Unexpected and Unplanned Blessings

 

unexpected post pic

 

My baby turns 11 today!  How is that possible??  I don’t feel old enough to have my youngest child be that old!  And to put a different perspective on it- my youngest brother was 11 when my twins were born!  Crazy how time flies.  I had so many people tell me that when I was a young mom deep in the trenches of babies and toddlers, but I don’t think I really believed them?

Anyway, I’ve been spending the morning reflecting on the day Lindy came into our lives and what my expectations were for that day and for my life in general.  Looking back, I can see a little glimpse now of what God had planned…

So, to give you a background-

I’m a planner and I always had a plan for my life.  I was going to get married in my early 20’s and have my first baby by 25, pop out a few more over the next few years and have this lovely large family of blond, blue-eyed children.  Basically, I wanted to recreate the family my siblings and I had!  I come from a fairly large family (there were 5 of us kids) and everybody in the family (aunts and uncles) also has lots of kids, minimum 3.  I had 20+ cousins on both sides of my family!

Enter real life-

I got married at the ripe old age of 21 (I thought I was so old and mature!) and had the twins at 22 after a horrible pregnancy full of many medical issues.  Reece (my autistic son) had some physical challenges (low muscle tone), but after a year of physical therapy, he seemed fine.  So, when the twins were on the verge of 3 years old, we decided it was time for another.  I got pregnant right away and spent the next 8 months in virtual pregnancy hell.  I had worse complications than I had with the twins (complications with hyperemesis gravidarum) and I was more than happy to see that pregnancy come to an end!  So, on March 23 after 18 hours of pitocin induced labor and an emergency c-section, Lindy Sue came into the world!  And I tell ya, I should never question God or try to give Him orders because He knows what He is doing!  He gave us the exactly perfect child.  She was my saving grace!

You see, during my last trimester, Reece was showing signs of autism and over the weekend that I was in the hospital having Lindy, he completely flipped.  I came home to a blank-eyed boy who wouldn’t sleep, ran around stimming all day and who quit playing with his twin.  It was crazy and heart-breaking and depressing and horrible.  But, I had a little beautiful baby who rarely cried, was always happy, was completely easy going and who was my bright spot in a suddenly dark and confusing world.

Lindy grew up to be have strawberry blond hair (a total surprise inherited from her great-great-aunt!) and bright blue eyes.  She is her sister’s best friend and my baby girl.  She’s shy around others, but a total ham at home, full of one-liners, just like her dad.  She’s not what I had pictured all those years ago when I was telling God how things were going to be!  Nope, God taught me another lesson (He’s all too good at that!) and blessed me with kids that I needed, not the kids that I wanted.

So, on this day, March 23, 2017, I’m giving thanks to Him for the past 11 years with my littlest baby!

What are blessings has God given you that were completely unexpected? Does your family look like you pictured it would? 

 

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Why My Kids Don’t Have Chores

whymykidsdon'thavechores

 

Ok, so technically, we do have chores around our house and farm, but the farm jobs are the only ones we deem “chores.” I have never implemented the “chore chart” idea or assigned anything to anybody.  I’ve often pondered it and once bought an expensive magnet chore chart system at a homeschool convention, but after attempting it for a week, I gave up and a couple years later, I sold it.

Yet, my kids still help me around the house daily.

How do we do it?  Everything I’ve read maintains that assigned chores are the way to go and I’m one of the only moms I know who doesn’t “assign” their kids specific tasks for a specified amount of time.

There are two reasons:

  1.  I’m somewhat lazy and disorganized and I’m not a list fan.
  2.  My kids don’t want assigned chores.

Of course, you say.  What kids want assigned chores?

So, here’s the deal.  My kids are 14 and 11, so I’ve been doing the parenting gig for awhile and while I don’t pat myself on the back often for perceived parenting wins, I think I may have done something right way back in the day when they were toddlers and preschoolers of which I am now reaping the benefits.

Here’s what I did:

They constantly “helped” me around the house every day, all day.

And now, after a decade of it, it’s totally normal for my now big kids to help me when I need it, sometimes without asking (some things are just automatic) and sometimes with asking (but in a cheerful, non-nagging way).  We work together all day.  When we have our weekly deep cleans, they help- no complaining.  When we have meals (which is every day, 3 times a day), they help clean it up, do the dishes, and clean the kitchen- with me.  Sometimes we divide and conquer- “Elisa, you sweep the floor, while Lindy loads the dishwasher and I’m going to switch out laundry.”  It works beautifully.

I asked them a couple months ago if they would rather have assigned jobs or do they like our current non-system.  And you know what?  They liked the status quo.

I think our lack of chores fosters a better sense of actually working together as a family rather than each individual completing an individual job because that what the boss (me) assigned.  Yes, someday they will have jobs in the real world and that might be a scenario for them.  But they will also have families in real world and I think a family home should be a much different place than a work environment.

So, let your littles work with you everywhere in the house (I know it can often seem counterproductive at the time!).  That stage is so short in the grand scheme of things and before you know, you will be seeing the results of your hard work and patience.  Clearing the table isn’t such a chore when you all work together and you can talk and chat and laugh.

And that is why we don’t have “chores.”

 

What do you think?  Do you have a chore system? What is something you did when your kids were little that has benefited you and them now that they are older?

Feel free to share with your friends!