Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Wonderful Life

Three more sleeps to Christmas, yay!

I was watching the old black and white classic movie "It's a Wonderful Life" on Saturday night with Ron. If ever there was an encouraging movie this would have to be IT don't you think?

I don't want to spoil it for you if you haven't seen it. It's a little on the corny side but it was just what the doctor ordered for me last weekend! I highly recommend you watch it if you haven't already and you'll see why I love it so much.

You see, I was in much need of some encouragement. The last couple of weeks have been a little tough, just sorting out some issues of the soul:)
Leading up to Saturday I had been talking with a friend who was going through similar things and it helped me realise I was not alone. In fact, are we ever alone? NEVER but it seems like it when we're going through something!

Anyway I had recently connected up with an old friend on Fakebook, oh sorry I meant Facebook ( I have a love-hate relationship with that thing!) :)
I had met this girl some 18 years ago in very different circumstances to what she is today. God used me quite a bit in her life to encourage her and stand with her through some difficult circumstances. And today she is happily married with a child and her husband is in a very prominent position in the city they live in. I was so blessed to find this out. To think that I had some part to play in her journey was so encouraging. I was thinking of all of this last Saturday and then it turned out this movie I mentioned was on TV that night. It's one of our favourites so we just HAD to watch it.

It's amazing how perspective can change everything in life. That to me was what I got out of the movie last Saturday. Once George Bailey's perspective changed it didn't matter what he had to face, it changed everything for him.
I was in much need of some "perspective adjustment" and I got it last weekend through this movie.

My life is SO blessed. Sure I've had my ups and downs like everyone else and things are not always the way I would like them to be or wanted them to be at this stage of my life but when seen with the right perspective I wouldn't trade my life for anyone else's EVER! I have a very blessed life indeed! It's a wonderful life that I have!
With that note, I want to wish you my dear friends who read my blog (and have been a great blessing to me) a very blessed Christmas and I pray that God will encourage you and bless you very much in 2011!
And leave you with a recent picture of my two greatest blessings with me:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Wreath, Independent play and Patience

What's with the 'patience' you wonder?

First, I've got to tell you that Rebekah has not been doing much school (well not the book work-ish type of school) as she's been a bit under the weather with a bad cold, cough etc; she is on the mend now though and we MAY open up some books tomorrow and finish off school for 2010 this week, yay!

In the meantime, she's been reading poetry, listening to Christmas carols, doing some craft, listening to her story cd's I burnt from librivox, playing with our guinea pigs, watching ants, blackbirds, our palm trees flower and we even made this wreath inspired by Rebecca (not my Rebekah):)

Rebekah's didn't quite turn out as pretty as Rebecca's but still, it was pretty good for our first attempt I thought!

Homeschooling an only child
has it's challenges though I still take my hat off to homeschooling mums of many kids, I just don't know how you do it, honestly!

One of the biggest challenges for me has been Rebekah not playing independently much and me having to teach her. Yes, I said "teaching" because it had to be taught!
Rebekah was glued to me for the first three or so years of her life and around the age of 4 she very slowly started to play by herself. It was a very very slow process! I started by finding something for her to play with, putting the kitchen timer on for five minutes and telling her to go play by herself. Sounds cruel but I had to. I knew I had to teach her to play independently (with the security of having me around) or it wasn't going to happen.
I'd heard and read about all theories relating to why she wasn't, including too much tv (no didn't do that one) or that she needed to go to pre-school as it would help (no I didn't think that was the best option) etc.
I gradually increased the time with the kitchen timer to probably about 15 minutes. I believe this definitely helped (a bit).

Then somehow just this year, after she turned six, something changed in her and she has become so much more better at independent play. She will now spend two or so hours at a stretch just playing and keeping herself entertained.
I think learning to read may have contributed or may be it was just that at the time that reading clicked in her mind she might have reached some developmental stage where independent play also clicked in her brain and became easier as well. I am no expert but my feeling is that it was partly a developmental thing, partly that she had no other siblings, partly her just needing the security of her mum and partly her personality - she is not a very strong willed or independent child, quite the opposite in fact.

Now that you've read this far so patiently and indulged me by reading more stories about me and my daughter, here's the part about "patience":) I taught Rebekah how to play Solitaire yesterday and she is SO excited!
Being an only child, she has to play either with me or her imaginary friends. Yesterday while playing "go fish" with her imaginary friend she said it was so easy to cheat if she wanted to but she wasn't going to:)
After secretly smiling at her comment I remembered the card game Solitaire that I used to play when I was young except we called it "Patience". Did you ever play that under the same name or did you call it Solitaire?
I was amazed that something so simple as this card game could bring so much joy to my little one. Her face was beaming, her eyes lit up and she said she just LOVED it (once she got the hang of it!). I think the prospect of being able to play a game designed to be played alone is what excites her. I'm sure she must tire of putting on many hats and taking her imaginary friends turns when she plays her games with them.
So, here's to more independent play for my daughter.
Are there any other games you can suggest for an only child involving cards?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Most productive day???

I'd heard some years ago that a study on working people concluded that Tuesdays and Wednesdays were the most productive days in a week.
It makes sense - Mondays we are just getting into the working week and by Tuesday we've settled in, so Tuesdays and Wednesdays brings out the most productivity from us. By Thursday we're a bit more tired and then Friday everyone's too relaxed looking forward to the weekend so not as much work gets done:)
What do you all think?

Anyway, yesterday being Tuesday and me having such a productive day and feeling so satisfied and proud of ourselves, I thought I'll tell you all about it, but hesitated because some of you are already on holidays and probably don't want to hear about it!

You see we started off with play at the park for an hour or so (before the heat set in). (We've been doing that for the last couple of weeks, because have I mentioned before I almost live in a desert? yes it's HOT in summer and COLD in winter!) I can't believe I'm still living in Sydney. We moved to this suburb just over two years ago. It is SO different to the other suburbs I've lived in! Anyway back to what I was saying...

We then did all our school work (well Rebekah did and I taught and supervised), we did domestic chores - all the EXCITING vacuuming, cleaning, tending to our guinea pigs, washing etc.

We then had lunch and some more reading and singing. Yes, singing! Rebekah is just now learning the Christmas Carols, so we sat on the couch together and read from a book on Christmas and sang some of the carols together. It was such a precious time together! I will remember it for a long time as we've not done anything like this before!

Rebekah had her mandatory (!) two hours rest time while I did some reading, praying, emailing, working (my paid work that I do at home) etc. (while she only came out of her room a couple of times)!

Rebekah and I then had afternoon tea together - yes we've been getting into it here. Charlotte Mason had some wise words to say about having "tea time" with our kids!
And thanks Amy for that teacup from Ava's birthday last year, you'll be pleased to know Rebekah is putting it to full use!
I've been enjoying these afternoon teas together, lovely time to chat etc.

p.s. that tea in her cup is "rooibos" tea, lest you think I'm a terrible mum and give her caffeine at such a young age:) Mind you I DID drink real tea at her age but then again I grew up in a different country and different culture:)

Then we played a game of cards together (yes I'm her sole play mate so I have to do these things daily):) I'm not complaining, just saying...:) Then came bath time for Rebekah. After this I started preparing dinner while she watched her rationed 30 minutes of TV.

Then off to pick up Ron from the station, dinner, bed time for Rebekah around 7 and Ron rushed off to meet one of the guys he's mentoring from our church, while I did some home school admin work.
Ron got back a bit after 8 pm and we had a conference call via skype with our pastor and some of our church leaders (which we do regularly).

Cup of tea and chat with Ron and bed time!

You see, that's why I was feeling so satisfied. Our days don't always flow so smoothly and I don't always 'feel' like we've had a productive day (though they may be productive in different ways but I don't always 'feel' like it). Take today for example: you see, sometime overnight, Rebekah's sneezing from yesterday became much more than that and she (and I because of her waking me up) had a dreadful night's sleep:(

So, today we cancelled school, much to Rebekah's delight (she is not well) and I have been listening to the "Sound of Music" in the background which she's watching, while I catch up on some more home schooling administrative work and (tell you about it of course)! The 30 minute twice a day rule of TV goes out the window when she's sick!

All this record keeping of what she does for school takes up quite a bit of time and I'd been postponing it for some time, so I had to catch up!
Productive day today? Maybe? Actually YES, if you consider being a stay at home, home schooling mum's life productive, which I do!