Our Family's Activities
This may be a good time to tell more about our family. Sadie is twelve -- she is the oldest. She has been in ballet classes from the time she was three and has performed in the Nutcracker Ballet in Boise for the last four years. She has been in Girl Scouts for four years (she uses our computer for telemarketing cookies), has taken piano lessons for three years, plays soccer and softball, and participates in church activities. Sadie has an interest in drama, and has had speaking and singing roles in local community and college productions of "Ali Baba," "Oklahoma," "Hansel and Gretel," "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat," "Our Town" (Rebecca Gibbs) and most recently in "Winnie the Pooh" (Christopher Robin). She enjoys working with clay at a local art studio and reading diary-type fiction of different time periods. Emma is eight and also has an interest in drama and ballet. She too has been in many of the same productions and played Wally Webb in "Our Town." Emma is an aggressive goalie in soccer, excels on the violin, and participates yearly in a regional Suzuki Strings Institute. She is also a Girl Scout, enjoys reading mysteries and taking animal drawing art classes. Our youngest, Hannah, age 6, enjoys ballet (all three were in the "Nutcracker" this past Christmas). Hannah is talented in gymnastics and loves to run. Adults that have contact with our children comment on their ability to relate to adults as well as children. They see a difference between our kids and "schoolies."
Everyday is different and that is the way we like it. The kids generally prefer to fix themselves breakfast. This started gradually by watching us in the kitchen and teaching each other how to use the toaster, microwave, stove, etc. The tools (food and kitchen equipment) are available, and the interest (hunger) is there. Monday through Friday, Art walks to the college for a day of teaching. For those of us left at the house, next we straighten up. We rotate kid chores on a monthly basis. One unloads the dishwasher. Another hangs out the laundry either in the basement or outside, depending on the weather, and sorts the clean laundry to our rooms. The last chore is sweeping the floors and taking out the garbage. Household responsibilites have also changed with the age of the kids and their abilities. After the chores are completed they may go outside to the treehouse or rollerblading, bike riding, etc. They may also choose to watch public television for awhile or read. This is an unstructured time until Art returns for lunch. After lunch, when they were younger, we all took a rest period. Now occasionally Betsy still like this time to read a novel to herself, or read aloud to all, or take a nap. During the afternoon we do errands in town. For example, we go to the bank where they deposit or withdraw their savings, while Betsy pays bills, or we all go to the library. Now that Sadie is old enough to watch the other two at home, they may not all be with us, all of the time. During the afternoon, they continue with more activities of their own choosing.
When everyone else is getting out of school, we start to get more structured with lessons for dance, music, sports, Girl Scouts and art classes. All the girls enjoy helping to prepare and plan for dinner. Most times we take turns with who helps, because our kitchen is so small. The evening is a time Betsy goes to teach childbirth classes several nights a week at a local hospital. The kids spend the evening working in the garden or fixing things around the house with Art, shooting a few hoops, or watching nature or science shows on public television. By the time Betsy gets home, Art has all the girls in bed and has started the bedtime reading. Every evening for the last decade, Art has read or told stories to the girls. Up until a year ago he told them "King and Queen Stories." These were a series of some fifty stories that Art spun about the life of a talented and strong-willed Princess Rose. Many of the stories began in response to events of the day, as models of behavior. These stories and their morals are now an intergral part of our daughter's experiences. Art continues to read to our daughters for an hour or more each night and he has enjoyed sharing the stories he cherished (or missed) as a child.