Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Boy and His Toad

Today was a beautiful day with warm breezes and lots of sunshine, so when FRitW asked if they could play in the 'Place for Boats' (as he asks each day) Dad and I finally said "Yes." In no time, MT and FRitW were dressed in their swim clothes and had the hose wide open filling the mud hole.

They had only been playing about 15 minutes before FRitW discovered a toad sharing the mud hole. Obviously spring is on its way! He has been waiting for the first toad for months and this mud hole has provided a plethora of toads over the years.

But this toad is special. He had the privilege of driving a motor boat. Not all toads get to be subjected to um, 'experience' a special moment like this. He seemed to enjoy being in the driver's seat much more than the bait compartment - which was where he rode at first (until Dad found out and suggested that the toad might need a bit more freedom).

Toad had a lovely day, but after 30 minutes or so of boating fun, Kirk took him to the backyard for a little peace and quiet.

This post is a submission to The Christian Home, a blog magazine produced by Mrs. White at The Legacy of Home. Have something to share? Read this article to find out how to submit your post to The Christian Home.


Friday, March 18, 2011

A New Porch

We firmly believe that children should learn to work. Maybe that is because both my husband and I worked as children. We each learned many valuable lessons from the chores and jobs that were required of us, and find that we are better adults as a result.

Sometimes our children do the work cheerfully, sometimes not – but they know how to do many household, yard, and home maintenance chores. In the course of life, our children have been a part of a huge building project - helping build our home from the ground up. They have been comfortable using real tools from a very young age. We’ve discovered that they find a source of pride in building something from scratch, especially if given free rein in the design and building of that project.

Particularly, we’ve noticed that Kirk enjoys instigating building projects, and is a master at including his siblings in such a way that they almost beg to be a part of his projects. His most recent project began on a Tuesday morning. The Saturday afternoon before, Kirk, with just a little help from Dad, had installed a storm door. The new door opened in such a way that the little boys couldn’t reach it from the front steps.

This was such a heavy load. At the store, I tried moving the cart a bit so I could get to the check-out counter and ugh! I could not move it an inch!!! (& I'm no wimp!)  

“Mom, we really need a front porch and I’ve been thinking…”  
That is the way many projects begin around here. He had a plan figured out. Once he had everything drawn, planned, listed, and measured, we headed to the home improvement store. I happily browsed the garden area and looked at bathtub ideas for our next bathroom project, while Kirk shopped and loaded up the necessary supplies for his porch. When he had the supplies gathered, I appeared to pay for the supplies, then disappeared to allow him to load his pickup and tie everything down.

Sometimes, as Moms, we forget that our young men are just that. I am really making an effort to trust his plans and allow him to handle all of the details. It will not be long before he will have to lead his own family in decisions and I’d like for him to have had some practice. So, I reappeared - with some plants and some compost - just in time to catch a ride home!

He unloaded and sorted all of his material and began the building process as soon as we arrived home. I was available for a soundboard and Dad is always just a phone call away. Kirk worked steadily through the afternoon, even with the light rain falling. I snapped a photo here and there and Maggie, FRitW, and MT helped as needed.

I just think MT is so cute wearing one of Kirk's shirts. He an FRitW think they are getting almost as big as Kirk because his shirts only come to their knees!! :) (What Kirk didn't tell them is that he outgrew these shirts a couple of years ago...)

I am proud of the way he has encountered problems, come up with solutions, talked them out, and chosen a pathway. This won’t be a perfect porch and may not last for 50 years, but what he learns from this project will last a lifetime! I am also thankful that he saw a need and filled it. I am excited to see the adult he is becoming!

No, I do NOT recommend bare feet during construction type work - or wearing your PJ's either - but that's Maggie for you...

I had a hard time getting a clear shot of FRitW - every picture of him is blurred because he is running. But here he is in his 'Kirk shirt". Did I mention how proud they were to get to wear his shirts?

---Note: If your teenager has a project he/she wants to complete – look for possibilities. Not everyone can allow their child to build a front porch. Consider finding something similar that will not require perfection or building permits. Allowing your child to try his wings at home will give him so much confidence!

Kirk is always building something. For other projects - big and small click here, here, and here, oh! - and here.

This post is a submission to The Christian Home, a blog magazine produced by Mrs. White at The Legacy of Home. Have something to share? Read this article to find out how to submit your post to The Christian Home.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Dad's Little Helper

Do you have a growing boy in your home? We do - actually, we have three of them, but one is significantly bigger than the others. In fact Kirk is now significantly taller and stronger than I am and sometimes his brain does not quite understand his new strength. This was the case one night recently when he turned off the cold water in the bathroom sink. The handle literally snapped off in his hand! (We've also lost the garlic press and an ice cream scoop to those hands... sigh.)

Thankfully, FRitW and Dad were there to save the day! FRitW received some tools for Christmas (thank you Papa & Mimi - they are frequently used!) and is always looking for an opportunity to use them. FRitW helped Dad get the sink out and Dad was surprised to find that his little helper actually had the strength to remove the fixtures. They worked together to remove and replace the faucet and handles.

Dad does not remember a time of not having a helper. But there have definitely been many times when the term 'helper' was, well, an honorary term. Many times over the years, hinderer would have been more appropriate! However, the time spent with his children is much more precious than perfection or the time saved by doing a job alone - and these children are learning valuable skills.

I've got to go now - Kirk needs to show me his plans for a new porch. Hmmm... wonder if that can count as a Woodworking credit?