1. phone free walks -
I wake at 5:30 each morning, and get ready for the day while all my guys are still sleeping. When Paul travels, this looks like journaling and reading mostly. When Paul is home and it’s safe to step away, I try to take a 2 mile walk around my neighborhood. I love these walks. A couple months ago I felt a tug to not listen to anything but what I was walking past—birds, leaves, squirrels, the spillway behind the lake. It was wonderful.
My head is stuffed with thoughts. I need quiet to sift through them and see what’s worth what. I also have such a drive to learn that I feel compelled to listen to as much information as possible on housekeeping, finances, homeschooling, etc, but there needs to be a better balance of quiet & learning. I’ve been taking a lot more silent walks, as I like to call them.
It feels like a treat to be, in my own little way, off the grid—away from that phone. I want to have more phone detox time in my days and weeks. I’m thinking about this. I want to enjoy my phone, but feel detached from it as well. Or at the least, at times. I don’t want to be robbed of being present anymore.
2. night-time prayers with the kids -
When I heard Thomas sign his name to the end of a prayer about a month ago, “Love, Thomas” as if he was sending a letter up to God, I thought maybe we should make night time prayers a bit more of a norm rather than once every other month.
I’m the reading mom, the walking mom, the cooking in the kitchen with you mom. I wish I was all the mom things, but I’m not. Even praying once every day, other than at the table, felt like a stretch for me. Baby steps. So I kept it super, super simple.
I tuck the twins in first. I give them their drinks of water. They make messy signs of the cross. Then I say while they press their hands together and give me the cutest little smiles I’ve ever ever seen, “Dear Jesus, thank you for this day / in every single way. Amen.” At that point they do this thing where it looks like they are releasing doves out of their hands. I’m not sure what that’s about, but it seems in good spirit of what we’re doing.
When I tuck Thomas in, about an hour later, we have a bit messier time praying. We talk real to Jesus. Thomas throws in things randomly and usually asks questions that have nothing to do with what we are praying about. We say what we are grateful for and think through our day. We list family members in a haphazard rotation & try to pray specifically for thing going on in their lives. And we add one other intention, usually for the people who are lonely because that just breaks my heart after we’ve thought about our day so full with one another.
Now if only I could get in the habit of saying my own night-time prayers. All in time. For now, just this little change in our routine has added a ton of gratitude in my heart.
3. afternoon clean-up time -
Last weekend I took out our gate in the sunroom that has either kept the twins inside of it or locked out since they were born. It was becoming a nuisance when guests would visit, so I begrudgingly removed it. Little did I know that I would be so excited about the change (after I spent hours purging and moving stuff). Plus, it feels like we are truly in a new season of life and I really, really love that.
Now all the kids’ toys are either in the sunroom or put away in their room in their closet. Before, they were in all the living areas of the house.
At 5:00 p.m. every day, we stop whatever we are doing for clean-up time. We don’t walk away until every single item is put away on the built-in shelves. It stays clean until bed time because the rest of the night is screen time, dinner, bedtime routine, baths, reading, etc.
The system I used before for toy pick-up isn’t even worth mentioning. Suffice it to say it was making me very unhappy and annoyed. I let the kids keep tons and tons of toys out, especially Thomas. I had to create a whole new norm for us when it hit me recently that Paul and I are happiest when the house is really clean and clutter-free, and so our family culture & our kids are just going to have to form around that need.
I had to really think about what I’m trying to accomplish when I’m having the kids clean. It seems obvious, right? I want it clean. But after years of doing this the wrong way, I see there is a different purpose for each season and right now while the boys are little there are specific reasons for why I want pick-up time to be this way.
I want them to form habits and practice doing things to completion. Mostly, I want the process to be more peaceful, and in the past it hasn’t been. If I see that it’s taking more than ten minutes or so to clean up the mess we made during the day, that’s a sign to me we need to simplify or let go of some things.
The best part of our new pick-up habit is that Paul is greeted with a happier wife and a cleaner home. Plus, the kids seem very proud of their work. So win-win-win.
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I enjoyed writing these so much. I had more to share, but maybe on another day. Let me know if you have something that is making you happy right now. I would love to hear!