hurry up and wait.
It's a bit too far to drive the four kids back home between 1st graders class and the end of the other kids' class, so...we wait.
Then, we get home and hurry up with chores.
Hurry up with making dinner.
Hurry up with baths
Hurry up with getting things ready for the next day.
Then, finally, thankfully, and blessedly...
Hurry up and go to sleep!
Happy Wednesday!
Here's to changing up the schedule for next school year!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tiny House Counter Tops

The counter tops in the kitchen are in a constant state of reinvention.
The toaster gets moved, the heavy stand mixer gets moved, the banana tree hangs out in different spots, the toaster occasionally finds a new home.
But not the coffee maker. That has to stay where it is, so that bleary eyes don't accidentally punch buttons on the blender, instead.
The counter top is always cluttered.
I tried have clear, slightly decorated counters.
Then I realized that my printer and computer need to sit on one end.
I don't want to have to pull the mixer out of the cupboard every time I want to use it. I used to store it in the cupboard. I didn't do much mixing during that year.
The necessary clutter seems to work like a black hole, though. It attracts other clutter. It builds until finally, a person can't butter a slice of toast without fighting envelopes and school papers and coupon fliers.
Usually, I grab one of the empty Huggies diaper boxes, put all the clutter in it, and promise to go through the box tonight.
Tonight, of course, meaning some night later in the week.
In any event, the papers are moved, the crumbs are swept out from under the toaster, the extraneous markers and pencils are fished out from behind the printer, and all is well.
Until the mail is brought in again. 


Monday, May 28, 2012

Thank You Armed Services!

Thank you, Grandpa. Thank you, Uncle. Thank you, Dad. Thank you, Cousin. Thank you, sister-in-law. Thank you, Brother-in-law, Thank you, Armed Service Men and Women.
Thank you because I  can write whatever I want on this blog.
Thank you because I can make educational choices for my children.
Thank you because I can buy whatever it pleases me to buy at the grocery store.
Thank you because I can grow my own food.
Thank you because I can go to church wherever I please.
Thank you because I can pursue hobbies at my leisure.
Thank you because I can work where I choose.
Thank you.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Four to a Closet

Let's talk about closets. Real closets.
Not those ones in magazines and the California Closet ads.
In a 1,000 sf house, we have THOSE closets. The reach in kind that are about 8 feet wide.
How in the name of Zeus (why not? who else's name should I shout in frustration?) am I supposed to fit clothing for four boys in one of these things?
I do it, though.
I use every square inch of space.
I had a rockin' set up a little while back. It was easy to navigate, there was room for everything, and I could use the floor to store toy buckets.
And then. The boys grew. How dare they?
Their pants, especially, no longer fit in the designated space. They hung over the edge of the shelf and sometimes fell off. When this would happen, the older boys would 'clean' their room by picking up these entire loads of pants and dumping them in the hamper, then complaining that they had no clean pants. *sigh*
Well, remember that post about how clean and uncluttered my room is now?
That was when I gave up my tower of wire baskets to the boy's room.
My pants fit in those just right, so I figured theirs would, too.
It's like a miracle!
Except now, none of the boys can reach to put a shirt on a hanger, and only two can reach to pull on off.
It CAN be done, but you won't find the plans at any fancy organizational store.
I asked once, and got quite the reaction. People don't hardly fathom children sharing rooms at all anymore, let alone four of them.
They are getting bigger, and bigger, though. It won't be too many years before their shoulders are broad and their legs are all long. I don't know how we'll manage the hallway then.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Tiny House Intro

When a large family lives in a tiny house, there is clutter.
We live in the USA. That means we have 'stuff'.
Nine people's worth of 'stuff'.
Two parents in a room, four boys in a room, three girls in a room
Enough seating at the table for everyone to eat at the same time. Not really. We are short one chair.
That has worked as long as one was in a high chair. But we ran out of room for a high chair when we needed seating for six. So, we rarely sit all around the table at the same time.
We have just enough dishes for two meals. Unless we do to meals in a bowl and one on plates. We are constantly washing dishes.
I am grateful to have dishes. And chairs. And a table.
I am always doing laundry. We wash an average of 15 loads of laundry per week.
I am grateful to have clothes to wash.
I am grateful to have machines to wash and dry them in.
Wait. No washing machine. Hubby is trying to diagnose and correct the problem, but currently the washing machine is broken. Our machines break down often.
We have been the glad recipients of a few gently used machines over the past several years. Then we use them. The machines seem to rebel against the industrial use they get at our home and give out after a couple of years.
This machine lasted almost a year.
Now we are hunting for a new washing machine, and I have to admit, my eyes are wide!
There are machines in which I could fit bedding, pillows, and the kids's stuffies!
There are machines in which I could fit my king size comfortor!
There are machines that take such a large load, the I could, theoretically, do 5-7 loads a week and STILL get the same amount of laundry clean!
Just think of how many more blog posts I could write!
How many items I could crochet!
How much oftener my bathrooms could be cleaned! Well, okay, maybe not the bathrooms...


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Unfinished Projects

We all have unfinished projects. Right? I'm sure it isn't just me.
I am a procrastinator. I do my best work under pressure. I know this about myself.
So, if there isn't any pressure, whatever it is probably won't be finished.
An afghan that I started for my husband six years ago. It's almost lap sized.
A sweater that I started for my daughter before she was born. She's 8 now. The sweater was newborn size.
The mop boards are still not put back after we replaced our flooring. Five years ago.
There's an area on a wall in my daughters' room where I started to paint. Three years ago.
None of these projects had a deadline. None had to be done in order for another project to begin.
Not one of these projects were more important than the numerous other projects that DID get finished instead.
I prefer quick, non-messy, easy-to-assemble project. When it comes to crafty projects, I prefer beading, hot gluing, quick drying ink and stamp projects, double sided tape, begin and end in the same day with instant results type of projects.
And I have children. Lots of children. TheZoo, as we affectionately refer to ourselves.
Children are not quick, non-messy, easy-to-assemble, instant results type of projects.
They are ongoing investments. They require sweat, blood and tears. There are mile stones along they way, and the project doesn't end. The results are on going. There IS pressure to do this well. Really, to do it at all.
This isn't my favorite kind of project.
To be honest, I don't even like this kind of project.
I am learning to love it, though. Parenting my children, that is.
When I look at the road ahead in our journey with little ones growing into bigger ones, it often looks endless. The forks in the road feel harrowing. The heartache of sometimes taking the wrong bend and having to turn around sometimes feels debilitating.
But this can not go the way of the afghan, or the sweater, or the mop boards.
It must go the way of repetition. It must go the way of patience. It must go the way of waiting, watching, and guiding.
I'm not good at this, but I'm learning along the way.
I don't like this, but strangely, I love it.
It is agonizingly difficult, but gloriously worth every single moment. 


Monday, May 21, 2012

MORE Rain?

Okay, I own The (old) Farmer's Almanac.
 The clever little poem in the May section does indicate that it will be wet this week. I just didn't want to believe it.
Last week was fantastic, beautiful, gorgeous. Lovely! It was a promise of fantastic summer days to come. Apparently, they will come later.
Hubby has the week off, so I planned on getting yard work done today.
I guess we can still trim, pull and move things in the rain. It will all just be heavier.
Bummer. The only time my skin gets any color is when I work outside.
Really. If I sit outside on purpose trying to get color, I get nothing, or else I get burned. When I WORK in the sun, I get nice color.
When I work in the rain, I stay a nice pasty white.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Summer Time Dreamin'

Since Santa isn't creeping at the back door today, I was able to get outside and peek at the wisteria. It's beginning to bloom!
I'm excited to see them in full flower. Here they are today.

I'm thrilled each spring with the idea of gardening. In my mind, I garden like Martha Stewart.  In reality, I barely garden at all.
Every year, I start out. Some years I am all about pulling weeds and dead things, pruning back, rescuing the fence line from blackberry canes.
Other years, I plant things, and tend to them for a while. But. Usually, each year, I am largely pregnant or have a newborn.
Hubby's work schedule hasn't allowed him to be helpful at home (until recently) so tending my flowers were never high on his priority list. Fixing our vehicles, mowing the lawn, bringing the bacon, and sleeping occasionally seemed more important.
This year, it's different. This year, there is no newborn. There is no swell of pregnancy. Hubby's work schedule is less hectic.
The Rhodies and climbing hydrangea that are behind the shed will make their way to the front yard.
The ivy and black berry vines from next door that are creeping up our birch tree will be vanquished.
The grass will be cut out to make way for future flower and vegetable beds.
We will have curb appeal!


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Creeping At The Back Door

He was waiting for me outside the back door when I got up this morning.
I didn't know it.
I grabbed a cup of coffee, and turned on the computer, then stepped over to the window to observe the new blooms on my wisteria plant.
...and there he was.

I jumped. Spilled coffee on myself, stifled a scream, and finally, when the bright red registered as something that a would be assailant probably wouldn't be sneaking around in, I looked again.

Oh, Antique Santa! He has had an eventful few days here.  Hubby was cleaning out the shed and put him in the yard. 23 mo found him lying on the ground and shook him telling him to "wake up! wake up!"
From what I understand, one of the boys also had a wrestling match with him.
I don't know, but I think his eyes are telling me he'd rather be back in the shed...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Laundry Monster

Probably every mom blog out there has written a bout laundry. Several times. The laundry monster is ever present!
Our family does an average of 12 loads a week. That doesn't mean there isn't more to do, it just means that's what we get clean each week.
Sometimes, I think that since I hit the bottom of the 'dirty' baskets, I can take a breather for a few days.
That usually blows up in my face! That week will become one where we clean and put away roughly 20 loads of laundry.
Recently, our washing machine broke. Yeah.
The part that tells the machine to stop filling with water is what broke. The machine ran water all over the garage. Gallons and gallons of water.
This is less than convenient!
Fortunately a friend of ours with super sized washer and dryer is allowing us to do our laundry there. It means I get to visit while doing the laundry!
Meanwhile, TheZoo co-founder and I are scouting out deals on appliances. That's another post.
Now, I need to load up the dirty clothes into the back of the van...


Monday, May 14, 2012

Art Inspired

I have a friend from college that creates things.
She takes canvases, and uses mixed media to make beautiful, truthful art.
Kelly Gau, at Kelly Gau Studio creates amazing, inspired works. She reads the bible, she prays, she meditates.
She waits on God to direct her creations.
As a result, when she posts finished pieces available for sale, people respond. They don't simply say "I like this and want to buy". They say that a particular piece reflects a truth that they need during this season in their life. They say that they are ministered to through Kelly's creations.  They say that they were moved with deep emotion, and that a particular image, or words on the canvas have prompted something to change withing themselves.

These are not small things to say about art pieces.
Go ahead and visit Kelly Gau Studio. Take a look around. Look at the pieces for sale, and look at the sold pieces.  Some of them will strike a chord in your heart.

I have one. I loved in when I first saw it, and I still love it today.  I'm certain that the piece I have was meant for me. I need to be reminded of the message in that piece every day, in a beautiful, gentle way, and the canvas I have does that. It is God's inspired word, put together with an image that reflects the message and the love in it, so that the message is lovely.

It is my hope that you find something there that grabs your heart, that ministers to your spirit, and that seems to have been made for you to find.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Gourmet Kid Treats

Browned Butter and Toasted Marshmallow krispie treats. Sounds gourmet, right?

Actually, this is what happened.

I put the butter and marshmallows in the pan on low heat. I decided to put a few dishes in the dishwasher and de-clutter the counter while the marshmallows warmed up and began to melt.

The baby wanted to help, then there were to urgent disciplinary matters to take care of. We do not hit each other just to take our frustration out. We do not shout at each other to get out of the way when there is not a fire or blood.

Then..who took the books out of the bottom shelf in Mom and Dad's bedroom? Okay, why is the deodorant on the floor without a cap? What? you boys still haven't tidied your beds and floor? 4 yo, please do get dressed this morning. Yes, I'll get you a snack pretty soon. Oh! OH NO!

Did you forget, too? The marshmallows and butter melting on the stove? Well, they were melted all right. And really browned. REALLY brown. Even though the marshmallows are melted, they are all bubbly and toasted looking.

Quickly, I add another couple of tablespoons of butter, take the pan off the heat, stir like mad until it looks the right consistency dump the krispy rice cereal in, hoping I didn't just waste the marshmallows and butter.

Then, of course, I had to test them before giving them to the kids. These ARE gourmet. I don't know if I should share these with the kids.
It might ruin them for rice krispies made right...


All Aboard the Potty Train

When I'm out with TheZoo, people ask me questions. Lots of them. One of the most asked is how do we handle potty training. I have seven kiddos, five of them dry undie experts, I should be able to give out some sort of secret formula, right?

Well. There are lots of theories out there, some of them popular, some not so popular. There are videos and books, calls to child named heroes, giving treats each time a piddle is done in the potty, rewards for finishing the day with dry pants, teach the children to obey so they will go when you tell them, wait until the child says they are ready, etc.
All of these are tried, most of these are successful in some way.  I haven't met many kindergartners that aren't using the toilet on their own.

Naked baby playing in the bathroom toilet
I have never enjoyed the potty training experience. It's hard work for us parents.
Now that I am training our sixth child, I am absolutely certain that the first five were extremely easy to train.
Here's the run down, the first and second (girl and boy) were fully potty trained at 3 1/2 years old. They didn't have accidents during the day and only very rarely at night. The third and fourth (girl and boy again) were potty trained at 2. The girl was 2 1/2, the boy was weeks away from his third birthday. No daytime accidents, and no night time accidents. The fifth (boy) was trained by 3 1/2.

Number six is 3 1/2. He isn't really interested. I am. Very much. In fact, it would be just dandy if the little one, who will be two in a few weeks would also be interested.

The problem this time around is ME. I don't have the 3-5 days train this child! We are out of the house to take children to classes at the parent partnership program for school four days out of the week. Due to my husband's work schedule, I usually have to take the whole Zoo to dr appts, dentist appts, grocery shopping, errand running.
It is FAR more convenient to put a diaper on a child than it is to drag everyone to the bathroom at every stop that we make.

We have attempted potty training three times this year, once during Christmas break, once during spring break, and again this week. I have cleaned up more urine from the floor this week than I remember having to do with all the other five combined! The child would sit on the potty for ages, then pull up his underpants and wet them. It made him angry, too. He didn't like being wet, he wanted to use the potty, especially when his brother told him all about the toy I had put up for him as a reward. (Thanks brother, that was helpful. *sigh*)

Finally, toward the middle of day two, he said in complete exasperation, "I just want a diaper, Mom. Please?"

I gave him the diaper.
And I reminded myself of what I say to all those moms that ask for my magic formula.
"Be persistent, and be kind. Remember that patience isn't in the waiting, it's in the attitude we have while waiting, and sometimes when we are potty training, we have to wait for our children to be ready."
I'll let you know if we have to put off kindergarten...


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Moment

This is the day we should have been able to look forward to.
It is circled on the calendar.
I should be grumbling about discomfort and hip pain.
I should be waddling around, unable to tie my shoes.
I should be firming up plans to be ready for a trip to deliver a healthy baby.
Instead, I remember that he was born far too soon.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I Admit It...

I like SyFy.

It really isn't much of a confession these days. It used to be (way back in the dark ages, when I was in High School) that an interest in Science Fiction was weird.
Maybe it is still weird. Maybe weird is just more acceptable now than it was.
We didn't do weird things when I was growing up.
We ate 'normal' food.
We wore 'normal' clothes.
We went to a 'normal' church.
By 'normal', I mean that the things that we did, places we went, people we associated with were acceptable according to the society we kept.
I am NOT saying that my family was normal. Not by any means.
My family is one of the greatest, funniest, best, most abnormal families I've ever met.

My children, I'm sure, will believe that they have grown up in the weirdest family ever. Mom watches SyFy, crochets, grows a jungle of plants in the kitchen window, and has green hair.
Dad is a grease monkey and makes every little excursion a big adventure.
We put all sorts of music on in the house. We listen to Disney hits, jazz, classical, ska, country, easy listening, oldies, metal, even electric dance mixes.
It isn't that any one of those types are MY favorite, so much as I want my kids to listen to musical art made in all sorts of genres.
They see art in museums, on train cars, on the buildings in town as commissioned murals, in what they make at our kitchen table.
They read books and magazines and newspapers (okay, mostly the comics)

TheZoo is not a normal house, but perhaps more normal by today's standards, then 20 years ago.


Monday, May 7, 2012

May/Decmber Romance

May is a lot like December here at The Zoo.

Some might argue that the weather is similar where we live - clouds, rain, wind - but it's more than that.

We romanticize the thing that we are looking forward to.  In December, it's Christmas. There is so much we want to accomplish before the 25th. We want to be sure that our children understand the significance of the reason that we choose to celebrate Christmas, but I am talking about the things we do leading up to the party.

We want to get the gifts bought, wrapped, and delivered.
We want to get the cookies baked, the fudge made, the eggnog chilled.
We want to get the photos taken, the cards printed and mailed.
We want to put up the tree, hang the decorations, light the lights.

We feel giddy with anticipation. We make even more plans. Lets go drive around and look at other people's lights! Let's make gingerbread houses! Let's make soups and goodies for the elderly and infirm in our neighborhood! Let's go caroling! (there are nine of us, it's a big group).

Suddenly, the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas can be overwhelming.  All of the things we wanted to do, because we see them through peppermint lenses, are burdens that distract us.

Well, here it is...May.  We aren't donning hand crocheted scarves and hats, but we are pulling the shorts out of storage, taking stock of flip flops, hoping our sunglasses made it through the winter intact.
Children are shouting about playing in the sprinkler, setting up the pool, going swimming at the river.  They are trying to leave the house in the morning in tank tops without a sweater.  School will be out soon, and the residents at The Zoo see no reason to continue their studies.

 The sun shines down on us about twice a week now. That's 200% more sun than we saw last month!
The boys want their hair buzz cut, the lawn screams to be mowed, the flower beds beg for attention. Spring isn't over yet, and we are acting like summer is just around the corner!

We are distracted from what is important, looking through leisure tinted lenses at what lies ahead. 

My best memories of summer vacations are of climbing a tree with a book, sitting there for hours -if I could get away with it.

My Zoo wants to go, go, go, go!  They have romanticized the coming warm months. They have forgotten about going to bed when daylight still shines, and neighbor children still shout outside. They don't remember that their chore lists don't dissolve when the thermometer reads over 65.  They do not care that fuel prices have risen dramatically.

I do not want them to despise the summer months for what they can not do, so I let them allow them to continue to romanticize through May.

June will be here soon enough.


Friday, May 4, 2012

It's Finally Clean!

It's clean, It's clean! It's finally clean!

The bedroom that I share with my husband has been clean a few times over the 11 years that we have been in this house. But that's it.  We have a teeny, tiny, itsy bitsy, wee little dwelling place. With seven children. And a dog.

The parents' room, sadly, became the dumping grounds.
"Mom! Where do I put this?"
"Just put it in my room."
This conversation has been had hundreds of times. Too often, something comes into the house that doesn't yet have a place of it's own. Often it's something that needs to be safe from little hands, or stored until further use. When there are three children in one bedroom and four in the next, you can be sure that every corner is used carefully.

Not in my room. Packed, perhaps, but not carefully.

Here's how it happened: Two of the boys are growing, therefore, the clothes they were are also become increasingly longer. The clothing was not longer fitting in the closet the way it was set up. I needed a new solution, but still had to fit clothing for four  boys in the same amount of space.

My solution was to pull out an old trick that my Step-Mom taught me. Re-purpose the furniture.
We don't us bureaus because they take up precious space. Instead, in my closet, hubby and I each had a tower of wire baskets bought at Ikea. I looked through them and found that Most of my clothes hang, so my baskets were filled with all sorts of  'stuff'.

You guessed it, the boys ended up with my set of baskets, and their jeans now reside comfortably.
As a result of removing my baskets, I changed the configuration of our closet, got rid of a bunch of stuff that turned out to be junk. Since I was cleaning up the closet, I figured I would clean up the other corners piled with stored items.

It turns out that much of what was stored now had a 'place', we had just forgotten that we had the items. I found some things that I had put away for Christmas and birthdays, so it looks like I get to trim that budget this year! I also found things that I wasn't entirely sure I had ever seen come into the house.

By the end of the day, I had removed six bags of stuff from my room. I didn't know I could fit that much stuff in there!

It's actually nice to get out of bed in the morning and not look at all that stuff!


Thursday, May 3, 2012

When A Word Goes Awry

Do you discipline your children? Why, or why not? 

It is important that we teach our children to practice discipline, and that we practice discipline with our children.  

Undisciplined children become undisciplined adults.

There are a great many parenting articles, books, and speakers teaching us to manage the growing up years of these amazing blessings, our children.  Most of them are currently in agreement that discipline of children is cruel and misleading.  

Is it possible that the very word discipline no longer means what it used to?

Take a look. 

The first set of definitions is from Webster's Dictionary 1828.  The second set is from the Mirriam-Webster Dictionary online.

DISCIPLINE, n. [L., to learn.]

1. Education; instruction; cultivation and improvement, comprehending instruction in arts, sciences, correct sentiments, morals and manners, and due subordination to authority.
2. Instruction and government, comprehending the communication of knowledge and the regulation of practice; as military discipline, which includes instruction in manual exercise, evolutions and subordination.
3. Rule of government; method of regulating principles and practice; as the discipline prescribed for the church.
4. Subjection to laws, rules, order, precepts or regulations; as, the troops are under excellent discipline; the passions should be kept under strict discipline.
5. Correction; chastisement; punishment intended to correct crimes or errors; as the discipline of the strap.
6. In ecclesiastical affairs, the execution of the laws by which the church is governed, and infliction of the penalties enjoined against offenders, who profess the religion of Jesus Christ.
7. Chastisement or bodily punishment inflicted on a delinquent in the Romish Church; or that chastisement or external mortification which a religious person inflicts on himself.DISCIPLINE, v.t.
1. To instruct or educate; to inform the mind; to prepare by instructing in correct principles and habits; as, to discipline youth for a profession, or for future usefulness.
2. To instruct and govern; to teach rules and practice, and accustom to order and subordination; as, to discipline troops or an army.
3. To correct; to chastise; to punish.
4. To execute the laws of the church on offenders, with a view to bring them to repentance and reformation of life.
5. To advance and prepare by instruction.

 Definition of DISCIPLINE
obsolete : instruction
: a field of study
: training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character
a : control gained by enforcing obedience or order b : orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior c : self-control
: a rule or system of rules governing conduct or activity

Did anyone else notice that Mr. Webster chose the definition pertaining to punishment as number 5, while the new Mirriam-Webster authors and editors chose to use punishment as a single word defintion in the number 1 spot?

In fact, the definition in the new dictionary has been whittled down to as few words as possible, few of them having any positive meaning at all.

Which definition are your children learning at home, at school, at church?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Grumpy Wednesday

Jump out of bed.
Open doors and shout to get children up.
Slap together lunches and snacks
Throw some diapers and wipes in the diaper bag.
Change two diapers.
Get two littles dressed.
Get clothes out for one more little.
Help three bigs gather backpacks and shoes.
Put the dog out back.
Make sure all seven people have breakfast.
Woops, run back and slap on some deodorant and pat hair down so it doesn't look so scary.
Coach a little out from the corner of the couch and out to the van.
Jump in the van and drive to school.

This covers the first 20 mins. of the day here at The Zoo.

This is what happens when one little just can't sleep until 2 a.m.

I hit the snooze on the the 6:30 alarm, but it wasn't the snooze, it was the 'off' button.
At 8 a.m., the warm, happy sunshine wakes me, I stretch thinking I have a leisurely few minutes to begin Thursday morning. Deciding what to fix for breakfast, which chore I will tackle first, what fun thing we will do before heading off to classes---then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Wednesday. We have to be at school at 9 am, and we live half an hour out.

Fortunately, the  rest of the day has been uneventful. So far.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Angry Posts?

I've been writing blog entries, getting them polished and ready to post.

Then I read through them. I don't want to post them anymore.

The posts I wrote are angry. The voice in those letters is grouchy, complaining. Blaming. Bitter.

I don't want to be that person. Not for the whole world, and certainly not for my family.

Yes, of course there are circumstances that induce anger and frustration. The problem I am seeing is that I didn't let it go, or take care of it. I must have kept it stored away long enough to write several angry pieces.

There will be times when angry pieces are appropriate, but these were written with a bitter attitude.  Bitterness that inspires a meanness in my voice.  Gross.

I want to take the idea that began each written piece and rewrite in a way that resolves the anger. 

When there isn't a resolve for the circumstance, there can still be a resolve in my attitude, and sometimes anger is still the outcome - as long as it isn't bitter.