Friday, July 22, 2016

When the Ordinary Becomes Extrordinary

Nothing special happened today, and yet today was a special day.

Beckett sat on his own for the first time for longer than 5 seconds, we had a play date with a sweet little girl who has the most amazing expressions, Beck had a wonderful time eating corn on the cob and broccoli for dinner, and we ended the day with a bath where Beck showed off his impressive kicks and swimming skills to Grandma.

My heart is so full.

So many wise mommas told me to treasure these ordinary days - warning me that they go by too fast, that our little ones grow up too quickly. I take this advice very seriously. Ever since I noticed how quickly my little one left the newborn stage and how fast toddlerhood is approaching, I started to take a few extra moments each night to treasure my sweet boy and the day we've just had.  And a magicial thing happened - I realized that nothing "special" had to happen to make a day sweet or memorable. I started to recognize that smiles and laughter really do make the world go round, and that a day that seems frustrating can be softened by some extra cuddles in the rocking chair.

And so, in a time where politics and violence make the future seem uncertain, I'm choosing to cherish the ordinary and appreciate the extrodinary gift I had been blessed with.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Summer Reading Highlights

Normally I'm not much of a non-fiction reader. I start off with good intentions, but will often get bored and walk away from a book half-way in. Brandon is the complete opposite and has been a good encourager in challenging me to dig a little deeper in the quality of books I read! That said, I've recently finished reading 2 excellent books that I had to share!

1. The Collapse of Parenting by Leonard Sax

In this book Sax, a physician and psychologist, examines the increase in obesity, anxiety, and depression in children and relates this decline in physical and psychological health to modern parenting. Sax argues that parents have become to passive in their parenting and are more afraid of what their kids think of them rather than how their children are behaving. Consequently, kids are being allowed to "call the shots", spend hours on their smart phones and playing video games, and rely on peers and figures in he media to substitute the guidance they aren't getting at home.

I loved how Sax gave concrete examples from his own interactions as a psychiatrist and how he gives practical advice as to how parents can respond to this problem. The book isn't written from a Christian perspective, but many of the parenting philosophies directly align with thoughts and conversations Brandon and I have had that stem from our beliefs. I could barley getting through a page without stopping to read something outloud to was one of those books that If I'd been highlighting important points or things I wanted to remember, the pages would be drowning in yellow!

2. The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way by Amanda Ripley

If this book did anything, it affirmed Brandon and my desire to homeschool. This is a fascinating read that examines the American education system and compares it to higher performing international programs. Ripley follows several American students whom study abroad for a year and compares their experiences while she reviews national education programs and why "smarter" kids are being produced abroad. I was particularly interigues because one of the students Ripley follows was from one of the local high schools here in MN (that is highly ranked). Some of the primary areas Ripley examines are the students' perspectives towards education, the training and recognition of teachers, the importance of being taught how to think rather than how to pass a class. 

So now I'm hooked :) Any non-fiction recommendations I should try out?