Our life here in Alaska is a quiet one, by choice, but I'm always working on ways that we can improve our family life. We can often get sucked into watching a ton of television or being plugged in to electronics and that in turn makes us less PRESENT in the life we are living.
I wrote a post in January "Losing the Busyness" and since then have been implementing even more simplicity into our life. The book I linked at the end of the post is must read, in my humble opinion. I've spent some enjoyable time ruminating on the experiences conveyed in "Just Too Busy: Taking your family on a Radical Sabbatical" by Joanne Craft.
This book is an excellent one, with many ideas to simplify and get off of the "runaway train" that can be our American lifestyle. While my family's routine (or lack thereof) is pretty radical compared to the average American, there is still much that can be improved upon.
Stopping the busyness gives us time to really LISTEN to the kids. Their interests and passions and ideas are so fascinating and so very important. When each day is busy there is no time to give their thoughts room to breathe and come to the surface. When we run with this rat-race, we lose out and so do our kids.
Soon this young man's feet will be bigger than his Daddy's and his desire to be as close as possible to us will be gone. We are treasuring these moments
One of the things we've started doing recently is taking tea with the kids in the evenings before bed. Each child seems to be loving the new tradition and the 3 oldest kiddos can pretty much handle the whole tea making process themselves, from filling the teapot to adding milk and sweetener to each cup.
They line them up while the tea steeps. I wouldn't call what we do "high tea" or "low tea". We do not serve it with dignity, like this beautiful post describes, but it is served with love.
Elsa and I like English Breakfast or Irish Breakfast tea (my new favorite) with a little stevia and milk. Dave and the 2 older boys prefer Peppermint tea with a little stevia for the boys.
Ephraim and Lydia have water or milk, but they still enjoy the time
I wish I could say that I drink it all proper-like, reminiscent of Downton Abbey, but I don't. I use my monster coffee cup because that's just the way I roll.
It's been so fun watching them prepare the tea and serve us. We don't always sit together and drink, but it's still a time of calm and peace in preparation for bedtime.
Elsa and I will often sit and read magazines together while we sip.
A recent blog post by January at Birth Without Fear really hit home with me and reinforced the need to be present HERE AND NOW. Each day is a gift and you cannot go back and regain that time with your children and spouse.
My desire for this year is to be intentional with my children and focus on being present...just existing and surviving is not enough.