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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Our Morning Routine (And How I Shifted Responsibility for my Kids to my Kids)

One of my favorite things about homeschooling is the way it has relaxed our mornings. I never have to wake the baby up to take the kids to school and there is no hurried packing of lunches or frantic searches for matching shoes. (I remember those mornings well from last year when we went to a traditional school 2 days a week...yes even 2 days a week stressed me out. I have a very low threshold for being stressed out by parenthood.)

Nowadays we don't actually HAVE to go anywhere in the morning, which is great, but early on in the year I discovered that by the time breakfast was over, I already felt behind on the day. The kids would run off to play and I was left staring at the kitchen mess. After straightening the kitchen I would go in search of the kids and pass three messy unmade beds along the way before finally locating the PJ clad  crew by the scent of either their not-so-fresh morning breath or not-so-fresh diaper. Yikes.

By the time I was done supervising basic hygiene I was worn out and irritated and not exactly the inspired teacher I had planned to be when I got out of bed that morning.

Y'all know I am all about the kids' taking responsibility for themselves, so I went on a mission to impose order on our morning routine. I wanted to distribute more responsibility onto the kids' shoulders and also free myself up to get ready for the day. (If I am still in PJs by 10am, I have been known to declare it "PJ DAY!" and turn on Magic School bus for two or three episodes hours. Fun for a day but supposedly not a great "long-term educational plan" for my four budding scholars.)

Over the past year we have finally fallen into a somewhat predictable morning routine that looks like this:
  • Mom wakes up, works out and/or has quiet time. 
    • This is paramount to my day. I do the Kayla Itsines BBG program 3 mornings a week and on those days, I have an abbreviated quiet time afterwards. On my off days, I still get up before the kids and stumble to my sacred space for Bible reading/prayer and some meditative time. I am not one who can wake up pleasantly to tiny humans demanding my attention. I wake up pleasantly to coffee and Jesus. If I slack off on the early wake-up call, I regret it by 8am. Not optional for me. 

  • The kids arrive in the kitchen for breakfast. 
    • Most mornings I offer them eggs or oatmeal, they counter with a demand for cereal and/or pancakes and we compromise on Eggos slathered with peanut butter. 

  • After breakfast the kids (and I) do our "High Five" tasks. 
    • This was a genius little idea I got from fellow blogger and friend, Sally. The kids have five tasks they have to complete before getting a high five from Mom. This combined with our chore chart have truly changed our mornings. What's on the list? 
      • Make your bed
      • Eat breakfast
      • Brush your teeth
      • Get dressed
      • Do your chore 
    • The kids actually LOVE this and it saves me from having to go over the same list of to-dos again and again. Once they get their high five, the kitchen has (somewhat) recovered from breakfast and we are all (mostly) ready to tackle the day. 
Our chore chart still looks like the one from this post. I simply looked around in the morning and picked 3 things I was tired of doing that I knew the kids could handle. For us, those are Feeding the Dog, Sweeping Under the Table and Emptying/Loading the Dishwasher. Once they tackle those things and I put up the breakfast fixings, the kitchen looks semi-clean. At least clean enough that I am not stressed out every time I pass by it until lunch.

I love that I am not hounding them with a list of things that need to be done and they are not making a new mess while I'm trying to clean up the one from breakfast. 

Now it's your turn: what does your morning routine look like? Have you found any little tricks that make it run more smoothly? (If so, share please. #thankssomuch) Would you say you dread the morning routine or do you embrace it?!

Friday, April 15, 2016

What I'm Loving Right Now (technology edition)

                                                                                                                            (photo credit: @wrivey)

Happy Friday friends! Hope you guys have a fun weekend planned. Our crew is packing up and heading to Athens tomorrow to see our beloved Bulldogs play their Spring scrimmage (and apparently also hear Ludicrous...what?!) I'm so excited for the kids to get a taste of Sanford Stadium and spend some time in my favorite city besides the one I live in. Today I'm sharing links to some of my very favorite things online right now. Enjoy!


Go follow @wrivey on Instagram: So funny I almost want to pack school lunches. #napkinisms

And also, do you follow me? You probably should. Lots of adorable videos of the kids and pictures of the messes they make over there. @leipprandt


A reminder to burn the fancy candle:  Use the Good Stuff

Coffee + Crumbs - a mommy blog where the writing is actually top-notch. Beautiful reading when you need to be reminded you are not alone.

I drink a lot of Kool-Aid in regards to choosing simplicity for our kids, so this was right up my alley: Simplifying Childhood May Protect Against Mental Health Issues 

Confirmation that creativity comes at a price: Creative People Say 'No'


Podcasts have been a lifesaver during the past 11 weeks that I have been doing the Kayla Itsines BBG plan. My current favorites?

Wire Talk with Karen Stubbs As Karen put it, "sometimes as moms all we need is one nugget to get us through the day." Lots of great nuggets in the first episode of Wire Talk - all about Mommy Guilt.

The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey. (duh.) So good I forgive the girl her lack of geographical knowledge, which drives me -just a little- nuts.


Annie Downs' latest book, Looking for Lovely. 

I read it through twice (because I was on her launch team and needed to be sure I really 'got' the book)... full of beautiful phrasing and poignant observations about the everyday beauty around us. I highly recommend it for young women and anyone going through a season they would describe as "broken crazy."


The kids? Animaniacs. And now they can sing, "we're Pinky and the Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain..." just the way I did as a 10 year old. #goals

Me and the man? Parenthood. We're in the middle of Season 2. Currently wondering if Sarah will ever get her life together and why Maddie dresses like such a weirdo. Your thoughts?

Alright your turn to play - what Instagrammers should I be following? Whose podcast do I need to listen to? What new books for my Kindle? Shows for the Netflix queue? Important things hang in the balance here y'all.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Dear Mama Who Secretly Thinks Motherhood is a Drag

Dear Mama,

I see you over there, nursing a baby while you dig around one-handed in your diaper bag searching for your toddler's sippy cup. It looks like your little boy needs you to take him to the potty too. I remember those days so well.

I was thinking about you this afternoon and wanted you to know it's okay if you're terrified that you're the wrong girl for this job. It's okay if it's taking you a while to find your groove with this whole motherhood thing.  It's alright if you've ever wished away the child you're holding. And it's okay if you don't wake up each morning excited about the prospect of preparing meals for ungrateful tiny people and changing diapers and being without adult company for most of the day.

Jesus himself wasn't exactly thrilled with his assignment of an excruciating death. (Luke 22:42)

If you're thinking dang, that got serious quickly then you're picking up what I'm putting down.

Motherhood is a serious business. It is not at all for the faint of heart. It is for fighters and endure-ers and for those who are willing to put their own agenda aside again and again and again. And again. Mothering a child comes at a price. And contrary to what some may say, it is the most unnatural thing in the world.

If you are weary of the monotonous cycle of napping and nursing or if you are bored by the perpetual nothingness of driving toy trucks on the floor and making PB&Js, please believe is coming to an end. Even though some days and some hours take whole eternities to pass, your kids will grow up.

And if you persist, if you refuse to give in to the feeling that motherhood itself is monotonous and boring and if you pay attention to your children when all you want to do is to check out and pay attention to yourself, you'll find a strange new you emerging.

And yes, she may have gray hair and wrinkles instead of a sexy flat stomach, but she is growing wiser by the day. She has learned that even in the absence of happiness one can find true joy.

Society implores you to pursue your own fame, to gain followers and collect likes, and yet there is a reason even those who don't consider Jesus their Lord admire him and those who followed in his footsteps (Ghandi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa to name a few). But those like him are the exception rather than the rule.

Like Jesus, you Mama, can trade a life chasing self-actualization for a life submitted to the needs of others. You can leave a legacy one small moment at a time. Just like the great pyramids are made up of millions of individual stones, your millions of unremarkable moments can add up to one very remarkable life.

So don't give up Mama. I know what you've traded for that stroller and minivan. And what you have chosen is absolutely worth the cost. One day you may even look up and realize that you're getting the hang of it.

*Dear Mama is a letter I wrote to myself, back when I couldn't imagine how I would survive having three kids all under age 3.*
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