I was going through my photos the other day and realized how many captured moments of our life have been missed as I blog the big events. It was time for another “catch up” recording of the little moments that make up the molecules of this beautiful life we are living.
Grace is a seminary graduate! In our church the high school students have the opportunity to participate in a daily scripture study course that takes place for an hour, before school each day. This is a huge commitment for the students that choose to participate, but also a magnificent blessing in the lives of these youth. Grace, Molly and Rusty were all seminary students this past year, and Grace completed her fourth and final year. We were attending her high school graduation on the weekend of her seminary graduation so we were unable to attend but she received her diploma and congratulatory poster after arriving back home. Congratulations, Grace! We are so proud of you!
Around here we have been anxiously engaged in preparing for Trek. Next week my three oldest kids will be joining other youth from our area on a three day adventure in Virginia. Dressed in pioneer clothing they will have the chance to experience the joys and hardships of our pioneer ancestors as they trek across the rolling hills of the Marriott Ranch, pulling handcarts. Grace had the opportunity to participate in Trek 4 years ago and can’t wait to go again. This time the three oldest kids get to share the experience.
In preparation for their days of hiking and handcart pulling, we have been conditioning with daily walks.
We have also been getting their pioneer clothing ready. The girls opted to sew their skirts and aprons and spent this last week completing their outfits. They can’t wait. It promises to be a life changing experience and a grand adventure!
In between appointments and extra therapy sessions we have managed to fit in some visits to the pool. We are members of Ellwood City pool and have begun packing a lunch and spending the afternoons there following our daily trek-prep walks on non-therapy/tutoring days.
It has been lovely to lay out in the sun, read a book, and swim in the pool…fully embracing the lazy days of summer.
A few nights ago we had an unexpected power outage, following a summer storm. Luckily it happened just as I finished dishing up dinner so we enjoyed a romantic supper and family game night by candlelight. The kids found it to be a fun adventure.
This summer’s primary focus has been on doing attachment and therapy work with both boys. Summer offers the perfect opportunity to really invest ourselves in a way that can be more challenging during the school year when schoolwork fills our schedules.
One way we have incorporated more intentional therapy efforts is through daily one on one sessions with the two little boys. We have always done weekly one on one sessions with the kids since my big kids were little. During their weekly one on one time they pick an activity they want to do with mom while the other kids play in their rooms. It has been a heart connecting and relationship strengthening tool that has greatly blessed me in my relationship with my kids.
With the three oldest I am still doing a weekly one hour date (like this one with Grace when we made chocolate dipped frozen bananas this week,)
But with the little boys we have started having shorter, daily one on one times. This comes from education we received at the Empowered to Connect conference this past spring. One of the three principles of Trust Based Relational Intervention is Connecting,
And one of the strategies for connecting in a very structured way is through daily 15 minute one on one time sessions with your child…a strategy I have been using this summer with Tyler and Ozzie. Much of what I was doing with the older kids was exactly what I needed to be doing with the boys, my engagement just needed to be tweaked a bit. Here are the guidelines (from TBRI principles) that I have been following as we have our daily one on one time.
- Start the time together by connecting. We do this through touch (taking their hands) and making eye contact.
- Use your voice to regulate them. If their energy is extra high use softer voice and slower cadence to bring down the energy level. If they are lethargic use a high energy voice to bring them up.
- Play together. This isn’t a time to instruct, teach, or question them. Just play.
- Copy or follow what they are doing. If you are painting together and they paint a tree, follow their lead and paint the same thing. This tells them that their ideas are worthwhile, building esteem and attachment.
- Praise their character. (Not what they do.) Tell them what a good kid they are, how much you love them, etc.
- Be close enough to touch. You want to sit in close enough proximity that you can reach out and pat their back or squeeze their arm as you praise them.
- At the end of your play time connect again with touch and eye contact. “Thanks for playing with me today. I love spending time with you!”
It has proven to be a powerful and effective tool to foster greater connection and stronger attachment between me and my boys.
During one of their “special times” this week each boy asked if we could print out pictures of sports cars from the computer and sketch/color our versions of them.
It was a lot of fun and it was neat to see them both so engaged in such creative pursuits.
Tyler even went one step further and asked me to print out a photo of him that he could cut out and glue into the drivers seat. The completed picture now hangs on his door. 🙂
Moments like these are my greatest blessings!