Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Shorter Days...

...make for much longer, at times more difficult evenings. We finished dinner at 5:30 tonight, only to glance out the window into pitch black. Dark already. Dang! Now what? How on earth do we fill 3 hours every evening from here to spring, without losing my mind completely? Good question, one I'm still working on figuring out. Wow, how I long for the days I'd just send them all out into the yard to play after dinner, or we'd walk to the pool or park. Now the kids scatter to the basement, or bedrooms looking for things to fill their time, often forgetting that we're indoors now, and play needs to be a bit different. The logic of 3 and 4 year olds is quite simple...no trees? we'll climb bunk beds. No swings to jump out of? we'll bounce off furniture. No wind to carry our tune for miles? we'll just sing loudly through a paper towel tube...YES, VERY LOUDLY!
We're working on remembering our "inside voices" again. We're pulling out puzzles, and coloring books, and matchbox cars, and Lincoln Logs, and Rescue Heroes. We're putting music on to dance to...just to burn off a little energy. Tonight, I filled the tub with water just so Charlie could swim for awhile. It was better than big time wrestling, and the soap didn't hurt either. As the kids get a little older, they want to spread out more so there's some kind of busy going on in nearly every room. On one patrol through the house, I spotted Frank and Rose "traveling" in the top bunk of the boys room with luggage and stuffed animals packed up for their journey. Charlie was swimming in the bath tub while Grace, Mary and Lucy held a dance party in the basement. Alice and Emma were spread out on my bed with their noses tucked in some good books. And Sam & John sprawled out on the living room floor catching a few minutes of Cartoon Network before it was "tv off" time. (I prefer tv to be a last resort for something to do.)
I'm curious how you all are filling your evening hours. Are you settling in okay, or feeling a little cabin-feverish already? Hopefully soon, we'll all have our creative juices flowing as we come up with wonderful ways to entertain our little ones, and maintain some sense of sanity along the way. Certainly can't say there's no time for starting up a family rosary again, or any family prayer time, I 'spose. Or maybe the older kids and I need to revisit the art of letter-writing. Perhaps learn a new craft or hobby. Scrapbooking is something we could all do...
Any suggestions anyone??

14 comments:

Amy said...

I'm feeling your pain, we are also re-learning the fun of playing inside (with the TV off). Amazing how every year I'm surprised by how early it gets dark! One thing that has been a benefit, is adding arts and crafts items to the Christmas lists...I'm finding that we're going thru my supplies very quickly now! I think we'll add weekly library visits to the schedule too. If you hear strange sounds from across town, it is just me loosing my sanity for the night!!

Anonymous said...

earlier bed times! hehe. board games, baking, arts and crafts are always good!

Beth said...

Scrapbooking is fun to do. I had a goal to work on it with my older two girls to get "caught up." I figure they are old enough to do their own scrapbooks and might find it enjoyable to revisit their younger years (yes, I am VERY far behind in that department)! I had the idea to have them do a page from when they were younger and one current one and eventually we'd get caught up! However, not having anywhere to leave the scrapbooking stuff out so little hands don't get into it, can be frustrating and unproductive. Soon as we get started, we're needing the table for meals or having to scoot off to one practice or another, so we're packing things up over and over again! I dream of having a crafting/sewing room all to myself that I'd occassionaly share with the big kids! That probably won't happen for a long time, but a Mom can dream, can't she??? Good luck keeping your 10 busy...I have enough trouble keeping it at a dull roar around here with only 4!

Stacy said...

We try to get to the library at least one night a week this time of year. We also try to keep the TV off as much as we can too. Friday nights we alternate between movie night and game night. (Sometimes we may sneak in a quick game before the movie). We also do crafts, color (I color with them, it's more exciting for them when Mom's coloring too) or draw....the library has some good "How to Draw" books that the kids really enjoy. One night I will let them play the Wii or Playstation 2, but only for 1 hour! Sometimes we bake. Alot of the time my oldest daughter (5th grade) is just trying to get homework done. Crazy how much they come home with!

Stacy said...

BTW--speaking of scrapbooks, I am also soooo far behind on ours too! That is a goal that I have for myself to try to get caught up on. My oldest got a scrapbooking kit last year for Christmas and is now doing her own, which makes it a little easier and she loves to do it. I just need to get the other 2 caught up, only a few years (about 4-5) behind!

Anonymous said...

the YMCA is a great place for Basketball, air hockey, table tennis,swimming...plus all the other children to play with.. maybe an idea for a Xmas gift if your not a member...
library story times and movie night

make puzzels out of cardboard.. draw and color a picture..then cut it into shapes and have someone else work the puzzle...

wii is an excellent source of activity ..they have educational games and also sports games.. all good for motor skills.. and burning energy..bowling is our family favorite. we have tournaments , it can get pretty exciting...great exercise for everyone.. also teaches taking turns and teamwork

Shelli said...

The ultimate indoor games book. I saw this at the Bremen library and thought of you! Actually after supper is our super busy time. After school I tell them to get it out of their systems outside. On a good night we eat at 6, homework, showers and reading for the Book It pizza. Then I like them to tidy up and it's off to bed by 8 for the younger 2. 8:30 for the next and 9ish for the older one. Throw jr high sports and other sports in there and I'm ready for quiet at 9. We recently took to turning off the tv during the week M-TH. No TV, computer, video games for anyone in the house (mom and dad included). We're trying to spend more time reading and playing games as a family.

jamie said...

thanks for the great tips everyone! We've long considered a membership to the Y...just not certain about keeping all the little ones happy. Not sure they can stand/swim in the pool yet. It's been a few years since I've even been in there though, so maybe we should take another tour.
Shelli~LOVE the no tv rule...we max out at about 1/2-1 hour per evening which is still more than I'd like. I'm going to be looking for that games book you suggested...sounds like a must-have.

As for the scrapbooking comments...I had forgotten that it's impossible to notice sarcasm in the printed form...I bought myself a scrapbooking kit hmmm...15 years ago, and have yet to break the seal on the box. I have 10 pristine, un-marked baby books waiting for someone to mark on their pages. (That's why I blog!)
Anyhow. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that you all have it together, but I was really kinda joking about the scrapbooking thing...I'm with you Beth...I'd get too frustrated having to pack it up all the time, and there's never a shortage of small fingers grabbing for scissors and glue sticks...sounds like a nightmare.
Although, maybe, we ought to give it a try. Could be fun?!

Keep the ideas coming...I'm loving it!

Anonymous said...

Go to the local appliance store and get a big box. The biggest they offer. Go buy 2 packs of new washable markers. Cut a front door that swings open and 2 windows in it. Let them spend a night or two decorating their new play house. Then a night or two playing house in it. Then a night or two putting on plays from it. You will be amazed what the older children will come up with. After a week you drag out and burn it. One week of entertainment for under $5.

jamie said...

Yes!! Good memories of big box play in this house. It's amazing...by the end of the week one house/stage turns into several boats, gymnastic mats, and airplane wings! Now that's what I call real entertainment! Thanks for jogging that memory...I never thought to go ask for a box!!

Book Lover said...

Sounds like your kids are very
creative:) When mine were all litte, we used to have "campouts" in the living room building tents and roasting s'more's in the fireplace and tell stories. The big box is a great idea for putting on puppet shows. My kids made sock puppets and enjoyed many hours of putting on shows for their siblings.

Blessings
Kim Chrisman

Kathryn said...

Wow, lots of great tips for filling the evenings! I still think time is flying too fast, but that could be life with teens as well as toddlers *smile*!
Jamie, I wanted to let you know I added links to recipes, I still havn't got the wheat bread up but I will add it sometime before midnight! Thanks for the kind words and for visiting my blog!

Anonymous said...

On Weekdays - No screens (tv, computer, video games) at all unless they are window screens. We pick either Friday or Saturday for tv and the other day is for computer time. We even keep this schedule in the summer. Rare occasions we might do a mid-week movie night, but it is very rare and then it is an old classic like Swiss Family Robinson, but only after we have read the book.

We have a must read rule in our home. If there is a movie they want to see and it was a book first, we must read the book before we see the flick! We are on James and the Giant Peach right now (not my favorite)!

We love reading Saint stories and chapter books together, board games, we get boxes at Sam's or Costco to decorate and use for creative things. We love boxes! We also work on writing funny stories or knock knocks and we like making up and telling silly stories too!

Sometimes they just have to think of what to do and that can often be just some good old fashioned wrestling - they put a comforter on the floor and only 2 at a time on it for a bit of pushing and pulling fun! Even mom and dad get in on it!

Anonymous said...

The lastest "adventure" at our house has been a farm. We took a card table, covered with a red sheet for the barn. Regular table chairs next to each other create a maching shed and silos. We take turns being the animals, horses, cow, pigs and someone is the farmer. We use the toy tractors and wagons we have around the house. My kids can spend hours playing farm together, and it's GOOD for mommy's heart to see them playing together so well.