Ramblings from the blueberry patch

This morning the boys and I were picking blueberries. We do it a lot here lately. One little guy would not pick, but insisted on picking on his brothers instead. Exasperated, I took him aside for a little talk. Instead of a lecture or threat, I heard myself saying, “if you can be a good helper in this section, then we’ll all take a break to swing.” That’s all it really took to get him on the team. And at the promised time, he did get that swing break.

“Mommy, watch me swing! See what I can do! Keep watching me!”

It hit me like a brick that these moments will be gone so very soon! Our youngest is almost seven, and he’s growing up so fast! Not to mention his older brothers! Where is the time going? Soon I was crying in the blueberry patch–sad, yet glad that at least we are spending the time together. I’d rather be tired from working together with the boys than at my leisure while we all grow apart. I’m content that I have time with my boys all through the day, yet I have to honestly deal with the fact that life seems to be spinning us along at its whim, while we try to hold on and just keep up!
My heart is a bit heavier right now because I believe I need to do a better job of choosing what really matters, not just allowing life to carry us along. We’ve been busy, but did I take the time to really enjoy the gifts that God has blessed me with? Family, friends, a story, a bird’s nest, and just laughing with my family…and, yes, watching my son swing because he wants me to still…I count it cause for praise!

This song is one my mom shared with me and my brothers when we were in our early teens. It touched me then, but it touches me much more now. This was sung at our firstborn son’s baby dedication. And it was what came to me this morning out in the blueberry patch.

Here is the link to watch it, but you’d better get your box of tissues ready, if you’re at all like me. It’s just beautiful yet bittersweet.

I count it as a privilege
I count it cause for praise
to kiss my children goodnight
at the close of everyday
for I know too soon they’re off and gone
and walkin’ out the door
and I’ll never have a child to kiss
goodnight anymore

It’s very strange how times have changed
from the present to the past
when did they grow so quickly
the time has flown so fast
for it seems that only yesterday
I helped him with his shirt
or pat my baby on the back
or kissed away a hurt

tell the story read a book
wipe a nose or tie a shoe
they never ask me to rub their back
the way they used to do
once it was a bother
just a troublesome kind of chore
now I would give anything
to do it just once more

mommy bounce me on your knee
daddy flip me in the air
throw a rubber ball to me
and help me comb my hair
mommy tickle my tummy
daddy hold me high
let’s go outside for awhile
or make a kite to fly

I count it as a privilege
I count it cause for praise
to kiss my children goodnight
at the close of everyday
for I know too soon they’re off and gone
and walkin’ out the door
and I’ll never have a child to kiss
goodnight anymore

And I’ll never have a child to kiss
goodnight anymore…

Words by Steve and Annie Chapman


A few green beans

From our dining room window I could see the beans dangling from the plants. A week had passed since our last family bean-picking “contest”, and I knew the bushes were calling…

A killer headache gave me reason/excuse to put off the task at least until the cooler part of the day. So, though my body rebelled at the idea of moving around too much, I forced it to move me outside to where the beans waited. My youngest son really was the source of inspiration for me this time. Sometimes he is the one dragging, but not this time. He grabbed his bowl, recruited his not quite so enthusiastic brothers, and started to work with a will. In five minutes we had a full bowl, and had not even picked two plants clean. We could tell that this was going to be a plentiful harvest!

As I picked, I really did enjoy harvesting at this evening hour. We all chatted and for the most part, the boys worked very diligently. I think that the more beans they saw that we had picked so quickly, the harder they worked! Soon we had finished, and when we looked at our big bean heap on the table, we were all amazed! We got at least 3-4 times the amount we picked a week ago! Many hands do make light work, and those same hands will be doing much more work tomorrow when we get to snap and can them!

But while we know that we will have our work cut out for us tomorrow, we also know that this winter we will ALL appreciate the fruits of this labour!

Great work, Little A-Team!



Shopping with the Little A’s–A lesson in math

What an amazing weekend!

I could share many blessings that came our way in the last two days.  At the top of the list are the family and friends who came to stay with us for a little while.  Our lives are richer for the time we could share with Banana Man’s brother and sister-in-law, and, of course, their sweet and spunky little two-year-old girl.  I have to say that I personally soaked in the fun times of watching our active boys interact with their only cousin.  They just LOVE her!  Everything she does is funny, and the boys spent most of their time today and yesterday evening trying to think of things to do or share that would make her laugh.  Successfully, too.

Our weekend also included visiting time with missionaries and their families who are home from Africa for a little while, and reacquainting with another growing homeschooling family who came to visit.  That made the Sabbath full and interesting, especially when adults and children participated together in a nature scavenger hunt.    Good times!

The good times continued today, even after all of our guests left.  Then came an event that I’m considering adding to our annual school-preparation checklist–shopping!    Not just any shopping–school supply shopping!   This weekend we had tax-free days, so that made it a good time to purchase our school supplies.  I wanted to involve the boys more this year, and I thought that this might be an opportunity for some real-life decision-making.  So, I made a list of the supplies that each boy would be required to purchase for our school year, similar to the lists that the various schools put in the stores for parents and students.   Our list wasn’t nearly as long as the regular schools, but we did have several things that needed replenished, replaced, or just acquired for our lessons.  Then I told the boys how much money they would each get to use on school supplies.  I did mental calculation and estimated how much our supplies would take, and, at the discount prices, I figured that each boy should be able to get what he would need for around ten dollars (this includes paper products and crayons/pencils–not clothes).  We discussed what items each of them wanted/needed, and how they would need to be careful about the choices they made.  Beings that I am a generous mom, I threw in an extra buck for each, in case it was close. 😉

I will say that the boys were extremely excited about this trip.  Daddy came along too, and got to join in on the circus, er…fun!  First stop was Staples, and the boys quickly saw that the sales there this year were not in favor of them using their money wisely, so we passed on their deals for the boys.  But that was their decision.  Next we went next door and checked Big Lots.  Action A managed to find glue for 30 cents a bottle and the scissors he wanted for a good price.   Index cards too.  But I began to see that each boy  very carefully compared prices, and they all were reluctant to spend if they were not certain that this was their best price.

At this point, we took a little break to swim together at the Y.  Daddy impressed the boys with his cannonballs and can-openers off the diving board, and the boys excitedly showed off what they had learned in their swimming lessons for Daddy.  That was a nice refresher.  Then, back to shopping.

At Wal-Mart, the boys found the best deals.  They compared, searched, chose, then compared again.   Banana Man and I chuckled several times at the comparisons, the agonizing choices between one brand of colored pencils or the other, or whether to choose the cutely decorated binder or the durable one…these are choices that we all have to make.   We traveled from aisle to aisle until all three boys were satisfied that they had crossed off every necessary item, and then came the adding in a special little item or two for those who still had some leftover money.

I was surprised by several things, and really pleased by many as well.  First of all, having a limited supply of money to spend really made the boys focus in on what was necessary, good quality, and what things were desirable, but not really needed.  And, at this time of year at Wal-Mart, they make many, many, many things priced so low that you are tempted to buy it just because it is so low.  I found that having the list made before-hand, as well as the knowledge that if they buy this extra item, they might not have enough for something else forced the boys to focus and turn their eyes away from most of the tempting deals.  Secondly, after the boys had gotten their necessities out of the way, they each found that they could go back and trade an item for one that was a little nicer, or add that item that they weren’t sure they could afford.   For example, Ambulance Man and Acorn Boy both chose the smaller pack of colored pencils at first, even though they really eyed the bigger box.  Well, they both found after adding up their purchases that they still had some left, so they were both able to upgrade to the larger box that they really wanted.  So, that was neat to see that good choices paid off for them.   And Action A also found that by wisely using his money that he could get the little stapler that he wanted (don’t ask me why they want a stapler, but he and Ambulance Man both thought that that would be really cool).

At the end, it nearly drove Action A crazy to know that he still had a dollar left, and he just couldn’t see anything to use it on.  We assured him that this was a good problem, having money left-over.  Ambulance Man actually had a dollar and some change too, but Little Acorn came within three cents of using his entire amount.

I can’t really emphasize enough how I was impressed that this little shopping experience did much more for the boys in the way of seeing the value of money than anything I could have told them.  When they hold the money in their hands and get to experience paying for their choices, plus seeing what’s left (or not), they start to internalize that money is not endless, that good choices pay off, and that they have the power to make a good decision.  And that experience brings satisfaction.

🙂  Happily learning!