Monday, January 15, 2018

Winter Ways

It's 100% winter in every way these days.

Fall faded away too quickly but we had a great, chill Christmas full of our favorite people and activities .
There was only one week of December that was just way too busy for my liking.
A surgery, a check up, a school program, several Christmas parties, and our church's Christmas program all somehow landed in the same week.
I have no idea.

But it all settled down and it really was a great Christmas after that.

New Year's Eve, we stayed home, put the kids to bed a tad early, and had ourselves a little date night complete with takeout and chocolate cake.
That's how we party.

To literally top it all off, there's been snow on the ground since mid December.
Personally, I love snow.
It makes my eyes happy.
The house is brighter, the mood is slower and cozier, and everything is just renewed with every fresh dusting.
Don't go trying to convince me otherwise.
It won't work :)
I love it.

With all the snow and super cold temperatures, our schools have been put on two hour delays or completely cancelled a lot already.
I think Larissa has been to school exactly three times since they let out for Christmas break.

With so much time at home and limited time outside, we've got a need for a plan.
Budgeting our time so all of our needs for activity and chill time are balanced helps us all SO much.
So here's my very flexible, balanced plan for our winter, stay-at-home days...

8:30- everyone up, eat breakfast
9:00- Malachi play, girls- play dough, Mom- coffee, news
10:00- Girls- short cartoon, Mom- get dressed, tidy up
10:30- Kids play in rooms (maybe go on a snow walk or run errands)
12:00- pick up toys, lunch, read, maybe a cartoon if there's time
1:00- naps
3:00- up, snack
4:00- bath (incredibly entertaining and great for cold days)
4:30- play in bedrooms till Dad gets home
5:00- Dad home, Mom start dinner
6:00- Dinner, pick up all the toys
7:00- Bed for Malachi, movie for the rest of us.

I've set up the kids rooms so they can be as free as possible to do anything they want in there: jump on beds, have as much floor space as possible, have access to all toys for play and pick up, pull out tents, color at their little table, a couple gross motor play toys....

Lots of options that help them stay engaged and give me plenty of time and space to do want I need and want through these cooped up days.

A happy, active, rested mom is just as important to maintaining peace at home as happy, active, rested kids.

We've all got a lot of freedom at home to do what we like to do.
This little, loosely used routine helps us have that.
If things start feeling crazy I can glance at what's next and get us there by moving activities up or back.
Whatever helps.

I mentioned winter walks in the line up.
I've found that at my kids' ages,  full on wallowing/playing in the snow leaves them cold, wet, and cranky within (literally) seconds of finally getting outside.
If it's too much much work for not enough return, we might never go outside.
That's just not an option.

We already like walking together when its warm so now we do winter walks too.
I wear Malachi on me under a coat I borrow from Adam and the girls wear snow boots, coats, and gloves.
I warn the girls not to roll in the snow or get all wet.
As long as they can stay somewhat dry, we're able to burn a good chunk of time and energy out in the beautiful, frosty, white world.

This is a life saver to all of us as the walls begin to move in and we just want to be outside without being immediately miserable!

This is my fourth winter staying at home with my kids and so far it's the best.
I don't feel trapped or at a loss of what to do or overwhelmed constantly.
Figuring out what works for us and praying for wisdom has just made it a good time.
Sure we all whine and grumble and need space but it's just become more balanced with good times and laughs and tolerance for each other's ways.

That's pretty much what living in a family is all about, right? :)

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