Lessons at the Dinner Table

It’s not hard to come across a study that touts the benefits of a family dinner alongside some statistics about how few families actually sit down to a family dinner regularly anymore.

I am not going to talk about that, because, heck, we’ve all heard that.  And it’s getting a little judgmental and grating for my liking.  Instead, I would like to share with you some of the things my girls have learned while sitting at the dinner table.

  • turning your plate upside down gets all the food off of it
  • turning your plate upside down makes Mommy and Daddy upset
  • turning your plate upside attracts the interest of our dog
  • forks are best for skewering food, while spoons are meant for scooping
  • putting a spoon in the mouth with food side up prevents food from spilling all over
  • dangling meat over the side of the high chair attracts the dog
  • dangling slices of cucumber over the side of the high chair attracts no one
  • if you drop your sippy cup, someone will pick it up
  • if you drop your sippy cup again, someone will pick it up and put it across the table from you
  • Mommy cannot shell pistachios as quick as little girls can eat them
  • LITTLE GIRLS DO NOT TOUCH KNIVES
  • you cannot sweet talk your way out of eating vegetables to get dessert
  • you have to ask to be excused from the table before getting down, otherwise no one will move your high chair away from the table and your big toddler head will get stuck
  • we don’t stab family members with our forks
  • Mommy’s coffee is off limits
  • hold smoothie cups DOWN to finish the last few sips
  • DON’T TALK WITH FOOD IN YOUR MOUTH
  • Alternately:  DON’T TALK TO SOMEONE WHO HAS FOOD IN THEIR MOUTH (or at least Madeline seems to think this is true)
  • Wait to eat your meal until we pray for your food, otherwise Daddy is liable to move your plate across the table until after we pray
  • Bruno will eat almost anything you don’t finish, except, of course, cucumber slices

I find that the dinner table (or more often the breakfast table) is the best time to teach these very important life lessons that will serve my girls well in their lives.

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Backyard Camping Bust

Do you ever find yourself wanting to share something you love with your children?  I do. Often.

Sometimes it works out well for me.  I love to cook, and both of my girls so far love to help me cook.  They pour, measure, and stir things for me, and of course, they are my best taste testers.  I love to run, and both girls like to either run with me in the jogging stroller, or just run alongside me (for short bursts).  I love to read, and both girls love being read to.

I also love camping.

B.C. (Before Clara) our little family went camping in a state park.  Little Madeline was an excellent sleeper, and could fall asleep at her bedtime so long as she had her favorite stuffed dog.  Seriously, how easy could it get?

Since Clara, we haven’t gone camping, and this evening I got it in my head that the girls and I would go backyard camping.  It sounded perfect:  familiar yard, familiar nighttime sounds, etc.  I could take as many stuffed creatures as they desired.  I could run into the kitchen to make dinner and clean up.

My girls normally go to sleep around 7 or 730, so at about 730 I started our usual nighttime routine.  We stepped inside to brush teeth and use the potty one last time, and then we headed back to the tent for a bedtime story and prayers.  At about 7:50 I told the girls it was time to close their eyes.

After almost an hour and a half of trying to convince the girls that all of the sounds they were hearing were safe and normal, we sadly trudged our way back to the house, and I put the girls to bed.

This was something I suppose I can’t share with my girls just yet.  At least not on my own.  Next time, friends, I will bring in reinforcements.  Bearded reinforcements.

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The Summer of a Not-So-Recently Domesticated Physicist

I used to work.  I feel like I have to justify myself to everyone I meet by letting them know this small tidbit of information.  Before I had babies I was an intelligent person with a college degree, working for the government, bringing home the bacon.

Well, more than likely ice cream and cereal, but occasionally bacon.

When I *first* got to stay home with Madeline (she was already about 9 months old), I still had my “working mom” brain on.  I convinced myself I could do everything, all the time.  I’m pretty sure I told my husband that he wouldn’t ever have to worry about helping with household chores again.

Ha.

As if taking care of a human being isn’t an actual job.

Now I have two not-that-little human beings to take care of, and boy can they keep me busy.  I’ve settled in a bit better to my “new job” (which is of course being a SAHM).  The girls and I have busy days, and sometimes we have lazy days.  I’m learning that that’s okay.

We visit family with my husband sometimes, but most often, we visit them while he’s working.  Because we have way too much family to visit, and he has not nearly enough vacation time to satisfy all of the visiting we have to do.

You are probably all wondering when I am going to mention the fact that I literally fell off the face of this planet a few months ago.  Fear not, readers.  I am well aware that it happened.

At first, I could blame my disappearance on schoolwork.  When I’m taking online classes I spend a lot of my free time (and brain power) reading, writing, and taking quizzes.  My blog seriously gets tossed aside.

Sorry, guys.

But my summer term ended the first week of July.  Woops.

Since then, we have actually traveled twice to see each of my parents, and I had the girls solo on that latest and longer trip.  So, no, I haven’t had schoolwork to work on, but seriously, readers.  I’ve been catching up on sleep.

But I did miss blogging.  And I missed my readers.

Just by the way, you know you’ve taken a ridiculously long blogging hiatus when you have over 250 comments to look through, and the majority of them are spam and track backs.

The joys of being a low-tier blogger.

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I So Want to Blog Today

So I am.

Despite the fact that my girls alternated naps today.

I know, I’m fortunate they nap at all.

But seriously, this spoiled momma is used to girls that nap at the same time so I can get things put away, chores done, etc.

Why do I want to blog today, though?  Despite my aching back from the hours of baby juggling?

Because my big girl, Madeline, prayers for our neighbor girl everyday.

Everyday.

After breakfast we read a short kids’ bible story, do a memory verse, then we pray.  And everyday we ask Madeline what she wants to pray about.

And everyday she prays that she will get to play with the girl next door.

It’s super sweet, honestly.

Our neighbor girl isn’t always home; she splits her time between her parents, so Madeline only gets to see her when she is staying with her daddy.

It must feel like a gamble to her.  When is her playmate going to be available to play??

God answered my baby’s prayer today, and it was awesome.  She got to play with our neighbor girl for most of the day.  My baby went to bed that tired kind of happy when you’ve had hours to play with a great friend.

And this momma is that happy kind of tired from chasing after an almost 3 year old playing with her friend.

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When You Need It Most

I have never been a person to take to new habits very well, and being a young(ish) Christian, I have had a hard time really solidifying my Bible-reading habit.

As a new believer, I read the Bible cover to cover in a ridiculously short amount of time, just because I couldn’t get enough of it.  Since then, I have gone through waves of reading with a great hunger for the Word interspersed with times of indifference and forgetting to open up my Bible at all.

I doubt I am alone in this.

I met the Lord in college, and so naturally I read my Bible at night.  Because college students do everything at night.  The morning was for coffee and not thinking.

As I got to know more Christians, I realized that most people I found read the scriptures in the morning.  As I made my way from a college way of life to a more “real world” adult way of life, I tried my hand at reading my Bible in the morning.  It worked, especially once my husband and I got married, since he was already in that habit.  When someone around you is already practicing a habit, it’s easy to get sucked into it.

As we had babies, our lives changed a bit, and both of our Bible reading habits ebbed and flowed with our hours of sleep.

In the last year, with my husband’s change in work schedule and my adjusting our household to it, I have tried many different times to read my Bible.  Mornings became difficult for me.  With my husband at work until very late at night, if I am going to get a run in, it will only be in the morning.  And what I need before the girls wake up is to get sweaty and feel somewhat accomplished.

I had tried naptime.  I would break out my Bible as soon as the girls went to sleep after lunch, but that didn’t feel natural.  Still with a lot of energy coursing through me, I could be cleaning up, putting away, and getting some projects done.

I also tried reading my Bible just before bedtime.  This was probably the worst time of all for me.  By the time I got into bed and opened the scriptures I could hardly keep my eyes open.  Some people say that if you read something right before bed you are apt to remember it better.  I say, not if you are sleeping halfway through the first paragraph!

Today I tried something different, though.  I asked myself:  When do I really NEED to read my Bible?

The argument could be made for every time of day. So many women, stay-at-home moms in particular, swear by reading their Bible first thing in the morning, to start their day with the Lord.  But I knew that the morning was not the time in which I needed Him the most.  I am a morning person, and often wake up excited to get some exercise and then see my girls.

For me it’s the evenings that are the hardest.  Putting the girls down by myself (dinner, bath, bedtime marathon) can be exhausting.  By the time I kiss them goodnight and shut their bedroom door, I am so emotionally drained that I often think about plopping in front of the television for a few hours with a bag of M&Ms.

Seriously.

Clearly, this is my most vulnerable time of day.

So today, before starting the dishes, and before turning on the television, I spent some time with my Savior.  And do you know what?  It worked for me.  My 7:30 pm date with God was wonderful. Why?  Because I needed His strength and His comfort through His word.  And it has fueled the rest of my evening.

I encourage you, if you are stuck in a rut of either not reading your Bible, or are having a hard time sticking to consistently spending time with God, find the time in your day when you feel you need Him most, and seek Him out then.

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