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nature hiking & creating

I’ve attempted to write this post for about a month now, so finally – here it is!

We’ve officially joined Wild + Free homeschooling group in Lakeland and went on our first nature hike with that crew! We had a blast. It was fun exploring the same park Blake and I used to hike when we dated ions ago.

Drawing, painting, sketching, inventing, creating… you can be these things are happening practically every day in the Scheidt home.

Adon’s idea of what the Alden children look like from the Boxcar Children books (he’s almost listened to 100 unabridged audio stories!)
We had a lot of fun painting items found in nature (Tristan’s – pictured here – is of poop. He very emphatically said he wanted to paint “poop”.) We also painted Valentine’s cards for our cousins and for daddy.
Adon wrote in his journal after Tristan threw his brand new football into the sewer. He was really upset but said he felt much better after drawing the experience and his feelings. ❤

a tea kettle filled with love

This week has been one of those off-weeks. Micah has regressed to waking up between 3- 4am for feeds and losing those couple of hours of sleep has severely heightened my brain fog. This has meant lots of apologizing for mom being impatient as well as more television watching than I’d like. As a recovering perfectionist, I’m learning that a messier home and occasional television can actually lead to mom extending more love and patience, which ultimately means a successful day. Which is my [our] main calling after all, right? I will say, however, it is a weird job -working at home. I’m the only employee… and also my own boss… and I can quickly turn against myself during performance reviews!

{Side note about the T.V., we’ve really enjoyed several episodes of ‘Little House on the Prairie’ this week. The stories of a family that work together to make ends meet, choose gratitude over complaining, and at value integrity over wealth has made for great conversations. Also, nostalgia… 🙂 }

We decided one day this week to do a back yard scavenger hunt, looking for items in nature. Anytime mom creates a game or scavenger hunt, Adon loves to then create one for mom to do. 🙂 (Did I mention when he grows up he wants to be a “job-maker”? This doesn’t mean creating jobs for the job-less, this means he makes his own job and is his own boss…) One of the items on the nature hunt was to find an animal or insects habitat. The above picture is the boys discovering together an ants home.

Occasionally Tristan wanders inside for some alone play. And sometimes momma sneaks to make sure the unsettling quiet isn’t due to mischief.

Of course, there’s always drawing! (we aren’t big fans of coloring books since they don’t work the muscle of imagination) Adon has been leading Tristan and I in an art activity after our breakfast devotion each morning and Tristan has surprising enjoyed participating. Usually it is drawings of spiritual battles and God conquering the enemy with His Sword of Love (or in one case, a “tea kettle” filled with love).

Almost every evening this week we’ve had a dinner picnic at the park. Like I said, it’s been a week of less energy so getting out as a family and not having to clean up dinner has been such a filler! The Florida skyline each evening on our way home has been a sight to behold…

kindness to animals, community, & imaginary play

Our Scheidt Family Way this week is “We love one another, treating others with kindness, gentleness and respect”. The best thing about rehearsing these values each morning is that when an opportunity arises to remember what’s good (usually when we’re being bad), these sayings come to mind. So when Tristan throws a toy car at Adon’s head in the bath and Adon retaliates by throwing one back, we can talk about our Scheidt Family Ways. The ‘Ways’ hold value in and of themselves that we see validated as we examine the meanings each morning through scripture. This is SO much more effective than mommy just constantly repeating the obligatory phrase, “Be nice!”. Plus, I swore I’d never be a nag.

I decided to expand the “kindness, gentleness, and respect” piece to our furry family member, Knox, after reading Charlotte Mason speak of children naturally being kind to animals, unless they were taught otherwise. Yikes… I realized Momma hasn’t been so nice to Knox for years! At some point I started having less compassion for his poop, puke, hair, and neediness after having children. This conviction led me to treating him with more respect this week and actually petting him some (haha). I was quite surprised to see how it only took about one day of doing this for my children to mimic my behavior! And then of course, the next poem in our Children’s Book of Virtues was titled, “Kindness to Animals”. Please forgive me, Knoxie.

Yesterday our friend Rae came over to play with the boys for a bit (while mom did some reading) and then fellowship with mom! She is loved by all.

Today the boys enjoyed playing outside all morning, which of course means the costume ottoman gets opened. Adon’s been engulfed in his new comic book Bible he was gifted from his Mina for Christmas, so he’s been drawing and acting out lots of stories from the Bible. Today he decided to be old man Abraham and sacrifice his son Isaac to prove his devotion. Luckily, he too found a ram caught in the bushes to sacrifice instead. 🙂

Ninja Bunny

Playing “I spy” using shapes instead of colors. (Also, Knox stealing Tristan’s rice cake)

Since we didn’t get to go on the homeschooling community hike with our friends today, we decided to head over to our favorite donut place in between Micah’s naps!

And ended the day with mom sneaking in a little latte date with a dear friend, Beth.

heartfelt friendship and decaf peppermint latte… great way to end the day.

bike strolls & nature strips

As I mentioned, we’re learning how to enjoy staying home more so that we can love Micah well by letting him sleep. He’s transitioned from 3 naps a day to 2, which is well and good, but also means he doesn’t sleep as easily on the go. Little strolls around the neighborhood are perfect ways for us to get out of the house in between naps and still feel like we’re partaking in some sort of adventure.

Today we decided to practice riding our bikes Mimi & Pop Pop gifted for Christmas! Of course there was much push-back from my 5-year-old that doesn’t enjoy new endeavors he hasn’t yet perfected, but we started the journey off with a Charlotte Mason mantra: “I am, I can, I ought, I will”… and inevitably ended with, “I did!”. It was even more encouraging to see how we could use our newly memorized virtuous poem, “Try, Try, Again“.

Aren’t they the cutest!?

We took a little walk down the road to a small creek that has a sign saying “DANGER: Snakes”, so naturally we call it Snake Creek. Of course we’ve wandered here dozens of times and have yet to see a snake, but one day we hope to… from a distance. 🙂 The neighborhood stroll is mostly passing houses on a long, shady road, so today we took our time to see what we could find “breathing” on the nature strip next to the road.

Of course dozens of Spanish Needles (bidens alba) lay, also known as Butterfly Needles, which I must include because we saw a lovely yellow butterfly fluttering about. We enjoyed the one single purple flower standing out among the rest.

Scheidt family walks are rarely concluded these days without the toddler sitting in the middle of the road, boycotting movement. Usually laughing. And usually finding a small pebble to put into his mouth, while laughing.

And every now and again, proof of mom & Micah.

21 days of prayer

Every new year our church does 21-days of fasting and prayer. This year, here’s what we’ll be giving up in the Scheidt abode:

  • Dad – evening television
  • Mom – complaining
  • Adon – saying the word “stupid” (no, he’s not allowed to say this word anyway)

We’re on day-3 and mom has {consciously} complained twice, and Adon has said stupid once (except for when he tattles on his younger brother for saying the word, which he says doesn’t count).

It’s fun to watch even little children grow in self-control and when they fail, seeing how they can do “no good apart from the Holy Spirit who helps them” and to ask Him for help. Same for mom and dad.

Countdown, made by Adon.

our favorite place

Our favorite place in the world, that we’ve visited at least twice a week for the last year, is Explorations V Children’s museum in downtown Lakeland. Although we might be coming out of that season of attending so frequently (now that Micah needs a consistent morning nap), we still try to visit our friends when we can.

Yesterday I enjoyed watching Adon put on a puppet show, while Tristan explored the instruments. Then Adon spontaneously created his own piano piece, while Tristan repeated the sound effects of fog horn and mooing cows. It was lovely.

One of the reason we love the museum so much is because we get to see our favorite museum staff, Miss Tia. She puts on the daily events and Tuesdays is our favorite, “Curious Kids” where we get to learn science and perform experiments.

Today we made snowflakes and watched how the water can cause the ink to spread. Tristan enjoyed learning what happens to ice when you add salt.

The Museum Director recently asked me to write up a blurb about how the museum has been such a gift to our family. Here’s what I sent her:

“I’m a mom of three boys and Exploration V Children’s Museum in Lakeland, Florida might be our favorite place on earth. The activities not only capture my boy’s attention every single time we go, but we know we’re entering a safe, warm environment where the workers greet us by name. On just a regular Tuesday in July, we were greeted by the staff running to open the door to get us out of the rain, snuggles were given to one child showing subtle signs of needing affection (while I was baby-wearing), the toddler that’s running away is quickly scooped up to safety, and even sweet tears are shed by staff when they meet my newborn for the first time. Yes, all this in just one visit! And so many other interactions like this on a regular basis that make it genuinely feel like our second home.

My husband first purchased a family membership because he thought it would be a fun, cool place for me to take the kids to avoid the Florida summer heat. I just never knew how life-saving it would end up to be! My youngest at the time had just started crawling and the new Tot Spot was absolutely perfect for him to play while my older son explored the first floor. When I became pregnant with our third child, three days a week I would endure wrestling matches to get diapers quickly changed, shoes on, and kids strapped in the car because I knew once we arrived at ECM my boys would be content playing for the next few hours and I could sit and relax my swollen feet. Once my third son arrived, I had planned on barricading myself at home for several weeks, as I usually did with a newborn, but it wasn’t long before we were back playing at the museum. The benefits of seeing the staff’s smiling faces, interacting with other moms, and seeing my boys thrive and learn through the activities and relationships they had built made my typical baby blues non-existent. It wasn’t just the happy ambiance of the museum that helped my mental state during newborn fog, but the people. Having a fun, safe environment to play where we were known was worth getting two busy boys and a newborn buckled into car seats three times a week… and I’m a natural home-body! 

My youngest son is now six months old and at least once a week my two year old yells from his crib, “Miss Tia!” when he wakes up because he can’t wait to see his favorite friend. We take our usual stroll to get mom a coffee at Black and Brew (where I get to say, “I’ll have the usual”) and then we head over to our favorite place on earth. I’ve been to lots of really fun, entertaining, social, and stimulating places in Lakeland for my kids to enjoy, but none compare to the constant learning and  genuine warmth found at Exploration V Children’s Museum.” 

…I meant every word. What a gift they have been!

daily routine

Here’s a look at what we do each day to keep our kids feeling secure with a predictable schedule, as well as creating order to thrive.

*I should note that you learn very quickly with children that your schedule will be perfect one week, and the next sickness, growth spurts, holidays, and a hoist of many other circumstances will cause you to hit the reset button and go back to the drawing board. I’m not flexible by nature, but I sure do love creating plans, so there’s that. 😉

5:30am – Micah wakes for a feeding

6am – Mom gets ready for the day, has coffee and quiet time (I read our churches corporate Bible Reading plan. Check it out here: https://www.growthjournalonline.com)

7:15am – Boy’s alarm turns green and it’s okay to wake!

We eat together, read our Scheidt Family Way of the week which includes a devotional…

This book is SO GOOD for families that want a simple format for daily developing Biblical character in their children.

Next, we talk about our Habit for the week, and pray. After breakfast the boys do their chores while I clean up:

  • Take dishes to the sink
  • Boy get dressed and brush teeth together
  • Adon makes the beds
  • Tristan feeds Knox
They enjoy singing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice while brushing. As you can see, sometimes Micah wakes up during chore time. 🙂

8am – Outside to play! [If we’re doing an outing, we’ll start to load the car]

9:30am – Tea time (+snacks) with poetry and/or hymn study

^^^This book is also gold! Thanks to my sis, Aunt Lee Lee, for the gift. Adon memorized this poem for the week and has said it many times throughout his day when he wants to quit on a project. Tristan has also memorized “Try, try again.” 🙂

After tea time, outside again we go! The boys can also do activities inside if they’d rather. But usually, I’m outside reading a book or nursing the baby so they choose to be where I am.

11:30am – Tidy up while mom prepares lunch

12pm – Eat lunch together. We may do another story or poem from the book if the boys ask.

12:30pm – Tristan down for a nap, usually Micah too.

During nap time, Adon and I will usually read from our current chapter book (right now it’s Laura Ingles Wilder’s, On the Banks of Plumb Creek. Then he’ll listen to the Boxcar Children audio book stories through the Hoopla library app. You’ll usually find him playing legos or drawing while he listens.

Here he’s listening to The Boxcar Children, Book #80 – ‘The Hockey Mystery’. On the edge of his seat anticipating who wins the game!

Usually during this time, mom will dinner prep, pay bills, or pick up a book if the first two needs are resolved. Sometimes, she’ll even sneak in a workout that Coach Blake has programmed :).

Although I usually dread it, my “why” for working out is the amazing mental health benefits, as well as strong arms, core, and back while I pick up toys & babies and play on the monkey bars with my monkeys.

2:30pm – Tristan wakes up and he’s usually quite grumpy (like his momma) after a nap so a snack is prepared and ready. Some sliced cucumbers and turkey jerky, coupled with fresh air is usually all it takes to lighten his mood.

3pm – Around this time we seem to need more structure so I’ve implemented afternoon chores (water plants, empty dishwasher, fold and put away clothes, pick up sticks, whatever it takes to keep them busy!).

4pm – Daddy’s home!!! Right now the boys love doing the “underdog swing” when dad gets home that was gifted from GG for Christmas. Or, of course, wrestle.

4:50pm – Pick up toys, wash up for dinner, and help set the table.

5pm – Supper time! This is a sacred time for our family. We enjoy all gathering around, no matter how chaotic it can be, to end the day together over a nutritious meal.

5:30ish – Bath time

6pm – Time for tea (CALM magnesium drink) and stories in the teepee with dad

6:30pm – Prayers and kisses, goodnight!

Blake and I are very strict about early bedtime because we know the value of sleep for their ever-developing brains, as well as mom and dad having uninterrupted alone time together before drifting off to sleep at 9pm.

Early to bed early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.

Benjamin Franklin