A Weekend in pictures – 26th/27th March 2016

This weekend we celebrate Easter – Holy Saturday is the last day of Lent and the day of big silence. On Good Friday Jesus died on the cross, on Easter Sunday he rose from the dead – Holy Saturday is the day of the big silence when Jesus is mourned in his tomb.

In our family we prepare Easter on Holy Saturday. We love to plant dye our Easter eggs, this year we used onion skin, amber and indian redwood.

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In our family we love to plant dye not just because it’s eco-friendly and healthy, it’s exciting and a lot of fun. And it’s a great learning experience.

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Our kids love to create their own learning environments…

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… they love jigsaws and screws and preparing dinner…

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…this year we had beef rolls.

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On Easter Sunday we prepared a real feast day breakfast with our paschal candle…

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…and home-made buns…

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…and our plant dyed Easter eggs!

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For lunch we had our home-made beef rolls.

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We decorated our season corner with our hand-painted Easter eggs…

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…here are two more examples.

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How do you celebrate Easter in your family?

Need-oriented parenting – a Catholic Approach

and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

~ Matthew 18:3

There is a lot you can read about need-oriented or Attachment Parenting in the media or on the internet – but one question you will hardly find to be answered:

Is there any Catholic Approach to those need-oriented ideas?

A few websites do offer a Catholic Attachment Parenting Approach, e.g. the Catholic Attachment Parenting Corner, Intentional Catholic Parenting or Simply Charlotte Mason. Mostly Attachment Parenting is a secular philosophy of education, though.

How so?

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Attachment Parenting is all about freedom, need-orientation, respect and about being loving, caring and understanding with each other as a family. Somehow, these ideas seem to be more popular in secular circles – maybe because they can be considered very liberal.

But let’s see, does Attachment Parenting require a secular and/or liberal worldview?

Not really. There is nothing wrong with living social-conservative Catholic values – it’s just an unconventional Approach: You don’t teach your values by indoctrination, you simply live by them. So you’re creating kind of an observational learning experience for your child.

Besides, freedom, need-orientation, respect and being loving, caring and understanding with each other are Catholic values, too, right?

Let’s talk about the Bible verse quoted above: Jesus tells us we should become like children in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. He truly appreciates children! So how could we not treat children according to those beautiful Attachment Parenting ideas as we strive for loving our children just as much as Jesus does?

A Weekend in Pictures – 19th/20th March 2016

This weekend we celebrate Palm Sunday. We remember Jesus coming to Jerusalem and the beginning of the Holy Week. Lent will be over in just a few days and we are really looking forward to Easter, which we will celebrate from next Sunday until Pentecost.

 

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For this last Sunday in Lent we decorated our dining table …

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… and prepared some home-made waffles.

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Spring is coming now…

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… which we enjoy a lot! Check out these beautiful blossoms!

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Our children love to create their own learning environments. Trying different tools is a great thing to do …

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… repairing the dishwasher is also a lot of fun …

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… let alone doing jigsaws!

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At the end of the day – or weekend – even the busiest child needs to take a break, though.

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What do children really need?

Preparing for the birth of a new baby is a great thing to do – but sometimes you kind of get distracted by all the “needs” you will probably have to meet.

How many playsuits does your baby need? Will you be in need of a baby stroller or will a baby sling do? Will there have to be a nursery or will your baby sleep with you?

What does your baby really need?

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After all there is really one thing that your child will need: You. And that’s basically it. Your child needs you and your sensitivity. It s in need of your love and care. Combined with all the basic needs such as being fed when the baby is hungry, being rocked to sleep when the baby is tired, being comforted when the baby isn’t well, being held warm and dry, being cuddled that’s all there is to it.

Your baby doesn’t care about the color of his playsuits. Your child doesn’t care if his playsuits are all new or if they were pre-owned by another baby. Your baby doesn’t care too much about toys, baby strollers, a beautiful nursery and all the equipment you are made to believe a baby needs. However, your baby deeply cares about you!

So don’t get lost in details, don’t invest too much in “baby equipment” – try investing in yourself as a (becoming) parent, in inner growth, in your relationship with God and in your relationship with your child. That will do!

A Weekend in Pictures – March 12th/13th 2016

This weekend we want to kind of create a new tradition on our blog: We want to share our “weekend in pictures” with you!

So let’s get started:

In our home we have a “season corner”, that we love to decorate according to the rotation of the seasons outside in nature. This weekend we decorated our season corner a little more springlike:

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We also gave our dining table a new spring-like attire:

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In our family we love to bake:

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This weekend we made plum tart and bread:

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But at the end of the day our home looks just like any other home with little ones:

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How was your weekend?

Why we’re treating our children respectfully

Somehow that sounds like a platitude: Treating children with respect should be the most natural thing you do. But what does that actually mean – to treat a child respectfully?

Just consider the following situations:

“Oh please, give Grandma a kiss!”

“A little teasing is just fun, right?”

“Don’t make such a fuss about that, it’s not that bad after all!”

“You’re such a cute little doll!”

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Would you consider that respectful? Would you feel treated respectfully if someone talked to you like that? However, that sure is the key question. What would you define as respectful?

I would consider the Golden Rule as a pretty good definition of respect. We can find the Golden Rule in Tobit 4:15, Matthew 7:12 and Leviticus 19:18. But I prefer the Golden Rule as it is written in Luke 6:31:

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

~ Luke 6:31

So, do you like to be teased? How do you feel about kissing random persons who consider you cute? Do you feel appreciated, when your thoughts and worries are not taken seriously? How would it make you feel when you’re called “a doll”?

Yes, treating a child requires a lot of thinking and pondering, it can be hard, it needs tons of patience and good will and willingness to personal development – but as a matter of fact not treating a child respectfully is really not an option!

God trusts us with our children as we can see in Psalms 127:3:

Certainly sons are a gift from the Lord,
    the fruit of the womb, a reward.

~ Psalms 127:3

So we should treat children as the gift they are, we should treat them the way we want to be treated, we should treat as the little persons they are – not as cute little toys.

Two under two – Structuring the day

There are two things that you really need as parents of two kids under two: Structure and flexibility. That may sound contradictory, but actually it’s not. You need enough structure to get everything (or more likely: most things) done and enough flexibility to react to your children’s needs right away no matter what you’re doing.

Both things can get you through the day and both things can make life a lot easier.

So how does our family do it, how does Mom structure the day with enough flexibility to meet the children’s needs?

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Mom actually divides her day into two major parts – before naptime and after naptime. There are so many chores that need to be done and Mom distinguishes between before-naptime-chores and after-naptime-chores and she makes herself promise that she will only do as much as possible and to leave everything else half-done or even  undone. This seems to be a continuing learning process: Leaving things undone in order to not get bogged down with details.

So Mom found out she is able to neaten the kitchen, the bathroom and the bedroom before naptime. She does laundry right before she puts the toddler to bed for her nap. Then she has a little time to herself – that is: if the baby takes a nap, too…

After naptime Mom and the toddler have lunch, hang out the laundry, neaten the living room, go out for a walk or to the playground and do a lot of other neat things.

That sounds to easy to be true? Well, you’re right. Remember the part about leaving things undone? That is actually a huge part of everyday life with two kids under two…

But you know what? You can’t turn back time, so why don’t you go for moments that are worth remembering? Children grow up so quickly, so at the end of the day  what do you want to think of? Your neat and clean home or the fantastic afternoon on the playground with your little ones?