I wasn’t planning on taking a week break from blogging, but it looks like I have! We got to spend 5 weeks of time at home over the holidays this year and the time is about to come to a close. The last week we have been trying to squeeze in as much time with others as we can, while still getting Abby’s school done and getting packed up.
You never know what to expect on trips home with the kids, especially around the holiday times. It is really exciting for them, and with good reason. But I have to say I was really pleasantly surprised with their behavior over our trip and the holiday season. Even with seeing so many people, having a fuss made about them, receiving more gifts than necessary, and being out of our normal rhythm, God granted some grace in their hearts. Here are a few things that helped me along the way.
1. Preparation. I know I have said it a thousand times, but I feel like so often my kids’ failures are due to my lack of preparation for them. They often don’t know what is coming and a little preview can be a big help. And not only to tell them what we are going to be doing, but what I expect of them as well. When the expectations are kept clear, it is much easier to deal with discipline.
2. Stick with family time. Although I did not as well as I would have liked at this, one thing we did do semi-consistently while at home was to still continue doing our family worship time. This is definitely an area where Joe is the leader, so it was tougher for me, but it was huge to remind ourselves each day what the reason for our day was (consequently, keeping a private time with the Lord myself was huge too!).
3. Roll with the punches. It was a holiday break and so there were bound to be extra activities, later bed times and less of a routine. If you go in knowing that and are flexible with some things, it makes things a lot easier!
4. Take time to rest. One habit from Italy that I didn’t leave behind was the afternoon siesta. Even though I am was in the second trimester during our break (weeks 18-23), I still needed a mid-day refresher on a lot of days. Slowing down occasionally was big for me. And nap times were not missed too often for the kids either.
5. Say “no” when needed. At some point, you have to say “no” to good activities. You can’t do every single thing while home or you will end up exhausted, and so will the kids. I can tell when the kids are getting to the end of their “activity threshold”. To be able to discern that and to then take some time at home to re-group kept the weeks at home enjoyable.
Hope everyone is off to a great start to the new year and hopefully I will get back to some regular blogging once we are settled back in Brindisi!