This has been quite a week! The girls have gotten very little naptime sleep due to realtors coming at awkward times or with little notice. We’ve spent lots of time in the car driving by the river, or to a park until we can return home. I’ve been thankful that we’re "tidiers" by nature, so it’s not usually any problem to instantly tidy the home. But there is quite a sprint involved in running through a 3300 square foot house (SO thankful to be downsizing), turning on all the lights, making sure toilets are flushed (I do have toddlers!), then getting four toddlers to the car or stroller for those last minute showings. I will be very happy when we receive a solid offer, so my little ones can go back to sleeping at their normal times. Thankfully our open house on Sunday seemed to be quite successful – there were fifteen couples who toured the home, and a few of them seem very interested. There have also been quite a few showings this week. I have challenged myself to read and pray through Philippians 4:4-9 every day (to help me learn not to be anxious about selling this house):
"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. "
God has truly been faithful to His word. I have felt very peaceful throughout this process, though I realize it is still the beginning of it. On days like today when it is a bit more stressful to our daily life, I pray God is teaching me patience, trust in Him, and joyful flexibility in my daily plans. And I am thankful that although naps seem to be often interrupted, the girls have been total troopers and easily gone with the flow (especially Hannah, who’s been so cheerful in the midst of a cold!)
We have been able to have pretty consistent school times as well, even in the midst of realtor showings. We have a great new set up that’s working really well for us: two blankets on the floor with a "preschool" toy and book on each, one stepstool/mini art table with a little chair for Isabelle to draw and write while I read, one couch, one mommy to snuggle, one stack of books, one cup of cocoa-coffee for mommy – ah, what could be better??? It’s been a very good way to get back into the discipline of set apart reading/school times – the little ones are relearning to stay within a boundary and play quietly, but still have the freedom to change toys and choose between snuggling and playing. This is particularly helpful for Naomi, as she’s usually much more content playing quietly while I read than sitting and looking at the book.
This is kind of a change of subject, but it is amazing to me how much little ones learn as they grow. I’ve become more and more convinced of how effective "informal" schooling is – meaning Isabelle seems to learn so much each day that I’m not trying to teach her! I slowed down quite a bit with teaching her to read, as I just felt she’d "officially" learned as much as she was ready for, and I wanted to wait till she was older to do more. She could read three letter, short-vowel words and was getting more coordinated with tracing my dot letters. We pretty much left it at that and took a break from practicing these things over the last couple of months. Since I was trying to get through my first trimester, we had much less "school" time, and spent it all just reading aloud. While we rarely reviewed the more formal phongrams I had taught her, she’s just amazed me lately! She found her penny primer the other day and effortlessly read to me some of the four letter words which had so stumped her before: last, salt, etc. She’s been reading her little Bob books to me and her sisters and is often able to sound out words much more quickly than before. Many words such as "the" seem to have become sight words for her. And her writing is amazing me as well. She can actually do (and loves to do) copywork now. I wrote down two sentences for her today, and she was just as happy as I was at how well she copied them. She loves to write anything I suggest to her. I usually suggest words I know she can sound out on her own (the dog has a hat, etc), and she does wonderfully with those. But she has also been writing (and trying to write) so much on her own. It’s very cute and always brings a smile to my face. She’s brought me papers which read (and had to be translated by her in order to make sense): "God is gd" – God is good; "tef" – teeth; "dade" – daddy, "pone" – pony and many more. I get so excited each time she brings these to me, and then of course she gets equally excited. We save them all for daddy, and send them to the grandmas. It is such a delight to me to watch her learn! I am truly thankful that it is me and Matt, as her parents, who have the joy of watching her blossom each day as she understands more and more. I can’t even imagine if some daycare or preschool worker had to tell me these things. There is so much I would miss if we were not the ones teaching her, especially at this young age! What a gift it is to school our children at home. What a reminder of the blessing they are to us! What a delight to know they want to show us more than anyone else. And all this at the very beginning of the journey . . .