Who said Spring cleaning needs to wait for Spring?  This morning I was trying to tidy up my bedroom.  I was just planning on changing sheets and picking clothes off the floor and such.  I’ve been pestering Knut to put up curtain rods in there and I figured the room might as well look clean when they got up.

It kinda all snowballed from there because I haven’t put all of my maternity clothes away yet, but I have brought out some of my “regular” clothes and both sets of clothes do not fit in the dresser and closet, so I gutted the dresser, reorganized, and put away regular clothes, and then put away all of the maternity clothes that I have been washing and stashing in a corner of the room until I got to it.  But when I put away all of the maternity clothes from the corner and dresser, I realized there were some maternity things hanging in the closet too, and I might as well put everything away at the same time.

Well, then I realized the closet was a mess.  It’s long and narrow and you know what happens to odd storage spaces after a few months.  So I gutted that too, and discovered there was actually a floor and shelves in there.  Not only that but I found a few bags of clothes for me that a family at church gave to me that their teenage daughter didn’t want.  I was about 6 months pregnant with Solveig at the time they gave the bags to me so I couldn’t try them on.  I had just stashed the bags in my closet to go through later.

So I figured there was no time like the present, so I went through the bags and tried a bunch on.  I got a beautiful wool Norwegian sweater in there, some cute dresses that fit like a glove, some shirts, some super soft and cute sweatshirts.  All in all, it was a good shopping trip in my closet.  There is no shame in hand-me-downs…even as an adult.  In fact, it’s one of the coolest ways to get clothes that I’m aware of.  Well, I had to make room for all these fun “new” clothes so then I started going through my regular clothes and pulling things I haven’t worn in years to send to Goodwill.

So now that the closet is clean, the dresser is clean, I should actually clean the rest of the room like I was supposed to this morning.  However, Solveig just woke up from her morning nap, and the older kids need some direction for their lessons, so it may not actually get done this morning as I had hoped.  As off track as it got me for the day, I love the feeling of “Spring” cleaning!

Yes and Yes

 Richard?  No, my middle name is “Trouble.”
Adorable?  Yes.  Trouble?  Yes.
 In fact, I think adorable trouble is the most dangerous kind of trouble.
He finds it his mission to keep Mommy on her toes.  You know…someone has to do it.

Homeschool Friday

lI don’t know if the struggle I want to address today is related to homeschooling, or just parenting in general.  I’m sure all mothers, homeschooling ones or not, could relate.  With both Silje and David, I find myself constantly questioning, and constantly wondering how hard I should push them to do things.

For instance Silje has been working on memorizing a poem for a spring recital.  She was so excited at first, but now it’s becoming a chore.  She’s getting the lines confused and she skips big chunks.  Now when I tell her it’s time to work on her poem, she comes to me 30 seconds later, saying she’s done.  And she’s totally not done.

So I’ve started to set the timer for 15 minutes where she has to work on memorizing the thing.  It has become torture some days for her.  Part of me wonders if it’s worth the battle.  Part of me is sure it is.  Another part of me wonders if I am killing her love for poetry 15 minutes at a time.

You see, in our culture, we want our kids to want to learn.  We want them to enjoy every minute of it.  We think, and I’m sure there are studies to back it up, that when you enjoy something, you learn it better.  So the purpose is to make it fun.

We get the Wall Street Journal at our house, and recently I read an article that apparently has caused quite a debate among mothers.  It’s titled: “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior.”  To me, the article is one part inspiring, and one part downright disturbing.  The idea that the author is trying to convey is that learning doesn’t have to be fun.  In fact, the fun part often doesn’t come until the work has been done.  For instance, the piano.  Playing the piano really gets fun when you get good at it.  You don’t get good at it without practicing, and practicing isn’t always fun.  She says that Western mothers worry about their child’s psyche.  Chinese mothers don’t.  Chinese mothers expect their child to be great, and think that Western mothers are content with failure, if that’s what their child wants.  They think Western mothers don’t believe in their children enough.  I suppose one could ask what is considered success and what is considered failure.  That is often in the eyes of the beholder.

Even with Solveig, I find myself doubting how much to push.  Should I let her fuss a few minutes longer before picking her up, or will that make her feel scared and unloved?  Should I lay her down more often so that I can get a few more things done, or should I hold her because she won’t stay little for much longer and it’s good for “bonding.”  Apparently, Chinese mothers don’t worry about damaging their child, which might be both a blessing and a curse.

I struggle with knowing when I should push through the tears and the pleas and push them onto the greatness I know they are capable of, and when to shrug and say “they’ll get it in their own time.”  Seriously, I think this is a daily–no at least hourly battle within myself.  Each circumstance, each child, each age/stage is so different.  It’s so difficult to know when to dig my heels in, and when to stand back and watch their learning unfold. 

The verse: “Train up a child the way he should go…” is not as easy as I would wish.  One thing I do fear, is raising my kids to be quitters when things get tough.  To turn and run, and do something that’s easier.  Yes, I want them to love learning, and not hate their lessons.  However, I find that I have to assess the goal of teaching them.  Is the goal of teaching them at home to make it more fun?  While fun is a good thing, not evil, I don’t think it should be elevated as the goal.  Maybe it’s just a bonus.

I keep hoping, that when Silje gets up in front of people to recite this poem, she’ll do it without hiccup, and with much drama and enthusiasm.  I don’t think that can come until she puts in the sweat of memorizing each word.  I’m finding that the facts they are learning aren’t as important to me as learning how to learn.  Learning to study, and have a disciplined life.  That’s the way a child should go.  Or is that teaching them not to rely on the grace God has bestowed on us?  When is the time for law, and when is the time for gospel, and how do they mingle in a godly household?

I don’t think it’s a matter of homeschooling, but a matter of motherhood that you doubt nearly every choice you make for your children.  I wonder if motherhood was always like this, or did it just become that way when psychologists started writing parenting books and the number of choices that a mother has to make multiplied exponentially. 

If you get a chance to read the article by following the above link, I’d love to hear my reader’s thoughts on this controversial article too!


Our little girl is getting so big.
I wasn’t expecting her to wear this dress for another month or so.
She’s already a Daddy’s girl.  She doesn’t get undivided attention with him much until the older kids are in bed.  When Daddy is with her, though, the smiles and coos come in abundance.
  What a sweetie.