Dear Santa,

I have been very good this year. & I hope your reindeer like the carrots I leave out! What I would like this year is some red plastic for my PW80, I also hope you have a pair of dirt bike goggles up there too. & I would also like a decent joke book with classic jokes instead of the lame ones that joke-books come with now. & I would also care for an iPad. I will not set out soy milk for you because I know that you don’t like soy milk. The cookies will be your all-time favorite, chocolate chip.

from,

Ben

The boys showed me their Letters to Santa yesterday morning, and I nearly cried with how sweet they were. Ben was so polite, and had such nice manners in his letter. I love the art of letter-writing, and am delighted that at 8-years old, he is learning such pleasantries.

Bean’s letter was much more succinct. He’s only just turned five, and he knows his letters, but hasn’t started reading or writing yet, except his name. His simply had his name and a few circles. He explained that one of the circles was him, and the rest show a thought bubble because he knows Santa will understand what it is he wants.

All he really wants is a BB Gun, so we suggested he write in the BB and I added the Gun. Against all my better judgement.

Living the lifestyle we do, out here in the country, I know several other families who are teaching gun safety and marksmanship from such a young age. He will be taught from the very beginning to put his gun in the gun safe and will only be able to use it with adult supervision. Scott already knows which one he wants to get him, and I think Bean’s mind will be completely blown with delight.

There are lots of things I think I do fairly well as a parent, encourage creativity and imagination being probably top of the list. Being wildly organized and instilling a sense of nit-picking order? Not so much.

The boys room has been left to their own devices for far too long. They pick it up before bed every night, but I don’t enforce putting everything away where it goes, because that room hasn’t really been terribly organized yet. Not everything has an exact place. Everything just gets put away magically, and no one’s the wiser.

Well, yesterday was a rather cold, wet morning, and Scott was running errands, so we weren’t in the midst of any major farm extension or fence building projects, so the boys and I cleaned their room.

At my office, we’ve recently been doing some Personality Tests and working with motivation styles for the different personalities. It turns out I’m the type of person who has a hard time getting motivated to just do work, just for the sake of working. It’s so true! My personality type needs to turn things into a game in order to accomplish tasks. Bingo! I guess I’ve always known that. My mother couldn’t get me to clean my room when I was little unless she gave me an apron and suggested I pretend to be Mary Poppins. But being reminded of it gave me a spark of genius to get the boys room organized on a wet day.

We are more and more drawn to looking at the seasons as specific things to celebrate and we plan our events and special dinners marking passages of time around Solstices and Equinoxes. They mark very important events in the life of planting, and gathering. For instance, the Winter Solstice marks the very shortest day of the year, the day that is the longest dark. From that point on, the days start getting longer, the sun starts to shine a little bit more and more, and we can look forward to getting out of the cold gloom of winter. By Spring Equinox, it’s half day and half night, moving toward those luscious longer sunny evenings of Summer.

Why not have the changes of the seasons also be times to bring in new toys, clean out old toys, and switch things up a bit? We got four big empty boxes out of the storage room and marked them Spring, Summer, Winter and Fall. We completely emptied the kids room of all their toys. Once everything was in the living room, we started sorting things. We sorted out lots of the little things that would stay inside year-round: the legos, matchbox cars, hero & villain characters, and play animals. Those all fit nicely in little bins in a cupboard.

The bigger toys, we separated into the seasonal boxes. We thought about what sorts of things we might like to do when. Like baseball mitts went into the summer box. That box was the smallest and had the least amount of things in it, because by that time of year, we are playing outdoors until it’s dark and bedtime. It’s the seasons when we have to be inside longer, that we need a better variety of activities.

It was surprising how well both boys stuck with me and the task at hand until we had every surface cleaned, vacuumed, and everything sorted and put neatly back into their room. At one point, Ben and I were sitting in the middle of the living room literally surrounded by various sizes of boxes and bins, tossing toys into this one and that one. He was laughing and saying, “It’s fun to sit in the middle of a giant mess and toss toys!”

It was! And it was super fun to get everything back into their room and make lunch and send them out to ride mini-bikes, and spend another 15 minutes carting all sorts of boxes out to the storage room. How on earth we had all that in there in the first place is a wonder. But as they were playing in their much reduced and spruced up space, it was cute to see Bean playing with a toy and then running over to put it exactly where it now belongs.

It feels like I’m admitting a huge character flaw here, like why wasn’t my children’s room all spic and span to begin with? And I remind myself that we moved here two years ago. It took us 10 trips from California to get all our stuff here. We moved our family and our business, but we knew we weren’t going to be able to start our business right away, we’d need time to get it set up, so I went to work, and started working full time the day after we got here. We weren’t even moved into our own little house before I started. We were at Grandma and Grandpa’s for a couple of days. And I’ve been working ever since.

Then we added farm animals and a giant garden. So, we are happy to be plodding along, getting things organized as we can get to them, and letting our kids roam wild and free in the great outdoors more often than not.

Today, we will decorate the big climbing tree outside, and bring in some decorations for the inside of the house. We are officially ready for Santa.

 

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