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…

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!